Pensive

Feeding the Tree, Part b

Cadmus truly had forgotten about that one. Once he had shared the story of Owen’s demise with Flint, the story no longer seemed important. The man certainly had not been, so Cadmus dismissed the entire matter from his immediate realm of memory and carried on with his dark life.

But there were more pressing matters at hand. This Simon Flynt, this Absinthe, he had three things to feed this day: Cadmus, his lust, and his sacramental Tree. What was left would feed the mould and vermin down below.

“Are your feelings still raw over my little bedtime story from our last time together then?”

“Only a little,” Flint lied. “When…when you are a Vampire, you have to choose wisdom in what battles to fight and what grudges to hold. An eternity of nothing but vengeance to keep you company is a waste of years that could be put to better use, to revelry or art. Anything but eternal hatred. That would just be…bleak.”

Cadmus studied Flint. Was the Waltham Phantom baiting him? Was he being passive-aggressive in his reply? He could see no ulterior motive to Flint’s words. Cadmus tried to believe it was coincidence, but too much synchronicity marred his life upon this Earth to allow him to believe in coincidence. What else could it be, though? He was wily and insightful enough to ferret out myths and whispers regarding my Harming Tree. And there are Vampire scribes around the world already committing to scroll electronics, the accounts of the marriage of the three Vampire Relics. All were more easily accessed than anything remotely having to do with the Tree. Surely Flint would have heard tales of Cadmus’ early life and how he had lived the first millennia as a child of pure Void, forged in pain, set to mete out vengeance, another’s tool of empty retribution.

“Do you mock me, Absinthe?” Cadmus asked, his voice dripping with an innocence that had not existed in well over two thousand years.

“No! No, Cadmus, I’m not mocking you!” Flint rushed to say, kicking himself for being so careless in his words. He had truly not meant anything by what he had said; it’s just that Flint had never had to take care in anything he said. He could not even be bothered to keep his Darkling nature under wraps in these modern times. It was up for debate in certain Vampiric circles if this were a sign of unconcern or just sheer laziness. Probably both.

Saying nothing more on the matter, Cadmus Pariah returned to the activities at hand. Levels of hunger gnawed at him now, but Cadmus’ path had always been one of control, and this day would be no different than any other in that respect. He took Flint’s hands in his and pulled him down the long hall from the dark front room. Flint allowed himself to be drawn along, a mixture of fear and attraction boiling in the back of this throat. He watched as Cadmus lost none of his grace as he walked backward in front of him. Cadmus’ eyes never strayed from Flint, and Flint could feel an elevation in Compulsion deep within his breast. He still fought it, but he realized that it was a losing battle.

Flint diverted his stare from Cadmus, to study the art on the walls of this hall. Tapestries of long-dead English nobility seemed to come alive as they passed, the wind from the Vampire’s motion making the heavy cloth ripple and writhe as though haunted. The paintings were of scenes from the times of the Middle Ages, comprising mainly of holy knights bearing the heraldry and sigils of the Templarians. There were also depictions of the Great Mortality, that dreadful time Flint’s parents had told him about. Shuddering, Flint turned his attention elsewhere. The walls were not just lined with these antiquated pieces; they were also broken at perfect intervals by heavy wooden doors.

“What…?” Flint began, then paused for fear of raising Cadmus’ ire, and losing his diaphanous hope to evacuate as soon as Vampirically possible. Cadmus raised his dark eyebrows in askance, his giant eyes communicating a curious menace.

“You have a question, Absinthe?”

“These doors… Where do they go? The house doesn’t seem to be large enough for this hall and these many rooms.”

“Ahhh… Well… As you probably have already heard in the webs of gossip that infests the New Hive, the house is not a house at all, but a very old small keep. I took this place many hundreds of years ago, and I cloaked it and set to cleansing the minds of the locals of their memory of it. And it became mine, and shall always be mine. The rooms about which you seem so curious, are no longer in use. The doors go nowhere now. But before I became full Vampire, I kept human livestock in those chambers, their empty shells nothing more than vessels to be milked of their blood until they withered and faded. And, after they were no longer of any use to me, I would carry their corpses, both living and dead, down into the lower tiers, where the dampness and stench of death invade the very pores of your skin and linger there upon you reeling mind. I promise you, my love, that you will see this place for yourself before too very long. And your silent screams shall fall upon the ears of hopelessness.”

