Chapter LXV: BreakoutI had heard them coming when I had stepped back through the embalming room and up the stairs.
'Pull the fucking sword!'
I had heard him say the words, had readied the shotgun. The vampire looked at me for a split second as the bookcase swung open, a split second before his head exploded, the body collapsing in on itself. I smiled, stepping over the pile of ash as the second vampire charged towards me, hands outstretched. He moved quickly, closing the gap, and I was reminded of the Sabbat vampire pouncing on Nines. I didn't bother with the snappy dialogue when the vampire looked down at the gun pressed into his chest, I just pulled the trigger, watching the body fly through the air to shatter against the bookcase.
I had needed to leave the Sarcophagus down in the tomb, unable to get it out alone. I couldn't think too much, however, with the battlefield I had stepped into. Some ghouls had managed to escape; I noticed one feasting on Mira, her face forever contorted into a look of horror, the ghoul huddled over her stomach, forcing her intestines into its mouth. As I walked past, I put my boot-heel through its head, leaving the body quivering in a pool of rot and slime. The rest of the ghouls had been put down messily, amongst the bodies of several human guards. The large double doors that had previously been guarded were thrown open, another pair of ultra-pale vampires moving with abnormal speed, one to my left, one to my right. They circled me, smiling vicious smiles, their eyes devoid of life, devoid of emotion. Where the Nosferatu were hideous, the Tmizce alien, the Gangrel feral, the Giovanni were...dead. They gave the term of the dead that walked amongst the living to a near literal level.
'You picked the wrong night to gatecrash', one said smiling, cracking his knuckles.
I ignored the jibe, firing at him with the shotgun. He moved quickly out of the way, the spray hitting the wall, causing the plaster to crumble. The other vampire pulled out a gun, a large Desert Eagle, and took aim at me. The weapon may have been useful against humans, but it was too slow, too large, to be of much use against a vampire. I ducked out of his range, taking the katana from its sheath in one quick motion, the blade flickering in the light as it severed the arm at the elbow, the finger still poised over the trigger. The vampire gave a scream as he looked at the severed limb, which cut off abruptly as the blade moved again, cutting his face in half. The body burst into flame, crumbling, as I turned to catch the other vampires fist with my jaw, sending me sprawling. He spat at me, walking forwards. Overly-confident. He grunted as the first spray from the shotgun caught him in the stomach, blood pulsing from the wound. He was a big bastard though, and ignored the pain to march forward, taking another blast to the abdomen. This one paused him, clutching a hand to the mess of organs that was beginning to spill from the massacre that was his torso. A final shot, and his faced took on a puzzled, then horrified expression as the top half of his body collapsed backwards with the sound of snapping bone. As he disintegrated, I stepped into the boardroom. A solitary vampire sat at the head of the board table, a polished, refined looking man in a black suit with a red shirt. He tapped a bejewelled finger on the tabletop, looking at me as a man would look at a cavorting monkey.
'You come into my house, and you trash the place. The young hopefuls, well, they're all dead. Doesn't matter much to the Giovanni. Would've been dead anyway, but there's not a lot we can use to bring 'em back now. And Nadia. I hate to shoot the messenger, but her news wasn't too good.' The vampire known as Bruno threw her severed head on the table, the blood pooling where it rolled, some of the blood splattering across my face. I watched the man, not bothering to wipe away the blood. The vampire stood angrily, slamming his hand down so hard on the desk that the wood splintered.
'DO YOU LOOK LIKE A FUCKING ROSSELLINI?', he bellowed, looking at me with fury. 'Damn broad showing you the fucking tomb. You are you, you bastard. One of LaCroix's trained apes? Come for the Sarcophagus? It's ours now. Giovannis. No Tremere fuck is going to take it away from us.'
He sneered, looking at me.
