Korea celebrates a holiday called Chuseok every year. It’s sort of like their version of Thanksgiving. Family will travel from all over the world to return to their hometowns, eat a lot of food and honor their ancestors. For Expats living here it can either be a lonely time or one of the biggest party weekends of the year. Dani, Ian and I had already made plans with friends to get out of city and have some fun. With just over a week until a four day weekend that can only be described as EPIC I was less than thrilled to get a call from Marthailain.
The Elder Dark Elf asked if I could come into the office to discuss the upcoming holiday. Having now read numerous books on Otherworld society I wasn’t aware of it being a magical holiday. Needless to say I had my concerns that my party plans may be in jeopardy. The feeling continued to grow when I arrived to find a dozen Otherwolders waiting in the lobby, among them were Dani and Ian. I signed in with Birda who was as talkative in a cold-leave-me-alone way as ever. Then I took a seat beside my friends.
Leaning near Ian I lowered my voice. “Any idea what this is all about?” The stoic Werewolf shook his head but grabbed my hand lacing his fingers through mine. Dani and I quietly chatted about our packing list for the weekend when the doors to the main office opened. Marthailain escorted out a dozen or so others before turning to our group. “If you’ll follow me, I will show you all to the conference room.” One by one we filed through the doors, down a corridor and into a glass room. Taking a seat between Ian and a Dragon I turned to look at the glowing projector screen. The lights went dark and the room was totally silent.
“We received a call this morning from our branch in Russia. A group from the House of Sanguinites has been spotted on the move. Seoul is believed to be a likely target, especially with the upcoming Holiday – the city will empty out and the patrols will be at a minimum. At last count they had an alarming number of new fledglings, somewhere around Two-Fifty.” Ian’s hand tightened over mine and I could hear him softly growl. “Most of the Vampire houses are peaceful and follow both the laws of the OAC as well as their own covenant. The House of Sanguinites are the things that go bump in the night and inspire Human legends.”
Everyone shifted uncomfortably in their seats. “As many of you know final initiation into the house is the draining of an Otherworlder. I can not stress this enough how dangerous this situation is going to be. Fledglings are not fully turned, and so many can still be out in the sun for short periods. If possible leave the city and stay in groups. If you must go out be in pairs or threes. It is also with a heavy heart that I must put a city wide curfew on you all. Nobody is to be out from sunset until dawn. This curfew will be in place until it is determined it is safe again.”
A hand went up on the far side of the room. Marthailain pointed at the Dwarf. “I have family coming in, should I make a change of plans for them?”
“I would advise you going to visit them,” He answered.
Another hand shot up. “Are any of the other houses sending members to serve as patrol?”
“Yes, our own Oliver Carver has taken charge of that. He will be overseeing a group from his own household, House of Crepusculum. They will be working in three man teams and if you are staying in the city you will be assigned a number and team. In the event of a sighting you will contact them. Do not engage. Just because it looks like there is only one doesn’t mean that is the case. Don’t give them the opportunity to out you to the Humans and don’t put yourself in a situation. Do we have any other questions?”
There were no other hands. “Excellent, make sure you provide us with contact information for each of you and if you plan to remain in the city or not.” As everyone filed out of the room Ian tugged on my hand to stay behind. Dani, not seeing us, stepped back in the room. Marthailain came over to speak with us. “Can I help you Mr. McGregor?”
“I want to volunteer to help with the patrols.” He offered. My heart sank at the thought of him being out there with bad vampires running around.
“I can understand your desire to help but it’s too dangerous. Even for you.” Marthailain turned with the intention to leave.
“This is personal. House of Sanguinites took away my Mate and sons.” I stiffened. This was the first I had heard of a wife and kids.
“This isn’t open for discussion. I am aware of what led you to Korea. Your father and I go back a long way. Are you saying you would leave your friends unprotected so you could go out for revenge?” The Dark Elf motioned in my and Dani’s direction.
“They are leaving the city for the Holiday. They’ll be safe.” I tugged on his arm. When he looked down at me a battle of emotions raged in his eyes.
“I’m not leaving the city without you. You choose. We either stay in the city or we leave it together.” I set my jaw just so he could see how serious I was about this.
Marthailain cut in. “Alizeyah, as a Tempest I would have to insist you leave the city. In fact, I would feel better if you left the country or the realm. You’re ultra rare not just because you’re a Tempest but because you are both Fae and Darkling. Bringing you down would be a status symbol for a young fledgling.”
Ian searched my eyes. “Fine, I’ll let this go. Only because I know that trying to tell you or Dani not to do something is like setting fire to a dry forest and expecting it not to burn.” Dani snickered beside me. Ian dropped my hand and left.
Dani cleared her throat and stopped Marthailain. “I’m still reading up on the Darklings. What is the difference between the Vampire houses?”
He seemed to contemplate the answer for a moment. “Houses like Crepusculum are made up of family members that are born of the bloodline. They live by a strict rule that they are allowed to turn only one person in their lifetime and even then they must gain permission. Most end up with another Vampire or an Otherworlder so there isn’t a need to turn anyone. They have rules about how and when to feed and who they can feed from. Out of all the Darklings, they are the ones that put our lives most in danger because they are most often the ones discovered by Humans or other races that don’t know we exist.”
“I see. So why don’t we just wipe them out?” she asked. I had to admit I was thinking the same thing.
“Because if we wiped out every group we didn’t like Humans would have been dead thousands of years ago. As would the trolls, goblins and who knows maybe the Fae as a whole. We will defend ourselves to the death as is our right but we will not go hunting to eliminate an entire people.” When he said it like that I thought of WWII and the Nazis.
Dani and I both shook our heads in understanding. We must have been on the same line of thought. “Want to share a cab back to my place?” I asked her as we left the green school.
“Sure.” We waited quietly while we tried to flag a taxi but finally the silence was deafening.
“What?” I asked.
“Did you know about the wife and kids?” Her eyes were filled with concern.
“No, he hasn’t mentioned it.” I sighed as a taxi pulled up beside us. We climbed in and I gave the driver my building info. “I’m sort of in shock about it.”
“I would be too. Do you want me to leave right away so the two of you can talk about it?”
“No, it’s ok. He’s mad, so he most likely won’t be home when we get there anyway.”
And he wasn’t.