Ten hours later Tearden was on a plane to America. He’d always wanted to travel but had never had the money. Now he was going on somebody else’s dime. By the way the men kept glancing at him when they thought he wasn’t looking, he couldn’t tell if they didn’t trust him or feared him. The Nicolae hadn’t been a people to fear for the last few centuries. Before that peopled feared they would come and steal their daughters but that was a thing of the past. So it must be that these men don’t trust me, he concluded.
I guess I did lie to them, he thought as he looked out the plane window. But I don’t trust them yet either. The last thing I want them to know is that I inherited a few gifts from Dracul as well.
“We’ll be landing in a few minutes.” David said from the seat next to him.
Tearden was suddenly nervous. I hope I haven’t made a mistake, he thought.
An hour later he was about to enter a building that he could feel had over 60 Nicolae inside. David and Nicholas had implied they had only captured one of the Nicolae. Tearden was led to a room on the fourth floor. There were several men staring at an empty room through a window. A greying man stepped forward.
“You must be Tearden. We’re glad you could join us. My name is Bill and I’m in charge of this investigation. In a couple of minutes we will be interrogating one of the Nicolae. I’ve been informed by Nicholas that that’s what you know them as?”
Tearden nodded. The door to the room opened and a tall muscular soldier brought in a middle aged dark haired man that was undoubtedly Nicolae. The soldier directed him to sit in one of two chairs that sat on either side of a metal table and then stood against the wall. Bill nodded to one of the men and they left the room Tearden was in and then entered the room with the Nicolae.
“Hello Danny, my name is Nick and I’m going to ask you a few question. Are you aware of the consequences if you don’t answer?”
Tearden had never seen a Nicolae look so scared. Not in all of his ancestors memories. “What consequences is he talking about?” He asked Bill.
“For the moment just observe. We’ll discuss things later.”
Maybe this was his purpose. He and his ancestors had always wondered why they were able to access the memories of those that had died before. Every contact his ancestors had ever had with the Nicolae he had knowledge of. He could feel when one of them was near and even pinpoint their exact location. Tearden knew much more about the Nicolae than he planned on letting the Americans know about.
I can make a difference, he thought. Maybe I can help them . . . maybe they’ll let me join them.
Tearden focused back on the interrogation.
“How many of you are there?”
“I don’t know.”
“Tell me how many you know about then.”
Danny paused and licked his lips, obviously nervous. “I can’t tell you how many I know about.”
“Only our king can give you information relating to us as a people.”
“How about you give it to me anyway.”
“Please . . . I . . . can’t.”
Nick, the interrogator, nodded toward the window and Bill turned to one of the men standing behind them and nodded.
“Go ahead August. One cut on the arm.” The man as he tapped a device in his ear.
Tearden quickly turned back to the interrogation and watched as a cut mysteriously appeared on Danny’s arm.
“Please, stop hurting her! I’ll tell you everything I can!”
“Okay, how many Nicolae do you know about?”
Tearden could see the panic on Danny’s face.
“I told you I’m not able to tell you. If I could . . . I swear I would.”
Another nod and another cut appeared on Danny’s arm.
“Please . . . ask me something else.”
“Fine. What exactly do you mean when you say you can’t?” Nick asked.
“I physically can’t. If I opened my mouth to tell you, I wouldn’t be able to speak and if I tried to write the information, my hand would be stopped. I can’t give you information that is forbidden, no matter how desperately I wish to. So there is no point in torturing her.”
“Tell me about your king then.”
“There’s not much to tell. He left us around 300 years ago and we haven’t seen him since. We’ve searched but haven’t been successful. That’s about all I’ll probably be able to tell you.”
“You really haven’t been very helpful.” Nick said, nodding at the window.
“Stop!” Danny yelled when another cut appeared on his arm. “What have we done? We haven’t hurt anyone. What right do you have to hold us here?”
“We have a right to protect the American people.” Nick said.
Tearden turned towards Bill. “Let the poor man go. I can give you more information than he can.”
“Really? The facts you gave my men were barely bread crumbs.”
“I had no reason to trust them. I’m not sure I trust you, but I might be able to help both parties.”
Bill spoke into an earpiece and Nick stood up and addressed the soldier. “Take him back.”
Tearden watched as Danny was escorted out of the room, blood still dripping from the three cuts on his arm.
Tearden followed Bill out of the room and into a conference room on the same floor. Four other men joined them and sat around a table. “This is Tearden.” Bill said addressing the other men. “He has some information on the men with powers. Apparently they are called Nicolae. Please introduce yourselves.”
“I’m Josh.” The youngest looking man said first.
“My name’s Nathan.” The next said with a smile.
“My name’s Anthony.” The last man stated, with a nod.
Tearden know nothing about any of them, other then their names but he already liked Nathan and Anthony best. Dale was his least favorite. He seemed . . . well, kind of cold.
“Now that that’s taken care of what can you tell us?”
Tearden took a deep breath. “First off, Danny was right. They won’t be able to tell you anything that will jeopardize their safety or give you any real information about their king, so it would be pointless to continue to interrogate them. However if you found their king, then you could ask him all the questions you want.”
“And I assume you are able to give us that information?” Bill said, leaning forward onto the table.
“I can . . . but before I do, I would like you to promise, in writing, that if you are able to bring him in, I get to be a part of the interrogation.”
“Agreed. Dale, right it up.”
Tearden watched as a document was printed and signed.
“Now . . . what do you know?” Bill said sliding the paper to Tearden.
“The king has a mark on the underside of each wrist in the form of an intricate dragon. They would be mistaken for a tattoo but there not man made. The mark on his left wrist he was born with and will be void of color. The one on the underside of his right wrist will be even more vivid and detailed and will contain many shades and colors.”
“He’ll look between the ages of 21 and 45, regardless of how old he really is. He may have boys but the oldest son will have a similar dragon on his left wrist. About 150 years ago the king at that time told my ancestor that they were headed to America. I’m guessing his descendants are still here.”
“That’s not much to go on.” Bill said.
“The only other thing I can think of that might help is he’ll have moved around a lot. The king can live up to 200 years, so he can’t stay in one place very long. I’m guessing he would also change his name frequently. Also, I doubt he would live anywhere near the Nicolae. He’s been hiding from them for the last 300 years. If any of them saw him they would recognize him.”
“Thank you. Is there anything else?”
“Not that I can think of at the moment.”
“Well If you think of anything call me immediately. Josh will take you to your apartment.” Bill said, dismissing him.
Tearden didn’t hear from anyone for over a week. He quickly got bored of sitting in his apartment and spent the days exploring the city. Josh had given him a credit card to use for food and other needed items, so Tearden took advantage of the time and money to explore different restaurants and shops.
One night as he sat and watched TV the doorbell rang for the first time. Tearden tentatively moved toward the door not sure of what to expect. He looked through the peephole and quickly opened the door.
“They found the king,” Josh said. “Bill wants you to come immediately.”
Tearden ran inside and quickly put on his shoes. Finally, Tearden thought, both terrified and excited. If I don’t do this right, I could be considered a traitor to both America and the Nicolae. But on the other hand I could be a hero. He thought as he left with Josh.