The remainder of the day I spent in the archives gathering all the fucking paper files on all the cases I wanted to see. Annabel Dowager had delivered a list of case numbers to Dae’lin and I had to retrieve them manually from the Archives. This would be so much easier if it was all on the computer instead of just the case file numbers and their location in the Archives.
Not that I minded going to the archives, I enjoyed seeing Mrs. Vega but she hadn’t been on duty – it was Saturday after all and she and the Vega’s had their weekly eat at Mom’s dinner where she cooked all day. It was her one day off during the week. I envied the Scrin, they got a day off during the week. Hunters didn’t. We got off when the case was over, and until the next one started. For some, it was weeks to even months of do nothing time.
I couldn’t sit still that long, so Dae’lin had a backlog of cases for me to look at between assignments. Some of them were cold cases, some of them were on going, some of them were even solved. But Dae’lin was diligent in making sure all her is were dotted and her ts crossed so I checked over to make sure there wasn’t something bigger going on.
Saturday night I took a break and went to see Armande. He was a blind vampire who ran a safe house in Harlem. His safe house wasn’t just for vampires in need of sanctuary, but any supernatural creature who wanted a safe judgement free place to lay low. It was under Il Cane’s protection and Armande was her conduit. He was an old vampire, like dawning of mankind old. He was one of The First vampires ever embraced. But he wasn’t powerful enough to be a master much less rule his own bloodline.
But Armande was a good man. He helped those who needed helping and he kept the Harlem vampires in line by sheer force of will. He had eyes and ears everywhere and if you bit a human you weren’t supposed to he knew, and Il Cane or one of her ilk would hunt you down dead. New York City was run with an iron fist. But unlike pack, the vampires didn’t have to check in. The relatively low vampiric crime rate drew vampires here like crazy – most figuring that the city had to be teaming with ripe humans to take out that no one would notice them. They learned the hard way and those were the ones the Venatori hunted down and killed. So much for not noticing.
Armande sat in his arm chair facing the boarded up window like he was watching the sun set. “I smelled you coming from a mile away.”
“Are you that hungry?” I asked playfully from the doorway.
Armande laughed, “You are the vampire’s bacon, Feras.” He said lovingly, caressing the slur to soften the blow. He meant it only in the nicest of ways. Most of my so called contacts called me Feras lovingly. It was their way of showing respect while showcasing the fact I was still Venatori.
“Great I’m fatty and delicious.” I smirked. “I’ll agree to half that. Though no one can resist bacon.” And in that statement I was holding out my wrist for Armande.
He was one of two vampires I fed on a regular basis. Armande bit into my wrist with a sharp pin prick followed by an intense rush of lust and desire that in seconds toned down to something enjoyable, more like a soft kiss than all out good fucking – which was how Ant always bit me. He had no choice, he wasn’t in control of the incubus side of his nature. One of the side effects of being born to an embraced vampire.
Armande released my wrist and I felt the marks on my wrist heal almost instantaneously. I rarely had to apply elements to those small marks now, they sort of just happened. Like my entire body willed those elements there. But it didn’t work on my night time visitor’s lashes I had to do that on my own. At least I wasn’t scarring anymore than I already was.
He licked his lips and smiled at me. It was creepy with my blood on his lips. He knew it too. “What can I do for you today?”
“Tell me about any dragons in your neighborhood.”
“Dragons…” Armande stood up and paced back and forth in front of the boarded up window. “I have one here, but he keeps to himself. His neighbors complain about the smell. I don’t know what kind of dragon he is but he puts off an awful odor.”
“Dragons tend to smell like the kind of dragon they are. Usually something burning, burnt or just about to burn.”
Armande nodded, “Definitely smells like that.”
“Anything else?” I asked.
Armande pace increased with each step, soon it was just a blurred moment across the window. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned to me. “There are rumblings. But nothing more than more dragons in town than ever before.”
I nodded. “How are the babies all doing?”
Armande smiled, “Wonderfully well. I had to send one to Il Cane to relocate. He refused to follow the rules and I was tired of dodging your father.”
I smirked. “My father thinks the vampires are being incited by someone or something. More so than usual.”
“You mean like someone is deliberately bringing them here to cause problems?”
“Or just pushing them to do something they shouldn’t.”
Armande put his pale hand to his chin and rubbed the stubble that no longer grew. Hair and nails no longer grew once you became undead contrary to popular belief. They are no longer the corpses of their human death. However it could ‘grow’ back if you cut it off. Your cells took on a property of cohesion and to heal itself those properties were all left in tact. “I have heard no rumblings, but I will get with the rest of the clans and see if they’ve heard anything.”
“I appreciate it.” I said. “It’s been a pleasure as always Armande. I have things to do. Next Friday?”
“This was the only Saturday of the year you make available for me, Feras. Why would I change now. Friday it always is.”
I grinned. “Thank you for understanding.”
“If I hear anything dire, I will send word via my Prince.”
“Lovely Armande. Thank you.” I smiled before walking out of his humble abode.