Jaiden flees death only to stumble upon Dominic, who perhaps will teach her trust again.
I just came up with this idea one day and want to see where it leads. mexarican11 is helping me write. And by the way everyone, before you read this, I just wanted to let you know: I'm usually a pretty reasonable person about ratings and reviews. If I get a 1 star rating and you tell me what's wrong with it, I don't care, I'll fix it to make it better! I love honest reviews. But people have been giving this one star ratings with no review to explain why. I happen to really like this campfire and if you're going to stomp it by giving it a one star rating, I sure as heck want to know why! So send me a review please if you don't like it. If you're not willing to give me advice on how to make it better, please don't bother rating it so lowly.|
In this setting, humans are only one of many creatures that roam the world. There are vampires, shape-shifters, dragons, elves, werewolves.. all sorts of beasts. Humans are considered the weakest, and a a few of the more evil beings have taken to hunting them for sport. This practice, however, is only allowed in certain areas. A few of the lucky and brave have escaped from these boundaries to live in peace, but woe be unto those hunted....
The story begins with Jaiden who is running from such hunters. Here is my character bio:
Appearance: Jaiden stands about 5 feet 6 inches tall, with shoulder-length, straight brown hair that frames her pale face and dark blue eyes. Her hard life has made her slender and fit, but she's not a strong fighter.
Other: She has been held captive by the the hunters to be used like an animal set free to be tracked down. Her captivity has made her wary of anyone she doesn't know, although she was once a very friendly, outgoing, and loyal person. She has no weapons to defend herself since none are allowed to prey. Her only hope to survive is to make it to the border or this cruel territory where she will be free at last.
|Jaiden ran frantically through the dark forest, not daring to look behind her, but not sure of where she was going either. The moon was covered with thick storm clouds. She could hear the dogs- or wolves, probably a few of both -behind her. She had crossed a deep creek, and she now kept going and was cold, wet, and sapped of her strength. But the detour had thrown off her scent a little, making it harder for a while for the creatures following her to track her. But eventually they had found the scent again.|
She cried out as her foot caught under a raised tree root and she fell to the ground. Her ankle seared with pain, but she got to her feet again. She had to keep going. She couldn't afford to be caught. So she limped onward in the darkness, the night hiding all that was around her. So also, she did not see the old, stone hewn house until she almost ran into its front wall.
She paused, standing before the rough, wooden door and gasping for breath. It was rude to go into someone else's home... and it was dangerous too considering there was no telling what sort of creature lived in this house, but it didn't look as if anyone lived here. No one could live here, Jaiden thought decisively. The door was half off its hinges, stones were crumbling and thick vines grew over the small, dust laden windows. She looked up, and realized that even the roof was missing shingles, for one slid down and almost landed on her head.
She needed a place to hide, and shelter, and her mind was made up when a peal of thunder shook the sky and rain came pouring down. She eased the door open and slipped inside, then closed it carefully behind her, and then retreated farthest from the door and front room as possible. She looked around the old house, and found that it was actually quite large to be built the way it was. In a back room, she found and old mattress standing on a creaky wooden frame. There was no blanket. Not that there should be in a house with no one living in it, Jaiden thought.
Lying down though, she was exhausted. Cold, hungry, and in pain due to her ankle though she was, she fell asleep almost immediately. It was a definite comfort not to hear the dogs barking, and the hunters on her trail again. It had never occurred to her that even though on the outside the house appeared to be unstable, it was dry and warm on the inside and free of cobwebs. And of course, she did not know that the old house was actually occupied, and that the owner was only going to be away for a few more hours...
Appearance: Dominic has jet black hair with a slight blue tint(in the light it cast a blue halo around his head), eyes equivalent to sapphires and pale skin which gives off a very faint glow in the moonlight. He stands about 6 feet tall maybe a little shorter. Dominic is not as good looking as most vampires his age due to the fact that his affinity for an element has not been awoken. When that happens, Dominic will gain that special vampire allure and blood lust as well. Until then Dominic will go through life as a moderately attractive vampire. Oh he lives in the woods so he is in shape, and he has a nice build but again nothing too big, he is almost human except for the enhanced speed, strength agility…ext.
Other: Dominic’s affinity for an element was suppose to come when he was 15 but it never did ashamed of him his family cast him out until the day he has an affinity for an element. Being disowned would be hard for anyone. It was especially hard for Dominic because he likes to have people around, what’s funny about Dominic is he doesn’t care if you’re a dragon or a human as long as your company Dominic will welcome you with open arms. Or at least that’s how he used to be. Nowadays Dominic tells himself he doesn’t need anyone, and he’s better off alone (he doesn’t really believe it but he dose his best to pretend whenever someone is around.
As Dominic approached his home he could see a group of hunters in the distance. Shaking his head he continued on, he hated what they did to humans. Nothing deserved to be hunted and killed for sport, the thought made Dominic’s eyes redden with anger. Creatures like those were the reason humans feared us in the first place. The really sick part was a lot of them weren’t even that far off from being human themselves. Dominic took a moment to pray the poor human got to safety. About ten feet away from his house Dominic heard the *SNAP* of a human (bear) traps iron jaws closing on an unsuspecting victims leg. On closer inspection Dominic came to find a red fox was the human traps poor victim. As he approached to try and free the fox he was welcomed with a warning hiss.
“now now, I cant help you if you don’t let me free your leg. Come on I won’t hurt you I promise Red.” Dominic cooed calming the fox, to his amazement the fox stopped growling. “There we go now I can get you out of that thing, it looks like it nipped you pretty good though.” Dominic sighed as he pried open the trap with one hand and picked up the fox in the other. When Dominic entered his house he sniffed the air with a perplexed look on his face.
