For those curious on how I pronounced Wequie, I think in my head - Wah-k-eye. But if you think of it differently, that’s fine.
I walk up and down the rocky path with a locked jaw while my phone continues to ring continuously in my ears, the annoying intervals not helping to lessen my worry.
Kalem always picked up on the first ring, always.
Whenever we weren’t together, Kalem made sure to keep his phone on him at all times so that when I called he could speak to me immediately. But it’d already passed three rings and I was yet to hear my boy’s sweet voice.
Something wasn’t right.
If I hadn’t spoken to Kalem yesterday, I would’ve worried that something would have happened to him by Diablos’ hand but I had. He’d picked up his phone immediately for our night time call but he wasn’t his usual cheerful self throughout the call.
From the moment he’d picked up, he’d sounded shaken and scared, entirely devastated but no matter what I said, he’d been persistent in his assurances that he was alright. But I could tell he wasn’t.
When I demanded to speak to the elf, I didn’t get much out of Aias beyond promises that all was fine with them and that they’d hit a potential mark on what Kalem was. He wouldn’t offer any more details beyond that, not even to Malcolm who I’d made beg to know.
But the elf was one stubborn fuck, so I was left with nothing.
I continue pacing, my grasp on the phone so tight that it was mere seconds from shattering in my grasp. Thankfully, Kalem picks up before it went to voicemail or I broke it.
“Master,” Kalem answers slightly breathless, sounding as if he’d been running.
“Hi Kalem,” I reply, releasing the breath I hadn’t realised I was holding, “What took you so long to answer?”
“I left the phone on the bed so I had to run from downstairs to get it,” He explains quickly before adding, “I’m sorry Master.”
“It’s okay,” I say choosing to not comment on how he always had his phone with him. “How are you love?”
“I’m okay Master,” He replies, his voice not as fragile as it was yesterday.
“Are you sure?” I press hoping to get some more from him.
“I just miss you, Master,” Kalem promises softly, “I miss you a lot.”
I close my eyes at his words that served to make my heart and soul ache all over with the building need to be close to him again.
“I miss you too Kalem,” I reply while bringing forth the last image I had of him to my mind, “I hate being away from you.
“Me too,” He whimpers.
“I’ll be back soon,” I promise as I open my eyes once more.
“Okay Master,” Kalem replies with a sniffle.
Gods, he was crying.
“Aias is teaching me a lot of new things,” He continues quickly before I can comment on the obvious tears. But he clearly didn’t want to talk about it, so I step away from that ball of hurt.
“Like what?” I ask instead.
“He’s taught me a few meals that he likes,” He answers with his usual enthusiasm. “They are so good Master, but they are all plants.”
“You hate vegetables,”
“I know!” He exclaims making me chuckle, “But his aren’t so bad.”
I bite back a groan of frustration, that elf brought trouble to me without even trying. Now I’d have to learn how to make vegetables the way that he did for Kalem.
“How are you, Master?” Kalem presses and I rub my temples tiredly. “Are things getting better?”
“They are, though slowly,” I reply with a sigh as I recall the many meetings I’d had with Alexander and some of her most trusted. “What about your search on your side? Aias said you found something.”
Kalem’s response doesn’t come immediately making a frown quickly etch its way onto my face, one that only deepens when he finally says quietly, “We did.”
“You don’t sound happy about it,” I comment gently, not wanting to scare him off in any way.
“I don’t really understand it all Master,” He replies nervously, “Aias says he’ll try to explain it all when you and his Malcolm come back.”
That’s not cryptic at all...
“If you need me, I’ll come back right now Kalem,” I promise.
“No, that’s okay Master,” Kalem protests quickly, “I’m can wait, I’m a good Kalem.”
I smile a little at that, “Yes you are. But are you sure?”
“I’m sure Master, promise,” He says quickly, this time sounding slightly more sure of himself.
“Okay,” I reply reluctantly, trusting in Kalem’s judgement instead of forcing an answer from him. “You call if you need anything love and I’ll answer.”
“I’ll call you again tonight before you go to sleep,” I add and he giggles, the sound filling my heart with joy.
