(Fangs of the SS) CHAPTER 2: Castle Of Blood


Old Crusader Castle, the hills of northern Tunisia


“The demon sun, that hateful eye, is about to rise. And this was a good day’s work. ” She stands for a moment longer in the castle’s window, enjoying the view. With pupils so dilated that they appear black, she sees the surrounding landscape clear as day; or what she remembers as day. The castle, an old Crusader fort from the Middle Ages, perches on a hill overlooking a valley. A narrow road winds up from the valley to the castle. The only approach to the castle is by the road.

Jackals bark, out in the hills, and she smiles in remembrance, revealing her fangs. She’s a beautiful woman, dark skin, thick black hair, and a vampire, gorgeous in a tight fitting SS uniform. Her insignia give her the rank of Gruppenfuhrer. For the last few centuries, she has been known as Countess Elizabet Bathory. She turns away from the view and joins the rest of the people in the room. “Sturmbannführer von Regensberg, give me the status of our units in the field.”

She enjoys von Regensberg’s animal beauty, a blonde animal in human form, bred for killing, made into apotheosis by her kiss. There was a sword she had the same feelings for in the distant past somewhere.

The man standing next to him engenders no such feelings in her. Viktor Schefflen is a grubby little tool, insane even before she enthralled him, useful in these depressing times with his fascination and knowledge of blood and pain and death. The latest in a long line of priests dedicated to her dreams and desires. He stands back, behind von Regensberg, his stained hands twisting around themselves like demented spiders; his gaze darting towards Bathory and then away. Despite looking completely worthless, he’s steady enough with a scalpel or saw in his hands and is actually developing into a competent necromancer. He has a feeling for this new technology, these new machines, makes them a part of his rituals. This is not something she could have done on her own. In his way, he is as much a weapon in her arsenal as the beautiful von Regensberg.

Bathory despises this age, with its noise and rapid change. The life eternal of her kind, with its stringent requirements and its vulnerabilities, breeds an innate conservatism. To protect from the killing sun coming up every morning, absolute precautions must be taken; no change can be allowed to effect those precautions. But now change happens constantly. She remembers how the shocking knowledge of iron weapons from the north was followed by centuries of no other change. The Great River rose and fell in millennial regularity; the ancient rituals were performed in the temples. Life and unlife followed the comfortable patterns. No longer. The need to always be adapting to new changes, new threats gnaws at Bathory and has made her irritable for the last several centuries.

As she walks towards von Regensberg, where he stands over the table on one side of the room, her two handmaidens flow from their perches on the wall and move to flank her. She enjoys the contrast that they make, Illana and Camila, their flowing white gowns against the black of her uniform. A priestess should always have attendants.

Von Regensberg stiffens a bit as she approaches, a hunting animal looking for praise and attention. He gestures to the map laid out on the table. “All our units but one have reported total success, Gruppenfuhrer. The Allies will be held on the other side of Kasserine Pass as our troops continue to destroy their supply convoys.”

Bathory traces the topographical lines on the map with one finger. “Which of our units was not successful?”

“Obersturmfuhrer Kordel reports that his squad were repelled by that Jew and his damnable clay men. Kordel’s squad had almost completely destroyed a fuel convoy and its escort when the Jew and his monsters appeared. Our troops were driven off with heavy casualties.”

“Damnation. Well, it is no matter. Soon both that untermensch and his pitiful toys will be swept away in the storm of VampyreKrieg!” She fights back the exultant rage and turns to the mad scientist. “Doktor Professor Schefflen, what progress have you made?”

The little man, in his blood stained labcoat, scurries to the table. His gaze never stops darting as he addresses her. “Great progress, Countess, great progress! The holding tank in the laboratory is complete. I have begun running tests and am very happy with the amount of death energy that is being captured and infused into the blood. And with each death, I am able to refine my apparatus and capture a higher percentage of the death energy. But I do need more test subjects…” His voice trails off in a disappointed whine.

Von Regensberg clears his throat. “I’m afraid that brings me to my next point, Gruppenfuhrer. The Wehrmacht are beginning to complain to Kesselring in Tunis about our equipment and … personnel requests. It is possible that they might move against us before all is in readiness.”

“Let them try!” How many times has this happened in the past? How many times have the blind, the insects, the bleeding, how many times have they tried to stop her? How many times have they failed? And this time… This time, with her dreams and plans inspired by the blood being spilled all over the world in this war, this time her success will be complete and final. She buries her rage and anticipation and keeps her voice strong and commanding. “They are jealous simpletons, afraid of the future. Before they can gather their courage to act, we will be too strong. And too many. Schefflen, take as many of prisoners as you need. Von Regensberg, have your men concentrate on bringing back prisoners. Allied soldiers, Tunisians, Italians, Germans, it matters not. All that matters in the blood that runs in their veins and the manner of their dying.”

“Your empire shall last forever! Your Blood Reich will be immortal!” The little man is practically capering.

Bathory smiles indulgently and turns to her handmaidens, a much more pleasant sight. “All of this talk of blood has made me hungry. I wish to feed, before retiring for the day. Illana, prepare the meal.”

Illana moves to the side of the room, where a chain running up towards the ceiling is secured. The chain holds a large stone slab hanging flat from the ceiling. The slab is decorated with Egyptian hieroglyphs, even on its underside. Bathory had lost possession of it when Alexandria had fallen to Abu Bakr and she’d been forced to flee across the Mediterranean to Greece and then up into the Balkans. When Europeans began to send archeological expeditions into Egypt, she saw the opportunity to recover the slab and several other of her lost treasures. Through one of her shadow companies, Bathory financed several expeditions and finally one met with success and returned her treasures to her.

Effortlessly, the vampire handmaiden lowers the slab, using the chain. There’s a man in a tattered US Army uniform tied to it, arms outstretched, facing upwards. Blood puddles on either side of his head, next to his mouth. When Illana tied him to the slab, she tore his tongue out. His head and neck rest in a channel carved in the slab.

When the slab is about chest high, Illana stops lowering it and secures the chain, so that the slab hangs free in the center of the room. Camilla walks forward, holding a chalice. Illana goes to the slab and stands by the prisoner’s head. She dips a finger into the clotted blood, then delicately licks it clean. The prisoner screams, a frothy gurgle erupts from the ruin of his mouth, and he pisses himself. Illana gives a small shiver of pleasure, her nipples prominent underneath the gauze of her gown, at the prisoner’s terror. Underneath lowered lids, Bathory loves it when she plays the teasing coquette, she glances at Bathory, who nods. With one clawed finger, Illana opens the prisoner’s throat. The hieroglyphs on the slab, a hymn to Set, start to glow, a dark red, complementing the blood now decorating them. The blood pours down the channel and into the chalice that Camilla holds. When the chalice is full, she brings it to Bathory. The remaining blood drips onto the floor and splashes the hem of Illana’s gown. Camilla kneels and presents the chalice to Bathory, who takes it and raises it.

All in the room kneel. ”Heil Bathory!”

Bathory drains the chalice, blood pouring down her chin and the front of her uniform. Her mad laughter rings against the ceiling and echoes in the room. Her mind is lost in ravenous dreams of conquest and eternal night.

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