Venatores mali aria, p.1
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       Venatores Mali: Aria, p.1

           Quintin Fortune
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Venatores Mali: Aria
: Aria

  Quintin Fortune

  Copyright 2015 Quintin Fortune

  Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to obtain their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

  1st Oct-00:05

  The Foyer

  'VM-004,' an electronic voice announced. 'Grey. Lady.'

  Lady Grey appeared in the middle of a rune-covered circle. She slipped the phone back into her coat as she stepped out of the circle and looked around the grand setup known as The Foyer. Rooms lined the large space with a grand staircase sitting at the back. Among the columns hung the banner of Venatores Mali: a silver ring with three prongs sticking up. The banner itself was black, just like everything else in this order.

  "Lady Grey," a woman's voice called out. She looked up from under her wide-brim hat to see a Chinese woman with long black hair walking down the grand staircase holding a tablet. She wore her familiar hunter green sweater and skinny black jeans. "Just going over the image you sent us."

  "And," she hissed. She bit back on her spite for Genia Lee, the woman standing before her. It was aggravating that this girl outranked her. Just because the leader and her;

  "And," she said, interrupting her thoughts. "This appears to be a piece of a much larger puzzle."

  "Meaning?"

  "We're not sure," Genia answered, looking over the the image on her pad. "They're a series of vampiric runes that speak of an 'Order of Blood'."

  "Who are they?"

  Genia looked up at Grey. "Not sure. I'll run it through the Akashic and get back to you on it."

  Lady Grey walked away up the grand staircase. "You do that," he grumbled. "I'm going to rest up."

  1st Oct-00:32

  Lady Grey's Quarters

  Lady Grey sat in her darkened quarters, whiskey in hand, staring into nothingness. She didn't sleep much anymore. When fighting nightmares goes from being in your head to being in the real world, sleep just doesn't work. The only option left was to pass out drunk and wake up when she was called back into the hellish battle. He told her it was a war worth fighting.

  She was done with war, but it felt like war wasn't done with her. She closed her eyes, only to see fire and ash. She heard screams and gunfire. The booze made it all look just like a murky dream.

  'Grey' someone' else's voice echoed in her head. She awoke from her drunken stupor. 'Wake up' the voice commanded. It took her mind a moment to realize WHO was talking in her head.

  "Yes sir," she groaned.

  It was a dark, unnatural voice. A voice that could strike fear in the devil himself. It was the leader of Venatores Mali.

  Before she had time to regain her composure, her mind was bombarded with information. Numbers, figures, images, paragraphs. After a minute, the information stopped.

  "Ever heard of a 'dossier'," Grey grumbled.

  'The teleport is ready,' the voice replied.

  Lady Grey gulped down some aspirin before grabbing her rifle and heading out.

  1st Oct-03:15

  The Myricron

  The teleportation flashed faded from Lady Grey's eyes. As they adjusted, she took in the dark, musty ruins of a once great temple. It was once a place dedicated to the Order of Blood, a cult that worshiped vampires. The temple and the Order were hidden deep within a cave in a location that was lost to time. At least it was before Grey found the vampiric runes that spelled out the coordinates.

  She scanned the darkness. It was quiet here. Very quiet. Which meant...

  'I'm being watched,' she noted, looking up at the high ceiling. The darkness covered up any hints of movement.

  She started walking towards her objective. The flood of information included a layout of the temple and where any obstacles might be. With their leader's precise calculations and plans, she knew exactly where she was going without any need of a light source.

  The rustling in the darkness was faint at first, but quickly scurried up behind her. The noise ran past her feet and continued off into the ruins. 'Damn rodents,' she mentally complained. She continued on her journey, careful not to trip on anything that might give away her position. The pitch blackness did nothing to help her. She took the number of steps that the instructions in her head told her to, then took a left. A few meters down, then a right.

  She stopped. Her goal laid just behind these giant doors that she couldn't even see. She ran her gloves hands over the intricate stone carvings on the doors. Detained designs? Pictorial history? She wasn't getting anything from the markings. She pushed, but the doors didn't budge. She leaned on it and pushed harder. The sound of stone sliding against stone was faintly heard.

