BLACK MAGIC THE DARK FORCE NEW DUSK

            The sun set and the sky turned red with the blood of the descending orb, night was coming and with it the dark blanket that hid and protected the devil spawn from whatever god was up there.

            Dee watched as the last rays of light disappeared and darkness consumed the sky. He watched every night. The ritual everyone in his little village feared, he embraced.

            As the blackness swallowed up the light, the night fed him. It empowered him. It's darkness breathed power into his veins and caused his heart to race. To him night was power, for he was a Vampeel. A human/ vampire crossbreed.

            "Well met my friend," Dee turned to see his friend.

            "Gadon," he laughed merrily. "You surprised me. I was just watching the sunset."

            "So I noticed. Many people used to do just that," he paused sadly. "Once upon a time, before the Fang Wars, you could see cities every couple of miles. Cities as big as twenty villages. Huge, mountainous buildings stretching into the sky." Gadons voice was sad and longing. His eyes turned to the blackened heavens.

            Gadon was a mutate, created for the Blood Wars over fifty years ago. Dee was always fascinated with his stories. Gadon had served under the great Generals Alucard and Ulfric. He'd traveled the world, seen the old cities.

            Some of the tales scared him to death. The Fang Wars had been bloody. Both sides had fought ruthlessly and without mercy. From the way Gadon explained it, it was a fight to survive every day of the war.

            "Your mother is looking for you," Gadon told him. "She's in town."

            Dee smiled at the mutate. "I'll race ya," he challenged. Gadon shook his head.

            "Take your sword," Gadon reminded him. "It's night time."

            Dee picked up his sword, a plain old sword with a tarnished steel blade laced with silver. He slipped on his belt, which had two stakes, and other anti-monster weapons, garlic, wolvesbane, and salt places in the many pouches and holsters.

            "When you get back, we'll start on your lessons."

            Dee slung his sheathed sword over his shoulder and ran to the village. All men over fifteen were required to arm them at night or keep a weapon close by, to fend off a monster attack.

            Gadon was the villages' best defense. A mutate trained in the vampire fighting style, the Fang Sword. Soon Dee would replace him, which was why Gadon was training him.

            He slowed as he came to the village's first line of defense, the mystic disrupter field. It was a piece of junk machine that formed an energy field, harmless to humans, but any supernatural creature who walked into it, would really get hurt. He'd once seen a vampire burst into flames. Luckily his human side protected him from the full effects of the field.

            "Luke!" Dee called to the young man operating the machine. "Turn it off for a second."

            "Why should I?" The little turd called back. Luke was the only son of the only doctor in the village. He was expected to take his father's place in the future and de felt sorry for the first man to go under the lazy bums knife when the time came. Luke was irresponsible and spent most of his time chasing after the few single women in the village. What time he didn't spend there he spent at the barrier as punishment for this or that.

            Dee's anger grew. He unsheathed one of his stakes from his belt and twirled it in his right hand. He snarled, showing his fangs. His eyes burned bright red, like twin fires in midnight shadows.

            "Dee Jonathan!" roared the voice of his mother. "Settle down this instant! And you mister Golent, turn off the barrier!"

            A few minutes later, the barrier flickered off, and Dee's mother dragged him into the village.

            "I know! I know!" Dee growled. "I shouldn't have done that."

            "You scared him half to death, Dee! He's only human. You're bigger, stronger, faster, and more agile that he'll ever be. But if that had gone any farther, you could have alienated the entire village! They need you! As strong as Gadon is, he's not immortal. They'll need your strength."

            "They can survive without me!"

            "There are only ninety-six men able to fight right now. They could fend off small attacks, but what if an organized force attacks? Humanity needs help. We're just getting back on our feet. If the monsters…"

            "I know," Dee mumbled guiltily. "Gadon said you wanted me?"

            His mother smiled reassuringly. "You're almost eighteen aren't you? You're almost done with your training." Dee smiled. "Come inside. I have something to give you," she said happily.

            He was led inside their house and into her bedroom.

            "It belonged to your father."

            "My father? Tell me about him. "His mother reached into her closet and pulled out one of the floorboards. "Mother, tell me about him!" he demanded.

            She ignored him. She removed an object from her secret place. It was long and thin, wrapped carefully in cloth. She handled it with the utmost care, as if it was a holy relic.

            As she unwrapped the precious gift, her face took on a wistful expression as if remembering a happy moment. Her eyes fluttering close and her bottom lip trembling ever so slightly.  Her teeth fell onto that lip to hold it still and his mother shook whatever it was off.

            When she was done, Dee marveled at his gift. A beautifully crafted single edged sword sheathed in a blood red leather scabbard. The curves of blade and hilt had a savage grace to them. She held it out to him and smiled.

            "This sword holds all you need to know of him."

            Dee took the sword in his hands. The metal was cool to the touch. His mother watched with pride as he pulled the sheath off.

