The golem’s fist slams into her face.
They had been just down the corridor when the door at the end of it had opened and the woman vampire in some weird uniform or costume had backed through. Malkuth had just enough time to move as quick as he could, as silently as he could, down the hallway before the leech closed the down and turned around. The impact of his fist on her pretty face, the sounds of breaking bones, are the best things that have happened to him in a long time. The gloom that he’s felt since Hesod’s death lifts just a little.
Malkuth drags the vampire to one side of the hallway. “Get in there! I’ll catch up when I can!” And that’s the last thing he can say for awhile.
The last time Illana had been hit that hard in the head, it had been by a war club in South India sometime in 1600s. She’d been so angry when that had happened that she’d killed everyone in the fort where it had occurred. Now she was even angrier. Now, not only was her face smashed to bits, lucky that she doesn’t need to breath as her jaw is smashed back into her throat, but her Mistress is threatened.
Malkuth expects the vampire bitch to stay down for a little bit, at least pause to recover. No such luck. She squirms out his grasp, her eyes are insane, peering out of the mess of smashed bone and flesh that is her face. No blood, he has time to note that before one hand hammers at his forearm so hard chips fly and the hand claws gouges out of his stomach. If he’d was anything organic, he’d be dead several times. He stays close to her, crowding her up against the wall, absorbing the damage, keeping her occupied as Tipareth and the Rabbi move quickly up along the other side of the hallway.
There’s barely any thought left in her. There is a large rock creature keeping her from her Mistress. It is slow and lumbering. Her jaw clicks back into place and shoves her tongue back into her mouth. She feels nothing but rage and the urge to kill, the urge to destroy. A stone fist comes towards her, so slow. She drops to the floor long before it reaches her, through her back she feels the wall shake as the fist impacts it. She claws for the golem’s legs, a predator instinctively going for the hamstrings. No effect on a statue. She dodges a knee to the face.
She’s fast. So very fast. He has to stay close, try to keep a grip on her or she’ll get past him and get to the Rabbi. But he is Malkuth. He is the foundation. He is strength and he will not be budged. He bangs his knee into the wall trying get her in the head again. Poor wall is really taking a beating. She tries to slither past him and he grabs the back of her jacket, pulling her up short. He throws her down the hallway, away from the door. She lands in a rolling twist that brings her to her feet and facing him, hissing through a mouth of fangs. He lumbers towards her, spreading his arms wide, making himself as large as possible, blocking off as much of the hallway as he can. “I am your death, leech.”
There’s a huge sound from lower in the castle, towards the front. The floor shakes. Malkuth thinks that Geburah always like to make an entrance, such the show off.
The sound of the door to her chamber bursting open so fast it bangs against the wall merges with the much louder sound from lower down in the building. It sounds like the front doors to the castle have exploded. But Bathory has no time to think upon that when she sees who and what stands in the open doorway of her chambers. She smiles, slow and anticipatory. “What’s the phrase? Sometimes dreams do come true. Don’t they, little priest?” She laughs as the man’s face turns pale.
Concussive jackhammer sound of gunfire in the room. Painfully loud. Immediate smell of cordite. Tipareth doesn’t stop moving when he comes through the door but opens up with his Thompson. He keeps in front of the Rabbi, keeps moving into the room, keeps spraying bullets at the two vampire women. Who are moving almost faster than he can see, leaping, sliding, racing in opposite directions. And then there’s one of the them coming right at him.
Maccabbee has never been this scared. He’d never seen Bathory until coming through the door. He’d immediately known which of the two vampires she was. The feelings of age and evil roiled off of her, from her small brown body, like heat from a stove. Nothing like the vampires he’s seen and killed in the field. The incongruity of a short, brown skinned woman commanding the tall Aryan SS vampires catches at his mind. He’s just a young Rabbi from Brooklyn! And he’s supposed to kill her? He hadn’t known just how futile this mission was.
But his hands never stop moving, pulling the book and the chalk out of his pack. It’s like they’re moving automatically on the ends of his arms. He pushes all the fear into the back of his mind and seals it off. The Thompson hammers but already it seems to be farther away as his mind descends into the concentration necessary for the ritual. The prayers help as well. He is a priest of the All Highest. Some monster of the dark cannot harm him, for he is calling upon the armor of Joshua and of David, of the blessed names.
