CH- 8 (Kanthos – City of Sin) (AC)
The towering gate lay before them. Holly looked up completely bewildered by its height and beauty. It sent chills down her spine. It looked old. The construction looked almost Gothic. It reminded her of the old cathedrals she learned about in Western Civilization. She hated history, but she always loved how beautiful those old buildings were. This was similar but she didn’t recognize the material it was built from.
“Are you able to walk now miss?” Aidan asked.
“I think so. You can put me down. Thank you.” holly replied.
Aidan placed holly back on her feet. Her knees still felt a little weak. She felt fatigue, and then realized how tired she was. She remembered she had her phone in her pocket. She pulled it out to see what time it was, to see how long she’d been awake.
She pulled it out half expecting it to be cracked, and was relieved to see it wasn’t. She tapped the power button but the screen remained blank. Funny, she remembered it being charged when she was at the bar.
“your toys won’t work here.”
“crossing through the rift does something to the batteries.” Aidan said.
“Oh. I just wanted to see what time it was.” holly replied.
“it wouldn’t matter. Time here is progressed miss.”
“what do you mean?” she asked puzzled.
Aidan stepped up to the gate placing his palm flat against it, and then smirked back at holly.
“we are in the future miss. Our world’s are in different dimensions. Although parallel to one another we are in a different time.”
Holly’s head felt dizzy. “what does that mean?”
“it means in my dimension your world doesn’t exist.” he said.
“oh!” holly said confused. She didn’t understand fully what he said. It sounded like there was so much more he wanted to say, but instead he turned his head back to the gate.
Aidan’s hand started to glow unnaturally. He spoke something in a language she didn’t understand. It sounded like Latin but she wasn’t sure. Suddenly she heard the rumble as the massive gates slowly gave way for them to enter.
“take my hand miss.” Aidan said extending his arm to her.
Without hesitation Holly grabbed his hand, and they made there way in with the gates closing behind them. She witnessed Aidan’s shoulders relax for the first time since they’ve been there. He looked more calm now.
Immediately holly smelled something terrible. It made her nose twitch as a blast of warm wind blew past her face. To her left and right were fields that lined the city walls, and in those fields were tall thick crosses driven into the dirt. There were tons of them. Hanging from those crosses were decayed bodies. Holly assumed they were vampires.
Some looked burned, and charred with their mouths gaped open, their faces frozen in a scream. Her blood grew cold. The way the bodies were hanging reminded her of Jesus. She felt uneasy. Aidan looked over at her, and sensed this.
“feral vampires.” he explained
“they were normal once. Then they turned mad. They come from beyond the city walls. The high lords crucify those that turn mad as an example for everyone to see.” he said.
“why did they turn mad?” Holly asked while surveying the fields.
“some believe they have become possessed, and others think starvation sometimes leads to it.”
“what do you think?” she asked.
“I believe it is a combination of both. Either way they are deadly. They cannot be reasoned with. They attack the city in large groups trying to overtake the population.” Aidan explained.
They continued away from the city gate walking across one long cobblestone road that ran from the gate, and across the fields to the heart of the city.
At the base of the city the road forked into three separate roads going straight, left, and right. At the center of the split was a large wooden sign that towered over them that read…
“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”
Holly didn’t recognize the language. She did notice however, three black crows perched on top of the sign. They were squawking. They looked identical to the crows in her world except the eyes were unmistakably bright red on all three of them.
“odd” Holly said
“what is it miss?”
“those crows on the sign there have red eyes. Our crows don’t.”
Aidan peeked up at them as they neared the sign, and the crows squawked louder. Just then holly noticed a flock of crows high above them circling the both of them in what looked like a pattern. Had they been following them the whole time? Holly didn’t remember seeing them walking in.
“make no mistake miss, they are not crows.” Aidan replied.
“then what are they? She asked
“shifters miss. Vampires that have the ability to transform into other beings. They have been following us since we arrived. They guard the gates. Do not be alarmed, they are only doing as they’re told. Aidan said
Aidan stopped at the sign. He peered left, and then looked over to holly.
“we go left. To the city domiciles, and lounging. Once you meet some of the others and get settled some we will go to the scribe.” Aidan said.
A loud boom echoed into the dark sky. Holly jumped, clearly startled. “what was that?! She asked.
“that came from down there.” he said pointing to the road to the right of the sign.
“that way is the training ground, it’s where we fight. It sounds like things are getting fun.” Aidan said smiling.
“why am I not surprised you find that fun?” she asked shaking her head.
They continued down the path toward the domiciles. Holly Couldn’t help but feel nervous. She was in a den of vampires. Who knew how they acted. Aidan was calm with her, but seeing how he treated David she was nervous.
