The Gryphon’s Secrets
By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: set back in the day when Angelus was… well… Angelus...
Author’s note 2: Thanks to Ralkana for saying “He's got a tattoo representing the sunrise on his back?” Many thanks to my boss, Aaron, for letting me pick his brain about tattooing techniques as well as vampire lore.
“Please – mercy! I beg you!”
“Begging? I like begging.”
Mother Catherine shrank back as he leaned over her. The chocolate eyes were lit with unholy glee at her suffering. “Please – no more – “
Angelus smiled slightly and ran a bloody fingertip over her lips. “Beg some more.”
He had seemed so sweet and angelic, a weary traveler seeking a place to rest for the night. Now she realized she had invited the devil himself inside.
She had been awakened when the door to her room crashed open…
“What do you want?” She pulled the blankets up to cover herself. “Have you lost your way?”
“Lost my way?” Angelus laughed. “Oh, I know my way quite well. Let me show you.”
The handsome face blurred and shifted into that of a demon. Amber eyes gleamed in the darkened room, and his smile revealed ivory fangs. He pulled her from her bed as she began to scream. “Save the screaming, Mother. The fun has yet to begin.”
Stumbling along, falling when she couldn’t keep up, Mother Catherine was dragged along the stone floor towards the chapel. Doors stood open along the way and she caught a glimpse of a bloodstained body within one of the rooms.
“Here we are!” Angelus pulled the abbess to her feet. “The show can’t start without you.”
In the front row, Brothers Andrew and Philip were kneeling as if in prayer. “Brother Andrew!” She twisted desperately in the vampire’s grip. “Help me!”
“Shh…” He held a finger to his lips. “You might wake them.”
Realization hit her that both men were dead. She could see now that they had been propped up as if praying, and blood was pooled around their knees. A moan caught her attention and pulled her from the macabre tableau. There was another moan as she turned toward the altar. It was the sound of someone in agony.
Blood dripped and splattered on the altar. Looking up, she cried out in shock. Father Dominic had been nailed to the cross on the wall behind the altar. Blood ran from his palms and feet. His head lolled forward and he moaned softly once again.
“Dear God, save us!” Mother Catherine screamed.
“Don’t get your hopes up, Mother.” Lifting her up, Angelus laid her on the altar. “He didn’t show up when the good father was begging for him. What chance does a mere woman have of catching his ear?”
He tore her nightdress from her, and she found the courage to struggle. “Get away, you foul monster!”
Laughing at her attempt to hit and scratch him, Angelus bound her wrists to the altar with the torn nightdress. “Enjoy the show, Mother, you’ve a fine seat.” With that cryptic remark, he turned and left the chapel, whistling a cheery tune.
She struggled and pulled at the fabric knotted around her wrists, but it was too tight. “Dear God, please help us! Save us!”
There was no answer to her prayers. The vampire returned with two frightened women. Both were crying and trying to cover their nakedness.
“Let them go!” Mother Catherine tugged desperately at her restraints. “They’re brides of God!”
“Yeah, but, rumor has it he didn’t show up for the wedding night.” Grinning, he pushed one of the women down onto the steps leading up to the altar. “Such a shame, leaving purity like this to dry up and go to waste.”
“No – no, please!” Sister Beatrice tried to crawl backwards away from him.
Crouching over her, Angelus opened his trousers. Pulling her legs apart, he forced himself between her thighs. For a moment, he savored her fear, the pounding heart, and shrieks for mercy. Nipping at her bare breasts, he lapped at her blood, sighing at the sweetening of her fear. Brutally, he forced himself inside of her.
Mother Catherine closed her eyes. Sister Beatrice’s screams echoed from the stone walls, coupled with the vampire’s grunts of animal pleasure. The screams stopped abruptly, and she opened her eyes to see his fangs buried in the other woman’s throat.
Angelus took a few sweet swallows before ripping the nun’s throat out. Getting up, he fastened his trousers. “Don’t worry, Mother, your turn will come.”
