G2A Many GEOs
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Chapter 25

Magus_Anon Aug 8th, 2019 941 Never
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  1. The trip to Tomb Haven couldn’t be over fast enough. It was bad enough that you had been ousted from your home, and worse that you were now trapped in a small confined space with a whiny, woman-child of a vampire.
  2.  
  3. “A peasant’s place is at her mistress’s feet! How many times do I have to tell you that? They love the sense of purpose and protection that servitude grants them.” Said Emballandae.
  4.  
  5. “You’re out of your mind! Those ‘peasants’ are people too you know. You want to know what happened to tyrants like you in my world?” you said.
  6.  
  7. Emballandae gave you a quizzical look. “No…?”
  8.  
  9. “Could you two stop arguing for TEN FUCKING SECONDS?!” snapped Goeth.
  10.  
  11. You decided that it would be prudent to avoid another draining and shut up.
  12.  
  13. The plains that stretched out around Admaz had given way to rolling hills filled with forests and streams. Every day the caravan passed one or two settlements. They never looked to be more than a few dozen people at most. Some were clearly agricultural towns, others showed no clear sign of a specific industry. The towns were your sole reprieve from the monotony of Emballandae’s bragging and whining. Looking out the window could only entertain you for so long.
  14.  
  15. “Just how far away is Tomb Haven anyways?” you asked.
  16.  
  17. “It should only be two more days. We’ve taken a less direct approach to the city to discourage any pursuers.” Said Goeth.
  18.  
  19. “Monsters won’t be thrown off by taking the back roads, you’ve got a whole army out there. All it takes is a glance at the ground to see which way you went.” You said.
  20.  
  21. “We have geomancers fixing the ground behind us, and mages masking your essence. Sure, one could ask one of the locals for directions, but they know the price for betraying us.” Said Goeth.
  22.  
  23. “Betraying you? Are you saying that all these towns we’ve passed are Tomb Haven property?”
  24.  
  25. “No. They simply know that if we were to lose you that we would be VERY upset. This ‘army’ is more like a militia. The proper army of Tomb Haven is still recovering from an… accident.” Said Goeth.
  26.  
  27. “You mean a war? I thought mamono wiped the floor with Order forces.” You said.
  28.  
  29. “It wasn’t a war. Forget I said anything, I’m sure you’ll get the answers you need in Tomb Haven.” Said Goeth.
  30.  
  31. Even though you had no chance of escape, they still refused to tell you anything meaningful about your situation. Watching the world go by, you rested your head against the window and tried to nap.
  32.  
  33. ~~~~~~~
  34.  
  35. “Anon, come on. We’re making camp for the night.” Said Goeth.
  36.  
  37. You straightened up and adjusted your stiff neck. You hadn’t slept, but at least Emballandae had the courtesy to not disturb you while you were resting.
  38.  
  39. Emballandae hurried out of the carriage and ran to your door. Throwing it open, she flourished her cape and offered you a hand to help you down.
  40.  
  41. “I don’t nee-“
  42.  
  43. You faltered as Goeth glared at you and summoned a glowing sheath around one of her index fingers. The hand was conveniently hidden from the other mamono, who had gathered around the carriage to watch the spectacle. You took Emballandae’s hand and stepped down onto the ground. She squeezed hard, and subtly rubbed her thumb over the top of your hand. What a weirdo.
  44.  
  45. “Ufufu… Good to see you finally learning your place, human.” Said Emballandae loudly.
  46.  
  47. You grit your teeth and followed her as the crowd parted for the vampire.
  48.  
  49. Making your way to the center of camp, Emballandae and Goeth entered a large tent emanating a sulfurous smell.
  50.  
  51. “Lussazan! I’ve brought the human as you requested.” Said Emballandae. Her tone hinted that this was a more casual relationship, and that Emballandae wasn’t looking to impress this monster like the ones outside.
  52.  
  53. A lich floated through the cloud of haze past Emballandae. Setting herself down in front of you, she gaze dup at you with deep purple eyes.
