The club was marked "Rosary Bathport". Normally, Wednesday night wasn't its busiest night, but the sign would have been lit under normal circumstances.
There was a crash.
Maybe some celebrating going on after all...
With a speed and stealthiness that belied his massive size, the hunter entered the club, the large, stupid-looking thug guarding the door none the wiser.
There was a man in a suit, with three thugs in dated leather punk clothes surrounding him. All of them were uncommonly pale--indeed, the one in the suit almost alabaster.
There was another man in the room, who was probably not enjoying himself. Unless he enjoyed being hung upside down from one of the chandeliers, with one of the punks holding his arms behind his back.
"You are not telling me what I want to know." the suited one snarled in a voice like gravel. "That makes me...angry."
"I can tell you the voice cast of the English dub of Bleach..." the man hanging upside down said brightly. "Johnny Yong Bosche is a personal favorite of mine..."
The larger punk contorted the captives arm violently. There was a series of loud cracks. The man being tortured didn't seem to notice.
"That's gonna play hell on my piano playing, you know."
The suited man hissed. "You disgusting, lickstick-loving slime...you pretend you know nothing of what I speak of?"
"I'm pretending that your breath isn't making me want to vomit up my dinner." the captive said. "I should get an Oscar for that."
The interrogator snarled, pointed fangs showing clearly. He slapped his captive.
"Let me clue you in, Mister Spurlock..." the interrogator then said, more calmly. "We know this club was run by a traitor to our kind, the lickstick-lover Gen Brown...and three years ago, she paid for that crime: she was murdered by my former leader, Master Orus. Orus, in turn, was destroyed by the Lupine known as the Nightstalker and the Ghostbusters. This is common knowledge among our kind."
Spurlock the hunter realized. Davis Spurlock. Great. One of Stevens's friends, so protected by our deal. But still...a f***ing Malkavian.
"But what is not is who told Orus about Brown--that is a secret he took to his Final Death."
The hunter's eyes narrowed. He had heard the story of Orus and Brown himself, straight from the mouth of one of the participants in it. Just shut up and let the asshole rant...I may get some good intel from this...
"Certainly, the Ghostbusters would not have told him that. The Prince is a lickstick-lover himself, and was enraged by this near-catastrophic breach of the Masquerade. No...there is someone else."
The suited man steepled his fingers. "A year before Orus's death, one of his rivals was also destroyed, after an encounter with the Ghostbusters. His name was Teth-Apophis, and he was of the spawn of Set."
"But there was one loose end: Teth-Apophis's henchman Scarab. He was seen by one of Orus's spies fleeing the Ghostbusters. They did not catch him. Instead, the spy found Scarab's burnt skull in an alleyway. Burnt as though he'd been in the midday sun."
"I think, Mister Spurlock, that there is another power working in Los Angeles. One who knows of our kind. Perhaps even one of our kind. But whatever it is, it is not working for the Prince, or Orus, or Teth-Apophis, or the Ghostbusters. He seems to have been at cross-purposes to each and every one of them at one point or another."
"Neat idea." Davis said.
"I have heard stories..." the suited man said, leaning in. "Stories about a huntsman with a sword, who has murdered many of our kind. There was an entire coterie of Brujah who were slaughtered during a street brawl last summer."
The hunter's eyes narrowed. I wouldn't mind hearing about this "swordsman" myself...though I know for a fact that he didn't take down those Brujah.
"Now tell me, Davis Spurlock..." The suited man grabbed Davis's face. "I compel you--tell me what you know of this killer!"
Domination...high level... the hunter noted. But he's taking an awful risk messing with the mind of a Malkavian...
"Soul Tracker." Davis said, eyes glowing. "That's what they call him."
"Good...now tell me...what part played by Michelle Ruff was your favorite? Mine had to be Zoe Orimoto from Digimon Frontier"
The thugs looked at their leader with confusion.
The suited man howled, and took his hand off of Davis.
"I'm kind of fond of Rukia Kuchiki myself." Davis said, eyes still glowing. "Even though I'm an Ichigo/Orihime shipper, actually."
The leader--the one the hunter had referred to as "Jerkbag"--staggered. "Wretch! You dare try to infect me with Malkav's madness?!"