“Hey Red is it just me or do you smell a human too?” Dominic was answered when the foxed looked over to his room a small growl emitting from its chest.
“I’ll worry about that in a little bit first I need to patch up that leg of yours.” Dominic said as he laid Red on the table.
“Now lets see here…what was it again… green herbs right?” Dominic asked looking over at the fox with a smile. “Like you would know” he laughed at himself a little. Taking some medicine and medical tape from the top shelf,
“this may sting a tiny bit” Dominic warned Red before rubbing some medicine onto its cuts. The foxed cringed in pain but did not attempt to bite Dominic, after Dominic was sure the medicine was covering all the wounds he bandaged the leg and put the fox on the floor.
“You’ll be limping for a while but at least it won’t get infected” Dominic called to the Fox as it left through the front… wall frame
“Now about that human…” Dominic said to himself as he entered the bedroom. There curled up in a ball was a girl about the same age as him shivering in her sleep. She was covered in scrapes and bruises. Though she was covered in dirt and her hair was covered in leaves, she was still the most beautiful thing Dominic had ever seen. Dominic was overcome with a wave of inner warmth. *maybe it’s just a hint of blood lust* Dominic thought to himself even thought it was far from likely. Sighing Dominic went to his closet for some blankets. When Dominic was finished tucking the girl in he walked into the kitchen to find some bread. He knew she was going to wake up hungry, he could ask questions later.
|When Jaiden awoke, she was aware that rain was still pattering down on the roof, but not quite as hard as before. She lay there just listening. The sound of the rain was so peaceful when you were warm and dry… Suddenly her wandering thoughts brought her wide awake as she realized that there was now a blanket lying over her. That meant that someone else had been here… or was still here.|
At that moment, someone did walk in. Jaiden felt panic and fear rising in her chest. He was a tall young man with pale skin and hair so black it had a blue sheen to it. Although she wasn’t exactly sure, she thought that he was a vampire. Vampires to her usually meant bad news. Jaiden quickly sat up and then struggled to stand, only to stumble on her injured ankle. She yelped in pain.
“Easy, I’m not going to hurt you,” he said kindly. He reached forward as if to help her, but she was already on her feet again and backed against the wall.
“Who are you?” she asked, her voice trembling.
“My name is Dominic.” He smiled slightly. “I could ask you the same question since you’re in my home.”
“I-I’m Jaiden. I’m sorry, I didn’t know anybody lived here.” This man didn’t seem threatening… then again she had known milder looking creatures that had been very cruel indeed.
“It’s alright,” he assured her. “I don’t mind.”
“I-I’ll leave soon,” she promised. “In the morning…” She suddenly gasped at the pain in her ankle when she attempted to step away.
Dominic frowned. “But you’re hurt. You wouldn’t make it far. Just relax, okay? Rest here for a while.”
Jaiden gazed at him warily. She had learned not to trust just anyone, but she did desperately need a place to rest while she recovered. So she nodded…. Then said: “You’re a vampire, aren’t you?”
Dominic nodded. “I am, but I won’t hurt you.”
“Strange, you don’t look like a lot of the other vampires I’ve seen.”
“I know,” his voice seemed a bit dejected at that statement, but he quickly recovered. “Are you hungry?” he asked.
|Dominic knew that the girl was going to be afraid of him at first. After all she’s been through he was surprised she didn’t take it worse.|
“Strange, you don’t look like a lot of the other vampires I’ve seen.” When Jaiden said this it hit Dominic hard, if it was anyone else he would have turned out of the room and left the house to vent. But something about this girl was different, even though he had never experienced bloodlust he knew that wasn’t it.
“Are you hungry?” Dominic asked pushing his thoughts to the side. “At first I put out some bread for you but you were asleep a lot longer than I expected. So I had time to make some real food. Have you ever had a venison steak?” Dominic asked gesturing towards the dinner table there were two places already set. At first Jaiden tried to protest but she was quickly interrupted by the grumbling of her stomach. Dominic laughed as she put a hand over her stomach and her face flushed red.
“Ok venison it is” Dominic laughed.
“Ok maybe I’m a little hungry…running for your life tends to do that to people.” Jaiden said as she started to get up. The second she had both feet on the floor she began to drop due to the pain in her ankle.
“Slow down tiger I was going to bring it to you.” Dominic smiled as he reached to help Jaiden up. She cringed back at first, but eventually let Dominic help, once Dominic was sure she was situated he went to go get the food.
“Oh welcome back Red.” Dominic greeted the fox from earlier as it limped through the door. “Your in luck I saved you one, I thought you might come back.” Dominic grabbed a third plate from the counter setting it on the ground in front of the hungry fox.
“Who’s that?” Jaiden’s voice was full of fear.
“Don’t worry its just Red he’s a fox I rescued earlier today, I’ll introduce you two after dinner.” Dominic said as he sat down at the foot of the bed handing Jaiden her steak.
“I hope you like them well done because I can’t stand blood on my meat.” Dominic said as he turned his attention to the venison steak, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli on his plate.
At first the two ate in silence but Jaiden’s curiosity got the best of her.
“If you’re a vampire why don’t you like bloody food? Don’t you survive on just blood?” She asked between mouthfuls of mashed potatoes.
“To answer your first question, I haven’t ascended yet so I am almost the equivalent of a human compared to other vampires. Ascension is much like puberty to a human, the only difference is when a vampire ascends it happens all at once. That’s when there blood lust is awoken. And no, vampires don’t live on blood alone, they can and some do, but it’s more like water, water that we only need to drink at least once a month. Another thing about ascension is we gain an affinity for a certain element. There are five elements the most common among vampires is fire. People used to say that I’m more likely to have one of three elements air, water, or spirit. But there is no way to tell for sure.” Dominic explained to Jaiden.