Before Flint could try to make another break for it, Cadmus increased his Compulsion threefold, and allowed his natural Glamour to be revealed. He felt Flint’s hands relax and tremble in his own, and he studied the Vampire’s face. Flint was submerged in the idea of love, the possibilities of Ambrosciata and all the pleasure that it carried. There was no longer a hint of hesitation in Flint’s step now. He belonged to Cadmus.

Flint had felt the increase in Compulsion and saw Cadmus unveil his full beauty. It was a beauty that could easily kill from its intensity, but Cadmus felt it necessary to unleash much more of his abilities and attributes than normal, or a least that is what Flint surmised. The Phantom had forced himself to relax, to be completely pliant so that Cadmus would believe that he had utterly surrendered. He had no idea how he was resisting the pull Cadmus had on him, but Flint wasn’t one to examine the particulars of any situation, especially if things were even remotely going in his favour. Flint considered his not becoming a slave to Cadmus’ dread attentions a stroke of good luck in a less than rosy circumstance.

They had reached the end of the long hallway. There were two doors at the end of the hall. One narrow door made of very heavy dark wood, and showing no sign of a handle or knob anywhere, to the left of the hall, and one that looked to be teak in front of them. Just as the narrow door was smaller than conventional modern doors, so too was the teak one larger than the norm. It had an ornate handle which Cadmus opened with ease, never casting his gaze anywhere else but Flint’s phosphorescent eyes.

Behind Cadmus, light poured out of the room, illuminating the hall with a brilliance Flint did not expect. At first, he thought it was the burgeoning sun shining through windows inside the room, and he instinctively flinched.

“It is not the sun, Flint. This is the only room to have the electric amenity. It is for my computer. But I thought it prudent to produce some light for any passersby to see. A house always dark is an invitation to burglars and other unsavoury types. I do not enjoy killing people who might have been seen near my home, so I have these lamps as a way to avoid such an undesirable action. Come, come now.”

Flint followed Cadmus into the room. It was a bedroom. The large bed did not appear to have ever been slept in; then again, it could be that Cadmus had not been home in a very long time. Besides, Vampires did not truly need to sleep, so why have a bed at all? It was covered with a thick green comforter and two oversize pillows, in green pillow cases. The stone floor was covered with a variety of Persian rugs. Dotted around the room were lamps of various sizes and colours, all of them burning brightly. Talk about overkill, Flint thought, then felt a smile threaten to break through. Against the wall facing the foot of the bed there was a desk upon which sat a desktop computer. Beside it rested a laptop. Bookshelves lined the far wall, where there would have normally been a window or more than one. The shelves were stuffed to overflowing with books of all shapes and sizes. You could always learn a lot about a person by the books they read.

“May I look at your library, Cadmus?”

Cadmus gave a slight inclination of his head and moved over to the desk where he picked up the laptop, taking it to the bed. Not once did he ease off the Compulsion. He wanted to keep a good hold on the Waltham Phantom until the creature was nailed to wood like a large butterfly, set to Bleed for him and his sacrament. But before that could happen, Cadmus was compelled to purge this unhealthy fascination for the Vampire titch. It irked him no end that he found this silly man so attractive.

Flint stepped over to the shelves, Willing himself not to glance over his shoulder in trepidation. He began looking at the catalogue of books: Being and Nothingness by Sartre, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr., Malleus Malificarum Malleus by Kramer and Sprenger, The Writings of Austin Osman Spare, The Rose-Croix: The Templars’ Secret Life by Fedan, Brave New World by Huxley, The Damnation Game by Barker, The Kybalion by Three Initiates, and so many more, ranging from large art books, various religious tomes, and books on the anatomies humans and animals. Flint could not wrap his head around it all, and his hope of better understanding Cadmus by the books he read, was replaced by even more confusion.

“You have quite a collection here,” Flint said, hoping to get Cadmus talking about books and buy himself some time.

