Author: shiloh fire PM
A legend, a rebel, a priestess, and a vampire. Four unlikely companions find themselves woven together in a dangerous and threatening web, up against one of the greatest evils imaginable. In light of all the dangers, bonds are formed and bonds are broken.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Words: 3,550 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 4 - Published: 05-26-08 - id: 2522573
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Bay Cot Blight
Screams were erupting from every direction. The vampires were flooding through the streets, dragging sobbing people from their homes. Blood stained the dirt roads of Bay Cot, forming in puddles by still and lifeless bodies. Children were crying for their parents as parents frantically searched for their children. They were falling so fast…the vampires were sparing no one in their site.
News of the uprisings had spread like wildfire across the lands. An ancient vampire, one that had been presumed a mere myth for ages, was leading them. Knowledge of his actual existence had seemed to cause the most fright amongst the nations. He was indestructible. He had no compassion and no known weaknesses. He led an army of ruthless vampires, leaving death and destruction to any town that crossed his path.
Dezerai cried from the window of the empty Harbor Inn…the only other inn in Bay Cot, save The Dancing Star. Silent tears slid down her cheeks as she watched her father wield his sword against the blood heathens. He was with other men who used to be in The Guards. There were too many vampires…there were too many.
A mere twelve, she stood alone and watched the horror striking her town. She had nowhere to go. Someone would surely enter the inn – be it a townsperson or one of them. Then her eyes finally found him. Old people told stories about him to frighten the little ones when they were causing trouble. There was no mistaking his tall figure or the black cloak that was draped over his head, but she still knew it was him. Drogyn Altéra, the Slayer of Man…The Slayer of Souls…
His head turned towards the window as if he could feel her eyes upon him. Barely holding back a scream of her own, she ran from the window and hid behind the wooden counter where drinks were normally served. She searched wildly for the knife her father had given her in her belt pouch, only to discover it was gone. She stood up and saw it glinting mischievously on the windowsill.
Dezerai didn't waste a second as she sprinted for it. As soon as her fingers curled around the handle, the Inn door banged open and the tall vampire hidden under the black cloak entered. Frozen with fear, the young girl stood and stared at him. His head slowly turned to the side until she was in his view. A quiet laugh escaped from his mouth and he pushed his hood down. His deep blonde hair fell in front of dark and hateful eyes that had locked with hers. A small grin played across his face.
"You're a child…" he said in a deep accented voice. He seemed highly amused at the statement. She thrust her knife forward, pointed straight for his heart. The more he laughed the more her fear dwindled. She was young, but courageous beyond her years. Even though she was fascinated by the vampire that stood before her, she refused to let it distract her.
"Drogyn Altéra, Slayer of Souls, be gone from my home!" She yelled in a shaky voice. She braved a small step forward, instantly wishing she hadn't.
"You know who I am." His eyes widened in clear astonishment. "But then again, I do suspect I have found my way into quite a bit of children's stories, haven't I?" He squatted down and rested his arms on his knees. "What is your name, child?"
"I am most certainly not telling you!" Dezerai felt her hands start to tremble and concentrated on keeping them steady. He was so close to her, his face looking hungry and cruel. He probably enjoyed eating children like her.
He moved forward on to his knees and stuck his open hands out towards her. "I have no weapon. Tell me your name."
Dezerai shuffled away from his hands and tripped over her own feet. As soon as she went down, she heard the vampire move towards her like a rushing wind. She thought he was going to take her knife, kill her, and cut her up for a snack…but he didn't. He moved so fast that he caught her before she fell. "The books never said you could move so fast!" She exclaimed.
"Books?" A noise similar to a growl sounded deep in his throat. "You read books about me? I can bet what life I have left that they're wrong. They would have had to ask the people I've killed…but they can't do that. I'm afraid they can't talk anymore." She eyed him suspiciously and tried to pull away from him. He was holding on too tightly, though. "Normally you would be dead by now, but I happen to be in a very good mood, little girl, so perhaps I'll not kill you…not yet."
