These are the final nights of this world and of the existence of Liam David Flannery.
That would be me.
So, for whomever or whatever may read this after it’s over (probably no one), allow me to set the stage.
Of our original five that battled the Antediluvian Tzimisce in New Orleans and survived, only Ethan, “Eric” and myself remain. We now find ourselves somewhere in Europe. Granite the gargoyle and Caden or “Cowboy” or whatever he liked to be called, are gone. They have accepted the offer made by the spirit Antheliose, manifested also as the red star-like object in the sky we vampires call “Wormwood”. He tells them (and later Ethan and I separately) that he is here to destroy Gaia’s physical form so that she might be reborn from the “ash and flame” as part of some ongoing cycle of renewal. In other words, he’s here to destroy the Earth and rebuild it.
Anthelios offers those he contacts an escape into the deep umbra from which they may return to receive a sort of do-over or “rebirth” on the reformed Earth. It’s a second chance to live their lives over. Ethan rejected his offer as it meant he would return as a mortal to a world that had no vampires in it to embrace him again. He says he likes what he is and would rather die as a vampire. I, even more foolishly, took too long to decide out of distrust and missed my shot at a second life, a new chance to get it right. Now, like Ethan and anyone else who either never received Anthelios’ offer or rejected it, I am doomed to meet my death along with this world. My soul, instead of being reborn into a new mortal life, will go to judgement. It begs the question though: Do I really deserve a do over? I struggle against the apathy of the beast to answer this question honestly. After all the lives I’ve taken, the horror I’ve wrought, perhaps a single lifetime of death and destruction constitutes enough damage.
Regardless, the question is now moot as I’ve missed my window. The only hope for my immortal soul now is to escape the curse of Cain before the end and my inevitable death and judgement. This I’ve learned from the Antediluvian Tremere who has joined us in facing the end times. From him, I’ve learned that if Cain can be found and convinced to repent and accept salvation, his curse will be lifted and he will be allowed to die a mortal death, his soul cleansed and at peace. When his curse is lifted, we will all cease to be vampires and become human again. At which point we will share in Cain’s fate to meet the end of the world as mortals, the disposition of our souls our own individual concern.
Toward that end, Tremere has made me a sort of walking divining rod to locate Cain. He did this with a ritual that apparently involved gouging out my eyes, replacing them with gems then splashing his blood on my face which healed me but left me blind in my left eye which seems conspicuously absent and covered over by flesh. I am able to see, sort of, from my right which is replaced by a diamond like gem. My vision is somewhat distorted (though not nearly as bad as my face) but I can now, apparently, track Cain.
So, now here we all are, Tremere, Ethan, Eric and myself trotting off like Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, The Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion (but without all the singing), in search of the one vampire none of us should ever want to meet. All in hopes that he hasn’t gone to the beast and can be reasoned with.
The others seem to grasp the gravity of the situation we all face and seem to want this to succeed if possible. Yet I can’t help but wonder why Ethan is tagging along. If we succeed in this long shot, we face our final end as mortals. It’s something he’s strongly against. What is he expecting to happen? What is his plan?