Blood and Silver
Whenever someone became an official member of the Cruxius family, they were required to get a home away from the Cruxius mansion. They were told to find one on their own and to not tell anyone, except a few trusted underlings, where it is. They were also required to keep their names out of any financial records related to their hideout. In doing so, they ensure that not even the highest ranking members of the family could possibly know everything about the whereabouts of the Cruxius family members.
This was not done without reason. Natalia was always aware that someone may infiltrate her organization with the intent of discovering the location of it’s hideout and telling that information to another gang. She was also aware that people’s loyalties, especially in the criminal underworld, could be very fickle. So, she ensured that no one person could obtain the information needed to bring down the entire organization in one fell swoop.
Code crimson is a security code ordering all family members, Natalia included, to evacuate the Cruxius mansion and head to their hideout. To keep in touch, a few trusted servants of the family members call them through their home phones. These phones are rigged with modern technology, smuggled into the city, to keep anyone from tracking the calls. This system is a lot less efficient than the organization’s standard communication system. However, it ensures the family’s safety.
• • •
Nadia was back in her room at the Cruxius mansion, laying next to Lisa. Both women were naked and only had a blanket to cover themselves up. Nadia sat up, with only her lower half covered by the blanket, and had her arms crossed. Lisa nestled against Nadia, fully covered by the blanket. Lisa rubbed her hand up and down Nadia’s thigh as the other one wrapped around her. Nadia paid no mind to the woman caressing her.
“Nadia,” moaned Lisa, “Why don’t you go ahead and make me a vampire? That way we can enjoy ourselves like this for eternity,”
Nadia did not give off any reaction.
“I can’t do that. Family rules,” replied Nadia, “Besides, while you might be addicted to my company, I can get off just the same with a number of other women,”
“Nadia, you bully me too much,” pouted Lisa.
She nestled up closer to Nadia.
“But that’s what I love about you,”
“Your masochism can really be a pain sometimes,” replied Nadia.
Nadia’s relationship with Lisa was complicated. For Nadia, it was simply an arrangement of convenience. Nadia was a sadist and Lisa was a masochist. So to Nadia, it was as simple as fulfilling each other’s desires. But Lisa wanted it to be more than that. Ever since before Nadia had become a Cruxius, Lisa had adored and looked up to Nadia. Despite that, she couldn’t say she knew that much about Nadia, except her behavior in bed. She was also aware that Nadia only wanted pleasure, but in a way, Lisa was only more attracted to Nadia because of that.
The reason Nadia couldn’t turn Lisa into a vampire was because she wasn’t fit to be a family member in the eyes of Natalia, the family head. To turn someone into a vampire, you needed approval from Natalia. If you did so without Natalia’s permission, then you would be severely punished. The newly made vampire would also be killed. And Nadia wanted neither of those things to happen.
A knock came from Nadia’s door.
“Lady Nadia,” spoke a female voice, “I have news to bring”.
“Enter,” replied Nadia.
The door swung open and the woman the voice belonged to entered the room. She was a petite woman with sky blue hair tied into a ponytail. Her eyes were the same sky blue color. She wore a black and white maid outfit with thigh-high white socks. She bowed to Nadia before speaking.
“The sun has gone down Lady Nadia,” she said in high-pitched yet monotone voice, “You may now leave at your discretion,”
“Thank you,” replied Nadia, “You May now leave,”
“At once, Lady Nadia,”
The woman left the room closing the door behind her.
“I’m glad that the code crimson let me have the whole day with you,” pouted Lisa, “But I hate to see you go away. The day isn’t long enough,”
Nadia pushed Lisa off of her and got up to get dressed. Lisa got one last feel of Nadia’s rear before she left the bed.
Nadia had stayed at the Cruxius mansion the entire day, even after the code crimson was issued, so that she could leave after sundown. While most of the family members were able to get to their hideouts in the daylight, if Nadia were to attempt it, it would be a death sentence.
Nadia was already notoriously dangerous, making her a target for rival crime families. This meant stepping out into the sunlight, where she could be more easily killed, was extremely dangerous. But now that the Cruxius family was being actively targeted, stepping out in public during daytime was a death sentence. So, she waited for it to be nighttime, where she could potentially survive a sudden attack from a rival organization, before heading to her hideout.
