Archive | August, 2013

Writing tips number two: Character development. (The Protagonist)

28 Aug

Firstly due to some family issues I wasn’t able to finish last weeks chapter of Ryder’s story, but good news it is finished now and will be posted this week! Anyway on to this post.

So I know I started my writing tips with tip number two, but that’s only because I had mentioned what I was going to use for number one in my first post which is idea development.  Though I’m sure it might be useful or even interesting I just can’t seem to figure out how to explain it without sounding all over the place. Now this might be more than a one part post because a lot goes into creating characters that are likable and convincing. But I’ll try to get it all out without being too boring.

So first I guess in this post I’ll cover the protagonist (The hero)

Every fiction has one it’s just one of those critical things that the story can’t function without. Though I said the hero the protagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be the good guy, a protagonist is simply defined as: The leading character or a major character in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text. A few things need to happen to make the protagonist a good one. Firstly they the need to be relatable, though they might be an alien, a superhero, a vampire ect, the reader still needs to be able to see bits of themself in the character. If the reader doesn’t like the character there is a good chance that will colour thier whole view of the story, no matter how great it is. I don’t mean to contradict myself in saying this but at the same time it’s possible for an unlikeable character to be a good protagonist.  A great example of that is Stan Lee’s Iron man. Lee’s goal with iron man was to create a totally unlikable character but make everyone like him. This can either work out great, or fail miserably because having an unlikable character leaves no room for them to be one dimensional.

Another good thing to remember when creating a character is that they need to have bad habits as well as good habits. They can’t be perfect, perfect characters are unrelatable and unbelievable. No one’s is perfect, we all know that and even if it is a work of fiction remember that. That being said don’t let the bad be all the reader sees, sure show your character’s bad side when needed, but make sure the good equals it out.  Give the character dimension the more work you put into a character the more real they will seem to the reader. I find it helps if you make up a back story, even if you never plan on including it. Figure out why they are like they are and what makes them tick, will help. Personally I like it when you can actually see the character develop along with the story. A character, especially one in fiction goes through quite a lot in a short time frame.  So think how would it affect them in the long run, are they used to being shot at by ray guns? Or is it a daily thing for them? Thinking about little things like that can really help build a character.

Things to avoid when creating a protagonist

Making them shallow

Having a shallow character is in my opinion never a good choice. Having a character that self-centred and shallow can sometimes blind the reader to their other good characteristics, I’ve read a few book where the protagonist has been very shallow and I found myself hating them, even if as a whole I liked the story.

Making them too one dimensional.

I talked a bit about this before but a good main character needs depth, they need good and bad. They need to be more than a pretty face, or more than just the person that saves the world. Characters have to be complicated or they end up being boring.

I guess really there is no right or wrong choices when it comes to creating a character because in the end it’s your character. You’ll often find authors talking about their character as if they are real people I know I’ve turned to my friends many time after seeing something and saying ‘Damien would totally do something like that’ or ‘I could so see Misty saying that!’ so if you can build a character that is real enough to make you believe they are a real person, chances are the reader will see them as one too.

 

shan

Ryder’s Story: Chapter Seventeen

14 Aug

Chapter seventeen

 

Thanks to the magic ingrained in my skin I had little trouble blending in with the natives. Though my fair complexion and hair set me apart; my ability to speak their language and my knowledge of lore and monsters made me useful to them. There were many monsters inhabiting the New world, which provided me with a means of earning a living but I still had to adapt to my new home. War and death were common place and proved the perfect cover for my kind. It seemed that vampires could flourish here. War prompted a spike in the supernatural population and I spent most of my time educating who ever would listen on how to fight the dangers they did not even realise existed. Now I cannot completely claim credit but somewhere around that time, hunters as today’s world knows them started springing up. Some worked to protect their families, others to protect their town; I met more than my fair share the longer I travelled. Anyone in the trade of hunting monsters knows this was the era when for many hunting became a way of life rather than just a ‘hobby’ and I was there. I stood beside the so called father of modern day hunting, hell, once I even took a bullet for him. For a time he was my closest friend and it was truly fate that caused our paths to cross more than once. Jeremiah was the first West I ever met and after a while I came to hope he’d be the last but fate has a funny way of throwing people together.

 

“Ha, yah, ride!”  As I stood just inside the town I could hear hooves thundering toward me. I had entered Wyoming territory a few weeks back after getting word that this region had a serious vampire problem, the word had been right and business was thriving. Gun fire echoed as hooves pounded the ground, kicking up clouds of red dust.

 

“Stop them!” a man shouted as a group of men on horseback rushed past, the sounds of whooping and laughing following them. The smell of blood filled the air and my jaw ached. I felt my fangs slide into place as the law men rushed after the outlaws. The scent got suddenly stronger and I looked around for the source. A boy stepped out of a side street watching the law men ride away. He laughed quietly to himself.

