Jean-Claude was asked by the royalty to give the keynote speech, considering that they felt that hearing anything from children on this matter may not be taken seriously. He worked out some ideas and proposals that he would like to try to get through because this was his chance to talk to Congress, and he could not pass up the chance to get good things for the Clan, and the world of the night-the mundus nocturne-in general. A golden opportunity had been laid at his feet, and he knew he would be a fool to pass it up.
As that was happening, the weekend was passing, and Kenta took time with his daughter on that bright, sunny day, and spent it all with her. They walked, laughed, had asmall picnic, and even took in a puppet show. Kenta spent time walking through the park's gardens, trying to soak in as much as he could of the sun that day. As the afternoon wore on, Kenta was holding his daughter tightly, and she turned into the little kissing machine she had become, and then settled into cuddling into his chest as she napped. About an hour before sunset, he returned to the Cavern and Clan tower, went to his apartment, and laid Kannon on her bed. He then went up to the roof, sat on a vent that would hold his weight, and then stared in the direction of the setting sun. Throughout the day, he was tossing this choice back and forth through his head, weighing the pros and cons of the whole thing. He had decided, that was no question, but this time was spent trying to insure that he was not deceiving himself. Once he was alone, he allowed himself to watch the sun set for the last time in order to be able to see as much of the sun as he could. As the stars began to dot the sky, he began to remember how Jean-Claude had spoken about the beauty of the night to help Karin with her transition, and he began to smile. There was not really much left in the world that connected him to the world of mortals anymore, save for his own mortality. His natural father, though he had reconciled with him, never attempted to make contact with him or Fumio, as if he was closed the door on one life, and opened another. His grandmother had already passed, and his mother had made peace with her, so there was no connection there now. There was no one left in the world outside the Clan and his family that cared if he even existed, so, to make this change only made sense. Like his father had done, the painful life he had had as a child was about to die, and a new life was about to begin.
He then went back to the apartment where his family awaited him. They had told Jean-Claude what was happening, and after a bit of resistance, he realized it was for the best. The royalty then also understood, and came to the same conclusions independently before Kenta had, and allowed this. Jean-Claude talked of the councils, but they pretty much were nonexistent now in favor of the royalty, and could not disapprove if they wanted to. Jean-Claude knew that the only way the councils could come back was if the Clan was to cease its activities, which was the only reason why he mentioned it. There was an eerie quiet in there, as if someone was dying. Kenta then said to them, as if the mood spelled out how they felt, "Yes, someone is dying tonight. The Kenta of the day is going to die tonight, because there is nothing left in that life that I want anymore. All that went into the night-quite literally-and I go to join them."
Karin now understood better than ever some of the right criteria that would allow a human to become a vampire now: he risks nothing, has no regrets, and does so because he wants a new life, and nothing more. They sat him on the couch, with Karin to his right and Fumio to his left. Karin went first, and Kenta just relaxed and let things happen. When Karin could not do enough, Fumio took over. When he was getting closer to being drained, Kenta started to shiver, and the blood came less. Karin started to hold Kenta now, and then Fumio said, "Now."
Karin bit her own hand and put it into Kenta's mouth. He sucked weakly at first, and then started to drink violently. However, they didn't want him to take back the full complement just yet because they wanted Kannon to finish the job. She raised her blood and formed her teeth into injection needles. He began to shake as the changes were taking place and they laid him down on the sofa. Kannon then came up, gave him a quick kiss, and then sunk in her teeth. Kenta then began to calm as her blood spread through him, and his system began to quiet. Once she was done, they put a blanket over him and he slept contentedly. They then occupied themselves with other things so they could be there when he awoke.
Later on, he began to stir, and they all went to him. As his eyes fluttered open and they began to focus, the three of them were the first thing that he saw. He sat up, and Karin then said, "Well?"
"Well what?" asked Kenta in return.
"How do you feel?"asked Fumio.
"It's odd," he said, "I don't feel any different than what I did before save for my teeth."
Karin smiled and said, "Give it time. Are you hungry?"
"Actually, yes Iam."
"Then you are about to see that change. Let's go find your preference."
They went out hunting that night, and he was happy to find that his preference was prejudice and the blood of bigots. With him around, all the immigrants that moved to New York were going to find an easy time of it.
