• It was only a few weeks after my initiation that the peace in Longview was broken. It was night time when a messenger burst into the dining room and moved quickly to my father's side. He leaned in and spoke into my father's ear in rushed whispers. Dad nodded a few times and mouthed a quick reply before standing and placing his napkin upon the table. He cleared his throat, presumably for an announcement.

    I put down my fork, lamenting that my favorite dinner, spaghetti with real, swedish meatballs, would be interrupted. All eyes were upon my father when he began speaking. His presence is just that commanding.

    "Vampires of the court, it seems our protectorate, the humans of this city, require our aid! Several of them have gone missing over the course of several nights and we have been called upon by Dr. Lucovny to investigate." This caught my attention. It seemed that Luc was not only a friend of my father's, but a high-ranking mortal ally of the court. "As you know, any threat to the humans is a threat to our livelihood. If we are to continue to prosper, it is in our best interests to protect the mortals who provide us with the sustenance we require. It is to that end that I am enlisting the help of every adult male vampire in this situation." He paused to call out several names and request their assistance. Each vampire responded to my father's call by standing and announcing their dedication to fighting off this threat.

    At the end of the list, I stood with my brethren. "I will also go, my king. I am half-human and if not for humans, I would not be here. I wish to defend them with you, father." My Dad considered me for a moment. He met my eyes and for a long time neither of us said a word. Finally, he nodded his assent.

    "I would be honored to have your assistance, my son," he said gently. He turned to address the assembled men. "Men, don the proper attire, for we will go hunting this night."

    At that, the males headed off in different directions, presumably to their quarters in the compound to change into something more appropriate for fighting. My own formal attire would not be most suited for fighting, so I, too headed for my room to change into some dark jeans and camo t-shirt. I stowed my hunting knife on my leg and headed downstairs to the courtyard, where my father had also changed into camouflage hunting pants and an elaborate jacket, along with combat boots. He too, was wearing his hunting knife as well as a machete on his belt and a sidearm in a chest rig. I let out a short whistle and Sher Khan, my tiger and the closest thing I've ever had to a brother, bounded up as if he had been waiting for my signal. I and the cat joined the throng following Dad.

    "Men, it seems there are some vampires in the region who believe they can feed upon any humans they desire. We must dissuade them of this notion. But they are still our brethren, and we will not slay them out of spite. We shall offer them the protection of the court, and should they deign our invitation, we will give them yet another chance to leave without violence. Our spies have already completed reconnaissance of the warehouse the rogue vampires are using as a hideout. The humans are still very much alive, and our first objective is to evacuate them safely. " My father picked a few names, pointing to each male, and assigning them to team Alpha, the team tasked with the safety of the human hostages. Then, he selected two of his lieutenants to accompany him into negotiations with the enemy. Finally, every other male, which included me, comprised Team Beta, who would provide backup to both Team Alpha and my father's three-man team. Every male there, including myself, nodded and saluted my father in the vampire fashion, with a baring of the throat

    I rode with my father, Sher, and his two lieutenants, Davidson and Morris, the latter of whom was driving. We crossed the city and arrived in the industrial district of the city within minutes. Team Alpha assembled without hesitancy, circling around the warehouse and as I got out of the SUV with Sher at my heels, Team Beta was drifting behind Dad's team, who entered the warehouse after a brief knock and exchange of words. It grew silent outside, and vampires all around me grew tense. Davidson and Morris were the most capable of us all, when it came to defense, and they wouldn't allow harm to come to my father so long as they were breathing, but they were only two men. There was nothing to be done for it but to wait. A few of the males took to cleaning or sharpening their weapons. I found Sher's shoulder with one hand and kept my grip upon his fur. My eyes stayed on the door my father had entered. No sound made it out to us for several long moments. Suddenly, several gunshots rang out and that was when everything happened.

    Team Beta forged toward the door, only to find Morris flinging it open, followed by my father and Davidson. Suddenly, two hands grabbed onto Davidson and pulled him back, to which my father replied by drawing his sidearm and pointing it at the rogue vampire assaulting Davidson. He aimed, but his motions were too delayed. He had lost a clear shot at the vamp, who was using Davidson as a shield. A surge of the rogues swept over my father and more gunshots erupted from the warehouse. All of Team Beta pushed to get into the warehouse, past Morris, but there were literally twenty or so vampires between me and the door. My Dad was in there and I couldn't afford to waste time getting in. I rushed around the horde and found a weak patch in the thin sheet metal to kick in. Once I'd made a hole big enough to fit through I shouldered my way in and found a sword coming down at my head. I screamed in alarm and suddenly the sword halted as it's wielder recognized me. One of our own vamps. He grabbed my hand and helped me wiggle through. "My Dad!" I screamed at him, over the noise. "Did you see him?" He shook his head in the negative. I looked over my shoulder to find Sher pushing through the gap as well, though he needed no assistance.

    I cast a frantic look around and saw no sign of my Dad. So, I drew my hunting knife and leaped at a rogue vampire facing away from me, his pale skin shining with the luster of direct feeding, making him the perfect target. I drew the blade across his throat, drawing a short spurt of blood from his throat. It wasn't a killing blow, by any means. It would really only incapacitate a well-fed vampire for a short time, but it was enough to start clearing a path through the mob. Sher leaped over to pounce on the next pale vampire, thereby saving one of our own vampires, locked in a grapple with the enemy. Freed, he nodded his thanks to me and surged through the crowd.

    I sliced the throat of that vamp as well, and Sher and I weaved through the fight, seeing our overwhelming numbers count for something as our side seemed to be winning. As I neared one side of the warehouse, I could pick out the familiar loud bark of my fathers Desert Eagle and I pushed in that direction with force. Sher and I arrived on the fight to find my father outnumbered and separated from Davidson. I shouted a quick order to Sher to attack the farthest vamp from us, the one closest to my Dad. I took out another one, allowing my father to shoot down the last one flanking him. "They've got Davidson somewhere in here! I've got to rescue him!" I nodded in assent. I owed Davidson at least that much for defending my Dad. I was all for a rescue.

    As he looked for a sign of where to begin, I noticed several pale vampire corpses with shattered skulls and dark blood spilling out from them, which explained the gunshots I heard from my father's sidearm. He had taken out quite a few of them when we had arrived, but run out of ammo in the clip, in the middle of the reloading of the spare clip, which had given him enough time to finish the reload and off the final vamp. Suddenly, he pointed towards the wall perpendicular to the door. "Over there!" he shouted to me. I jerked my head down affirmatively and took up one side of him with Sher falling in on Dad's other flank. Sher is a good tiger.

    We surged into the crowd again, on the way to rescue Davidson.

    To be continued...