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FORKNI-L Digest - 28 May 2002 to 29 May 2002 - Special issue (#2002-159)

Wed, 29 May 2002

There are 19 messages totalling 1023 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

  1. YKYBW/RTMFKW... (2)
  2. Blue sighting
  3. Finally have seen Dark Knight, part 1
  4. squeaky voice (2)
  5. Re LaCroix' Teaching (2)
  6. A Way of Death - Darkest Knight II (1/3)
  7. A Way of Death - Darkest Knight II (2/3)
  8. A Way of Death - Darkest Knight II (3/3) (2)
  9. Whoops
 10. who would you choose.... (5)
 11. Whammy: (was: Did he or didn't he? LC & Nat's drink)


Date:    Tue, 28 May 2002 17:26:59 -0400
From:    Portia Eins <portia1@m.......>
Subject: Re: YKYBW/RTMFKW...

Anyway that one turns out, talk about a blood bath!! "g"


On Tue, 28 May 2002 16:53:08 EDT Merrie Thomas <Dragoness987@a.......> wrote:

LaCroix bathing Sydney...now there's an image I'd love to see. :-)
Cousin Merrie


Date:    Tue, 28 May 2002 18:10:06 -0700
From:    Nathalie <kleinemaus@c.......>
Subject: Re: Blue sighting

> It's hard to equate the squeaky voice on Olie with Catherine Disher. Jean
> Grey, whom she also voices in the X-Men cartoons sounds more like her. ;-)

CD does the voice for Olie's mother? You know, I watched that show a couple
of times because I knew she did some character voice on there, but i never
would have guessed that was her. It doesn't sound like her at all. . .oh
well. . .

Cousin Nathalie


Date:    Tue, 28 May 2002 20:43:00 -0700
From:    Alice <ali@s.......>
Subject: Finally have seen Dark Knight, part 1

...and all I can say is: Yum!

::watches as her "I don't need another fandom" banner gets eaten by more
muse-sent mice::

Ali (Alice in Stonyland)
At the crossroads between Wonderland and Stonyland: http://stormy-night.org
Archivist, JoeStories Archive: http://stormy-night.org/joestories.html
I'd rather take a chance on happiness than to later regret that I didn't.


Date:    Tue, 28 May 2002 22:57:09 -0700
From:    "B. Stone" <STONEB@g.......>
Subject: squeaky voice

Ell wrote:  It's hard to equate the squeaky voice on Olie with
Catherine Disher. Jean Grey, whom she also voices in the X-Men
cartoons sounds more like her. ;-)

Ah, but the X-Men were done *before* Nick bit her on the neck!  <g>


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 13:14:53 +0800
From:    Elliza Rahim <relliza@h.......>
Subject: Re: squeaky voice

B Stone wrote:

>Ah, but the X-Men were done *before* Nick bit her on the neck!  <g>

<Guffaw!> That is just plain evil.



Date:    Tue, 28 May 2002 14:15:29 -0400
From:    Debbie Clarke <dittany121@h.......>
Subject: Re LaCroix' Teaching

Maybe it is not so much that Nick can't hynotize a resister but that unlike
LaCroix  he backs off from    forcing the  resister to completely surrender
his will to him, which is what he would have to do be successful.  In short
there may be a point which Nick  chooses not to  cross but which LaCroix has
no qualms about crossing.  After all  Nick  knows first hand what is like to
be on the receiving end.   He knows what it is like to be dominated by
someone, namely LaCroix. Since we know  when push comes to shove,  Nick can
stand up to LaCroix and win,  we have to assume Nick  could be a very
powerful vampire if he chose to be.  That also might explain some of
LaCroix's exasperation with his son.

Debbie new to the list


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 02:24:32 EDT
From:    Jean Graham <JeanG477@a.......>
Subject: A Way of Death - Darkest Knight II (1/3)

A Way of Death -- (Darkest Knight II) -- by Jean Graham

"Darkest Knight" is a story series set in the year preceding "Dark Knight."
Some of its elements will, by design, vary from or expand upon canon.
Together, the stories should comprise a novella, though each should be an
"episode" unto itself.

The original characters and content herein are c 2002 by Jean Graham. The
"Forever Knight" characters are c Imperium Malum Sonius, and though they are
used here entirely without legal permission, you may feel free to archive
this anywhere you please anyway.

Proofreading kudos to Nancy Kaminski, Sunny LaCountess, and Debra Hopkins.
Thanks, ladies!

Email me if you need any earlier installments. This series will eventually be
archived with the rest of my FK fan fiction, at http://members.aol.com/JeanB7



A Way of Death

by Jean Graham

Nick marveled at the sunlight.

