This is the first revision, with the idea of The Harming Tree being more of a novel than a collection of short stories. There will be more changes here until I no longer find all this revolting.
After the song of the Augury of was sung, the Great Hive was terribly decimated by the mortation and purging of the Vampires. Gone were the last Tarmi of the Hive of Purity, finally rejoining their brethren on the holy isle of Meybhelahn. With them went the only human to grace that hidden home since the Night of the Blood Moon. Eve had fulfilled her destiny and was given her reward of sanctity, despite being Cadmus Pariah’s sacred garden of Blood. The Hive of Redemption collectively mortated back into the human population along with a number of Darklings of the Darkblood Hive. Most of the Tribe of the Tomb perished, finally being released from their crippling burdens. Those who were left also mortated and led short lives in human form. The only Vampires left were most of the Darklings and those of the Hive of the Beast. Less than five thousand Vampires walked the blessed dark, feeding upon the blood of the living.
Few of the Vampire Blood Royalty survived. Orphaeus Cygnus remained the High Prince of the Beasts, happy in his position and undesiring of any greater responsibility. Rebekah and Mephistopheles had never sought power within the Great Hive and had no desire to rise to power now that the King was dead and the Queen had passed into the Tarmian realm. Thaddeus Brannon had retaken his name of Dmitri and had disappeared into the Blue Ridge Mountains to mourn his departed lover. The only one left was the true heir to the Throne of Blood...Cadmus Pariah. The newly-born Vampire, aged to a certain regal beauty, had achieved all that he had dreamt, save for the death of his mother, Kelat. He had outlived his former master, the Apostate, and risen to power within what was now called the New Hive. Humanity was his for the taking, as were the spirits in the New Hive, a resplendent and neverending feast.
But he was not King. After Thiyennen, there could be no other king and, as long as Queen Kelat lived, the leader of the New Hive was considered a regent of the night. It rankled Cadmus, but he was barely concerned with this technicality because he knew Kelat would never return to the world of humans and Upyr. He was truly the ruler of the New Hive, but his title had to reflect his position on the throne. A coterie of Darklings and Beasts convened with Cadmus, despite their fear and hatred of him, and they decided upon the title of Plenipotentiary, the Ruler of All. Cadmus accepted this cognomen and rose to power over all the New Hive, his dark eyes watching the Upyr with dread magicks.
Still, he fed upon the Blood of the New Hive, reminding them of the Sanguinem Mittat and who was their eternal master. But he mostly took humans for food now, and basked in the ability to eat and drink the vast banquet of human food. He was more of a sybarite than ever before, and his West Country home was the center of the pleasure palace he called the world.
But all of it came with a price. Cadmus was fraught with all the trappings of emotion and he found himself countering the agonies of certain feelings with ghastly behaviour. Dogging him almost to the point of madness crept a Darkling who had always been masked to Cadmus’ boundless vision. He sought retribution for those who had been murdered to soften the blows emotion so often incur on those who feel, and he wandered on the peripheries of Cadmus’ world, waiting on a chance, any chance, to end the rule of the Plenipotentiary, by way of destruction or desire...or a strange combination of both. Driven by vengeance, yet inspired by a kind of fascination, this Darkling was unlike any other in Cadmus' long night.
Herein lie the tales of Cadmus in the early days of his role of Plenipotentiary of the New Hive, the newfound enemy he was incapable of simply destroying or ignoring, and the object he found most sacred as he navigated his way as a Darkling walking a path of desire and revulsion: the Harming Tree.