This page is part of a frameset. Click here to reload the frameset including navigation.

Chapter One - The Slums - "Welcome To Meridian"

Training

Kain enters the streets of Meridian for the first time. Umah is a little distance ahead, waiting for him to take stock of his surroundings. She addresses him using the Whisper.

Umah: (WHISPERING)
Kain. Do not be afraid.

Kain gasps slightly, surprised, but automatically questions her in the same fashion.

Kain: (WHISPERING)
What magic is this?

Umah: (WHISPERING)
I am using the Whisper, Kain - a natural ability of vampires. In this way, we can keep in contact, even over great distances.

Kain: (WHISPERING)
Yes. I remember now.

Then, to himself -

Kain V.O.:
She had been in my thoughts. I almost believed I had called her myself.

Umah: (WHISPERING)
Never fear. I cannot read your thoughts, but only speak into your mind and hear you in return.

Umah turns and gestures to the road behind her -

Umah: (WHISPERING)
Now proceed down this street. I shall be waiting.

Umah runs off, leaving Kain to follow in his own time. Eventually he catches up. Umah stands above him on a ledge.

Umah:
Welcome to the Slums, Kain.
We are in the oldest and most decrepit part of the city, where few people dare to come. A perfect place to train you.

Kain:
Train me? Do you take me for a dog?

Umah:
Your memory has been shattered and your body has lain dormant for two hundred years. What skills you had must be recovered before you can be any use to the Cabal. You must learn to fight and to survive.

Kain:
I thought you were taking me to feed.

Umah:
Patience, vampire.
First, know that you are stronger and faster than mortal men, able to jump higher and farther than any human that ever lived. When your path is blocked, seek for a place to jump.
Now, join me up here.

As Umah withdraws from the edge of the ledge, Kain makes his way up.

Umah:
Excellent.
Know that you also have the ability to float. When you are on a ledge - such as this one - you may land silently and carefully by floating down. This will be important when I train you to kill.
Now, follow me.

Privately Kain replies to her words -

Kain V.O.:
She would discover I needed little training in how to kill.

Umah continues ahead, pausing occasionally for Kain to see her route, but running off as soon as he gets near. He catches up.

Kain:
This city is a labyrinth.

Umah: (WHISPERING)
All the better for a hunting ground.
Tell me Kain, are you hungry?

Kain: (WHISPERING)
Yes.

Umah: (WHISPERING)
I have a prisoner waiting for you down below. A thug, from a local gang of criminals. He sought to murder yet another helpless victim, but he met me instead.

Slightly impatient, Kain responds sharply -

Kain: (WHISPERING)
Spare me the moral anecdote and direct me to his throat.

Umah: (WHISPERING)
Drink then. I will be waiting below.

Umah vanishes and Kain locates and drains the body of its blood. She regards him from the behind the adjacent gate.

Umah:
I see you are restored.

Kain:
I am.

Umah:
Blood is your life. Without it, you will die.
If you are wounded, seek out blood to restore your vitality. You must know too that by drinking the blood of others, you will gradually become stronger and harder to kill. We call this a vampire's Lore.
The more creatures you drink from, the more Lore you will gain, and the greater your health will become. Leave no enemy alive, Kain. You will need their blood and their Lore to survive.
Now, let us continue.

The gate opens and Umah departs, leaving Kain to practice her lesson on another bound human. He sees her again at the waterfront.

Umah:
While we are superior to humans in many ways, we also have certain weaknesses that they do not possess.
Though it is life-giving to humans, water is deadly to vampires. Its touch burns our skin. Immersion in water can kill us. Avoid it all costs.

Umah draws Kain's attention to a strange chest positioned by a low broken wall.

Umah:
Also know that scattered throughout Meridian are relics of our ancestors. Useless to humans, only vampires can access these coffers and use the power within. Seek these out on your journey.

Kain opens the coffer and absorbs the Lore it contains. He explores as much as he cares to, then meets Umah in front of a strange green barrier.

Umah:
I spoke before of our mortal enemies, the Sarafan. It is their sworn crusade to destroy all vampires, and for this they have developed special defences. You see here a Ward Gate.

Kain:
What precisely does it do?

Umah:
Should you so much as touch it, you will be burned as by fire. The Sarafan have raised these wards throughout Meridian. We can go no farther this way.
Follow me into the sewer.

Kain pursues Umah as she requested. She has the next lesson in mind, one that requires a degree of privacy.

Umah:
Your ability to survive will depend upon your ability to fight. It's time for you to learn how to kill.
Your first line of defence is your agility. You can dodge around an opponent using your inhuman speed. You can also defend yourself by blocking attacks.
I shall now strike at you. Do not be concerned, I shan't use my claws. Block my attacks, and we can proceed to the next lesson.

Kain defends himself successfully for a time, and Umah continues his instruction.

Umah:
We are all armed with a natural weapon - our claws. Use them to kill your enemies. You can practice by attacking me.

Kain accepts Umah's invitation. Satisfied that Kain has passed her test, she suggests another method he can employ against his foes.

Umah:
If you see an enemy become tired, use this opportunity to grab him. Once grabbed, you can throw him a great distance.