The entourage that ended up in Washington D.C. was Karin and Kenta, the royalty, Sean Hartley, Jean-Claude and Yuriya. Along with them were two representatives of the American Lycanthrope Society and the chief of the AMS. Then there were five that arrived that surprised everyone, and they were about to be turned away had not Karin and Jean-Claude stepped in. Chiyuki came with Ren and Keelin, followed by Ryuu and Blade. This was a historic moment for the vampires, and there was no way that they were going to pass it up. They were in the House chamber front and center as the joint session of this secret meeting of Congress was about to commence. Secret meetings and votes were not out of the ordinary for Congress, yet people had no clue that this was one of the reasons why the sessions were so secret. Suddenly the sergeant of the guard spoke up and said,"O yea, O yea, O yea: the joint meeting of this secret session is about to commence. None shall speak of the matters discussed and decided upon within these hallowed halls under the pain of imprisonment...ladies and gentlemen-the President of the United States of America."
This was followed by four Ruffles and Flourishes, followed by Hail to the Chief. President McFadden then entered under Secret Service escort, who then took their normal positions when he took the lectern. After the applause ended, he began his speech: "Madame Vice-President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House, distinguished guests, I bid you welcome. This night shall be a historic night for the United States, and a night that I believe will steer the course of this country into a better direction. However, the matters which this body must undertake this evening are ones that cannot go outside these chamber walls for the sake of those that are here to attempt to steer the country into abetter direction. As you already know, some years ago, some of you, and previous colleagues had to come to face the truth of the paranormal, and the fact that those who operated within that realm truly existed. Because of great negotiations, and the hard work of them and this body, a mutual understanding of the two groups came to pass, and allowed them to become a part of our society. Though they cannot fully speak to others of what they truly are, because of the symbiosis between our two worlds, they can function as ordinary citizens of the United States, enjoying the same rights as all those who fall under the eagle's wings of protection. It has then, by this same group-the Arlington Magical Society-that we have come aware of others in the paranormal realm that also seek the same rights and protection. However, because of what they are, and because of the myths told about them, they have had to live in hiding and in abject fear of extermination by the ignorant and fearful. Yet, Imyself have gone forth and extended an olive branch to them in an attempt to see if those myths were true. I am glad to say to you tonight that much of what is believed about them is fairy tales, and that they are people that could greatly contribute to this great society. Some of you will not believe what Iam about to say, but I must tell you that werewolves and vampires have lived amongst us since far before the foundation of this nation. While that might sound crazy to some, remember: if the AMS does not seem so ridiculous to exist, then you must not scoff the information that I have now just relayed to you. Whatever you may have heard about them, you must put that away. In fact, to better help you understand what you deal with, I have asked one representative from each entity represented here tonight to speak. With that, I introduce to you Jean-Claude D'Amphile Makka.
The room was silent, still trying to absorb the information it had just received about vampires and werewolves. Every eye in the room was on him as he took the lectern. He looked out at them, at their fear, and he knew he had to take his time and set them at ease.
He came up with no prepared notes, because he always felt that speaking off the cuff was the best way to be one's self when addressing the crowd. He merely had a sheet of paper with bullet points on them to keep him guided in what he did, and he began to speak: "Well, I haven't seen this many eyes stare at me since I split my shorts one game in a Rugby scrum. Indeed, the moon rose over the field that day!"
The room filled with laughter, not that it was a particularly funny joke, but because the timing of it caught everyone by surprise. They were not expecting humor, and because he came of as reachable, it set many at ease. After they had calmed down, he continued: "I know that many of you have your misconceptions about the two kinds of creatures that the President has mentioned, and I do want to tell you that what Hollywood and the written word have put down often has been dead wrong. We are not the vicious monsters that they have made us out to be. They make us out to be creatures that are controlled by our lusts and desires, forsaking everything that is human, and bent on demonic intents. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each one of us is individuals with consciences, each one able to make moral decisions for ourselves. Another myth is about us being undead. We are not that, though, at great effort, we can create that. However, the act is very forbidden to be done without approval, and selecting people to cross over to the world of the vampire is very exacting. Yet, we do not leave them as undead, as we have the means to convert them into what we are. We are hominid, in that, what the vampire bat is to the bat, we are to humans. At one time, I wanted to class us under the scientific name of homo sapiens nocturni, but I now have come to the understanding that we would be better classed as /hominid nocturnes/. However we are classed, we are living, warm-blooded, we have children, we can eat food, and we build families. We are not harmed by garlic or silver, crucifixes, plants do not wilt with us, and we can see our reflections. We can cross running water, crossroads, and a stake to the heart does not kill us, but it does paralyze us. The only way to kill us, in truth, is by fire, beheading, the sun, (which takes a lot longer than people think,) and not being able to feed on blood. I am not saying that we are immortal, but we do live for a long time. Yet, other than these things, and our dietary habits, we are no different than anyone else. In fact, we are enough like you that we can have offspring with you, though the child will end up sterile unless action is taken at some point. That child would be called adhampir-a Romanian word that means 'little vampire.' They are half-human and half-vampire, with all the benefits and none of the weakness, except for the blood. This is what I and my wife are."