"Well, I figured, you were showing me your Discipline, I'd show you mine. Even though you aren't really my type."
Jerkbag hissed. "I have gotten what I need from you, Kook." He adjusted his lapel.
The hunter's grip on his gun tightened. Looks like it might be about time...
"But I will grant you one boon for your information. Let me tell you something: I have heard my own clue about the mystery power working this city: some have said they saw a man in a dark cloak around the time of Scarab's destruction. They say that a Warlock is in Los Angeles."
"A Warlock?" Davis said, genuinely surprised.
A "Warlock"? the hunter paused. Tell me more before I destroy you, Jerkbag...
"Yes. One of the Tremere is now in Los Angeles, right under the nose of the Ventrue Prince." Jerkbag said smugly.
"I think they prefer to use the Latin pronunciation, 'Tray-Mare-Ay'...not 'Truh-Meer'..." Davis babbled.
Jerkbag's obviously feeling full of himself right now...he didn't even react to that...
"It makes sense, if you think about it." Jerkbag continued. "I've heard stories about the Tremere...how they were once mortal spellcasters, before they tore the Embrace out of the Fiends." Jerkbag looked around furtively, as though expecting one to jump out of the shadows just for using the nickname.
If only you knew...
"They have become one of the backbones of the Camarilla, but the Prince has banned them from the city due to a personal disagreement with their Exarch, Meerlinda. And now one is here anyway."
What a blabbermouth you are, Jerkbag. It'd take me at least five years to weasel all of this out of the usual channels. This is like Christmas morning.
"But of course, having told you all of this, there's no way I can allow you to walk out of this room unliving." Jerkbag smiled. "My men are going to open the windows, so that the morning sun can shine in here..."
"But...but...but...if you do that, my girlfriend will see me sparkling in the sunlight! She'll see I have the skin of a killer!"
I should leave him here for that...
"Enjoy your last hours, Davis Spurlock." Jerkbag snorted. "Not so 'Awesome' now, are you?"
"I get by. Just ask the guy hiding in the rafters."
"What?!" Jerkbag cried, looking away abruptly, as did all of his men.
"Dammit!" Jerkbag echoed, looking back to see that Davis had disappeared. "It was a trick! He distracted us long enough to Obfuscate us!"
I came for a fight. I might as well...
One of the vampire thugs fell before he could even realize he was under attack, a wooden crossbow bolt buried in his chest, a bullseye hit straight to his heart.
A bottle of booze appeared to float off of the counter, and hurled itself at one of the bruisers, coating it in alcohol. The thug shouted Spanish curses, and hurled itself toward the bar, punching wildly at thin air.
"I'll f*** you up!!!" another bruiser shouted, charging blindly toward the source of the gunfire, brandishing a switchblade, an even uglier thug right beside him.
Another jumped up on a table, pulling out an Uzi.
And the last moved to Jerkbag's side. "Perhaps we should vacate, Mister Giovanni..."
"It's just one f***ing Kook!" Jerkbag snarled. "Kill him!"
Another crossbow bolt flew out of the darkness, striking the ugliest thug right in the heart. He dropped.
Jerkbag gestured, and his alabaster features drew tighter. "There is another here...and he's one of our kind!"
The thug with the switchblade leaped to the rafters, becoming a blur of motion. It got punched in the throat, and fell to the ground.
The thug with the Uzi fired. "I'll shoot you, Man!"
A large, dark shape fell from the rafters, landing on his feet. It was a large, muscular man dressed in a trenchcoat and paramilitary clothes, looking like a paler Dolph Lundgren.
"One of your 'kind', Jerkbag? I take that as an insult"
Jerkbag hissed. "I don't know who you are, interloper, but you will call me by my name before you die!!!" Jerkbag's eyes glowed.
The hunter felt the vampire's Dominate trying to subvert his will. Play along...struggle, but act like it's having an effect. His blood's weaker than mine, but I don't want him to know that. "G...G..."
A match was lit in thin air, and tossed onto the booze-soaked thug. With an anguished howl, it was engulfed in flame.
"Glad Gen always bought the high proof stuff." Awesome Davis's voice quipped.
"G....Jerkbag!!!" the hunter snarled, kicking the suited vampire in the face, knocking him through another table.