“Mm,” Cadmus answered distractedly. Flint looked behind him and saw that Cadmus was immersed in the virtual reality of the Internet. He began easing back around the bed to the door. Surely one of the adjacent rooms they had passed might offer up sanctuary and even escape. But Cadmus looked up at the movement and shook his head. “Now, where do you think you are going, my titch?”

“Don’t –“

“Call me ‘titch.’ Yes, I know. But see, Flint, I do as I please, and it pleases me to call you ‘titch.’ Protest all you want. This will be your last day of resisting my Will.”

Cadmus opened his vast eyes to their full effect, drinking in all that Flint had been or would ever hope to be. In that one moment, suspended in sublimity on a thread of time, Flint was enraptured in Cadmus’ infinite eyes. He was completely lost in those eyes, black within black within the endlessness of all that is darker than black. He wanted to find repose in those eyes. He wanted those eyes to gaze upon him forever, two endless coals of seduction mingling with his own phosphorescent strangeness.

Cadmus pulled Flint down to the bed, straddled him, pinned him down. Closer and closer still, Cadmus drew his face closer to Flint’s until his lips touched his.

“You crave this lushness,” Cadmus said. “You wish to have my lips upon yours, to feel their Elfin fullness upon your own. The mere thought of it pleases you. Admit it, Absinthe. Own your desire for me, who am your Elven progenitor.

“I…”

“Speak, my young beauty. Say the words you have so long wished to utter. I know that you want me, in your dreams every day as you sleep hidden away from the mighty star sun. Speak it, my odd little man. Utter the truth with your words, if you can.”

Flint held his breath, closing his eyes with all his might against the wonderment of Cadmus’ endless gaze. Yes, he wanted him. Despite his preference for the female persuasion, Flint desired the impossible beauty of Cadmus Pariah. Desperately did he want him. Leaning up to touch his lips fully on Cadmus, Flint kissed him, and felt the purity of his desire.

But then Cadmus withdrew, propping his chin on his spider hands, his elbows resting comfortably on each side of Flint’s thin chest. Next came that unbearable smile again, the very expression of the damned brought full circle.

“Like so many of your tribe, you Darkbloods, your weakness is sexual; then again, it does serve my purposes so very often. The Blood of the Incubus, or Succubus, any kind, is charged with a particular level of sanctity. The Little Death wrapped so snugly within the Greater. Ah, but I must admit that, on a certain incomprehensible level, my desire for you reaches just beyond my need for Blood…or the hungers that lie within my sacred Tree. Your mess, the whole of you, it sings to me on some unexplained level. My hatred of you is tempered also with a kind of fascination, and a special brand of…confusion. That is something I have not yet felt: confusion. Why is it that such conflicting apices could reside in the same plane of comprehension?”

“I am not an apex, Cadmus.”

Cadmus blinked his infinite eyes with unconcern. “When you boil it down, young Absinthe, all anyone or anything is, is merely an apex masked in the fallacy that is emotion. Such is the reality of my Harming Tree. It bears for me the scars that realized apices may carry within their wily traps. You are nothing to me but an apex barely conceived within the nightmare of my reverie. You are a blip in the perfection that is my reality, something to be dispensed with and discarded, as soon as you are used up to my satisfaction. And what is so amusing by this, is that you are privy to all of it, yet you still willingly participate, because it is impossible to deny the undeniable. Especially when that which shall not be denied desires you above all others. At least for this day of days. Before you die, you may drink taste the flesh that, by family lineage alone, remade your own. Possess me in body, as I also possess you…in body, in Blood, in soul. This is me, as bared as perhaps I shall ever be, but only because I know that you will never see another luna to tell of it. Only by the branches of the Tree shall you be known for time immemorial. In the Tree, and in my undying memories of secret indulgences. Now, tell me, titch; do you have anything under those layers of thrift store bargains, or are you nothing but a ghost with revenant eyes?”

Flint felt the Compulsion envelope him again, and he was swept away from any threat that had been made to his person. He felt Cadmus’ lips brush his again. The kiss became deeper and he felt the Plenipotentiary’s hand find the skin buried beneath his shirts and jackets.