  54.  
  55. “Finally awake I see.” She said.
  56.  
  57. You were taken aback by her flat and familiar tone. “Do we know each other?”
  58.  
  59. “We have never been introduced.” Said the lich.
  60.  
  61. She used her magic to bring several vials down from a shelf. “I need you to ejaculate in this vial, spit into this one, and bleed into this one.” She said slowly.
  62.  
  63. Incredible. You never knew it was possible to be so condescending with a monotone.
  64.  
  65. “Excuse me?” you said indignantly.
  66.  
  67. “I need you to ejaculate in this one…” she began more slowly than before.
  68.  
  69. “No, no, no. Who the hell ARE you? And why are you trying to harvest my bodily fluids?” you asked.
  70.  
  71. “I am Lussazan. My titles are numerous. Suffice it to say, I am the head scientist in Tomb Haven.” Said the lich. She waved her hand and a gob of saliva shot out of your mouth into the vial. She gave it a swirl and sent it off towards the back of the tent.
  72.  
  73. “What the fuck lady?!” you cried clasping your mouth.
  74.  
  75. “If you do not comply, force will be exercised.” Said Lussazan matter-of-factly.
  76.  
  77. “Fuck…”
  78.  
  79. You sat down on a nearby cot and asked for some help getting the blood sample. You weren’t sure how that would be extracted by force, but the thought of having your veins torn open made you shudder. Lussazan felt around your elbow joint for a proper vein and quickly extracted a syringe full of blood. Emballandae licked her lips as the plunger pulled out the viscous, crimson liquid.
  80.  
  81. “Don’t even think about it, bitch.” You said. Magic started to flow to your hands instinctively, and the shackles on your wrists warmed. You took a deep breath and tried to keep your fear and anger in check.
  82.  
  83. “Interesting…” murmured the lich. She waved a hand over your wrist irons and a series of runes glowed.
  84.  
  85. Lussazan scribbled down some notes and sent you off to go fill the last vial. Beating your meat in a camp full of mamono would probably be a death sentence under normal circumstances. Thankfully, Lussazan kept your ‘scent’ contained within the screen where you did your business. The whole act only took a minute thanks to the permanent half-chub that you had just by existing in a demon realm and the embargo on masturbation that Hicera had imposed to help prevent mana poisoning.
  86.  
  87. Lussazan took the flask and handed you a cloth to wipe yourself off. As you exited the screen, she took the towel back and threw it into a nearby incineration bin.
  88.  
  89. “Something smells good, what are they cooking over there?” asked someone from outside the tent. Stay classy, mamono.
  90.  
  91. “Now what?” you asked.
  92.  
  93. “The samples will be processed. You will remain here until then.” Commanded Lussazan.
  94.  
  95. She floated back into the smog to begin working at a science bench in the center.
  96.  
  97. “Hey,” you asked Goeth. “Who is she?”
  98.  
  99. “Lussazan. She may be a bit brusque, but she’s indisputably brilliant. She’s been the head of the Chiropta family’s science team for decades.” Said the wight quietly.
  100.  
  101. “The Chiropta’s have a science team?” you asked.
  102.  
  103. “Yours didn’t?” interjected Emballandae smugly.
  104.  
  105. “Not just any science team, THE science team. The Chiropta family have their wings in everyone’s sunlight, but a sizeable portion of that wealth goes to researching new magic and technology.”
  106.  
  107. “Have their wings in everyone’s sunlight?” you wondered aloud.
  108.  
  109. “Oh, that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to a human from a world with no fliers… It just means that they have a stake in every sector of industry in the undead realm.”
  110.  
  111. “And they use the money to fund scientific advances to stay on top.” You said.
  112.  
  113. “No. Not in the way you’re thinking of. The Chiropta family really does care for the mamono in their stead. The creations the fund have done wonders for the quality of life for monsters that would otherwise be doomed to poverty.” Said Goeth.
  114.  