The other nun was still cowering where he’d left her. She was frozen with fear and unable to move as he approached her.
“Come on, sweetie, your turn.” He purred as he hauled the woman to her feet. She immediately fell limply back to the floor. “Come on – oh Jesus, I hate the weak ones.”
Hauling her upright once again, he twisted her head slowly until he heard her neck crunch and snap. “But I do love that sound.”
Mother Catherine sobbed in relief as he left the chapel. Her relief was short lived as he returned herding more of her charges. “Dear heavens – no!”
Sister Lucie showed the only true spirit, slapping and cursing the vampire as he pushed her down next to the body of Sister Beatrice.
Angelus laughed as the feisty woman bit his lip when he tried to kiss her. “So you want to have fun, do you, lass?” He backhanded her viciously. “Let’s have us some fun then.”
Sinking his fangs into her shoulder, he mounted her and pushed slowly inside of her until he felt her maidenhead blocking his way. When she cried out in pain, he pulled back. He repeated the move several times, prolonging the pain until it bored him. Forcing past the barrier, he pumped into her, pulling her legs up over his shoulders and pounding furiously into her until her screams bored him as well. Biting into her inner thigh, he suckled her blood as his seed gushed into her.
Getting up, he left her moaning on the floor, fastened his trousers and went to cull another of the nuns from the group.
They were huddled together, crying and sobbing. Angelus took his time looking them over. One caught his eye, and he snatched her wrist and pulled her to him before she had a chance to react.
“Please! No – no!” She sobbed.
“Shh…” He cupped a hand under her chin, tilting her head up so he could look at her. She looked fearfully at him. “Do you want to save yourself, lass?”
“Y – yes – “
“Which of you is the youngest? The purest?” When she didn’t answer, he morphed into his true face and jerked her head back to bare her throat. “Tell me!”
“Brigid! She’s the youngest!” She shrieked as his fangs left burning slices along her skin. “She is! I swear it!”
“How young?” He licked up the blood running down her throat.
“Julia! No!” Mother Catherine cried out. “You’re condemning yourself!”
“Which one?” He jerked her around to face her cowering sisters.
“Her!” She pointed out Sister Brigid. “With the blond hair!”
“Blond?” Angelus let his features change back to his handsome human face. Pushing the woman away from him, he waded into the group of crying women and caught a handful of golden hair. “Oh, God, but I do love blondes.”
“Please, sir – please no!” The girl sobbed as he pulled her to her feet.
“Leave her be, you evil creature!” Mother Catherine screamed at him.
Grabbing the first nun by the arm, he led them both to the altar. “Hold her.” He ordered as he forced Brigid to her knees.
“But – I – “
“Do you want to die after all?” Angelus laughed as the woman shook her head. There was always one willing to betray their own to save themselves. “Then hold her for me.”
The young girl tried to twist away as he stepped closer and unbuttoned his trousers once again. “No – no—“
“Hold her!” He snarled.
The other woman finally understood his intent and grasped Brigid’s head to hold her still. She closed her eyes as he pulled his male part from his trousers. She had never seen a naked man. Her mother had told her many times that male parts were evil and sinful. A sharp slap across her face made her cry out and open her eyes again.
“Watch. Watch and see what you’re saving yourself from.” Angelus rubbed the head of his cock over Brigid’s lips. Fear was wafting from her, teasing his heightened senses and feeding his desire. Forcing her lips open, he shoved his cock into her mouth.
Brigid choked and tried to pull away as the thick, cool shaft filled her mouth and hit the back of her throat. Julia’s hands held her head still as he pushed forward until the girl gagged. He pulled back and she had a moment of hope before he pushed back into her mouth once again.
Julia bit her lip and kept her head bowed, watching what the vampire was doing, afraid to look away lest she be his next victim. Brigid gagged and whimpered as he used her mouth. Behind her, Mother Catherine was praying again for God to save them.
