The entire room sat in silence. Mikhail looked up and blurted out loudly, “Today’s failure wasn’t ours, it was the Bishop’s!” The others turned their attention to him as if he’d just stated the most outrageous blaspheme imaginable. “It was he who failed to tell us about Raleigh being Ilfariun! It was he who failed to tell us that Surand would interfere!” Mikhail stood up and pounded his fist on the table. “There is absolutely no reason why we should put ourselves on the line for his cause! What if what the Seducer said was true? What if…w..what if…” Mikhail clutched his chest and his face turned into a look of pain and shock. The others stood up and took a step back from him as he fell backwards into his chair, his entire body becoming a simple cloud of ash as it came into contact with the wood.
Their eyes began to dart around the room frantically but no one could be seen. Fear set in on the group as they each awaited a feeling they couldn’t begin to imagine build up within their chest. Instead they heard a silent, calm voice.
“Calm yourselves. Mikhail was correct. Tonight’s mishap is on my head. However, insubordination is still unacceptable.” The Bishop stepped into the room wearing his typical hooded cloak. The remaining three Ancients all looked to him, the terror still evident in their eyes. The Bishop moved to the chair that was set out for him and took a seat. He held out a gloved hand and motioned for them to sit. He acted as if he had done nothing. More out of fear than obedience, the others sat. The Bishop looked to each of them before beginning.
“I offer you my apologies for the loss of your friends and my guarantee that their loss will not be in vain. Things are not as out of hand as you may believe.”
“Not out of hand!?”, Jonolan began. “There are two Divines chasing after us! Until this all happened, I was under the impression they didn’t even exist anymore! How in God’s name can we hope to survive against them?”
“Luring out the Divine vampires has been part of my little coup from the beginning.”
Domick was astounded. “You’re insane! What in Hell made you think you could control even one of them?”
“I have studied everything about them since the first Gathering.”
“The first Gathering?” Alexander asked. “That was nearly 2,000 years ago.”
The Bishop nodded. “Yes. And it was decided then that all records of the Divines would be gathered and destroyed. My Patron was one of the ones chosen to aid in that process.”
Jonolan was now very interested. “Why was that decision made? Knowing about them would help our kind become better. It would help us return to being what we were meant to be.”
“That is why. It was decided that our kind had no business ruling over the humans. The eldest of the time decreed that we were better suited in the shadows. Even then, I had difficulty trying to accept being a dirty little secret in a world we were created to destroy.”
“Destroy?”, Jonolan asked. “I thought you wanted to rule the humans.”
“I do. You see…the Divines have no need to feed. Not unless they are injured. So you see, it is entirely conceivable for them to simply destroy. We, on the other hand, must feed. If we destroy, we die out.”
Domick ran his fingers through his hair. “Okay…so what did you learn from what you were meant to destroy?”
“I learned that Tze Dah and Drakél are the plague. Surand and Ilfariun are simply the guard.”
“What do you mean?”, Alexander asked. “I thought they were all four a part of the Plague of Plagues.”
“The Messenger says something…anything…and if the Deliverer hears it, he can and does make it happen. It doesn’t matter what Tze Dah says, Drakél is obligated to bring it to fruition. Ilfariun and Surand are nothing more than their guard, so to speak. They were to make sure that their brothers came together unharmed.”
Jonolan reached up and wiped sweat from his forehead. “The very thought of such a thing is more horrifying than anything I’ve seen from the other two. They could unmake the world.”
“Yes…and Ilfariun and Surand were aware of that. They attacked their brothers shortly after they came together as a group and became aware of that possibility. They drained them of their blood and took them to the exact opposite sides of the earth. Surand buried Drakél deep beneath the ice of what came to be known as the South Pole. Ilfariun did the same with Tze Dah at the North Pole. They spent the next several centuries keeping their brothers from being awakened by every vampire with the desire to fulfill the promises of the Plague. Eventually, under the ruse of an organized ‘Gathering’, Ilfariun and Surand, while keeping their identities concealed, orchestrated the destruction of every written document containing information concerning them or their brothers. Afterwards, they destroyed the majority of the world’s Ancients eliminating not only their own history, but everyone who knew about it. Nothing was left but lore and legends.”