The Hunt for Jacob by shuifanglj

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									The Hunt for Jacob

Chapter one: The Arrival

The dark windows of the people mover gleamed in the semi-light of the moon as it pulled on to
the ring road near Newcastle. Feeling that the journey was near the end, Elaine picked up mobile
phone and dialled the number that Alexios had given her in the last communication. She
unfolded her laptop and re-read the information that Tesseria had provided. Obviously, Jacob
had been moving during the night, she would have to be careful that he didn't have more than
one haven...

Hmmm.
Perhaps there was a sewer access to his haven, which was something they would have to cover
when developing the plans. A simple dragnet wouldn't do, Jacob was too wily for that.
She glanced at her companions. The ghouls in the front of the car were obscured by the dark
glass separating the kindred from the light, two strong Gangrel Ghouls, one well dressed who
had been Julian's personal assistant and was now Elaine's; and the other, Elaine's oldest and most
trusted ghoul lieutenant. She turned to find Blade snoozing, his dark glasses sliding down his
nose, a faint chuckle sounded as she hit the dial button. She glanced at the other three, Blade's
closest aide and two Gangrel kindred.

The phone rang.
She brushed her dark hair from her eyes with her free hand, and then reached for the dark glasses
she had started to wear. Her pale skin rendered paler by the darkness that obscured eyes as
yellow as ochre.
Still the phone rang...

Alexios was standing waiting for the phone call; he knew that on this night he would either see
his own death or the death of a creature that was using his domain to hide in.

He let the phone ring a little, then he pressed the receive button to answer the call from the
Gangrel Clan Head.

"Prince Alexios, I am just entering the boundaries of your city..."
"Yes my Lady", was his reply, "My people are ready, you should be coming up to a turn on the
right, if you take that turn you will see a small area of waste ground. I'm waiting there"

He quietly waited for her reply...

She nodded to herself, then gently kicked Blade's shin to wake him up. "I will be there in a few
minutes. I have asked Connor to join us and I have also asked certain...allies. Although I am the
first to arrive, I hope. My allies have all been instructed to contact you directly before even
thinking of attending your domain, my lord. I have not presumed to give them permission to join
me without your word that they are welcome."

Blade started speaking to those around the car and Elaine stopped him with a swift glance. "Yes,
I see the turning, Alexios. I shall be there within minutes."
Meanwhile, not far from the waste ground, several ghouls and a young Brujah watched a small
stone cottage shrouded in darkness. A single a small light from the ground floor window was the
only sign of habitation. All was quiet.
Their orders were to wait in shadows until their masters arrived. It would be foolhardy of them to
walk alone into lair of the beast.
The silence was shattered as a swarm of black shapes swept over the building. The ravens landed
on the roof and screeched.
Had they been spotted?


Chapter 2: Strategy

A trench coated man walks across the pad, the coat flapping in the down draft from a nearby
helicopter, it's engines already emitting a rising whine that indicates it is ready to lift off.
Casting a look behind him, the man climbs into the 'copter, which lifts off from the pad and
heads away.

Northwards. To Hexham

***

As the cars turned onto the meeting area, Elaine could see only three people in the headlights of
the black Audi waiting at the location the prince of Newcastle had given her.
As the car came to a stop, Alexios gestured to his two aides to wait as he crossed over to meet
her.
He pulled the long winter coat around his frame, as he moved towards the car. His long shoulder
length hair blowing in the wind, which had suddenly came across them.
As the car doors opened and the people began to exit the vehicle, Alexios begin to speak, “My
lady Elaine, welcome to my domain”
Elaine emerged, pushing her dark glasses up her nose. She straightened out her russet coloured
skirt, smoothing out the wrinkles, before pulling her brown leather coat over the top. Flipping
back her long hair, she smiled at Alexios and extended her hand.
"Prince Alexios, I am glad to finally meet you. Please, call me Elaine? If we are to work
together, you must forgo the pleasantries.”
He smiled and nodded “And it is Alexis” he replied. As he shook her hand, she glanced at the
him to try to gauge her new ally. He looked as if he was a neonate, early to middle twenties, long
dark hair hanging freely but as she looked into his eyes for the briefest moment, she got the
feeling that he was old, it was the eyes…they looked like two dark pools into a soul that had
lived and had seen too much pain in the world.