“Look at me.”
The soft voice made her look up. The dark brown eyes were watching her, and he was panting and purring in pleasure. The beautiful face dipped down until his lips touched hers. His tongue pushed into her mouth, matching the movements of his hips.
“You’re no fun.” Disgusted at her passiveness, Angelus pushed her away. Shoving Brigid down onto her back, he mounted her roughly, tearing past her maidenhead in one hard stroke. Her scream choked off as his fangs sank into her throat and he drained her life’s blood.
Julia watched as he came for her. Blood streaked the sensuous lips and chin. She screamed and backed away. “You said you’d spare me!”
“I lied.” He grabbed a handful of her hair and jerked her to him. “I do that. Bad habit of mine.”
“Help me!” Julia struggled as he pushed against the altar. “Someone – please!”
“Didn’ya hear the good mother?” He turned her to face Mother Catherine. “She said you were condemnin’ yourself. Seems she was right.”
Cool hands cupped her ass, pulling her open, and the hard shaft pushed against her. “No – “ She cried out as he forced his way inside of her.
She screamed for a long time, and Angelus enjoyed every moment, biting into her shoulder and back anytime she stopped. The traitors were usually the cowards, and cowards tended to scream the most. Pulling her head back, he plunged his fangs into her throat as he came, sucking her dry.
“Looks like just you and me, Mother.” Pushing Julia’s dead body aside, he rested against the altar, momentarily sated. “Up for some fun?”
“You foul evil thing!” She spat. “You will surely go to Hell one day!”
“Oh… if I were human, I’d be shaking.” He laughed. “But being a demon – Hell doesn’t frighten me.”
Pulling a dagger from his boot, he slid it over her skin. “You know what frightens me? Hmm?” She jumped as he gouged the tip into her cheek. “Boredom – now that frightens me.” He dragged the point of the blade down between her breasts. Blood welled up along the trail. “You wouldn’t like me when I’m bored.”
Mother Catherine held in her pain as long as she was able. The vampire drew intricate patterns on her stomach and breasts with the blade, stopping occasionally to lick at the blood. Finally it was too much, and she screamed.
Laughing, Angelus drew a flower on her inner thigh. “Much better. I’m less bored now.” His cock hardened and throbbed as she screamed again and twisted under the knife.
“Lets add to the fun. You’re the first abbess I’ve seen – and I’ve seen more than my share, by the way – you’re the first pretty one I’ve seen. The rest of the lot were all dried up.” Dipping his head between her thighs, he nuzzled through the dark curls, licking and sucking at her. “Um… you’re not dried up at all. Let’s reward you – you deserve it.”
Shock went through her as he held her legs wide apart and licked at her. His fingers thrust inside of her and held her open for his tongue to push its way in. Never had she imagined such things could be done. He was surely a monster to do such things.
“God, I love virgin pussy!” Angelus licked his lips. “Nothing better.” Forcing his fingers in deeper, he watched her face contort in pain as he pushed at her maidenhead. “Well – actually – there’s one thing better.”
A fresh scream tore from her as he pushed a third finger inside of her and battered at the last remnants of her innocence. It tore at last, and she sobbed in relief.
“Virgin’s blood.” He lapped eagerly at the blood trickling from her, pushing his tongue deep within her to get the last of it. Licking his fingers clean, he crawled on top of the altar to kneel between her thighs. “That makes me so fucking hard. Lucky you.”
Hooking his arms under her legs, he lunged forward into her and began pumping hard. His face changed into his true face as he pounded into her with all of his strength.
Mother Catherine felt her body tear and bleed. “Please – mercy! I beg you!”
“Begging? I like begging.”
Mother Catherine shrank back as he leaned over her. The chocolate eyes were lit with unholy glee at her suffering. “Please – no more – “
Angelus smiled slightly and ran a bloody fingertip over her lips. “Beg some more.”
