Blade followed the bats into the building, and he entered the restaurant instead of the lobby. This surprised him, considering how he had once broken into the place. He figured that he would go up that way, and then he remembered how odd it was that a 50 story building had only 46 floors marked out. The people in the place went silent as he entered, some of them being Clan, and they were not certain of his intentions. They then began to worry as he made his way to the back, towards the elevators. Some wanted to move, but then some bats overhead let them know not to act—this was the will of the royalty, and this had to happen. Blade went to the back and was surprised to see the elevator doors where there had been none before. Then, without him pressing it, the doors slid open, and a speaker inside said, “Please, do come in.”
He hesitated at first, but then he entered, knowing that things may just end that night.
The traffic was heavy, but not so much that they could not zip through it back to Manhattan. Jean-Claude had long ago learned how to maneuver through New York quickly without attracting too much attention from the police. Normally, in truth, NYPD really did not pay much attention to things like this as long as they were not too reckless about things. When they became a hazard, they would act. Keeping that in mind, it dictated the way that Jean-Claude drove. He wanted to get there before the kids put themselves into danger. They were powerful, no doubt, but they had never met anything like this. It was more the concern of a father than anything else that drove him. Meanwhile, Karin was having all she could do to keep up. Anjou had done the driving back in the big car chase in Paris before, so she was not as skilled in this. She was more terrified than anxious, but the mother bear in her rose to the top, and it drove her to push. Kenta was shocked at the way she was going at it, but he also knew better than to interrupt his wife when she was in this state of mind. He wanted to get home in one piece.
In Japan, Marc was getting ready to go and to get his ticket, but one of the instructors of the academy said, “There’s trouble brewing in New York, and you need to get back quickly.”
“How are you going to pull that one off,” he asked, and the man gave him a knowing look. When they had him ready, they used their abilities to transport him back to New York directly and right to Shin. When he materialized, Shin nearly crawled out of his skin. “Ah!” he yelled, “How did you get here?”
“It’s a long story,” said Marc, “Right now, we have to get to Clan Tower.”
“Clan Tower—where’s that?”
“You know, it’s the one next to Trump Tower.”
“You don’t mean…”
“Yes, I do, and Blade is walking right into a mess. Whether the mess awaits him, or whether he causes the mess, I do not know, nor am I anxious to find out which one is true.”
With that, Marc informed Shin that he needed to change, and they ducked into an alley while Marc melted away, and Moon Knight emerged.
Blade arrived at the top of the tower and stepped out into a sight. The room was comfortably lit and the room was the size of the building footprint, bearing a gothic look to the décor and the walls. The columns were covered over to look like stone columns. The floor was minor cut and oaken, with a long red carpet leading up to four thrones arranged to be at certain levels higher than the others. Blade took out his machine pistols and slowly stepped out. A voice spoke and echoed in the room so as to confuse Blade to its origin, saying, “Now, now, Eric, we can’t have you using those.”
The pistols suddenly lifted out of his hands and flew across the room, slipping behind a couple of the columns. Blade then knew that, to where they slid, they had to be there, and headed that way. However, he only took two steps and was then thrust backward and to the ground as if someone had shoved him. While he was disoriented, the kids took the time to shift around so as not to be detected. Blade then got up and went to where he was going, and found nothing. Blade was confused, drew his sword, and began to turn in circles. He was tense, knowing that trouble could come from any direction and from behind any column. At that, he quickly made his way to the wall, knowing that, if he stayed along it, he could then be ready for the attack. However, considering the glass, he was not so sure about this, but it was safer than standing in the middle of an obstacle course over which his antagonist held rule. A gentle, childlike voice spoke up and said, “Dear Eric, who do you act so scared? We are your friends, and always have been. Please, put down the sword and talk with us.”
He did not trust that, and he said, “I don’t give a rat’s behind how much like a child you sound! You’re a vampire—that means you die!”
Another voice spoke—a male voice—and the voice said, “Then you must completely hate yourself.”
“Shut up!” snapped Blade, believing that they were now trying to play mind games. He had his own response for that, and said, “If you’re supposed to be some great beings, why are you hiding? Come out and face me!”
“We’re over here,” said another female voice, this one a bit more mature. He stepped towards the center, and he saw the children sitting on their respective thrones. They were all wearing their finest, and Kannon said, “Well, here we are! Why are you so scared of us?”
He did not respond, but immediately went after them. However, he was quickly knocked backwards, and Sophia said, “Eric, please stop this. We cannot talk when you wish to be so hostile.”