  115. “Is that how you got an army to come after me on a moment’s notice?” you asked.
  116.  
  117. Goeth sighed. “I know this is hard for you to understand, but to the undead the Chiropta’s are heroes. It isn’t just science, they commission art, architecture, infrastructure, agriculture… They’re good, respectable people.”
  118.  
  119. “Who kidnapped me.” You said.
  120.  
  121. “That’s because you’re my property.” Corrected Emballandae.
  122.  
  123. Goeth scowled at her and the vampire pursed her lips.
  124.  
  125. “I know how it seems, and… I may not agree with the ethics of this decision… but I think that if you can learn to look past the arrogance and pretentiousness, you’ll see them for the kind-hearted souls they are.” Said Goeth.
  126.  
  127. “Hey!” said Emballandae.
  128.  
  129. “I’m just not convinced that someone who calls another sentient being ‘property’ is someone whom I want to respect.” You said.
  130. Goeth squirmed. You tried to look her in the eye, but she turned away.
  131.  
  132. “Of course you’re property, you’re a human. Unlike some other mamono, we vampires take care to choose only the finest mates and elevate them into higher beings before we lay with them.” Said Emballandae.
  133.  
  134. You looked at Goeth again who was doing her best to inspect a random page of scientific notes and ignore your leer.
  135.  
  136. Lussazan returned from her bench to save the Marshall from getting caught between her loyalties and her morals.
  137.  
  138. “The human is still healthy. You may take him away.” She said. Without waiting for a response, she floated back to her work.
  139.  
  140. “Well, you heard the lady. Let’s get the two of you to bed.” Said Goeth quickly. She pushed you and Emballandae through the tent flaps and into the camp.
  141.  
  142. ~~~~~~
  143.  
  144.     Though you couldn’t stand Emballandae’s company, your spite didn’t keep you from enjoying the perks of being the plaything of a plutocrat. While the rest of the army slept on raggedy cots sheltered by ancient cloth, you and your ‘mistress’ resided in something more like a circus tent. The massive structure had more square feet than a small house. Braziers burned slowly to keep the interior lit and heated. Emballandae had stocked the room with an assortment of wardrobes, desks, art, mirrors, papers, crates, a screen hiding a small bathing area, and mannequins. The amenities made the cluttered space look more like a warehouse than a luxury shelter.
  145.  
  146. Emballandae yawned as you stood in the doorway gawking at your new quarters.
  147.  
  148. “Anon, I’m going to take a bath and go to sleep. I suggest you do the same. It’s been more than a day since you’ve bathed, and you humans smell bad enough already.” She said with a dismissive wave as she strode over to the screen.
  149.  
  150. It was too late in the day to come up with a witty retort. All you wanted was a bath to get rid of this grimy feeling and a nice bed to sleep in. Preferably one that didn’t contain a bloodsucking-womanlet, but you didn’t have a say in that matter. You inspected some of the containers and dressers while Emballandae hummed in the bath.
  151.  
  152. The nightwear that Emballandae had placed over the screen slid over the side and she reemerged in a tantalizing piece of lingerie. On Earth, you would have been lucky to have a woman wear something so daring for your birthday. But here, such a garment set must be regarded as classy and empowering.
  153.  
  154. “Can’t keep your eye’s off me hmm?~” taunted the vampire.
  155.  
  156. You sighed and brushed past her to get to the bath. Draining the water down a small pipe that slipped under the tent to the outside, you refilled the basin with hot water and cleaned yourself off. Without insulation or more hot water, the bath quickly became tepid. Giving your face one last scrub, you slipped out of the tub and dried yourself off.
  157.  
  158. Donning your pajamas, you shuffled over to the large bed Emballandae occupied. She had taken the center, ensuring that you would be forced to have some bodily contact with her no matter which side of the bed you took. Lifting the sheets behind her, you tried to slide into the big spoon position. You still had your dignity as a man after all.
  159.  
  160. “What the hell are you doing?” asked Emballandae as she wrenched the covers from your hand.