His hands stop shaking. The circles he draws on the floor are perfect. The symbols flawless.
She leaves Camilla to deal with statue and his gun. Clumsy creation, clumsy weapon. But this little priest… She tastes the flavor of his ritual in the back of her mind. Old memories. When? When had she seen this before? Oh, yes, at the court of Ramses the Great. The Hebrew priest.
She glides along a wall of the room, opposite from where Camilla is playing with the statue. She notices that the priest is drawing his symbols with his eyes closed. Her eyebrows raise in the slightest respect. He knows what he’s doing. Time to end it. “Little Hebrew priest.” She nods. His body jerks at her words, his breathing checks, but his hand doesn’t waver as it draws the symbols inside the double circle. She drops her voice into a whisper, projects it into his ears, so that he can hear her words over that annoying sound of the gun. “Do you think to stand against me? I am older than your religion. Older than your god. And I am your death.”
But she has been too indulgent. Waited too long. The quick kill has never been to her taste and this time, her self-indulgence has cost her. He completes a symbol and the circle starts to glow. She can feel the light prickle on her flesh, like the beginning of an attack by the Demon Sun. She hisses. The priest never stops praying.
“Strauss! Go to the laboratory and get a readiness check from Her Doktor. Report back to me immediately. I shall be in the dining hall.” Von Regensberg is heading out of the Crusader hall, dispensing his last orders. The hall has been set back to normal, maps in their proper place, wireless working again. He pauses in the doorway, looking back out into the room, feeling satisfied. All is order. SHE will have no reason to complain.
The big double doors at the other end of the room explode inward. Von Regensberg is an evil Nazi vampire but he’s a combat veteran and he’s fast. His vampire speed and strength allows him to bat aside a spear of wood debris from the door that flies through the air towards him. Eyes that were narrowed in response to the explosion widen when he sees what’s coming through the doors, what caused the explosion. Two of those damned Jewish statues come racing in through the doorway. Did they knock the doors down themselves? He only has an instant to wonder that because they open fire immediately.
Von Regensberg ducks down behind the dias, unholsters his weapon. He looks back at the door that he was going through. “You! Go get reinforcements! Get everyone! Heavy weapons! The rest of you! Attack! You! Give me your weapon! This peashooter is worthless.” He tosses his pistol aside and, in the same motion, grabs the thrown sub-machine gun.
“Knock knock! Anyone home?” Geburah’s fierce grin splits its face. The heavy machine gun feels good in its arms as the gun chews through a belt of ammo.
“Always with the snappy patter. You looking for a Hollywood job after war, writing those tough guy movies?” Binah is firing more discriminately.
The two golems keep moving into the room, directing their fire to the far end, where vampires are coming through a door. Return fire is increasing. The vampires are fast and they can climb the walls, spreading like a stain at that end of the room. The German weapons and ammo that the golems had taken from the trucks work just fine, though. The room starts to fill with the smoke of burning vampires.
Geburah takes a couple of bullets in the chest and looks over at Binah. “Hey, weren’t we supposed to have helpers or something like that? You might want to tell those Wehrmacht putzes to get the lead out.”
Binah lines up a shot, takes aim. A vampire trying to flank them up on the ceiling screams and drops burning on the map table in the center of the room. She flashes a grin at Geburah. “Tell them yourself. You’re the one with cute dialogue.”
Krober takes a quick look around the doorframe, ducks back, nods at Wetzel. “The golems have advanced about as far as they can. SS is starting to pin them down. If we’re going to move, we should do it now.”
Wetzel leans out past Krober to get a view for himself. Not that he doubts Krober, he just wants to make sure of what he’s sending his men into. He sees that four armed golem get shot directly in the chest. Stone chips, some dust, but the big monster doesn’t even stagger. He files that away for future reference. He claps Krober on the shoulder. “Right as always, Sergeant. Move them out, up along the sides of the room, those aisles by the columns. Advance in pairs.”
Geburah looks back to yell at the German soldiers, but doesn’t get a chance as they come out around the doorway, firing as they advance.