December 16 at 12:00 AM
Photo by Petr Kratochvil
Yakim snapped the young hare's back, and held it close. "Sorry, little one." She put her teeth to its neck. "I, too, must feed."
In the distance, a fire raged. Clarence stood atop the hill, watching the flames stroke the midnight sky. "And what about you, my dear?" He broke away. "What can you tell me about yourself?"
Yakim continued to feed.
"Or perhaps your parents?"
"I did not know them," the young woman replied, wiping the blood from her chin. She dug a hole in the snow, placed the rabbit inside, and folded it over. "In truth, I am not sure what I am."
"And how could that be?" he chuckled.
"All I know is that I do not look a day older than I did ten years ago. I walk while vampires sleep, and occasionally share their hunger."
The disciple loomed over her. "Thus all the midnight hours, devouring book after book, hoping to find another elusive piece to the puzzle."
He stabbed his cane into the white powder.
"Do you think I am such a fool that I cannot see what you are?" Hot breath steamed from his mouth. "You are a halfling, Yakim, but not in the fairy book sense. Yet another of God's perplexing creations, living between worlds, but belonging to none."
"And I have a question for you," said Yakim. "How is it that you came to acquire Lord Vangley's sword?"
Clarence glared, and then turned back to the fire, slicing the winter air with his coat. "Do you see the village below? The first to fall was Merrycheer in the human quarter, but this one belongs to Deepfell. Many more will follow if we do not act. She has followed you to the Americas, that one that you dare not speak of."
"So what do you want from me?" said Yakim. "Let me die, all the same. Another vampire extinguished, another notch on your cane."
"I need you, Yakim. I need to know how you stopped her in Vissorouy."
"Surely I was not there," she replied.
"Do you not understand?" Clarence turned. "I am trying to help you, before she wipes out us all."
"I understand, all too well. You wish to wield her as your own. So if it is help that you seek, ask your precious Lord, for I will tell you nothing more."
"You have made a grave error." He unsheathed his sword. "Let us see what falls from your lips now." He boots split open the snow as he charged forward. "Yakim?" He spun around.
But she was nowhere to be found.