Rogue Vampire

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


Lane seizes an opportunity to decimate the numbers of those who hunt him by pitting them against the newest force to enter Rome. When they retaliate in kind, Lane finds he might not have to battle
them alone after all.

Chapter 3 (v.1) - Friend or Foe?

Submitted: January 07, 2020

Reads: 12

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Submitted: January 07, 2020

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I stood against one of the buildings close to the woods and dropped my telepathic shield so any vampire close by could sense me. Normally I would evade pursuers by using that shield, but this time I wanted to lure them out. There was several of Rome’s group in the northern woods, dangerously close to where I stay in the daylight hours.

As I monitored their progress toward me, I realized I was going to need to find a new place to rest. They had likely found the small shack I had been using and told the Council members about it. At least dinner was coming to me tonight.

Four vampires appeared at the end of the street, facing me. All of them were men and all of them were younger than me by at least twenty years. The man in front sneered at me. “Your luck runs out tonight, Lane,” he said and sprinted toward me, sword raised.

“Not bloody likely,” I retorted and moved to intercept him, my short sword already in hand. The man seemed startled by my quick movement as I parried his swing and swiftly turned to block the swing of the vampire behind him as well.

One of the last two vampires cursed and whispered, “He already knew we were here.”

“Amita and Tyrell will be here soon. We just have to hold him until they get here,” the first man replied.

I smiled. I had no intention of still being here when they showed up. The last man to speak swung with a thin rapier type blade. I blocked with enough force to make his hand slam painfully against the metal guard designed to protect the hand. He howled and dropped the weapon. I heard the movement behind me as one of the others attempted to aid their comrade. Within a second, I had spun to the right of the disarmed man as the blade meant for me pierced his chest. With a gurgling sound, he slid to the ground.

The vampire who had killed his comrade stared down at his fallen friend, his dark eyes wide with horror. He looked back up at me as hate filled his eyes. “You insane bastard. I’m going to kill you,” he snarled and went for me.

The other two came at me from the side. I parried the man’s swing directly in front of me and sidestepped quickly to where he had been standing a moment before. The three collided and fell to the ground. I stood over them a moment later. “Your training is lacking,” I said and slit the throats of the two on the ground closest to me. The last of the men scrambled back to his feet.  Before he could run, I caught his gaze with my own and he went motionless. Walking over, I sank my fangs into his neck and drank.

Moments later, I dropped him as I heard the sound of heavy footsteps. Lots of heavy footsteps. I frowned. This wasn’t the rest of Rome’s group. I sensed them to the west of me, still about ten minutes away, maybe less. These people were human.

I turned to face the cross street to my north as fifteen people appeared. I was surprised by their sudden appearance. These were no ordinary humans. Armed with swords, crossbows, and wooden stakes, all of them stopped to stare at me.

I swore under my breath as I realized there were another four or five humans still further up the road. No doubt they were the tail end of this particular group of Hunters. I rarely saw a regiment of Hunters this size. I held my weapon in hand and made a note of the nearest building that would give me easy access to the rooftops. If the Hunters forced a confrontation, things were going to get ugly fast.

The lone woman among them spoke to a man standing in the front of their regiment. Both of them looked similar, with dark hair and gray eyes. The man stepped closer and his eyes glittered with satisfaction. “It is him. The vampire who hunts vampires,” he said in heavily accented English, loud enough to be heard by all of his companions. The woman’s voice also rose, speaking in the native tongue. If I were to guess, she was translating his words.

“Are we going to have a problem?” I asked, staring at them, sizing up probable skill and speed of each Hunter I could see. Trying to take them all on would be a risk, even for me. Especially with Valentino’s Council members on the way.

The Hunter smiled. “No, no problem. Our dispute is not with you.” He looked at the dead vampires on the ground. “It seems you are already making our job easier.”

I nodded. “There are other vampires to the west, moving this way. They will be here in just a few minutes.”

The man smiled again. “I assume you will be on your way then?”

“Yes.”

He nodded and spoke in the native tongue as well, gesturing to the west. The group turned and marched on. I wasted no time cloaking and getting on to the rooftops. I headed south, keeping to a narrow path. Sending the Hunters into the path of Rome’s incoming reinforcements was both amusing and beneficial to me. Usually my conversations with Hunters I meet doesn’t go beyond questioning if we were going to have a problem. The answer was almost universally “no.” But the opportunity to send them after my pursuers was too good to pass up.

