My mind was still filled with the transformation of Cynthia's life and subsequent turning into a vampire. The voyeuristic journey through their lives was odd. Somehow it was like I was watching above the entire series of events that happened between her and her Master yet still a small part of it.
Renee whispered to me, "Natasha, are you there with her?" Obviously I wasn't the only one viewing Cynthia's rise to her vampire power.
Thankfully neither Jasmine nor Cynthia looked up from their places on the ground. They seemed to be within another time and place. They were frozen in time and memories like it was happening in the here and now -- and I could smell the dry desert in my mind. Jasmine was dead-speaking for the Master vampire that created Cynthia and we all seemed to be feeling and seeing the same emotions and memories. They were a jumble of back and forth thoughts between the Master and the fledgling. It was oddly seductive.
So I met Renee's eyes and nodded slowly letting her know that I was also in the memories. I saw that Carlos and Marcus, the werewolves, looked stunned so I gathered that Jasmine was sharing with the whole gang. Both Simon and Harry were less than one hundred percent so I didn't bother checking in with them until they were given the all 'clear' from someone other than me. I didn't like how the spell Cynthia had cast on them by Trevor, her pet witch, had affected them. Until I could touch Simon, my Master, and feel his soul lock with mine I was going to be very careful.
Quickly I was immersed in the path Cynthia took from the deserts of Arizona to claiming her status as Master vampire in California. It wasn't pretty. Her Master had been tempted and swayed by her youth and sexual vibrancy. She had pursued him for about two years nearly every night. She would find out where he was and show up in the shadows. Once she knew where he was staying, she'd begun her stalking and romancing of a Master vampire. Dancing and parading her body in his visual range while at first she didn't get closer, she flaunted her body and soul for his amusement. He frequented raves and other underground clubs. His own youth was well over a century past but he still chased the dream.
Night after night she danced for him, eventually allowing her to touch her. In turn she caressed his body and teased his soul over months of tormenting. She refused to let him take her blood, saying she was saving her 'blood virginity' for when he made her his. He allowed her to control the chase.
She then began to change the game, not letting him get comfortable, much less bored before she got what she wanted. She'd bring waifs in with her to the underground world of danger and sexual freedom. Blowing kisses to the Master, she would slip whichever teenager was with her that evening a pill or three. Some nights the offerings would literally burn from the effects of ecstasy -- a popular rave drug. The boy or girl would be fever struck by the dose and filled with lust -- a commonly desired side effect of the pill -- so unknowingly they would give into the drug with youthful, wild abandon. Cynthia would make the vampire watch while she played, tugging on their lips before devouring the victims' mouths with passionate kisses. She'd run her hands sensually and sexually over the willing humans. Stroking them to erotic peaks and lustful wants. When they were done she'd bring forth the spent human and the Master would feed from them -- touching and tracing every spot that Cynthia had savored. He grew more and more captivated by her.
Other times she'd slip GHB into the willing humans' drinks -- roofies in common terminology -- and lead the compliant teenager to a room where she'd do anything and everything to the mindlessly drugged offering. The side effects of the GHB weren't the same as with ecstasy. The victim -- truly the correct name since they didn't have a clue what they were getting themselves into before Cynthia crossed their paths -- wasn't able to exactly actively participate so Cynthia treated them like large dollies to be bent, folded and mutilated at her whim. Sex and blood were always the necessary components for those who were drugged. These humans, she told the Master, must be turned or she wouldn't return.
Slowly she built his power. The humans became minions of the Master's but they really were hers. He found it amusing and quaint. There was nothing in his history to prepare him for Cynthia.
As I watched her vampiric world develop it dawned on me that it'd been well within her powers to do mind control at her vampiric birth. My arrogant assumption of her abilities could've been fatal. We thankfully had slain enough of her personal power base that she hadn't been able to seize my mind.
Jasmine had visited Arizona a few years ago when Cynthia had first begun to torment the Master. Cynthia noticed Jasmine when she'd come into the underground club in the night with her vampire, Morgan. They were a striking couple and commanded attention from both humans and vampires. Finding the Master set up in a booth toying with the blood donors that Cynthia had procured, Jasmine had mockingly laughed.
"Still up to your old tricks I see!' She kissed his cheek and patted his face like a wayward beloved child.
Cynthia wasn't a vampire when she met Jasmine and Morgan. That still grated on her, I could see in her mind's landscape. The Master vampire didn't have as much vested in the trauma, because she'd killed him once he'd transformed her, and even in the current state of events he knew deep down he wasn't alive anymore, and Jasmine was little more than a conduit for his angst and memories. Cynthia held tightly to what she viewed as Jasmine's lack of respect for her. She wanted to lash out at Jasmine and cause her pain. That Jasmine had come to Balboa Park after calling upon Cynthia's dead Master made it that much more insulting. As far as Cynthia knew her sordid past was well dead and buried in the desert of Arizona. It didn't matter because Jasmine had brought the thoughts and words of the dead vampire with her. She truly was a dead speaker and I found it upsetting on a few levels. We vampires lived long enough and shouldn't have to relive our failures after we'd been staked or drained to death. I shook myself free of those dark thoughts and let their emotions continue to flood me.