“I can’t wait Master,” He replies with a smile I knew he was wearing. “I love you!”
“I love you too Kalem,”
We hang up after several beloved moments of sharing sweet nothings until Kalem finally hung up, leaving me to look out silently at the breathtaking scenery before my eyes.
I take in the mountains from the clifftop I was on, letting the icy winds rush against my skin while I trailed my eyes upwards to track the thin moving clouds above us, lazily studying them while my mind focused on strategy.
I fill my lungs with the fresh, chilly air before walking back to where I’d left Malcolm and Wequie.
We’d been with the Anouk Clan for three days and had made substantial progress, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped for at this stage. They were understandably taking their time with making a decision and I hadn’t properly accounted for just how long of a process this would be.
The clan seemed to be far more democratic than I’d first envisioned, I’d thought that the Plyen’s word was it and that it’d only take convincing Alexander for things to set themselves into motion. After all, that was how things worked with clans, the Plyen was in control.
However, Alexander ran a different system than the usual Plyen would. She heeded the council of the people that followed her, taking in every thought and opinion into account as she worked her way through frequent discussions of terms with Malcolm and me.
There was clear interest, but something was holding them back.
“All is well?” Malcolm checks, looking up from where he sat in the grass beside a bundled Wequie.
“For the most part,” I reply as I lower myself to Wequie’s free side. “But I get the feeling the faster we return home, the better.”
Malcolm nods quickly, clearly not wanting to defy Aias’ instruction to be back within five days.
“I think my dick is frozen,” Wequie announces through chattering teeth.
I look across to the shivering incubus I called a friend, his entire frame cradled by several blankets that covered the three layers he wore underneath. His tail was circled around the fabric just like his arms, the weather apparently cold enough to bring forth his true form.
The weather in Canada could be quite brutal and up here in the mountains, it was unforgiving. But Malcolm and I were vampires and were able to adapt our bodies to face the brutal weather. It took practice and much effort, but once a vampire was able to control the blood flow in their body, it was like turning on and off a switch. With our hearts stopped, the body could feel entirely dead or like another, susceptible to outside conditions.
I didn’t particularly feel like being dickless and it seemed like Malcolm shared that sentiment, which left Wequie to freeze his balls off alone.
“Malcolm was the one who invited you, so kindly divert all of your complaints to him,” I say in response, but it only makes his scowl worsen.
“Malcolm,” Wequie says, turning his head to look over at Malcolm who sat with his long legs folded beneath him while he circled two rocks between his fingers.
“I’m sorry I was trying to be a good friend,” Malcolm replies sarcastically as he looks up at the two of us. “I’ll try to be more of an asshole in the future, just like Linc.”
“Don’t you dare, I can barely handle the one,” Wequie replies with a shaky smile, that makes Malcolm chuckle before they both turn their heads back my way. “Since you haven’t had sex for three days, I’m going to let you be cranky.”
I don’t bother endorsing his perverse mind with a response, incubi logic was damn near impossible to understand.
“But seriously, how long are we going to be here?” Wequie asks through his shivers. “I didn’t anticipate camping in the mountains with a bunch of vampires for this long. I thought we’d be like getting drunk with them and kind of hoped for a massive orgy.”
“It’s taking more time than I expected it would,” I say truthfully while ignoring the last part. “They’re more stable than we anticipated.”
“Since they’re not a particularly strong clan, we assumed they’d be more susceptible to our offer,” Malcolm elaborates when Wequie frowns slightly confused. “They’ve got larger numbers and no cracks we’ve seen since being here, their only clear fault is that they’re weak physically and most of the followers are newborns.”
“That would explain why it was so easy to get a few in my tent,” Wequie replies thoughtfully making me groan while Malcolm just shakes his head. “I hadn’t even released my aroma and they were stripping.”
“They?” Malcolm questions and Wequie smiles with pleasure.
“Once I got a taste I couldn’t stop,” He admits with a sensual tone, the end of his tail rubbing against his arm. “And before you attack me Lincoln, I only approached those whose bodies responded to mine.”
“I’m glad to hear,” I manage before refocusing my attention to the vampires moving below us.