  She pulled back, then slammed onto the door with all her might. It started to slowly open.

  With one last push, Lady Grey found the ancient library of Myricron. The span of the library was huge. The darkness made it seem infinite. The smell of long-forgotten books filled her nose. The feeling of knowledge tinged her mind. Certain people would be enraptured by a place like this. She was not one of those people.

  She continued to the podium that contained the one book she was sent here for. The Tome of Blood. A book that contained the secrets of turning mortals into vampires. The smell of something else suddenly filled her nose. The smell of dried skin and desperate hunger.

  She snorted the smell out. Several creatures scurried around and above her. These were definitely bigger than rats. One suddenly smelled very close. It hissed something in a long forgotten tongue, but Grey presumed it wasn't anything pleasant.

  Slowly, she pulled out her rifle as the creature started to sniff her. "Back off," she growled just before slamming the butt of the rifle into the creature's abdomen. She spun around and fired off a shot. The flash from the muzzle temporarily blinded her, and she hoped it did the same to whatever was surrounding her.

  There were screeches in the darkness, echoing off the stone shelves. She began to fire in several directions. Screams of pain came as a response. Something tried to come up behind her, but she whirled around and fired off a shot at the target. The sound of a head exploding responded.

  She knew she didn't have enough bullets for this battle. There was only one way to get out of this. She pulled a flash grenade from her coat and lobbed it up in the air. She shielded herself from the flash as the creatures that were trying to attack her screamed in agony.

  Lady Grey took the moment and rushed to the podium that held the Tomb of Blood, grabbing it just as the vampires were about to fall upon her. There was a flash.

  1st Oct-05:45

  The Foyer

  Lady Grey stood inside the bronze teleportation ring, clutching the book for dear life.

  'Grey. You have returned,' his voice reverberated in her mind. It wasn't a very comforting tone.

  "Yes sir," she confirmed. "With package in tow."

  'I know'

  "Well done," Genia's voice greeted. She stood next to the console that operated the teleportation system. Genia walked up and held out her hand, waiting politely for Grey.

  "There were vampires in there," she remarked.

  "We know," Genia replied, still holding her hand out.

  "I was in total darkness with vampires," Grey stated.

  "We would not have put you in a situation you couldn't have handled," Genia answered.

  Grey shoved the book into Genia's hand. "You're all heart," she growled.

  2nd Oct-10:13

  Lady Grey's Quarters

  The sunlight burned through Lady Grey's eyelids. She strained to open them. Her back ached. The couch was no longer comfort
able to pass out on. Through bleary eyes she spotted a light flashing among the empty bottles of beer. The light came from a device no bigger than an ear bud.

  The Mente Parlare, a device that allowed non-telepathic people to communicate telepathically. The color of the light indicated which frequency it needed to be on. Purple was for team communications, and each Hunter had a color assigned to them. The light was blinking yellow, which meant...

  'What Frank,' she mentally growled after she crammed the device into her ear.

  'Hello to you too, Beautiful,' a charming voice replied. 'This is your eight a.m. wake-up call.'

  Grey looked at her phone. 'It's after ten, idiot.'

  'No, this is the eight a.m. wake-up that you were too passed out drunk to answer.'

  She rubbed her forehead, trying to ignore the growing hangover. 'What do you want?'

  'Not me. Orders from higher up.'

  Grey tried to drain the last few drops of beer out of a bottle, but failed. 'And higher up can't tell me this because...?'

  'Genia's taking care of the day-to-day business and 'he's'...well...preoccupied.'

  She tried another bottle. Still nothing. 'So what do they want?'

  'Need you to head over to ZioTech and pick up some gear. Boss said it would help you with where this assignment is taking you.'

  She openly sighed. 'Fine. I'll get a shower and be over there as soon as I can.'

  'Awesome. I'll let Austin know you'll be there in a few hours.'

  She plucked the earpiece out of her ear. "Asshole," she griped. "It's not going to take me that
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