“Not much of a man, even for a vampire, is he?” Fenrir shakes his head.
“No. Has a one-track mind. And can’t seem to take no for an answer..” I frown.
“I sense you know him from some point earlier in your life..?” Fafnyr sniffs the air. “He left his mark on you.”
“He is the reason I am infected with their disease. When I was four, The Creeper led them to my town. He fed on the whole town, but gained no converts. Papa, Mama and I made sure of that. In the end, they hung mama with her own rosary. They made papa watch as they tortured her. They thought I was dead, but I shot them.” I bow my head. “I wounded that moron the first time that night. I also kept my promise to papa. I killed him and mama before the change could claim them. But I wasn’t strong enough to kill myself.”
“It is good you did not. There would be no hope for us if you had.” Fenrir levels his gaze upon me. “You are the promised one. Never forget that. You were turned in hopes that you would join their evil. clearly, your distaste for them has made you their worst enemy. And for that, you have more than redeemed your own soul, along with those of your parents. You have more than atoned for the deaths of your parents as well. Do not dwell in the past. The here and now is all you have. Use it well. Hunt them down. Take them out.”
I nod in agreement. “I shall make you all proud.”
“Earn a name to fear by all. Don’t worry about making us proud. Just fulfill your destiny.” Fenrir turns away and whistles. A changeling appears. “Lead Ms. Juarez within striking distance of Kalkolides’ fortress.”
The changeling nods. Takes my hand and begins to lead me. “Come. We d not have time to waste.” I follow him out of Valhalla.
“May I ask your name?” I am trying to be friendly.
“You could never pronounce my real name. At least not my native one. To most, I am just Sam.” He smiles.
“Pleased to meet you, Sam.” I smile back at him.
“You have to be careful, Ms. Juarez.” He stops for a short moment. “Although the majority of us are on the side of good, there will be a few that will try to stop you. Even kill you.” He presses something into my hand. “Take this. It will ward off most of them.”
I open my hand and see the talisman he has given me. I Look at him. “Thank you.”
“You are welcome. My honor.” He grows silent.
We walk on into the night. Just at dawn, he stops. “If you continue in that direction, you will come to Fortress Kalkolides. Better known as Hell On Earth. Good luck.” He bows.
“Thank you.” I take his hand. “And don’t worry if you do not hear from me for a while. I will be fine.”
I watch him leave. I won’t enter vampire territory until tonight. Too risky. Can’t risk being seen.
The sun is setting as I get ready to go hunting. Something isn’t quite right. Something is missing. Something that is supposed to be inside the fortress.
I should be able to sense the Stones. But I don’t. Could it be that they aren’t there? Could it be that Kalkolides has taken them elsewhere to keep them safe from his enemies within the Nation?
No matter. I am still making a raid. I want to take out as many as I possibly can. Strike close to home. Make him sit up and take notice.
I approach my target cautiously. I will be inside soon. Then, suddenly, I find my way blocked by a vampire and his guards.
“Well, Well. What have we here?” He grins evilly. “A lone hunter? Get her!”
“Why is it,” I begin, drawing my swords, “You vampires can never fight your own battles? Why must you always send in sheep to the slaughter, Mr…?”
“I am called Friedrich.” He is so smug. I can’t wait to wipe that grin off his face. “And I am fighting my own battles. But with help.”
He is surprised to see me make such quick work of his goons. He seems impressed. I am not even breaking a sweat…so to speak. He steps forward as the last of his goons fall to my blades. He draws his own sword. and a main gauche. “Not bad, mademoiselle. Let’s see how you do against me.”
“If you are anything like Vassare, you will run at first loss of limb.” I am now taunting him.
His eyebrow raises. “You know Vassare. How?”
He ruined my life. That is all you need to know.” I refuse to give him anything he can use.
“Interesting. I will have to ask him about that. maybe he can shed some light…?” He ponders his thought.
He lunges. I dodge. He parries. I block. he thrusts. I block, then parry. But I am toying with him. Pushing his limits. Seeing how truly into this battle he really is.
He does not disappoint. It drags on for hours. But as dawn approaches, he grows disinterested. “We will meet again, puppet. Mark my words. Then we will see who is truly the best.” He turns to leave.
I draw first blood. “I look forward to it. Here is something to remember me by.”
“You witch! How dare you?!?” He is livid. “Our battle was over. That was a foul move! You cheated!”
“And you wouldn’t have?” I challenge his assertion. He merely glares at me and vanishes. Damn. I am going to have to try that.
I cross myself and pray for divine guidance as I settle in and wait for night to fall again. I should be inside the fortress. Wait! I can still enter without being seen and remain unseen until nightfall! I can change into a fly or a bee and enter that way! But, then, I would not be able to take my weapons in with me. Best wait for dark fall.