He had ink on his fingertips and hands; it was stained into his skin past the point of return. It had always been there, at least since he could remember, and that’s how it would be because the Church deemed it so. He was a Scribe, one who was chosen to document everything that comes to pass, everything the Church deems worthy, and anything that must be learned from. That’s the motto that Bradleigh grew up with.
He slowly stood up from his cramped seat, stretching long limbs. He was only sixteen years old, or at least he thought he was. Being an orphan seriously makes it hard to figure out your birthday. Being a ward of the Church didn’t make it easy either. They didn’t keep track of their orphans really, they just used them for what they could. Like Brad, for instance wasn’t a good candidate to become a Priest. He was too skittish as a young child, and on the flipside too trusting. According to some of the older Scribe’s stories, he wanted to walk right up to a vampire and introduce himself instead of shoot it. His ears still turn pink at the mention of that. But upon learning of his vast intelligence, the Church put him to work in another field for them.
He straightened his dank brown robe and tried to smooth a hand through his messy hair, which didn’t work at all. He always seemed to have at least three cowlicks somewhere, giving him that ‘just rolled out of bed’ look that the Church wasn’t too fond of. He slipped through the long pews, long since unused since the word of God was now posted and screened throughout the city, and paused in front of the podium. The center piece was simple, just a bunch of candles surrounding the holy book. He crossed himself, saying a soft prayer before walking back into the Scribe’s room.
This room was vastly different. Instead of nice carpeting and stained glass windows, this room was dark, lit by only a candle or two. The walls were lined with little vials of ink, parchment, and pens. It smelled like a library in there and Brad loved it. He wished he spent more time in there instead of…
His thoughts trailed off as he reached up to move a vial of indigo ink aside, revealing a hidden switch. With a flick of his long finger, a hidden door slides open without a sound. He replaces the vial and slips inside, shivering as the cold underground air hits his body through the thin robe, shirt, and pants combo all the Scribes wear.
The tunnel is even more different. Gone is that scent of books and burning candles. Gone is the revelry of a quiet undisturbed place. The tunnel breaks into a series of tunnels, all leading to different places under the city, all lined with high-tech computers to watch those within the city and the outer walls.
The Scribes weren’t simply recorders of data, they farmed for it in secret at the Church’s request. A secrecy Brad wasn’t too fond of, but there’s no going against the Church.
He came to a high security door and leans down to be eye-level with the computer. It whirrs quietly, scanning his face, before releasing the catch on the door. Inside is something entirely different from the underground Big Brother operation itself.
Inside the room there is a glass panel that separates it into halves, one significantly larger than the other with no obvious door between the two. Brad comes out on the smaller side, the side with all the computers and recording materials. The other side is furnished like a sparse house with a table and two chairs, a small bookcase, and a queen-size bed in one corner. The glass that separates the tiny house from the observatory is lined with archaic symbols and mechanics to adjust everything and anything within the other room.
Brad slipped over to the computer, typing in his information as the first shadow loomed behind the glass. Brad paid no mind to the redhead, though his impressive height of six foot four should have scared him at least a little.
The little brunette finally looked at the figure behind the glass and offered a lopsided smile. “Morning, King.”
The tall redhead, dressed in a pair of slacks and a button-up shirt, flashes fangs accompanied with a soft snarl. “Morning already? Hard to tell down here.” King was slim yet muscular, that hadn’t changed since the first day they brought him to the underground holding cell, and he’s still pissed about it. He didn’t spare any of the Scribes his dark humor and seemed to almost hunger for their fear. Brad frowned to himself. Maybe it was a vampire thing?
He looked away, avoiding the vampire’s eyes with practiced ease. He had seen what they could do if they caught you with their gaze, and King had a sadistic streak that runs deeper than his bones, especially on days when he’s this annoyed.
Brad glanced behind King in order to see the other vampire in the cell. He understood the Church’s logic, to a point, when it came to her. They caught King first, surprisingly enough. He was a mistake, really. Wrong place at the right time for the Church. They managed to bind him and seal him into the room Brad was in. The female on the other hand, was caught in order to keep King company. But as far as Brad could tell, she never spoke. She barely even moved. She was sitting right where Brad left her last, on the far side of the bed.
Since she had never spoken to him, Brad managed to get King to say her name. Titannia. Like the Queen of the Fairies from Midsummer Night’s Dream. She could have been that Queen if anything else. She was tall when she stood and curvy with long blonde hair that overtook King’s in length by a good foot and a half. It hung past her butt, easily. But she didn’t look very Queenly at the moment. Ever since her capture, she just looked sad, sitting in her corner with those large green eyes locked on something no one else could see.
“So… I heard a Priest was killed recently, true?” King’s words, though veiled as an innocent question, made Brad jump at stare right at him. Even through the glass, he could feel the male’s contempt and almost dark amusement. In less than a breath, the tall redhead had ahold of Brad as surely as the hangman’s noose.
Brad trembled where he stood but was compelled to answer. “Y-yes. One of the Darling twins… was killed outside of town.”
“Oh? Only one? What happened to the other?”
Brad gritted his teeth. “He was the one that brought back his tattered robe and weapons.”
King arched an eyebrow. “But he didn’t have everything?”
The brunette winced as the words were all but taken from him. “N-no. He didn’t have his rosary. But it’s customary to burry a Priest with his rosary.”
King didn’t look impressed. He waved a hand impatiently. “Don’t you think it’s odd that the only Priest that witnessed this is the dead one’s brother?” Brad caught movement out of the corner of his eye but he was unable to look away from the redhead’s burning gaze. “Sounds shady to me, don’t you think?” The redhead purrs, getting closer to the glass.
“King, leave the boy alone. What’s the use of bothering with the Priests now?”
Brad blinked clearing eyes at the blonde figure beside King. Titannia looked disapproving, her green eyes locked on the redhead. “Besides, what’s the use putting such thoughts into the boy’s head when it will only lead to trouble?” Her voice was musical, almost like a mother’s call to the orphan as he watched the vampires.
King rolled his eyes. “Why, what’s the point? It’s not like the little idiot can get into much trouble… The Church wouldn’t risk one of their Scribes. What would Car—“
Titannia hissed, the sound like an enraged cat, cutting King off at the knees. “Say not his name, brother, or bring the world down on his shoulders too.”
Brad blinked again, shaking his head. Car? Was that part of a name? Carson, maybe? Or Carl? Charles? No, maybe something different. Why were they worried about saying that name anyway? Maybe he was like a God to them?
He moved away from the glass as the vampires spoke softly between themselves. It was time to feed them and Brad just automatically went through the motions. They were only supposed to get one bag of blood each, those tiny medical bags used for transfusions, but Brad didn’t feel right about it. They were only fed every once in a while as it is… there was no need to starve them further. He plucked three bags each from the cooler and sets them in the automated door that sends small items between the two rooms. The sight that greeted him made him jump.
Titannia was right there, standing on the other side of the door. He hadn’t seen or heard her move. She smiled at his confusion. “It’s alright, little one. I didn’t mean to scare you. Thank you for your kindness.” And she disappeared just as quickly as she had come, bags in hand, to return to her spot on the bed. King glided after her, making Brad shudder. They didn’t even try to move like humans anymore.
He finally made his way back to the land of the living, so to speak, back up through the tunnels and through the storage room that smelled of books. A hologram stopped him dead in his tracks. The Cardinal’s face glared at him, ghostly and transparent. “Bradleigh. I need you to collect our dues from Master Carlisle. You know where to go.” Brad bowed his head and crossed himself before rushing to his room to collect his things.