“My wisp of a Darkling…” Cadmus breathed into Flint’s ear. “My Absinthe-eyed snack.”

He took Flint’s earlobe in his mouth and bit just enough to break the skin. Sucking the Blood that grudgingly relinquished to his ministrations, Camus reached under Flint’s dusty, smoke-saturated overcoat, around to his back, and brought the Darkling up from the bed and closer against him. He entwined his legs around Flint’s waist and down to his legs, wrapping around him like a spider circling its web, trapping the hapless fly. And Flint found himself loving it, surrendering to the spider’s deadly attentions.

They kissed again, deeply this time, lingering in each other’s deliciousness, basking in the desirability of their dark union. Flint wrapped his arms around Cadmus’ neck, delighting in the lushness of his flesh, and losing himself to the impossibility of one soul being as irresistible as the Pariah was. He delighted in that he was engaged with the Prince of all Vampires, the Plenipotentiary himself, wrapped in the ecstasy of the flesh. Flint was no stranger to such indulgences, being one of the Darkbloods, but he wasn’t very experienced in the pleasures of the Blood. Vampires typically were not beating down his door to engage in Ambrosciata with him, so he was surprised by the idea that Cadmus Pariah wanted to exchange that holy elixir. Intellectually, he knew it was most likely a ruse but, emotionally…physically, he really did not care. Cadmus was the most beautiful of them all, and the most desirous. Flint was aroused by the mere thought of him.

Cadmus leaned into him and purred in his ear. “I am your grace and your forgiveness. I am your dreams and your desire. I am that which visits you in the deepest dark. I am the whisper in your mind and the madness that accompanies that song. I am the words upon your tongue and sweetness upon your lips. I am the Abomination you dare deny and the Sacrament for which you seek. I am that which you encircle and surround and that which embraces and devours you. I am all that and so much more, young Flint. So much I want to be for you, at least for this monumental day, here in the secrecy of sacred places.”

Flint was overcome by the eloquence of it all, and he took Cadmus’ lips fully into his own, savouring the ginger and papyrus that was his Darkling essence. Cadmus returned the kiss, glorifying in the knowledge that he had possessed one more Vampire, taken him from the night like a babe, promising him the love of ages and the wonderment of eternity. Flint had so easily been misled…then again, Cadmus did feel an undeniable attraction to him. Perhaps it was because he was a Darkling and inherently sexual; but, Cadmus had often taken the Succubi and the Incubi of Darkblood. It should not be an issue for him now. But it was. Flint sang to him in the silence of his existence, in the haunted echoes of his mind. He placed his face against Flint’s and breathed in deeply, taking in his opium and tobacco, actually luxuriating in it this time. Flint had cast a kind of spell on Cadmus, inexplicably making him want the younger Vampire for real and true. Cadmus rarely felt any kind of attraction, preferring rather to engage in its fallacy for the sake of feeding. But this time was different. This strange little Vampire who was actually smaller than he was had captured his attention, had aroused his curiosity and his own strange desire.

Cadmus looked at Flint and began to peel the layers of garments that masked his thin frame. He was as perfect as any human could be, which spoke volumes in Cadmus’ pristine world. Eventually he reached Flint’s slight chest and he leaned down to kiss the delicate clavicle. He was, in his own way, a very lovely specimen, despite his hobo appearance. At least the clothing was clean, save for the overwhelming scent of various kinds of tobacco. There was that musk, that undeniable musk that was so attractive. It was not the musk of the lotus, which belonged to Cadmus and his papyrus identity, but something a bit more animal, something that, in its own way, was quite irresistible. Cadmus inhaled the scent tumbling off Flint like waves. He found himself wrapped up in its glorious seduction, and he felt the stirrings of the Darkling’s sexual inclinations.