            The sword surged with raw power. It penetrated every cell of his body, but peacefully. This sword was more powerful than anything he had ever felt. The magic penetrated his very core, intertwined with his soul.

            "Drac!"

            "I see you like it," Gadon's voice called from behind him. Dee turned around and smiled.

            "Now lets see how you wield it."

            Dee flung his old blade onto the floor and replaced it with his new sword.

            "Take your rain cloak," his mother told him. "It's pouring outside."

            "A little rain won't kill him Jeanne." Gadon complained.

            "Indulge me." Dee's mother insisted.

            Dee put on the headless cape and followed Gadon outside.

            "Don't suppose you'll tell me about my father either." Dee said once he was clear of his house.

            "What do you want to know?"

            "Anything!" He yelled immediately. "What was he like at my age?"

            Gadon burst out laughing. "I…I'm old but not THAT old! When I first met you father he was over fifteen hundred years old! But even at that age, he was still immature. The war changed him though. Afterwards as he taught me the Fang Sword, the only time I saw him smile was when he was with your mother."

            "He taught you how to fight?"

            "Yes."

            Dee waited for Gadon to elaborate but he didn't.

            "What did he look like?"

            Gadon thought for a moment. "Like you I guess," he gestured to Dee's long, raven colored hair, which went down to his waist. "He had shorter hair and was a little paler, but everything else on you looks exactly like him. Stay here. I need to talk to the mayor."

            Typical, the minute Dee started getting answers, something comes up! Gadon walked over to city hall where the mayor waited for him, leaving Dee in the empty muddy streets of town square.

            Dee ran his foot through the mud for no more reason than it was something to do. The rain beat down on his face and neck, and ran down his cloak.

            "Thirsty?" Dee turned. The voice was cheerful and bright. "One neck, no waiting." Anne bent her head to the left, exposing her neck to him.

            "Don't even joke about that." Dee said gravely.

            Anne replaced the hood of her cloak over her head and laughed. "What can I say, I'm a temptress."

            "You'd be a dead one if I bit you and I'd be exiled."

            She walked over to him, swinging her hips like a tramp. "You sure it wouldn't be worth it?" She asked in her best little seductive voice.

            Anne was one of the mayor's daughters, all of who couldn't stay out of trouble if their lives depended on it. The mayor's sons were even worse. They were all spoiled, childish, little skunks. The mayor decided long ago to marry them off as soon as possible for some reason; Anne had set her sights on him.

            She would come at least once a month to give blood to the bank from which the town fed him so he developed a taste for her blood. She took every chance to seduce him. He guessed the prospect of marrying the most powerful man in town appealed to her, even if that man was half vampire.

            Anne put her hands up on his chest and looked him in the eye's smiling. Dee's eyes flashed a brilliant blazing scarlet, and she leaped back at least five paces. Her hood fell and she stared wide eyed at him for more than a moment, the rain plastering her dark hair to the sides of her face. He couldn't keep himself from chuckling.

            "Don't do that!" She screeched.

            "Anne?" The mayor called. "You all right?"

            Anne struggled to compose herself, pulling her hood over her head once more so her father couldn't see her shaking.  "Ye-yes father. I was just startled." The mayor eyed them both suspiciously, and then went back to talking to Gadon.

            "I wonder what they are saying," Dee said absently. They had gone out of range of even his preternatural hearing.

            "Making defense plans probably," Anne told him. "Two villages to the north were attacked last night. The army that did it is supposed to be controlled by Dracula's heir."

            "What?" That would mean that they would be here in a matter of days!

            "Dee."

            Dee jumped. "Gadon?"

            "Come on," Gadon's voice was hard and emotionless. He took off towards the gate without another word.

            Dee ran to catch up.

            "Gadon, wait!" He called. "Why wasn't I told about Dracula's army raiding in the northern villages?"

            Gadon didn't even look at him. "You seem to get information fine by yourself," he said coldly.

            Dee grabbed Gadon's shoulder and spun him around so they were face to face.

            "Bull!" he exploded. "I am not a kid anymore, Gadon! I don't expect to be treated as one!"

            "Well," he said in a voice that chilled Dee's spine. "If you're not a kid anymore, it's time we stopped playing games."

            Gadon led him through the gate and to the northeast. They went deep into the mountain forests, past the river and high up into the mountain.

            He was being led far away from the village. Normally they went to the southwest, to a small flat close to the village.

            "Gadon," Dee said nervously. "What are we doing?" Gadon ignored him.

            They came to a clearing and stopped. Gadon walked to a huge boulder. With one good push, he moved it aside. Underneath was a large iron case.

            "We're taking your final test boy. It's time you show me I haven't been wasting my time on you." Gadon had never acted like this before. His voice dripped with loathing and anger.

