2nd Chapter in my first book, based around a vampire family post racial wars.
As they walked through the gates of their home Tanyl stopped and glanced around. He felt wrongness, something out of place in the garden. Looking over the courtyard with a wary eye he took a few steps ahead of the rest of them. The soaring white stone glowed in the moonlight and he watched as the creeping ivy rustled in the breeze and tousled his raven hair. Hooking some of the length behind his ear, he examined the shadows. He turned to look back at Serina and Micah briefly assessing the night beyond them.
The look of the manor was purposefully old; while modernly built, it had touches of the old world. It gave the illusion of times before there were such things as the cell phone Tanyl had left on his desk to rush to Serina's side. He inwardly sighed; he had a love hate relationship with new technologies. For so long he had fought his father to bring his family into the new age and while it was a convenience most of the time, Tanyl found it hard to take comfort in that convenience when he was forever forgetting to keep it with him. He lifted a section of the ivy away from the path and briefly scanned the shadows beyond.
Serina stood with her arms crossed in annoyance as she watched Tanyl check for any unwanted surprises. She was tired of being treated like a fragile child and it showed in her eyes. She could almost feel Micah's intent stare as he also watched for any signs of trouble, and she noted that even he, her personal guard, let her handle herself. Tanyl disappeared into the shadows and the night was still as the minutes passed. Serina sighed impatiently as she uselessly stood at the gate, drumming her fingers on the hilt of her sword. Thoughts of how Tanyl thought he could protect her flooded her mind as she kept an eye on her surroundings. To her the notion was laughable. She had been trained from a very young age to fight, and fight well, while he lived in the lap of luxury studying. She often bested him in their short spars, and they nearly always ended with him quitting because he was too badly beaten. He was slow and often fumbled with his sword; she had entertained the thought that it was his male pride he was honing rather than his swordsmanship.
"He should have been back by now." She sighed without taking her eyes off the courtyard. Micah readily unfurled his wings as he took a step forward.
"Should I go and see what's keeping him?"
Serina thought it over for a second and then shook her head.
"I don't think he'd like it too much if you left me unguarded. Besides if we need anyone…" She looked up to the lighted windows. "Adamar and Ruavia are home." Her tone was lightly sarcastic as she rolled her eyes and glanced over at Micah with an exasperated look. She tapped her finger on the hilt of her sword again with a bit of impatience. Knowing her frustration he grinned a bit and nodded. “Yes… the elves shall save us all.” He muttered as he easily stretched his wings out preparing to move. Her guard and those that had been in her employ long before the appearance of Tanyl knew how Serina was, and that she was more than capable than most. Often she’d hear them snickering during a spar, and she couldn’t help but grin. They saw him as she did, weak.
Serina briefly thought that maybe she was letting her sense of unease develop into paranoia and she didn't want to deal with Tanyl's brother and sister if there was no reason. Serina took a step forward and halted abruptly as she was assaulted with the earthy scent of Tanyl’s blood. Her throat went desert dry and tried to swallow back a growl as her vampire instincts started to fight for control over her actions. Serina’s hand flew out and she grabbed Micah’s arm.
"Blood." The single word dripped with blood lust and Micah nodded gravely as he pulled his sword. With his wings tight against his back again, he took a few steps towards where Tanyl had disappeared, then ducked into the ivy shrouded path. Serina hesitated trying to calm her blood lust and pulled her sword as she took a shallow breath before following. A sudden shuffle from the gates behind her made her turn, her sword up. There was a shadow there just out of sight, as if it was only half in this world and she felt her mouth curve up in grin, challenging them to step forward. She waited only a moment before advancing a step and the shadow did the same, its form became more solid as it did. She could see it wasn’t the same as the other demon she had just run through in the forest; this one had more human features except its mismatched eyes. One glowed with an eerie green light while the other looked like nothing more than flat black marble. It stood motionless, just staring at her before its eyes traveled down to the sword softly reflecting the moonlight.
“My, my my…” It hissed softly, taking another step forward and producing matching daggers in each hand. “You are a pretty one, aren’t you? And that soul of yours…” The shadow breathed deep as if testing the aroma of his dinner before tasting it. “…smells simply delectable.”
Serina remained silent as she tracked the shadow step for step and they began to circle one another. As the shadows around the man began to fall away, she saw that he was a striking figure, handsome but cruel features. When she didn’t respond, he continued his monologue.
“You know, I just simply couldn’t pass up such an opportunity to meet somewhat of a celebrity from my side.” He said silkily as he took another step to his side and she matched it.