"My father will have your head," she said quietly, gazing at his wild eyes. "He's right outside and he'll kill you."
"He can't, child, because no one can."
"Dezerai A' Barzon."
He leaned back and loosened his grip on her. "Pardon?"
"My name," she said, her voice getting louder, "is Dezerai A' Barzon!" She narrowed her eyes and spit in his face. "And my father is right behind you."
Drogyn spun around and Dezerai smiled. Her father was still outside fighting. Before her meeting with the retched vampire, she had thought the world of him. He was thought to be a killer and a monster, but she had always desired to meet him. Secretly, she wanted to marry him – although she would never tell a soul. Traveling caravans had come through their town with supposed magicians and outstanding performers. There had been one lady who had pulled Dezerai aside with a concerned look. The lady had spoken in fear, saying that the Slayer of Souls would be bound to her for eternity after coming to her town. Her father had overheard, although the only part that seemed to concern him was the fact that Drogyn was going to attack Bay Cot. Dezerai glanced at the monster in the room with her. The more he talked to her, the worse he seemed to be. Maybe she wouldn't marry him.
She hurried away from him as fast as she could, but she was nowhere near quick enough to escape from him. He grabbed the neck of her dress and lifted her off her feet with ease. "You'll be wishing you hadn't done that."
"Papa!" She screamed at the top of her lungs, "Papa, help me!"
"Shut your mouth!" Drogyn yelled, tossing her on the ground. "I'll not have a child like you causing more trouble than your worth. I was going to spare you, but now I've gone and changed my mind."
All of the sudden, the sound of breaking glass echoed through the room and she looked at him. A wooden arrow was sticking through his stomach. Another one flew through the window and embedded itself in his back. They had both missed his heart, but he still fell to his knees as two more followed the first ones and hit his lower back. Dezerai began to cry. A legend and a myth knelt before her, looking ready to die. She was young, she knew that, but something about him had her terribly confused. He was ruthless, and at the same time, had said that he was going to spare her life? Of all people…why her? Did he know something of what the magic lady had said? She couldn't let him die. He could never come back if he died.
"You can rip them out and run away," she begged, stomping her foot. "Take them out!"
"I can't," he yelled, ripping his cloak off. One of the arrows came off with it, but only one. His white shirt was already soaked with blood and unhealed stab wounds. Someone had already gotten to him during the fight…he had come to get her because he was too weak to attack anyone else…she didn't know how she knew, but she didn't have a doubt that it was the reason he had escaped to the Inn.
"Please! Stand up and follow me!" She grabbed his hand and pulled with all her might. He slowly got to his feet and followed her to the back of the Inn. She pushed the door open to the kitchen and kept him moving. He ripped his hand away from hers and sat down on a bench. He reached around his back and pulled out the arrow showing through his stomach.
"Get the other two," he snapped.
Dezerai stood up on the bench and pulled at one of the arrows. She could hear it tearing through muscle and skin before it came free. She grabbed hold of the other one and threw her weight backwards to force it out. "There are shirts in the barn out back for the stable boys. You'll find one that fits. There are a lot of horses that people keep there, but please don't take Maisey, the grey horse, because she's mine and she's old and I love her a lot."
Drogyn looked at her with a pained expression and sighed. "There is something wrong with your head, child. You shouldn't be helping me."
"You should've killed me," she said softly. Drogyn's face dropped as his eyes locked with hers. It was as if her pointing out his kindness somehow made it more apparent that he was not acting in his usual way. "They say that anyone in your path dies. Why didn't you hurt me?"
His eyes hardened considerably as she spoke. "Because I didn't get the chance to because your army of farm men decided to shoot arrows at me just now." Something in his tone told her that he was lying, and her smile made it obvious that she didn't believe a single word that was coming out of his mouth. "Keep my cape, eh?"