"Tell me, what have you found so far from the information provided by Tesseria?"
Alexis flashed a small smile and began “About 2 miles from here. We have that area staked out.
It‟s about 1-mile square. Anything moves in that area, we‟ll be told…”
Suddenly Alexis‟s phone rang…his face changed slightly as the person on the other end of the
phone spoke.
“My…Elaine, I don‟t know if this will change anything but a flock of birds have just surrounded
the location he is in”
Elaine blanched. "Damn him!" Her curse was muttered, then she removed her glasses, her yellow
eyes slitted as she gazed at Alexis. "Get your men back now, pull them back to the rooftops, he's
using the Gangrel skills!" She gestured to Blade. "Are you ready?"
Blade nodded and she looked back to Alexis. "OK, we need to move quickly. If he knows we're
here, he'll run… Are there any sewers close to his locale? He may try to run down to them... I
really wish the Nosferatu were here now.... Could really use their help. And we need to get Blade
and this small force closer to his location. I want Blade in the spearhead to drive him from this
haven, into our arms..." Elaine had started to lead Alexis to his car. "Can you take me there? We
have to strike and now, can't wait for the others..."

"Excuse me, my Lady?" came the voice from behind the party gathered on the waste ground. All
present immediately spun round to face their unexpected guest, many reaching for the weapons
they had secreted about their person.
The figure, his arms raised aloft in surrender, remained calm and collected; waiting for the
rustling of clothes and the clicking of ratchets to cease.

In appearance, the figure was similarly dressed to the Riot Police of the Kine, clad in black
protective garb, with a bullet-proof vest and large black helmet, from under which stuck a bent
and warty chin. Evidently of Clan Nosferatu, the man continued:
"Sergeant Major Drab reporting as ordered by Lord Pallidum, milady..."
Elaine turned, squinting at the figure. "Yes, get maps of the sewer system here, and get you and
your men down there, try and make sure Jacob doesn't use that way to escape."
"Yes, Ma'am" Drab said, and turning his back to the car gave the thumbs up signal to an
apparently empty patch of ground. At this, six other figures shimmered into view as their
Obfuscate was dropped. All similarly dressed to Sergeant Drab, but carrying heavy assault rifles
and a variety of vampire-slaying close combat weapons, they made their way toward the car.

Drab motioned to one of his subordinates, who passed him his gun and also pulled out a large
map. Drab took the map and unfolded it, placing it on the bonnet of the car. He motioned Blade
to join him, and then quickly explained the route they would take and how best to keep Jacob
from escaping. That done, his men removed a nearby manhole cover and descended into the
dark.

He turned back to Lady Elaine and Prince Raines, offering them a black walkie-talkie:
"Here my Lady, please keep us advised...we'll get the bastard."
She nods. "Damned straight we will. He's going to pay for what he did, Drab... Just don't let him
escape down there. Blade!"
Blade turned, slouching closer to his prince. "I want you to get to those lookouts, take your men
and go in through the front." She slid the radio to Alexis and turned to her host. "Thank you,
Alexis, for your help in this..."
Alexis was already on the phone as he lead Elaine to his car “Pull Back Now” was all he said as
he and Elaine crossed to his waiting car.

As he crossed one of his aides threw Alexis his weapon, she could see it was a grenade launcher.
The aide also passed him the ammo for the weapon, „white phosphorus‟ was written on the
grenades. He opened the door for her and climbed in afterwards, Alexis just nodded
“Newcastle might be a small domain, but any assistance I can give is yours”
“Bartleby, gets us there” he said to the driver. The car sped off towards the location of Jacob.


Chapter 3: Inferno

Blade gestured to his men. They had arrived far quicker than Elaine. Blade was moving stealthily
towards the position of Alexis' men. He crept into the shadows, looking for these scouts. Trained
in espionage, he had made sure that the ex-Giovanni ghoul, a sniper, was stationed on the roof
above. He glanced around, getting nervous at the lack of response from his lookouts. He turned
the volume on his radio off and tapped on it to Elaine, just once, sending a silenced burst of static
to her, to indicate that he had arrived, but that things weren't as they were supposed to be.

