Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Murphy's Law of Vampires, Chapter 2
There will be spoilers for book one... obviously.
If you haven't read it already, you might want to pick up Honor at Stake.
Preferably before the sequel comes out.
Chapter 2: I'll get you my pretty, and your little human, too
New York City, April 26th
Robert's rules of order would frown on two disputants eating each other, but it was unlikely that the man who wrote the rules of conduct for meetings meant it to apply to vampires. (It certainly didn't apply to werewolves, since packs were less of a democracy, and more of an enlightened dictatorship. Some charitable vampires thought that wolves invented hockey.)
These thoughts drifted through the mind of Amanda Colt as she wandered into the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall reserved for the meeting of the New York City Vampires Association. Of course, the NYC-VA didn't have even ten percent of New York City's vampire population. This was for the powerful, the affluent, or the really, really troublesome.
Amanda Colt didn't know what category she fell under. She had never been invited to the NYC-VA before.
However, Amanda Colt's role as a troublemaker was assured, even though it wasn't her fault. Marco Catalano was the focus of the trouble.
But, these vampires thought of Marco as her human, so she was credited with his trail of destruction, including the recently re-killed, the property damage, and generally spreading so much fear through certain ranks of the vampire community that he bordered on being a terrorist.
So, Amanda didn't quite know if she was supposed to be there as a member of the general assembly, or if she was there to be executed as a local troublemaker.
If it was the latter, and they tried to hold even the semblance of a trial, she was going to rip them a new one. Maybe a new three or four, while she was at it.
As she looked around the hall, she could recognize a few faces. There was a bar owner from the Blood Bank, an Upper East Side vampire bar not far from Mount Sinai Hospital; he was a gruff, burly fellow who had served as an Irish cop in the nineteenth century. And not far from him was Kalsey, a tall, well-built and well-dressed Anglo-Indian vampire who owned The Platelet.
Well, Kalsey had owned the Platelet, before Marco had gotten there. Amanda heard that its replacement was still under construction.
Though it didn't seem like losing his major source of income had hurt Kalsey all that much. He still wore Armani, carried his well-crafted sword cane, and even had a Rolex Le President, top of the line gold.
However, for all that, Kalsey didn't seem happy.
Amanda didn't even bother sitting, but stood off to the side. The VFW hall was lined with collapsible chairs, set up in nice neat rows. However, she didn't expect to be sitting much, especially if she was called to defend herself—verbally or physically.
The vampires on the dais were finally starting to file in. Amanda noted them, and she swore she knew some of them, but she couldn't remember from where. The one in the center position was female, blonde, and about Amanda's height, dressed casually in a comfortable leather jacket and blue jeans.
However, Amanda knew from experience that vampires were not socially advanced, nor matriarchal. To get to a position of power, you had to be powerful, not to mention manipulative, long-sighted, and willing to stab allies in the back … or whatever angle presented itself.
The blonde thwacked the gavel down on the table. “This is the twenty-second meeting of the 235th session of the New York City Vampire Association, President Jennifer Bosley presiding. I hereby call this meeting to order,” she said in a British accent that Amanda could narrow down to London. “First order of business. Reading of the minutes from the last meeting? Is there a motion?”
One of the committee members on the dais raised his hands. “Motion to waive the reading?”
Three hands went up from the crowd. Jennifer banged the gavel and said, “Motioned, and seconded. Is there any old business?”
One person stood up in the back of the room … it was a male vampire in a dress. “Yes,” he said in a thick accent. “I would like to object, once again, to acknowledging New York City as it currently stands. This place belongs to the British, and—”
President Jennifer Bosley slammed down the gavel again. “Edward, I said old business, not concluded business. For the last time, I don't care how old you are, or if you were the royal governor, the entire continent has moved on. If you bring this up again, you'll be banned from these meetings for another decade. Are we understood?” She dismissed the three hundred year old vampire as though he was already dead and dusty. “Next.”
The meeting went on for a while, and it covered a lot of the topics one would expect: border disputes, blood supplies, old grudges, territorial haggling due to the latest construction rearranging geographic markers. Vampire bureaucracy was like a regular bureaucracy, but worse, since some topics and situations could drag on for decades, if not centuries.
There was even one man complaining that Little Italy should declare war on Chinatown, because Chinatown was swallowing it whole, and “Back in the days when I was a Centurion in the Roman Empire—”
That one, at least, was cut off by a dozen different groans. Even President Jennifer Bosley seemed weary. She sighed and said, “Giuseppe, you weren't part of an Empire. Mussolini's ambition did not match his ability. You were a sergeant in his army, and we're still telling jokes about that. Now, shut up and sit down before we revoke your territory … what little is left of it. As it is, you'll be hiding in your great-grandson's basement in Howard Beach in another two decades. I hope you don't mind swimming when it floods. Now, if that's enough of old business …” Jennifer gave the room a glare that told them it was, and if they didn't like it, she had a stake in the back room with their names on it. “New business?”
Kalsey jumped up from his seat so fast, Amanda half-expected him to shoot straight up to the ceiling. “Yes!” He thrust his cane at Amanda as though he were stabbing her. “She and her pet human destroyed my bar, slaughtered some of my most loyal and valuable retainers, then she had minions poison me with time-delay release Holy Water capsules. I demand that she, and her human, make full restitution.”