 

“Works every time,” he said in a deep rough voice as he unhitched a horse that was tied just down from where he was hiding. His hair was light, not quite blonde but not brown either and his hazel eyes shone with cocky arrogance. His blood smelled of fire, I’d never smelt anything like it and I watched him ride out of town unopposed. At the time I hadn’t realised who he was but it wasn’t the only time our paths had crossed. I had seen him and the group of outlaws he roamed with in many towns over the years. The more time passed the more his reputation grew and with it my curiosity.

 

As the years passed vampires became such a problem, that to be accused of being one of the undead, whether it was proven or not, meant death. So finding people to feed from was risky, even with my reputation as a vampire hunter. So I did as most smart vampires would, I used saloon girls and people who would not notice new marks on their skin. Strangely enough it was because of that very choice that the soon to be father of modern day hunting and I came face to face for the first time.

 

“You sure are pretty, ma’am.” I said faking an American accent.  The colonies had taken off and I had learned quickly that they did not appreciate the English, despite the fact that many of them were from, or were descended from the Queen’s country. Well the King’s, at the time.

 

“You are quite the looker yourself, I haven’t seen you ‘round these here parts before, are you a cowboy, or an outlaw?” she sounded quite excited.

 

“No ma’am, I’m a wanderer. I’m always passing through,” I replied, leaning in to kiss her as her eyes lit up. I didn’t feel the need for small talk seeing as I was paying for her services. I would seduce her, feed, then leave. It was what I usually did. I was careful not to hit the same saloon two nights in a row and I rarely stayed in the one town for too long. At the time I was just following up on a lead.

 

I kissed her and she moaned, rather falsely into my mouth. I could tell she did not want to be doing this but her choices were none of my concern. Little did I know, as I thought that, I would soon learn more about this girl than I had ever intended. Despite the fact she was not at all interested in me, I continued anyway. Turning on my vampiric pheromone and preparing myself for what I need to do. If everything went smoothly, I would not cause her any lasting harm and she would live to fake it another day.

 

As I prepared to bite she moaned again, lolled by the pheromone that now filled the room. But as my fangs grazed her skin the door flew open with a bang and I found myself staring down the barrel of a gun.

 

“Get ya hands off me woman stranger!” growled the boy I had seen many a time, to say I was surprised was an understatement. I had been meaning to get the boy alone, find out what he was, but I’d never expected our first meeting to be like this.

 

“Jeremiah! Will you get out of here? I’m working!” snapped the woman, as I stepped back the boy lowered his gun, losing all interest in me.

 

“I’ve told you a million times woman. I will provide for us. You do not need to do this,” he growled and she rolled her eyes.

.

“I was doing this before we met, hell, I was doing this when we met Jerry. Now you burst in here guns blazing, talkin’ about providing for me with yer dirty money. I will be doing the providing for me thank you, just as I always have,” she snapped back

 

“God damn it woman! I have been shot at, chased and nearly arrested today. To make that worse I got on the wrong side of a pack of savages and nearly lost my scalp, only to come back here to find you about to bed another man in a job I told you, you no longer have to do! You talk about my dirty money not being good enough for you, but sweetheart you had no problem accepting it that first night we met,” the woman’s jaw dropped and she slapped him hard. The crack echoed through the room before she stormed out, slamming the door behind her. I could see the red welt forming on his cheek and he turned quickly to follow her. “Oh come on darlin’ don’t be like that.”  I watched them both leave before picking my hat up from the dresser and settling it on my head. As interesting as that had been I was still hungry, it looked like I was going to stay that way tonight.

 

I walked from the saloon toward my horse; I had hitched him behind the saloon away from prying eyes, just in case I had to do the unimaginable. I was rather annoyed that my dinner plans had been cancelled and I knew I had to get out of town before my hunger became ravenous. I had been looking forward to a few hands of cards in the back room this evening. It was invitation only and I’d won a nice pot two nights earlier. A tap on the shoulder surprised me; I hadn’t even heard anyone approach.

 

“Excuse me, sir, I do believe this belongs to you,” I turned only to be face to face with Jeremiah West. The man was taller than me and truth be told he was the dead spit of a man I know now, his great, great, great, great grandson Damien. Or more precisely Damien is the spitting image of him. The first time I met Damien, I’d been taken aback by how much he was like the other West hunter I had known all those years ago. Unfairly it was the reason I came to greatly dislike Damien from the first time we met. Jeremiah was tall, muscle bound and handsome. He was also a reckless, cocky son of a bitch and someone that you did not want to get on the wrong side of. There was a time in my life when Jeremiah was one of the greatest friends I ever had, but sadly it didn’t last and he’d also ended up being one of my greatest enemies. By the end of my relationship with the man, I hated him more than I hated my maker, or myself and even just seeing his likeness nearly three hundred years later still pissed me off.