He moved closer, scanning the area with his rudimentary Auspex, then turned to one of his
companions, pointing to his eyes, then at the doors of the nearby houses. They knew the plan,
find the houses where the undead had been recently, then enter with extreme prejudice. Blade
hefted his gun and continued to look for signs of Jacob. They suspected where he was, but he
needed to get inside, Elaine desperately wanted all of the computer hardware she could get her
hands on. Blade knew some of the arrangements she had had with Jacob, but he also knew that
Elaine wanted to find out information on the Anarch underground, that was more important to
her than any potential political danger for her personally.

Finally seeing the signs of kindred that they wanted, the group of five gathered. A Gangrel, two
Brujah and two ghouls. Blade paused, then as quietly as he could opened the door, cautious of
squeaking hinges, he looked down to find out what type of floor it was, alert for any signs of a
trap...

***

Alexis' car pulls up and from the back emerges the Prince of Newcastle and the Prince of Ely.
Alexis slid a round into his grenade launcher and Elaine cocked the crossbow she carried. Both
were prepared for battle, both grim-faced and serious. Only they knew what had been said in the
car, but in those minutes it was obvious that a fledgling friendship had been formed, they walked
beside each other, weapons head at the ready as other cars started to pull in, some around the
back of the building, others in the front...

***

Under his careful but strong grasp the door opened smoothly into a large room. A single naked
light bulb hung from the center of the ceiling, lighting the center of the room with a dim orange
glow. The room was sparsely furnished. A black plastic faced dining table pushed up against one
wall, on it a laptop's display adding to the dim orange light, a single empty chair resting nearby.
A duffel bag lay untidily on the bare boards next to the desk.
Blade edged carefully into the room, wondering if the fiend had flown or if this was a trap. He
began to approach the laptop but kept his eyes on the shadows.
"Ah, Blade, we meet again," a voice rasped from the shadows. "Elaine sent you I assume. It
seems she still doesn't understand how important my work is. But never mind, she will pay for
her treachery in due course."
As Blade scanned the shadows again a figure stepped out of the shadows, seemingly appearing
from nowhere...
Blade studied the figure that stood before him. Was this Jacob? This didn't look like the vampire
he'd seen before? Yes, the wide brimmed black hat and long leather jacket were there, but that
face! Oh my god that face! What had he become? Instead of the marble white face of the Elder,
two yellow eyes looked out from a face covered with thick matting of black fur and feathers
above a wide protruding mouth containing dozens of huge teeth.
"You will not take me alive, that is not acceptable. Instead, I suggest you FLEE!" The last word
of the speech echoed through Blade's mind. He couldn't resist. He lowered his gun and dashed
for the door.
The remaining kindred shocked at their leaders sudden flight, turned back to Jacob. The Gangrel
held a heavy white object in his hands. They turned and ran for the door as Jacob thumbed the
detonator on the block of C4. The building exploded with enormous ball of flame as debris was
scattered over the area around the cottage.

In the sewers the Nosferatu swat team covered their heads as dust and small stones fell from the
ceiling and the whole passage shook.

Blade fled, as if the very hounds of hell were chasing him. He could not even bring his own force
of will to bear, to stop his legs in their flight.
All of them fled, except for one brave Gangrel, Hugh Geraint, who stayed behind. Opening the
channel on his radio, the last few seconds of his life were recorded, a gunshot, he fired at the
laptop that had lit the room, bravely, he shot again, destroying the information, at the cost of his
unlife. The others, following Blade's hasty retreat, ran, they cared naught for Hugh, just left him
to die.

***

Outside...
Elaine sees the figure of Blade moving away at pace and she realises what is happening. When
she hears the gunshot over the radio, she turns to Alexis with the swiftness of Celerity.
Alexis realised at the same time that things were going sour; he dropped his grenade launcher,
grabbing at Elaine's arm. Elaine had already dropped her crossbow and made to cover Alexis'
body with her own. Both fell to the ground, the slightly swifter Elaine covering Alexis with her
body, covering her head with her arms and protecting them both from the immediate debris...
Explosions and small earthquakes rent the air and Elaine kept her head down, until Alexis
pushed her aside, then pulled her behind the car. The fireball reached out hot tendrils to their
backs, until they ducked, covering each other behind Alexis' car, waiting for it to subside.