Morgan had completely ignored the human in Arizona and Cynthia still held a grudge for that along with hating Jasmine for her part in what she interpreted as their misdeeds and thoughts. She thought even back then her mere presence was so important that he should have immediately recognized she was above the normal human and going to be a very important vampire. His complete disregarding of her pushed more than a few buttons. Jasmine had caught the predatory glint behind the heavily painted Goth clown makeup -- all the posturing and pretending that she was little more than an amusement for a Master vampire had fallen short for the insightful medium. So when they had first met Cynthia, Jasmine was aware on some level that the girl was bad news. She had shared a glance with Morgan, who had started, then looking shocked for a minute, had absorbed what his lover was broadcasting.
"Miguel," Morgan had spoken sternly to the Master vampire -- completely ignoring the looks of absolute hatred that Cynthia was sending towards Jasmine as well as himself. He'd continued, "Miguel, you are such a fool."
The taunting of the Master hadn't gone unnoticed by Cynthia. Miguel, on the other hand, had been less than impacted since he'd just dined on an ecstasy filled teenager. The blood running through his body was a nearly toxic dose of ecstasy and youthful arrogance. Empowered by the young blood he had laughed, "Morgan, you are the old fool. I mean look at yourself. You are here with a witch!"
Jasmine had shaken her head and just grinned. She had a history with Miguel and didn't bother to argue. She knew he was pigheaded at the best of times and when intoxicated by good, rich blood he was nearly impossible. Morgan, also, knew Miguel and laughed even louder.
"And what a witch she is! You would do better with one than this pathetic scene." He'd sketched a hand over the gyrating mass of sweaty smelly humanity all vying to be seen and touched. Morgan was well beyond the club crowds and they all knew it. He'd stood tall and firm looking down his nose at the display.
Cynthia had been biting her tongue literally to keep from responding to Morgan's playful teasing. She knew better than to call attention to herself before she was turned into a vampire. After working Miguel for so many months there was no way she was going to jeopardize her life. She hadn't missed Morgan's light glance at her after he called the crowd pathetic. She wanted a dagger to pierce through his heart. Jasmine had pulled Morgan aside and said, "I think it's best that we meet up with Miguel later in a less busy location."
Morgan nodded and said, "Miguel, tomorrow, the usual place." And with that the two had walked out of the club leaving Cynthia seething and confused. She didn't know where the 'usual place' was and from the bemused look on Miguel's face he wasn't going to be telling her much less taking her. It had taken her another five months for him to show her the spot. In fact, that was where she'd become a vampire and slain her Master.
Coming back to the Park Cynthia looked up at Jasmine and spit out, "I see you found the 'usual spot' to your liking."
With a casual motion, Jasmine backhanded Cynthia across the face. Miguel had put some of his vampiric strength in the gesture by the loud smacking sound of flesh being struck and the red mark that rose immediately on her cheek. Her eyes blazed with fury and she growled, "Well, fuck you Miguel. I took good care of you. You owed me this."
Using Jasmine's vocal cords the Master vampire spoke through the medium, "No, Cynthia, I didn't owe you anything. You don't know how to be a vampire much less a Master vampire. You created horrors that ran through this city killing randomly, not respecting the boundaries of humanity. You tried to dominate the Council's chosen vampires with your witches. And here you came to try to negotiate for werewolves to be at your beck and call?"
Behind me there were some movements and sounds. Then I heard Marcus' rumbling in his chest as he kept Carlos, the alpha of the werewolves in question, from leaping over and slashing Cynthia to bits. Marcus would have happily killed the rogue for her assumptions but he knew this wasn't his battle -- yet.
Cynthia laughed, "I think I was doing a rather good job until tonight."
Her dry humor fell flat. We all had suffered in some way at her claws and nobody was feeling exactly generous. Jasmine rocked back on her heels and shook her head. Miguel had slid back from her face and form and I knew it wasn't the vampire speaking but the medium.
"You weren't doing anything good. You wanted to pervert yet another vampire clan and cause harm to our allies. The werewolves don't need your type in power. In fact, there isn't anyone living or dead who will miss you." Her words had more impact than just what we heard. I watched Cynthia's face grow pale and her lips pursed tightly as she heard something none of us could.
That alone made me smile. Maybe we would survive this night. Looking to Simon and Harry I hoped so.