  161.  
  162. “I thought-“
  163.  
  164. “You sleep in THAT bed.” She said.
  165.  
  166. You hadn’t seen it, but there was indeed another small bed next to Emballandae’s. It was some bizarre hybrid of a cot and a bed; a mattress supported by a foldable camping frame.
  167.  
  168. Without a word you slid under the wool blanket and closed your eyes. Removing your amulet of articulation, you set it next to your shoes and closed your eyes. Emballandae extinguished the lights in the tent with a wave of magic and adjusted herself under her covers.
  169. “Hey Anon…” said Emballandae quietly.
  170.  
  171. You really weren’t in the mood for sleepover talk. You gave a confirmatory grunt.
  172.  
  173. {What were weddings like in your world?}
  174.  
  175. “I can’t understand you. I don’t have the thing on. Go to sleep.” you said.
  176.  
  177. {Oh, right. I forgot you can’t talk without that thing. You better not say anything mean to me in your language, or else I’ll find out.}
  178.  
  179. You had no idea what she was saying, but it seemed like she had dropped whatever she wanted to talk about. As her breathing slowed, you fell asleep to the sounds of her gentle snoring.
  180.  
  181. ~~~~~~
  182.  
  183. Camp was broken with a speed you would have thought to be impossible for an army of zombies. By the time you had finished breakfast, the final tents were being torn down and loaded up onto the wagons.
  184.  
  185. Lussazan collected another set of ‘samples’ and you were off again.
  186.  
  187. ~~~~
  188.  
  189. “Your language is strange, Anon.” said Emballandae.
  190.  
  191. Figures. Not an hour into the trip and she was already picking a fight.
  192.  
  193. “Oh? Is it? I’ve actually never heard him say anything in his native tongue.” Said Goeth.
  194.  
  195. “You haven’t? It’s all high pitched and nasally. But sometimes he just speaks from the throat or the chest all of a sudden. Sometimes it switches in the middle of the same word!” said Emballandae.
  196.  
  197. “I knew that it had those fluctuations, but is it really that varied? Some of the literature published about him gave some examples of words he uses, but I imagine the difference between reading something and hearing it are completely different. Hey Anon…” said Goeth with an excited grin.
  198.  
  199. “Yes?” you asked.
  200.  
  201. “Can you say something in your language for me?” she asked.
  202.  
  203. “What?”
  204.  
  205. “Please?” she asked again. It was clear this woman was married; that was a professional pout. The angle of the head, the big sad eyes, those big kissable lips sticking out ever so slightly… No man on earth could say no to that face. No doubt Goeth got what she wanted whenever she wanted.
  206.  
  207. “Fine…” you muttered. “What do you want me to say?”
  208.  
  209. “Hmm…” Goeth’s face scrunched as she tried to think of something.
  210.  
  211. “What do you call the color of your eyes?” interjected Emballandae.
  212.  
  213. “Blue.” You said flatly.
  214.  
  215. “No! I mean in your language!” said Emballandae.
  216.  
  217. You slipped off the amulet. “Blue.”
  218.  
  219. Both girls giggled and laughed.
  220.  
  221. {Bluh!}
  222.  
  223. {No, no, it’s Bluweh}
  224.  
  225. {Hah! That’s not it at all!}
  226.  
  227. You slipped the amulet back on and waited for them to finish.
  228.  
  229. “I’m sorry Anon, it’s just such a strange noise.” Said Goeth with a sheepish smile.
  230.  
  231. “Yeah, just one syllable. Like a grunt. Blugh.” Said Emballandae.
  232.  
  233. “Mm-hmm.” You said.
  234.  
  235. “Sorry, sorry. I won’t laugh anymore. I promise.” Said Goeth. “Umm… How do humans say ‘I love you’ in your language?”
  236.  
  237. You took the amulet back off. “I love you.”
  238.  
  239. Both monsters oohed and began to practice.
  240.  
  241. {Ah luff gyou}
  242.  
