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Disclaimers: I do not own Carlos, nor do I own his last name of Vargas. If I understand correctly, his last name is canonically Vallerret or something similar. I do believe that Ellen Brand gave him the name Vargas, if anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.
Timeline: This takes place after my version of 'Carlos and the Count'.
Warning There is swearing and violence and suggestions of sex. If you've read any of my other stuff, this is probably turned up a bit from that. Considering the nature of the characters involved in the story, this shouldn't be a surprise.
If there are any questions, comments and/or concerns, don't hesitate to email me. Randelm@hotmail.com

World of Night
by Randel

For a week, Nocturne and his three newest slaves traveled east in bat form at night, finding old abandoned buildings to take refuge from the sun. In each of those buildings, Nocturne was able to construct his throne room like chamber, with the bone throne and blue flamed golden torches. Carlos would find himself a secluded area if he could manage, while Julie and Karen, the vampiresses, occupied Nocturne's time. They fed on wild animals, deer, bear and the like. Julie, and Karen tore into the prey leaving gruesome scenes. Carlos did his best to leave his prey alive.

Every day, while Carlos slept, he dreamt. Sometimes the dreams were of he and his friends battling Divatox's goons, those always made him fiercely proud and he awoke from them with nonexistent tears of regret in his eyes. He also dreamt of pallid faces framing glowing red eyes, of blood, owned and stolen splattered on dirty walls, sharp claws and rough fur, of difficult gruesome battles. Those dreams made him fear for his future.

There was another kind of dream Carlos had been having since his conversion from the mortal life. Unfortunately, the only manner in which he could define it was that he could remember none of it.

"We'll be there before the sun rises," announced Nocturne as the four of them were preparing to leave.

"Where exactly are we going?" asked Carlos

"The hub of vampiric society on this continent, both literally and metaphorically. New York City." At first, Nocturne had refused to answer Carlos' questions, becoming angry and telling the young vampire that he had no right to be bothering him with trivial inquiries. After a couple of days however, the Count seemed to be regarding him less as a slave and more as a student. Carlos wasn't sure he particularly liked that turn of events.

The four transformed into bat form and began winging their way east and after only an hour of travel, they could see the outskirts of the city. The masses of pinpoints of lights created a striking view and as the four touched down on a deserted street and returned to humanoid form, Carlos found himself able to admire it.

"Quit staring," snapped Nocturne, shaking Carlos from his scrutiny, "We've got to hurry." The Count hurried down the dirty abandoned street, Julie and Karen at his heels.

"Hurry? What for?" asked Carlos jogging to catch up.

"Politics," replied Nocturne, "You wouldn't understand."

Carlos bit his tongue but continued to follow his 'master', keeping an eye on the shadows that filled this abandoned area. Slowly but surely the buildings they passed began to look less dilapidated. People began to pass by them, bums and street people mostly. Carlos ignored the catcalls and requests for money, trying desperately to keep the hunger that was assailing him with all these prime arteries surrounding him, under control. It was obvious to Carlos' eyes that the two girls were having to be restrained from simply going on a rampage and feeding right there.

They walked a couple of more blocks, then Nocturne turned down a dark alley, the kind where you wouldn't want to meet a goon like Rygog, or a vampire for that matter. The stench filled Carlos' nose making him glad he didn't have to breath. For several minutes the four navigated the twisting narrow space in silence. Quite suddenly they emerged from the alley into an empty street. The buildings here were tall and quite professional looking, very sleek.

Nocturne pointed at one of the buildings, "There, that's where we're going."

The four began to cross the street when from out of nowhere five figures dressed in varying cuts of black appeared, baring their way.

"Well, well," said the one in the middle. He appeared to be in his mid-thirties with slicked back black hair and piercing blue eyes, but Carlos could tell though some sense he had come to think of as his vampire sense, that this was an old and powerful vampire. "If it isn't Count Nocturne come back out from underneath the rock where he'd been hiding."

"Count Ulrich," acknowledged Nocturne, his voice bitter and just a hint frightened. Karen and Julie were hiding behind Nocturne, hissing at Ulrich and the four younger vampires who flanked him.

"And what have we got here?" Ulrich turned his attention to the girls. "New toys? Pretty little wenches," his attention moved to Carlos and his brows drew together slightly. "And a new warrior." The last was said with definite interest. Carlos wasn't certain what was going on here, but he suddenly felt like he was about to be pounced on from all sides.

Ulrich raised his hands, thumb and middle finger poised as if about to snap, "Let us see how yours stand up to mine, shall we?"

"You're not playing fair," Nocturne half growled, half whined, "your four to my three."

Ulrich shrugged, "Life's a bitch," and snapped his fingers.

