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Washed Ashore Conquistador

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The storm abated a little after three AM; the bulk of it had blown out to the middle of the lake. Wind still whipped the waves of Lake Ontario up over the shoreline. Not that there was that much shoreline to wash over; decrepit, long abandoned, docks overlooked the sheer drop of the retaining wall leaving only a tiny stretch of dirty, garbage ridden sand to be called a beach below it and that - only at low tide.

The locals, such as they were, often came to fish here during the day, but not when it was storming. Only those with no hope and nowhere else to go sought shelter in the abandoned buildings and under the old moorings during the night; and on one like this, most of them knew better and sheltered elsewhere. Moisture would always creep from the sand making muscle and bone sluggish in those foolish enough to actually fall asleep huddled amongst the damp woolen blankets and equally damp makeshift cardboard walls.

But that’s what made it a good hunting ground, sluggish prey; prey that would not be missed. Not that they intended a kill; that was far too risky in this day and age. No, that was not the intent, but sometimes it was the outcome. It was hard to judge how much was safe to take when the prey was less than quality fare: drugs, drink, disease, bad nutrition and too many nights spent under the piers all played a factor.

Tonight it would not matter much, they were really only here on a lark; Freddy was bored. And when Freddy was bored there was no living with him. Kay indulged his younger sibling far too much; their mistress would chastise him for being too sybaritic, if she were here.

Frederick hadn't even bothered to debark from the pier; he hadn't gotten out of the car for nearly an hour. He sat looking out the window at the choppy, angry lake and the storm passing into the distance. Finally, more because the windows had started to fog with the leftover humidity of the storm than anything else, he got out and took a position leaning over the railings of the dock, staring out over the lake into the fog.

So much for his wanting a snack…true, the old woman huddled under the pier was already too close to death to be palatable and the three teenagers crashed in the abandoned guardhouse were too stoned to be much of a challenge…still, if he just wanted to watch the water, Toronto offers better places than this to do it from. The tide was rising again… might as well just head home.

Kay’s jacket and pants were both drawing damp from the mist that rose from the wet sand and the leather was starting to pull and itch; he was done here.

A scent, faint on the wind, caught his nose as he started up the mooring walkway; one of their own, a vampire, one he did not know.

He would have been surprised if he had recognized the scent. They had been in Toronto for nearly a year now, but other than those that were necessary to know; the infrastructure, the ones that set up identities and provided the necessary paperwork and computer records that allowed their kind to function on the periphery of the mortal world, they had little contact with the ‘community’.

Frederick had felt it as well; the scent, the presence, and a glance from him indicated the edge of the fast rising tide.

Kay scanned the shoreline again, seeing nothing; he dismissed the presence until the subliminal command from His Imperial Highness, still perched above and not moving a muscle, came through like a royal command.

“Okay. Fine. I’ll go see.” He didn’t actually need to say to out loud; it had been quite clear through the bond they shared as siblings. He just did for the pleasure of giving a response and was disappointed in Freddy’s reaction, or the lack thereof.

Forty yards down shore and half laying in the murky water, nestled between ripped and soggy bags of trash whose contents floated nearby in the shifting tide, he laid, face down and bloated from prolonged submersion. A nudge with the Varangian’s boot garnered not the slightest twitch of a muscle or whisper of a sound from the mass that mimicked death with such accuracy. Kay reached down and flipped the mass over: there was a sucking sound caused by the water rushing into the depression left by the body in the sand that had been beneath it and a dull splat when the opposite side hit the surface beside where it had been before, but still it, he, did not stir.

He looked young; he wasn’t, unless you gauged youth on the same scale Kay did. About 500 years, give or take, a Spaniard - was Kay’s guess. He wasn’t dead, but he certainly wasn’t alive, not in the conventional sense, and not in the way they were either. He was injured, that was obvious, and that was…wrong.

They could not be injured, not like that, not old and festering wounds, not normally; scratches, no, claw marks, across his face that showed no sign of healing. Kay had seen lesions such as these before, marks left by the hand of his Mistress on the errant children of others. The Valkyrie had been born of the Old Ones, and the touch of her displeasure would leave similar scars on the skin and even deeper ones on the psyche.

Shame, for it was a pretty face, too; one could call it handsome, with sharply refined features and large dark brown eyes. He had been young when he was made, twenty, perhaps.

The Varangian looked up to Freddy waiting for a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, so to speak, from the Emperor, not that he actually expected an answer; His Highness was in a mood. When obviously no reply at all was forthcoming, he turned away from the mass and started back to the landing and the mooring walkway.

Bring him! The command traveled the distance between the two vampires in an instant and it demanded to be obeyed. Kay rolled his eyes to the darkness…abandon all hope ye …of staying even the slightest bit dry until you get home tonight.

Frederick watched with only the faintest movement of his eyes and head, any more was too much of a bother. He felt old; if truth be told, he had actually been born that way. He was shorter and stockier than the Norseman, and hair now turned russet from centuries without the kiss of the sun that had once kept it the familial fiery red glinted like blood on fire in the moonlight.

Frederick popped the trunk latch from the driver’s side before he walked around to the passenger’s side.

“I’m not cleaning the upholstery.”

“As if you ever do,” The Varangian said as he placed the body gently in the trunk and grabbed a spare blanket to shield the driver’s seat from his own dampness. Ensuring all body parts were safely tucked inside, he slammed it shut and moved to the driver’s door.

Frederick sensed that Kay was displeased with him again, displeased with his mood: but he had seen the aftermath of too many storms to care very much.