“Wow so it’s almost like you’re not even a vampire yet.” Jaiden said absently
“That’s basically what my family said when they disowned me for not ascending at the proper age.” Dominic said with his head down his eyes beginning to tint red.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean it like that.” Jaiden put a hand on Dominic’s shoulder. That somehow familiar warm filling washed over Dominic. Clearing his throat he picked up the plates.
“I guess ill introduce you to Red now” Dominic said hoping Jaiden would let the subject change
|Though Jaiden could plainly see that it bothered Dominic, she was glad that he wasn’t like other vampires yet. It seemed like a source of anger, almost shame, to him, but to her it made him seem less intimidating. She had seen many vampires as hunters… they almost always caught their prey. It made her feel selfish though to be grateful for something that separated him from his family. So, feeling bad for his situation, she decided to let the subject drop and resolved not to bring it up again.|
*Now to see this Red* she thought. She stood carefully, determined to walk this time. Gritting her teeth, she mumbled to herself. “Why is this so hard?” She guessed that it was daytime by now, because Dominic had said she’d slept a long time. “Last night I tripped and just got up and kept running.”
“Well, like you said, you were running for your life,” Dominic said as he put away the plates to clean later. “You had no choice but to try to escape, and the adrenaline in your body pushed you on. Now that you’re safe, the pain is starting to hit you.” he turned to watch her balance most of her weight on her uninjured foot. “Red is in the other room, let me help you.” With these words he reached his hand out to her. This time her hesitation wasn’t quite as long before she accepted his help.
Dominic led her to the next room where a red fox was sitting in front of an empty plate. When he saw Jaiden, he growled and stood. Jaiden saw that its leg had been badly injured and bandaged. Jaiden knelt slowly. “Wow, what happened to you fella?”
“I found him in a… in a trap,” Dominic told her. Heis voice faded in the middle of the sentence as if he had reconsidered his words.
“A trap set for me,” Jaiden said quietly. The fox glared warily at her. “I know,” she was speaking to Red now. “Your kind is often hunted too.” She then glanced up at Dominic. “You took care of him?” Dominic nodded. “Foxes are beautiful creatures,” Jaiden sighed. “It’s a shame that humans once hunted them…” *how ironic…* she thought.
“Well… I’m going to clean up the dishes now,” Dominic told her. “I guess you two can get better acquainted.” He laughed slightly. Before he went back to the kitchen he made sure Jaiden could get back on her feet and left her sitting in a simple wooden chair.
Once she was left alone, Jaiden sighed. “For now it seems like you and I have found a safe haven,” she whispered to Red. The fox blinked at her. Jaiden shook her head slowly. *For now at least* she thought, and she began to comb her fingers through her hair to untangle it and remove the stray leaves and twigs from it.
It obviously didn’t take long for Dominic to finish cleaning, for the next time Jaiden looked around she was startled to see him standing in the doorway between the rooms.
|“Well I see Red has finally accepted you?” Dominic smiled. “I bet it’s the feeling you give of” Dominic slapped a hand over his mouth after realizing what he had said. |
“Feeling?” Jaiden asked looking perplexed.
“Oh nothing I need to go find some fire wood it gets pretty cold at night, seeing as you have the bed and the blanket ill be needing it” Dominic said regaining his composure. “I’m counting on you to watch the house Red seeing as you’ve made yourself at home.” Dominic took one last look at Red sitting at Jaiden’s feet and smiled warmly before leavening to get firewood.
Finding good firewood was easy for Dominic because it has a faint but very distinct smell. Dominic found himself whistling as he gathered the bits of lumber, until he had a good armload. Coming back Dominic noticed three figures walking towards his house, in a panic Dominic dropped the wood and sprinted towards the three figures. When he was close enough to identify them he found two werewolves, and an Arasune (this is a OneWriter original)
“Can I help you gentlemen?” Dominic asked as he approached the three men, giving the werewolves a wide birth (or is it girth?).
“Yes you can. I have reason to believe you are in position of…our prey” The Arasune spoke in a very formal tone.
“And what lead you to this conclusion?” Dominic replied keeping the same formal tone
“We smelt her! My brother and me.” the wolf on the left shouted his eyes hungry. Out of the corner of his eyes Dominic saw movement not wanting to take the chance of drawing attention to that spot if it happened to be Jaiden Dominic’s movements became more aggressive. This excited the wolves they pulled at the chain leaches but the Arasune held tight.
“If you don’t give us the girl I’m afraid I might not be able to restrain my “friends” any longer” The Arasune’s eyes flashed evilly.
“We wouldn’t want you pets…oh I mean friends to get loose would we.” Dominic replied coolly, werewolves were easier to fight when they weren’t thinking straight.
“Ops” The Arasune said in mock concern as he let the leashes drop. In the same instant the leashes dropped the werewolves seemed to explode out of there human forms revealing two huge not-quite-wolves, not-quite-human forms. Dominic anticipating this stepped out of the way half a second before the wolves hit the ground where he had previously been standing.
“Too bad for you two it’s not a full moon tonight” Dominic laughed as he nimbly avoided the onslaught of flailing claws and teeth. *CRACK* Dominic’s fist connected with one of the werewolves jaws. Flipping it onto its back with a dazed look on its face, Dominic laughed triumphantly. But his victory was cut short when the Arasune’s taloned foot caught him in the back.
“That was a cheap shot” Dominic smirked, his back now sporting four deep claw marks. “Looks like I cant go easy on you three anymore” he continued cracking his knuckles.
“Just give us the girl” the wolves shouted in unison.