Carlos found himself targeted by blonde guy with blue eyes that looked even paler combined with his nearly white skin. Instantly the former Ranger was in a defensive stance. When his opponent threw a punch, Carlos was startled. It wasn't that the attack was unexpected, but that it was so slow. Sure the guy was faster than a normal human might be, but Carlos found himself filled with an energy much like when he'd been morphed, and easily dodged the blow. Somewhat fascinated by his own speed, Carlos continued to dodge the other's attacks and his opponent began to get sloppy, showing his anger and baring his fangs.

Suddenly he heard a scream and glanced over to where one of Ulrich's goons had ripped a sizeable chunk out of Karen's left arm. Carlos also noticed that Nocturne has his silver saber out and was keeping his opponent at bay while Julie's opponent seemed to simply be playing with her.

Carlos' momentary distraction cost him and he felt three punches in quick succession. Staggering back a bit, the young vampire's ears were filled with the rumble of thunder. He knew his eyes were glowing brightly green, and he retaliated with an overhead ridge hand, the attacking arm edged with emerald light. The other vampire had no time to scream, his eyes simply grew a bit wider, and then his head was flying through the air to bounce down the street a ways. There was very little blood signifying that the re-deceased had not fed recently.

The battle rage having ceased him, Carlos moved on to the next enemy. Karen was unmoving on the street and her slayer turned just in time for several hasty blocks as Carlos launched a flurry of attacks. The two right punches met with resistance but the left staggered his opponent and a side kick knocked him to the ground.

With instincts borne of fighting off masses of Piranatrons, Carlos spun, already attacking and caught Julie's former opponent, sending him flying into the other one Carlos has just pitched. The two got up, snarling and showing their fangs. Carlos just waited for them to come. For the first few attacks, Carlos simply dodged, finally he redirected the blow of the enemy on his right into the other, the followed up with a series of powerful kicks that had the two groaning and backing up towards Ulrich.

Carlos looked to where Nocturne was still battling his enemy in time to see the Count slide his blade into the other's chest. Upon contact the other vampire's skin began to bubble and steam. Nocturne withdrew his blade in a move whose skill somewhat surprised Carlos, the Count brought his blade around and took off the other's head.

The two bruisers were advancing on him again, and Carlos lost his patience. "I've had enough of this," he growled. That rumbling in his head began to increase and he focused it towards his hand and released it from there. A thunderous crack split the air, knocking the two back and causing Carlos to stumble back a bit himself.

There was a moment of disorientation, and when he could think again, he quickly surveyed the situation. Three vampires lay dead, Karen, the one Carlos had beheaded, and the one Nocturne got. Ulrich's other two were lying against the building on the other side of the street, but if he concentrated, Carlos could tell they were simply unconscious. Nocturne still had his blade drawn and was moving up next to Carlos while Julie cowered behind them glancing occasionally at Karen's mangled and unmoving body.

Nocturne smiled at Ulrich. Ulrich, Carlos noted, seemed to have been unfazed by the thunder, his hair was all in place, his black suit immaculate. "You lost, Ulrich," said Nocturne. "We have a score to settle, you and me."

"Please," returned Ulrich, with a flip of his hand, "You're not worth my time. You, however," he turned to Carlos, "Now you're something interesting." Carlos glared and eased into a defensive stance. He could sense something about the man that implied great power of a kind he knew nothing of.

"You move like a warrior and have a magic within you that..." Ulrich trailed off a bit. "It's old and alien, I've never felt anything like it... And I've been working with magic for a long time now." The old vampire's smile widened and he threw a contemptuous look towards Nocturne. "My old friend here was lucky in snagging you. However, if you work for me, I can give you power like Nocturne only dreams of. This dated piece of trash isn't worth your time, young warrior. I can help you go far in the society of the night dwellers."

"Don't you dare betray me, Carlos," Nocturne's voice was likely meant to be threatening, but it came out more panicked. He could feel his 'master' attempting to control him and realizing that it wasn't working. Carlos didn't even look over at Nocturne, he kept his gaze locked on Ulrich.

"I won't trade the devil I know for one I don't. I'm not a part of your games. I'm not like you."

Ulrich chuckled, "Indeed, Carlos," the former Ranger felt chills run up his spine at the way his name had been said. "I've never taken an enemy's head with as much detachment as you just did." Carlos felt the sudden need to throw up. "Think on it, young one. There is much that I can teach you that he cannot." Ulrich indicated Nocturne with a contemptuous thrust of his chin. A moment later he dissolved into mist and was gone.

Carlos took a deep breath and let it out slowly, allowing the practiced movement to relax his muscles. He very firmly kept his eyes from his slain opponent.

"Well, my diona, " said Nocturne softly, "I am quite pleased with your performance."

"Aside from our enemy," said Carlos, "Who was that guy?"

Nocturne resheathed his blade, the two stood looking not at each other, but at the doors to the building that was their destination. The yellow light from inside, spilling through the glass doors and onto the street. A deceptively inviting scene.

"That was Count Ulrich. He and I have been enemies since we first met each other. He is the reason that I am now in disgrace with the Council." They stood there for a moment and Carlos noticed Julie standing behind them, her posture betraying her fear. "Well then, lets go," and Nocturne began striding forward, Carlos a step behind him and to his right, Julie moving furtively behind the two of them.

The doors opened automatically to admit them and they entered an expensive lobby. Black marble veined with white and grey decorated the floor and the columns that stretched the twenty plus feet to the ceiling. Shiny metal elevator doors stood closed and Nocturne pushed the glass button that lit with a red light in order to call the car. Carlos ignored the pricey d˘cor, his thoughts moving quickly.

Shit, I'm in deep now. I've allied myself with the man who took my life and drawn the attention of his enemy. And now I'm involved in Nocturne's personal battles, both physical and political. I don't want this, I don't want to get caught up in some war I know nothing about... but what power. I move like I could as a Turbo Ranger. I have some sort of inner power, it must be the connection to the grid, but it's reacting oddly with my undead status.

The doors opened and the three of them entered the elevator. Nocturne pushed the topmost button and the doors slid shut. Music hummed happily and wordlessly out of the speakers making an odd counterpoint to the somewhat tense situation. When the doors opened again, they were confronted with a long hallway that ended in an ornately carved, heavy wooden door.

Nocturne began striding down the hallway, his confidence evidently boosted by the battle outside. Carlos and Julie walked side by side behind him.

Carlos leaned over to her slightly, "Don't let these bloodsuckers know you're afraid," he whispered. "If nothing else, act confident."

She looked at him, startled, and nodded, but her posture didn't change. They achieved the door which opened silently without any physical prompting from them. Quickly, the three entered the room beyond.

It was large and circular. The light was all a soft white glow, but concentrated on specific spots. One of these spots was an area on the floor in front of a long table with several old vampires sitting behind it. Their faces were mostly hidden in shadow. Shadows on shadows, that was all else that was visible in the room, though Carlos could detect the presence of several younger vampires lurking in those lightless places.

"Count Nocturne," intoned one of the people at the table, Carlos was unable to tell which one. "You have arrived on the final day of your probation. You are ready to stand your trial?"

Nocturne stepped forward and bowed deeply. "Honorable members of the Council, as I have stated before, I am innocent of the charges leveled at me. To prove such, I choose trial by combat. My diona will defend my honor." Nocturne gestured towards Carlos who suddenly felt several pairs of eyes on him. His instincts were telling him that something big was about to happen, and it was gonna happen to him.

"Very well," it was a different voice this time, "Diona of Count Nocturne, prepare yourself."

"Prepare myself for what?" he asked angrily, falling into a defensive stance.

Nocturne disappeared into the shadows, taking Julie with him and Carlos found himself alone in the lighted spot of the dark room.

For a few moments nothing happened and Carlos' nerves tightened. Suddenly three black clad vampires rushed Carlos from the shadows in a surrounding maneuver. Tensing his legs, Carlos waited until they were close, then sprang into the air leaping over his attackers. Two of them didn't react in time and ended up slamming into each other, the third stopped, looking over his shoulder at where Carlos landed. The scene would have been comical if not for its deadly seriousness.

Spinning, the former Ranger met the charge of the one who had kept his feet. Planting one foot, he caught the other's punch using his moment to the vampire to the ground. The other two had struggled to their feet and Carlos closed in on them, not wanting to allow them to launch any more offensives. A quick series of punches took both of them down. Carlos stood, waiting for them to get back up, but they laid there groaning, unwilling to stand and face their adversary.

Looking to the table where the council sat, Carlos raised an eyebrow.

"In order to prove your lord innocent, you must kill your opponents," none of the elder vampires seemed to move, but Carlos thought he knew which one had spoken that time.

"My what?" he asked incredulously looking at the one he believed to have spoken. "In any case, I don't kill unless I have to."

There was no response from the council.

"Carlos! Look out!" The shout came from the shadows and he thought it to belong to Julie.

Throwing himself forward into a roll, Carlos managed to avoid a flying tackle, then sprang up to his feet. The other two were circling him warily as the third regained his feet and began following suite.

"Kill or be killed, young warrior," the voice came from the table, but Carlos' attention was on his opponents.

Two of them attacked and Carlos managed to block the attacks. He was about to follow up the block with an attack of his own, but the third attacked and he had to turn his attention there. I'm still much faster than them, but if they continue to coordinate their attacks like that...

For several minutes, Carlos concentrated on avoiding and blocking his opponents' attacks. 'Kill or be killed...' Growling, Carlos concentrated inward and found that well of power that was a rumbling storm over hot dry land. The power reacted to his call and he shaped it and focused it. The sensation was much like when he called power for a morph, but this time, as when he'd called the thunder outside, he was the one shaping the power.