"I had a bud once who could puke on command." Davis's voice called out. "You remind me of him, actually..."
The thug who had guarded Jerkbag suddenly convulsed, and doubled over. He started to vigorously vomit up blood.
"See? You really are like him!!!"
"Why won't you die, Man?!" the thug with the Uzi shouted, opening fire on the hunter again.
"Watch out, Steve, you asshole!!!" The thug with the switchblade had to move quickly--the blurlike movement that the hunter knew meant he possessed the Discipline of Celerity--to avoid Steve's fire.
But with that speed, he still had a chance to close the distance, and deliver a punch that sent the hunter flying a good twenty feet, right into the wall of the club. Potence, too. This one is dangerous
Switchblade and Steve pressed their advantage. They both became blurs, and closed in, hammering the hunter with punches.
But they stopped when they realized that their fists were sticking to his exposed skin, like they had slugged a red hot plate, and it was melting their flesh off.
"What the f***, Man?!"
The hunter grabbed Steve in a headlock. There was an unpleasant series of crackles, and the hunter threw Steve away; Steve's arms were now completely relocated, and his head was in the center of his chest. "Aw man aw man aw man aw man!!!"
At this, the leader's cool was finally broken. If he'd still had a working bladder, he probably would have just emptied it.
The hunter grinned. He didn't do that very often--it felt strange. But this one time, it felt...right. "You were right to be afraid when you mentioned our name, Jerkbag."
"Protect me!" Jerkbag yelled at his bodyguard, then realized the thug was still puking up his breakfast...so he turned and started to run.
An unseen foot tripped him, sending him careening into the center stage of the club.
The hunter moved like lightning, becoming a blur himself materializing on the central stage, grabbing the dazed Jerkbag, and wrenched his arms behind his back, literally tying them into a pretzel shape.
The thug with the switchblade, crying over his ruined hands, looked around and had a horrified realization. "F...f...fire!!!" The burning ruins of one of his ex-packmates had lit several chairs on fire, and it was starting to spread.
Rotschreck... the hunter realized. Fire was one thing that was just as dangerous to the Kindred as it was the Kine, and it awakened a primal terror in them. The hunter felt the tinge of fear around the edges of his perception, but he'd spent his entire existence learning to sublimate and control any emotion he ever had. The Rotschreck would not overtake him.
The switchblade thug wasn't so controlled--he screamed and ran for the door, fleeing in terror.
Davis's voice sighed. "It seems such a shame to have spent all this money on lighter fluid, but there you go..." A bottle of gin flew and hit the now misshapen Steve.
Steve shrieked in terror. "Don't let the fire get me too Man!!! This isn't what I signed up for when I became a vampire, Man!!!" He tried to run for the same door as his comrade, though his now misaligned anatomy made his "run" a lot more slow and plodding.
Jerkbag screamed. If he wasn't undergoing Rotschreck, it was a far different form of primal frenzy. For perhaps the only time in the entire fight, the hunter was genuinely surprised, as Jerkbag's arms became unentwined with a sickening wet crack that dislodged his left arm from his shoulder.
The hunter found himself clubbed hard by the enraged would-be gangster, sending the hunter flying into a table near the stage, uncomfortably close to the fire.
The bodyguard, now recovered from his bout of nausea, growled and jumped the hunter, gun firing.
The hunter grunted. He should have expected the leader to have that sort of strength--Potence was a Discipline favored by Clan Giovanni. The gunfire didn't worry him much, especially as he still wore a bulletproof vest, but the fire was getting worse, and he realized his crossbow had been dislodged when Jerkbag hit him, and now lay on the stage.
The bodyguard was obviously smarter than the other thugs--he delivered a Potence-augmented kick to the hunter's abdomen, minimizing the risk of skin-to-skin contact, and meeting the same fate as Steve.
Jerkbag noticed the crossbow too--he lunged for it, obviously intending to use it on its owner.
The hunter knew he could be in trouble now--the bolts could easily slice through his body armor at close range. The maimed state of the leader's arms couldn't be counted on to make him shoot wild, either.
Davis materialized right in front of Jerkbag, actually closer than the crossbow, and thus out of easy firing range. "Boo!"
"Gah!!!" Jerkbag cried.