The room dimmed and faded, and she knew she was dying. “No.” He would show no mercy, and she was foolish to beg.
“Suit yourself then.” He shrugged. “I’m bored again.”
Pain, fresh and hot as his fangs punched into her throat. Pleasure rushed quickly behind it, and she gasped in surprise. Helplessly, she arched up to meet his final violent thrusts. He laughed at her as he came, the cool seed spurting inside of her.
Angelus got up from her and fastened up his trousers. She whimpered in frustration. “You’ll be wantin’ to confess about the lust you’re feelin’, Mother. If you live.”
Walking past the altar, he rummaged through the drawers and cabinets, pocketing gold coins and pieces of jewelry. Amazing how much the Church has. Pious and poor they preach, but rich they be.
As he turned to leave, a cloth covered stand caught his eye. Pulling the cloth off revealed an open book. It was exquisitely drawn and painted. The artist within him admired the beauty and intricate detail, while the colors appealed to his vampire senses.
The page scorched his fingertips, and he jerked back. “Damn.” It was too big to safely wrap and carry with him. Regretfully, he left the book behind.
Stopping by the chapel door, he kicked over the stand of candles into the drapes of the confessional. Flames licked at the heavy drapes as he closed and bolted the doors behind him.
Darla pouted as she brushed her hair. Angelus had disappeared, leaving her alone for three days, and now that he was back he had completely ignored her.
Tossing the brush aside, she opened the top buttons on her chemise and tugged it open to expose more of her breasts. Swaying her way across the room, she leaned on the chair he was sitting in. “Come to bed, Angelus.”
“Later.” He didn’t look up from his sketchpad.
“Angelus… dear boy…” She dropped her voice down to the husky purr he liked and leaned over to give him a good view of her pale breasts. “Come to bed, lover.”
“Darla, lass, you’re blocking me light.” He shifted away from her and continued sketching.
Moving around him, she looked at the picture he was drawing. It was of a young woman, her eyes wide with fear and her mouth open as though crying out. She was naked and sprawled on the steps in front of an altar. Anger boiled up within Darla, and she snatched the sketchpad out of his hands. Flipping the pages, she frowned at the sketches. Several were of a petite blond girl.
“Jealous?” He laughed as watched her turn the pages.
“Of that skinny little thing?” She tossed her head. “Hardly.”
“Oh, she was a tight little piece… um… “ He smiled and let his eyes drift closed. “And her mouth… “
Even knowing that he was deliberately antagonizing her didn’t help hold back her anger. Throwing the pad at him, Darla stomped back to the bed and threw herself on it.
Laughing, Angelus drew a few last strokes along the girl’s pert breasts. “There, my lovely. Now you’re perfect.”
“Oh, God! What is it with you and these drawings?” She shook her head as she pulled off her chemise. “Why did he have to be an artist? Big and handsome and fun – “
“You get the whole package, remember?” The reminder of the human soul who owned his body before him rankled. “He wasn’t an artist. No vision – no passion.”
“But he was fun.” She threw her stockings at him.
Ignoring his petulant sire, Angelus turned to a clean page and sketched out the picture he’d seen in the book. After a moment, he rubbed out the Celtic circles and focused on the gryphon. The coyly turned head and graceful wing took shape in sure strokes. When he was done, he added a stylized “A” between the gryphon’s forelegs.
Putting aside the pad, he rose and went to the bed. Darla had burrowed under the velvet spread and was pretending to sleep. Stripping his clothes off, he crawled under the covers after her.
“Stop it!” She slapped his hands away.
“Thought you wanted me to come to bed, lass?” He nipped at her shoulder.
“Changed my mind.” She giggled as he slid his hand along her hip. “I’m quite sleepy now.”
“Let’s see if I can wake you up.” Pulling her onto her back, he cupped her breasts together and buried his face in the soft mounds.
Laughing, Darla tangled her fingers into his thick hair and held his head to her as he suckled and nipped at her breasts.