We’d found a perch in the cliffs far enough from the clan to observe undisturbed and exchange a few words without the worry of watching our tongues for those listening in. So far, the clan had been entirely stiff with our presence but seemed more relax now with us removed from their vision.
“You think they’ll join us?” Malcolm asks after a moment of silence, the question I knew he wanted to ask since our first meeting with Alexander.
“With some more persuasion,” I reply while watching a few practice their fighting. “They’re doing fine for now, but this won’t last much longer. If they stumble into a coven, they’d be decimated within seconds. Not to mention, their numbers are far too large to be all together like this while out in the human world.”
“I’m sure Alexander already knows that, she’s a smart woman,” Malcolm replies thoughtfully, “Joining us is the only way to preserve what’s left of this clan.”
“So why is she being so stubborn?” I reply through gritted teeth, my frustration getting the best of me.
My frustration wasn’t directed towards the clan or Alexander, but rather a build-up from being away from Kalem for so long. It was the longest I’d gone without seeing my boy and it was starting to take its toll on my heart.
I wanted to hold him again, touch him and kiss him, love him... I wanted my boy, my Kalem.
“I don’t think she’s what’s holding everything up,” Wequie says bringing our attention to him. “I think that one had been on board since day one.”
I frown slightly as I study Wequie’s shivering frame, “Why do you think that? Is it an incubus thing or...?”
“Yeah, kind of,” Wequie replies with a shrug, “We’re better at observing body language than most species, but I’m also just good with people. She’s clearly got some fight in her, and the moment you mentioned taking Diablos down, she basically lit up. She’s not the problem here, it’s the rest of the vampires, particularly the newborns.”
Malcolm looks at me with a raised brow, his uncertainty clear as the one I felt inside but Wequie did have a habit of picking up on things before others. “Why the newborns?” He inquires, gently prodding Wequie for more.
“They’re afraid of you guys, why would they want to follow you if you scare them,” Wequie replies with a ‘duh’ expression as if that was common knowledge. “You said most were recently turned, so I doubt they have much experience with other vampires outside of the ones in this clan and even less knowledge about how things operate in the vamp world.
Then you guys the first and the fifth ever made stroll in wanting to take over, of course, that’s fucking terrifying. Plus all you guys do is watch them when your closeby, they probably think you guys want to eat them.
Alexander’s their leader, she’s got the ultimate vote, but she can’t just take a deal when most of her followers are afraid of you.” Wequie finishes before quickly adding, “But that’s all just my thoughts, I could be wrong”
“No, I think you’re right,” Malcolm replies as he drops the rocks. “It makes sense in that light. Alexander does seem to have some personal vendetta against Diablos, which was why I couldn’t quite understand why she was stalling so much. But if the problem is with her followers, then that makes sense.”
“So you just have to get them to like you or at least, want to follow you,” Wequie replies before he blows into his palms.
“I’m not really a likeable guy,” I admit because I knew it was the truth and so did they.
“You don’t have to tell us that Lincoln, we know,” Wequie replies with a snort.
“Good thing I am, getting them to respect you should be enough,” Malcolm replies thoughtfully, his mind working away on this new tangent Wequie presented. “They know our goals and purpose for being here, so showing them a more personable side should help.”
It did make sense truthfully.
We’d made our intentions clear from day one and they were goals that aligned with those of the Anouk Clan, there was no reason for them to hesitate given the state of their clan. But they had been, and if it was because the newborns were still on the fence about us, then that was understandable.
We needed to ‘bond’ with them, connect at some level that went beyond just rank and species.
“So what are we supposed to do? Play tag,” I deadpan and Malcolm immediately looks at me with widening eyes that make my heart drop. “That was sarcasm, Malcolm.”
“But it’s a good idea,” He argues while shifting his body with excitement.
“I am not playing tag like some....”
“Newly turned vamp?” He offers with a creeping smile. “That’s one of the first things vampires do when they’re turned, it’s like a right of passage. I’m sure not all here have tried it and it’d be great to do it here with so much free land.”
“We are long past the age of playing tag Malcolm,” I reply while shaking my head, the thought of doing something so childish instead of being with Kalem only served to annoy me. “Not to mention it would be a complete waste of time with the two of us, we’re faster than them all.”