"Prince Elaine, come in…Prince Elaine please respond…" came the voice of Sergeant Drab over
the walkie-talkie hidden in Alexis' pocket…
With her head pounding from the explosion, she rolled off Alexis, onto her back. "Alexis, are
you alright?" The voice on the radio irritated her; she cautiously raised her head. "Can you get
that?"
Alexis looked up at the scene of Armageddon that had just seemed to come from the cottage. The
small crater when the house had been, he began to get to his feet. Picking up the radio he answer
the question of drab “Yes we are fine” his voice with filled with venom; he turned it off before
anyone could reply. He put out his hand to help Elaine to her feet. “Are you Ok”?
Gracefully she stood, using Alexis' hand for balance. "A little singed, but I'll be fine, when my
ears stop ringing. What the hell happened?" She turned to look over at the crater and grimaced,
ignoring the protests of bruises and small cuts on her back and arms. "Damnit, have you got men
to clean this up, before the mortals arrive?"

As she said it she could see that he was already on the phone, smiling

"Run the news story now, get the clean up crews here now"
He turned back to her; she could see an air of calm and noble composure cross his demeanour
The driver of an all black van turned the corner at which point the sky exploded in light. The
hooded Kindred sat next to him in the passenger seat pointed toward the explosion, and the
driver spun the car in the road.
The van ground to a halt in front of the two princes. The back doors of the van burst open and 6
hooded figures stepped out their swords gleaming in the light from the fire.
A tall man jumped from the front seat of the van and scurried over to the two crouched figures.
"Are you two alright?"... As he lowered his hood the face of Nathaniel appeared.
"Alexois, what in God's name is happening?", Then he turned to the other figure, "So you must
be Elaine, glad to meet you… Sorry, it seems I am a little late for the party, traffic! Tell me
everything, what can I do to assist? And where is that Jacob?"


Chapter 4: Aftermath

In a nearby field, a silent black helicopter had landed. The occupant, a blonde man in a black
leather trench coat, stood nearby, a twig held in a gloved hand. A gloved hand that looked
wrong. His eyes closed, his senses flowed across the land to the explosion he had seen as „copter
passed stealthily overhead before, unnoticed due to the stealth system and the excitement.
Unseen, he watched them, Elaine and Alexis on the ground. He heard Sergeant Drab and his
chattering. And then he was amongst the rubble, the devastation and the fire...
He opened his eyes with a start. Turning to the „copter he walked back towards it, hair and coat
flowing once more in the down draft. This time no noise from the engines. The copter lifted from
the field and headed eastwards.

***

Elaine inclined her head in greeting, straightening her dark glasses. "Nathaniel? Yes, you missed
the fireworks." She turned to survey the mess, then stepped forward. "I'm going to see if there
was anything left. I need to know if Jacob escaped."
Elaine inclined her head in greeting, straightening her dark glasses.

Alexis was just smiling, for some reason the prince of Ely was making him smile. Whether it
was her reaction to the Malkavian Clan Head or something else it was hard to say. Something
just made him smile.
Nathaniel surveyed the scene and turned to Elaine. "I doesn't like there is much left..... Maybe I
can be of some help, something that may give is a clue might be missed".
He paused, "If he has gone he might have let something I can use to find him"

She didn't see the smiling Alexis, but turned to Nathaniel. "Yes, but we must do this quickly,
before the Mortals catch wind of this. I want all traces of kindred interference removed before
they can get here." Only then did she turn to Alexis, tilting her head when she saw the smile.
"Alexis, can you contact the Nos Sergeant and get him to give us an update? I think we should
apologise to him for the abrupt words earlier?" She smiled a little at Alexis.
Something unsaid was going between them; Alexis just nodded, and contacted the Sergeant.