“I’m sorry, but I think you might have the wrong girl.” She replied smoothly and continued to move with him.
“Oh no no no, I’m quite well versed in your life Serina. It’s been somewhat of an obsession over these past few years.” The demon purred as he took a step forward and she back.
“So, I’ve acquired a stalker… fantastic. Why send your thugs to draw me out into the open if you could simply appear?” She questioned with a raise of her eyebrow.
“You are mistaken, little Halfling. These aren’t my thugs… no… I just… saw the opportunity and thought I’d pay a visit.” Serina faltered at the term ‘Halfling’ and her brows furrowed. The demon noted the expression and a blocky toothed grin spread across his face.
“Oh that’s right, you were raised a pure born vampire.” His expression twisted to one of disgust at the last word. “More's the pity… what you are is so interesting; I’d love to add you to my collection for study.”
At this Serina let out a short, hard laugh and leveled her sword at him again. “I’m afraid I’ll have to reject your offer.” The demon shook his head almost sadly and again melted away into the shadows, completely disappearing from sight. Serina spun in a circle, keeping her sword ready but the demon had stepped into the shadow realm. Again she turned, waiting for him to reappear when the air behind her shifted slightly. Before she could fully turn she felt the white hot pain of his steel dagger piercing her skin and she cried out in anger as much as pain. He had stuck it into her back all the way to its hilt, not a critical blow for a vampire but he had obviously done his homework because her sword arm fell limp. Anger burned through her as she watched her sword clatter across the stone walk and she kept turning to meet her attacker, reaching up with her good arm and wrenching the knife from her with another pained growl. The demon’s eyes were wide as she met them with her own. But before she could think to move to end his life the demon disintegrated before her, shadows spilled out from his skin and dispersed into the night. Behind where he stood was another man, dagger still in hand, his head bowed slightly. Serina stepped backwards away from the man and raised the dagger defensively as it dripped with her own blood; the balance feeling off in her left hand. The man looked up and seemed to flinch away from her as he dropped his own dagger to the ground. He was a demon the same as the other, his human features were prominent except for his mismatched eyes, one silver like hers and the other a deep lavender. But the similarities ended there. This man was different.
Vintgar was a demon she’d met through Elira and one that had become a close friend. He, along with many others, simply weren’t around much anymore, a situation she would have to rectify. She had spent many evenings in deep conversation with him and he’d become like her family. As a Darkling, he was widely feared for the simple fact that he consumed souls but it hadn’t fazed Serina because she had gotten to know the demon and his struggles. He had been considered a “low level” demon, little more than a slave of the demon world. He had literally fought his way above his station and out of what they called a pit. The pit was a fighting ring in their world, one where demon after demon fought and died then was consumed by the victor. This was usually a source of entertainment for the older demons and very few progressed far enough to get out. Vin had and rarely went back to his own world other than traveling through the shadow realm that separated them. Since Serina had left James’ kingdom, he had taken up dropping in on her at random times when she was on her own. He was a sociable kind of person but there was something about the elves that kept him away.
“Vin… Who was that??” Serina asked quietly as she dropped the dagger to her side.
“Was he… was he like you?” She stuttered out as the blood loss was starting to take hold of her causing her thought process to become slow. She had never met another of his kind, seeing that most had never escaped their bonds like he had.
He nodded as he replaced his own dagger in its sheath. “He was a Darkling.” He stated simply before sighing. “His name was Mikael… and he was my master at one point.” He whispered with a hint of sadness. “I followed him through the shadow realm. He rarely leaves the other world and I thought it strange that he would take a path to you.” He walked around behind her and started checking her wound. He prodded a little too hard and Serina hissed in pain.
“Why was he trying to collect me?” She growled as she clenched her teeth. Vin stopped moving her wound around and walked around to face her again.
“I don’t know. Ever since I got out I’ve been out of the loop. I spend more time with your kind than mine.” His tone was light but the way his eyes darted around the court yard had Serina on edge. Suddenly shadows gathered around Vintgar and he started disappearing into them. She watched him go without moving, he’d saved her life, she couldn’t justify yelling at him for the disappearing act. As he vanished Serina placed the dagger in her belt and swayed a bit, falling to her knees; wincing as the stone slammed into them painfully. She could hear Micah coming, running back to her, crashing through the Ivy as she slumped to her hip and support herself with her good arm, the other lying uselessly across her lap.