  243. {No, no, the first part is sharper. Ay luff hyou.}
  244.  
  245. {Is it two parts or three? The way he says it makes the first bit slur together.}
  246.  
  247. {It’s three. I read it in one of the pamphlets.}
  248.  
  249. {Anon, can you say it again?}
  250.  
  251. They looked at you intently. Goeth waved her hand in a circle, asking for you to continue.
  252.  
  253. “What do you want me to say it again?”
  254.  
  255. The undead gave you a confused look and looked back at each other.
  256.  
  257. “Again?” you repeated, making the same hand motion.
  258.  
  259. They smiled and nodded.
  260.  
  261. “I love you.”
  262.  
  263. {Iluff eeyu} strained Goeth.
  264.  
  265. {Oh! That sounded pretty close!}
  266.  
  267. {You think? I don’t know if I have that first part down…}
  268.  
  269. {Spread it out. I, luhv, eeyou}
  270.  
  271. “That was good, the best one yet. Some of the sounds of my language don’t transfer over to yours very well.”
  272.  
  273. Goeth and Emballandae stared at you. Slipping on the necklace, you repeated your compliment.
  274.  
  275. “Very impressive, little mistress! I’m sure that you’ll be speaking his language in no time!” said Goeth.
  276.  
  277. “Indeed! Soon I will be the only mamono in all the realms who can converse with Anon in his native tongue.” Gloated Emballandae.
  278.  
  279. “Actually, the succubus scholar and her husband are fairly fluent in {English}.” You said.
  280.  
  281. “Huh?”
  282.  
  283. “It’s a long story, but they’re the ones who saved me and helped me get into the mamono realms. Magnara, the succubus, penned most of the articles and pamphlets on me and my culture.” You said.
  284.  
  285. Emballandae drooped. “Oh…”
  286.  
  287. Goeth scowled at you. She looked over at the vampire and tilted her head towards her.
  288.  
  289. “…But that doesn’t mean she knows everything.” You said. Goeth relaxed a bit.
  290.  
  291. “Oh? What do you mean?” asked Emballandae.
  292.  
  293. “Well, it would take years to document my whole culture. And with practice you can surpass her in mastery of my language. She only has a few months of experience on you.” You said.
  294.  
  295. “A few months? That’s nothing! I will become the preeminent scholar on all matters of {Earsh} culture and language!” said Emballandae. Goeth gave you a subtle nod. Good save.
  296.  
  297. “…And you shall teach me!”
  298.  
  299. “Huh?”
  300.  
  301. “Yes, Anon. Through you I will learn about your strange world. None shall surpass me in the field of alien anthropology!” said Emballandae raising a clenched fist.
  302.  
  303. You looked at Goeth. Goeth looked out the window. Traitor.
  304.  
  305. Emballandae leaned out the window of the carriage and told one of the knights riding along side to bring her a stack of parchment and a quill. The rider returned in a moment with a hefty stack of stationary.
  306.  
  307. “Now then…” said Emballandae folding out a tray from the wall panel of the carriage. She dipped her quill in the ink well and placed the first piece of many on the tray. “Let’s start with the colors.”
  308.  
  309. ~~~~~~
  310.  
  311. Is this what kindergarten teachers went through? Never again would you say that elementary school teachers were underpaid.
  312. “This is stupid! I hate this dumb language!” said Emballandae crumpling another sheet of paper and throwing it out of the carriage.
  313. “Don’t call my language stupid!” you said.
  314.  
  315. “It is! What kind of idiots use the same symbols over and over again?! How am I supposed to know how to arrange them?!”
  316. “You only have to memorize twenty-six! It’s not that hard!”
  317.  
  318. Emballandae’s zeal had collapsed like a house of cards halfway through learning the alphabet. She insisted that there must be an easier way to become literate without having to learn all the letters and sounds.
  319.  
  320. “You’re mocking me! Making me write out all these symbols over and over just so you can laugh!” she said thrusting a finger in your face.