Suddenly one of the crows took off from the sign behind them, and landed on the road, stopping them in their tracks.
The bird cocked his head and looked up at Aidan, and then squawked at him. It looked at Holly, and then back at Aidan again.
“whoa, Aidan who’s that?” Holly asked alarmed.
“allow me to introduce myself.” it said smoothly.
Suddenly the bird was gone, and in its place stood a tall muscular pale vampire with spiked brown hair, and red eyes. Holly took a step back behind Aidan.
He raised his hand in the air, and the flock of crows flew away in different directions. “My name is Ira. Who might you be human?” he asked giving a devilish grin. His fangs were as long as Aidan’s. Unlike Aidan he wasn’t hiding them from sight.
“What do you need Ira?” Aidan asked unimpressed, and annoyed.
“oh come now Aidan. Is that anyway to talk to an old friend?” he asked
“Hardly a friend” Aidan replied bitterly.
“I’ve not seen you with her before. Oh!… Is she your master? Did the great Aidan finally imprint? This is quite a sight to see! Ira laughs
Aidan’s face grows embarrassed, he shoots a look to Holly who looks confused by this. Ira begins walking slow circles around them holding his red hot glare at Aidan.
“I do not see the mark on either of you. No. She is new here. I imagine this must be her first time here. Well… Well… Well.. Then let me be the first to welcome you dear human to the city of sin.” he says taking a mock bow.
“f**k off Ira.” Aidan barks.
“I think not brother Aidan. It has been some time since we’ve spoken. You’ve been gone awhile. I do miss our…. Little…. Squabbles… Don’t you? He smirks.
“Is that a challenge?!” Aidan growls tightening his hands into a fist.
“please… I wouldn’t dare challenge the black eyed warrior. Theylnn’s little demigod.”
“Demigod?” Holly cautiously asks.
“Oh you’ve not heard the stories. Forgive me. It is said that young Aidan here is the offspring of the Lord and savior himself.”
“shut that hole in your face Ira!” Aidan yelled.
“The almighty found himself a mortal mistress. He then bestowed upon us the magical creature you see before you… How lucky are we hmm?” He says.
Just then Ira stops dead in his tracks. He is lifted into the air viciously, and his arms are forced outward with his legs together in the form of a cross.
“You will stop speaking now!” Aidan growls. His eyes sharp and angry.
“or I will stop it for you.” he continues
“Aidan I’m only playing. You have such a temper. You’re never any fun.” Ira says laughing.
Despite his situation Ira doesn’t seem scared at all. He seems confident, and moves gracefully. He looks older than Aidan. Holly notices scars on his arms. He is much more intimidating than Aidan yet obviously no threat to him.
Aidan is much stronger but looks more fragile. His childish appearance is offsetting to the fierceness in his eyes. Holly can already tell he is much different than Ira. Although they are both vampires Aidan is softer and mysterious.
Aidan places Ira back on the ground. He stands up regaining his arrogant posture.
“Ira is only upset because he lost his one shot at imprinting. Now he’s doomed to walk the realm alone forever… Or at least until his mouth gets him killed.” Aidan says.
“This is true yes… But I have always been my own vampire anyway. I do not mind my situation at all. You however young Lord are at the mercy of this…”
“Holly… My name is Holly” she interrupts
“forgive me. Holly. I do see though why you chose her. She’s quite beautiful indeed. You give off a vibe of rebellion young Holly. Let me ask you something before I leave. Do you believe in God?” he asks
Holly is taken a back by his question. Until now she never thought about God, or any divine beings. Seeing all she has now though she’s afraid to answer. It’s clear there is so much more she doesn’t know. She decides to be honest.
“No… No I don’t.” she replies.
Ira grins showing off his sharp fangs. He looks evil, and sinister. “oh… But you will soon… Believe me.”
“Are you done?” Aidan asks.
“just wait until you meet the scribe. Then come find me. Tell me again of your beliefs. Oh… One more thing human. How lucky you are to be the one chosen by the Demigod. How are you ever going to live up to those expectations should you choose to imprint? I know I couldn’t.” he laughs.
He shoots a glare at Aidan, and then returns to his crow form and flies off into the dark sky.
“don’t mind him miss. He’s only trying to intimidate you. He’s jealous of me. Unfortunately many of them are. I’m not well liked by a lot of them.” Aidan softly says.
His demeanor has changed. The stiffness and anger has returned to the relaxed childish posture she’s more familiar with.
“are you really the son of God? Holly asks
“he means Lucifer. Not God. Many vampires see Lucifer as a god, and no miss it’s only a terrible rumor made by envious vampires. Nothing more.”
Holly’s heart starts pounding hearing the name Lucifer. There is no way it’s real. It can’t be. After everything that’s happened now she isn’t sure.
