Author: A. Gray PM
Ava is forced back into the civilized world in search of food. There she meets another of her kind. Her plans to leave the city are foiled when she finds that meeting the clan was just the tip of the iceberg of her problems.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural - Chapters: 7 - Words: 18,869 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 08-13-12 - Published: 07-27-11 - id: 2937149
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
They gathered at twilight the next night in the designated area. Ava, Josh, Damien, and Elvia, were the first to arrive from the two clans followed shortly by the rest of the members. David and Nisha, the two judges, were already waiting when the first four showed up.
Ava saw Damien looking her over, but ignored him. She wasn't going to let him intimidate her in anyway. Though she figured that he knew what she was, and that she was the true leader now, Ava still planned on giving him a run for him money.
Instead she chose to focus on the games and the judges. Ava wanted to be sure that they were impartial as they were supposed to be. As they were the ones challenged their clan was considered the underdog. The new clan leader was determined to use it to their advantage as much as they could.
Damien briefly wondered if this challenge would be as easy as he had thought. Things were getting more complicated than he had originally planned on. He had intended to be a simple win as his clan easily outclassed the other. Now they had been trained by an Old One. She was strong, and her training had helped the clan greatly from what Elvia had observed. This was looking to no longer be an easy win, but Damien almost preferred it that way. He liked a challenge. The male was still sure that they would win, but his plans for after that were quickly changing and evolving now that he had a better reward in his sights.
Once everyone had gathered the judges began explaining the rules, and the games themselves. There were to be seven sets of games involving all members of the clan at some point. Each game was designed to prove which clan was superior in strength, team work, agility, discipline, speed, knowledge, and combat.
That done the games commenced.
The seven games involved the clan, but excluded the leaders and seconds. In the past a clan could be weak with a strong leader, and the leader could win the competition alone. The rules were changed even before Ava had become what she was.
Now the games were designed, with centuries of experience, to be as fair as possible to show which clan was the better.
Each of the seven games left the clan members tired on each side as they were brought to their extremes. No member was left alone until they were put through their paces, and the judges had taken careful tally.
When the seven games were over Damien's clan had a slight lead. It was time for the seconds and leaders to face each other in one on one combat. First was the seconds to face off. Elvia stepped into the designated field, as did Josh.
Ava watched as the other clan began to whisper, and she saw Damien smile along with Elvia. They knew this was likely to happen, and thought this would be an easy win for them, but they didn't know how well Josh had learned from Ava's grueling training.
Josh started off on defense as Ava had instructed. He let Elvia attack him, and only fended off her blows, never retaliated as he watched for her tells and openings. As Elvia began to tire Josh began to test her, and soon she was on defense. Josh Finally pinned her with his teeth pressed to the back of her neck. Elvia was defeated.
Josh returned to his clan tired but elated. He hadn't believed he could win against someone with stronger blood than him, but Ava's training had given him the skills to do it; it was a phenomenal experience for him.
Ava patted him on the shoulder. "You did very well Josh that makes the score tied."
"Can you beat him?" He asked as he toweled the sweat off himself.
Ava looked across the field to where Damien was striding into the field with a smirk. "We will have to see."
Ava removed her jacket, her shoes, and socks setting them aside. She was tense with anticipation, and flexed her muscles to try to relieve it. The woman was well aware she would need to be limber and fluid in this fight. All the years in seclusion might work against her now. She had trained as best she could, but she couldn't let herself go with Josh for fear of hurting or even killing him.
"What are you doing?" Selena whispered to her leader as she accepted her discarded items.
"Barefooted I will be more agile, and quicker to move." She replied before entering the field.
Damien sized her up, and though he could tell her blood was stronger, he had faith he would win. Ava was an average sized girl, and her body didn't look toned at all. If she was who he thought she was then she wasn't ready for this kind of fight. He figured they wanted her years to intimidate him, but he had no intention of letting a woman beat him.
Ava stretched once more as she approached Damien, and then she stopped, getting into her battle stance. Once the game was started Damien instantly launched at Ava. She dodged away easily, and dragged a claw down Damien's arm. He looked at his arm astonished, and then growled. Ava smiled, and this time she launched at him. He parried her blow, but again Ava sliced a thin cut, this time on his leg.
Ava was pleased that the training with Josh had at least kept her fast enough to dodge the other clan leader. She knew though that it wasn't enough to win.
Damien was pissed. There was no other that had ever drawn his blood, and being beat by a woman wasn't an option to him. He launched at Ava, letting his anger fuel him, and continued to attack giving her no time to have a moment to recuperate. Ava dodged most his attacks easily, but took a couple blows to her body. When Damien relented she stood away from him watching warily. He flashed his fangs, and launched with a growl. Ava returned his growl, and launched too. They hit each other, kicked off, and then backed away.
As they continued to fight, they were constantly in motion. There were savage growls, and everyone could feel Ava's power whirling around her. She never used it against him, but used it to fuel herself. When they finally stopped they held each other's neck, and Ava had Damien's wrist in one hand. Both were panting, the fight having lasted longer than two hours. Both were covered in various scratches and soon to be bruises.
"Draw!" David declared, and they released each other.
Ava and Damien went back to their clans. Ava cleaned herself up, and then tucked the rag in a plastic bag.
They waited for the official decision, and Chad asked, "What now?"
"Tie breaker. Our choice." Ava replied. She eyed Damien as he began to walk to their clan. She stood as he neared wondering what he wanted.
"Lovely form my dear." Damien said, and then held out his hand to Ava.
Ava growled perturbed by the man that thought to run them off. "I am not your 'dear.'" She replied, but shook his hand anyway in a show of good spirit that she didn't feel.