“Exactly,” Malcolm agrees as he pushes to his feet. “They know we’re old and strong, but I’m sure they’d like to test the borders to that. The challenge would be stimulating to them, especially if we put all of them to try to get us.”
“That honestly sounds fun, but also like it would work here,” Wequie inputs while his eyes dance between us.
“You want us to play tag Malcolm,” I say so he could hear the words out loud, “We’re here to negotiate terms and you want to play tag. Diablos is trying to kill Kalem and me, and you want to play tag.”
“Yes,” He replies with a wide smile.
I stare up at him, full of disbelief and slight horror.
I knew what the game was and though it was indeed a right of passage as Malcolm called it, I’d never tried it. I’d stayed away from my kind in all things, including the game that was said to be quite exhilarating with the enhanced speed we had.
“If it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work,” Malcolm says with a helpless shrug.
It wanted to argue but I knew my best friend and he knew me. No matter how much I argued against the preposterous idea, he wouldn’t stop until I agreed to this and if I didn’t, he’d do it on his own.
I wanted to try pouring some sense into his head, but I didn’t have a better idea and at this point, I was willing to try almost anything if it meant I could get to Kalem sooner...even play tag.
“Very well,” I grumble making Malcolm cheer and Wequie laugh hysterically.
“Oh, I’ve got to see this,” He says through his laughter.
The things I do for love...
“Tag?” Alexander repeats slowly, one eyebrow arched high as she looks at me.
“Tag,” I reply with equal disdain.
“You’re serious,” She says after a moment and I nod, sad to be admitting such a thing. “Well, I would’ve never imagined a request of this nature from vampires of your stature.”
“Neither did I,” I say honestly, glancing at Malcolm who was still beaming from ear to ear.
As this was an activity young vampires took part in, I’d never even considered that one day I’d take part in the game that was one of the few things many vampires came together to enjoy. There were competitions for newborns takes by their sires and even bigger ones who older vampires who’d compete for a cash prize of some kind.
Malcolm hadn’t experienced any of that through the centuries and though I was perfectly fine with leaving it just like that, I could tell Malcolm wasn’t.
He wanted this, badly.
“But your followers seem to fear Malcolm and me, I’m hoping this helps ease some of the tension,” I finish as I return my attention back to a puzzled Alexander. “What do you say?”
“I have no problem with it,” She says honestly, offering nothing more in her expression beyond surprise. “But it’s ultimately their decision, so let’s go see what they think of this?”
“Right now?” I ask and she nods as she walks towards the entrance of the tent, a smile forming on her lips.
“The sun’s just gone down, no time better than the present,” She replies before walking out, leaving us to follow behind her.
When we emerge from the tent, we find the clan members busy as always, the few that were close stepping away from our path as if we were sickly. I could now see Wequie’s words were true, I’d sensed the fear before but thought that was more so from our offer rather than Malcolm and I ourselves.
“Please gather!” Alexander says loud and clear into the night air, and within seconds every member of the Anouk Clan had surrounded us form every angle. “Our guests have a request for you all, please give them your attention and respect.”
Alexander steps back and gestures with her hand at me. All eyes focus on me and I step forward.
“Firstly, we’d like to extend our thanks for hosting us within your personal space for the last three days, we are grateful,” I say out to all before me, scanning my eyes across them one by one. “As a large majority of you are quite young, I’m sure you know quite little about Malcolm and me, we’d liked to change that.”
I look back at Malcolm who was practically bursting and gestured for him to continue, he was always better with people than I was.
“All that you really need to know about us is that I’m the nice one and that Lincoln is the miserable one,” Malcolm says quickly making laughter pull from quite a few as smile spread, the tension visibly seeping away from other. “Look, we’re old, like really damn old but we’re not assholes.... well I’m not, Lincoln maybe.” More laughter. “We’d like to ask you all to play a game that every vampire should experience when turned,” Malcolm lets the anticipation build for a bit before finally saying, “tag.”
A few vampires release a cheer of excitement while they nudge one another, those obviously the older members who knew how exhilarating the game was said to be with enhanced speed. They were clearly on board while the younger ones exchanged hesitant looks of doubt.