After hearing Serina's strangled cry Micah skid to a halt. He cursed under his breath as he turned and ran back in the direction he'd just come.
"Seri?" His voice more growl than language.
He slowed to a brisk jog as he approached her, sitting shakily on the stone path. Something from alongside the wall twitched in the shadows and Micah's gaze tracked it as he stood protectively over her. As quickly as he had noted the shadow it melted in with the darkness and disappeared. Micah stood over Serina a moment longer as he scanned the shadows for its return. He saw that neither of them were in immediate danger and dropped to his knees. As he looked over her, Micah started to glow softly, the warm golden light intensifying in his hands as he checked her wounds.
"Damn it Seri, you were supposed to be right behind me." He muttered to her and she looked up at him, her silver eyes shining dully in the moonlight as she gave him a bit of a grin.
“If I had done that it would have been entirely too safe… you know me.” She wavered again and he caught her before she fell completely over.
Micah’s hands gently moved over her back to find the wound. Finally too weak to keep herself up any longer, she laid her head against his shoulder as he kept an eye on the now empty courtyard.
“Who did this?” He growled softly as he began to heal her, his hand pressed gently but firmly over her back.
“Demon…” She panted softly as little by little the pain was being siphoned away. Micah nodded as he felt the bleeding stop and her wound start to knit itself back together.
Suddenly he felt they were no longer alone and his attention pulled away as he heard echoing footsteps running in their direction. His body tensed as he went to lay Serina down. He growled softly under his breath as his lips pulled back in a defiant sneer. Serina giggled softly and stopped him.
“It’s Ru...” She mumbled before forcing herself up to sit straight. Micah hesitated a moment longer before letting go of her.
“Great… the cavalry.” He chuckled tensely as suddenly from the shadows Ruavia skid to a halt.
"Micah!" She breathed quietly as she took a hesitant step forward. She kept her eyes on her surroundings as she drew her daggers from her belt. The heels of her boots made sharp taps on the stone as she walked a circle around Micah and Serina. Her eyes met his.
"Where's my brother?" She blurted out, completely dismissing Serina.
"He went to check for any dangers, he's not come back." Micah paused as he glanced down at Serina. "There was blood; Seri and I were on our way to investigate when...” He paused and looked back up at Ruavia. “Seri was attacked.”
Ruavia glanced at Serina again then nodded before she looked up, her eyes moving over the shadows. Her Elven eyes, unaccustomed to seeing through the veil of darkness, squinted slightly. "We should find Tanyl, he could be hurt."
"Stay with Seri and I'll go for him." He muttered, his obvious dislike for this plan tingeing his words with distaste, as he stood and pointed his sword in the path's general direction and Ruavia nodded. With a last, almost apologetic, glance down at Serina, Micah turned and jogged in the direction Tanyl went. As he moved silently through the ivy, he kept a watchful eye on the shadows as they swallowed him.
The night that had been alive with a chorus of nocturnal insects and animals, now turned deathly silent around Ruavia and Serina. The only sounds that reached Ruavia's ears was the rustling of the breeze in the trees. She turned as she crouched down to check over Serina as she sat with her good shoulder leaned up against the wall. Her dark eyes scanned over her in a cold calculated manner. There was blood, but not fresh, Micah had stopped the bleeding. She absently brushed her hair from her face with the back of her hand and mumbled to herself as she gently tried to help Serina to her feet.
"Seri, come on, we need to get you up and out of here." She pulled at Serina a little harder than necessary and in response got a defensive jerk. Serina pushed to her feet of her own volition, glaring at Ruavia as she righted herself.
There was a rustling ahead of them and Ruavia stood ready to defend them, her daggers in her clenched fists. Serina watched her with an almost disgusted expression as she slowly walked to her sword, working out the bit of stiffness in her now healed arm.
“I don’t know how elves have survived this long... when it’s dark, they're all but useless.” Serina muttered to herself as she used her healed arm to pick up and sheath her sword with only a slight grimace. Out of the shadows the forms of Tanyl and Micah appeared.
"Tanyl, what happened?" Ruavia, in a shaky voice blurted out as she rushed to meet her brother, her hands working over his face, examining the damage.
"I walked into the shadows and before I could see what was there I was hit with something." He paused and held the palm of his hand up to his bloodied forehead. "It must have grazed my head. But it knocked me on my ass for a bit." Tanyl looked over his sister’s shoulder at Serina as she stood holding her arm close to her body, the blood nearly invisible on her leather jacket.