“I didn’t come here to talk, I came here to kill you!” he said in response, “You made a mistake bringing me up here!”
With that, he took two of his throwing glaives and threw them. Within seconds, there were two quick clanging sounds, and they had dropped to the floor. Out stepped Anjou with her katana, and she said, “No, Blade, you are going to listen to reason—either voluntarily or by force—but you are going to listen.”
Once Anjou had said that, the two glaives looked like they took on a life of their own and flew at Blade. He ducked, but it was clear that they were not going to hit him as they both lodged high above him in a column. Blade wasted no time and went for Anjou, but Anjou began to clash with him. At first, it looked as if she was a match for him. Yet, this was quickly dispelled as he disarmed her, and then plunged his sword deep into her heart. The look of shock on her face said it all. She had thought that she could handle him, but she had no idea just how good he was. What shocked Blade was the fact that she did not turn to a pile of ash. His eyes went wide, wondering how she was still intact. Anjou nonetheless was in pain, and now paralyzed by the location of the sword. Still, Blade knew that no one could outlive decapitation, and he pulled out the blade and brought back. This was followed by a thunderous, “THAT WAS YOUR LAST MISTAKE, BLADE!”
Anjou crumpled to the floor, trying to shift blood to her wounds and heal herself as Blade swung around to see a nearly berserk Jean-Claude standing there, fully vamped out, and bearing his saber, still in his coach’s clothes. He only had time enough to grab his blade and head in. Jean-Claude pointed over Blade’s shoulder and shouted, “We’ll talk!”
He then turned his attention to Blade, saying, “YOU WANTED THIS FIGHT, NOW…FIGHT ME!”
Everyone that had come up now moved to the edges of the room as the two went at it. They were both a blur, but one thing was certain: neither had ever faced the likes of what stood before each one. Rarely did the enemy ever get in on either one of them. However, this time, they were making blows, and they were beginning to hack each other up. They were all superficial wounds, but they still made them look like a bloody mess. Each one was too hyped up on adrenaline to register in their minds that this had to be the worst amount of damage either of them had ever taken. Both had fought strong foes before, but nothing like this. They indeed were each other’s equal, and the tale began to tell. By this point, Blade’s leather trench coat was in tatters, while Jean-Claude was in a pair of sliced up pants, and his shirt had, for all intents and purposes, been cut off him. After about five minutes of stalemate fighting, they stood there, both heaving and exhausted, but neither was willing to relent. It was then that they both realized how damaged they were, and Jean-Claude said, “You are the only thing on the face of the Earth to do this to me.”
“Same thing,” was his response.
“Then you are ready to die?” asked Jean-Claude.
“I was going to ask you the same thing,” responded Blade, “After I take care of that demon spawn.”
He started to back to the kids, but Jean-Claude jumped over him, (with much pain,) and said, “You shall not!”
At that, another two appeared, and Shin announced, “Blade, stop—it’s over!”
Blade was surprised to see this, but he said, “It’s not over until I say!”
He then moved again, ready to clash with Jean-Claude, but this time, Moon Knight got in the middle of them and said, “Both of you—end this!”
When neither would lower their blades, Moon Knight began to strike. Because of the full moon, he was at his greatest strength. Normally, he would have been a match for them at that time, but because the two had weakened each other, he was gaining the upper hand. The kids had seen enough, and it was then that all combatants stopped and looked as if they had been frozen in place, saying, “We shall end this. Fetch some chairs, bind them, and we shall make them strong. Father has to heal and get back into his right mind before they talk.”
When they all came to, Jean-Claude and Blade were both bound by steel cable, and Jean-Claude was now rational enough to be reasonable, especially when he saw Anjou on her feet again. Blade was shaking, beginning to become feral. “He’s lost too much blood,” said Shin, “He needs his serum.”
Jean-Claude was weak as well, and he was beginning to get into that state himself. However, the kids saw this, and said, “If blood is all they need, then we can provide.”
Jean-Claude looked oddly at this, and Kannon said, “I think you forgot that we can become Founts of Psyche when we need, considering what we are.”
Jean-Claude then had the epiphany, and figured that he would deal with all that this meant later. However, at that moment, all four kids stopped, concentrated, and they all began to redden a bit in the skin. Mickey and Sheila went up to their father, while Sophia went up to Blade with Kannon, and they then sunk their fangs to the two. Jean-Claude let it go, but Blade was struggling against his bonds, not sure what was about to happen. Once they sunk in, he suddenly calmed as his eyes rolled up into his head, feeling like he was experiencing the most exquisite feeling that he had ever felt. When they were done, he passed out, and then the visions started, as well as the metabolic changes in his person.