'You fucking apostate magicians. How fucking dare you say you're of the blood. Our line, it goes back a thousand years. You, you fucking whelp, born yesterday from a line born the day before.' He moved quickly, standing in front of me, his hand gripping my throat as he lifted me in the air, squeezing. The vision in my remaining eye went red, my head pounding.
'You don't deserve the blood. I'd like to get rid of your kind, one whore at a time.' He continued to squeeze, my mind becoming cloudy. Slowly, I raised the shotgun, firing into his chest.
We sprawled in opposite directions, me crashing onto the table, blood spraying out of my mouth with the impact, he hitting the wall, sliding down, leaving a smear of crimson. I pushed myself up off the table, raising the shotgun and firing again. Bruno was no longer there. I felt the impact, the kick to the back. Again I went sprawling, toppling over a large leather chair. Bruno picked my up by the hair, slammed my faced against the table, causing the wood to splinter again. My nose broke, crumpling against my face, a tooth loosening. I gripped his hands with mine, squeezed the fingers until I heard one crack. He loosened his grip with a hiss, stepping back and punching the back of my head with the other hand. The force sent my head ricocheting back into the desk, before I fell to the floor. Dizzy, I looked up as Bruno stood over me, readjusting his tie. Sneered, as he stamped on my stomach. I groaned, but grabbed his ankle, yanking the man off balance. He fell, slamming his head against the cabinet in the side of the room, fragmenting it. I stood groggily, returning the favour by kicking him solidly in the wound created by the shotgun.
There was no finesse to our battle. No strategy. Two men, no longer relying on innate ability, on magic, on bloodline. Two men, beating the life out of each other, one punch after the next. Bruno was bigger than me, stronger, but his chest troubled him, causing him to slow down as he touched it. I made up for my less impressive stature by being quicker, dodging his slower blows to land several of my own in that damaged section. The room was demolished, the chairs thrown into disarray, broken, the table heavily dented and scuffed. Blood marked every possible surface, the once expensive boardroom now a place that even the more hardened bar-brawlers would raise an eyebrow at.
It was the room that was Bruno's downfall. A particularly powerful punch, overextended, caused him to step badly on a piece of broken chair, and as he fought to regain his balance, the other shoe slipped in a pool of blood. He came crashing down heavily, groaning as he kicked his foot against the floor, trying to pull himself up. I staggered over to him, the vision in my right eye blurred by the swelling around it, half-sat, half-collapsed on his wounded chest, causing him to exhale sharply. Swaying, I landed the first blow in his mouth. The second, a crushing blow with the bottom of my hand against the side of his head. Then, with Bruno, head of the LA Giovanni stunned, groggy, I took his head in my hands, and wrenched it bodily to the side, snapping his neck. I sat down on the floor hard as the body disintegrated under me, sending a jolt of pain up my spine. I sat there for a few moments, collecting my thoughts, looking idly at the carnage. The Giovanni were finished, here. No-one would be using this place for a while. Walking over to the head of the table, I picked up Bruno's chair and sat down heavily in it, leaned forwards with my head in my hands. After a further few minutes, I leaned back, the swelling in my face going down as I began to heal. Picking a business card out of my pocket, I reached for the phone in the corner.
'Hi? Yeah, hi...y...yeah, hi Chunk, yeah, good to hear from you too. No, can't say I've ever eaten there...yeah, we could do, I'll buy you a be-...Chunk, shut up. Tell LaCroix I've found the item he wanted, but that I need a big van, and a couple of big guys to carry it. Alright? Great, see you later.'
I dropped the phone back on the holder, and put my head back on the desk until I heard the sound of the van pulling up.
The Sarcophagus loaded, I climbed into the passenger seat and drank from the offered blood pack. I sighed, touching the eyelid hiding the missing eye. How was I going to deal with LaCroix? I knew, knew about his games, his subterfuge, his alliance with the bitch from the East. Unfortunately, I'd killed the evidence. Unsure how to handle the matter, I decided it would be best to play by ear. Switching on the radio, I gazed moodily out of the window, thinking again about how much I hated L.A.