"Drab, we had a small explosion up here. Looks as if Jacob went up like the 4th of July, we have
people quickly searching the area for any remains. I have a clean up crew coming. Anything
down there let up know and then get the hell out of dodge, Alexios out"

He moved and looked at himself in the windshield of the car. He hadn't seen himself look this
bad since the last battle he was in. Covered in dust and muck, some cuts and bruises nothing a
holiday wouldn‟t cure, he thought, as he organised getting people away before the clean up
crews turned up.
Disgusted at the mess, she let the neonates clean the mess up and turned back to the other
princes, her mood and her face black. "Well, what say we withdraw and leave your men to tidy
this up, Alexis?" She straightened her leather jacket, which had small cuts in it. "I think we
should talk in private. Besides which, I could use a place to clean up."

The group were very suddenly aware of movement in the direction of the crater. Fearing that
Jacob had not perished in the devastating blast, the smile left Prince Alexis' face. He turned, as
did the others standing in the group, each of them making preparations for vicious close quarters
confrontation. Through the haze of smoke and fire and rubble, they could see a dark silhouette
pulling itself to ground level, as if it had just emerged from beneath the earth. Slowly, the figure
began to remove an item from across its back, a large rectangular silhouette - definitely a rifle -
and started to make its way toward the Princes and the car.

Alexis‟s reactions weren‟t dulled by the blast, the twin powerful handguns where already pointed
towards the silhouette.
Elaine turned, teeth bared like a wile animal, her hands turning to claws in the absence of a
weapon...
The group could feel their rage rising, hands tightened on weapon handles and teeth bared in
snarling grimaces. Was this Jacob? Had that deviant survived?
As the figure stepped quickly past the last gouts of flame, their tensions were relieved...it was a
member of the Nosferatu Swat team.
The figure approached the group, slinging his rifle across his back as he did so, then snapped a
smart salute before the Princes.
"Private Mahoney, reporting on behalf of Sgt. Drab your highnesses..."
Slowly her claws started to return their normal shape and she curled her fingers into fists.
"What's happening below?" The irritation and frustration in her voice were self-evident.

"Sgt. Drab reports that there has been no sign of Jacob, nor any other Kindred leaving this
vicinity via the sewers. I've seen the base of that explosion with my own eyes Ma'am, and there's
no way that anything would have survived."
Elaine nodded and said; "Thank you Private, tell the Sgt. to keep checking, just to be sure..."
Private Mahoney nodded, his blackened chin twisting into what qualified as a Nosferatu grin. He
turned, and made his way back toward another manhole.
Alexis open the door to his private car, holding it open for her. He gestured for Bartleby to start
the engine.

Nodding her thanks, she approached the car, pausing to pick up her crossbow, then slid into the
seat. "Thank you, Alexis." She closed her eyes for long moments, her mind in turmoil. What if
Jacob HAD escaped? It appeared that he was dead, but the possibility was there. Jacob was only
slightly older than Elaine, but she knew he was powerful in ways she had not explored. It was
possible. She turned to Alexis as he entered the car.
Alexis open the door to his private car, holding it open for her. He gestured for Bartleby to Start
the engine.

Nodding her thanks, she approached the car, pausing to pick up her crossbow, then slid into the
seat. "Thank you, Alexis." She closed her eyes for long moments, her mind in turmoil. What if
Jacob HAD escaped? It appeared that he was dead, but the possibility was there. Jacob was only
slightly older than Elaine, but she knew he was powerful in ways she had not explored. It was
possible. She turned to Alexis as he entered the car.
"Well, that was interesting..."
"Interesting indeed, the old proverb has come true about Newcastle 'May you live in interesting
times', and I have been". With that he told Bartleby to drive to Newcastle.


Chapter 5: Escape?

The mist slowed and stopped. Forming into a man. Jacob, the beast that he had become, turned
and distantly saw the flames. He smiled. Another escape, another day to fight. As he started
running towards the coast, he spread his arms wide and leapt into the air. A ripple in reality and
he was a Raven, soaring on the night wind, heading to sea, and his only chance of freedom, a
boat out of England.

***

In the helicopter, the man in black sat back in his seat in the cargo hold, his boot parked on a
cargo box marked „incendiary‟. His eyes closed, his senses flowed across the land; he saw the
leaders of Albions' kindred leaving a scene of devastation, returning to their Elysium... His
Elysium. He opened his eyes. The chamber was flooded with a red light, standard when the
stealth mode on the copter was engaged. It cast an eerie glow around the place. He looked on the
faces of his companions. a quiet grim resolve, but little else in the way of emotion. He shook his
blonde head slowly, he was not fighting with his unit and it felt wrong.