“Rikka, I’m heading out,” said Nadia, having finished dressing.
“You shouldn’t stay here unless you want to be killed in a second attack,”
With those words, Nadia left the room.
• • •
As Nadia approached the front entrance of the Cruxius mansion, she saw that Beatrix was still on door guard duty. Beatrix was wearing the same outfit as before. Nadia, on the other hand, was now wearing a black hoodie. She wore the hood up so that she could hide her signature black/blonde haircut. She was also carrying a black backpack.
“Heading out, Nadia?” The girl inquired.
“Stay safe then,” Beatrix smiled, “can’t have my groom die before the wedding, now can we?”
“You stay safe too, Beatrix”
Beatrix opened the door for Nadia. She then put on her serious face and bowed.
“Take care, Lady Nadia”
After their small exchange, Nadia exited the door. As she stepped back into the alleyway, Beatrix shit the door behind Nadia. After stopping briefly to take a deep breath of the “fresh” air, Nadia began to traverse through the maze of alleyways once again. As she walked, she took notice of all the boarded up windows and alley cats looking for food in the garbage left lying around.
The reason these alleyways were in this state was because they were the remnants of the largest (and most expensive) refugee camp in the world. During the war of the early twenty-first century, while most of Netempus was still under construction, there was a lot of Africa that had become a war zone. Refugees fled south towards the country of South Africa. The government at the time was willing to accept the refugees, and built a massive refugee camp consisting of brick buildings. They called this place the “World Projects”, given their resemblance to the projects built in certain areas of the urban United States and the fact it was the biggest complex of free housing in the world.
However, it did not stay populated forever. Due to a mix of factors, including the end of the war, a boom in South Africa’s industry and need for workers, and a huge improvement in construction technology, the world projects became abandoned. Or at least, it was officially abandoned. In truth, the huge complex of buildings with only small alleys in between them attracted the attention of the homeless.
There are potentially thousands that live in the abandoned buildings without paying a dime in rent. The alleys also caught the attention of Natalia, who decided to make the entrance to her underground headquarters here. Additionally, the residents of the abandoned world projects were often easily forgotten by society. As such, it became a perfect source of food for the vampiric members of the Cruxius family.
After traversing almost a mile of alleyways, Nadia finally reached one of the streets of Netempus. It was one of the larger ones, with cars densely populating it. Nadia stood on the sidewalk and waited. After about fifteen minutes, she had found what she was looking for. A yellow car with a logo that read “taxi” atop it. Nadia waved towards the driver, who pulled over to pick her up. Nadia entered the back seat of the cab. As she did, she noticed the driver eyeing her rear.
“Where to miss?” The cab driver asked after Nadia had entered the taxi.
The driver was a man who appeared in his forties. His hair was brown with strands of grey sprinkled throughout. One could see the top of his head through his combed over hair. He spoke with a gravely voice.
Nadia told the man an address and the man began to drive, though slowly at first due to traffic. After a while, however, the taxi turned off of the main street and began to drive down less populated roads. As the next half-hour in the taxi passed, not once did Nadia look outside the window to observe the passing scenery. She already knew every little detail about the buildings she passed. That was because she had taken this same route hundreds of times. Instead, she carefully observed the man’s gaze in the rear-view mirror. As she observed it, she had determined that it was a lustful gaze, and not one of a more hostile origin.
“I see you glaring, mister,” spoke Nadia, staring at the man through the rear-view.
“I don’t really mind though. If I’m being totally honest,” said Nadia as she raised her hoodie and shirt to reveal her underwear, “I’ve been feeling pretty lonely as of late,”
A grin spread across the man’s face.
“You don’t say, Miss?”
The drive continued on in silence until the cab came to a stop right next to the entrance of an underground parking garage. The driver looked back at Nadia.
“You sure this is the place, Miss?” he asked.
“Yes,” Nadia nodded.
The cab drove into the parking garage. There were no vehicles there except for a single broken down black van. The cab driver parked the car and turned the engine off.
“Mind if I join you back there?” Asked the driver, grinning.
“Not at all,” replied Nadia.
