Shepherd leaned quietly against the wall and viewed the mass of humanity bustling through Times

Square. He wondered at the creatures, so caught up in their little lives, unaware of the darkness that

preyed upon them. Shepherd had always liked humans. He had used it to justify the hunting of the

Lusumi, who traditionally stole the blood from mankind.

Shepherd had been many things since his death. For a time, he was a death priest in Egypt, bandaging

kings and cats alike. Then, there was his century as an oracle, residing among the statues of Greece. He

had enjoyed his years among the masters of the Chinese temple, true enough. But his best memories

came from his role as a flayed god, among the wilds of what is now called Mexico. But still, he

wondered at the humans; had he ever been one of them?

Shepherd was Vovali, the death beyond death, the hunger after sleeping. His kind were few, and

reclusive, to be sure. And perhaps, in this modern age, it was no longer wise to surround himself with

humanity. Maybe it would be safer to do as his kin, hiding among tombs and caverns and forgotten

cities in the underneath. But he had never done so before, and he was damned if he’d start now. He was damned.

Hunting the blood of the Lusumi (and the Voratori, for that matter) was not a normal course of action

for the Vovali, but the power it offered was worth the risks involved. The rush of . . . emotions that it

offered was a nice side benefit. The power was the main point, of course, but the emotions; they were

nice. Shepherd liked to think that it was what made him different from all the rest.

The concept of “feeling” was a foreign one to his kind. His constant use of the Lusumi’s blood and heart, however, allowed him to understand things with a new kind of clarity, clouded by emotions. Regardless, he was losing focus. A young one had just wandered by, most likely following that prostitute. Shepherd

reached across the lines of death and called the young one, his natural prey along the food chain.