Summary: This is technically the sequel to The Last Ones but will be written in a way that lets it be a stand-alone. Essentially, this takes place where the first one left off, except seventeen years in the future. Kyra is seventeen and has been trained as a ruthless vampire hunter by her mother. She knows the stories of her ancestry and the vampires that hunt her family, but there are secrets she doesn't know. What she wants to know about most is her father, a topic her mother won't speak of. When her mother's shady past catches up with her, Kyra is left to discover these secrets by herself with only the knowledge that someone will be looking for her...someone her mother has kept secret from her for her entire life. While secrets start to unravel, Kyra finds herself in the midst of a dangerous plot...one that may finally bring about the end of the Lamhostil line.
Kyra could feel her heart racing as she crouched at the base of the tree. The chill of the spring night turned her breath white for a moment before it disappeared. All around her was silence, hopefully a good sign. She could only hope she had gotten far enough away.
Her eyes scanned the darkness around her, though she knew it would be of little help in this situation. She would have to depend on her wits and reflexes and hope they would be enough to make this a success. Maybe, just maybe, it would be enough to prove she was ready for this.
A twig suddenly snapped out of nowhere, drawing her attention. Then, more silence.
It was almost unbearable, this wait, but such was the life she had been taught. Patience and alertness were virtues she couldn't live without out here.
Kyra could feel her calf start to cramp from crouching for so long. Slowly, carefully, quietly she stood, keeping her hand against the bark of the tree. It would probably be best to move on.
Silently she started through the darkness, the light of the moon barely shining through the canopy of the trees for her to see by.
Suddenly, she collided with the ground, and she immediately realized what had happened. In her split second of distraction, she had become the hunted instead of the hunter.
"Well, now, what have we here?" a deep voice said, as something flipped her over on her back.
Kyra was instantly repulsed by the pair of red eyes looking back at her.
"A hunter, quaint," he continued. "You won't be needing this anymore," he added, stripping her of her silver-loaded pistol, tossing it far off into the vegetation. "A pretty little thing like you shouldn't be wandering around alone. Bad things happen," he said, one of his hands trailing down her body.
A shiver went down Kyra's spine at the very thought, but she knew she had to keep her cool. This vampire thought he had her completely in his control because he had taken away her only weapon and she was no match for his strength. But he didn't know who she was.
"Bad things don't happen to me," she replied, her eyes never leaving his.
"Oh, they will tonight. You'll be begging for death by the end of the night," he grinned, the thirst for both her blood and her body filling his eyes.
"Don't think so," she replied, sending him flying into a nearby tree with a flick of her free hand.
The shock of it stunned him, giving her enough time to jump back to her feet. He seemed momentarily confused by what had happened, but his confusion was quickly replaced by anger.
Kyra realized she hadn't really thought this all the way through as he had her up against a tree in the blink of an eye. There was no way he was giving her a second chance to pull the same move.
He bared his fangs, ready to bite, but she had one more trick up her sleeve. Before he could sink his teeth in, she put both hands on his chest. Suddenly, his clothes erupted in flames.
He jumped back from her, screaming in terror and pain as the flames spread from his clothes and all over his body.
Remembering her pistol, Kyra motioned in the direction he had thrown it, calling it to her.
As his screaming reached its forte, she pulled the trigger, dropping him to the ground in true death. The body continued to burn, filling the air around it with the stench of burning flesh.
Kyra put her hand against the tree to steady herself as she watched, silent satisfaction making her smile slightly. She had done it. She had really done it. All by herself.
Rustling in the underbrush made her tear her attention away from the burning body. She tensed, knowing that the sound could only be one thing, and it wasn't going to be pretty.
A few seconds later, a woman emerged a little ways away. She looked once at the flames before facing Kyra. "Well?" she asked, crossing her arms.
Kyra was almost more frightened now than she had been when the vampire was on top of her. "I know what you're thinking," she said quickly. "But I had to show you that I can do this. I'm not your little girl anymore and I'm more than capable of doing more than you give me credit for."
"Kyra, you could've gotten killed running off like that. You know how dangerous this business is," the woman said, walking closer to her.
"But I didn't. I got him, didn't I?"
"You got lucky. If he hadn't taken the time to taunt you the way he did, you wouldn't be standing here right now. Maybe, just maybe, I could have gotten here in time to stop him, but it would have been extremely unlikely."
"Mom, I'm alive, he's dead. What does it matter what could have happened? Besides, you've had plenty of close calls too and you went off on your own when you were my age."
"I went off on my own because I had no choice, not because I wanted to," her mother replied, a tone of finality in her voice.
"That's not the way Nathan makes it sound," Kyra said, crossing her arms, refusing to let the matter rest.
"Nathan is going senile, and even when he wasn't senile, he wasn't always right."
Kyra was a little taken aback by the way her mother had so easily discounted both one of her closest friends and probably the most knowledgeable person when it came to vampire hunting.
Kyra knew very little about what happened before she was born, but she had been able to pick up on a little. Her mother's family had been killed by the band of vampire called the Pillars of Darkness when she was very young. The band's sole purpose was to see to the end of the Lamhostil line, the descendants of an ancient clan of vampire hunters, which she and her mother both were. At the death of her family, her mother sought out an old family friend, Nathan, to continue the training her parents had started.
Eventually, Nathan quit the hunting business, but still offered her his undivided help. On several occasions, Kyra and her mother had spent time at his estate for that purpose. What her mother didn't know, however, was that Nathan had a habit of telling her things she wasn't supposed to know about, like her father. Though she had learned little information from him, it was more than her mother would tell her.
Kyra didn't have the heart to broach the subject with the woman. After all, she wouldn't cry out his name in her sleep if something terrible hadn't happened, would she? That was the one thing she just couldn't figure out and Nathan couldn't explain.
Kyra rolled her eyes. "You're just saying that 'cause you don't want to admit that I just might know what the hell I'm doing."
"I'm not discounting the fact that you know what you're doing. The problem is you rush headlong into things without thinking and you end up in dangerous situations. How do you think I'd feel if I found you dead in the forest somewhere, hm?" her mother replied, her tone softening slightly. "Kyra, I love you dearly, and I know you're capable of being a great hunter someday, but you're getting ahead of yourself, even considering your gift. These things take a little time."
"A little time? Mom, I'm seventeen! How much more is 'a little time'?"
She sighed. "Longer than you're apparently ready to wait. Look, if you can promise me that you won't go running off and do something stupid, I will give you more freedom to hunt, but only if you promise me. I'm not talking full-on solo hunting, but enough free reign to let you dabble a little for experience sake."
Kyra smiled. "That's all I ask."
"Is that a promise?"
"Yes, that's a promise."
"That's my girl," her mother said, putting her arm around her shoulders and kissing her on top of the head. "Come on, let's get back to town and collect on our night's work. Then we'll head on."
"Sounds good," Kyra said as the mother and daughter made their way through the trees toward the town that sat just beyond the trees, blissfully unaware of the dangerous creature it had just been delivered from.