February 21 at 9:30 PM
Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto
The elder marched through the woods, three guards on either side of him. A clear path ahead, he did not intend on stopping till he reached the Vangley estate. After witnessing the horrors sprouting from it, and the tragic loss of life, Lord Vangley had no choice but to burn the forest to ash, and if necessary, reestablish Vissorouy further up the coast.
Deep in his black heart he knew he was deluding himself with his handpicked choice of counsel. Lawson was useless; the task assigned too large for one man, especially a mortal. He would release the hunter as the moon expired, and implore the pontiff to intervene.
Before torching the forest, Vangley intended to take a hammer to the fabled relic of his past. But when he did not cross the statue, and the wood echoed without end, he paused and lent an ear.
A shadow cast over him, a familiar chill reawakened since his last sojourn. For the first time this evening, Vangley felt the witch graze him, and suspected he could not trust everything his eyes exhibited.
"Draw your arms, she is among us." The patriarch drew his sword. The circle tightened around him as they stared into the shadows. As the forest spun, a guard turned, shedding the guise.
"What brings you to my lair, my lord?" Enura stepped forward. In one wicked strike, she swung the canesword, severing the four heads charging in. "Have I been unkind? A curt host this eve?" She discarded the blade. "And what of the hunter? Did you not tell him about these fields before casting him in?"
Two lions pranced out of the forest, stalking either side of her. One rubbed its decapitated body against her as she scratched its stony mane.
Vangley cursed himself for not noticing six grow into seven, nor the blade disappear from his hand. "I do not pretend to know what you want, nor do I care. If it is I you seek, be done with it, and leave Vissorouy to its virtue." The elder leaned forward. "Take me if dare!"
"No, my lord." Alain jumped in between. The lions pounced, snapping off limbs, and devouring his heart.
Enura sighed, and stepped forward. As she pressed closer, two children jumped from the bushes, stabbing down with twigs. They prodded the witch's thigh, but did not break skin. Acknowledging their blunder, Dionte and Deverrell dropped the sticks, and scampered off.
"I am afraid the fault is mine, and mine alone." Lawson cast the miscreants aside, and bent to one knee.
The lions snapped, but did not strike.
Careful to keep his eyes from hers, Lawson yielded to the ground. "I do not wish you any harm. I come before you now, unarmed, wishing only that you grant an audience, so that I may understand your claim to these lands."
Enura scanned over his brownish-blond head. His imprudence brought a smirk to her face. "Come to me on the morrow, and we shall speak."
"And how shall I find you?"
"Follow your nose, vampire hunter," she replied.
"Thank you, my lady." He offered.
Enura placed her hand in his. Lawson pressed his lips against it, though no blister came.
The white witch turned, and melted back into the forest.