Part 2

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1351 / Prussian port city of Graatsenburgen at Oder River

Flames from sconces bolted high on the walls bathed everything below them with a dancing cover of flowing light.

Clothed with the black dress and veil of a newly grieved widow, Natalia De Lascanti giggled with drunken delight as she mingled with the evening crowd of the markets.

People continued to move through the streets of the city en mass as evening turned thick with night while her arms rose as she seemed to dance in pirouette, only to cast stars of blue flame high into the night sky above them.

Peasants who saw her cast the blue fire fled in fear of such witchcraft.

The chemist who'd supplied the formula had not died for naught, she mused. His secret for sapphire flame had proven itself, while his drunken confusion as to her being a common street whore had allowed her to pluck his book of tricks once she'd fed from him behind the pub where he'd ever so crudely managed to have  wooed her from.

Ingredients were easily mixed and applied from those that he'd carried within the neat satchel at his side.

Hint of black-death ingested from the chemist's blood intoxicated her as she wandered much of the city to pass on his infection. Her hand slick with his rancid blood, she gently caressed the faces of those she passed like long lost lovers.

Now released upon the masses through her touch, the plague would set in with renewed vengeance.

Leviticus LaRouchette waited patiently, as he looked back over the city behind her. "I take it that you have had your way with the locals once again?"

Natalia gently slipped her arm through his and turned him as they walked along the road.

"Oh, much more than that, mon cher." She replied breathlessly, the stupor from hunger slacked well beyond her limit had left her giddy.

"I left a present for our brothers of the church."

Pressed by the crowd in the street to mingle along the side of the road, they watched as a column of men, stripped naked to the waist, passed by.

As if marched to a marked beat, they used uncoiled horse whips across their backs to draw blood from thick welts. In a morose drone of penance, they mumbled words of prayer as they moved past.

LaRouchette restrained Natalia as she reached out for the last man in line. "Flagellants are not for us, my dear. They are bland and often leave one ... listless for hours afterward."

Natalia giggled with mirth that revealed a flash of fang. "They will find their sins well met when they return."

LaRouchette's eyes narrowed as he turned her to face him directly. "Exactly what have you done now?"

Natalia's hand rose to gently caress his chin.

"They have a woman locked up that may be part demon, for she certainly appears to have entertained the spirits in a rather delicious way. They use her body in ways far more carnal than holy. I simply gave her the ... gift that will allow her to use their bodies much as they have used hers."

She looked over his features and sighed with mirth and satisfaction.

"Their penance will indeed draw blood, just not from a whip or chain." Natalia's smile was one of dark humor.

"You turned a half-demon? Are you mad?" LaRouchette's anger was thick. "She will cut through them like a sickle through wheat. Others will know that we were here."

"Mon cher, by the time she is through with the brotherhood, most of the city will already be dead. The hunger will consume her and she will likely die a death that was hers to begin with."

LaRouchette seemed to relax as he looked back over the crowd before he reluctantly nodded agreement. "Yes, I can see your point ..." once again he'd found her lack of impulse control as bothersome as ever, "... and what of the blue fire?"

"A simple trick; it will add mystery for those who survive. The chemist, unfortunately, did not get to enjoy his work as I have."

Arm in arm the two moved away from the crowds of the city and into the darkness.

Death had come and gone while more was sure to follow.

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