Chapter 1 - Captivation
The Codex of the Hunter
" The Hunter must never let anyone know he or she is a Hunter. A Hunter must live in the shadows, like the Creatures of the Night , for the Hunters do not exist in the human world."
The winds howled in the cold night as the red moon stood high in the sky.
The smell of murder and blood in the air.
A man stood in the shadows, watching as the soul left the body before him, the blood steaming over the ground from the wound in his neck.
The man gazed at the body, his eyes blood red, almost glowing in the darkness as he turned away.
While turning, the light from the lamp post across the street softly caressed his face.
The corners of his mouth .. covered.. in red.
A shriek was heard from the corner of the street.
All the man did, was smile with an evil grin.
His fangs showing, the person who shrieked turned even more frightened.
His gaze, so captivating.
The gaze, of a vampire.
Raven opened her eyes and sat up in her bed.
Again the same gaze which haunted her day after day.
She rubbed her eyes and looked around, her body bathed in sweat of pure fear and anxiety.
Her blue eyes widened as she looked around the empty room.
A soft growling sound appeared as she looked down.
Down, straight in the eyes of her beloved cat Seras.
She smiles softly and picked her up.
" I'm sorry Seras, have I woken you up?"
She petted the cat lovingly as it only looked arrogantly at her, annoyed that she had ruined her beauty sleep.
She put Seras onto her bed and got out herself.
In the bathroom, she splashed some cold water in her face and looked at her image in the mirror.
Dark rings over pure exhaustion covered her eyes , since her sleep was so rare these days.
Ever since she was little, she had these dreams from the time she was a little girl and saw a vampire.
Back then, she was still an orphan.
Now she had a home with one of the greatest vampire hunters alive.
She would not suffer any more than she already had… or so she thought.
The faint sound of knocking was soon heard as she walked to her bedroom door.
" Raven.. are you allright?"
It was the sound of her guardian, Blake Mourn.
Raven took a deep breath and opened the door, forcing a smile on her face.
" I'm fine, Blake. Just a nightmare."
Blake frowned his brows seeing the dark rings around the pretty blue eyes.
He shook his head, seeing small drops of sweat on her.
" Another nightmare?"
Raven froze, but nodded.
She knew she could not keep it a secret, not from him.
He smiled softly and ruffled her hair.
" Don't worry, you are safe here. You know that."
Raven gave another nod, then closed the door once more.
Blake looked in pain towards the door.
It had been nine years already, yet the nightmares still continued.
Blake shrugged his shoulders and went back to his room, to sleep.
The next morning Raven walked into the kitchen where her father was eating.
She never called him her father since he adopted her.
She sat down, eating her own breakfast as Blake shoved a mug of milk towards her.
" So, training today, Raven?"
She smiled and nodded while eating.
" All right, I will see you in the yard then."
The yard, was the size of a baseball field.
They lived in a big mansion which had been founded by the government to Blake as a reward for his duties.
He was the greatest vampire hunter that still lived, feared by all creatures of the night and dawn.
The mansion had a Victorian style around it, making it almost like a vampire mansion.
Blake always loved the architecture of the Victorians and had ordered to build it so.
In the yard were multiple targets set up, a stable with a few horses, a garage with cars and a "tool shed" which was filled with equipment for hunting.
Blake walked into the shed, grabbing his enormous sword.
He smiled looking at the sword which was engraved with the word:" Demeter" .
Demeter was the name of an ancient Greek goddess.
She was known as the goddess of the harvest, but also the goddess of the circle of life and death.
He got this sword from the organization when they were worthy warriors, battling against the vampires.
The other weapon in the shed was a beautiful long bow with arrows.
Many thought it was the legendary " Artemis" , the bow named after the Greek goddess of the hunt, but it was not.
It was named " Apollo".
Apollo was known as the God of Light and was the twin brother of Artemis.
Both carried bow and arrows in the Greek lore, which is why it was named like this.
The weapons were always engraved with Greek names, this was to bring out the ancient magic of Light, for no gods were purer than the ones in the ancient Greece.
The names were engraved in a golden like metal, like never seen before.
Nobody truly know where it came from, some say it was from the Mountain of Olympus but that was just minor speculation.
All that saw the weapons knew they were special.
The golden metal was hard to forge and there was only enough to forge a few weapons.
The weapons were passed down from generation to generation, ensuring that all the blood was from hunters.
Vampires have special adjustable blood, which they can mix in with their victims in order to subdue their blood lust.
Hunters also have adjustable blood, they can regenerate very fast en each hunter has his or her own speciality.
Some are great swordsmen, others are great hunters.
There are even a few who possess magic.
Blake got his two weapons out of the forge of the Hunters when he was a child.
He and his sister, Serena both got their weapons.
Blake was meant to be a swordsman and Serena was a born archer.
Unfortunately his sister died during an attack of vampires years ago, and the weapon Apollo was never used.
Locked away in the tool shed, until Raven came along.
Raven was indeed adopted but had earned her license in the Hunter School.
