Unlike the previous evening, Coil’s estate had more life to it. Granted it was about seven and not past midnight. The men at the main gate let us in after confirming our identities, which meant they saw who was driving and let us through.
No-first-name Shinoda wasn’t the talkative type, he hadn’t said a thing since we’d started moving. From the back seat, all I could see was the back of his neck where an asian dragon peaked it’s snout when he leaned forward a little. He was a careful driver, making his stop, never running a yellow, putting his turn signal without fail and never taking his eyes of the road. Like the day prior, the radio had been set at a reasonable volume to a local alternative rock station.
If there was some secret and dark story with this guy, I had no idea what it could be, he seemed like a perfect gentleman. Perfect gentleman who worked for a blood sucking monster. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was in for the medical plan or the possibility of being turned.
Shinoda parked in front of the entrance and got out, walking to my door and opening it. He gave me a quick acknowledging nod as I got out.
“See ya.” I muttered, waving at him as he went back to his seat.
Lionel was walking down the set of stairs in front of the mansion, walking around the fountain and coming toward me. I hadn’t noticed earlier, but the front yard was lower in the hill than the backyard from which I’d snuck in.
“Good. you’re in time. Mr. Coil and Mr. Faust are waiting for you.”
“Mr Faust?” I asked.
“He is our merchant on retainer.”
“Merchant?” I asked, confused.
We began walking back inside and toward Coil’s office.
“I forgot you were unfamiliar with other inhuman beings.” He said, there wasn’t any venom in his words, inhuman was just a descriptor, not a slur. “Merchants are a type of talent, which are themselves otherwise normal humans imbued with a particular ability. Merchants can exchange less tangible assets if you will.”
“You know a lot about this stuff…” I commented, more for my own sake than his.
“I need to, it is my job after all as Coil’s most trusted employee. I am allowed to use any resources we have in order to do as Coil requests of me, delegate as I see fit. I also handle his schedule from day to day.”
“That’s pretty impressive… And must be tiring.”
“It’s a lot of work.” He confessed. “But very rewarding, if I may be bold, I am the only person in his service whom he would consider siring.”
“Would you request it?”
“No. I’m satisfied with my mortality.”
“If you know so much, can I come to you for answers? Coil is a bit… Intimidating.” I admitted.
“I don’t see why not.” He said with a shrug. “Although I warn you that I may be too busy at times to indulge you.”
“Thanks, Mr. Ferguson.”
“You can call me Lionel.”
“Alright, Mr. Lionel.” I said.
“Well, here we are miss Lauren. Mr. Coil will be waiting for you.” He declared when we arrived in front of Coil’s office.
I was beginning to like Lionel. He was frank with me and he made me feel like he wasn’t playing any games with me. He wasn’t exactly friendly or anything, but he was always polite and nice. As a plus everyone was calling me with female honorifics and pronouns, which meant either they couldn’t read me as trans or they were just respecting my identity… I wasn’t sure which of the two made me more happy.
I knocked on the door and a few seconds later, Coil answered it. He was dressed virtually identical as last night, but he’d replaced the handkerchief in his three piece suit. Coil struck me as someone who always had to remain in character, never falter in his appearance of being professional and in control of the situation.
The office had been cleaned from our late night confrontation, a new desk had replaced the old one, still in the same style. Coil definitely had a thing for antiques.
“Mr Faust, this is my new retainer and protégé. Who shall remain anonymous for now.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Pleased to meet you.” I said with a informal hand wave.
Mr. Faust was dressed formally, but differently from Coil. He wore gray slacks, a white dress shirt and a sweater over it. In his left hand, propped against his body, he held a hat. He was somewhere in his late thirties, with a two days old beard and a devilish smile.
“An Honor, nameless protégé.” He said.
