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The Pale Web: The Great Architect

Count Vashra

Lord of Shadows
True Blood
Sep 29, 2013
Lucinia and Annabella are sent to investigate strange happenings, resulting in Lucinia having her first encounter with the forces of madness.

Chapter One

Lucinia Draconia stood on a road leading out of Middenheim, in her red body-plate limb-mail - no helmet, revealing her dark red hair - armour, holding her sword casually in one hand. It had been a night of weak pickings, with few travelers worthy of challenging. She was hoping for at least another armed traveler. These nights were boring.
The Blood Dragoness' wishes were answered when an armoured man appeared, sword at the ready. His plate armour sported holy symbols, as did the armour of the group behind him. They wore twin-tailed comets around their necks. Why a group of holy warriors would be entering Middenheim was not at the top of her priorities, especially when she could smell the blood in their veins.
Lucinia smiled. "I, Lucinia Draconia, challenge you for passage of this road."
The group stopped. The lead knight presented his comet to her. "Begone, daemon!"
Lucinia bared her fangs, removing her mask. "I find that highly insulting. Daemons have far less substantial forms, and no honour." She shifted into an aggressive stance. Even before her transformation, she had considered witch hunters to be overzealous.
"Die, for the glory of Sigmar!"
"I prefer duels, but I can't see why I can't see to all of you at once." The Blood Dragoness charged forward, letting the rush of battle fill her. These people were no challenge to her. She cut down the first almost before he could swing, but, just for fun, gave the others the pretence of a chance, slowing her moves down. It was only a pretence, however, and before long Lucinia was pulling off helmets to get at the warm flesh beneath. The blood was invigorating, and enough to convince her she'd drunk enough for weeks.

Lucinia knocked on the red house's door. Within seconds, it opened.
"Hello, Lucinia," Annabella smiled. She had night-black eyes matched by her sleeveless dress and contrasting her flowing blonde hair. She was taller and slimmer than Lucinia.
"Hello, Annabella." Lucinia walked inside.
"Don't drip anything on my new carpet," Annabella warned.
"I'm sure its dried," Lucinia replied nonchalantly. She wasn't concerned. Even if the blood wasn't dry,. which it was, Annabella was very rich. Carpet wasn't an issue.
"Is that yours?" Annabella asked.
"Possibly," Lucinia agreed.
"Lucinia!" Annabella looked horrified for a moment. It was the reaction Lucinia had been hoping for.
"I'm only joking," Lucinia assured her mother. She dropped down the trapdoor to their coffin room, and began removing her armour.
"Don't scare your mother like that," Annabella scolded.
"I'm sorry, Annabella," Lucinia answered in a sarcastic tone.
Annabella threw her arms around Lucinia. "I'll only tolerate that because I know you're teasing."
"You told me never to assume." But Lucinia returned the hug. She had just been joking.
"Yes, I did, my little dragon." The Lahmian stroked her daughter's cheek. Then she pulled away. "Change, and meet me in the lounge."
Lucinia nodded. "Yes, Annabella."

Lucinia, in short-sleeved red, arrived in the lounge and sat on a couch beside Annabella.
"Annabella, can I ask you something...personal?" Lucinia ventured, unsure of her reception.
Annabella laughed. "You're my daughter. Ask."
"Do you have any regrets about being a Vampire?"
"Well, I can't use mirrors, and I have to be careful in public, and I've outlived everyone I grew up with, but really, I don't regret being immortal with illusion and fire magic." She smiled. "And a wonderful daughter."
"Thank you." Lucinia had initially felt uncomfortable split by her Blood Dragon and Lahmian viewpoints, but had eventually found a way to satisfy both, mostly.
"Although, sometimes I feel as if I've betrayed my people just by turning to the shadows."
"Your people?" Lucinia was confused.
"Th Empire. Humanity. Don't tell me you don't still feel some attachment."
"I..." Lucinia had always looked at things from the viewpoint of being not opposed to humanity, aside from the necessities, but not really part of it, either. "If it came to a choice between human and Vampire, I think I'd side with humanity." Would she? She didn't want to have to put that to the test.
"As would I."
"Thank you." Somehow, knowing her best friend agreed made it easier. She shuffled closer to Annabella, so Annabella put an arm around her.
A bird flew in the window, carrying a note, providing a fortunate distraction. Lucinia jumped up and took the note.

Dear Annabella and Lucinia,
Something strange is happening in Middenheim. There are more holy people of various types than usual, including those witch hunters, and whispers of...others. I want you to investigate, and if...something really is happening, stop it.

Queen of the Silver Pinnacle

Lucinia's blue eyes flashed as her claws shredded the note. "Others? Something? She' the Lahmian, but can't she be more specific?" The lack of clarity was frustrating. A mix of upbringing, personal values and Blood Dragon draining had made Lucinia incredibly reluctant to distort the truth, and this seemed good example of distorting the truth.
Annabella laughed softly. "My little dragon, your reactions to Lahmian practice are very amusing."
Lucinia sheathed her claws, embarrassed. "I just hate vagueness, Annabella."
"I know. That vagueness, in this context means..." Annabella frowned, something she did so rarely Lucinia became nervous. "Chaos."
"You mean...confusion?"
"Not like that."
"I'd hoped it wasn't the other kind." Lucinia had only heard of Chaos, but it sounded horrible enough.
"Have you seen any of these religious types?"
"I...ate some Sigmar knights tonight."
"That's unfortunate. More work for us."
"I was hungry!" Lucinia protested.
"I'm not criticising you, my daughter. This will be the first time you've encountered Chaos, won't it?"
"Yes." Lucinia was not looking forward to it, either.
Annabella regained her normal good cheer. "Just remember - don't let what you see scare or tempt you, try not to fall for illusions, and try not to bleed."
"That's my standard procedure."
"Even more so. You don't really want to know what those sorcerers and daemons use blood for."
"You've told me," Lucinia pointed out.
"Oh, yes." Annabella looked disappointed with herself. "Then you don't want to see the results."
"From what I've heard, I completely agree." This would not be Lucinia's favourite assignment.
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