“Just something I want to take a look at.” Angelus kissed Darla’s pouting lips. “Quick bit of research.”
“I’m hungry.” She flounced through the doorway and into the shop.
“We’ll eat soon.” He promised.
“We’re closing.” The shopkeeper took in the cut of their clothes. “But if there’s something you need, sir?”
“Just a bit of research.” Angelus affected the bored air of a rich nobleman. “Something caught my fancy.”
“Of course, sir.” The man bobbed his head. “We have a fine selection. What’s caught milord’s attention? Horses? Do –“
“Mythology? Of course!” A smile covered his face. Mythology and the zodiac were popular with the ton these days. Load of crap. Luckily, he could charge practically anything and say the books were rare and hard to come by. “Charting your destiny, sir?”
“My destiny?” Angelus smirked. “Hardly. I’m interested in mythical creatures.”
“How exciting, sir.” Turning, the shopkeeper bustled back into the rows of books until he found the section on mythology. “Here you are, sir. The finest selection in London.”
Running his fingertips over the leather spines, Angelus pulled a slim volume out. Leafing through the book, he found a section on gryphons. “Have you any others? With more details?”
“Details, sir?” He asked cautiously. Many of the younger nobles were into the dark arts, but he had to be careful.
“This is a child’s book.” He shoved it back onto the shelf. “Something for empty headed women and children. I need something with more substance.”
“Ah… I see…” The man looked at where Darla was browsing through the selection of fiction. “I do have other books, sir. Of a… darker nature, if you like.”
“The darker the better, my good man.”
“This way then, sir.” He led Angelus deeper into the shop. “Here we are then.” He selected a volume from the shelf.
“Galfridus’ Bestiary?” Angelus ran his fingers over the leather bound cover. A tingle of power teased his fingertips. “A rare volume.”
“Indeed, sir.” The man mentally counted the coins from this sale. Obviously the gentleman was a man of taste. “I do have another book as well that you might be interested in.” He unlocked a cabinet below the shelf.
The black book the man lifted out fairly sizzled with power to Angelus’ heightened senses. Carefully, he took the book. The title was in Latin. Egidus’ Demonkind.
“If you’re interested in the dark arts, sir, this is your book.” The man kept his carefully schooled expression from revealing his true feelings. Empty headed twits! Prancing about in robes and deflowering virgins and drinking each other’s blood. Silly fools the lot of them! “They say you can summon demons to do your bidding with this book.”
“Do they?” The fool obviously had no idea what he had here. “Do you believe in demons?”
“I – “ The dark eyes suddenly unnerved him. There was a gleam that reminded him of his wife’s tom cat when he’d cornered a mouse. “Well – there are – “
“Oh, yes, there are.” A cruel smile curled the sensuous mouth. “There are indeed.”
A chill shook his bones, and he backed away. “If you want the book – take it.”
“Oh, I will.” Smirking, Angelus followed him as he backed away.
Turning to run, the bookseller found himself facing Darla. She had crept silently around the shelves to box him in. Her face morphed into that of the demon within her. “Please – no – I have a family!”
“Do you have children?” She sighed. “I just love children.”
Pushing her aside, the frightened man ran for the doorway at the back of the shop. Darla caught him before he got there. Twisting his head back, she plunged her fangs into his throat. He cried out and sagged against her.
Coming up behind them, Angelus dipped his head down and latched onto the other side of the man’s neck. His free hand caught Darla’s hip and pulled her back to grind himself against her.
When the man was drained, Angelus lifted his lips to Darla's, his tongue pushing into her cool mouth to share the sweet taste of their victim. Laying the books on a nearby shelf, he lifted the man’s body in his arms.
Darla followed him to the door leading into the shopkeeper’s home. She knocked frantically. “Help! Please help!”
They heard running steps and the door was jerked open. A plump woman stood there, her face flushed. “What is it?” She saw her husband in Angelus’ arms. “Harold? Dear Lord, what happened?”