"Will you ever come back to get it?" she asked, feeling sad that he had to leave so soon. He wasn't such a monster. Maybe he could be like any normal man when he wanted to. Maybe he had simply forgotten how to after so long. All he needed was to stay for a little while to remember how he used to be.
"Well…maybe one day?" Dezerai could tell by his voice that he was lying. He wouldn't come back for it, but at least she would be able to remember one part of him.
"Goodbye." Loud footsteps reached her ears from the entrance of the Inn. Her father was shouting her name amongst the voices of several other men. He had finally come for her.
"Something terribly wrong …" Drogyn muttered. Then he flew from the kitchen and left her by herself.
She ran out of the room and saw her father running for the stairs.
"Papa!" He swept her off her feet and held her tightly in his strong arms. She was so happy that he was all right and that he hadn't been hurt. "Papa, Drogyn Altéra came in here! He really did! And that's his cloak, Papa, on the floor." She pointed frantically to the black heap with a wooden arrow sticking out from it. "You shot arrows at him and he ran away!"
Her father sat her down and smiled at her. His green eyes looked as thrilled as she was to have Drogyn's cloak, but she knew he didn't care. He was just happy because they were both okay. "Well isn't that something," he said softly, pushing his drenched brown hair off his forehead, "You finally got to meet him."
"But the magic lady said he'd stay with me," Dezerai whispered, trying to hide her disappointment. "And he can't stay with me if he's gone."
He laughed his usual deep laugh that she smiled at hearing. "Then maybe he will someday. And we'll be ready for him."
"You're going to hurt him if he comes back, aren't you…" she looked at her father, watching his eyes sadden at her question. Her father would never allow a vampire to harm his town again, she could tell. There had been too much destruction because of Drogyn.
"My precious daughter," he said quietly, "I understand that you are fascinated by this vampire, but he is not to be trusted. He is a monster…an animal. Vampires do not know love or compassion. They kill for pleasure. Drogyn Altéra is never going to be the person you think he is. I don't want to ruin your dreams, but Dezerai, he's incapable of caring."
Her face turned at his words, for she didn't understand them. Maybe living as Sir Elias A' Barzon had left him thinking that Drogyn was truly the enemy. She was sure that the magic lady from the caravan passing through had told the truth. She had seemed frightened at telling Dezerai what she saw. If she was scared then it had to be true…it had to be true.
She shook her head, trying not to become upset. "But papa, he could've killed me or hurt me. He didn't. He had the chance to and he didn't. He didn't have to leave his cloak, either. He gave it to me to keep. He said it was mine. All he wanted to know was my name."
Seven years passed of Dezerai doing nothing but learning to fight and waiting. She hadn't grown cold with the world, but she knew that it was no longer being taken care of. All too often when she was growing up, word traveled to Bay Cot of uprisings with various creatures and demons. The vampires had started to move. They usually stayed in packs, hidden away from the world. Now they were suddenly everywhere. Something was wrong.
Dezerai had promised herself to fighting and defending the land. Her name had spread rapidly throughout the different nations, earning her attention and fame she had never wanted. After the uprising in Bay Cot, she dreaded seeing such pain and suffering again. After her first initial departure from Bay Cot, her father had finally told her a secret he had kept for far too long. Dezerai finally found out about her past…about her mother. Rather than being bothered by what her father had told her, she felt a stronger sense of pride. She had more strength than she had previously known and a rather unfair advantage over people. On occasion, she made it home to rest before venturing out. But there was one particular occasion when there was no rest…and no hope.
Dezerai led several horses back to the stables at her father's Inn. He needed the extra help when she was home. It was one of the few times when she could let her hard exterior melt away and just be a normal person again. Bay Cot had become a peaceful place once more. She needed the escape from the world every so often.
She let the horses into their stalls and made sure they had enough water for the night. Turning to venture back up to the Inn, she found herself face to face with an old, bearded man. "Who are you?" she demanded, immediately backing away from him and placing a hand on the hilt of the sword strapped to her back.
