Author's note: So its been a while since I've updated. Sorry about that. I think this story may go on hiatus due to the fact I'm back in school. Cor aut Mors was suppose to be a sort of summer project but I've decided to continue it. Hopefully this will be my first completed story! My goal is 20 chapters but the storyline is a little more complicated so it may go over. Anyways, thanks for following, reviewing, doing what you do. I don't ask for reviews because I hope that if you truly, genuinely enjoyed reading this, then you'd naturally want to click that review button and I need not say a word. I'll try and get another chapter up before Christmas but no promises.

Okay! I think you've had enough of my rambling. ;)

Cor aut Mors

(Heart or Death?)

7


The blood lust was the worst thing known to man. Many believed they could control it but few actually could. Such a task took over years to obtain practice and even then, the strongest of them fell. It was strange how just a few drops could turn even the gentlest of men to savage beasts. It was in that dazed state a Vampire was said to be the most lethal. This was because they lost themselves within the desire. The need became too strong till you realized that you'd do anything just to get a taste and quench the thirst.

Because in the end, it tore you apart. It forced your mind to think only of that one thing and made your stomach realize that no humane food could ever satisfy. Your favorite snacks, treats and meals tasted bland. Water was no longer essential to survive. Legend said that their forefathers once were not able o survive three days without water and thinking about that now almost brought a smile to Carmen's face. She supposed it were true for the wolves.

She never gave their species much thought. How would any information on the wolves help her? She knew enough, she knew the basics as did everyone. But when the mutt spoke of the Blood Oath she felt her heart skip a beat. It took her a few moments for her to regain her breath and even once she did she still couldn't believe her ears. Him knowing about such a thing was like her knowing the reason behind their rituals. She couldn't possible guess the reason for them being half naked and prancing around a bonfire or howling at the moon but she never suspected there was one.

But now that she thought about it, she supposed there had to be a reason to why they did such things. The certainly didn't seem like the type to dance around for fun but where was she to find answers? You didn't speak to the wolves. That was that. In fact, if Romano were to wake up and see her simply chatting away with the wolf, he would without a doubt kill her. It didn't matter to him if she were betrothed. She was certain that he could careless about her but the Council wasn't like whatever system the wolves went by. Being seen with a wolf meant death. If you were lucky or favored then perhaps you'd have a standing chance against the trial. But the chances of surviving the trial were often slim to none.

It was safe to say that their 'justice system' was severe. Carmen had her own scars and markings from the punishment she received when she was younger for acts she hadn't known better than to commit. But her Highness and closest friend told her she was ready to change that. Carmen just hoped that if plans for change were being made, that they'd be followed through in the end. She did her best as second in command to help with the court issues but personally, she'd rather be out in the woods.

There was something nice about woods and the fact you could actually breathe, made it more desirable to her than any court house could be. It was a benefit of being on the good side of her Highness. Amyra was the one who bent the law for her. Carmen had her duties as did everyone else but was given a more freedom from her responsibilities in order to simply hunt or support the community. In other words, it allowed her more time to spend outside. Currently, her so-called task had involved forging through wolf territory and simply mapping out the Hunter's land on the other side but the southern regions were hard to accesses.

The Hunters took up the every edges and outskirts of the land. With the Vampires ruling over the Northern parts of the land, and the wolves the southern, Carmen would be lying if she said she wasn't curious. What was on the other side? And who's to say if whatever they were searching for, the wolves needed as well? Amyra had ensured her the wolves didn't know and the Alpha before her was an example of just how lost they all were but it seemed the trip was greatly valued. Why else would her Carmen have been sent with other sisters of the court to assist her? She hadn't asked, she didn't question, because sometimes you simply didn't argue with her Highness' orders. But that didn't stop her from wondering if what she were searching for were true…

Her eyes darted once more to Romano before back to the wolf. He was much too close for comfort and as he leaned away, she took a breath of clean air before speaking. "How…do you know about that?" Carmen asked in a low tone as if she were afraid of being overheard. She was no longer in the safe zone. She was now talking about matters that concerned her species, and there for she could be punished by Council for supporting the wolves, or some theory such as that. His grin told her little and she knew in that instant he wasn't telling her anything. But why would he in the first place? "Do we have a deal?" He asked instead.