He stood in the midst of a human river, a throng of sun-warmed bodies
hurrying past him, and stared up at the glass-towered wonder of Toronto by
day. Bright windows mirrored a blue, cloudless sky. Pure, radiating light
glinted from every rooftop, every wall, and from every car inching its way
through the busy rush-hour traffic.

The crowd flowing around him slowed suddenly. In a moment, it stopped moving
altogether. The sea of heads turned as one to look at him, their eyes
judging, accusing. A thousand mortal faces stared.

He knew them.

Each and every one had died at his hand.

They moved toward him. Retribution burned now in those eyes, and in their
fists they held sharpened stakes raised high, aimed at his heart. They
attacked him en masse, each striking with deadly precision until he had
fallen, helpless, at their feet. And while he lay dying, his blood forming
pools on the sun-warmed concrete, he looked again to the bright sky overhead
and thought, How beautiful the day is. The light. The colors...

The ringing telephone.

Nick sat bolt upright, blinking, disoriented by the cool, quiet dark
surrounding him. Quiet, at least, but for the continuing shrill of the phone.
Until two weeks ago, only one mortal had possessed the phone number for his
private floor of the Brabant Foundation mansion. Now there were two. He
grabbed the phone from the bedside table and fumbled with the receiver until
it was the right way up.


"Sorry if I woke you," Natalie Lambert's voice apologized. "I just thought
you might want to stop by the lab some time this evening."

All vestiges of sleep immediately fled. "You've found something?"

"Well, it's hardly the cure yet, but it could be a start. See you later?"

"I'll be there."

The sun hadn't quite gone down yet. Even through blacked-out windows, he
could feel its deadly, lingering rays. He would have time for a shower, a
liquid bovine breakfast, and a few phone calls of his own.

He reached Charles Du Champs, on vacation in Calgary, for an investment
recommendation, an aide in South Africa for a report on a Foundation food
distribution, and Sandra Grayson, downstairs, to learn whether anything on
the docket tonight would require Director Knight's personal attention.

"Only a signature on the Santiago hospital grant," she told him. "I can bring
it upstairs if you're in a rush."

"No, that's all right. I'll be down in a few. Thanks, Sandra."

"Sure thing."

Sandra was, in addition to the only other human with his phone number, the
sole mortal who had ever breached his fourth-floor haven -- though merely as
far as its foyer. There, she sometimes brought him notice of an urgent need
somewhere in the world that the Brabant Foundation might be able to assuage.
Even Du Champs, his broker and financial confidant of many years (and the one
man who knew that Nick was more than simply the Foundation's director) met
with him only in the suites downstairs, or at the occasional club.

To keep mortals at a distance was imperative -- but not always easy. Sandra,
for example.

"This clinic's going to mean a lot," she said when he'd finished signing the
release forms. He could hear her heart beating faster with every word, but
the grant was not the cause. "It'll be in the poorest neighborhood in the

"Then I'm glad we could help." He handed her back both pen and forms, and
always the picture of efficiency, she went straight to the phone to carry out
the bequest. Nick quietly made his exit.

Sandra was one of the most conscientious humans he had ever known, and she
administered the Foundation with an expert, professional hand. But every time
he came physically near, her heart ran a secretive race with her breathing,
and the look in her eyes told him that she would like very much to be more
than just Mr. Knight's chief administrator. In another time, another life, he
might have responded to those signals. In this life -- unlife -- it was an
attraction he dared not encourage. Sandra, like many before her, would likely
conclude that he was either faithfully committed elsewhere, or gay. It didn't
matter to him, so long as she was kept at a distance.

Distance equaled safety, or at the very least, safer. It was an arrangement
he zealously maintained with the few mortals he allowed into his life. Those
few now included an M.E. named Natalie Lambert who felt certain she could
find a way to cure him.

He parked behind the Coroner's Building and slipped in through a back
entrance to make his way to her lab. He heard voices long before he reached
the door. She wasn't alone.

"Sorry to keep bringing you the bad ones, Doc," one of the voices apologized.
"First the pipe bomb guy and now this."

"That's okay, Eddie," he heard Natalie reply. "It's all in a night's work."

"Yeah." Eddie snorted. "Bet you'd much rather have a morgue full of nice,
clean heart attack victims, though."

"I dunno. What would be the challenge in that?"

"We'll see ya, Doc."

Nick ducked into a closet and waited until three sets of footsteps came out
of the lab, passed him, and retreated down the hall. Silence. When he neared
the still-swinging door, only one heartbeat murmured on the other side. He
hesitated, listening to be certain, then finally pushed the door open and
went inside.