  321.  
  322. “Do you want to learn my language or not?!”
  323.  
  324. “I want to learn it the right way!”
  325.  
  326. “THERE IS NO OTHER WAY!”
  327.  
  328.     Emballandae screeched and made a lunge at you. The shackles on your wrists glowed with heat as you tried to swat her away with magic.
  329. Goeth’s spectral hands appeared between you two. One slammed Emballandae against the seat while the other stabbed you in your chest.
  330. You looked down to see spirit energy hemorrhaging out of the five holes as she withdrew her fingers. The haze of energy was like looking through gas. Everything on the other side was a muddled mirage. Your fading mind watched as the colors danced and swirled behind the columns of evaporating life force as you faded out of consciousness.
  331.  
  332. ~~~~~
  333.  
  334. Something smelled awful.
  335.  
  336. With a gasp you sat upright and clenched your nose.
  337.  
  338. Lussazan corked the vial she had been holding over you and set it down on a counter.
  339.  
  340. “Night has come. You will be escorted to your quarters.” She said. Turning her back to you, she began tending to a series of flasks and vials.
  341.  
  342. Goeth stood up from her seat next to your bed and helped you to your feet.
  343.  
  344. “It really would be nice if I could go one day without having to skewer you, you know?” said Goeth.
  345.  
  346. “I didn’t start it…” you growled. Goeth caught you as the blood rushed from your head.
  347.  
  348. “No, but you certainly didn’t stop it.” Said the wight as she threw one of your arms over her shoulder. “Anon, if you are going to survive in Tomb Haven you MUST learn how to deal with the young mistress. She is quick to anger and expects everything to go her way. Be patient. Show her the error of her ways and reassure her that her mistakes will not be the end of her. Trying to match her temper will… not end well.”
  349.  
  350. “What am I supposed to do? Just sit there and get yelled at? Smile and nod while she berates me?”
  351.  
  352. “Emballandae may be quick to answer, but you are slow to learn. The young mistress is eager to prove herself; but her ambition is often hampered by her pride. You have much to learn about our culture, Anon. I only ask that you exercise more patience with her. There is a beautiful woman within her. You just have to coax her out.” Said Goeth.
  353.  
  354. “Do you really believe that?”
  355.  
  356. Goeth smiled. “I do. I dare say that you would have already fallen for her if she put aside her stubborn pride.”
  357.  
  358. “Pride is all she has.”
  359.  
  360. “No.” said Goeth clenching you a bit tighter. “I know you have not seen any other side of her, but do not speak ill of her that way. When she talks about her passions, you could listen for hours. When she greets her friends, you would never know that she was royalty. Deep down she is a curious and loving soul.”
  361.  
  362. You gazed up at the wight. Obviously she thought highly of Emballandae.
  363.  
  364. “I’ve tried to be kind with her. All she does is yell at me.” You muttered.
  365.  
  366. Goeth bit her lip. “Her… ‘eccentric nature,’ is a product of her upbringing; not her personality. The Chiropta family is powerful, and I owe them much. But I do disagree with them on some matters…”
  367.  
  368. “What does that mean?”
  369.  
  370. You arrived at Emballandae’s tent.
  371.  
  372. “You shall see in time.” Goeth turned you around to place her hands on your shoulders and look you in the eye. “Please, just consider what I have said. Be patient. And when she tries to turn you away, stand by her.”
  373.  
  374. The Marshall turned without waiting for a reply and strode off.
  375.  
  376. ~~~~~~~
  377.  
  378. Sleep came quickly and soon it was morning. By Goeth’s estimates, you should be arriving in Tomb Haven today.
  379.  
  380. “Why are we leaving so early?” you asked.
  381.  
  382. “We aren’t.” said Goeth.
  383.  
  384. Climbing into the carriage for what you hoped was the last time, the caravan departed.
  385.  
  386. ~~~~~
  387.  
  388. Emballandae stared out the window. Her silence was unnerving; usually you two would be in a heated argument this far into the trip. She looked almost fearful.
