She lit the single red candle in the middle of the room, the most recent cheap hotel room in the progression of her exile. Regina sat on the bed and stared at the candle for minutes that felt like hours. The shifting shadows cast from its faint glow bent themselves and twist as if reacting to her contemplations.
A knock at the door brought her to her feet, moving quietly to the door. She placed a hand against the wood as she looked out the peep hole, tense and wary. Three figures stood outside, just as tense and wary as she.
“And what is the number that stands united, between corners and cross roads?” the closest figure said quietly against the door, barely perceptible. Regina pressed her head against the opposite side of the door and answered, “Four at the corners of the battle field and the four in the cross guard of Caine’s sword,” She opened the door to them, satisfied and a little sad to hear the familiar words that her late sire had spoke to them, declaring the formation of the Tetrarchs.
The three moved inside quickly, the candle flame flickering in the momentary draft before the door was once more locked tight. The one who spoke at the door raised a hand, gripping Regina’s arm as she did the same to him. “I’m glad you’re alright,” he says with genuine relief. “Henry told us you went after the raid. That might be the most fucking stupid think you’ve ever done.” If he was being sarcastic or trying to joke, the attempt failed miserably.
The auburn haired fox draped his arms over each of their shoulders, grinning in that nervous way the third guest at a party trying to diffuse a heated conversation about politics or religion or other unsavory topics. “Come on, Danny, it’s not like anyone saw her after all. Lighten up.” Daniel shook his head, letting his exiled Priest’s hand slip from his and shrugging off the arm of the grinning fool.
“You know we can’t be here too long, boys,” came the exaggerated deep voice of the dark skinned giant lurking by the door. “Let’s get this done and split,” he stammered just slightly, remembering the manners due to his brethren, “Episkopos.”
Regina griped the roguish Henry in a one armed hug, nodding over his shoulder to the human redwood tree. “You’re right, Genie.” She let go of Henry and walks back to the candle. The others followed, arranging themselves in at cardinal directions around the red light of the candle. She knelt down to the bag at her feet, pulling out a simple earthenware bowl and a big hunting knife with a well worn handle. The other three knelt with her as she passed the bowl to Daniel. He drew back the sleeve of his shirt as his priest began to speak, low and reverent.
“There will come a time when the heads of three Princes will watch the burning of the dawn on a pillar of white.” The Ductus ran the blade up the inside of his forearm, leaving a four or five inch gash that bled slowly into the bowl before him. “There will come a time when an Elder Darkness will stir in a city which has forgotten.”
The skin already beginning to knit over the wound, Daniel passed the bowl to Henry, who repeated the procedure solemnly. “Of these signs you will know. The Dark Father will awaken and drink deep of the blood of his unfaithful children. Of these signs you will know that the time has come to lay claim to your Cainite’s duty, to avenge the Dark Father.”
The hunting knife seemed dwarfed to a harmless butter knife as it passed to Genie’s hands, but it drew blood just as simply as it had before. “Of these signs, you must know that Gehenna waits even at the door, as an actor waits in the wings.”
The knife, having traversed the entirety of the circle came back to Regina’s hands. As she opened her wrist to the bowl her compatriots echoed over a thousand years of Noddist faith, watching her own blood as it mixed with theirs. “Shine black the sun, shine blood the moon.”