Three black-bagged corpses lay on gurneys, probably about to go into her cold
storage room. Natalie glanced up from one of them as he entered. "Oh. Nick."

"Sorry," he said awkwardly. "I seem to have come at a bad time." The scent of
human blood in the room was so strong that the vampire immediately threatened
to surface. He had to grip the edge of a tall file cabinet and turn away
until he could regain full control of himself.

When he turned back, Natalie was hastily zipping the bag she stood over.
"No," she said. "It's okay. I can't say I'm exactly anxious to get started on
these, anyway. Over here."

Nick steeled himself to follow her past the corpses to the microscope on the
free-standing table beyond.

"Here." She switched on a small light source beneath the instrument's
specimen stage. "Have a look."

To Nick, the slide resembled nothing so much as a bad piece of abstract art.
"Is that my blood sample?"

"Yep. And this..." She inserted a second slide beside the first. "...is mine."

He looked again. The new sample displayed a dense field of slightly flattened
ovals, red and white. The first one appeared colorless in comparison, its
ovals bent and irregular, and there were hair-like strands floating between
the cells.

"I don't know what it is yet," she said before he could ask, "but in the
preliminary tests, it _behaves_ like a viral infection."

"In my blood?"

"M-hm. Could be it's what produces the cravings, and your dependence on the
blood. I'll need to run a lot more tests, draw some more samples, before I
can be sure."

"Anything you need..." Nick stopped, listened. "Someone is coming."

"I don't hear any--"

He vanished into a back room scant seconds before the lab door swung open
again. He heard Natalie say, "Hey, Schanke," and he peered out of the shadows
just far enough to see a pudgy, balding man with a rumpled suit and Elvis
sideburns chomping on a powdered donut as he surveyed the body bags.

"Hiya, Nat. I'm, uh, sorry about the full house. Little gangbanger bastards
have had one hell of a busy night tonight."

"All three of these your case?"

"Yeah. Drive-by down on Lakeview. Shooter took out three rivals at once, with
an Uzi yet. Damn near decapitated 'em all. I'd sure as hell like to know how
he got that kind of hardware past Customs. Oh. Here. I brought you the IDs."

From his limited vantage point, Nick couldn't see what the detective had
given Natalie. But she reacted to it with both dismay and frustration.
"Great. Hector Ramon, sixteen. Marc Santos, eighteen. Eduardo Ruiz,
_fifteen._ They were barely old enough to shave, for God's sake."

Schanke sighed. "Yeah. All runaways outta New York. And all trying to carve
out some new home turf in good old T.O. Seems our boy Muerte takes exception
to that, big time."

"You think he's the gunman?"

"Bet on it. Hard part's gonna be proving it. I've got several rounds from the
wall already; figured you'd get a few more here."

"Yeah. Sure."

Nick didn't hear the rest of their conversation. Something the detective had
mentioned, a name, was bringing back vivid images of his own gang encounter
two weeks before. There had been four young, angry faces with shaven heads,
metal piercing studs in noses and ears, all enraged by his sudden
interference in their "banking transaction." Their intended victim, a
seventy-ish man in an expensive suit, had picked himself up from the sidewalk
and scurried away. When one boy had started after him, Nick had grabbed a
collar and dragged the youth backward, tossing him to the pavement.

"Muerte!" one of the others had shouted. _"Aqui esta el tubo!"_ And a short
length of pipe had sailed into the air to be caught by the tallest of the

Nick barely registered the smoldering fuse protruding from the device. The
one called Muerte gave it a tiny toss, caught it, leered at him and said,
"Eh. Chingado. Catch!"

Nick remembered catching it, pitching himself forward toward the concrete,
and then... Then there had been nothing, until he'd awakened here, in the
morgue, on the coroner's table.

"We ever get an ID on the pipe bomb victim?" he heard the detective asking

"Uh... no."

"What, you mean no prints, no nothing?"

"He was holding the bomb in both hands when it went off, Schanke."

"Oh. Yeah. Well, I've got nada from Missing Persons on him. 'Course, we
didn't exactly have enough for an artist's sketch, either. But there's nobody
missing who matches his general specs, leastways not in the MP database."
Schanke licked powdered sugar off his thumb and index finger. "So wherever
John Doe came from, there doesn't seem to be anyone who wants him back. Guess
you'll just be keeping what's left of him on ice awhile, huh?"

"I'll do that. And I'll call you when I have something on these."

"Sure thing. Here's my home number, 'case you need it. Right now, though, I
am outta here. Enough with the major overtime double shift, already. I
promised Myra I'd pick up a bucket of chicken on the way home. Personally, I
prefer souvlaki, but you know women, never happy with..."