The driver exited the cab and re-entered through the back door. Nadia turned around to have her legs facing the driver, beckoning him with a finger wag. The driver closed the door behind him and mounted atop Nadia. He reached his hand in to grope her breasts, but before he could realize what had happened, his head was slammed against the seat of the car. The driver lost consciousness and fell limp like a puppet whose strings had been cut.
Nadia carried the cab driver out of the taxi. She was able to hold the man’s weight without a problem. After closing the taxi’s door, she carried the man over to the broken down van. As she carried the man on one shoulder, Nadia opened the sliding door of the van.
Inside the van was a small, office-like setup. There was a filing cabinet, a desk, and a chair. Additionally, there was a dentist’s chair rigged with straps used to bind someone to it. Next to it was an IV machine used for blood transfusions. The floor of the van was covered with a black rug. The walls were lined with a wide variety of firearms and ammunition. The van was lit by a single lightbulb, which Nadia had turned on with a switch to the left of the entrance.
“I’m home,” said Nadia to no one in particular.
Nadia entered the van and closed the door behind her. After doing so she propped the man up onto the dentist chair. She strapped him in, and then stuck and IV needle into him. Blood began to flow through the IV tube and into the bags. Nadia observed the blood to try and determine it’s quality. As she expected, the man wasn’t exactly healthy, but his blood would suffice to keep her from starving.
After beginning her dinner preparations, Nadia turned around to sit at her desk. Atop it were a deck of cards, a mug with pens and pencils within, and a landline phone. The landline, however, was connected to a machine with an antenna upon it. This machine was a modern piece of technology which turned landline phones into wireless ones. Additionally, it had security measures to ensure you could not be tracked while using the phone. This piece of technology was banned within Netempus. However, the Cruxius family was able to smuggle it into the city.
Nadia picked up the phone and dialed a number into it. After listening to a ringing tone for about three seconds, the person on the other side picked up.
“What do you need?” replied a female voice.
“I just picked up some groceries,” replied Nadia, “Send someone over to help bring them in,”
This was code for that Nadia had kidnapped someone near her hideout and needed someone to get rid of their car.
“Right away,” replied the woman.
The reason that neither person used names and that they spoke in code was that someone might have been listening, namely the South African police force. While they wouldn’t be traced, they could still accidentally leak information about the Cruxius family if they weren’t careful. Therefore, Nadia made sure to never use names when talking to her servants over the phone and always used code-phrases.
After finishing her call, Nadia picked up the deck of cards.
“Now to pass the time until Natalia gets my team together,” she said to nobody in particular, once again.
And with that, Nadia began playing game after game of solitaire to pass the time.
• • •
In a dark, dimly lit room sat a man. He was sitting in a dark-brown leather lounge chair. Beneath his feet was an animal pelt rug covering a floor made of a dark wood. The light in the room came from a nearby fireplace. It’s fires lit up the words upon the book the man was holding. Upon the walls of the room were paintings of a religious nature and a wooden cross.
The man himself was pale-skinned, though the structure of his skull suggested his skin tone should be much darker. His eyes were sunken and his head was barren of hair. His eyes were the color of chocolate. The lower half of his face was covered by a thick, black beard. The man wore a black suit and tie. Upon the chest of his suit was a golden pin in the shape of the Christian cross.
As he sat in the room, reading a book, he heard the door to his left begin to open. He looked over to see a woman with golden blonde hair enter the room. He recognized her.
“How did it go, Sophie?” The man inquired the man in a voice as smooth as spider’s silk.
“Not as well as I hoped,” replied Sophie, “We weren’t able to kill any of them to my knowledge, but we succeeded in getting them to enact a code crimson”
“No offense, but I didn’t expect much out of that group. That result is more than acceptable”
The man stood up and faced Sophie.
“Besides, whatever happened was God’s will,” the man proclaimed, “I am more than certain that we will discover this result to have been truly in our best interests,”
“Of course it will”
“Even so, we must discuss this in detail to ensure we enact God’s will to the fullest,”
The man sat back down in his chair and pointed to a seat in front of him.
“Take a seat, dear”
“All right, Absalom,” answered Sophie as she sat in the chair.
“Now, now. I’d appreciate it if you could refrain from calling me by my name,” said Absalom.
“I’d prefer that my daughter call me father”