She hated this feeling. Being so vulnerable and open but the more she thought about it, the more she wondered, what else could she do? The chains had proven to hold well, unfortunately. She was simply thankful for the clothes she wore which managed to protect her body.

But the heaviness of chains rested against the fabrics. A constant reminder she was at the moment, under his mercy. Sections of her top were burnt from the pyre but the sting of the chains against those bits skin were not as bad as having her wrists bound. The majority of the skin around it was either charred or not there at all with only swollen flesh remaining. She wondered if the creature felt even the slightest ounce of pity. Although she neither wanting his pity, or believed his race to be the sympathetic sort, it still managed to disgust her.

Their race was above all others? Their race was superior? They we're the ones who never seemed to learn. They never evolved and were still living in the past. But that reason, is what would one day cause their civilization to fall. She was sure of it. The more time she spent with the mutt the more she realized he was nothing more than a little kid. She treated him with little respect, gave him no fear and refused to play by his rules. Childish in her own way perhaps, but sometimes behaving like a child was the only way to get things done.

But how was it possible he ended up with the higher hand? She exhaled sharply before nodding slowly. She was no fool. She knew when to fold and now was the time but she'd be doing everything in her power to make sure the Oath didn't play out his way. "What are your terms...Alpha." She asked curiously, not trusting that smile for a second.

"Nothing too drastic..." The wolf began. "Simply to guarantee my safety, you will not harm me." She did her best to hide a smile, thinking she has already found a loophole to his words but the wild continued. "You will not run. You will not lay a finger, a fang, or foot upon me. You will not injury me in any way or react violently. And you will tell me what it is I want to know. Is that clear?" He asked but as seeing as she didn't want to respond -or couldn't respond- he concluded, "And then, I'll release you."

Silence filled the air. She had nothing to say to that. Nothing except...

"Alright." Her words seemed to take him by surprise but only the briefest of moments before returning to its smug appearance. She was no longer sure what her plan was her on out but in no way was the wolf 'winning'.

Time seemed to slow. He took out the knife but didn't bat an eye when he slashed it along her palm. He remained undeterred as well when he did the same. She watched a red droplet roll down his life line, along his fingers and to the floor, wondering just what wolf's blood tasted like. It was that thought that had some part of her sanity screwing up her face in disgust and knowing for sure she needed some blood in her. Because if wolf's blood was starting to sound appealing to her than there was a problem. He seemed confused by her interest in him but carelessly dismissed it. It wasn't important. Grabbing her hand, Carmen wasn't too sure what she should be feeling. She had made the Oath only once before and back then she had been too young to understand the true meaning of it. All Vampires were expected to performing the blood Oath at least once in their lives to the current sovereign. It was a promise made to show where your loyalty lied and basically the run down version of what they had you say meant you'd do whatever it takes to keep the current ruler safe as well as your people. In a way, Carmen believed that such things shouldn't even be allowed. Didn't it take away from free will? But she suppose she knew deep down it was a harmless act. The pledge was nothing more than what was true was it not? There was no Vampire alive or ever recorded that wouldn't obey such things in the first place but if making every one of their kind gave them some sort of reassurance than who was she to argue?

The past faded as she swallowed pasted the lump in her throat. "Clock's ticking sweetheart." He growled in annoyance but she merely glared in response. Her grip on his hand tighten just as bit before she spoke. "Asih vai yen aavi.." She muttered as she turned her hand up against his so the tips were now pointing up towards the sky. The ancient words were so old she could almost taste the dust upon them. She was slightly surprised she remembered them but perhaps one never truly forgot them. "Bound now my blood I shall pledge myself to thee. I shall do as you've have said and having-" She stalled.

Despite his gaze having harden for her to finish it, she found herself struggling. The next words...Well, they were true were they? So would the bond still work even though she didn't mean them? Or did her wanting to leave this place be enough for her to actually mean them? "h-having accepted the terms, let this bond strengthen the pact that has already been made." She whispered out. When the mixing of the blood began, Carmen could feel herself getting light headed once again and wondered if it had really been worth it. He would kill her now and she would be incapable of defending herself. Funny how such thoughts only entered her head after the deed had been done. How could she have been so foolish?!