 

Jeremiah was holding out the money I had given to the saloon girl in his leather clad hand. Duel pistols hung from his belt, his long duster was dirty and had seen better days. Though I owned one, as everyone at the time did, I was never one for guns. Call me old fashioned but I was still partial to swords and bows. Error of my upbringing I guess, but no one walked around with a sword on their back in this day and age. It was a disadvantage not having a  substantial silver weapon handy at all times but I still carried a silver dagger with me, just in case.

 

“Keep it friend, it is only right,” I said, shaking my head at the other man.

 

“No, come on partner, I know Kelly’s by far the prettiest but this could still buy you the good time you were looking for. I am sorry for ruining your evening stranger, but that there was my woman, she does as she pleases while I’m out of town but I’ll be damned if I’ll let her bed another while I’m here.”

 

“It is fine really, call it my way of apologising,” I replied, taken aback by his candour. The other man smiled and gave a small shrug. Seeming to have given up he tucked the money away and held out his hand.

 

“Jeremiah,” I returned his smile and took his hand but I did not get a chance to introduce myself.

 

“Ryder! Ryder Kingston,” both of us looked toward the three vampires standing at the opening to the alley way. Jeremiah drew his guns. Though having a skilled gunman aiming a pistol between your eyes would be enough to give any human pause, the three vampires were unconcerned and simply began to move toward us. Jeremiah reached for my shoulder in an attempt to push me behind him, almost as though he thought me as defenceless as a woman, if it weren’t for the looming threat I may have been insulted. As it was one of the vampires chose that moment to lunge, Jeremiah fired at his chest, the bullets tore through his clothing but simply bounced off his skin doing nothing to slow progress, he cursed, taking aim again.  Knowing his foolishness better than he apparently did, I knocked him out of the way. I could not allow the silly human to be injured whilst trying to protect me. I drew the sliver edged short sword from under my coat. Thanks to a very talented blacksmith it wasn’t nearly as heavy as my pure silver long sword, making it much easier to wield quickly and effectively.  I fell into a fighting stance giving my attacker the chance to reconsider his actions. I knew these men were part of the coven I was hunting but I preferred to fight on my own terms if it could be helped.

 

“We have been waiting for you to show your face” snarled the lead vampire, after his minions had stopped their advance. “It’ll be such an honour to be the one to end the infamous Ryder Kingston. You really have quite the reputation, turning on your……” my blade met his throat, cutting of his speech along with his head, in one clean swing. Nothing annoyed me more than evil monologue, why must the miscreants always prattle on before a battle?

 

“If you have heard so much about me, then you should know better than to confront me” I growled bracing myself as the remaining two vampires attacked. Truthfully neither was much of a challenge, though fighting multiple opponents always held a degree of difficulty; I was used to such situations. Unskilled, fledgling vampires were no match for a skilled knight almost two hundred years their senior. I wiped my blade on the leg of my pants before returning it to its sheath; after all one must care for his weapons.  I turned to Jeremiah, who was watching me with opened mouthed amazement, he was a gun slinger, I had come to realise many of them could not comprehend what real fighting entailed.  “As I was about to say, before we were so rudely interrupted, my name is Ryder Kingston and I am a hunter”

 

I would like to say he handled the situation with grace; that he was as calm and level headed as I’d come to expect from him but that was not the case. He reacted as any sane human should. Jeremiah grew pale; the gun shook in his hands as he stared at the three vampires that were now little more than piles of dust. He mumbled something along the lines of ‘what the hell’ before promptly passing out. Sighing I rubbed my eyes as he toppled to the ground. I looked around to make sure we were alone before bending to pick him up and sling him over the back of my horse. I tucked his gun back into its holster and untied Charlie, who was none too happy about having a second passenger, then rode all night to my safe house.

 

I had a few such properties across this great state, as it turned out being a vampire comes in handy when one was racing for land rights. I won more than my fair share of land that way. Also I do not intend to brag but I was a phenomenal poker player and you would be surprised what people will wager.  It was disconcerting when Jeremiah did not regain consciousness right away. He was out all night and awoke with a start in the early hours of the new day. My safe house was little more than a one room cabin that I used to get away from the hustle of the humans. So I wasn’t surprised when he sprang to his feet searching for his gun. Though shooting at me would produce the same results he saw earlier, it still hurt and was rather inconvenient. Besides, this was a new duster, my profession ensured that I went through many more than average and I would hate to ruin it already by riddling it with bullets holes. I nodded toward the holster now lying on the table across from me without a word. Jeremiah looked around as I kicked a piece of coal that had fallen onto the hearth back into the fire. He watched as I settled into the wooden chair by the fire and strangely enough he relaxed, sitting back down on the small bed, however he was still watching me. I had not expected that reaction, though I’d come to learn Jeremiah never did what I expected of him.