"Good  night, Schanke."


-End Part One-
Comments to JeanG477@a.......


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 02:26:10 EDT
From:    Jean Graham <JeanG477@a.......>
Subject: A Way of Death - Darkest Knight II (2/3)

A Way of Death - Darkest Knight II by Jean Graham - Part 2 of 3

When she turned back from the door, Nick was standing in the room once again.
"That," he said, with a nod at the swinging door, "is a detective?"

She laughed. "Well, don't let appearances fool you. He's a good cop."

Nick made a mental note of the phone number on the scrap of paper she still
held. "He mentioned a name. Muerte. Who is that?"

"A twenty-year-old Honduran gangster here on a work visa. Only he doesn't
work. Real name's Manuel Madeira. He's the..." She stopped suddenly. "Why?
Someone you know?"

"We've met. Two weeks ago. Over a pipe bomb."

"He was the one who...?" She turned to gaze at the three black bags on the
gurneys. "Schanke was right. He _has_ been busy. Living up to his name." She
made a sweeping gesture toward the bodies. "You want to know how many teenage
'clients' I've had in here over the past year, courtesy of gang wars?
Thirteen. Thirteen babies too young to grow chest hair yet. And for what? To
protect some imaginary urban turf? What the hell kind of a way of life is

Nick said nothing for a moment, simply waiting until most of her outrage had
spent itself. "It isn't," he finally answered, and at her querying look,
added, "A way of life. You could say it's a way of death. A way to belong."

He knew about wanting to belong -- and about wanting not to.

He'd wanted to belong once. Eight centuries ago, after his first foolish
attempt at a cure had nearly destroyed him, the newly-turned Nicholas had
striven with all of his immortal strength to become everything LaCroix wished
him to be. The killer. The predator. The vampire.

For two centuries, he had come very close to succeeding.

Then LaCroix had orchestrated "the banquet."

It had been the master vampire's pet term for an event which, in his days as
a mortal Roman general, might better have been called an orgy.

They'd come from all over the world to LaCroix's chateau outside of Paris.
Nicholas had never before been in the company of so many vampires. And they
had brought with them a feast of mortals culled from their many lands.

It should have quickened his slow heart with joy, the sight of that ballroom
filled with reveling vampires and their complacent prey, the wanton display
of lust both carnal and sanguinary, the vision of his lovely Janette in her
low-cut silk gown, even the absurdity of LaCroix playing the kind and
gracious host. Instead, the entire affair had filled Nicholas with such
revulsion that he thought to escape the house before any of his family should
sense his disgust. But Janette had caught him, literally, in the foyer, and
dragged him by one arm back into the ballroom.

"Mon Nicolas, you must come and see what LaCroix has brought for you!" And
she had led him to a couch where the most exquisite of all the mortal women
in the crowd lay waiting for him. He felt LaCroix's eyes on him then, turned,
and looked up to see his sire on a heraldry-draped balcony across the room.
Their exchange was brief. Nicholas forced a smile of gratitude. LaCroix
nodded in acceptance, at once returning to his own repast. Nicholas thought
he might manage to escape then. But the siren call of warm blood, so near,
pulsing through the gift's mortal veins, had already captured his senses and
turned his eyes to glowing amber.

For a time, he lost himself altogether in the mortal's sweet essence, in the
flood of her human emotions, in the sensually erotic pleasure of feeding. But
with the last drop of her blood, all the revulsion, guilt, and self-loathing
that had plagued him returned in force. He cried out, thrust the lifeless
mortal away, and turned to flee.


Janette. In his feeding passion, he had forgotten her presence.

"Did you not enjoy your gift, mon amor?"

"I..." He closed his eyes and fought to suppress the guilt anew. She mustn't
know of it. LaCroix mustn't know.

Too late. She had already sensed his distress. He felt it in the way her arms
encircled him, the soft caress of her hands -- and the needle sharp prick of
her fangs.


He pushed her away and fled the ballroom, colliding with more than one
reveler on his way to the door. There were more of them -- too many more --
in the foyer, so he veered right and ran up the grand staircase. He climbed
to the top, threw open the last door, and broke free of the suffocating house
at last. Night air. Night wind. The kiss of a star-swept sky. An invitation
to flight...


He wheeled, angry to find her so close behind him. "Leave me alone."

"Oh, I think not."  Janette circled to face him. "I thought we had long ago
settled this matter of the lingering mortal conscience."

She had seen it in his blood. One unguarded moment, and a single taste had
been enough. "Please, Janette..."