“so you’re telling me that Satan himself is actually… Real?” she asks nervously
“it is not my place to say. You must decide yourself what you believe after you meet the scribe. Until then I am not allowed to speak of these things miss. I am sorry.” Aidan says apologetically
Holly’s head is spinning. She doesn’t know much about the Bible, Or about vampires and magical Beings. She never heard any stories about Satan ever being a vampire though. The rumors don’t make sense. Why would they call him a demigod?
“where are we going?” holly asks
“The most popular spot here. Devil’s Den. It’s where we all drink, and conversate with one another. Much like what you call a bar except we don’t do… Spirits…” Aidan replies.
The path finally ended into the city. Buildings were scattered all around them connected by roads, and paths. It was similar to cities holly has been to before back home, except here the buildings are dark and ancient. They bypass large statues of beings she’s never seen before.
For the first time since Ira holly see’s vampires going about their daily lives. It almost seems normal. They resemble humans. They are all pale with odd clothing. One thing she noticed, many of the vampires gawked and snickered to one another as they passed pointing at Aidan. She also noticed none of them had eyes like his.
“You are popular.” Holly says glancing over at several vampires who were looking at them.
“they fear what they don’t understand miss” Aidan says. His train of thought was cut off by a loud yell.
“Aidan!” a tiny female voice shrieked out in excitement. A young female child with long black hair came running down the road to him with her arms out.
“Myra!” Aidan said laughing. He picked her up, and held her tightly in his arms. Holly took a step back.
“I thought that was you sir. I was just telling my new friends about you! They don’t believe me though, but you’re here now, you can show them yourself!” she excitedly says.
“maybe later little miss. Right now I have somewhere to be. I have missed you though. There is someone I’d love for you to meet.”
Aidan looks over at holly smiling almost proud. The young child looks over as well with a look of curiosity painted on her face. Holly see’s a terrible scar on her cheek. It extends from her cheekbone to her chin. Her eyes were brown, and innocent looking.
Holly almost forgot she was looking at a vampire until she smiled at her. Her small fangs flashed, it looked unnatural on such a small innocent looking girl.
“hello miss, are you Aidan’s master?” she asked cheerfully
“oh… I… Um…” Holly embarrassingly stumbled
Aidan interrupted. “No little miss. We are friends. Her name is Holly, and this is her very first time here.”
“oh wow! Welcome to Kanthos. You must be awfully scared miss, don’t be though. We love humans.” she said grinning.
“thank you Myra. I’m happy to meet you” holly said giggling at her cute behavior.
She stuck out her small pale hand, and holly lightly grabbed it immediately feeling the temperature difference. She would never get used to it.
“I hope you will be his master miss Holly. Aidan is the best vampire here. He could kill anything he wanted to. He’s super brave. He saved my life you know.” she said touching the scar on her face.
“OK Myra.” Aidan said laughing embarrassingly. He put her down, and pat the top of her head.
“we have to go now, but i want to play tag with you later okay? You won’t beat me again, I have been training for it.” he playfully says to her.
“you’re on!” she barks. She turned her head to Holly.
“It was nice to meet you miss.”
“The pleasure was all mine Myra.” Holly chuckled
Little Myra took off running down the road towards a group of young vampires chasing eachother. Holly looked back at Aidan who was embarrassed. It was cute. She noticed how flustered he got when both vampires mistakenly took her as his master.
“such an odd concept” she thought to herself. Human masters to these powerful beings. She wonders why it’s like this. There must be a reason. It felt so backwards. This made her uneasy.
It was clear from what she’s seen so far that Aidan was feared, and resented based on how different he was. He was strong, and young. He stood out from all the others. She felt unworthy of his attention. Why? Why her? This was constantly burning in her mind. Why that alley? What was it about her that made him so infatuated? She could see it in his eyes when he looked at her.
It was hard for her to imagine random chance. It was even harder to imagine it being dumb luck. Whatever it was it was happening, and she agreed to tag along into his world. Then what Ira said about being able to live up to it should she do it. How could she? She can’t even hold a normal relationship.
“it’s right down the road.” Aidan said breaking her self reflection. He pointed at a red neon glowing building. There were letters above the large metal doors that read “Devil’s Den” in a strange sloppy font.
“not all the vampires here will behave as politely as myself. I’m just preparing you miss. Aidan said.
“it’s okay. I’ve seen plenty already this won’t be any worse.”
“if you say so miss.” he says laughing lightly.
“this is where most of the vampires with their humans rest. The humans talk among one another, and we… Well… We drink. Some engage in sexual activity as well.” he says
“wait! Did you say sexual activity?!” holly asks
“yes miss.” Aidan says.
“this is after all… The city of sin. You are about to see why.”