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A STORM GATHERS

The Vampires regroup in their subterranean halls. A grieving Queen obsesses over her love for an exiled werewolf. An ancient cult worships a crystal artifact to summon a mystical storm. A royal advisor seeks the help of a wizard once revered as a god. And just one young vampire slayer named Nero prepares to shield the city from the forces of darkness. Then something rips the sky in half.

“You will learn to love me again!”

Then she kissed the beast.

A HEAD FOR A HARLOT

 

Sheets of gold lay flat beneath the glass floor made of cut limestone from the purest white sand off the western shorelines of the Old World. The rich glow prominently illuminated the hundreds of thousands of assorted tile that formed colorful mosaics of ancient lords crowned and garbed in royal fashion; monstrous beasts of fire and water ushering great destruction; and stalwart gods, hairless and pale with pink undertones, hiding among the onyx clouds.
Two arcades of marble columns paralleled both sides of the barrel vaulted throne room from the portal to the ambulatory where beneath the crystal chandelier lay the gilded cathedra carved from the strongest whistling thorn shrubs of the Emerald Forests long before a years-long drought seized the land and a foul wind uprooted them. Engraved in the capital bells of these columns was a circle of twelve stars that enclosed a thirteenth central star, and indecipherable runes of the dead language of the vampires ran alongside the arches.
In the shadows of the transepts were halls filled with decaying icons of fierce warriors armed with sword and shield, penitent monks of humble dispositions, and even young virgins covered in prayer shawls; but nothing could escape the darkness except for when the priests would light the candelabras and place vigil lamps in all the sconces.
Wine-colored drapes majestically fell between the tapestries hung on the eastern wall where three doors once stood before the ancient kings sealed off the chapels after strangers occupied them during the wars of the Old World to claim sanctuary and pray to their heathen gods; such desecration led the holy men to ceremonially cut off those chambers now poisoned with wicked spirits in an effort to confine them. Except for only a few preternatural happenings, such as a woman having gone mad after witnessing the alleged menstruation of the great goddess statues, no omens ever came from these imprisoned specters.
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