"Oh, do not worry. I will tell LaCroix nothing of this. But you cannot keep
such secrets long from him, mon coeur. You know that. He has warned you so
many times, Nicolas! Why do you persist? Why have you not abolished this

"Do you think I haven't tried? I have! For two centuries, I have tried to be
all that he wanted. And my guilt remains. As does my yearning to be mortal
again. Will you tell him that as well?"

She looked offended. "I said that I would not. But you had best take care,
Nicolas, to see that he never learns of it. He will be very disappointed. And
our master disappointed, as you know only too well, can be a formidable thing

He turned away, and in another moment, had taken flight into the welcoming

This time, she had not followed.

"Nick? I said I can draw those blood samples now."

Refocused on both Natalie Lambert and the twentieth century, he unbuttoned
one shirt cuff and rolled up the sleeve. "Okay," he said. "Let's get started."

                          *     *     *

Muerte had not been difficult to find. But then, hunting mortals was the
finest-honed of a vampire's skills. And Nick had not forgotten.

He dropped out of a rain-swollen sky onto a water tower that topped a
lakeside warehouse. The surrounding alleys glowed with the trash barrel fires
of indigent camps. In one of those cul-de-sacs, a dead end against the
waterfront, Muerte and two of his friends had cornered prey of their own.

"I told you I'd get it," a man's tremulous voice pleaded. "Next week. I
should have more by next week!"

"Uh-uh." One of Muerte's companions closed in on the man. "You owe Muerte,
you pay Muerte."

Unseen, unheard, Nick floated to ground in the shadows behind them.

"No, please. I'll get the money. I swear I will!"

"Too late, puto. You know the rule. You don't pay, you die."

The trio had advanced until their target was trapped against a chain link
fence. One's hand rose, and pale light glinted off the blade of a knife.

Nick stepped out of the shadows.


All three of them started, turning around. Like the robbery mark two weeks
before, their intended victim bolted and ran, his heart pounding faster than
his feet. No one pursued him.

"Quien es?" the youngest one demanded. The knife wielder shrugged, but in
Muerte's dark eyes, Nick saw both recognition and denial. This couldn't
possibly be the man who had caught his bomb. It couldn't be.

"Mata le, Julio." The order was short, precise. Kill him.

Nick waited. The one with the knife lunged at him. Nick allowed himself to be
carried a short distance back into the shadows, there to be pressed against a
crumbling brick wall. He felt the blade slide cleanly through his coat,
shirt, lung and heart. His attacker stepped back, waiting for the body to
fall -- only to find himself staring into smoldering, undead eyes. When the
corpse slowly pulled his knife from its own chest and tossed it aside, Julio
began backing away, making small choking sounds that never quite became
words. Nick caught him by the throat, whirled and slammed him against the
wall with a snarl. Julio immediately went limp and collapsed into an
unconscious heap against the bricks.

Nick moved back into the light and was at once confronted by the second boy.
This one, he stopped cold with a look. While another knife fell from
suddenly-nerveless fingers, Nick told him, "It's time to consider a change of
career. Go home."

Muerte watched his last protector turn and shuffle, like a sleepwalker, out
of the alley. The Uzi materialized from somewhere under his coat and rapidly
spat out several rounds. Most of them struck their intended target and passed
through him.

"Madre de Dios." Muerte backed into the chain link fence. "You can't be real.
That pipe bomb blew you apart, man. You're dead!"

Nick smiled at him, moving a few steps closer. "Didn't you choose your name
in order to be close to Death, Muerte? Well, now you have met him. If you'd
like a more intimate introduction, let me assure you, I can arrange it."

Dropping all pretense of machismo, Muerte crossed himself, and tried to run.
Nick caught the tails of his coat and dragged him effortlessly back to the
fence. He captured the boy's gaze and heartbeat as well. "You're going to
have a long talk with a police detective named Schanke," he said. "You're
going to sign a full confession to the three murders tonight, to the pipe
bomb incident, and to every other death you've caused. All of it, Manuel. The
whole truth."

Muerte blinked, and his near-black eyes abruptly refocused, wresting
themselves from Nick's control. "No," he murmured. "I won't. Don't f--- with
me, cabron! Get out of my way!"

He tried again to push his way free and again, Nick wrestled him back to the
fence. Loose chain link rattled and clanked above them. "Well then, if you
won't convict yourself, I suppose this will just have to do it for you." Nick
slapped the Uzi still clutched in Muerte's hands, then treated both gun and
owner to a short flight through the air, with a rather hard landing in an
open, half-filled garbage dumpster that sat against the fence eight feet
away. "Sweet dreams," he told the stunned occupant, and slammed the lid shut.
A short length of sturdy metal plucked from the rubble under the bin secured
the latch. It ought to keep Muerte "comfortable" until a certain anonymous
party could phone Detective Schanke and tell him where to collect two
gangbangers -- and the murder weapon -- involved in those drive-by shootings.