As I moved southward, I thought of Julia. It had been a few days since I had seen her which wasn’t a surprise. I suspected she would keep her distance from now on and that appeared to be holding true. All the same, with the arrival of the Hunters, I hoped her group was leaving soon. Or, if they weren’t, that they were aware of the new threat in town. I smiled. With that large of a delegation of Hunters, I may not have to leave Rome yet after all.

 

***

 

I stood in a natural meadow of the forest on the northwest side of the city. At least half of Rome’s surviving members were all in the woods, closing in from the city’s edge. They had entered these woods shortly after sunset. I had been up fifteen minutes before then, heading toward Villa Medici to hunt when I had sensed them all enter the woods.

Honestly, I was taken aback by the sheer number of them tonight. After running the regiment of Hunters into them a few nights ago, I had expected their numbers to be far less. Had Valentino’s two Council members decimated that many Hunters? If so, I had greatly underestimated their strength.

I frowned. It didn’t make sense. It was also troubling how soon they were out searching for me tonight. Usually, it was closer to an hour after sundown, whereas tonight it was mere minutes. If I had the normal sleeping pattern of my kind, they would have caught me at or very near my makeshift shelter and I would have been forced to find a second one in as many weeks.

Fortunately, my lean-to was still about twenty minutes south.

“Lane, you bastard! I lost three good fighters because of your stunt!” the Council man roared as eight vampires broke through the trees in a half-circle formation.

Only three? I thought to myself as I defended against their charge, weaving between them and exchanging blows. I expected their losses to be greater.  I cut one of the vampires in the arm, forcing him back as others tried to score a hit on me. One of the attackers tried a telepathic attack, but since I was cloaked, it did nothing to me. I brushed off the power as if it was a drop of water and nothing more.

The two Council members came at me, one low, one high. Effortlessly, I dodged the high blow and deflected the lower sword with my own blade. I swung at the woman, hoping to catch her across the stomach before she could regain her balance, but already she moved her sword to block mine. She stepped back at the same time, ensuring she was out of reach again.

One of the other female vampires swung at me from the right. I sidestepped, once again bringing up my blade to deflect her blow. I recognized her from the night I had saved Julia from them. I swung my leg, knocking her off her feet, as I met the next attacker.

This one I caught with my hypnotism, but as he started lowering his weapon, another two attacked. I was forced to break my hold on him to deflect their attacks. He blinked and stepped behind another of his group. I noticed that a good number of them were trying to attack from the sides, trying not to get directly in front of me. It seemed to be a strategy they were employing to keep from getting hypnotized.

I had to give them a point for trying, but what they failed to realize is that with so many of them, it was only a matter of time before one or more of them landed directly in front of me by their movements or my own.

One of the men circled behind me and jumped on my back as another rushed me from the front. My knees buckled slightly under the weight, but instead of trying to force myself upright again, I leaned forward more and the assailant slid over my back and into the one trying to impale me. I straightened slightly as I swung my sword, trying to behead one of them. I caught one of their shoulders before the female Council woman tackled me from the left.

We hit the ground and she tried to use a stake to kill me. I reached up and grabbed her wrist, putting pressure on it. She gasped and the stake dropped from her fingers. She wrenched her hand away and used it to cover her eyes as my gaze swept over her. “Nice try, Lane,” she growled as she jumped off.

Another vampire lunged at me and I kicked him, before I flipping back on my feet.  He staggered back. “Don’t let him make eye contact with you. He’ll leave you defenseless,” the man I had almost hypnotized earlier shouted.

I blocked another flurry of thrusts from several members, knocking at least one of the weapons to the ground. The female Council member came at me again, swinging and thrusting, trying to get past my guard. I parried most of them, although one weak one landed against the heavy material of my coat. It wasn’t enough to even tear through the material. She backed away again, panting.

Two others came at me. I blocked the first vampire’s thrust, then swung my short sword. It wasn’t a killing blow, but it caused enough pain that the man dropped to the ground. I moved to block the other’s swing as well. I didn’t realize the other Council member was behind me until I felt a large piece of wood connect with the back of my head. Pain flashed through me.

“Not invincible after all,” he growled as I stumbled forward. The noise around me seemed muted a moment as my attackers moved to press their sudden advantage. I turned to try and get them all in my line of sight again.

“Lane, Tyrell’s mine!”

I looked up in bewilderment as I heard the voice. A split second later, a vampire with light blond hair slammed into the Council member who had struck me, taking him to the ground. Ah. The words made sense now, although his actions didn’t.

There was no time to figure it out either. The other seven had closed in on me.  I blocked a sword with my blade and shoved a second vampire with my other hand. The vampire I shoved back bumped into another and both fell to the ground. The move opened up just enough room for me to parry a third swing before it could reach my torso.