There was muttering now around the room about that, knowing that not only was there vampires in the world, but that it was possible that the intermixing of the two may have actually crated what he is, and could have been someone they met at the store or at the park. The speaker gaveled the room into silence, and Jean-Claude continued:"The one thing that puts many off is our dietary habits. It's not that our bodies cannot create blood, but our bodies are such that we need the supplemental blood. Again, I make reference to the vampire bat comparison again. However, we do not have to kill people to get our blood as many people think, nor do people instantly turn into vampires after being fed upon. In truth, we only need a pint a night, and I only need it once a month or more depending on some of my activities. Furthermore, we only feed off certain kinds of people, in that, we are each attracted to certain emotional or psychological traits in people, and we normally feed off those with an excess of our preferences. When we do, we siphon off some of that, and they end up balanced people for at least a month. No one can ever tell of a tale of being fed upon because we then erase the memories of those upon who we feed. In fact, some of you may have been fed upon even this month and do not even know it. The marks would still be on your necks."
The muttering started anew, and many reached up to feel small welts on their necks, and they were something that they assumed to be insect bites. The speaker gaveled things down again, and he continued: "Now that you know that this has happened to you, you now realize that no harm has really come to you. You are just as you have always been, but a touch more balanced. The myths of people being drained and changed came because, at one time, there was a vast world of the undead vampire that, I am sad to say, was a result of our ancestry in the ancient of days. However, I am happy to inform you that, because of recent activities over the past year, that world was shattered. If the undead are not extinct, they are a severely endangered species, and are something that can be stopped if they ever try to rise up again. We have made sure of that. Thus, you have nothing to fear. We have remained secret up to this point, and for good reason. Yet, it's because of that persecution, and my dream to see it end one day, is why I am here tonight. Tonight, I want to share that dream with you, and why it even came about."
He paused for a sip of water, and he now had the room's full attention. Because of that, he knew the story he was about to tell would bring many to tears.
He overlooked the room, and he said, "23 years ago, in the woods of New Hampshire, a tragedy took place. It all started when a human and a vampire learned to see past their differences and let love have its way. However, there were those of the council, renegades in fact, that swayed the rest of the council, much to their regret, to put a death sentence on them, and their only child-a son, adhampir. They had to live on the run, and then hide. However, they were eventually hunted down and executed in cold blood after a long chase through the White Mountain forest. The boy, however, survived, saved from his fate by seven vampires who lived in the forest and lived off the land. That boy was I."
Now there were the sounds of saddened amazement that such things could have gone on unchecked and unnoticed on American soil. "I appreciate your reaction, because that tells me that you would have been horrified by the act, where a young boy was sentenced to death by a body of law you would have never recognized, whose only crime was that he had been born. Yet, do know those men trained me with a rigorous regimen that would have rivaled the Navy SEALs. That training went on for five years, and they continued to instill into me a love for country, a respect for all sentient life, a love for myself, knowing myself, and taking people for who they are, and not what they are. When I was fifteen, justice was done, my parents were avenged, and I dedicated the rest of my existence to fight injustice wherever I found it, and to try to unify the worlds of day and night as to where they could be one, or at least, live in harmony."
Jean-Claude had not finished, but a slow groundswell started to build of applause, becoming loud, and then deafening. Despite what he was, and what he had presented, he suddenly became the living embodiment of everything this country was meant to be. Once they calmed down, he then said, "It was my moving to Japan at 17 to go to school, and put a stop to some renegades that wanted to try to conquer the world that caused two things to emerge. The first thing was the emergence of a group called simply the Clan, in that, we were unique, and to me, we were the ultimate example of a vampire clan that ever could have existed. That clan is now over 4,000 strong in Japan, and they are in alliance with the sister group of the AMS, the Greater Japan Magical Society. We have about 75 in Bangor, Maine, 55 in Oregon, and about 50 in New York, and we are growing. This group is made up of humans, vampires, the four that represent the vampire royalty, three dhampirs, and some humans that crossed over and became full vampires after proving themselves. Out of that came what I call 'The Dream.' This was a manifestation of that what my parents sought, what I was instilled to seek, and try to seek to this day. Yet, recent events jeopardized this Dream, because I have come to realize that there would be no way the entirety of mankind would ever accept vampires amongst them without bloodshed and aglobal war, being that we are just too different from you. In reality, we are hominid, but we are monsters, sad to say. That is not to say that we are out of control or bent on the destruction of mankind. Yet, it is because of that difference that would prevent this, and I thought that all was in vain. This was before Sgt. Sean Hartley stepped in and contacted the right groups of people, including the President himself. They came up with a proposal that could work, and not just for us. With that, I yield the floor to the leader of the American Lycanthrope Society."
