Half a century had passed since his last visit and a full century since the body had been relocated from its previous location, inside a cave high up in the Vinson Mountains. Quite a journey it had been too, moving a corpse from Antarctica all the way to Alaska. And the logistics of it quite problematic without the infrastructure of the twentieth century. The body was resting deep inside a maze-like cave near the peak of Mount Denali. Anshar wasn’t exactly a corpse - nothing as permanent as that. In a way, he was still very much alive, simply unaware of the centuries that had flown by since he had last walked and terrorized the face of the Earth. Over twenty-three hundred years had passed since a witch had sentenced him to his millennial sleep. At least there was no consciousness inside him to feel the passing of time. Or was there? So many times Egil had contemplated the horror of Anshar still being conscious while in his coma-like sleep, aware of everything around him: the cold, the loneliness, the hunger and the scarce and quiet visits his first creation paid him. His first creation and no one else.
On occasion, it seemed like much too severe of a punishment, but for the most part, it was exactly what the monster that laid dormant under marble-like skin deserved. He had brought violent and untimely death to countless people and that is without including the casualties on the battlefields. The fangs covered by perfectly sculpted and pale lips had fed on many innocent and guilty alike. Then again, the same could be said for Egil and he knew, as he was looking down on his maker’s body laying on stone, that the very same fate was what he deserved. It didn’t stop there for all of his brothers and sisters and their offspring should be sharing in that punishment for those same crimes. Monsters, all of them. Did numbers matter? A few hundreds more or less when it came to counting victims was meaningless when considering the many centuries of preying and feeding on mortals. His poor sire had been the first and, in a way, uniquely tortured, with no control over what had happened to him. Perhaps, in a twisted way of looking at it, the most innocent of them all.
A fleeting frown perturbed the handsome face as old memories flooded his mind: images of his wife’s bloodied form strewn over their bed, his sister’s lifeless eyes looking up at the ceiling from the floor of their room and his little brother’s body, sadistically arranged as if asleep, near the fountain. He hadn’t known then that the man he would come to view as a savior, mentor, friend, ally, king and so much more, was responsible for it all. That memory - the sight of his slaughtered loved ones, his family, was something he relived with each visit.
Yet the pain had dulled over the centuries and that only angered and confused Egil even more. No amount of time should have lessened such agony - be it years, centuries or eons. He felt like a monster for not being able to experience the same raging torture that he had felt that day. He was a monster for it and for many other things as well. After that tragedy had come Thagi. She had been yet another victim of Anshar’s jealousy and he didn’t even, to that day, have any idea about how she had met her end. That same monster responsible for the worst pains in his life had also gifted him with immortality and many years of unrivaled happiness and pleasure. He was the man Egil hated and loved above all others, his maker, his sire and his greatest enemy. He longed to hear his voice and see the look he used to give him, full of passion and possibilities, but all his desire was laced with pain and hate. This hate he found himself having to work to hang onto and keep its flame burning over the years - refusing to let go of it even if it had to be refueled ever so often. Anshar was, for all intents and purposes, dead. He was going to stay that way for a very long time to come.
The vampire turned around at human speed, facing away from Anshar’s resting form. He hadn’t uttered a single word the whole time he had been there, nor were there any he wanted to say to his maker. The vampire had voiced it all in his early visits - he had raged, cried and screamed his hate as well as proclaimed his love. He had sworn eternal loathing and also professed his desire to relive the days they had spent together and to be able to look at him and not see the creature that had slaughtered his entire family and had robbed him of a chance at a second love.
There was nothing left to say and more than five hundred years had passed since he had last voiced a word in the presence of Anshar’s lifeless form. He lingered for a second, as still as the corpse laying on the stone bed. A drop of water fell from the tip of a stalactite and landed in a perfectly still puddle of water. Ripples formed one after the other and, although they started as concentric circles, they hit the uneven edges and chaotically bounced back, disturbing those that formed later. There was no more calmness or order where a perfect stillness had previously reigned. All that because of one little drop of water. It’s echo traveled through the tunnels of the cave and Egil’s sensitive hearing picked it up. One second later he was gone and the puddle was still struggling to go back to its previous state of calmness, but it was going to take a very long time.