Other vampires started picking off my assailants one by one. Two more men and a woman I didn’t recognize reduced the number of opponents I was facing to four. I had no idea why a group of vampires I didn’t know was helping me, but I would take it.

I swung at one of Rome’s group and then ducked a swing of another. I heard a snap of a twig, signaling one of them had gotten behind me again. I spun to see my attacker fall to the ground next to me. The woman I had rescued a few days ago was straddling her. Julia.

“Remember me?” she asked the woman, then hit her across the face. As soon as I saw Julia, I realized the vampires who had come to my aid had to be her group. But why?

The Council woman swung at me. Her swing was slow and I grabbed her by the wrist, hurling her to the ground, before going after the last two standing. A man and a woman. They desperately tried to fend off my attacks as I advanced on them.

Around me I could hear a blur of voices, metal hitting metal, and bones snapping. I concentrated on the opponents still in front of me and trusted that Julia’s group was strong enough to hold their own. My blade sunk into the man’s left side and he fell to the ground. The woman swung at me and I blocked, meeting her dark eyes with my own. Her grip on the sword loosened and it fell beside her. I lowered my sword and moved up beside her. I bent my head to bite her throat and saw Julia staring at me. The woman she had been fighting lay dead near her feet. Her blue eyes widened a second as I sank my fangs into the other woman’s throat. Julia shook her head and ran to help another of her group.

I dropped the woman a few moments later. At the same time, the vampire who had been fighting the Council man drove a wooden stake through the enemy’s heart. “Next?” he asked, looking at the other Council member who had stopped just a couple feet away from them.

Most of Julia’s group was still standing and the Council woman looked over all of us. Her expression was anger mixed with disbelief. “Damn!” she swore as she and two others raced for the safety of the trees.

“Is everyone all right?” a man with dark brown hair and eyes asked, looking around. I recognized his voice as the one who had spoken the night I had rescued Julia.

“I’m good,” a second man called back, running a hand through his tangled lighter brown hair. He was of a thinner build than the other men.

“Just wonderful,” the dark haired woman muttered, sitting up a few feet from me. She massaged her neck and grimaced.

Julia looked down at her in concern, then glanced at me. “Are you all right?” she asked.

I stared at her, then at the four vampires with her. Carefully I moved my arm so it was down at my side, where the blade was hidden against the folds of my coat. I nodded, but backed away from all of them. I didn’t know how the others would react to me. Seeing Julia sort of explained why they came to my aid, but not really. I had thought she was going to keep her distance after our last encounter. Her debt to me was paid. Why did they decide to help?

The blond vampire who had killed the Council man walked toward the rest of the group, but at the last second put his back against a nearby tree. He was facing all of us, but I also knew from experience that the tree gave protection against enemies sneaking up from behind. Your back isn’t exposed that way. It was a move I would have done if I had a tree close enough. The rest of the group stood in the middle of the clearing between us.

Julia helped the other woman to her feet as he spoke. “We could go after them.”

Julia’s hair was loose around her shoulders, but the other woman’s hair was tied back in a braid. It was coming undone, but it was more in keeping with the humans’ customs. I also noted with curiosity that both women were wearing simple dresses with hemlines much shorter than I was used to seeing. Each of their dresses was dirty, but not as ripped as I would have expected. The shorter hemlines allowed for easier movement, I surmised.

 “We could,” the woman with the braid answered. “If there are no witnesses, there’s no one to report to Valentino.”

The man with dark hair scowled at them. “I bet Amita has already said something to whoever she could by now. We’re going to get reported one way or another. Are you all that eager to repeat the events from five years ago? I’m certainly not.”

It seemed they had completely forgotten I was still standing here. Julia’s group was small in comparison to most groups I’ve encountered. Including her, there were only five of them. Most groups seemed to have between eight and ten members. Small, but strong, I thought to myself. Three members of the group were all at least four hundred years old. The blond appeared to be the oldest, maybe close to Valentino’s age.

“Not particularly at this time. But I don’t think he’s eager for a rematch now either. We wrecked only half of England the last time,” the blond vampire replied. He looked across the meadow directly at me.

He? Rematch? Wrecked half of England? What the hell are they talking about? It sounded like they were talking of fighting Valentino, but I’ve never known the King to leave France. He always sent others to do his dirty work – Council members, assassins, and God knew who else. Why would he leave his stronghold to pick a fight with someone in England?

Julia and the dark-haired man also looked my way. He looked at her. “Um, Julia, does he ever talk?” he asked her.

“When he wants to. From what you’ve told me, I doubt he’s used to company,” she replied.

I ignored them, concentrating on the woods a little to my left, close to where Julia was standing. I sensed the attempted cloaking of another vampire, around my age. I frowned, then heard a twig snap. Careless for a vampire, I thought as Julia turned toward the sound.

It wasn’t apprehension that crossed her face, but surprise. “Kali? What the hell are you doing here?” she asked as a girl who looked about sixteen appeared out of the woods. With a shock, I realized she wasn’t a vampire. This girl was human. The twig snapping wasn’t carelessness. Hell, I am not sure how we didn’t hear her trampling through the overgrown brush. For a human, her navigational skills were exceptional.

The girl carefully stepped over a large tree limb and surveyed us. She wore a black dress and cloak which touched the ground. She shrugged at Julia’s question. “I told you I’ll be around. Besides, I figured I would see how you made out.” And she was well-acquainted with the group in front of me, it appeared. Julia’s group had a human in it? In all my years, all the places I’ve traveled, I’ve never seen a human live with vampires.

I frowned as she turned her gaze on me. Her eyes appeared to be almost the color of smoke. Something akin to recognition lit her face, although I had never seen the girl before. “Well, this is interesting,” she stated.

“What?” the blond man asked in confusion.

The human smiled at me. “Lane, do you have any idea what you are?”

I stared at her blankly. What the hell did she mean; did I know what I am? I am a vampire. I am an outcast. What else would I be?  I shook my head in response.

“A rogue?” the dark haired man offered, echoing my thoughts. He rolled his eyes slightly at her.

She glared at him. The vampire who had spoken stepped back slightly. For the tiniest fraction of a moment, I sensed even more power from her. Bloody hell, the girl was still shielding, even from me. Exactly how powerful was this child? And where did she fit in with this group’s hierarchy? I had been thinking the man with the blond hair was possibly the leader, but this girl just made a centuries’ old vampire back down.

“Not just a rogue. He’s without what you refer to as ka,” she replied.

“He has no destiny?!” the blond snapped.

She looked from him, back to me. “Exactly. You don’t have a predestined future, Lane. You make your own.”

I heard others of Julia’s group start talking, but I struggled to figure out what the human was talking about. I had no destiny? I made my own? Why don’t I have a destined future? What does that mean exactly?

Julia’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “Tell us. All of it. Now!”

I shook my head slightly and focused on the group in front of me. The human had looked as if she was about to leave. Now she tilted her head slightly to stare at all of us. “Oh, very well. Souls without predestined futures change the destinies of everyone they come in contact with.”

I stared at her, trying to follow and understand the conversation. Some souls have destinies… others do not. Change destinies of other people… I didn’t understand what they were talking about at all. “Excuse me, what do you mean I have no destiny?” I interrupted in frustration.

All of them stopped talking and looked at me. “It speaks,” the dark haired man said in surprise. I glared at him. A dull ache had started in the back of my head. It might have been from getting hit with the wood earlier, but this conversation was not helping.

“Matthew, be quiet,” the blond man snapped. “Do you really want to anger someone who’s eluded Valentino’s assassins for decades?”

The vampire called Matthew frowned. “No, not really. Sorry Lane.”

It was the first time the entire night someone had called anyone by name. I decided to make a note of his name, the same way I had Julia’s. I couldn’t shake the feeling that knowing their names might be important.

I looked at the blond vampire again. Based on his words, I would go with my earlier assumption. Julia might have been the person I have seen the most, but he was the leader of this group. How the rest of them fit in, I had no idea. And now, I have had a second vampire in as many weeks apologize to me. I was really having a strange month.

The human turned to me. “Some souls don’t have destinies. You’re one of them. You create your own,” she explained.

I nodded. So I am a soul without a destiny. A soul who supposedly creates their own. I still wasn’t sure what that meant exactly, but for now that explanation would do.

“I think we’re scaring him,” Matthew mumbled.

The woman with braided hair walked over and slapped him before I could answer. “You still don’t learn, do you?” she scolded with a slightly worried glance at me.

“Ow, that hurt, damn it,” he replied.

“Good,” the blond man said with a sigh. He glared at the human girl as well, before turning his gaze on me. For a second, his blue eyes met mine. But only for a second. “Do you always feed off vampires?”

It was such an abrupt topic change, that it took me a moment to adjust. “No, I also feed off murderers, crooks . . .” I replied cautiously.

The man nodded, then asked, “Why is it you can cloak so well?”

I puzzled how to answer his question a moment. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to answer. These vampires, for whatever reason, had chosen to help me, despite what appeared to be some uneasiness on their part. Because of that, I was a little more willing to provide information. But the truth was I had no idea how I shielded myself so well telepathically.