A steady, soaking mist had begun to fall by the time two patrol units and one
portly detective arrived to pick up the unconscious Julio and release their
kicking, swearing prize from the trash hopper. Nick watched them from the
warehouse roof, concealed in the water tower's shadow.

"Man, oh man," Schanke told one of the uniformed cops, "you gotta love those
anonymous tips, huh? Even when they drag you out of bed at four in the
morning. We get any trace yet on where the call came from?"

"Pay phone a block down on Gateway," the uniform replied. "Whoever it was,
he's long gone by now."

"Yeah. Probably a rival gang lord. Poor old Muerte's turf will now belong to
the guy who canned him." Chortling at his own joke, Schanke patted the
pockets of his raincoat in vain. "Hey, Phelps, you got any ciggies?"

Car doors slammed. Tires ground and skidded on wet asphalt. Then, finally,

-End of Part Two-
Comments to JeanG477@a.......


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 02:28:03 EDT
From:    Jean Graham <JeanG477@a.......>
Subject: A Way of Death - Darkest Knight II (3/3)

A Way of Death - Darkest Knight II by Jean Graham - Part 3 of 3

Emerging from the tower's shadow, Nick took note of a large FOR SALE sign
that had been bolted to one strut, angled for viewing from the street below.
Lifting one of the skylight panels, he quietly dropped through and onto the
warehouse's upper floor.

Diffuse blue light filtered through glass bricks and the lazily rotating
blades of a high-mounted fan. A modern kitchen had been built into the open
space, just beyond a heavy cargo elevator. On the opposite side, two
utilitarian stairways ran up to a catwalk balcony and two add-on bedrooms.

It had none of the mansion's colonial charm. But a loft like this might be
the perfect aerie for a penitent vampire in search of a little solitude.

He went to inspect the rest of the building, realizing as he wandered that he
had felt a certain... he could only call it vindication... in taking Manuel
"Muerte" Madeira off Toronto's streets. It was a way to save mortal lives
instead of taking them. A way to atone.

Maybe it was time to consider a career change of his own. He'd been a cop
once before, in Chicago. He could take on that persona again, although it
would mean closer contact with mortals -- something he had gone to great
lengths, in recent years, to avoid.

The loft could provide him with a necessary haven from the multitude of human
temptations, even though he would permit one mortal -- Natalie Lambert -- to
breach that wall of solitude. One mortal was temptation -- and risk -- enough.

It was raining harder, driven by a cold wind off the lake. Nick moved to the
roof's edge, casually stepped over it, and landed in an alley behind the
warehouse. Ignoring the pelting rain, he walked the short distance to the
lake front.

_I will always know,_ a long-ago voice teased at him, carried on the wind.
_You cannot hide your thoughts from me for long. I am a part of you. We are a
part of each other._

The night of the banquet, LaCroix had followed him to the shores of another
lake not far from the chateau.


"Leave me alone." His effort to take flight had been thwarted by a herculean
grip on his shoulder.

"Never. I want to know what possessed you to behave so rudely to my guests,
to Janette."

"I did not--"

"I saw you cast her aside, as you did many others in your haste to escape my
hospitality. Now, are you going to tell me what is wrong, or must I resort to
more drastic measures?"

"Nothing is wrong." Nicholas wrenched his shoulder free. "I wanted to be
alone, that's all. I just want to be left alone."

Silence, while sire considered son's answer, and then, the expected reproach.
"I will not tolerate deceit, Nicholas. What are you hiding?"

"How could I hide anything from you? You said yourself, we are a part of each

For reasons he could not discern, LaCroix's anger abruptly dissipated. But
suspicion lingered in his pale eyes. "Sooner or later, you _will_ tell me. As
with all else, mon fils, you'll have no other choice." The wind had snatched
him away then, leaving Nicholas to brood with only the calm, black water for

Toronto's lake was far from calm. But now, as he had done then, Nick
addressed the dark water as though LaCroix still stood upon its shore.
"You're wrong," he said. "I do have a choice. I choose to seek a way back to
the light. A way to escape from you."

In neither century had the lake offered any answer.

                          *        *        *

Natalie Lambert had reacted with both surprise and amusement, a short time
later, to find a dripping wet vampire standing in her otherwise deserted

"No more customers?"

"I've had more than enough for one night, thanks. Here." She tossed him a
bundled stack of paper towels from beside the lab sink. "You look like you
could use these."