In his vision, he was back in Detroit, in the cold water flat of the ghetto where he grew up. He was walking around the place, entering the little kitchen the place possessed, and seeing both his father, who looked like he just came in from work, and his mother in her nurse’s uniform, sitting at the table. They both smiled and said, “Hello, Eric: it’s good to see you home.”
He looked in amazement, and his father laughed and said, “What’s wrong, son? You act like you saw a ghost.”
“I may as well have,” said Blade, not knowing whether or not what he was feeling was real. It felt real enough, but it could not be. His mother was dead, and by his own hand when he had learned his mother had been vamped by Deacon Frost. She was turned against him in his final battle with Frost, and he was forced to ash her. His father was estranged from him after he had fled his home as a boy when they had called in a hunter to figure out what to do with the now bloodthirsty creature that their son had become. When his father tried to reconcile, he told him he did not want his father in his life, and to never come back for abandoning him initially. Yet here, things seemed like they were before it all went south for him. “Son, there are great changes going on for you.”
“Son, you’re getting a new lease on things,” added his mother.
“This is all a trick!” he said, and wheeled around, and when he did, what looked like Karin was standing there. “Please, Blade, talk to them,” she said, “It’s time to get closure, and get a new lease on life.”
“You’re that chick that runs the restaurant,” he snapped, but she said, “Oh no: I am Sophia Pistis. I am the spirit that lives inside the Sophia of the outside. I have been freed to live in her, and I can now bring life and happiness to many. Now, I have done this for you. There are changes going on in you that will make you even better than you were before. Yet, I also can help you find peace. Talk to them.”
Confused, Blade wheeled around to see them still sitting there, still grinning as if there was nothing wrong with the world. “Son,” said his mother, “Don’t blame yourself for what you did. I was trapped by that horrible Frost. You didn’t murder me, you did me a favor. You set me free from a curse. I have peace now. Please, son, let it go.”
“Son, I wish I could have been the kind of father you deserved,” said his father, “I wish I could have known better what to do with the whole thing. Who could have understood what to do? There were things about you with which I had no idea how to cope. I know that’s no excuse, because a dad needs to be a dad no matter what his son is. Please, forgive me, son, because you deserved better.”
“Yeah, I did,” he snapped firmly, “You wanted to kill me…”
“No, son,” he said, “That hunter didn’t want to kill you. He wanted to teach you how to control things, and maybe even be a hunter yourself. You know well that this was what they did in Romania amongst the gypsies when one of your kind came around. We were hoping that he could teach us to help you. You panicked.”
Blade knew that he eventually ended up in the hands of a hunter who taught him to control the Thirst, and invented the serum that he had been using to keep it curbed. He then began to wonder if his actions were truly off the mark. His father then said, “I don’t blame you for running, son. If I had been you, at that young age, I would not have known how to act either. The only thing I ask of you is your forgiveness.”
“We love you, son,” said his mother, “And know that we are proud of you, that you didn’t become a monster, but went after the evil that caused our situation. I am so glad you have been doing what you are doing. Now, you have a chance, and you are amongst those that have only your best interests at heart. You can continue your work, and work for a peace in this world beyond anyone’s imagination. Don’t throw that away, son.”
The looks on their faces were as such that they were what he remembered as a kid before the difficulties started. They had always told him that he was special, and they always encouraged him to be the best in all things. It was only when the thirst hit that things were not so good. Yet, he had to admit that they loved him dearly, and now he was in tears. This was the first time he could remember crying in years, and the emotions that he had pent up for some time were now surfacing. His parents rose up and embraced him as he returned it. He looked over them to see the spirit Sophia standing there with her hands clasped and under her chin, head slightly tilted, grinning broadly, and with a tear coming down her cheek. “You are now more complete than you could ever be,” she said, “Now, take those gifts you have, and make this a better world. This is the day of your rebirth, Blade. It will all be explained to you when you awaken. Please, don’t waste this chance.”
The scene started to dissolve as he came to. He was still bound, but the entire crew was now standing in front of him, including a now loosed Jean-Claude. “There is much we have to tell you,” said Jean-Claude, “and there is much we need to tell you, because you are more of a dhampir than you ever were.”
Blade did not fight, and paid close attention, knowing that what he was about to learn would be vital to him—he knew well now that his life would never be the same from that point.