“I told you there are no humans here!” Dominic shouted back his eyes Redding
“Looks like we get to eat him” one of the wolves exclaimed anxiously as the Three lunged at Dominic in unison. This was exactly what he was hoping for Shoving an elbow into the side of the first werewolf’s head while simultaneously grabbing the other by the scruff on the back of the neck, and Kicking the Arasune in the stomach. Once both Dominic’s feet were planted firmly on the ground he spun once and threw with all of his might the werewolf into a nearby tree, knocking it down in the process. Taking a moment to scan the bushes for Jaiden, Dominic was caught off guard when both werewolves bit down on each arm and held on. After Dominic was restrained the Arasune flew up to him at full speed fist first and hit Dominic square in the stomach.
“Is that all you got?” Dominic laughed weakly a trickle of blood falling from the corner of his mouth. The Werewolves let each of Dominic’s arms go *big mistake* Dominic answered with sweeping the legs out from underneath the Arasune, hopping back up and with all his might pushing The eagle man downward so he landed on his wings. After the confirming crack of bones, Dominic turned towards the Wolves just in time to catch one of them from biting down on his neck.
“That’s my job!” Dominic gasped as he pushed the wolf away but not before taking on a chest full of slashes.
“HELP ME YOU FOOLS!” the Arasune shouted in pain. One of the wolves reluctantly let Dominic’s side out from in-between its teeth. While the other got off the ground happy to be away from the fight.
“We WIL meet again!” The wolves shouted angrily as they limped off into the woods, carrying there Master in-between them.
Dominic feels to his knees bleeding everywhere, his vision starting to fade….
|When Jaiden heard the Dominic talking to the hunters, she panicked. *He’s going to hand me over to them!* she thought. Fear once again pushed her on. She ran to the back of the house and there she found a window that would open. Red had followed her, growling uncertainly. “They won’t hurt you, but I have to leave,” she hissed as she slipped out through the window. Carefully and quietly she crept into the forest, praying that no one noticed her trying to escape. Then she heard the fight begin.|
Immediately she dropped down behind the bushes and turned to peer through the leaves to watch what was happening. As she watched Dominic fight against all three of them, two werewolves and an Arasune, she was stunned. Even though he was sorely outnumbered he fought valiantly, and eventually it was the hunters that limped away the losers of the battle. Dominic stood there a moment longer as the defeated left him, and then Jaiden watched as he fell to his knees.
“No!” Jaiden gasped as she ran to him. When she knelt at his side, he slumped over against her, too weak to move. “W-why did you do that? You could have just told them where I was and they would have left you alone.” Her voice shook as she held him carefully. “Now you’re hurt… y-you’re,” she had to swallow hard before she could finish her sentence. “You could die now.”
Dominic just smiled weakly. “This is nothing… besides… I don’t think… I could stand… being alone again.” And with that, his consciousness faded and his body went limp in her arms. Jaiden’s heart wrenched for him. He was a mess, all bleeding and bruised. She ran her trembling hand over his hair as she pulled herself together. With much effort, she managed to drag him up and back into his house. Then as gently as she could she lay him down on the bed. After searching the house, she found fresh water and bandages, and when she returned to his side she sat a chair next to the bed where she sat down to work.
His shirt was in tatters where the werewolves had clawed and bit at him. Grimacing, she pulled the blood-soaked material away from his body and began to clean the wounds. The bruise across his stomach where the Arasune had kicked him was terrible. She could only pray that he wasn’t bleeding internally, because if he was there was nothing she could do to help him.
Evening was fading into night. All Jaiden could do was stay by him, watch, and wait. Soon though, she began to notice something amazing. Dominic’s wounds were beginning to heal. At first, though she was elated, it confused her. Then she realized what was happening. *He’s a vampire! Vampires heal faster than humans do!* In wonder, she trailed her finger over one of the shallower cuts across his chest that had already haled over in a thin scar, and that too was quickly disappearing.
For a long time she sat awake beside him, but she knew she needed to sleep some. In the morning she would have to leave, because if those hunters knew where she was, then more would come… and they would come prepared to kill Dominic the next time. She bit her lip. Because of her, he would have to leave his only home. It was very late when she finally bent over in her chair to lay her head down on the bed beside Dominic’s shoulder. She watched his breathing go from quick and shallow to deep and steady, and eventually fell asleep.
When she awoke, she found Dominic smiling at her. She was startled by the closeness of his radiant blue eyes, but then remembered she had lain her head close to him. She sat up in her chair, looking him over. “You’re… okay?”
Dominic sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. “Yeah,” he assured her. “A little sore… but that won’t last long.” He gazed at her. “You stayed.”
Jaiden was nodding even as she stood. “Yes, but I have to go now. More hunters will come for me… and you too now,” she said softly, looking away. Suddenly there were tears glistening in her eyes. “You’ll have to leave and go somewhere else too now. I-I’m sorry. I’ve ruined your life.” She realized that he was the only person who’d ever dared try to protect her. This was the price he paid. “Once I leave though , they’ll follow my scent, not yours, so you should be able to find another place close. I’m headed north… where there are free humans and the hunt is banned.” Finally she looked up at him again. “Even if I am caught… maybe I won’t cause you anymore trouble.”
And with that, tears threatening to spill over, she turned to leave…
|****I’m sorry I’m just not able to think at the moment, ill make up for this im my next addition. =)*****|
Dominic gently held Jaiden’s wrist, suppressed she turned to look at him a single tear running down her cheek.