“Tag?” One in the front asks, his face clearly amused.
“You haven’t played tag yet?” Malcolm asks with a tone that suggested that any answer other than yes was foolish. The guy shakes his head slowly. “Then you haven’t lived as a vampire. It’s a right of passage for our species, every vampire should experience it once or they’re not truly living like the dead.”
To my surprise, Alexander nods her agreement which did help to sway some of those who still seemed to be on the fence about the whole thing.
“And you guys are going to join?” One of the older ones asks while rubbing her hands together as if we were her favourite meal.
“It’d be only right,” Malcolm replies with a grin that she returns while whispers of anticipation spread throughout them.
“I haven’t played in decades,”
“The first. We’re playing with the first Drew, I don’t think any other vampire can say that,”
“So this was what I turned for? To play tag with two old men,”
“I haven’t played since I was a kid,”
“I broke my legs the first time I tried, good times,”
I listen to all the different comments same as I knew Malcolm and Alexander were, the general consensus seemed to be interest from the majority.
“We propose, that all of you try to catch Lincoln and me,” Malcolm continues making the individual conversations settles some.
“There are more than four hundred members in this clan,” Alexander inputs doubtfully, “That doesn’t seem quite fair.”
“It isn’t,” Malcolm says turning to send her a wink, “for you all.”
“They can’t be that fast,” Someone says to the front and I move behind them before they even finish their last word making all around them jump back with surprise and the man himself fall to the floor with a shriek that sends the clan into laughing fits.
When I was moving at my full speed, I could be miles away in the blink of an eye.
“You were saying?” I say as I look down at him before offering a hand. He takes it hesitantly and I pull him to his feet, slapping his back hard before returning to my previous spot. “For those doubtful of our speed and strength, the solution is simple - catch us and prove us wrong.”
It wasn’t long before everyone seemed to be on board which was truthfully more than we anticipated, but it wouldn’t make the task impossible.
“There’s only one rule,” Malcolm announces before stretching his arms out, “if any of you touches either of us, then we’ve both loss and the roles are switched.”
“This shit sounds kind of fun,”
“I’m going to break my legs again,”
“I’m kind of scared, but excited... but scared,”
“Is the incubus playing?”
“I’m going to win this shit,”
“Malcolm,” I say pulling him aside while everyone got their wits together before we began, “how do you want to do this?”
“We don’t get caught,” He says with narrowed eyes, “What? Do you need a plan?”
“Oh I’m fine,” I assure him with a chuckle, “I was more so worried about you getting caught and making us look like idiots?”
“Alright old man,” Malcolm says before shoving me away playfully, “Let’s have some fun.”
I nod with a small smile, feeling more eager than I was willing to admit. At the tap on my shoulder, I turn to face Alexander who was surrounded by a few other members who weren’t running around in preparation.
“Do you wish for only the younger ones to take part?” She asks inquisitive, the hope behind her guarded eyes clear and matching the one all those behind her held.
“Why? You few think you stand a better chance,” I mock and they all smile at the challenge. “You’re welcomed to try, but I promise you the outcome will be the same.”
“We’ll see about that,” Alexander says before calling everyone back together again. “Is everyone ready?”
A unified yes comes back and she smiles proudly before looking to Malcolm and me.
Well, I guess we were really doing this.
“On your call Wequie,” I say look up to where he stood on the top branch of a nearby tree, ready to follow from above.
“When I say go and not a second before,” He calls out and everyone nods.
Malcolm takes a starting stance like one of those professional runners, his smile large and taunting. Quickly everyone else takes some sort of reading stance, I keep my hands in my pockets and wait.
The air buzzes with anticipation.
Breathing quickened, smiles growing.
I actually find it hilarious that Kalem is trying to figure out how he’s an elven creature and Lincoln is playing tag. I’m sorry, but that’s funny.
If the majority of you guys want to see the actual tag part I can try to write it and either add it to the chapter or upload it as Chapter 27.5. I didn’t think it was 100% necessary for the plot, but if you want to see Linc having some fun I can try to write a little something more before the next update.
Well vote up and comment if you enjoyed!!
Until next time,