“Thieves.” Darla held a hand to her chest. “They attacked him!”
“Bring him in, please!” The bookseller’s wife practically dragged Angelus inside. “Do hurry! Will he be alright?”
“’Fraid not, missus.” He dropped the man’s body. She shrieked and backed away as his features changed to reveal his ridged forehead and amber eyes.
He let her run, knowing that in her mindless panic, she would lead them straight to her children. Bowing gallantly, he let Darla proceed up the stairs ahead of him.
The woman was holding a crying child in one arm while trying to open a window with the other hand. She shrieked again as they came into the room and struggled frantically with the locked window shutters.
“Oh, what a lovely little boy.” Darla purred. “I do so love little boys.”
“Get back!” She clutched the boy tightly and he whimpered in fear.
Pushing the woman into Angelus’ arms, Darla easily pulled the child away from her. “Come to Darla, sweetie.”
The boy was perhaps six years old, and he screamed in terror as her face changed and she grinned, displaying sharp fangs. He kicked and struggled in her arms as she kissed his face and neck.
Holding the mother against his chest, Angelus nuzzled her cheek, breathing in the intoxicating scent of her fear as she watched his sire hover over her child’s exposed throat.
Sliding his fangs over the woman’s neck, he lapped at the blood that seeped from the shallow cuts. Her terror increased as Darla bit into the boy’s neck and he cried out in pain.
Sobbing, the woman struggled against Angelus’ hold. “Please – he’s only a child! Please!”
Laughing, he nipped her cheek, drawing blood that flowed down her face and neck. The scent of fear and blood aroused him, and he wished the woman were more attractive. Ripping open the front of her dress, he snarled in disappointment. “Teats like a cow.” He settled for another nip at her cheek.
Only after the child was drained and dead did Angelus allow himself to feed. Groaning at the hot sweet burst of fear as her blood filled his mouth, he growled and ripped deeper into her throat, searching for the artery.
Hands rubbed his back and hips, and Darla's soft body pressed against him. Dropping the drained body, he turned and grabbed Darla in a fierce grip.
Shoving her against the wall, he pushed her skirts up and impatiently jerked his trousers open. She was wet and ready as he shoved his cock inside of her. They were both warm with stolen blood and he growled in pleasure as her pussy gripped him.
“My boy… my sweet boy…” She loved it when Angelus was rough with her. When she’d seen him, brawling and flirting in that small inn, she’d known he’d be powerful and eager. Pulling his shirt open, she sank her fangs deep into his shoulder, making him grunt and pump harder into her.
Tugging at the bodice of her dress, he opened it and nuzzled her breasts through the silk chemise. Her fingers tangled in his hair, pushing his face into the plump mounds as she arched up to meet him. Biting into one of her soft breasts, Angelus growled at the power of his sire’s blood. He could never get enough of it; if he could, he would drain her dry.
When they were finished, they shared another kiss, mingling the taste of their victims’ blood with each other’s. Straightening their clothing, they went back downstairs and into the shop.
Angelus picked up the two books he’d laid aside and stopped to see what else was in the cabinet the shopkeeper had unlocked. The other books were harmless books on rituals and rites, mostly pornographic in nature. One slim volume of spells tickled his fingers with power, and he pocketed it.
Taking a lamp from the wall, he poured the oil along the floor and over the books stacked on the tables by the door.
Darla was hugging several books to her chest. He smiled down at her. “Did you find something, love?”
“A couple of risqué romances, and the latest book by the Marquis de Sade.”
“de Sade?” He snorted. “All he does is see how many different combinations a person can do.”
“Some of those combinations are very interesting.” She licked her lips. “We might want to try some.”
“I’m not interested in fucking some man’s ass while he fucks you.” He shook his head. “Where’s the fun in that?”
“That might be fun to watch.” She smiled up at him. “But there are other things that might be fun.”