Clapping his hands together loudly, a visible wave of energy shot out from Carlos in a ring. The verdant heat struck his opponents who began to scream in agony. Their flesh began to bubble and the dropped to the ground writhing uncontrollably. Carlos closed his eyes, feeling sick at the sight, but their screams continued for several more moments. When all was silent he opened his eyes to see the Council looking at him, Nocturne stood next to him, Julie behind him. His opponents were visible now as acid eaten clothes and bleached skeletons. Carlos averted his gaze.

"Count Nocturne, by the victory of your diona, you are found innocent of those charges brought against you. You are reinstated into the Council of Vampires and all property taken from you during your time of probation shall be returned. You and your people are free to go."

Carlos ignored the voice and everything else around him, allowing Julie to lead him behind Nocturne until he was shown a door that he was told led to his rooms.

"Shall we go feast to celebrate our victory, Carlos?" asked Nocturne.

"I'm not hungry," the young vampire replied, his hand on the key of his door.

"We've not fed since the day before yesterday," countered Nocturne looking at Carlos oddly. "And after the battle..."

At that mention, Carlos could feel the hunger begin to rise in him, could feel his fangs ache with the need for it. Concentrating on that warm dry place with the dark clouds overhead, Carlos could feel the hunger subside. Shrugging, he locked eyes with Nocturne, "I'm just not hungry, I am tired though."

"Suite yourself," and Nocturne left.

~*~

A couple of hours later, Carlos stood staring out the window of the bedroom of the suite he'd been given. It was like a fancy hotel room, furnished with a couple of large overstuffed chairs, a dark wooden desk and a huge bed. The carpet was a patterned black and dark green as was most of the rest of the room and the rooms beyond. The sky was beginning to lighten and far below people were moving about, readying themselves for the day. It was tempting, so tempting to simply stand there at the window and watch the sunrise, allow its light to strike him and finish it all. But no, he could still be a Champion of Light.

Firmly Carlos pulled the heavy curtains closed, plunging the room into near darkness. Suddenly there was a tentative knock at his door. Cautiously he moved to the wooden portal and looked through the eyehole. Still suspicious, he opened the door and looked at Julie.

"Yes?" he asked, eyebrow raised.

She bit her lip nervously, looking more human like than he'd ever seen her. "Can I come in?" she asked, "I wanted to talk." He motioned for her to enter and closed the door behind her. She moved to the bed and sat on the corner, prompting Carlos to take one of the chairs.

They sat there in silence for a moment before Carlos realized he was going to have to take initiative. "What is it you wanted to talk about?" he asked her.

"Carlos, can you remember your life before you were a vampire?"

Carlos blinked, confused. "Of course, can't you?"

Julie shook her head. "I don't remember much, only waking up with Count Nocturne and then coming here with you and-and Karen." The girl shivered. Carlos felt like shivering too. He looked at her, taking in her features for the first time; wavy brown hair to her shoulders, greenish-brown eyes, a slight frame with little build. It was impossible to tell how old she had been before becoming a vampire, but Carlos guessed about them same as he, late teens. She wasn't really wearing much, jean shorts cut very short and a loose t-shirt that stopped well above her belly button. Carlos swallowed hard when he realized she wasn't wearing a bra.

"Carlos?"

"Yes?"

"I'm scared." Julie's lip began to tremble and red tinged tears threatened to spill, Carlos couldn't help but feel sorry for her.

"I understand how you feel, but you can't show it or they've won." Carlos stood from his chair and sat next to her, putting a comforting arm around her shoulders. Immediately the girl wrapped him in embrace that he returned, awkwardly at first.

She looked up at him, a tear had fallen from each eye leaving red streaks down her face. She scrubbed at them with the back of her hand, managing to remove most of the liquid. Slowly her hands moved from embracing him to working at the button of his pants. Startled, Carlos moved away and she immediately put her hands in her lap, looking at him woundedly, again biting her lip in worry.

"I'm sorry," said Carlos, "It's just that I... I never..." Shaking his head he simply repeated, "I'm sorry."

"It's okay, Carlos," Julie replied, moving closer to him again. One hand went to his shoulder and from there began tracing designs over his well-muscled torso. The other hand went to his knee, which she began gently rubbing. "Nocturne's busy tonight and... well, I don't want to be alone." The hand on his knee began moving slowly upward.

Carlos found himself most definitely responding, and certainly very confused. He had died a virgin, and now... well, he was in a different world now. Julie's hands again went to the button on his pants and this time he didn't resist; instead he found his own hands at the fastening to her shorts. The clothes were soon dressing the floor as the two undead bodies moved in rhythm, and all the while Carlos was thinking of a yellow clad brunette who he'd never told how he really felt.

End