"Hey, I got an idea..." Davis said amiably, eyes glowing. "Why don't you shoot your own bodyguard?"
"Shoot my own bodyguard?!" Jerkbag howled. "That'd be utterly insane!!!"
With that, Jerkbag pulled the trigger, and the bodyguard dropped to the ground, a crossbow bolt protruding from his rib cage.
"It would be, wouldn’t it?" Davis agreed.
Jerkbag shrieked with anguish, realizing what he'd just done.
The hunter closed in a blur, and tore the crossbow away from Jerkbag. It was destroyed in the process, but it didn't bother him--he had others.
"Wait..." Jerkbag started to beg. "Don't kill me! I can be of use to you?"
The hunter's eyes narrowed.
"I'm a Giovanni--we have money, connections...anything you could want!"
Davis looked around. "This fire's gettin' pretty intense..."
"Who do you serve, Giovanni?" the hunter growled.
The maimed vampire looked around furtively. "I...I...If I say, you have to protect me! They'll kill me!!!"
"You have my assurance, that if you answer, I will allow no one else to harm you."
Jerkbag looked around again. He was obviously reluctant to speak the truth, but also feared destruction. "Master Orus preached the doctrine of vampiric ascension...the United Darkness."
"Orus is dead."
"But his dream lives on!!!" Jerkbag howled, a sort of ecstatic fervor overtaking him. "Cywong will bring the United Darkness!!! It is in Cywong's name that we hunt, and hasten the United Darkness!!!"
The hunter kicked Jerkbag off of the stage.
"You said..." Jerkbag spat. "You said you'd protect me!!!"
"I said I will allow no one else to harm you." the hunter said flatly, pulling a gun out of his jacket. With a pneumatic thunk, a phosphorous flare consumed the Giovanni vampire.
With that, the hunter strode outside of the burning club.
"No." the hunter answered.
"I bet Kyle's gonna be pissed when he finds out." Davis whistled, pulling out a pair of sunglasses and putting them on.
Davis shook his head. "Gen's haven. But she's gone now. I was only caretaking it. I got other places...maybe The Groundling's hiring. Joey Williams got his start there, you know."
"You owe me." the hunter said.
"I guess I do." Davis sighed. "So, this gonna be a sexual favor, or you have something else in mind? And what name you want me calling out in ecstasy?"
The hunter grumbled. "Kalashnikov will do."
"That's a mouthful." Davis quipped. "But you're the boss, Mister AK-47."
"The first rule of being a vampire hunter is 'never work alone'..." Kalashnikov said. "I broke that rule once before, and it cost me my mortal life. I had a partner here in LA...but it didn't work out."
Davis's eyebrow shot up. "Stevens."
"Just a wild guess." Davis continued. "I knew he'd gone off on his own a couple years ago...and all he said when he came back was that he realized the vampire hunter life wasn't for him."
Davis clapped Kalashnikov's back. "AK, dude, I think there's someone I need to introduce you to."
Dr. Kyle Stevens sighed deeply, and rubbed his eyes. He had so many memories of the place...but somehow, deep down, he realized he was relieved to see it go.
"Police are trying to locate the club's manager, Davis Spurlock, who took over running the establishment after Brown's death. They also wouldn't comment on rumors that reclusive alleged underworld figure Giorgio Giovanni was seen in the area shortly before the fire..."
I know enough about the undead to know that Giorgio Giovanni is a vampire. Kyle stroked his chin. Kalashnikov and I tried to track him down, but....
The thought made Kyle's blood run cold.
Could Kalashnikov have been involved with this?
Good to his word, Davis had taken him to a haven--Sergei was not ready to reveal any of his to Davis, nor to let him out of his sight too long. Kalashnikov's trench coat contained a secret pouch containing some soil from Vashniv in Romania--the ancestral homeland of his family, and the place in which Kalashnikov's gambit with Baron Igor Vashnivski had failed, and left the hunter marked with Caine's curse. Counter to the legends, not all Kindred needed the soil of their homeland to sleep on--but some did. The conditions of Kalashnikov's curse made him one of those.