The Eternal Child of Night trailed down Flint’s frame, reaching his treasure trail before removing his two pair of slacks and his holey boxer shorts. How could someone let himself go like this? Yes, he was clean, but so immersed in disarray. Cadmus rose up and looked at Flint in his nakedness. He was thin, like Cadmus, but nicely shaped, moreso than the Plenipotentiary. His body, except for the treasure trail, was sparse of hair, which pleased Cadmus, who had adopted the hirsute nature of his human progenitors, both the Apostate and Thieyennen Vathyella. Flint was well-shaped, but not overly muscular, which was unattractive at best. He noticed the arousal in Flint’s member and smiled. It was admittedly extremely attractive to Cadmus, who preferred neither male nor female, but anyone who would provide for him the blessings of blood and an exquisite state of sublime suffering.

Flint was different. Flint aroused Cadmus. Flint made Cadmus wish to truly pleasure him to the ultimately brink of climax, so that the Blood would be sweet beyond reckoning. Flint made Cadmus wish a forbidden union in which he had only rarely engaged, even with Eve, his Garden of Blood. Flint became Cadmus’ weakness and his blessing, a kind of poetry that spoke of Cadmus’ human existence. He felt the lust of the human animal, and it was augmented by the holy existence of Elven awareness.

Cadmus moved downward to Flint’s exquisite erection and he found there a treasure beyond all that was, exhibiting a song rarely uttered by any Vamprie or mortal on this great green Earth. The nature of his human animal nature sang to him a song like no other in the Great Dark Song of Life.

Cadmus gazed up at Flint, admiring his arousal, and he moved onward to the gift of the body. He tasted of tobacco and Absinthe, a heady flavour, fraught with dreams and promise. He was well-shaped, exquisite for his physical size, like a poetry of flesh. Cadmus, despite his murderous inclinations, wished to utter that poetry to the worlds of both mortals and Vampires, to make a legend of wonderment within the realm of the Hive of the Darkblood, so fraught with that which brings love and pleasure. A part of Flint would be reserved within the echoes of Cadmus’ psychic self, and a part of his body would be commemorated upon the twisted branches of Cadmus’ Harming Tree.

But he would have to be careful, Cadmus would. His fascination with Flint, despite his spite for the way Flint lived and honestly Flint himself, should be kept well in check. Flint had powers like no other Vampire had, not even that reprehensible throwback, Faust. Despite his ability to take confession, despite his cheating of both death and the supposed Vampire curse, despite his eventual sainthood, not even Faust had been able to hold his own against Cadmus. But Flint was a different sort of creature. Flint had a reserve of Willpower that sometimes matched Cadmus’ own. Just for that indiscretion alone, Cadmus was compelled to destroy him. But the desire for dalliance wrapped around Cadmus like dragon’s wings, and he knew there was nothing for it, but to take his pleasure in Flint’s body, then take his pleasure in Flint’s last moments of pain.

Flint must pay for challenging Cadmus’ authority and for bringing the newfound emotion, confusion, to the fore. The dichotomy of reprehension and fascination that Flint inspired in Cadmus, gave rise to that confusion. It was intolerable. But even as Cadmus groused about abiding Flint to live this long, he was delighting in the taste of him and the low sound coming from deep within his chest. Confusion. Flint’s flesh would be sacrificed to the Tree in honour of confusion.

To his surprise, Cadmus had moved ever downward without even realising what he was doing. He was soon engaged in the deliciousness of Flint’s growing flesh. The confusion took on an almost physical presence, just as real and infuriating as anything in the sublimity of Cadmus’ current incarnation. What was worse, is he could not refrain from such attentions. It was natural and right, something Cadmus himself had never been. He could not conceive it.

Cadmus drew his tongue up the bottom of Flint’s shaft as Flint watched him, his phosphorescent eyes flashing ever faster with excitation, betraying his surrendering to the one soul he could say he truly despised. Flint felt his Blood coursing through him like the beat of ancient drums; it pounded through him like a hammer. Those full lips on him, those lips that had conjured both angels and demons, and everything between them…they were now conjuring such a religious delight in Flint, he hadn’t the words to describe it. Whatever he had done to deserve such attention from the Plenipotentiary, he longed to repeat it for eternity, or for however long they could survive the Walk of Night in a mortal world. And this distressed him, as he felt he was turning away from Gareth’s memory, and from the immortal vengeance he harboured for Cadmus Pariah. But…but…

In reflex to the pleasure, Flint suddenly placed his hand on Cadmus’ head as Cadmus studied ever millimeter of him. But, when he did so, Cadmus drew away.