  389.  
  390. Fine by you, you didn’t need her anyways. You had bigger problems, namely the sky. Even though it was midday, the horizon was growing dark. The sun sat directly overhead, yet cast rays of crimson and purple across the clouds above you as if it were dusk.
  391.  
  392. “Why is the sky like that?” you asked.
  393.  
  394. “Tomb Haven is a dark demon realm. Admaz was in a green realm.” Said Goeth.
  395.  
  396. “Does the sun ever come up?” you asked nervously. Eternal night didn’t sound like something that would be fun for very long.
  397.  
  398. “It does, but it’s always dark. The days are just a bit LESS dark.”
  399.  
  400. “You know, humans need sunlight to live.” You said.
  401.  
  402. “Incubi don’t.” said Goeth.
  403.  
  404. The comment made you shiver. Incubizing wasn’t anything you feared, but being bound to Emballandae for eternity was something that kept you up at night.
  405.  
  406. A gentle tapping came from the roof of the carriage.
  407.  
  408. “Marshall, the city is in sight.”
  409.  
  410. Goeth opened the window and leaned out.
  411.  
  412. “There it is! Do you want to see, Anon?” she asked.
  413.  
  414. Curiosity trumped your fear and you squeezed past her to look out the window. Out of the ominous black horizon rose a skyline of towers and buildings. Tomb Haven was set upon a hill, with the city sprawling both over and around it. The glow of thousands of torches and lamps gave the city a gentle halo of light against the dark behind it.
  415.  
  416. “How many people live there?” you asked.
  417.  
  418. “More than Admaz, that’s for certain. Most undead aren’t as opposed to sharing living space. We pack them in pretty tight.” Said Goeth with a grin.
  419.  
  420. You looked back at Emballandae. She had her hand clenched into a fist in front of her mouth, and the aura of melancholy had grown stronger.
  421.  
  422. “Hey… Are you alright?” you asked. If there was something to be scared of in Tomb Haven, you wanted to know what it was. It irked you that such a boisterous person was so quiet all of a sudden.
  423.  
  424. Emballandae jolted and nodded. “I’m fine! Fine. Just thinking about all of the things I have to do once I’m back in the city.” She said.
  425.  
  426. You looked at Goeth who gave you an enthusiastic nod and a wink. None of your questions were answered, and you knew that they wouldn’t be until you were in the belly of the beast.
  427.  
  428. Military personnel began to change formation and shout orders to each other outside. Pressing your face against the window, you watched as the army shifted and flowed around you on the final stretch of your trip.
  429.  
  430. ~~~~~
  431.  
  432.     Goeth was right: Tomb Haven was deceptively populous. Unlike the plains city of Admaz, The buildings of the undead city rose several stories into the sky. The smallest buildings you could see were two stories tall. Cat walks and skyways connected the larger buildings towards the center of town. The boulevards were lined with strange and eerie trees, forming a canopy over the already dark streets. The procession slowed as the soldiers ahead of you funneled into the main gate.
  433.  
  434. A cheer emanated from the spectators who had gathered to watch your arrival. The walls and streets were lined with undead of all shapes and sizes, as well as their husbands. You shrunk back from the window as countless eyes peered in at you through the window. They had the same gleeful smiles and pointed fingers of the people of Admaz when you had first arrived.
  435.  
  436. Emballandae was relishing the attention. Opening her window, she waved to the crowds as she passed by. Her fears were momentarily forgotten as she savored the admiration of her people.
  437.  
  438. “Anon, come join me.” Said Emballandae making room for you in the window.
  439.  
  440. “I don’t think that’s a good idea…” you said.
  441.  
  442. “Do it.” Commanded the vampire.
  443.  
  444. Goeth gave you a little nudge with her foot and nodded her head towards the window. You sat opposite Emballandae and looked out the window.
  445.  
  446. The crowd roared with excitement and Emballandae laughed. “See Anon? They like you already!”
  447.  