The journey up the mountain to reach the cave and back down usually took Egil about a couple of days, but at least that meant it was next to impossible for any human to accidentally find it. Humans barely managed to climb the mountain, so exploring it and its many caves was out of the question. His brothers and sisters, who were also looking for their sire, probably had no idea how misplaced their search efforts were. The last time he had checked up on their progress, they were back to running around in circles around the area that used to be the ancient Assyrian Kingdom from where both Anshar and Egil originated and where Kishargal had cursed the vampire. His body had never returned to those parts ever since it had come into Egil’s possession. He had been as careful as possible to leave no traces that would lead anyone to him, but was such a thing even truly possible? So far it seemed he had done a great job at it.
The city of New York awaited Egil’s return. In truth, New York had met Caiden Thorne. Egil was a name that was left behind, locked in the tomb with the man who gave that same name meaning, immortality, power and pain beyond imagining.
Caiden Thorne was an old vampire, almost eight hundred years old, and it was the identity known by the world, while Egil, the three thousand years old vampire, the first of the First Generation of vampires, turned directly by Anshar, didn’t exist. His blood brothers and sisters didn’t know about him. Anshar had never mentioned him to them - he had essentially been removed from the family tree. He, on the other hand, knew all of them very well. The manipulative and intelligent Aram, always hungry for power and scheming to create a better world for vampires and the reawakening of his maker. The painfully beautiful, but equally deadly and always hungry for attention, Livia. Wise Solon with the biggest superiority complex Egil had ever witnessed in all his years - and that was saying something. The charming, fun, womanizer and deceitful puppeteer Valerius and the youngest of them all, the gem, the one who didn’t fit, yet the one who kept a fragile semblance of balance among those of the First Generation, Charis.
He had kept tabs on all of them over the years and they all currently found themselves in the same place. No matter how big New York was, holding them all together could prove to be too much for any one city. His five brothers and sisters formed the High Council of Vampires, the only true authority recognized by vampires, yet still very little known to most humans.
Oh, the humans! Wouldn’t they have been better off kept in the dark about their kind and the other supernaturals? It had once been that way. The year 1946 was when it all started shifting and vampires and witches began surfacing - indeed, just after the second world war, while the world was still tired and licking its wounds. Everything went according to a well-designed agenda and, in truth, it had been a wonderful masterpiece of planning, diplomacy, marketing, and manipulation.
Oh, how all supernatural species played the victim cards and offered every help possible placing themselves in the service of humans. It wasn’t like complete annihilation was even an option. No, they became citizens with rights and feelings. Protests, violent and otherwise, all eventually simmered down and let way to change. Laws changed, religions changed and conceptions as well. The transition went smoothly in many places around the world and the US was probably the place where the change was accepted the easiest.
It’s amazing what humans are capable of adapting to. Vampire blood in hospitals saved more lives than anything else, Sharur policed the supernaturals and also helped with catching human criminals by aiding the police, and witches came with their perks too. With how very few and rare supernaturals were, it was quite unusual for people to ever even lay eyes on one, much less be in any danger from them. That was the story one would read in the newspaper or saw on the TV anyway. And people tend to want to believe, don’t they? A beautiful lie was always easier to swallow than an ugly truth and that was how, seventy years later, the world found itself at peace and settled into a new order.
No, vampires were not as rare as mortals believed, neither were witches or Sharur. To be fair, most witches could barely light a match using magic and the rest was mostly smoke screen, but there were those few among them who could and had already reshaped the whole world. The secret was to be careful: turning someone into a vampire was strictly regulated. Not the way humans believed it to be, but there were rules. Biting humans who were unwilling was also strictly forbidden and punishable even by death in the worst case. It happened a lot more than people thought, but it was all covered expertly. Humans were having their world being slowly taken from under their feet while they were blissfully patting themselves on the back for being tolerant, accepting and accommodating to all of “God’s creatures”.
There were parts of the world more chaotic when it came to the change. Most chose to embrace, co-exist and do their best to make it work, but other countries chose to persecute supernaturals, kill them indiscriminately or simply forbid them entrance and those were the ones that made the news. Other small towns were overrun with supernaturals and humans lived in fear, yet word about them barely ever made it even in the shadiest of tabloids. The High Council was the tip of the iceberg and its tentacles reached deep and wide. The humans only knew what it wanted them to know. In fact, no one had any idea how close to the edge of the precipice the world as they knew it truly was.
New York city was one of the locations where supernaturals seemed to converge. The seat of the High Council of vampires as well as home to the most respected group of Sharur Elders. Three of the leaders of the major five covens of witches also resided in New York City. Politically it made sense. Practically - it made New York a time bomb. Tic tac. ns 220.127.116.11da2