“Mr. Faust here is a merchant, he will be binding our contract.” Coil explained, if Lionel hadn’t explained what it was, I’d be confused, but thankfully, he had. “If you would please read the contract I took the liberty to prepare.” Considering, servitude had been the prize for living, it was more a courtesy than anything else.
Regardless, I took the stack of paper he handed me. It was the kind of thing that would take a long time to read and understand, calling back and forth between clause. But I understood the gist of it. Summed up: it went something like this:
One: I would serve coil for a period of thirty years, after which I would be to safeguard his estate for another period of twenty years, after which I would no longer be bound by most of the terms of the contract. Serving include being subject to training and education he sees fit as well as fighting in his defense.
Two: I would do any task requested of me by Coil or Lionel to the best of my ability within the time set for such task (if any), unless a task breach the term Coil has agreed to or breaks the term of a previous task which has not been cancelled. I would also be bound to act with the courtesy, respect and professionalism that my new status would require toward other faction of the Covenant.
Three: I would keep Coil’s identity as a vampire and his illegal activity an absolute secret and not be discussed with, in the presence of or within the surveillance capacity of anyone not currently under class two or higher in Coil’s hierarchy* or part of the approved list** or those whom Coil has expressedly allowed me to, nor should I conspire to inform others by any way including but not limited to; text messages, physical clues, or access to incriminating documents.
*Defined as anyone currently in the know about Coil’s vampiric nature.
** It came with about two pages of names often accompanied with the words ‘Or retainers’
Four: Coil would set compensation he deemed adequate to my effort as well as grant me any resource required to achieve a task set forth by him.
Five:Coil would not be able to order me to commit violence toward non-supernatural human beings unless they directly interfere with my accomplishment of a task such as human guards and hirelings.
Six: Coil is not to hurt or use vampiric charm upon me, my children, spouse, siblings or parents with the exception of erasing incriminating memories. This protection is forfeited shall they attempt to harm Coil and are deemed seriously able to do so.
Seven: I was to, should I discover it by any mean, never pronounce or write the true name of Coil. Nor attempt to allow any other being, human or otherwise to discover this information.
Eight: I was never to under any circumstance oppose the will of the Unconquered Sun. No explanation was given as to who or what that meant.
Nine: I was never ever to breach the laws of the Covenant.
Ten: Shall I break this agreement by my own will, I would thereby be declared forsworn and would suffer all consequences that it entails.
“Seems legit.” I declared, after maybe twenty minutes of reading and rereading the document until I understood the big lines. I didn’t doubt it was full of loops in coil’s favor, but I didn’t have a choice but to agree or Coil would more than likely put me in a box. “I just need to know something, what does Forsworn means?”
“One who breaks a sacred covenant is declared forsworn; they shall lose the blessing of the powers above, be no longer able to enter any more covenant and will lose the protection afforded to mortals.” Mr. Faust answered.
“Okay…” I muttered. “What now?”
“Since you are in agreement I may seal the deal.”
“Just tell me, you’re not the devil, right?”
He laughed. “You know your literature. No, I’m a mortal, Names have powers, I suggest you avoid using your own from now on. If you would please come forward.” I did. “Repeat after me.”
“I, by my name, swear to uphold the agreement forged with the being calling itself Sebastian Coil as well as to uphold the laws of the Covenant. Shall I renege on my word, I shall be known as Forsworn and nameless.”
I did, thankfully memory helped me say the whole thing word for word. As I spoke, I felt a humming in my bones, growing stronger with each pronounced syllable, it radiated from there, filling my muscle. I felt my blood stirs with the energy in my body. It was an overwhelming feeling and I found myself overtaken.
For a moment, I felt as I was elsewhere. Something was speaking to me, I felt a contact being made… All in the space between seconds.
The next thing I knew, I was on the floor, liquid leaking from my eyes.I rose my hand and my finger touched it, it was thick and oily. I moved them away and saw the oily darkness that clung to it and it wasn’t my makeup.
“Congratulation, young lady. You are now a member of the Covenant.”