“Ruin my life? You’ve saved it, before you came I lived day to day felling like I didn’t have anything to live for. But the day you wandered into my house and I set my eyes on you for the first time I felt something, at first I thought it was nothing but I felt it again when you brought up the fact that I don’t seem like a vampire. Normally that would of torn me apart on the inside, but when I looked into your eyes and saw the relief on your face. All I could think was how glad I was that I wasn’t like normal vampires. But something ill remember for the rest of my life wasn’t when my Heart almost stopped seeing those three walking to the house, or the surge of strength almost loosing you brought. What ill remember until the day I die is the look in your eyes after the fighting was over and you held me, looking in your eyes is probably what kept me alive. That whole night I was dreaming of your face thinking I can leave her feeling like its her fault I wanted to protect her with my life, It was when I was your face I realized the only reason I was lonely is because I was waiting for you all my life.” Dominic said as he wiped the tear from Jaiden’s cheek. “So please don’t leave me.” Dominic finished his eyes pleading.
|Jaiden stood there in shock for a moment. He had saved her life, so of course she had stayed. She just couldn’t have left him there as badly wounded as he was. But this… the look in his eyes startled her as much as the touch of his hands did. She looked down at his hand which was still carefully holding her wrist. She didn’t like anyone touching her, restraining her in any way. Though he wasn’t trying to hurt her, her voice still trembled when she spoke. “Let go,” she warned him. Immediately he obeyed, but still stood close, watching her, waiting for an answer.|
Jaiden sighed as she stepped away from him a little. She couldn’t quite comprehend why Dominic would want the company of someone he barely knew. He seemed sincere about not wanting to be left alone though. After all, living with a family and then being sent away must have been hard on him. Jaiden didn’t have that particular problem since she’d never known her father and her mother had died when she was young… but really, Jaiden didn’t want to make this particular journey alone. She truthfully didn’t know how far she could make it on her own this time.
“You know that I can’t stay here, and neither can you. The hunters will come back and this time more of them. If they can’t find me, they’ll hunt you down, because you crippled that Arasune. There’s no way to splint wings that large and if they don’t heal back right he’ll never fly again.”
“He deserved it,” Dominic said sternly.
Jaiden nodded. “Yes, he did, but now he’ll want revenge.” She paused. “Like I said, I’m north-bound. There I can find people like me, and I can finally be free. I can’t stay here like this, like an animal… always hunted or always hiding. If you don’t want me to leave you,” she said hesitantly, “I won’t argue if you’d like to travel with me. It isn’t going to be an easy journey though.”
Dominic was determined. “If you can make it, then so can I. Just give me a while to get some things first.”
“Hurry,” she said. She was beginning to feel the pressure of the hunt again. Even though there was probably no way anyone was looking for her again yet, time was ticking away. By nightfall this evening, there would be someone out, perhaps not a whole group of hunters, but at least… at least, one.
It didn’t take Dominic long. He was soon back after donning a new shirt and with a bag thrown over one shoulder. “Okay,” he said. At their feet Jaiden heard a small shuffling noise and looked down to see Red. “Ah, you coming too?” Dominic asked.
The fox turned and shuffled out the door. Jaiden stared after him until she couldn’t see him in the brush. “He is of the forest just as we’re going to have to learn to be if we’re going to survive this. I’ve got a feeling that he’ll be around. You saved him, and I don’t think he’ll forget that.” Jaiden walked out the door, at first taking the same path Red had took, and then when the pathway became to overgrown, she trailed off of it. Sometimes Dominic was beside her, other times behind her letting her lead, and at other times ahead of her as if scouting out the easiest path. Jaiden simply trod onward at a steady pace, saving her strength for later when the chase got harder.
|For a long while the two traveled in silence. Dominic had no idea what Jaiden was thinking but he was beginning to get the feeling she didn’t want him there. *Was it because he wasn’t human? That was hardly fair considering the fact that he took on two werewolves and an Arasune almost dieing in the process.* these thoughts flooded Dominic’s mind but he remained silent Jaiden would speak when ready, Dominic didn’t mind the silence so much after all he had lived alone for a large portion of his life. It was the fact that he knew nothing about the person he was traveling with. Well nothing except that she was a human. Dominic stole a quick glance over his shoulder, only to find Jaiden had fallen behind. She looked like she was doing her best to keep a steady pace but even with that she was only human.|
“I think we should take a break.” Dominic called as he approached Jaiden, placing the large backpack on the ground before he plopped down next to it. Gratefulness flashed across Jaiden’s delicate features only for a second. Then as if he had a door slammed in his face Jaiden’s signature shut-you-out face made its re-entry. Dominic felt like he was alone all over again. But Dominic wasn’t the kind to give up.
“So we’ve made a lot of progress today. That was a good idea taking the river so they loose our sent.” Dominic praised with a smile
“Its common sense.” Jaiden replied checking over her shoulder a habit Dominic had recently started to notice.
“There’s no one coming, I’d smell them before they smelt us, were up wind.” Jaiden nodded but looked back again several minutes later.
“Tell me about this place up north.” Do they allow vampires or are you going to have to keep me a secret?” Dominic half teased Jaiden thought he was curious about where they were headed.
|Jaiden smiled. She eased back carefully to lie on the ground on her back so she could stare up at the sky after taking one last look around to reassure herself there was nothing lurking in the forest around them. Trying to keep up with Dominic was certainly going to be a task. She couldn’t help but feel as if she were holding him back; he would have a better chance of escaping if she were not with him, and she was beginning to realize that she really wasn’t pleasant company. At these thoughts, her smile faded. She crossed her hands behind her head.|
She glanced over at Dominic. His voice was teasing, but he was waiting for an answer. *He won’t stick around that long,* Jaiden thought. *Once we get there, he’ll be able to find others like himself.* An unfamiliar pang touched her heart but she shook it off. It was best if he could find other vampires, she would find human friends… or at least that’s what she told herself.
“Well, I don’t know much about it really. What I do know is passed down through stories told by the other ones that are hunted. A few have escaped, but we’re really forbidden to talk about the north. Anyone caught saying something about it is immediately put out to hunt…” she paused. “They never come back alive after that.” Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath. “But still, stories circulate. We’re just careful to keep out of ear-shot of guards or hunters. Where I hope to go in the northern regions, hunting is simply not allowed. Humans are free, they can own homes and land and even businesses if they like. I’ve heard that many humans live there but other creatures also live there in peace.” She opened her eyes. “That includes vampires.”
Dominic smiled. “Good. So… I guess you’re going to have to learn to live with other creatures after all.” His words were light, almost humorous. But… was there something deeper in them or was Jaiden just imagining it? She supposed she had treated him coldly as they traveled.
“Well, as you’ve seen I don’t deal well with non-human contact.” As she said this she couldn’t look him in the eye. “I can live with it… after all, I’ll be free, of course I can live with it! But… every time I bump into a Werewolf in a shop, I’ll remember the ones who tracked me; every time I pass an Elf on the street I’ll remember the guards that hurt me and what few friends I had. Every time I see an Arasune walk by I’ll think of the one who almost killed you! Every time I watch a Vampire I…” she stopped and swallowed hard. She finally looked back up at Dominic. His eyes were cold, the hurt in them plain.
“I-I’m sorry,” she stammered. “I didn’t mean it that way.”
He nodded. “Yeah, I know,” he said softly.
Jaiden sat up. “I worry for nothing. Perhaps they’ll be as kind as you are.” She saw a smile tremble at the corner of his mouth. “When I see a Vampire, I’ll remember that one was the first creature to prove to me that there is still mercy in the world.” As soon as the words left her lips she bit her tongue. That might have been backpedaling a little too fast. But to her surprise, when she thought about it a moment she found that she meant it.
She tried to change the subject quickly. “Uh… I think we can rest easy for tonight. They won’t be after us just yet. With the possibility of you being with me they’ll prepare a little better before coming after us. Let’s just hope that the rain’s over with for a while.”
|“You get some rest, vampires normally don’t sleep so ill be fine keeping watch for tonight.” Dominic said happy for the change of subject. At first Jaiden seemed a little reluctant to fall asleep, Dominic couldn’t help but smile watching her trying so hard to fight of exhaustion. After an epic battle for consciousness, Jaiden was finally asleep leaning her back agents a tree trunk Dominic realized how tired she was. He couldn’t help but feel guilty about the pace he was setting. Dominic’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of bushes gently rustling next to Jaiden. Dominic was instantly on his feet and next to Jaiden in seconds. To Dominic’s great relief Red stepped out of the bushes no longer limping ready for the bandage to be removed. |
“Looks like your feeling better” Dominic laughed as he crouched down to remove the bandages from the fox’s leg. “Almost done.” Dominic continued as he bent and straitened Reds leg. “Alright everything checks out.” Dominic dropped Reds leg and he scampered off into the woods. As night crept in Dominic felt the familiar kiss of the cool night air, brushing his skin. Stealing a quick glance at Jaiden Dominic noticed she was starting to shiver.
“She’s so delicate Dominic thought out loud.” As he rummaged through his huge Backpack for a blanket, about halfway into the bag Dominic’s hand brushed agents the blanket. With a triumphant smile Dominic pulled out his one and only blanket. Soon after covering Jaiden making sure to tuck the corners around her so the cold air didn’t get in. After he was sure Jaiden was situated he sprawled across the ground and gazed at the night sky. The cold was beginning to sink in, but Dominic ignored it better him freeze than Jaiden. Just then Dominic realized he was watching her sleep, her shut-you-out face was gone replaced with softness. Dominic couldn’t help but smile, the familiar warmth washing over him.
“This is all the warmth I need” Dominic said with a yawn.
|As soon as the first gray light of dawn spread through the morning, Jaiden awoke. It was out of habit… the earlier you were to rise, the more likely you were to stay out of the way and out of trouble where she had lived her life. To her surprise, she found herself covered in the same blanket she had awoken under in Dominic’s house. Looking over, she found him lying on the ground not too far away watching her. As she stood she folded the blanket carefully. “Weren’t you cold?” she asked.|
“No, I was alright,” he assured her as he too stood.
“Well, I would feel a lot less guilty if you would at least wrap up in something when it gets cool.”
Dominic laughed. “I can’t, that happens to be the only blanket I own.”
Looking down at the cover in her hand Jaiden sighed. “You’re joking?”
He shrugged. “Well, why would I need more than one? You don’t exactly get many visitors living out in the middle of nowhere.”
Jaiden just shook her head. No, she thought, guess he’s not joking. “Well, tonight I’ll take first watch. I know you said vampires don’t normally sleep, but trust me, don’t go until you’re completely exhausted and then try to rest, or you’ll never recuperate.” She laughed a little when Dominic started to protest, but stifled a yawn.
“It isn’t that hard, really,” he assured her. “Anyway, I thought that you would sleep at least a little later than this.” With a wave of his hand he motioned to the gray sky.
“Every minute wasted is just more time we can’t get back,” Jaiden said as she handed him back the blanket. “It’s going to be hectic enough a little later when they do start catching up…”
“Maybe they won’t catch up at all.” The hopeful look in Dominic’s eyes was false just to try and reassure Jaiden, and she knew it.
“They’ll start to eventually.” Here eyes flickered around, examining the forest as if there were some hidden monster there. “When you hear the dogs, that’s when you know they’re close, and they’ve got your scent. That’s when it gets… interesting.” Dominic just stared at her. Jaiden shook her head. “I’m sorry, I need to try to be more positive.” She managed a weak smile. “I guess we’d better be going now.”
She turned into the forest, and as they walked Dominic told her about Red coming back, and that he was healed now. “That’s good, but I never even heard him. I’m hopeless… if I fell asleep and something practically walked over me I’d never know it.” She chuckled mirthlessly.