Nick caught it in one hand, slipped off his wet coat, and put the towels to
use on his soaked hair, face and hands. "There," he said, and handed the
sodden towels back to her. "Does the good doctor find me more presentable

"Well, if you like the wet, scruffy look, yes." She tossed the towels
playfully into a trash bin. "Something I can do for you?"

"Actually..." He paused, drawing a breath. "I came to apologize."

Her eyes widened. "For...?"

"For following you the other night. For frightening you. For trying to make
you forget."

"Oh." She had a childlike habit of biting her lower lip when she was nervous.
"Well, I gather that's some sort of time-honored vampire survival mechanism,
or something like that."

"You could put it that way."

"One I'd like very much to learn more about, I might add."

"Doctor Lambert--"

"Ah-ah." She held up a hand. "It's Natalie. Or Nat, for short. Are you this
formal with all the mortals you know?"

He shook his head. "No. I guess I just don't..." Even the word was somehow
difficult for him to utter. "...trust easily. It's nothing personal. It's
just that it's been a long time since I risked confiding this much to a
mortal. And Doctor--" He stopped himself, started again. _"Natalie,_ there's
still a great deal I won't be able to tell you. I won't jeopardize your life
unnecessarily. What we're doing is dangerous enough."

"Well, then I'll work with what you _can_ tell me." She reached out to
lightly touch his arm: a small, caring, _human_ gesture. "It's all right,
Nick. It's a beginning."

The warmth of her touch had stayed with him all the way home, the fragile
echo of a newfound trust.

It was, indeed, a beginning.

Comments to JeanG477@a.......
Will eventually be archived at http://members.aol.com/JeanB7


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 03:11:11 EDT
From:    Jean Graham <JeanG477@a.......>
Subject: Whoops

Apologies for posting the story ("A Way of Death") to the wrong list. You
lose wayyyyyyyy too many brain cells when you get this old!

--Jean G.


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 22:21:32 +1200
From:    Knightraven <kiwisun@i.......>
Subject: who would you choose....

Okay here's one for you...

Let's pretend that Nick did die in Last Knight...juuuust pretending...calm

...Lets imagine that Lacroix has worked through his greif etcetc..and is now
ready to take a new 'child' into his arms again.

Who would you think he would choose?  Character from other shows, actors,
whoever you like. Male/female?

Jarod from the Pretender?  and, yummy...if he weren't already a
vamp...Angel?(oh go on, he's gooorgeous!:P<G>)
Mmm a woman maybe...Sam from Profiler? She would give him a run for his
money...ohh a love interest even maybe?

Who would you chose?

Raven Awards : http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~sharkyl/


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 07:40:24 EDT
From:    Fran Glass <DYNOJET@a.......>
Subject: Re: who would you choose....

<< ...Lets imagine that Lacroix has worked through his greif etcetc..and is
now ready to take a new 'child' into his arms again.

Who would you think he would choose?  Character from other shows, actors,
whoever you like. Male/female? >>

Coming out of lurkdom to answer this one. My choice is FBI's most unwanted,
Fox Mulder. I did a crossover story in which the two hit it off and Mulder
was left considering the idea of crossing over. He'd have to get Scully's
approval, of course.

knightie, x-phile and incoming traveler


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 09:06:48 EDT
From:    Becky Hinson <bbhinson3@a.......>
Subject: Re: who would you choose....

In a message dated 5/29/02 5:15:01 AM Central Daylight Time,
kiwisun@i....... writes:

> ...Lets imagine that Lacroix has worked through his greif etcetc..and is now
> ready to take a new 'child' into his arms again.
> <snip>
> Who would you chose?

My money would be on Natalie.  He'd finish what someone started!

Oh come on, it's the obvious choice here!  LOL  ;o)

~Cousin with Valentine tendencies


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 08:28:46 -0500
From:    Christy Stillman <cstillma@u.......>
Subject: Re: YKYBW/RTMFKW...

Cousin Merrie said:

<LaCroix bathing Sydney...now there's an image I'd love to see. :-)>

Leave "Sydney" out of that sentence, and you'll have lots of company viewing
that image.  ;-)

NA - First, Foremost, and Always


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 10:07:31 -0400
From:    Portia Eins <portia1@m.......>
Subject: Re: Re LaCroix' Teaching

Hey, Debbie new to the list! "g"  This (and the rest excised) is very
interesting reasoning!  Since I like to view Nick as a man trying to resurrect
and live up to his principles, this is appealing to me.


On Tue, 28 May 2002 14:15:29 -0400 Debbie Clarke <dittany121@h.......> wrote:

Maybe it is not so much that Nick can't hynotize a resister but that unlike
LaCroix he backs off from forcing the resister to completely surrender
his will to him, which is what he would have to do be successful.

