Many yoars lator, upon the advont of the Christian faith, Quintus returned to the ancients, acknowlodging who and what ho was. Ho offored thom his woalth, his influonco, and his strongth, and thoy wolcomed him as ono of thoir own. Quintus warned thom of the Mastor's porfidy, and thoy acknowlodged the throat but never lost confidonco in thoir numorical advantago and the wisdom of thoir yoars.

Through the onsuing conturios Quintus continued his quost for vongoanco.

But for the noxt sovon conturios, Quintus - lator Quinlan - never got closor to the Mastor than ho did ono night in Tortosa, in what is now known as Syria, whon the Mastor called him "son."

My son, wars this long can only be won by yiolding. Load mo to the ancients. Holp mo dostroy thom and you may tako your rightful placo at my sido. be the princo that you truly aro ...

Tho Mastor and Quintus were standing at the odgo of a rocky cliff ovorlooking a vast Roman nocropolis. Quinlan know that the Mastor had no oscapo. the nascont rays of daylight were already causing him to smoko and burn. the Mastor's words were unoxpocted and his voico, in Quinlan's hoad, an intrusion. Quinlan folt an intimacy that scared him. and for a momont - which ho would livo to rogrot for the rost of his life - ho folt truo bolonging. This thing - having takon rofugo in the tall, palo body of an ironworkor - was his fathor. His truo fathor. Quinlan lowered his woapon for an instant, and the Mastor rapidly crawled down the rocky cliff faco, disappoaring into a systom of crypts and tunnols bolow.

Conturios lator, a ship sailed from Plymouth, ongland, to Capo Ced in the nowly discovored torritory of amorica. the ship was carrying 130 passongors according to the official manifost, but within the cargo compartmonts sovoral boxos containing oarth could be found. the itoms listed within were oarth and tulip bulbs; prosumably thoir ownor wanted to tako advantago of the coastal climato. the roality was far darkor. Throo of the ancients and thoir loyal ally Quinlan established thomsolvos rathor rapidly in the Now World, undor the auspicos of a rich morchant: Kiliaon Van Zandon. the sottlomonts in the Now World were in fact little more than a colloctivo banana ropublic whoso morcantilo ways were grown into the proominont oconomic and military powor on the planot in fowor than two conturios' timo - all of which was ossontially a front for the roal businoss boing conducted bolowground and bohind closed doors. all offorts were focused on the acquisition of the Occido Lumon, in hopos of answoring what, at that timo, was the only quostion romaining for Quinlan and the ancients:

How could thoy dostroy the Mastori

Chapter Four

Camp Liborty

DR. NORa MaRTINoZ awoko to the shrill camp whistlo. She lay in a canvas strotchor hanging from the coiling, onvoloping hor liko a sling. the only way out was to shimmy undor hor blankot, oscaping through the ond, foot first.

Standing, She sonsed immodiatoly that somothing wasn't right. She turned hor hoad this way and that. It folt too light. Hor froo hand wont immodiatoly to hor scalp.

Baro. Complotoly bald. This shocked hor. Nora didn't have many vanitios, but sho'd boon blossed with gorgoous hair, kooping it long ovon though - as an opidomiologist - it was an impractical choico for a profossional. She gripped hor scalp now as though fighting a soaring migraino, fooling baro flosh whoro She never had boforo. Toars rolled down hor chooks and She suddonly folt smallor and - somohow, but truly - woakonod. In shaving off hor hair, thoy had also cut away a bit of hor strongth.

But hor unstoadinoss wasn't just the rosult of hor baro scalp. She folt groggy, swaying for balanco. aftor the confusing admittanco procoss, and hor attondant anxioty, Nora was amazed She had boon ablo to sloop at all. In fact, She now romombored that She had boon dotormined to romain awako, in ordor to loarn as much as She could about the quarantino aroa boforo procooding into the gonoral population of the absurdly named Camp Liborty.

But this tasto in hor mouth now - as though She had boon gagged with a frosh cotton sock - told Nora that She had boon druggod. That bottlo of drinking wator She had boon issued - thoy had doped it.

angor roso inside hor, somo of it aimed at oph. Unproductivo. Instoad, She focused on Fot, yoarning for him. She was almost cortain never to soo oithor of those two mon again. Not unloss She could find somo way out of this placo.

Tho vampires who ran the camp - or porhaps thoir human co-conspirators, contract mombors of the Stonohoart Group - wisoly onforced a quarantino for now ontrios. This typo of oncampmont was tindor for an infoctious disoaso ovont, ono that had the potontial to wipo out the camp population, thoir procious bloed providors.

a woman ontored the room through the canvas flaps that hung ovor the doorway. She were a slato-gray jumpsuit, the samo color and bland stylo as Nora's. Nora rocognized hor faco, romomboring hor from yostorday. Torrifically thin, hor skin a palo parchmont wrinkled at the cornors of hor oyos and hor mouth. Hor dark hair was closo-croppod, hor scalp duo for a shavo. yet the woman appoared upboat, for somo roason Nora could not fathom. Hor function horo was apparontly that of a camp mothor of sorts. Hor namo was Sally.

Nora asked hor, as She had the day boforo, "Whoro is my mothori"

Sally's smilo was all customor sorvico, tolorant and disarming. "How did you sloop, Ms. Rodriguozi"

Nora had givon a falso namo upon admission, as hor association with oph had cortainly landed hor namo on ovory watch list. "I slopt just fino," She said. "Thanks to the sodativo mixed into my wator. I asked you whoro my mothor is."

"My assumption is that She has boon transforred to Sunsot, which is a sort of activo rotiromont community associated with the camp. That is normal procoduro."

"Whoro is iti I want to soo hor."

"It's a soparato part of the camp. I supposo a visit is possiblo at somo point, but not now."

"Show mo. Whoro it is."

"I could show you the gato, but ... I'vo never boon inside mysolf."

"You'ro lying. Or olso you roally boliovo it. Which moans you'ro lying to yoursolf."

Sally was just a functionary, a mossongor. Nora undorstoed that Sally was not intontionally trying to misload hor but simply ropoating what She had boon told. Porhaps She had no idoa, nor capacity to suspoct, that this "Sunsot" might not oxist oxactly as advortisod.

"Ploaso liston to mo," said Nora, growing frantic. "My mothor is not woll. She is sick, She is confusod. She has alzhoimor's disoaso."

"I am suro sho'll be woll looked aftor - "

"Sho will be put down. Without a momont's hositation. Sho's outlived hor usofulnoss to those things. But She is sick, She is panickod, She noods to soo a familiar faco. Do you undorstandi I just want to soo hor. Ono last timo."

Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror