Both Sides: Chapter One Of “Bounty Hunter”

I have spent twenty years hunting down Jason Kalkolides. And the Sabbath Stones. It has been exactly twenty years since McCall vanished and the old sanctuary was fire bombed. I have not set foot in the bayou since that day. But I am going back. Just to mark the anniversary.

I do know that Truva is fine. He has–grown some, but is the same as he has always been. At least that is what Grady has told me. I pass information through Grady as well. Still no news about McCall.

Grady says to assume that he is dead until he is discovered alive. But I refuse to believe such. I will find him. Just as I will find Kalkolides. And the Stones.

I have taken down the House Atrides, A branch of The Clan Kalkolides. I erased their names from the histories of the Vampire Nation. House by House, I will erase them from this life. Or unlife. However you want to look at it.

I am on a mission. They stand in my way. Defend Kalkolides. Refuse me information. Whereabouts.

I am glad that not all vampires are immortal. This would make my mission an impossible one. How would I stop the unstoppable? I couldn’t. Thank God I can kill most vampires.

As far as I know, there are only four immortal vampires. Kalkolides and Zoesus Kolbedides are the oldest. Marquis De Morte and McCall are the youngest. Just as there are at least two immortals per people. Or used to be.

But there are more from humanity. I was supposed to be another. But I am a vampire. With shape shifting abilities. And wings.

Ironic. Isn’t it? I am a little of everything in this dark new world except the ghouls or zombies. Vampire. Changeling. Alpha.

Not quite sure what an Alpha is, but they aren’t human. At least not anymore. They are both more and less. More because they are new and different. Less because they are seen as monsters. Like me.

I have stopped sleeping. Dark and horrible dreams await me in those hours. Terrifying nightmares. And I know they will come true. They always have. From the very beginning. And I don’t want to see them anymore.

I am tracking the messenger from the House Atrides as he flees to the next House. I am unsure of his destination, but will follow him to the ends of the earth. My nickname has begun to be whispered among vampires. There is still not enough fear behind the whispers, but that will soon change.

***

Night has fallen, but I continue to track my prey. But I am distracted by voices. Vampires. I smile as I listen.

“Ogden, Ogden, Ogden. I tell you she came this way. She did not bypass us. She is near.” One voice is emphatic in insisting I am near.

“But Omar, we have yet to find one ounce of proof. Jason wants her alive. He wants to kill her himself. How dangerous can she be?” The second must feel that my capture will be easy.

“She destroyed the eastern fortress twenty years ago. That has never been rebuilt. She killed the queen and our prince. And took out a whole garrison of our best soldiers. Our best!” The third is sounding a bit chicken. But his words are the truth.

“Ah, you’re just chicken, Olaf. The soldiers she killed were not as well trained as we are. They were new recruits.” The first dismisses Olaf’s concern.

I rise from my hiding place. “Hasn’t your king taught you not to talk so loud when you discuss his orders?” I notice that they are only three of a larger detachment of soldiers. I count at least fifty. The garrison at the fortress was well over ten thousand. Fifty won’t pose much of a problem. I draw my swords.

“Get her!” Ogden’s order causes a mad rush.

I hack my way through the small detachment with very little problem. Fifty headless corpses quickly fall one or two at a time. When I am done, only the three who had been talking are left. Ogden and Omar charge only to join the rest on the ground. Headless. Now, only Olaf stands before me.

“Kneel, Olaf.” He does as I say. Frightened that I will behead him as well. I lay my sword on his shoulder near his neck. “I want you to take a message to your master.”

“Y-yes, milady.” His stammer makes him almost too cute to torture. Almost.

“Tell your master that he is going to have to do better than this if he wants to be rid of me. Or die. Otherwise, I will haunt him to the very end.” I smile menacingly. “Now go. And don’t forget to take your pals with you as proof that you failed him.”

I am pretty sure he peed himself. Strange how you can scare a vampire bad enough to make them do something that they don’t normally do. I smile as I watch him flee the wrong way in his terrified state. His friends’ heads tied to his belt.

I continue to track the messenger. He has gotten farther ahead, but I now know his destination. He is headed for the House Amorphos. Once he gets there, he will probably head for the House Goropholo. And the House Lorenzo. And so on. I just have to be right behind him. Every step of the way.

I will be within a day’s span from my destination tomorrow. By night fall tomorrow, I should be inside the compound. By morning, the family should be completely wiped out. their army decimated. I smile at the thought.

I continue on through the night. My prey has left a very clear path in his haste. Amazing what fear does. Amazing how the matriarch betrayed the next House. With nothing more than a messenger.

Hours pass and the new day dawns. As the curtain of darkness parts and light filters in, I see my destination in a hollow a ways off. A smile plays across my face. Tonight…

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