“Well, that’s one thing I’ll be good for,” Dominic smiled. “Watching your back.”
Jaiden laughed too, “From here on out we watch out for each other I guess.”
|“It’s a promise” Dominic replied as the two resumed their journey to the only safe place for either of them. Passing over or under massive fallen trees and sometimes around clear blue lakes if the two weren’t fleeing for their lives Dominic was sure the sites would have been wonderful, however considering there current circumstances they were just obstacles that needed to be crosses as soon as possible. Jaiden overcame these obstacles with minimal help form Dominic.|
“Looks like you have a little vampire in you”
“Don’t say that! I’m not a monster!” Jaiden spat, eyes widening with surprise and regret for what was just said. Dominic’s features betrayed him showing that that one hurt. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean it like that…” Jaiden began trying to find the words but gave up leavening the two to walk in silence. Although Dominic was hurt he knew Jaiden probably didn’t mean it, so in his best effort to show everything was ok he asked a question that had been bugging him for a while.
“So… how do you know the cities this way?” Dominic asked with a smile that he hoped wasn’t too fake.
|Jaiden gazed back at him, not daring to smile. She felt terrible for what she had said. The corners of his mouth trembled ever so slightly, giving his emotion away. “Because,” Jaiden answered, “both of my parents died trying to reach this place.”|
“Oh…” Dominic said quietly.
“And not just a city, it’s more like an entire country. I remember, before the last time my mother was hunted, she told me that Father had tried to reach the city too, and that she was going to make a run for it now; said if she made it she promised to come back for me. She told me that it lay due east of where we were, that’s well known among the hunted. So now I judge where I travel by the sun and stars. Mother showed me how before she left.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Dominic said.
Jaiden glanced at him. “Don’t be. You never knew them, and what happened to them wasn’t your fault. Besides, I never knew my father; he died when I was a baby. I do think of Mother sometimes though…” she shook her head. This wasn’t the time to think about that. “But she died when I was little.” Finally she lifted her head from looking at the ground to show Dominic a half-hearted smile. “So it’s in my blood to know this place I guess.”
“She must have loved you very much for you to remember what she taught you so well,” he commented. Now it was Dominic that looked away, off into the forest somewhere.
Jaiden felt a sudden pity for him, and wondered about his family. “She always warned me though that she would have to leave one day. She told me to always remember to pass along kindness though. I think that’s how good people live on in a way, through their kindness to others, because the chain never really stops. I guess I had forgotten that for a long time.” Jaiden realized they had stopped walking for a moment. “I think you’re one of those kind people, and you’ll always be appreciated for it.”
Dominic smiled again. Jaiden couldn’t tell this time whether it was genuine or fake. Then he suddenly twisted around to look behind them. Jaiden looked too, and groaned. Coming over the edge of the trees in the distance was a large, winged creature. It was soaring swiftly toward them. “Arasune,” Jaiden hissed. It was an Arasune in full transformation, a complete and huge bird of prey. Perhaps it had come to seek vengeance for the one Dominic had crippled. “Hurry,” she warned. “We need to find thick brush to hide under. Arasune are hunters by sight, if it can’t see us it probably won’t find us.”
|“From what I’ve seen they aren’t so tough.” Dominic replied looking up at the giant bird. |
“You’ve never fought one fully transformed before, you wouldn’t stand a chance out in the open like this.” Jaiden urged pulling Dominic by the hand into the thicker trees.
Come on, there’s just one of them this time” Dominic urged although he didn’t resist. “I’m here to protect you, not cower under some bushes. What good am I if I can’t protect you?” Dominic pressed
“There’s no reason to protect someone like me.” Jaiden replied looking away, Dominic placeing a hand under her chin and gently turning her face back looked into her eyes and said.
“You may only be one person to the world, but you may also be the world to one person.” After saying this Dominic broke away form the safety of the bushes and out into the open. It didn’t take long for the Arasune to notice him, immediately it turned and circled a couple times. Then faster than Dominic even thought possible, he was barely able to dive out of the way before the massive bird took a large chunk of the ground where he had just been standing. Taking a deep breath Dominic readied himself for another attack. It didn’t take long for the second swoop to take place. This time Dominic was ready instead of merely jumping out of the way Dominic threw in a scissor kick temporarily knocking the Arasune to the ground, this only lasted a couple of seconds before the Arasune was back in the air.
|Jaiden hid away in the thicker brush, watching. Stupid, she thought. Couldn't help but think it. She felt helpless cowering there, watching as the Arasune dove again at Dominic. Its razor sharp talons missed him by only inches and it screeched its rage. As the monster bird wheeled back up into the sky Jaiden began to flail around in the brush, pulling on sturdy branches trying to break something away, some thing she could use as a weapon. Dominic could have avoided this… Jaiden knew how to avoid an Arasune in flight. But no, he had to be heroic.|
Jaiden didn’t actually realize what she was doing until she managed to tear away a large straight branch, its end rough and sharp where it had cracked away from its tree. She intended to help fight off the Arasune…. No! she thought. No, I’m not going crazy too. I’ve run all my life… never fought. I’m not a fighter…. But she couldn’t let Dominic do this alone. That thing would kill him. It might well end up killing both of them, but there was no time to think about that now.
Without giving herself anymore time to be stopped by fear, she darted back out into the relative open just as the giant bird was diving again. It was focused on Dominic, who stood staring up at it ready to catch it with some blow as it came down. It never noticed insignificant, humanly clumsy, little Jaiden as she rushed in, her improvised weapon held firmly braced at her side. The sharp end jabbed the creature just between it’s wing joint and it’s neck just as it came within a foot or so of Dominic. The end was not sharp enough, however, to do any fatal damage. Screaming in fury the Arasune turned, flailing it’s huge wings and with one sweep it knocked her down.