Damien gripped her, and pulled her closer to him and away from her clan. He felt her anger and power spike, and knew she could have defeated him if she had used them. He dipped his head to sniff her blood scent at her neck where there was a cut, and whispered, "You could have won if you used your advantages."
"Illegal, and automatic forfeit." She replied. Ava knew the rules well.
"But your poison blood could have been used without the judges noticing." Damien said.
"That would have been cheating, and I don't cheat." Ava replied stiffly. She didn't ask how he knew her blood was poison, he had probably watched her bag it, and surmised whom her sire was. "Besides I was honest in my naming of my sire."
Damian laughed and straightened up, "An Old One indeed." He released her hand. "I still see you as the victor."
Ava lifted an eyebrow. "Are you conceding?" she asked though she knew that it was unlikely after everything they had gone through for the challenge.
"No," Damian laughed again. "Instead I propose a union." He ignored Ava's growl. "Be my mate."
Ava stepped back from him. She was astonished to say the least. He wanted to mate her? If her sire was as renowned as she suspected than this man would know what a dangerous proposition he was proposing. He could easily loose his life in the processed even if she was more than careful about it.
Ava gave him one last look, and then turned and went back to her clan.
Josh pulled her aside, and they both looked at where Damien still stood. "What was that about?"
Ava suppressed another growl. "He wants to join clans. He wants to mate me."
Josh looked at Ava startled. If she chose to go ahead with it they would all be forced to follow Ava or leave; however clan would be large and formidable. Few would even think to challenge them. Josh wasn't sure if he liked the idea or not, there could be unforeseen issues due to the two clans joining.
"Are you going to?"
Ava clenched her jaw and narrowed her eyes at Damien, "No," she stated knowing that Damien was watching.
Then she walked back the focus of her ire for good measure. "I will not mate you." She stated. She moved to turn away, but he caught her.
"Don't you even want to know my pedigree?" He asked amused. Damien had figured she would decline.
Ava looked past him to his clan whom were watching with interest; they hadn't known about this. "Do they even know? You seem to keep your clan in the dark about many things."
"Yes, of course. Acacia, seven hundred and thirty two years ago," Damien said.
Ava looked at him closely, "Greek, and nearly an Old One yourself."
Damien smiled, "Yes, but I hear you're older, and from the poison blood I would say your sire was none other than Seth." Ava didn't answer, but she didn't have to. "Tell me Ava, is your no a no, or a maybe?"
Ava pulled her arm free from his grasp. "I am not looking for a mate, nor do I need one."
"Still afraid then?" At Ava's questioning look Damien smiled. "Just putting the pieces together with the old stories, and memories. I only know of one wandering vampire, and she was one of Seth's, had some bad luck, and refused to clan because of it. But now here you are, and part of a clan, but still afraid. I find it interesting to say the least, and have to wonder if you finally clanned how long will it be before you are willing to mate?"
Ava clenched her jaw, and flexed her fingers at his assessment of her.
Damien leaned down, and whispered in her ear. "You weren't strong or wise enough to take out your clans at that time."
"Doesn't mean I didn't lead something to them." She bit back venomously. It seemed all too obvious that Damien had taken a keen interest in her. Ava didn't like it. From past experience anyone that took such interest in her had ulterior motives, and Ava suspected that Damien was another of those.
Damien straightened up, and then captured a lock of Ava's blonde hair that had grown since she last cut it, and began to play with it. "Do you think whatever it might have been it could defeat both of us, and both our clans? I will call this a draw, but I will be courting you. Just think it over." Then he went back to his clan feeling triumphant that the seed had been planted.
Ava returned to her clan and sat in silence. Their good work today was lost on her as she brooded over Damien and his words.
The clan was gathered in the den sipping glasses of blood. They had prepared for this, and had stored extra so there wouldn't be a drain on the humans. There was much joy at how well they had done, and most the members were chatting over it. Though the games had been straining, most had fun.
"So what does this mean?" Paul asked in the lull of conversation. Even the humans had gotten caught up in the good spirit.
"We can't fight them, and they can't us. We stay away from their feeding grounds and them in general." Josh explained.
"But what about the ruling clan thing?" Adam asked.
Josh glanced at Ava unsure of what to do. He hadn't told them yet that Damien wanted to have Ava as a mate, and it wasn't his place to reveal such a thing when he was second in command. It fell on Ava to do it from a personal front and as the leader of the clan.
Ava took the cue. "There isn't one. It is like it was before."
"Well that seems odd to do the challenge, and then just let things stayed as they were anyway." Megan said.
Ava sighed, and dropped her gaze to the floor. She hadn't wanted to tell the clan yet, but she didn't want to hide it from them the reason that things were still as they were. "The leader Damien wants me as his mate. He wants to join clans, and rule together as one clan."
Silence permeated the house until a knock broke it. Sarah was the one to answer it, and came back with a large bouquet of roses and lilies. "Ava they're for you." She said holding them out.
Ava rose, and took the flowers. She found the card, and read it. She crumpled the card, and sighed.
"Damien?" asked Josh.
Ava nodded. Sarah took the flowers. "I'll just put then in some water," she said before retreating to the kitchen.
"So what are you going to do?" asked Selena. She thought it was romantic that Damien was courting Ava, just like a fairy tale. It made a smile cover her face, and she wished that she would find her charming mate that followed the old customs to woo her.
Ava looked at her, a bleak look on her face. "I don't know."
She knew how serious this was, and knew her choices were limited. Still she couldn't mate, not with a secret to hide. Ava would just have to find a way to deter Damien from wanting her thus protecting her human family.