NIGHTFALL: The Final Season

"The Darkness Before The Dawn"

"Something is not right," whispered Dolph, motioning for the others to hold their position.

"What is it?" asked Christine, peering into the darkness of the passage before them. Her senses were heightened beyond his but she was unable to hear or see anything other than the darkness.

"I don't know. I just feel that something is…not right."

"I sense it, too," said Owen, one of the other Holy Vampires. "There is a strong sense of evil."

Christine looked from Owen back to the passageway. She could still see absolutely nothing, just a blackness that seemed to grow darker as the passage progressed.

"The passageway," said Dolph.

"I see it," agreed Christine. "It grows darker then lighter."

Owen stepped up between the two of them, pointing towards the top of the passage way and saying "it looks as if it's moving".

A shaft of blackness flowed from the ceiling of the passage, thick and pointy, and it speared Owen through the chest. Owen's choked out scream faded as his body burst into flames, crumbling away into a cloud of dust that blanketed the floor.

"Run!" yelled Christine, ducking beneath a second pseudo-pod.

Christine twisted around to flee from the Black Mass and froze as she saw another of the Holy Vamps burst into flames, speared by the pseudo-pod that she had ducked. Her sense of remorse was shattered as she was pulled roughly aside, Dolph yanking her out of the way of three more of the deadly limbs of the creature.

Black spears of animated flesh rained through out the passageway, a number of Dolph's brethren dieing in the onslaught, and it was only by racing towards the creature that Dolph and Christine escaped its assault. Stretching it self out to launch the attack, the Black Mass had left part of the passageway uncovered, and Dolph had shoved Christine forward through the opening, following closely on her heels.

"We have to help them," protested Christine, trying to turn back towards the Black Mass.

"There is no one to help," stated Dolph, grimly, practically picking Christine up to keep moving.

Christine's mouth hung open in disbelief.

"Do not be alarmed, some did escape, but they are running in the other direction. We must go, now, while it is confused as to which of our parties to pursue."

There was the roar of machinegun fire from further back down the passage, and Dolph halted, releasing his grip on Christine. Of their party, John had been the only one armed, and the echoing gunfire indicated that at least he was still alive.

"It would seem it has decided to go after the others," commented Dolph.

"We have to do something," Christine nearly shouted.

"We are going to carry on as Bill directed us."

"But…"

"We must recover the Crucifix."

Christine hesitated for a moment, and then nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I guess we don't want to keep them waiting."

The two vanished down the passageway.

"You are a strong man, Zachary," mused Bartholomew, slowly circling the kneeling Timms. "I had imagined that you would throw yourself at you lover's feet, pleading your soul to her."

"She's not Neva," snarled Timms, his strength finally returning as his body healed the damage done to him by the Masters that had caught him. "It may be her body, her memories, but it's not her."

Bartholomew took a hold of Timms' chin and lifted his face, though Timms squeezed his eyes shut to avoid looking at the Vampire Lord.

"It's not Neva."

"But it is," countered Bartholomew, his voice so soft as to be almost silent. "Every thing that made her who she was is still there. She is the Neva that you knew, and she is so much more."

Timms finally opened his eyes, provoked by Bartholomew's powerful grip, and glared at him.

"The linage that Neva would have been a part of was wiped out before her transformation was complete. When she turned, she was reborn free of the link to the Master of that family. Eric, I believe his name was."

Memories of the insane vampire flashed through Timms' mind, accompanied by a reliving of the terror he had felt while strapped to the operating table, and his body was briefly racked by a tremble.

"You see, Zachary, the linage can be broken. There is another, back there in Colorado, which is now his own vampire. Perhaps you remember him? Bear splattered his brains across the hall."

Timms remembered the vamp; he had been wearing Roy's jacket, and Bear had expedited recovering it for the Preacher.

"So, in her own right, she more the person that you knew that the vampire that you do not. I may not be directly linked with her, but we do have a connection. I did, after all, return her to this realm."

"She's not Neva!" roared Timms, shifting into his wolf form and attacking.

Catching Bartholomew off guard, Timms was able to break free of the Vampire Lord's grip, knocking him slightly back. Leaping with all of his might, Timms slammed into Neva, burying his claws into her shoulders as they tumbled to the ground.

Neva screamed out in pain, struggling to fight off Timms' attack, still somewhat disoriented by her recent resurrection. The tearing of her flesh fired something within her synapse, thrusting her out of her stupor, and she launched her own attack, biting into Timms' throat as he went for her own.

Bartholomew stood silently, his expression turning from anger to amusement as he watched the two tear at each other, his newly arisen sire coming into her own. With Neva drinking of Timms' blood, and the Lycanthrope likewise tasting her own, the outcome was going to be exactly what Bartholomew had wanted.

As the two combatants finally succumbed to each other's assault, collapsing in each other's arms, Bartholomew began chuckling. His chuckling soon grew into a thunderous laughter that echoed through the chamber and out into the hallways beyond.

"We're almost there," whispered Bill to Roy, pointing towards where the tunnel turned into stone hallway. "We follow this to the next intersection, then make a left. That hall leads directly to his main chamber."

"How are the others doing?" asked Roy. "Did they make it to the relic yet?"

Bill hesitated for a moment and Diane grabbed a hold of his arm, hissing, "What's wrong?"

"They ran into that blob thing. A lot of Dolph's people are dead."

"What about John?" she demanded.

"I don't know."

"What do you mean?" asked Roy. "I thought you were in contact with Christine."

"Dolph and Christine got separated from the others. The last she knew, yes, John was still alive. But that thing's chasing the others, so no, I don't know if he is still alive."

"Damn you," cursed Diane. "I knew we should have all stayed together. This was a shitty idea."

"There was no way that Christine and I could have masked everyone. Vivian volunteered for the Lycanthropes to be the diversion. If you could've come up with something better, then you should have opened your damn mouth."

Diane glared at Bill, her eyes boiling with anger, but she held her tongue, knowing full well that he was right. The only aspect of their plan that she truly disagreed with was that John was with the other team.

"Did they reach the relic?" asked Roy, again.

"They're getting it right now," answered Bill, still locking eyes with Diane. "Michael won't let Christine in, but he let Dolph pass."

"Michael?" asked Roy and Diane, in unison.

"The Guardian of the relic. I'll explain later. Anyhow, yeah, they've got it. They're on their way to the main chamber right now."

"Are we going to stand here bantering all day long, or are we going to get a move on?" asked Trent. "I know you can keep them from seeing us, but we're getting a bit antsy."

Roy cast a glance towards Donavan and Erin, both of who were nervously guarding their rear, their weapons held at the ready, and nodded. "Yes, we're moving on."

Bill and Roy began leading the others down the passageway, heading for what they all prayed would be their final confrontation with Lord Bartholomew.

To Be Concluded In…

NIGHTFALL: OBLIVION