***

He closed his eyes once more and reached out with his senses.
The raven flew now across sea, a boat, a container transport, headed for Holland most probably,
carrying cargo of the Kine... The Kine. The raven thought a lot of what he had become. He
headed now for the ship, on board he could hide his face, and escape from it all.
The man opened his eyes. A smile crossed his face.

***

The raven that was Jacob descended towards the boat, as reality rippled around him and the
feathered beast set foot on the deck. His features changed then, gone was the snout and teeth, in
its place the face of the reasonable man.
Jacob had barely chance to pull his leather greatcoat about him when he was illuminated in a
blinding light. The boat? A searchlight on the boat?
The halogens burned through the rain from the copter, hovering silently above the ship, marking
out a single target, a man, Jacob, slowly turning away from the light. "Now." A single word and
the chain guns belched tracers into the form of Jacob. Perfectly illuminated a sitting target.

"Shit!" is all the ancient Gangrel can say as he sees the silent black helicopter disgorge it's cargo
of death at him. Leaping for cover, he lands behind some crates as fire breaks out on deck. As he
looks around a redness starts to haze in around the edges of his vision, He must fight back
the beast, he must fight it back.

Thunder rumbles over head as the helicopter slowly circles around the boat, the halogens casting
both blinding light and huge shadows across the deck of the boat, searching between the
containers, looking for their prey, so that the chain guns can follow. The boat is a scene of
pandemonium, the radio jammed, the captain and the crew attacked by some helicopter... those
that bail out to sea picked off by an unseen sniper..
Jacob ducks round a corner into a blinding light focused straight at him. In an instant he sees it
all, his life in the order, a young boy taken from his village to become a monk and give his life to
Christ, his embrace, his praxis in the middle ages, his talks with "Walks amongst Flame", his
retreat from politics, his hands turning The Convention of Thorns over and over, his arguments
with Morpheus, his negotiations at the treaty, his attack on Jaster, his diablerie of D'val... What
had he done?

In the helicopter they had him, no way out.

Time slowed. Jacob closed his eyes.

Devane smiled.

Lightning fell from the sky onto the copter.

In hours that were seconds, fire erupted around Devane.
He barely had chance to throw himself from the copter before it exploded in a fireball into the
container ship. He hit the sea with a smack, bouncing off it as if it were solid. And then he was
gone.

Jacob's eyes opened to see the burning helicopter careering towards the ship. Somehow he
wasn‟t dead... He turned and painfully slowly leapt across the rails into the sea as the helicopter
and the ship exploded...


Epilogue

Jacob clawed his way up the beach at Whitby. He didn't see the rescue helicopters and coast
guard boats razoring through the sea at night.
Raising his head, fur and feathers encrusted with sand and salt, he looked up at familiar shape of
the Church perched high on the promontory above.

"God damn it!", he snarled, "Will I never leave this cursed island."
With this he slumped back to the beach in despair. He craved solitude. Alone he could have time
to recover his humanity, time for prayer, time for penance... But not here, not on this island. This
place was not safe anymore. He must be far from here...

But someone, something, wanted him... It had saved him tonight. Surely it would find him
soon... Flight was clearly futile. If it wanted him then it would find him. But not like this... Not
as a shell of a man.
Jacob slowly raised himself to his feet and brushed the sand from his coat. He looked around for
his hat, surely it must have been lost... Well, he'll have to find a new one.

The Gangrel stood on the beach, coat billowing in the wind, his mortal visage returned, waiting
for the inevitable, as a small group of people made their way across the beach towards him. The
first was a woman, he thought, clearly of the Nosferatu. The second was a man in a suit, tall,
with dark clothing and dark eyes, blond hair neatly swept back in a ponytail. The third was
smaller, portlier, grey-haired but balding, and carried in his hand a black hat. Jacob's black hat.
The smaller one smiled. "People call me Ezekial. I believe you dropped this, Jacob", he says as
he offers that hat to the somewhat disbelieving Gangrel.

THE END

								
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