“Come on with you then.” He waved her out the door. “Let’s go home and take a look.” Taking another lamp from the wall, he tossed it into the shop and closed the door. The flames licked up the fuel as Angelus and Darla walked away.
“Very nice.” The fence ran a yellow finger over the spell book. “I have a witch who’s in the market for something like this.”
Angelus lounged back in his chair while the fence went through the items he’d brought in from the abbey and the bookseller. Darla had refused to come to the shop. For a former whore, she was quite snobbish. Unlike his sire, he had no qualms about looting his victims' houses for valuables. He preferred a comfortable lifestyle, and more and more people were locking their money away in banks instead of keeping it at home.
“All of these will do, Angelus.” The demon smiled, revealing double rows of teeth. “You should work for me. You do have an eye for it.”
‘Thank you, no, Milgrim.” The vampire shook his head. “’Tis only a hobby. I much prefer to be footloose and fancy free.”
“I remember those days.”
“The necklace there – “ He pointed to an emerald and gold necklace in a nearby case. “It’d look right pretty on Darla.”
“They’re merely emeralds, no magical value.” Milgrim shrugged. “I’ll throw it in.”
Watching the fence count out the coins, Angelus noticed black markings on the inside of the demon’s wrist. “What’s that on your arm there?”
“This?” Milgrim pulled up his sleeve to reveal an intricate tattoo. “Just had it done. A charm to help sharpen my wits.”
“Where did you get such a thing?” The design was intriguing. Tattooing was almost as popular with demon kind as humans but many, including vampires, could not keep a tattoo. Their bodies rejected the ink.
“A tattooist – calls himself Lord Comer – he’s developed an ink that won’t fade.” Milgrim rubbed a finger over the tattoo. “He’s pricy but worth it. He reads you to see if the design you want suits you.”
“Some kind of natural ability.” The fence shrugged. “He may’ve had the sight before he was turned.”
“A vampire, then?” Angelus asked. “Not some hocus pocus witch?”
“The ink is magical but only so it’ll stay under the skin.” Milgrim pulled his sleeve back down. “I tested it before I got mine done. For all that I use magic, I don’t trust it.”
“I hear you.” Angelus took the bag of coins offered to him and pocketed it along with the necklace. “People get to playing with magic – who knows what they can do to a body?”
“Might even be able to make you a nice guy?” Laughing, Milgrim slapped Angelus on the back.
“No spell could do that.” Angelus laughed. “That’d take a miracle.”
“Hmm… your skin is perfect. Smooth, no scarring.”
Darla watched jealously as Lord Comer ran a hand over Angelus’ bare back. She had argued with him from the moment he had told her what he intended to do. The only reason she was here was to try to talk him out of ruining his beautiful skin one last time. “Angelus.”
“Have you fed recently?” The tattooist asked.
“No, not since early yesterday.” Angelus shook his head. “Milgrim said I shouldn’t.”
“Bleeding?” Darla bristled. “I thought you were going to put some kind of paint on him.”
“The ink is pushed into the skin with a needle.” He took the drawing Angelus had done. “This suits you.”
“I thought so.” Angelus grinned. “A bit of irony in it.”
“Not at all.” Lord Comer looked at Angelus. “The duality will be more than simply demon and man. And you will come to crave the treasure of the sun.”
The other vampire was obviously daft. “Crave the sun? Only if I feel the urge to burn and die.”
“Angelus, let’s leave.” Darla took his arm. “He’s crazy.”
“What I see will happen whether you get the tattoo or not.” The tattooist shrugged. “I only see – I can’t change.”
Looking at the drawing, Angelus wondered for a moment if there was something in the way the gryphon was turned demurely away. It was as if the creature knew something but wasn’t telling. Bah! ‘Tis only a drawing! “I want it done. To hell with what you think you see.”
“Angelus!” Darla stamped her foot as he lay down on the cloth covered table. “This is foolish! You’re marking your beautiful skin for nothing!”