Now...the news of a "Warlock" had him intrigued. Kalashnikov was of the Tzimisce Clan by dint of Igor's Embrace. The "Warlocks" were Clan Tremere--who had earned the enmity of the Tzimisce by creating themselves out of stolen Tzimisce vitae, and challenging them for the supremacy of the dark Carpathian highlands a millennia ago.
The Tremere could be his allies--they hated the Tzimsce as much as he did, even though he was one. In Prague, he had been contacted by one of the Tremere, who had his own personal enmity with Igor Vashnivski.
If there was another Tremere in Los Angeles...if he played his cards right...he could have a powerful ally.
Which is why he was now in a deserted mausoleum in the middle of the night.
Awesome Davis picked up a crowbar, and loudly banged a pipe three times. He looked into the darkness and sang (badly off-key):
"Dopey Dog, Dopey Dog, flying through the air!"
A few seconds passed. A voice came out of the darkness, just as off-key.
"Dopey Dog, Dopey Dog, flying everywhere!"
"Come on boy, we need you..." Davis chanted
"...Don't let us down!" the other voice continued.
"Dopey Dog, Dopey Dog, we need you!! " both finished in unison, followed by the disembodied voice chuckling dryly.
Kalashnikov cringed. He was now certain that whoever it was Davis had brought him to, it was almost certainly another Malkavian madman.
So he was genuinely surprised when a figure resembling a decaying corpse stepped out of the shadows. "Awesome Davis!"
"Cad!" Davis replied excitedly.
"Secret handshake!" "Cad" called out. He and Davis then bumped fists, twirled three times, and did a few seconds of slap-fighting.
Kalashnikov realized there was a strong odor, -- the distinct smell of burning marijuana. He wasn't even sure it would work on a vampire.
Nosferatu Kalashnikov thought to himself.
"Sorry to have to bug you, Cad, but things have been a bit extra weird the last few nights."
"I heard it on the news." Cad nodded. "Gen's old pad burned down. Also heard Jerkbag got smoked."
"That he did!" Davis replied. "This is the guy who did it: Cad, this is Sergei Kalashnikov."
"Cadmus Avers." Cad introduced himself. "But you can call me Cad."
"Cad Avers"? Kalashnikov managed to only think about rolling his eyes.
"So you took down Giorgio Giovanni, huh?" Cad said excitedly.
"Then I owe you some gratitude, Mister AK-47." Cad said, pulling out an enormous doobie and taking a drag off of it. "One less Giovanni rotsucker in the world is a good thing in my eyes."
"I didn't think the Giovanni and the Nosferatu had any enmity." Kalashnikov said, fishing for more information.
Cad chuckled dryly. "They don't." He held out the doobie to Kalashnikov. "Want a hit?"
"I'll pass, thanks." Kalashnikov said simply
"So...while Awesome Davis just likes hanging out with me, I get the feeling you're here for a reason, AK. Howsabout we cut to the chase then?" Cad said, blowing a huge smoke ring.
"Rumors about a Tremere in Los Angeles." Kalashnikov answered. "What can you tell me about that?"
"Hm...." Cad scratched his head, and picked at one of the pustules by what was left of his nose. "The Warlocks are bad news. Luna banned them after a disagreement with the lady who runs their shit in North America--a real babe, I hear." Cad chuckled. "Maybe that's why--she didn't put out..."
"The Prince is a Ventrue." Kalashnikov offered. "Both Clans are pillars of the Camarilla."
"Yeah, but just because Clans get along, don't mean everyone in them does." Cad blew another smoke ring. "But I know who you're talking about. Never met the guy, but been hearin' about him for the last twenty years or so. Pale dude in a black coat--he ain't a Giovanni, but he's known as 'The Necromancer'."
"Brrrrrr...." Davis said.
"Any idea where I can find him?" Kalashnikov asked.
Cad chuckled. "Let me ask you a question, first. Little exchange. Those Brujah last year, that were flared. That was you, right?"
Kalashnikov grumbled, and nodded.
"I figured. You see, there's this dude they call the Soul Tracker, been here a few years now. Likes to impale us...creatures of the night with a big ol' sword. Sick, Man, sick. Then we get anarchs bein' flared, and everyone thinks it's the same guy. Glad to see I was right, and it wasn't."