“Do not touch me until I give you the permission to do so.”

Flint gulped, seeing the Cadmus he knew all too well, and remembering time back, far back, when he and Gareth had engaged in such pleasures…before he had been turned, a lifetime before Cadmus had taken Gareth as a trophy in the dark. Thoughts of Gareth drew Flint away from the brink and back into some semblance of reality. He almost jumped out of the slacks that were already down around his boots, as he moved from the bed to the stereo system next to it.

“We need music. Don’t you think we need some music? How about some tuneage?”

Flint pressed a button and music blared out of the speaker, soaking the Vampires with an almost unbearable level of noise.

“Coldplay?” Cadmus said, irritation in his voice. “Must we endure this inanity?”

“No, I really do much better with this if I have music…O Prince,” Flint added as an afterthought. He was suddenly quite aware again of where he was and what was going on. Cadmus intended to do what he wished with him, to him, regardless of his own wishes. And then Cadmus would murder him just as he had done Gareth.

Cadmus moved from the bed and placed his lips against Flint’s ear, purring, “I know where we can have music to fit our fleshly delights. And it will surround us just as the act of Ambrosciata, with secrets…and wondrous sin…and the mysteries of love.”

“Love?” Flint’s voice trembled, betraying a mixture of arousal and fear. “What do you know of love?”

Twining around Flint like a snake embracing an unwitting mouse. “There is much you do not know about me, my pretty young one,” Cadmus said, his empty soul pounding against his chest as much from the lie he told as it was from the truth of it. “Like any who tread the paths of life on this planet, I too can love.”

“We’ve hated each other from almost the moment we met. I know you think me unkempt and disdainful.”

“Perhaps I do,” Cadmus replied, and kissed Flint’s throat, pulled back to look him in those intriguing reflective eyes. “Perhaps I also find you fascinating and wickedly handsome, what with your rare eyes and rabbit fur hair.”

Cadmus pulled his fingers through Flint’s soft, limp hair. It was not entirely unpleasant. At least this time it looked like it had been washed. Reaching down, he took hold of Flint’s almost delicate hands and backed toward the door of the bedroom, leading him back into the hallway.

Flint felt like he had been drugged. Part of him knew that psychically, he most certainly had been, but the logical part of him screamed to take flight, no matter the price. There had to be some way out of this…but…Cadmus Pariah, in all his Elven beauty. He was not much taller than Flint, perhaps a hair over an inch. His frame matched Flint’s as well, with a natural muscularity but certainly nothing at all macho. Flint closed his eyes and shook his head, almost as quickly as a dog, trying to overcome the spell Cadmus had cast over him. He thought of Gareth, and his grisly end at Cadmus’ dread hand.

“Do not think on that which you cannot change,” he heard Cadmus say quietly. “Come, the day has begun, so we must seek shelter in the velvet darkness of my sanctuary.”

That wriggled into Flint’s mind and his eyes widened. Cadmus’ sanctuary? Wasn’t that where he kept his altar, his Harming Tree? Flint stumbled a little, losing his erection instantly. He was about to be fed to that infernal relic of the New Hive. Was there any way out of this?

Before Flint could gather his senses, Cadmus was once more on him, his arms wrapped around him warm and sweet…like a woman’s insistence. He melted into the embrace, not caring that this was how those who had come before him felt when Cadmus pulled them into his world. And that was the last thought he had before walking willingly into Cadmus’ dead black shrine.

“Candlelight for those who cannot see beyond their noses in this blessed dark,” said Cadmus, easing Flint to his altar before reaching over and lighting a candle.

Through the fog of his desire and fright, Flint tried to study the legendary altar of the Plenipotentiary. It was the only thing that could be seen by the dim light. There, at its side and just touching the altar, perched upon a staff was the scalp, its red hair just as shiny and vibrant as the day it was ripped from Orphaeus Cygnus’ head. The single candle was affixed near the fore of the altar’s surface by way of its own wax. Cadmus had no need to use it to illuminate this room. He knew it well, but could probably also see the vastness implied by the sentient dark. To the left of the candle there lay an obviously ancient bell with an inscription on it that used no lettering Flint had ever seen. The right side of the altar was ordained with a small scourge with what looked like claws at the end of each leather tendril. Beside it rested an unadorned blade. But in the center…well, the center is what concerned Flint the most.