"I'm fine…" She murmured then paused as she smiled at Micah. "I'm lucky to have an angel as my guard."
"Be that as it may, we still need to figure out why we are being attacked." Tanyl sighed as he turned to look out at the courtyard. The night hadn't changed, the moon still lit the walls of his home with a cold glow and the breeze still lazily stirred the leaves. No foreign sounds reached his ears. He turned back and looked at Micah, then tilted his chin to the sky. Without hesitation Micah snapped open his wings and with a powerful downstroke he was airborne. With a fluid motion Tanyl took Serina by the arm and set a brisk pace across the courtyard.
"I don't want to be out in the open if we should be attacked again." He said as he glanced at Ruavia.
"I've no problem with that, brother." Ruavia, daggers in hand, surveyed their surroundings.
"Do you think we will have any more trouble tonight?" Asked Serina sarcastically as she followed Tanyl through the night jasmine. She felt him relax his grip. He hadn't noticed he was holding her so hard in his haste.
"I'm sorry Seri, I just need to make sure we're safe." He said in a whisper as he let her go to bend down and pick up a discarded weapon of sorts.
“Then it was a terrible Idea to send our guard off for patrol duty.” Serina snapped. Tanyl’s mouth set into a hard line as he grabbed her arm again, this time pulling it as hard as he could in the direction he wanted her to go. “This wouldn’t have happened like this if you had been in the house but instead you were out chasing demons.”
“I’m not a bird you can keep caged, Tanyl…” Serina said as she yanked her arm away from him. Before he could answer back Ruavia called out to him.
"The door's here Tan..." In his anger Tanyl had strode past the door hidden in the ivy. Pushing through the door a sense of relief washed over him. They were safe and that was all he cared about. Ruavia walked past Tanyl and Serina on her way to the stairs that would lead into the main part of the house without a backwards glance. Tanyl tossed the acquired dagger into the shadows as he stopped and pulled Serina into a tight embrace. She stood there woodenly for a moment before sighing softly and, with her good arm, embraced him lightly.
"I'm never leaving you alone again." He whispered softly in her ear before trailing kisses up her cheek then lightly kissed her forehead as he gently stroked her hair.
"I’m fine." She whispered in return. Tanyl cupped her face in his hands and looked into her eyes, dismissing the way they avoided his. His relief washed over him again and without hesitation he leaned down and kissed Serina passionately.
When their lips met, Serina pulled back slightly in the shock of his sudden change of mood. He felt her hesitate and pulled back to look at her, lust and anger dancing through his eyes.
“What’s wrong?” He asked feeling a bit insulted as he felt heat rush through him
“I don’t need protection.” She answered waspishly and he backed her up against the wall. He slid his hands down her arms and grasped her wrists roughly as she watched him. “You don’t, do you?” He questioned thoughtfully as he lifted her arms above her head grasping both of her thin wrists with his hand. He watched her eyes as she winced from the pain lingering in her arm but still pinned her wrists against the wall.
“No… I don’t…” She growled at him, her teeth gritted together.
“Well, what do you need?” He grinned as the lust won out over his anger and with his free hand he started to undo her pants, knowing full well she’d be more than willing once he got to her. She refused to answer him, turning her head aside as he tried to kiss her again. He put on a mock hurt expression as he slid his hand down between her legs and she responded immediately arching her back. “Oh… don’t be that way, love…” He breathed as he leaned close to her ear and slid his fingers inside to stroke gently. He kissed and nibbling down her neck as he pressed further into her growing wetness and felt her give into him as her body shivered under his. She moaned softly, quickly giving him what he wanted as her muscles tightened, sending a wave of pleasure through her body. Serina panted as she moaned softly again as her body betrayed her, feeling Tanyl’s lips caress her skin. She shivered as his hands pulled away from her. He stood back from her, releasing her wrists.
“I know that my love always needs a release of all that pent up adrenaline after a fight.” He said with a pleased tone before turning from her. Serina lowered her arms as she tried to get her breathing under control by focusing on the buttons of her pants.
“Yes, love… you know me so well.” She murmured before looking up at him again. "Shall we?"
Tanyl smiled again and nodded his agreement.
"I think we should." He looked towards the stairs. "Micah will be mad with worry if we take any longer."
Serina laughed softly as she ran her fingers through her hair; all the anger that had filled her had dulled momentarily as she started across the room trying to shake off his mental hold of her.
Read Chapter 1 here: https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2225787-Nightfall-Chapter-1