Umah again allows Kain to practice until he has perfected the technique.

Umah:
Excellent.
Your lesson is over for the moment. Continue through the sewer, and I shall meet you again shortly.

Further on, Kain notices an armed human blocking his path. Umah strides up to him.

Umah:
Here you are at last.
Through this door lies your first true test. A gang of criminals are encamped ahead, and one of their number stands guard - unaware that his fate approaches.
You must kill him, Kain. You have the skill to block and dodge his attacks. Bring him down using your claws. Once you have felled him, drink his blood to restore yourself from any wounds you may receive.
I will be watching.

Umah disappears again. Kain kills the thug and enters the graveyard beyond the sewers.

Umah: (WHISPERING)
In addition to our physical superiority, vampires also possess Dark Gifts. These are our supernatural abilities. Our curse develops differently in each of us, giving us unique powers. Much of your former power, Kain, has been weakened during your long hibernation.
The mist you see here can be used to your advantage. You have the ability to assume a mist form, and become nearly invisible. You can move silently to bring down your prey from behind. At times when you are outnumbered, look for mist from which to kill your enemies silently. If you are pursued, you can hide in mist to escape.
Now, use this gift to kill those before you in the cemetery. I will let you continue when the deed is done.

When the task is completed, Kain proceeds. He notices a device mounted on a wall, regulating magical energy.

Kain:
What manner of sorcery is this?

Umah:
This is Glyph Energy, a new form of magic brought into the world with the rise of the Sarafan. It supplies power to all of Meridian. The gate you see can be opened using this energy. Activate the Glyph box. This will bring power to the gate's lever and allow you to open it.

Kain complies.

Umah:
Well done.
The Glyphs are operated by the Glyphwrights - a secret society existing within Meridian. You may see them working on Glyphs from time to time. They rarely talk with the townsfolk and very little is known about their origins.
Ahead is the market where the common dregs of Meridian engage in their filthy commerce. Beyond the market is the bridge that leads to the Lower City. Make your way east to the bridge. I shall meet you there.

Kain:
And where are you going?

Umah:
I shall scout ahead to ensure you don't meet any Sarafan patrols. You aren't ready for them yet.

Kain:
How trusting of you to leave me to my own devices.

Umah:
Consider is an act of goodwill.

Umah disappears. Kain passes through the streets to their assigned meeting place and sees her waiting.

Umah:
Come, this way. Follow me.

Kain:
Where are we going?

Umah:
I am taking you to Sanctuary, the heart of the Cabal. It is time that you meet our leader.

Kain V.O.:
It was time indeed to hear this so called leader's plans, and learn what he thought his plans might be for me.

Umah beckons to Kain intently -

Umah:
Kain, this way.

She runs ahead, passing through a deactivated Ward Gate. A Glyph Guard on duty notices her -

Glyph Guard:
Vampire! Here, close the gate!

The gate is activated and Kain is repelled by it. It separates him from Umah and the guard. Hurriedly, she instructs Kain -

Umah:
Kain. You must find a way to reach the Lower City. The Smuggler's Tunnel will take you there.

The guard raises his sword to strike Umah down.

Glyph Guard:
Pestilent vampire! Die!

Umah leaps away from the blow, landing directly in front of the gate, face to face with Kain.

Umah:
Go to the Grand Hotel in the Slums. A contact will meet you there. He will tell you where to go.

Glyph Guard:
Stinking, verminous, bloodsucking fiend!

Umah easily avoids the persistent attacks of the guard. She taunts him -

Umah:
Do you want your death now?
Come, and you shall have it.

Umah runs across the bridge, with the guard in pursuit.

Glyph Guard:
Come back!

Still trapped behind the Ward Gate, Kain ponders his position.

Kain V.O.:
I was alone at last, in a city changed beyond all recognition, in a land that was under a curse. Should I follow her as she asked, or go my own way, find my own answers? But answers were promised me in Sanctuary.
After that, I would know what to do.

Kain reaches the Grand Hotel and notices a human waiting outside. Kain addresses him -

Kain:
I was told to meet someone here.

Contact:
Who's there? Ahh, you must be Kain.

Kain:
You are a human. Curious that you would help one such as I.

Contact:
We hate the Sarafan, we humans. The things they do - it's not right, not natural. If your kind can bring them down, I'll help you - I will!

Kain:
I was told to find the Smuggler's Den.

Unseen by Kain and the human, someone starts eavesdropping on their conversation.

Contact:
You're a stone's throw from the entrance. Go through, it will lead you to the Smuggler's Den. Be careful though. There's rogues down there that will attack you on sight.

Kain:
Then they will die.

The contact opens the gate for Kain. Kain starts to walk through, but the human stops him momentarily -

Contact:
Wait. Tell Umah that I helped you, please?
She promised me the Dark Gift if I did as she asked. You'll tell her, won't you?

Kain: (noncommittally)
I'm certain Umah will give you all that you deserve.

Kain passes through the gate. The eavesdropper watches him leave, then kills the contact, jumping at him and ripping out his throat.

Contact:
(Screams)

PREVIOUS PAGE - NEXT PAGE