She was the top of her class, her aim as steady as can be.
Some hunters were afraid she was not mortal, but she was.
The only conclusion Blake had for this mystery, was that Raven must have had parents who were associated with the Hunter Society and just were killed in action.
Raven walked outside, walking a direct line to Apollo.
She took hold of the weapon, caressing the lines gently with a loving gaze.
Raven had difficulties adjusting when she first came to Mourn Manor but she adjusted once she had gotten a hold of the beautiful weapon.
Blake smiled, seeing the same gaze in her eyes he once had when he just started as a hunter.
Raven took her bow and strapped the quiver with the arrows onto her back.
Blake looked around, seeing the targets were set up in a difficult pattern.
They were ranked from 1 to 9, the order in which they had to be shot.
Raven was not allowed to move an inch from her spot, yet she had to hit every target perfectly.
Blake only smiled, his Raven was no little girl to mess with.
Her black hair was tied in a long, high ponytail that reached her back easily.
Her black hair was the first thing Blake saw when he rescued her off the streets.
The reason her name was Raven was because of her hair and the fact she did not speak very often.
She often remained silent, looking and observing others rather than talking big, like most hunters.
In her class she earned her respect by outwitting her other students, since she knew their behaviour perfectly.
She was a silent hunter, one of the deadliest known to the Hunter Society.
Blake would soon introduce her completely into the Hunter Society so she would get her hunting license. He didn't want her to, but she asked him so many times, he had no other choice.
Raven flexed her bow, drawing the arrow back, and it was a direct hit.
Her arrows flung across the wind, gliding on it and landing perfectly into the middle, every single time.
She soon hit all the targets and looked at Blake while smiling victoriously.
" Blake, don't you have a bigger challenge?"
She raised her brow, seeing this as easy practice.
Raven had practiced the bow ever since she got into the manor and didn't know otherwise.
The sudden neighing of a horse filled the silent yard as they both looked towards the stables.
Their butler , Hemsworth came out with a black stallion, saddled and all.
The beautiful stallion shook his head vigorously and stomped his hoof onto the floor with an impatient gesture.
Raven smiled as she ran towards him, the stallion tilting his ears towards her, almost happy to see her.
Blake had a few horses in the stables, his trustful steed Light, a white stallion whom was loyal towards him and saved him a few times when his car broke down.
The other was a fowl, a youngster which was only 8 months old and was found by Raven, wandering around the forest near their manor.
The fowl was grey and Raven had named her Mist and was training her.
The last one was Nightmare, the stallion who was now standing next to his daughter.
The black stallion was covered in a black coat of fur, the only white thing being a small star on his forehead.
Nightmare was once abandoned as well, they found him at a local market when they were travelling and Raven had to take him home.
Nightmare softly grazed his teeth through Raven's hair while she laughed.
The only time Raven felt like herself was during their training time.
She felt… alive.
Hemsworth handed her the reins and walked towards Blake, talking to him softly.
Raven did not notice and she patted the stallions strong neck.
The muscles bulged under her touch ,the proud animal glad to feel his owners hands.
Raven smiled and smoothly got into the saddle, stretching her legs a little.
She slowly let him walk around the property for a while, letting him warm up his muscles a little.
After that Hemsworth started to keep an eye on her, sometimes giving her warnings about her riding since he was her riding instructor.
Blake stood proud, watching as Hemsworth told Raven to keep her heels down, instead of up.
Raven grabbed her bow and an arrow, firing at the targets she fired at before.
Some people cannot aim from the back of a horse, but Raven just did so like she was standing still.
She was very talented and Blake could not wait to introduce her to the Hunter Society.
As Raven rode on Nightmare she smiled happily.
She looked at Blake, looking proudly back at her and she could not ignore the warmth that filled her heart.
She never wanted to grow attached to Blake, scared whenever he went on Hunt, if he would return.
She never wanted her heart to be crushed, since she already had seen too much.
Most children don't remember what happened to them, but she did.
She didn't want Blake to know because he was already so worried about her.
Nightmare neighed, she felt the horse being worried about her negative energy flow.
She shook her head and patted his neck gently.
" It's okay buddy, I'm fine."
The horse snorted softly and kept on walking.
She spurred him on, letting him trot around the yard and giving him his exercise.
Blake heard Hemsworth telling him the society had sent a letter.
He looked at the letter in his hand.
The seal with the Omega sign on it, and a laurel wreath around it.
For a normal human it would look like a normal letter, but it was encoded.
It took Blake mere seconds to decipher the code and read the letter.
I hope all is well with the preparations of Raven Mourn.
The Hunter Society has decided she may see the High Court to adjust her role from normal civilian to Hunter in Training.
We are well aware of the fact you wished for a higher rank due to her excellent performances but this is not possible.
She will not receive a higher rank until she has proven worthy of such title due to working in our Society.
We hope we have told you clearly of our wishes and that you will see to this message to be destroyed.
High Court Officer of Hunter Society
Blake growled softly as he read the code.
He specifically asked for a higher rank due to the fact that Raven deserved the best.