"I am a sorcerer. I've come a great distance to find you. You see, I have something that is in desperate need of your help." His voice was slow and raspy. He wore long blue robes and carried a grey staff in his left hand.
"You said something…"
"I know. I had five wonderful children…two boys and three girls. I now only have two children. It seems that a monster found it necessary to make a statement against the art of magic. It decided to murder three of my children. I imagine it would have taken the rest of them had I not stopped the retched thing." She could tell by his face that he was telling the truth. There was pain and agony etched into his expression…and his eyes…
"How does this concern me?" Dezerai was still wary of the man, though, and kept a firm hold on one of the knives hidden safely in the belt of her riding skirts. She was not too fond of magic, herself.
A sick smile twisted across his face. "Because I sought my revenge against the monster that mercilessly killed my children. I cursed it. Now, his only chance of survival is you. I figured it best to tell you myself so that I could watch you turn him away to suffer and die. I've heard of your great name and of the cause for which you fight. That is why I cursed this creature to death if he did not drink your blood." Her heart froze in her chest and she drew her sword. "He has to drain you completely to lift the curse. If he drinks a little bit it will keep him alive and well. But when he doesn't drink…"
The sorcerer disappeared outside the stable doors and then reentered, leading a tall, black horse. Tied to the horses back was a man, his face hidden by his tangled and messy hair. He looked near death. "He should have been thankful that his horse was loyal enough to carry him all this way."
"Who…," she walked up to the horse to get a better look. She had no idea who the man could be speaking of. "Who is this man?"
"This monster is yours to do with what you will. I now take my leave. This thing," the sorcerer gripped the man's hair and forced his head to rise, "is Drogyn Altéra."
Turning on his heel, the sorcerer disappeared. Dezerai's mouth dropped open, her entire body tensing up as she stared at the vampire strapped to his horse's back. She pushed his hair away from his face and looked at him.
His eyes were barely open and his skin was soaked through with sweat. "You saved my life once. I cannot ask this…I cannot ask it of you again. I was careless. That sorcerer-,"
"Drogyn," Dezerai whispered, her voice remaining steady and stern, "you killed a lot of people in this town. You aren't welcome here."
"But if you did choose to help me, I swear what life I possess to you. I will fight by your side and I will protect you in exchange for enough of your blood to keep me…to keep me alive…I promise." He didn't seem like such a monster when he was so weak.
Without allowing herself to think about it any further, she sheathed her sword and produced a knife. She dragged the knife along her arm and held it out near his mouth. He acted like an animal as he drank the blood pouring from the cut. She watched as he slowly became stronger and stronger. "Tell me when you have enough." Part of her didn't even trust him to really keep his word, but she didn't know how much blood it would take to get all of his strength back.
He pulled his head away and ripped through the ropes binding him. He slid off his horse's back and almost collapsed on his knees. "Thank you," he sighed, wrapping his arms around his horse's neck.
"I didn't do it for you. But find what you need for your horse. We have to leave. If my father finds out you are here, he will kill you."
Drogyn walked up to her. She had forgotten how tall he was. "Dezerai A' Barzon, you have grown to become a hauntingly beautiful young lady. I am sincerely sorry for this."
She was about to reprimand him for his incessant apologies, when she realized he was talking about something else. Thrusting her knife into his stomach, she glared into his fearsome eyes. "You ever try to kill me and I'll give you the slowest, most painful death you could ever imagine. You ever decide to kill innocent people; I'll give you the slowest, most painful death you could ever imagine. If you ever-,"
"I was not going to kill you." With unnatural ease, he pulled her knife from his stomach and forced her hand away. "I have more strength than you. I could kill you if I wanted to this very second and it would only take me two breaths. I could have killed you seven years ago. If I didn't then, I have no intention of doing so now. Do you understand?"
"I said we have to go," Dezerai said darkly. "Or did you not understand?"