Jean-Claude left to applause, and then the next speaker came up and described his society. They were indeed living in secret because of myth as well. However, they were not hunters of human flesh, nor did they raid chicken coops or steal babies. There was one group amongst them that fostered the myths, but they had been soundly defeated, and now there was peace. They lived in nature, and sought to do what they could to preserve nature as well. The politicians who supported green politics were pleased to hear that one, and everyone was anxious to hear more. In fact, there had been one president that had known about them: Theodore Roosevelt. He had accepted them, and had been sworn to secrecy. All his motivations to create the national park, forest, and monument system were all true as history recorded, but they had also encouraged that, and there was also an unsaid reason for this. It gave many safe havens in which the werewolf could operate. He then described a certain thing about their society that made it difficult. He said, "Because of the way that we have to create our offspring, we live an awkward existence. We either must breed with humans as humans, or with a wolf in their fullest wolf form. When they reach puberty, we watch them closely to see if the werewolf in them is dominant. The human with whom we breed are humans that had come to love us as Roosevelt did, and they are secretly a part of our society, and married to many werewolves. If the child comes out human, he is also included, because he can still breed werewolves. The wolf cubs are raised by us because they also are good breeding stock. The odd thing is, we cannot breed with each other, or else that would create asterile child, and quite often deformed. Those that would do so are punished, but the child is not repelled. It is just cared for and kept in the wilderness. All this makes it hard to be a part of society. Yet, because of the way we do breed, there are far more humans in the know than you realize. In fact, because of the secure setting right now, I can reveal to you that the senators of Alaska are well aware of us, and have worked with the state government there to help protect us. However, if we had national backing, then people could live more in peace, and we could use our skills to better this land. With that, I return the floor to the President."
He then stepped aside and McFadden resumed speaking. "Now you know of these societies, and, by your reaction to this, I can tell that things will be smoother than I had first thought. Now, what I propose is this, I wish to make a treaty with both the Clan, and with the American Lycanthrope Society, and cause it so that they can have the same rights and protections as any other American citizen. The only thing is that those who are a part of those two societies will keep it a secret about what they are to keep the peace, but they would also gain our protection if anyone gets too close to the truth and tries to lash out if either group are unsuccessful in swaying that person to join either group. This would also include a cabinet level position to help regulate these things. In exchange for this, both groups have agreed that they would lend assistance to any matters that would affect national security, and would fall under the areas of their expertise, lend assistance in policing themselves, and also serving as they see fit if there is something that could serve the country well in their abilities to further the cause of freedom. I leave it to you to hammer out the details. There is one more thing, though, before we continue. I would ask Jean-Claude to come back up here for a moment."
Jean-Claude approached, and the President said, "This was something we discussed before Ileft my visit with the Clan in New York, and I asked to join the Clan."
This brought amixed reaction, but it was not entirely a bad reaction, and in fact, they saw the benefit in such a thing. For the President, it was a play to push the thing, in that, if there had been resistance, his actions would have helped put that to bed. Jean-Claude then said, "Normally, there is an initiation ceremony that we do, but I think we can waive that in this case."
"Oh no," said the President, "When this is done, I will be back, and we can do this right."
"At the very least, let me give you the ring," said Jean-Claude, and gave it to the President. Jean-Claude then said, "I also want to say that I have been recently contacted by the local councils, and they have all agreed to act as district rulers of the vampires, but they have also recognized the four youths you see sitting before you as the overall charge. Now, understand, we have our own system of executing justice and such, and many affairs we can tend to on our own. However, one thing this legislation will do is also make that vampire subject to the governmental system, making that one subject to the laws of America as well. Thus, like the Native Americans, we will be citizens, but we will have our own tribal law, if you will, that we shall answer to, but not use as protection for an offender if that one has broken state or federal law. With that, I leave you ladies and gentlemen to the free debate of the issues, and we await your decision."
With that, the speaker gaveled that section of the process complete, and the Senate went back to their own chamber to discuss the matter.
Jean-Claude met with the President outside the chamber, and McFadden said, "Well, it's out of our hands now. I just want to say, though, that things could end up different by the time we are done."
"Well, all I can do is to pray, Mr. President," said Jean-Claude, "In fact, is there a chapel around here?"
The President affirmed this, and he had one of his agents show him the way. Both he and Anjou went to pray over the issue, and it was going to take much in prayer.