“Darla, love…” Angelus rested his head on his crossed arms. “Shut up.”
“Shut up? Shut up? Ooh!” She glared at him. “Fine! Perhaps I’ll get one of these tattoos! Put it where you’ll see it every night!”
“You haven’t the skin for it.” Lord Comer took a long look at her. “Pores are too big, and you had syphilis.”
“What!” She hated any reminder of her painful human illness.
“It almost killed you, and it will again.” He turned away and sat down on a stool next to the table Angelus lay on.
Darla stood gaping at the vampire for a long moment before she flounced over to sit on the edge of the bed.
With a clean cloth, the tattooist washed the skin over Angelus’ right shoulder blade. Although the majority of his clients were demonkind, he continued to practice his art in the same meticulous manner that he had done when he was alive.
Drying the area, he took quill and ink and carefully outlined the gryphon. When he was satisfied with the result, he picked up a small ivory needle from the tray next to him and dipped it into the bowl of ink. With a small ivory hammer, he began tapping the ink into Angelus’ skin.
The needle stung, but not unbearably so. Milgrim had warned him about the pain, and Angelus had fortified himself with a wee nip or three of whiskey.
Darla watched as the design slowly took shape. Occasionally Lord Comer would blot away the beads of blood with a clean rag. She licked her lips; she would much rather lick the blood off Angelus’ skin herself.
Drawn by the scent of blood, she moved to stand by Angelus. She reached a fingertip to the drops of blood and the tattooist smacked her knuckles with the hammer. “Ouch!”
Angelus laughed as she growled and sucked her bruised hand. “Now, love, look what your mother got for grabbing.”
“This is stupid. Marking your perfect skin.”
“You wouldn’t understand, being what you are and all.”
“Being what I am?” She hissed. “And what is that? A whore?”
“No, love.” He laughed again. “A woman. I can’t expect you to understand some things.”
“I understand enough.” Though true, his comment stung. Her mother had been a whore, and she had become one as well once the Madam had judged her old enough to work and had auctioned off her virginity to the highest bidder. “I can read and even do some math.”
“Of course, dear.” Angelus smirked. “’Tisn’t your fault your weren’t educated. Even my sister Kathy would’ve grown up with just enough schooling to snag herself a husband.”
“You didn’t have a sister.” It was her turn to smirk. He hated being reminded of his human past as much as she did. It was delicious to catch him when he slipped up. “Liam did. He was such a lovely boy…”
“Fine then!” He snarled. “I won’t tell you!”
Pleased at getting a reaction from him, Darla smiled and ran a fingertip over his cheek. “Tell me.”
He could never stay angry with her. “The gryphon symbolizes the duality of nature, and that would be me. Human yet not. A demon in human form.”
“A beautiful form.” She licked her lips again as she gazed over his naked back.
“And it also symbolizes the treasure of the sun.”
“The sun?” Frowning, she looked at the design that was taking shape on his back. The creature seemed to smirk at her. “You can’t go out in the sun.”
“I know!” Angelus laughed at her dumbfounded expression. “That’s why it’s on my back! Turning my back on the sun – do ya see?”
“I don’t understand you.” Rolling her eyes, she moved back to the bed and sat down again. On the other side of the thin wall, one of Gertie’s whores noisily entertained a paying customer. “I swear, Angelus, some day you’ll be the death of me.”
Lord Comer smiled slightly as he colored in the gryphon’s eye.
Angelus chuckled again and closed his eyes. The stinging was pleasant and combined with the scent of blood and sex, he could feel himself growing aroused. Maybe he’d get himself one of Gertie’s girls. He’d heard she had a few of those green skinned Ohrhian girls. In their dimension they were bred for sex, and rumor had it they could fuck a vampire half to death.
I’ll get rid of Darla… He smiled as he planned how to rid himself of his jealous sire for a few hours.
On his back, the gryphon kept her secrets to herself.
The Gryphon's Secrets ~ Angel
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