  448. The carriages proceeded up the hill, surrounded by the din of the city and Emballandae’s cackling.
  449.  
  450. ~~~~~~~
  451.  
  452. “There it is.” Said Goeth.
  453.  
  454. The castle of Tomb Haven. You had known that it was your destination since you had seen it on the horizon. The building itself was so astronomically large that it occupied almost half the hill the city was built on. The dark, matte bricks reflected none of the darkened suns rays.
  455.  
  456. Most of the army broke away from the caravan as it rolled through the gate of the castle. Looking up, you could see dozens of mamono lining the wall with crossbows at the ready. The carriage passed through a garden filled with all manner of alien plants and statues of vampires. The first carriage slowed as it entered a round drive that circled a fountain in front of the castle doors, and halted at the other end. The remaining carriages filed in behind it in a semicircle.
  457.  
  458. The doors to the castle flew open and a small army of maids rushed out assist the passengers. They were flanked by knights bearing the crest of the castle, wearing armor that was paradoxically both ornate and skimpy.
  459.  
  460. The door to your car was opened and a maid bowed and gestured for you to step out. You looked at Emballandae and Goeth to see what you should do.
  461.  
  462. Emballandae was grimacing. She was wringing a piece of her cape with clenched fists while chewing her lip. Goeth put a hand on her shoulder and whispered something in her ear. Emballandae pulled away from her, but nodded and stepped out of the car. Goeth gestured for you to follow.
  463.  
  464. The maids and guards did their best to remain professional, but every one of them did their best to sneak a peek of the strange alien in their midst. One zombie went all in and just gawked as you passed her. The knights flanked you and Emballandae as you entered the fortress. Glancing back, you saw the lich and Goeth slip through the doors before they slammed shut behind you.
  465.  
  466. ~~~~~~
  467.  
  468. If a personal army wasn’t enough of a testament to the Chiropta family’s wealth, the castle certainly was. Art hung from every wall. Statue sentinels stood at each corner and in every alcove. The gilt over the molding was probably enough to buy a city block in New York.
  469.  
  470. You were marched through grand staircases, great halls, and fantastical corridors to another set of heavy doors. Though smaller than the doors to the castle proper, these doors were covered in a detailed relief. At the center, where the two doors met, the crest of the Chiropta family sat in the middle. Underneath, a vampire stood holding a sword and book. A cape billowed out from behind her, forming the backdrop for the rest of the relief.
  471.  
  472. On the left door, a figure stood over an army of undead, pointing a sword at the enemy. The image continued, showing undead overwhelming and raping what you presumed to be Order soldiers. The same figure that was shown leading the army was depicted leading the undead again, this time in the construction of what appeared to be Tomb Haven. Many of the laborers were carved with their husbands.
  473.  
  474. The right door was more disturbing. A vampire stood with a man in her arms, blood dripping from her fangs. The man was weakly resisting her, with two puncture wounds on his neck. Below, the vampire stood in front of a kneeling collective of peasants. A farmer with a bountiful harvest, a merchant with a scale weighed down by gold, and a soldier kneeling over a man. In the background, Tomb Haven stood enwreathed in a halo.
  475.  
  476. Emballandae halted in front of the towering work of art. The guards held and waited. You looked back at Goeth. The wight was staring straight ahead into space.
  477.  
  478. A loud creaking turned your attention back to the doors. Guards on the inside dragged the titanic slabs of wood inwards, and Emballandae continued through.
  479.  
  480. The room was exactly what you had expected, a throne room. Decorations were sparse; a single strip of carpet led to a dais that supported the throne. A mature vampire sat watching the procession with a satisfied smirk.
  481. At the foot of the dais, Emballandae knelt before the other vampire. The other guards followed suit. After an awkward glance around the room, you decided that it would be best to follow Goeth’s advice and not test the patience of possibly the most influential undead in the world. Taking a knee behind Emballandae, you braced yourself for whatever came next.
  482.  
  483. “I have returned… mother.”
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