She received highest honor when graduating from Hunting School and should be treated as such.
Outraged by the letter, he had no choice but to abide by the rules, but Raven would not be pleased with this news.
She was already trained fully to the standards of the Hunter Society, he had provided her with such training.
Blake sighed deeply, wondering if to tell her.
He decided not to, since he wanted to live a little longer.
Hemsworth looked at Blake with a worried line, seeing his Master being troubled.
" Is something the matter, sir?"
" Nothing Hemsworth, just the society slapping us in the face once more."
Hemsworth said nothing, because he knew too well what happened before.
Raven turned Nightmare around and got off.
She led him towards the stables, taking care of him and brushing him gently while softly talking to him.
" You know Night.. I wonder if I will be as great as Blake once was. I have such a huge legacy to catch up with, I don't know if I am ready for that."
Nightmare shook his head and neighed gently , almost assuring her she would be fine.
She smiled and hugged his neck gently.
" Thank you for being my friend."
She gave him a carrot as a treat and left some fresh hay in his stable before leaving towards Blake.
She hung her bow and quiver in the shed while returning into the mansion.
Soon she would be presented at the Hunter Society and judged by her abilities.
Blake said she would receive a higher title than a HIT - hunter.
HIT was already a great honour to receive, since you were allowed into the Hunter Society.
But the fact she already had a weapon of her own and a training history she hoped her rank would be Hunter.
One that could pursue demons, vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the Night.
The Night was holy in their kingdom, feared by mortals and loved by the Creatures.
When a mortal passed through the Night, they most likely never survived.
It seemed unreal when the first sightings happened fifty years ago.
A vampire was found by the police making its rounds in a small alley in London.
Police tried to hide the vampire, but they failed as they took him into daylight.
The creatures of the Night did not die from the light of Day, but they did suffer a lot from the harsh sunlight invading their eyes.
This news frightened most mortals , since legends always said vampires could not bear light, they would turn to stone or ashes.
But the vampires they know, they just hiss at the light, as if it was an unpleasant bug.
The villagers did torture some of the captures vampires with sunlight, trying to subdue them and asking them where their lair was, but none would tell.
Eventually the vampires would die due to lack of blood, going insane from bloodlust and drinking their own blood.
The blood of their own body poisons them, and kills them within a day.
It was a horrible time, yet even worse times would come.
Little did they know back then that there would keep coming more creatures that they needed to defeat in order to save their homes.
Now, everyone lives in peace.
The people who know about the creatures of the Night pretend nothing happened, that if someone got killed it was a mere accident.
They did not want to acknowledge the fact they were there because they were afraid.
The Hunters would do the job for them, killing them and driving them away.
The Hunter Society existed long before the plague of fifty years ago started.
They had always hunted the creatures of the Night, but in secret not to scare anyone.
Nowadays they still hunt in silence, not wanting anyone to really know who they are.
People are best when left alone in ignorance than to know every truth.
The Codex Of Hunters says that no one must know who the hunters are.
They must live in the shadows, along with the beasts they hunt.
Raven stepped underneath the shower, the warm water running over her sore muscles.
She closed her eyes, realising tomorrow would be the day of Judgement.
It was a sacred day for all the people who wanted to be a Hunter.
Everyone would receive Judgement if they were qualified or not.
A variety of tests will apply on each Hunter.
Since each Hunter has his or her speciality, there is a variety of tests fitted for the Hunter.
Every Hunter must have attended the Hunter School and graduated from it so their progress is recorded at the Hunter Society and then their trials will be decided.
Raven would get a sharpshooting test, a riding test on a horse and a trial where she would have to fend off a werewolf.
The creatures for the Trial are actually volunteers.
Most of the creatures that are taken captive for questioning can volunteer for a trial of a Hunter.
If the Hunter fails the test, which happened frequently, they would be freed.
The Hunter with marksmanship would face a werewolf, the Hunter with swordsmanship would face a vampire and the one with different techniques would all face a Winged Behemoth.
Raven wasn't nervous, she had seen multiple werewolves before when she walked with Blake through the halls of the Hunter Society.
Many would come tomorrow, yet a few would make it past the trials.
Raven smiled and turned the water off.
She dried her body and hair, got dressed and went downstairs to make dinner.
At the dinner table Blake was talking and praising her while Raven just sat there, silently eating her meal.
" You will do fantastic tomorrow, Raven! You will blow them all away!"
Raven just smiled at him, wondering how she could love a person so much.
" I will do my best…Father."
Blake dropped his spoon and looked at her, his eyes big of surprise and his mouth wide open as she continued eating like nothing happened.
He grinned from ear to ear, not replying on the word he wanted to hear for so long.
After all these years, she finally accepted him as her Father.
It pleased him so badly he did not know what to say.
Raven just smiled softly, she would take this moment with her in her heart, guarding it forever.
These precious little moments meant so little to the outside world, but to her it meant more than living itself.
This man, was the reason she still lived, the reason she still breathed.
The only reason she felt alive.