            From the case, he pulled out his old Fang War armor, slipped it on, and pulled out a long, evil, ugly looking sword. It had an irregular jagged blade and a dull gray hilt.

            "What do I have to do?" Dee asked shakily.

            Gadon brought the sword into a fighting position. "Only one thing. Survive."

            "Survive?" Dee gulped.

            Gadon didn't waste any more words. He lunged forward, slashing for Dee's neck. Dee leaped back, but slipped and fell. Gadon attacked again, this time using his powers to form a fireball and hurl it Dee's way.

            The thick mud blanketing the forest floor made it hard to move. Dee barely got out of the way in time.

            "What the hell are you doing?" He screamed. "You could've killed me!"

            "That's the idea." Gadon raised his hands over his head and thrust them down to the muddy earth. Scarlet and golden flames rose up in an eerie silence, engulfing even the wet green life of the forest around them. Dee leaped into the air and into one of the trees that had yet to catch in the mutate's mystic blaze.

            Gadon laughed as he drew his sword and jumped into the branches after his prey. He swung the ugly blade, cutting it into Dee's side. Pain swelled in Dee's side as his black blood poured from the wound. He clutched his side in his hand, feeling the thick warm life run in between his trembling fingers.

            "This is a test right?" He asked desperately. There was no way he could beat Gadon.

            To answer Dee's question, Gadon shot forward swinging the blade for Dee's heart. He had no choice; Dee unsheathed his own sword and swung to block. Their blades clashed together like thunder, sparks erupting from the shining weapons.

            Dee stepped backward off his branch and descended to the forest floor. The rain had put out most of the fire, but the ground was still hot, and the mud dry. Whatever spell Gadon had used was very powerful.

            "I won't fight you like this, Gadon!"

            "Then you'll die today!"

            Gadon raised his hands into the air and chanted. Suddenly fire rained down from the sky like hailstones smashing down onto the hot earth and erupting again into a wild fire. out of the corner of his eye Dee saw a fox rush to escape the deadly inferno. Birds blanketed the sky in an attempt to flee the disaster.

            Dee leaped onto the boulder that once hid Gadon's armor. His cloak flapping behind him in the wind. Gadon shot down from the trees intent on skewering Dee on his blade. Dee swung his sword like a club to deflect the attack.

            "That's it! He raged. "Friend or not, you swing that thing at me again, and I'll shove it up your ass!"

            Gadon smiled. He hurled his sword at Dee's head. Dee blocked it easily. He flipped his sword in his hand and plunged the blade deep into the stone, then shed off his cloak, his twenty pound wrist bands and boots, his thirty pound belt, then his shirt to reveal the dark red, bat shaped birthmark that covered half his chest.

            "Let's dance!" Gadon said in his cold emotionless voice.

            Dee just smiled evilly. "Drac," he agreed.

            This time Dee leaped toward Gadon, fists clenched. He aimed his first punch for Gadon's head. Gadon ducked and it went through a tree instead. Dee shook in frustration, the thin wooden spikes covered his pale flesh and blood pored from the wounds with every gesture.

            Hands and feet became a blur of motion as they fought. Either one of them could shatter a granite boulder with one punch and smash through a two-foot thick tree trunk with one kick. They fought like twin hurricanes colliding with the power of two forces of nature.

            The wind churned and coiled around them, ripping trees from the earth and snuffing out Gadon's fires as if they were birthday candles.

            Gadon's fist rammed into Dee's gut then his elbow smashed into his jaw. Dee retaliated with a knee to Gadon's hip and crushing the palm of his hand into Gadon's throat. Gadon lunged to the ground and rolled toward his sword. Dee jumped to the boulder and pulled out his weapon.

            Dee pounced. Thrusting with his sword, Gadon moved to block but Dee's blade focused his anger, his rage, it absorbed the darkness and built it all into raw power. Black lightning sparked from the dark, black edge of the elegant sword and it tore Gadon's sword like butter.

            "Yield!" Dee demanded.

            Gadon leaped back, "I call forth volcan, spirit of fire," Gadon began. " Let the powers of the inferno become my sword and strike you down!" He waved one hand. "Ahhhh! Hellion!" a massive fireball, unimaginably powerful, blasted from his finfertips, tearing through the air towards Dee.

            Dee brought his sword up to block the fiery attack drawing in strength from the magical energies around him and focused it through his weapon.

            The spell hit with all the fury of Hell. The raging flames beat against his magical barrier. The heat seared his skin and set his chest ablaze, flames licking at his pale flesh.

            In seconds, the ball dissipated and vanished. Dee batted out the fire and took a battle stance again.

            His breath came in heavy pants, his shoulders heaving with the effort. He launched forward, slamming his fist into Gadon't gut, and then rammed the heel of his foot into Gadon's face.

            Gadon fell into the crisp dry mud, exhausted, bloody, and beaten. "I… yield," he choked out.