Since the dawn of time, humanity has shared this world with a darker group of creatures. Throughout the centuries, the ravenous undead and vicious werewolves, the vengeful spirits and cunning demons, have all wrought mayhem on the human race. Yet most dangerous of all is the human that turns on his fellow man to serve a darker master...
It was cold, bitterly cold. The thick mist hanging in the air only deepened the chill. It was almost...unnatural. A night meant to be spent indoors, in short, with warmth and light and company. Only the fearless could stand to venture out on a night like this...For strange things awaken when the full moon approaches.
The light of the moon shone through the mist, casting an eerie glow upon the park. A cloaked and hooded man hurried through the pale gloom, vacantly tripping over his own feet as he went. His breathing was labored and heavy. Suddenly, a voice echoed throughout the mist. The man froze, unable to determine the speaker's location.
“M-Master! My...deepest apologies, I am late-”
“It is of no consequence.”
From the gloom stepped a man. Unlike the thin, cringing Radec, this man stood tall and proud. He was dressed magnificently, in a white tunic decorated in silver finery, and gray leggings equally rich. A glittering brooch clasped a long, billowing cape to his shoulders. His face was youthful and pale as the moon, so pale it seemed as if it were lifeless. However, his green eyes glittered malevolently at his cowering servant. He was like a figure from a painting that had stepped forth into reality.
Knees trembling, Radec sank into a deep bow, afraid to take his eyes off the man, but far more afraid of what would happen if he did not show proper respect. The scent had returned, that same scent that always hung about his master...the scent of death.
“We have already made the proper arrangements, Master. Twelve have agreed to serve the Eldest.”
“Then, with you heading the Circle, that will make thirteen...” He laughed softly, the mere sound of it sending chills down Radec's spine. “A most fortunate omen indeed.” With a careless wave, he beckoned his servant to rise, who complied with haste.
“The full moon is three days hence. As you know, in order for the ritual to succeed, every member of the Circle must not perish. They have been Marked, of course? Yes, yes, cease bobbing your head like that. You look like one of those foolish human toys.” Radec trembled, but there was no malice in his master's voice, only amusement.
“Finally...You are certain, then, that the Hunters have no presence here?”
“Yes, Master. I have conducted extensive research into their movements over the past three centuries. The power you granted me enabled me access to secret documents and maps that were well guarded. The Church these days, while prominent, almost never speaks of the creatures of the night. I doubt there are any that truly believe ones such as yourself ever truly existed.”
The man interrupted, his voice soft but menacing. “One such as myself? Dear Radec, do not forget, your fate was intertwined with that of the Eldest when we met. You are one of us now, forever. Spare me your pitiful attempts to avoid responsibility for your future acts.”
Radec paled considerably at this, though he did no more than whisper “Yes, Master,” before continuing.
“T-the documents I recovered confirm that the Hunters continued to exist for a couple of centuries after they had been 'officially' disbanded. However, the Vatican's own records conflict with the Acropolis' records. The Vatican seems to believe that the Hunters ceased all activity eighty years ago, but the Acropolis confirms that they successfully destroyed three ghouls in Bangkok twenty years ago.”
The pale man was silent.
“I-I believe that the Hunters chose to defy the Vatican and continued to operate secretly out of the Acropolis. However, when I gained entry, the fortress was thick with dust. It would seem that they have dwindled so much in number that they can no longer maintain it.”
Nodding thoughtfully, his master mused out loud. “What zeal. To defy the head of the Church they fight so hard to defend, all in the name of God, of course...We never suspected humans could possess such a fiery will...Continue, Radec.”
“At any rate, the Hunters cannot number more than twenty, and they likely would not be greater than Acolyte level. The art of Sanctus is long since lost in this plane.They were last seen abroad in Austria, ten years hence. There are no Hunters in America, I can assure you of that.”
His master appraised him coldly. “Let us hope you are right, for your own sake. There will be no interruptions of the ritual- am I clear?”
“Then, we shall meet once more under the full moon...”
Slowly, the body of the man faded into the air. Soon he was gone, nothing but a memory on the breeze. However, a final warning rang out from the mist.
“The Eldest reward success, but failure carries a hefty price, Radec! Do not forget- your life is in my hands.” And with that, he was gone. Radec sensed his master's dread presence no longer. Nervously clasping his cloak about him, he departed the way he came.