Cad finished his doobie, and ground it out against one of the tombs. He then lifted the crypt lid a fraction of an inch and shove the doobie inside. "The way to find the Necromancer is to find the Soul Tracker. Noone else in town knows this, but they're in it together, somehow. I don't even know how deep, though." Cad paused for a second, a grotesque smile appearing on his face as he glanced at the crypt he was beside. "You're welcome, Man."
"For what?" Kalashnikov asked.
"Wasn't talkin' to you, Man." Cad answered. "The guy in the tomb."
"Anyway..." Cad said. "Best way to find the Soul Tracker? He likes to case Zagnut's place."
" 'Zagnut'?" Kalashnikov asked.
"Man, you live in LA and don't know who Zagnut is?" Cad chuckled dryly again. "He's a misogynistic prick who made assloads of money sellin' sexism, homophobia, gang violence, and general omnidirectional hostility to suburban white kids. Doesn't rhyme too bad, though."
"Leave finding that place to me." Davis spoke up. "I have contacts in the entertainment biz."
"Why's the Soul Tracker after this...Zagnut?" Kalashnikov asked.
"I think I can answer this one." Davis said. "It's the mummy."
"Zagnut is a rapper." Spurlock had explained. "Discovered by MC Wink of the 2CrewRunDOAHumpers the time he had to serve a stint in prison for threatening his manager with a Glock. Zag's made some of the best-selling discs of the last ten years: 'The Real Wigga', 'The Matthew Marshall LP', and 'The Zagnut Show'. Also married and divorced the same woman about six times..."
I think I'd rather go back to the combat zones of Kosovo than keep listening to his crap. Kalashnikov mused to himself. For one thing, I think there was more melody...
Zagnut was currently frolicking in his giant swimming pool with three naked women. Standing nearby, stiffly gyrating to the "music" coming from enormous Master Bass 3000 speakers, was MC Pharaoh, a mummy wearing jewelry and "gangsta" clothes.
As Spurlock had explained. "No, I don't mean Zagnut's mother--I mean a mummy. You know, another thing from old monster movies, like we are? Pharaoh was let out of the museum a few years back, and he's been hanging with Zagnut ever since: he's the guy who stands on the stage and looks menacing."
"First sighting of the Soul Tracker was when Zagnut was giving a concert. He attacked Pharaoh, but the Ghostbusters drove him off."
"True that." Avers added. "But Tracker Boy likes to case the Zagnut place every once in a while. Make sure Pharaoh’s behavin'. Lookin' for a shot to get him without the risk of the GBs gettin' on his ass."
Ghostbusters... Kalashnikov sneered. The original team and those that followed had done a lot of good over the years, he would admit. But they were also dangerous. They were a bunch of disorganized, undisciplined, self-righteous assholes playing with forces they didn't adequately understand or respect. His brief alliance with one of their members gave Kalashnikov no indication that the local branch--the Ghostbusters West Coast Division--was any different than their New York founders in that regard.
But at least they never made him listen to this rhyming, incoherent rant about Zagnut getting cut off in traffic by a little old lady, then ramming her with his car, raping her, shooting her with an Uzi, and raping her again, all the while being cheered on by a chorus of adoring "hoes" cooing orgasmically.
Kalashnikov endured it, even though it made the use of his supernatural senses painful. He figured it might have been worse for Davis (who was actually far more proficient at the Discipline of Auspex than he was) except the mad Malkavian probably enjoyed the "music". Or the voices in his head talked loud enough to blot it out.
But still...one week of this was making him impatient.
"AK, do you read?" the receiver in Kalashnikov's ear chirped.
"I'm down by the pool. I've stolen a few nachos, and they're excellent. Course most vamps can't eat anymore, but..."
Kalashnikov simply growled.
"Anyway, check out the statue on the north end. I think we got company."
The north end of the pool featured a ten-foot, gold-plated statue of himself Zagnut had commissioned, brandishing a pair of Glocks held sideways. In addition to being a sickening waste of resources and tribute to a monstrously bloated ego, Kalashnikov had to remark how holding a gun that way was completely asinine.
But sure enough, there was a dark shape behind the jeweled pedestal; dressed in black, save for some red highlights on his mask, and mummylike wrapping showing on his neck and hands.
