After that babysitting night, I was allowed to smaller meetings. Specifically, they were looking into outside locations to build a city to put the liberated vampires. They had recruited more Punishers, and needed a safe place to put them, without increasing the cost of their covenants and contracts with other covens for safe-haven.
Their search party had been out for some time, and was supposed to return three months ago. No word had been sent to Nephilim yet, and she couldn't afford to send out more people to look for them.
I never really got more of how many of the Nephilese was in the city, but I gathered it was more than I could guess.
Talking with Elizabeth frequently, she's indicated that not one member other than Nephilim who knows all the intelligence agents in the city, or identities of all the Nephilese. Made me curious.
What was more curious was the ominous call from the Elders to report to the Elders domain immediately at nightfall. It was much earlier than usual, and it was a wide-sent message to a group of about one hundred Punishers.
What was more unusual about this particular message is that it stated to report within five minutes.
Ordinarily, we received notice about twenty-four hours advance, up to seventy-two hours advance of when to report. I knew this information would be important, but whether I would tell Tankrell or Nephilim about it would depend on why we were meeting there.
If any other informant was there, they would be more the oblige to inform them themselves and place themselves in jeopardy.
I entered the lobby area of marble. Crowded, we were quite and kept to ourselves. I peered around the crowd, but no one I knew from the Nephilese was there.
Luckily, me glimpsing around the crowd wasn't anything suspicious. All the Punishers were acting the same. No one knew of their past, or very much of the identities of each other.
It was a room veiled with a thick atmosphere of suspicion. It was like breathing a thick humid fog that made one on edge rather than sleepy.
I didn't spot Elizabeth at all. Since turning, she was required to meet me at the beginning of my night, answer my questions, and allow me to get used to my "duties" as a Punisher.
If I was called to the Elder Domain, she was always there beside me. At the end of the night, she was to follow me back to my dwelling, on both orders of the Nephilese and the Elders.
An Elder, draped head to toe in white, with several think layers of white sheer covering their face slowly walked down the staircase.
"We have received information that the vampires that we have sent you Punishers to kill are hiding out in the woods about 4000 kilometers from here.
"That being said, Punisher Tremison has the map, and you will accompany him. I want them all dead. No survivors. You have four hours to complete this mission and return back here with a report." It was a clear and deep authoritative voice.
Elder Sothe, from everyone's assumption the oldest of the Elders. How old was he though? No one really knew, he had been in charge for almost two hundred years based on our history.
When he reached the bottom of the stairwell, a Punisher walked up beside him grabbing the file from his hands. I hadn't met Punisher Tremison before, but I understood if he was called by name as a Punisher, he had some standing with the Elders, especially on a mission like this, so I began to scrutinize his appearance carefully.
He was tall with a deeper red tinted skin than I was used to seeing. His hair was like garnet, a deep and seductive red. With a round and chiselled face, he looked frightening with even his calm demeanor standing in front of the Elder.
"There will be no failures," the Elder uttered softly with a venomous tone.
He didn't bother to inform us on what happened if we did fail. We knew very well what failure meant.
"You are to go immediately. Your four hours start now."
We immediately got up and left the building. I had no idea what to do. This was something I would need to tell the Nephilese. This was something I couldn't ignore. I knew there were innocents out there, those who weren't of age, even babies out there.
However, as I walked out, and took more glances into the group I couldn't find anyone. There were nearly one hundred-fifteen Punishers on our side. Not one of them was here. Just me. I had nowhere to turn to in order to inform the Nephilese, I could not defy the Elders. If I died for betrayal or from failure, the Elders would learn everything.
Everyone would die.
The vampires we are able to save would die also. There was no way for us to save those vampires tonight.
But, if I followed orders and did kill the group hiding out while they waited to be transported out, then we would be able to save more vampires. More would live.
There was nothing I could do, and the Punishers did not bother with a 'strategic plan.'
We just played what seemed to be follow the leader. Punisher Treminson had shown us the map, and the fastest were in front leading the way.
We didn't need a plan. None of the vampires would be able to stand against us in a fight. One Punisher would be able to kill hundreds of vampires, and we had over one-hundred of us.
I knew there were at least three thousand vampires unknowingly waiting. Killing them would be simple. The worst part was that I had to pretend to enjoy it…
I would have to drink their blood. To see their memories. Which could alter my memory again like the Blood Pool. I had not drank from anyone but Tankrell's blood. Which for some reason was the expectation to seeing another person's memory. It kept me sane, in control, but this might revert me back.
They rolled up the map after showing the mark of location. In was completely accurate. It destroyed my only hope that the map was wrong. And then we ran through the trees flying fast, whipping through the night.
The entire time, I had an internal battle with myself. Loyalty to the Elders? Or, could I finally see why the Nephilese existed? This was wrong.
I felt a gaze prodding at me. I snapped by head back to find Treminson intently staring at me.
Shit, I thought. Could he read my mind?
He kept staring at me, even though he knew I was looking. His eyes didn't seem angry, but quizzical. Perhaps my mind wasn't completely open for him to hear my thoughts.
Perhaps it was my aura he was sensing.
I felt like I was punishing myself with the internal struggle, trying to overcome the panic, disgust, and anguish. This wasn't like me.
I was as cold as an arctic winter before. Nothing could waiver my resolve.
'Your thoughts are bouncing around so fast, I can't catch everything your thinking. Your emotions aren't even staying in one spot. If you can't snap out of it, I'll have to discuss to the Elders about getting your memories back. The Blood Pool seemed to have an adverse effect on you,' I heard in my head.
The hairs on my arm stood up, my nerves felt shot for a moment and my mind blanked. There wasn't a damn thing I could do now, but the surprise helped me calm instantly, placing my thoughts on the "mission."
If I focused on anything else, including Tremison attempting to pry open my thoughts, I would be in an even more difficult position.
'Much better. Your an interesting one, aren't you?' Tremison chuckled in my head.
'Your committed now, most of the children have been moved. There's nothing else either of us can do now. Just get it done, and stop punishing yourself about it,' a little voice chimed in my head.
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