Brothers In Arms: Chapter Ten Of “Bounty Hunter”

“So you are the legendary Brotherhood.” I look at the leader.

“You can call us that.” He smiles. “Everyone else does. We are the Warrior monks of St. Sebastian. There are several other branches, but we work in tandem With the Holy Sisters Of Saint Joan of Arc. Maybe you know of them?”

“Yes.” I nod. “My cousin Isabel is with them.”

“Ah.” He looks at me, interested. “Her chosen path?”

“Not really.” I look away. “I sent her to them for her safety before they arrived.”

“They?” His eyebrow arches again.

“Vassare and his gaggle of vampires.” I look down. “And that vile thing called Creeper.”

“Arturo. Yes. We know him quite well. Though he has chosen to hang out with other devils lately.” He shakes his head.

“You mean he is still alive?” I am surprised by his statement.

“Oh, yes.” He smiles. “Mere vampires can’t kill a Grigori. Turn them, maybe. Make them beg for death, yes. But kill? Only a Grigori can kill a Grigori. You could kill him, I could kill him, or Truva could kill him. Or he could kill us. It goes both ways.”

“I thought only his doppelganger could kill him.” I am confused.

“No, any Grigori can kill another. That is usually how a Grigori falls.” He looks at me. “They are seduced by evil. Then, to prove their worth, they are ordered to kill another Grigori. Normally, we only kill the Fallen. But to fall, you must kill a fellow Grigori for no reason.”

“I see.” I look at him. “I only seek to end this evil that has begun to destroy this world.”

“Then we are on the same mission.” He smiles at me. “To stop Kalkolides.”

“Yes.” I nod.

“Then, let us join forces here. Just for this one battle.” He is offering their help.

“And I will send the swords with you when we are finished here.” I agree.

“Then it is decided. We will destroy Dornonko together.” He smiles, expectantly.

“Yes.” I shake his hand in agreement and the pact is sealed.

***

Dark fall. We cautiously approach the house of Dornonko. Once we are standing before it, I can see that it is not flat upon the valley floor. Rather, it has been–shifted. It has been magically lifted up and set upon a sort of artificial mesa. At its base, several tunnels lead under it and into its heart.

We have to figure which are actual access. And which are traps. Not going to be easy. Especially since some may contain ghouls or zombies. Or worse.

I sniff the air of each. The first is musty. Almost poisonous. The second smells of Ghoul. The third, of zombies.

I continue to sniff each. He watches me. Then, I come to the one that smells of vampire. “This one. Follow me.”

“How did you know this was the right one?” He is stunned.

“Each undead has its own…odor. As does death. I have been trained to know the difference.” I look over at him. the first one was almost poisonous. would have killed your men. the next two were traps filled with zombies or ghouls. The others smelled like blood. Means there were pits with spikes in them. This one smelled like vampires and fresh air. Naturally, it will lead to the interior.”

“Oh.” he now sees the logic. And the method.

We continue on in silence. Too much noise will alert our targets. We cannot afford to alert them. Not now.

We emerge onto the parade grounds. From the disorder, they haven’t been used for centuries. A glow is emanating from the garrison. And from the great hall. The lead monk motions that his followers will go take care of the garrison. And that I should go and confront Master Dornonko. I nod. I motion for Cyanne to go with the brothers. I do not need to risk her life while I destroy Dornonko. she nods.

I watch her vanish into the darkness with the monks. I head for the great hall. As I do so, I feel that this has all been too easy. But I must continue with the mission.

I burst in. My gaze meets that of Dornonko. He smiles.

“I hope your companions are finding their surprise to their taste.” I can tell he is a cruel one. “I knew you would be coming. I even knew they were coming. I just had no idea that you would be together.”

“Do not underestimate us, Dornonko.” I am cool. “Least of all, me.”

He pulls his family sword from its placard. “I haven’t. Vassare has told me all about you.”

I smile. “But he hasn’t told you how much of a coward he is. Or how much of a coward that pipsqueak Friedrich is. Has he? or how he has run from every battle with me after I have removed his arm.”

“No. He has not.” He is now wondering how much of Vassare’s information is correct.

“He has not seen my full abilities, Dornonko. If he had, he would not have been able to give any information at all.” I suck in a breath. not that I need it. “Are we going to fight? Or are you going to bore me to death?”

He swings his sword, testing its balance. I draw both of mine. He thrusts. I dodge. He parries, I block. I am fluid. His motion is awkward. Almost as if it has been centuries since he has done any battle.

I take the master of the castle easily. His heir bursts in and takes up his father’s sword. With a scream of angst, he rushes me. His head flies from his shoulders. His mother enters and sees her husband and son lying dead. She brings a stiletto from the folds of her dress and throws it at me. I swing my crossbow up and hit her between the eyes as she is midstride. She falls. I take her husband’s sword over and behead her as well.

The monks rush in and look at me bewildered. I look at them and smile. “How was your night?”

“Strange.” Their leader replies, confused. “They had set a trap for us, but weren’t very good on the delivery. We had them pretty much massacred before they even got things going.”

“He may have been cruel, but must not have fought since before the turn of the 18th century.” I smile. “Pathetic.” I look at Cyanne. “Please grab the heads. We will make pikes out there. Is the bridge down so we can go out the front door?” I look at the monk.

“Yes. I let it down as soon as we reached the wheel house.” He nods.

“Then take everyone out of here.” I throw him Dornonko’s sword. “I will remain behind and set it on fire.”

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