Finally I shrugged and answered, “I don’t know.” A second later, I concealed my presence just to show how little effort it took me to do it. All of them, including the human girl, looked over. Looks of amazement crossed their faces as I said, “I just do it.”

“Is it true you actually hypnotize other vampires?” 

Julia glanced at me, and I knew I could hypnotize her or one of the others within seconds. A demonstration would answer his question, however, that might be perceived as more of a threat than the cloaking bit. “Does anyone want to volunteer?” I questioned instead, looking around.

Almost instantly, the five vampires looked away from me. They shared looks between each other, or stared anywhere but at me. The human girl was the only one who didn’t react. I scowled at her, but instead of looking away, she simply smiled.

It was strange, but I had the impression the girl wasn’t afraid of me at all. And I had no idea what to make of that. She finally looked away when the man said, “No, thank you. I’ll just take that as a ‘yes.’”

I looked at him, but he was staring at Julia with an exasperated look on his face. After a second he nodded and asked, “Was there any particular reason for rescuing my fledgling from Rome’s group a few days ago?”

Julia was his fledgling? Was that what this was all about? Was tonight just about a favor the leader thought he owed me? “I was repaying a favor.” I looked from one person to another, until my gaze landed on Julia. There has to be more to it than that. They knew the Council members by name and Julia’s leader went directly after the one. Not a coincidence. And why are they living with a human girl whose telepathic abilities appear to eclipse those of young vampires? Who exactly is this group? “Who the bloody hell are you people? And why are you fighting them?”

“Valentino and I go back a long way,” the leader replied. “We’re Resistance.”

“They hate each other. Feud is probably too mild of a word,” the woman with the braided hair added.

“We fight them because we want to,” Matthew said.

“Why?” I asked. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to fight Valentino’s people. I didn’t want to fight them. They usually left me no choice but to defend myself, but all I wanted was to be left alone.

“Some of us have personal reasons,” the woman replied, scowling at Matthew.

I felt a shifting of telepathic power. No one in Julia’s group had been completely unshielded, but now I could feel a strengthening of the leader’s shields. I looked over at him. His expression was cold. “Don’t remind me. This has been entertaining, but it’s time to call it a night.” He turned and disappeared into the trees.

Matthew stared at the woman. “You had to bring that up,” he said with a sigh. Both he and the quieter man followed the leader.

She shrugged. “Oops,” she said. “I did not want Lane to think we fight Valentino’s followers simply for sport. Samuel?” she called, chasing after the others.

I frowned slightly. The mood of the group had definitely changed when the reasoning for fighting Valentino’s people was questioned. The woman with the dark braided hair mentioned personal reasons. I wondered what they were. The leader seemed especially upset.

I looked at Julia, who stared after the rest of her group with a worried expression. She glanced at me and bit her lip. The human girl behind her didn’t react. Julia spoke, her voice both apologetic and concerned. “We fought Valentino a few years back. The encounter did not go very well, and some members are still recovering.”

I remained silent and she looked back at the girl. “Are you coming?”

The human stepped forward until she was standing next to Julia. “We need to talk again soon, Lane,” she stated.

Before I could think of a reply, Julia snapped, “Let’s go.” The human girl nodded and they also left.

I stared after them for a few moments. This night’s events were the strangest by far. I hadn’t expected Julia to cross my path again, let alone have her entire group help me against Valentino’s followers. Why did they decide to help? Was it because of the events from a few nights ago? Was it simply because the opportunity to inflict harm on Valentino’s Council was too good to pass up? Or was it something else?

I had thought it odd that the group was so small. However, if they had battled Valentino a few years ago, that was probably the reason. They were the survivors. I wondered how large their group had originally been.

The human stated she wished to talk to me again soon. I’m not sure if the rest of the group would allow her to, but I was curious to hear what she had to say. If we did get a chance to talk, I had a few questions of my own. She didn’t seem afraid of me at all, whereas the vampires all seemed nervous. Julia was the least, but even she seemed uneasy when hypnotizing vampires was discussed.

I shook my head and scanned the immediate area telepathically. I was once again alone in the woods. My current shelter was still undetected to the south, but not far away. I spent the next couple hours moving the bodies to an area of the woods farther north and closer to the city limits. In my experience, Valentino’s people don’t care about burying their dead, but it was best not to take chances. I had fed off one of the vampires. The farther away the bodies were from my location the better. Besides, I didn’t want any humans or Hunters coming any closer than necessary to my area.


© Copyright 2020 TheresaVan18. All rights reserved.

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