Debbie new to the list


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 10:20:19 -0400
From:    Portia Eins <portia1@m.......>
Subject: Re: who would you choose....

Ooooo, Kylie, you naughty!  What an iiiinteresssting thought!

Hmmm...someone with that savory mix of dark and light, with that spicy flavoring
of diametric desires and temptations, a mixture of the impetuous youth and the
canny adult.  I don't think he would necessarily care if it were male or
female...but, then again, he might avoid male for a little while...hmmmm....I
have to think.


On Wed, 29 May 2002 22:21:32 +1200 Knightraven <kiwisun@i.......> wrote:
Who would you think he would choose?  Character from other shows, actors,whoever
you like. Male/female?



Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 11:16:11 -0400
From:    Portia Eins <portia1@m.......>
Subject: Re: A Way of Death - Darkest Knight II (3/3)

Well....damn Sam.  That was just...really very, very wonderful.  As ever, you've
managed to touch my heart and set me thinking.  I very much enjoy this
background you've built for Nick.  All of it, especially his extreme reserve
just makes a lot of sense, and I enjoyed that little glimpse into where he was
living and what he was doing right before he slipped on Nick Knight, Homicide
Detective like a new suit.  The part that caught my heart the most was that
little Schanke cameo -- thank you for that!  How delightful your description,
Nick's reaction to his first sight of our Don (Elvis sideburns and all), and
Natalie's endorsement of his skills as a detective.  And how strange that it's
taken me this long to even wonder about what Nick's reaction must have been to
the pipe-bomb incident -- how appropriate that his first "case" (well, so to
speak) was to solve his own murder!

Well done, well written, and well received (well, at least by me! "g")!



Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 11:23:59 -0400
From:    Portia Eins <portia1@m.......>
Subject: Whammy: (was: Did he or didn't he? LC & Nat's drink)

Been waiting for this to show up, and finally realized I sent it only to McL!
Though I love her dearly, I was also hoping to find out what any of you might
think about my poor reasoning.... "g"


-------- Forwarded message --------
Subject: Whammy: (was: Did he or didn't he? LC & Nat's drink)

As for Nat being a resistor....It's in the back of my mind that there might be
some element of the "empirical evidence" aspect to the whole "Nick couldn't
whammy Nat at the beginning" thing.  I haven't really worked out the details,
but, considering that Nat is a "scientist" and that she had to have had some
kind of paperwork detailing what had happened to the body, and the verbal report
of the little guy who wheeled Nick in, as well as the fact that Nick's body
*did* wind up in her morgue...well, couldn't all of that have lodged in her mind
as "evidence" that he was *dead* and was now *alive,* and so she couldn't be
made to forget? I'm thinking that this "mental" evidence might somehow be
sufficient even without the transfer and on-site paperwork -- a sort of
intellectual dependence on and confidence in her own clinical, trained
perceptions that provided unshakeable proof and so kept Nick from being able
to make her forget.  Does any of this make any kind of sense?  It's more
of a nebulous idea, so I completely admit it is a rather untenable proposition.
And her experience with Spark further puts tears in this cobweb of reasoning
(mixing my metaphors) -- though I could make some arguments to justify even
those events.... "g"

Anybody have any of those fondue skewer thingys? "g"


PS.  And how much speculation should be afforded the suggestion that the subject
has to comply to some degree with the "whammying?"  It could be argued that even
those who seem most reluctant could have some reason, ultimately, to restructure
their thinking.  For example, they don't *really* want to believe in vampires,
the "whammying" vampire is pretty darn scary and who would truly want to oppose
him/her, the whole situation is too traumatic and would be better forgotten
anyway, etc., etc.

On Tue, 28 May 2002 09:26:11 -0400 Lisa McDavid <mclisa@m.......> wrote:

the idea began when Catherine Disher tried to do something about the continuity


Date:    Wed, 29 May 2002 09:32:18 -0600
From:    Rose Thatcher <dreamerextrodanar@h.......>
Subject: Re: who would you choose....

> > ...Lets imagine that Lacroix has worked through his greif etcetc..and is
> > now ready to take a new 'child' into his arms again.
> >
> > <snip>
> >
> > Who would you chose?

Oh, I wouldn't inflict him on anyone I actually liked!  He would be happy
with a Renfield! (dodging flaming stakes.)  Well, it's how I feel! :P

Rome was not built by holding committe meetings.  It was done by killing all
those who opposed them.


End of FORKNI-L Digest - 28 May 2002 to 29 May 2002 - Special issue (#2002-159)

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