There it sat, resonating with its own strange music, an alien undulation that inspired fear and fascination in equal measure. Its tortured limbs reached toward a heaven that would reject it for all time and all times thereafter, and on them were stretched centuries of flesh, trapped and aching.

Flint felt its throbbing before he heard the Harming Tree’s song. It wormed deep within his breast, fondling his heart with perverse intimacy, a melody that said, “Oh I know you, whose skin shall soon be mine. Already you bask in the inevitability of our union. You want to feel the branches wrap around you, I who am your Venus fly trap, you who are my immortal fly.”

And the thing was right. Flint desired to touch the Harming Tree as he much as he desired the dark attentions of Cadmus Pariah. It was as though he and the Tree were destined to unite in some way. But Flint knew that way was his own end and the Tree continuing in the resplendency of what had once been Flint’s life spark. And so Flint was at war with himself on many levels; he wanted to give himself over to the man who had slaughtered his friend and brother, he wanted to murder this man as retribution for all the atrocities he had visited upon the world, he wanted to harmonise with the very thing that would carry a dead momento of him upon its body for time immemorial, and he wanted to smash the dread relic across Cadmus’ altar until both lay in pieces at his feet.

And what frustrated him the most was that he was incapable of doing any of these things, not of pure free will. Truly was Flint a man at odds with ever fibre of his own being. And this was not like him; he was much more laid back than what this situation inspired in him. He felt himself stressing over the stress of being stressed by it all. This above all compelled Flint to just give in, let whatever was going to happen, happen already, so he could be shed of this useless worry. Flint forced himself to look away from the Harming Tree, directly into Cadmus’ black oily eyes. There he found desire, and death, and everything he could imagine in between.

And, for the first time in his memory, mortal or otherwise, Flint had to force himself not to care.

And he plunged into the mess of it all, the glory that seemed to be colliding with his final destiny. Cadmus, all ginger and papyrus, was enveloping him like a dissonant serenade, overpowering his own opium and tobacco with their thin scents, the essences of the Master Maker.

Placing his small hands behind Cadmus’ swanlike neck, he pulled the Abomination to him, his lips enveloping Cadmus’ own full ones. This time, Cadmus did not pull away, nor did he issue grave warnings about the liberties Flint may have taken with such action. Flint delighted in the softness of Cadmus’ lips, and wondered at their supple beauty, thinking on how ancient they were, how many throats they had latched onto in deadly viper fashion…how they had been stained by Gareth’s mortal blood, transubstantiated into the Vampiric Ambrosia.

But Flint did not care at this moment. All he cared about was pulling Cadmus’ verdant shirt from his slim body, and working down his slacks, so very casual compared to the Plenipotentiary's more common priestly raiment so often described by others, which was what Cadmus had been clad in when the two of them first met. Flint wanted him more this time than when they shared that tree branch in Los Angeles so many years ago. He desired the warm touch of this dangerous beast, to feel the length of him upon this stone floor, which would soon run crimson with his own life’s Blood.

Cadmus allowed Flint to remove his clothes. It was a natural thing for him to be in the altar room naked. The activities therein often demanded his skyclad state, so this was so much easier to have one so willing to service him in such a way rather than be averse to their own nakedness before their god made manifest on Earth. ‘Twas those who balked at the idea of being devoured by greatness, to have their intimate flesh ribboned across the sacred brances of the Harming Tree like a spider’s web, in awe of the horror as they eased into the dreadful epiphany that those simple parts would be mummified whilst the rest of them would dissolve into time, forever forgotten save for the occasional dark reverie toyed with by Cadmus, he who had eaten them and erased their presence from the annals of Vampire lore.

Flint was different. Cadmus felt himself desiring to be immersed in his strangeness before dispensing with him, taking a piece of him, and adding him to the his Sacrament. It would be a reminder of the confusion Flint inspired, and the rage that confusion nursed.