As she mentally scolded herself, the wolf slowly let go of her hand. "There that wasn't go bad, was it?" She heard him say and hated the fact this tone was all too cheerful. She looked up to him and winced slightly as she dropped her arm back to her side and the chains tightened. Whatever way she had position herself before had changed after she reached out to hold the wolf for the Oath. She could feel the difference in her chest as it was now harder to breathe. The more she squirmed about trying to find a more comfortable position, the worse it seemed to get. It was only when her body froze up and she began coughing up blood did the wolf hastily move towards her. "Shit." He muttered loudly as he half knelt down beside her and began undoing her from her bonds. "Didn't I tell you not to move?" He asked, sounding some what irritated. Carmen quite annoyed herself with the current situation couldn't help but snap back. "Perhaps I wouldn't have to fucking move if you didnt make tie me up so tight!"

He paused for a moment and she instantly bit her tongue. She shouldn't have said that. He was right when he said he could very well leave her tied up and simply question her here. She'd have no choice but to answer him. But she was surprised when he suddenly chuckled before continuing what he'd been doing. "Now, aren't you a bit young to be saying such dirty words like that?" He teased but it sounded a lot more like he was mocking her.

"I'm much older than you are mutt..." She scoffed. Pulling herself free of her chains, she quickly forgot what else she wanted to say. Instead all she could feel was his blood upon her hand. She watched it curiously with the hunger growing inside. She was surprised by such a thing but in the end wasn't all blood the same blood? It couldn't harm her...Just a taste... But she felt his heavy gaze on her. He seemed to be cautious of her and he should be for it was difficult for her name let alone what was right from wrong. She had grown up telling herself she would never feed off a mutt. Her kind would never degrade themselves to such an act but if they never tried for themselves how could they be so sure? "Carmen." His sharp voice grabbed her attention and for a moment she wonders how he knows her name. But it's all gone in the matter of seconds as she launches forward. Her mind seemed to have been able to register just what she was about to do and regain some sanity at the sound of his voice. How odd...

Her eyes were now solely on the bloody doe before her. She didn't hesitate to sink her fangs into its neck. She wasn't even bothered by the fur at the moment. All she could care for was the blood. The sweet warm liquid invaded her mouth and clouded her senses. She was faintly aware of someone moving but they could go to hell for what she cared. She'd never been so hungry in her life. After a sufficient amount of stuffing her face she slowly became aware of the wolf watching her intently. Had he never seen a Vampire feed before? She was suddenly conscious of herself and hated that she was. What did it matter to her if he watched her feed? It shouldn't. But it did.

Carmen pulled away slowly, barely having drunk to her fill, but has enough to steady herself. She looked up to catch the mutt staring at her but he didn't seem to care that she did. She couldn't hold back the sneer that found its way onto her face. "Do my eating habits disgust you Alpha, or do I amuse you?" She called out.

He stared at her for a bit longer as she began to wipe away whatever was at her mouth. At first he looked as though he were about say something, but deciding against it, he shook his head and shoved his hands into the front pockets of his jeans. "Finish up. I'm going to go keep an eye on your little boyfriend." He spoke shortly enough. Carmen watched him moved towards the hunched figure and saw no point in arguing. The more space the put between Romano, the better. "And the name's Ryker!" He called back to her, the slight irritation in his tone not failing to be noticed. She watched him for a moment longer and chewed her lower lip in consideration.

Ryker… Giving the boy a name almost made him sound human. Almost. She told herself it was best to keep from using it. Carmen looked down at her clothes and felt somewhat ashamed that she ended up so dirty. The dark red stains stuck out upon the gray fabric but she realized there was no need to care. She was a 'blood thirsty beast' after all and so she may as well look the part. With the wolf gone, she knelt down beside the deer, and with her fore finger and thumb she gently closed its eyes. She mumbled a soft pray of thanks and for forgiveness but not taking any more than what was needed.