"Confirmed..." Kalashnikov said simply, coming dangerously close to almost forming a slight smile.
In a Celerity blur, Kalashnikov was beside the masked figure. "Personally, I can't stand this music."
The masked figure turned, shocked; Kalashnikov pinned his throat to the statue with his elbow. "You're the Soul Tracker. I want the Necromancer."
"You get nothing out of me, Vampire." the Soul Tracker sneered.
"MORE [PROSTITUTES]?" MC Pharaoh shouted.
The naked women screamed and scrambled for the pool ladders. Zagnut wasn't far behind, leaving a yellow trail behind him.
Kalashnikov made it out of the water quickly; no longer needing to breathe, it held no terror for him, but it did slow him down.
Even with his Celerity, he didn't make it out quick enough for the Soul Tracker to not be right on him, enchanted sword swinging.
"CUUUURSE!!!" MC Pharaoh shouted, and started to shamble for cover. His mind was slow and a bit scattered, but he recognized this one. He was bad news.
The Soul Tracker's swing barely missed Kalashnikov, shearing one of the palm trees lining the pool, causing it to fall noisily.
Zagnut streaked out of the pool (literally, having ditched his swim trunks hours ago) and ran for the house. "[I find this a profound inconvenience to my sexual life, and intend to notify the Ghostbusters immediately that they might deal with these noisome intruders]"
The Soul Tracker growled, and swung again. Kalashnikov dodged, but it was closer than he would have liked.
Still, inevitably, a lifetime (and deathtime) of combat was starting to feed him insights. His opponent was strong, ferocious, and quick, but untrained. He moved like an amateur, albeit one used to being stronger, fiercer, and quicker than anyone else.
Time to see what this guy is made of He pulled a Colt .45 out of his coat and fired, blasting the Soul Tracker with five armor piercing rounds.
The Soul Tracker staggered, leaking a yellow fluid that wasn't blood, or even ectoplasmic ichor. Embalming fluid?!
"ENOUGH!" a new voice broke into the confrontation. "Soul Tracker. Stand down."
"What the f***?" Kalashnikov heard Spurluck say into his earpiece. He even got past Spurlock?
"Master?" the Soul Tracker said confusedly. It was the second time this month he'd been unexpectedly told to stand down.
Kalashnikov aimed his gun at the newcomer. He was a man wearing a dark trench coat tied at the waist; it was so black it practically vanished into the shadows. All that was really clear was his gaunt, ashen face, skin stretched tight like old leather, and oily black hair pulled back into a ponytail.
"The Necromancer, I presume?"
"I have been called that, yes." the Necromancer nodded slightly. "Welcome to Los Angeles, Anatole Vashnivski. I've been anticipating this meeting for some time."
Kalashnikov grimaced. It had been eleven years since someone had used his birth name; worse, to use to so brazenly, like a challenge...
"Please put your toy away, Anatole...or 'Sergei', if you prefer." The Necromancer said. "We have a lot in common, you and I. An acquaintance of mine in Prague, a Mister Lombard, told me to bid you greetings when we finally did meet."
A leering, Cheshire grin appeared on his face. "Call me Mister Blaque. Mister Nathaniel Blaque. And we have much to discuss, my friend."
For perhaps the first time since his death, Anatole Vashnivski felt a chill go down his spine
The Soul Tracker's Anguish
The Blood Hunter's Destiny
The Necromancer's Masterplan
The Ghostbusters West Coast's Rubicon
The Dominoes Fall
Left, right, left We all fall down
Ghostbusters West Coast Division:
Awesome Davis Spurlock and Zagnut created by Fritz Baugh. As always, any resemblance between Zagnut and another white rapper who's name resembles that of a candy product is
a complete coincidence purely for satirical purposes.
Soul Tracker created by Kyle Stevens; developed by Fritz Baugh
The Dopey Dog song is from "Who Are You Calling Two Dimensional?" (RGB-76012) by J. Micheal Straczynski
Nathaniel Blaque created by James Van Hise and John Tobias; he appeared in NOW Comics The Real Ghostbusters#9-11
As usual, much of the vampire lore in this story is based on Vampire: The Masquerade, created by Mark Rein•Hagen, part of White Wolf's "World of Darkness" (version 1).