Dominic took this moment of distraction as a chance to attack. He sprang at the creature, landing at it’s side and wrapping his arms around it’s neck. His hands barely touched in front of it’s throat but he managed to hook his fingers together and hold tight. The Arasune rasped it’s indignation, being choked by this small creature. It was grounded now, its wings spread wide, its claws firmly planted on the earth as it shook itself, trying to twist free of Dominic’s hold. Jaiden, still on the ground, rolled onto her back, still holding her rough weapon. With all the force she could manage she stabbed at the bird’s stomach. Again it screamed. She suspected this wound to its underbelly hurt more, but it still was insignificant because of the thick feathers there.
With one large clawed foot it pinned her down, snapping the branch she had been wielding as if it were only a twig. Jaiden cried out as its partial weight crushed down on her, its claws surrounding her. She reminded herself of a field mouse caught by a hawk, for though she twisted in an attempt to get away she was caught tight. She couldn’t breath like this… her vision was dimming even as she tried to struggle.
A loud crack split the air and the loudest scream yet came from the huge bird of prey. The weight on Jaiden was suddenly lifted and she gasped for air, curling onto her side. Dominic was suddenly beside her, fallen off of the bird. He crouched on the ground next to her. “Are you ok?” He asked. Jaiden nodded, trying to sit up, just wanting to catch her breath. When she looked for the Arasune, she saw it standing only a few yards away, looking down on them. It stooped low, its wings half spread, dragging the ground. Blood dripped down its beak, which had a large crack in it running from half way up the side of it all the way back to it’s feathered face. Jaiden gasped, this time in shock. She had never seen a wound like this inflicted on an Arasune. The creature stumbled as if dizzy. It must have hurt badly. Then it fell. The elegant body crumpled to the ground, it’s head hitting the earth with a dull thud. It just lay there unmoving, with its wide eyes closed. It was barely breathing.
Slowly, Jaiden managed to get to her feet. “We have to get out of here,” she said quietly.
“But you’re hurt,” Dominic said, reaching out to help her. “You shouldn’t have done that it could have killed you…”
“It would have killed you too!” she snapped. She felt over her ribs where the Arasune had held her down. There would be some bruising, some stiffness. Hopefully nothing too bad. “And you, you may want to protect me but you’re no use to anyone if you’re dead. After we get wherever it is we‘re going, you have a life ahead of you. You don‘t want to die out here.” He only nodded. Jaiden sighed. “Ok. And thank you, for saving my life again. Now, we really do need to get out of here… there’s no telling what they’ll do next. You’ve permanently injured two of their fliers now.”
|“And I’ll damage any others who think they can steal you away!”|
Dominic shouted in a ‘bring it on’ kind of tone. Immediate turning red Dominic attempted to change the subject. “Let me check your wounds before we go on, I need to make sure nothings broken a cracked rib can puncture your lung and I’m fairly certain drowning in your own blood is not an enjoyable way to die.”
“I’m sure it’s not that b…” Jaiden was cut off midsentence as she clutched her side and sat on the ground clenching her teeth to hold back the pain. “Ok…maybe a quick look… just so no one ends up drowning in bodily fluids, then were heading out.” Jaiden said lifting her shirt just enough to reveal her bruised ribs. Dominic could have sworn he saw her blushing as he gently checked for breaks. Were going to have to find shelter, its going to get dark soon and I think I hear a river nearby.
|Jaiden got carefully to her feet. She looked back at the either badly injured or dying Arasune and wondered how long it would be before more came. Shuddering briefly at the though, she turned away. "Ok," she agreed with Dominic. He led the way, and she let him. Looking up at the sky, she knew it would be hours before night fell. He was only trying to find a place for her to rest. An urgent need to keep moving, to escape, made her want to tell Dominic they needed to travel farther, but she couldn't bring herself to point this out. The pain in her side hurt too much. Even though she knew it couldn't be too serious, it was still enough to make her cringe.|
After some walking, they found the river that Dominic had heard. The water looked smooth and calm, and although Jaiden didn’t like the idea of being cornered at the edge of the water, she didn’t complain. They drank from the cool, clear water, and found a place to shelter themselves from the night set behind a large, old, fallen, tree. Night made Jaiden slightly more uncomfortable. Although Dominic assured her that he could hear anything approaching, she still felt uneasy as the darkness made it difficult for her to see.
|Dominic stood up quickly awakening the sleeping Jaiden who had ended up falling asleep on his shoulder. Dominic silenced her before he could ask what was wrong but after a couple seconds it was apparent. The sky lit up a brilliant orange followed by large billows of dark smoke, if Jaiden didn’t know what was wrong before she defiantly did now. Something about the fire was off, not only the smell (which seemed familiar) but the way it moved seemed too uniform. Dominic desperately searched his memory trying to identify the smell but it was not working. |
“Dominic we have to go! We have to go NOW!” Jaiden pleaded pulling at Dominic’s arm to no avail. “Don’t make me leave you here!” Jaiden yelled at him exasperated. That was when he remembered.
“Vampires…” Dominic breathed, “We have to run!” Taking Jaiden by the hand Dominic ran Jaiden tailing close behind. The fire splitting off into two walls of fire that headed towards them. “It’s my brothers, they know where we are.”
“you mean vampires are doing this?” Jaiden asked eyes wide as she looked back at the giant walls of flame gaining on them every second.
“Yes there twins and they were both born with an affinity for fire. Were in luck it seems there not coming after us personally they are just directing there powers by smell and by sound, if we can get far enough away they won’t be able to find us. As powerful as my family is they are always way to overconfident for their own good.