 

“What are you?” he asked, his voice quite. I opened my mouth to lie but he cut me off before I got the chance. “Bullshit son, those things weren’t human, so before you try and tell me you’re a rancher or a cowboy, realise that I remember everything,” I stared at him. I’d never before been called on a lie I was yet to tell.  I steepled my hands in front of my chin, wondering how much it was safe to tell him. Monsters were not as prevalent as they once were, well more like they were much more secretive than they once had been, because the humans had been busy.

 

“Well, now you see….” When I spoke my American accent was firmly in place but he cut me short again.

 

“You can drop the act partner; I know you’re from the motherland. You dropped your accent when you were talking to those things, people reveal their true selves in the heat of battle. So I want the truth, and trust me I’ll know if you’re lying,” I dropped my hands and sat forward.

 

“You are correct, on all accounts. I am neither a rancher, nor a cowboy and I was not born on this soil. You were also right to say that those men were not human, because they were in fact vampires. As for me I am a bounty hunter of sorts,”

 

“A hunter?”

 

“Of sorts” I agreed.

 

“And you hunt vampires?”

 

“And other supernatural creatures,” I added and he nodded slowly.

 

“And how’s the pay?”

“It’s been better, but someone has to do it,”  he nodded again he remained quiet for a while, looking down at his hands.

 

“Well I don’t envy you friend, knowing things like that exists makes the world a whole lot scarier. Any advice, I don’t expect to run in to many more of those vampires, but just in case I do?” he asked, I thought about that for a second, there was no good advice, if a vampire wanted you dead you were as good as in the grave. I knew that when I was human but something told me that no matter what Jeremiah wasn’t going to accept that answer.

 

“Silver, something sharp preferably, because it won’t do any real harm to them unless it gets inside. Silver is your best bet for most things. Iron can also be good, easier to get a hold of but it’s more specialised, only works on some creatures. Oh and pray to god that he forgives your sins because chances are the two of you will be meeting real soon,”  I replied it was the best I could do to sugar coat the truth, because really there was no way to pass hunting off as just another everyday job.

 

“So it’s all a bit complicated then, has like each monster got a special way to kill it?”

 

“Yes, there are general rules of course, decapitation seems to work pretty well on most things, destroying things like the heart or brain is also good if you really do not know what it is you are facing. There is a lot to remember and it is more often than not nowhere near as simple as it is to kill vampires, though they are among the most dangerous monsters you can face they are one of the simplest to kill.” He nodded slowly.

 

“Have you ever considered writing this down, seems like that would be an easier way to share information with people.” He asked and I shrugged. It wasn’t a bad idea; even I had referred to the books my father had given me from time to time before I’d met Evangeline. I usually only taught people what they needed to know to deal with the specific problem they were facing but having more people out there doing what I did could be helpful.

 

“There are books out there; old but useful if you know where to look,”

 

“No, I was thinking like a journal. Folks like you could write what they come across and how they handled it, what worked and what didn’t. That ways if you ever crossed paths with another one of your own, you could swap notes and stories. Seems like it’d keep more people alive,” I nodded in agreement, it wasn’t that I hadn’t thought of that before, but on the one hand even though I did know how to write I wasn’t great at it and figured it would hinder more than help. Dashiell had always been the smarter one growing up. He could read better and his hand writing was like a scribe’s, he was good at the book work, I was just good at killing things and even almost two hundred years later it was still pretty much the only thing I excelled at. Though I had no desire to follow his suggestion, I could tell that Jeremiah was a very intelligent man and if fate had been kinder to him I have no doubt his would be a name the world remembered.

 

We talked for a while longer mainly because he truly seemed interested in what I did for a living, either that or he was humouring me because he thought he owed me a debt. Before long I was showing him the door and pointing him in the direction of town. I motioned to my horse with a sad smile, if there was one thing I had learnt in my already long life, it was that I was not destined to keep a horse, I always managed to lose them somehow and even though I truly didn’t need one, the companionship was appreciated and not even a vampire wanted to walk across America on foot. I untied him and gave his neck a small pat before I handed over the reins. It was no easy task to find a beast that did not bolt in terror at the sight of me, most animals were not partial to vampires and I had become quite fond of this one. He was often my only friend and did not judge me by my actions, provided he received his ration of grain every night.

 

“His name is Charlie,” my voice betraying more emotion than I’d intended. “He is fast, loyal and a good animal. You need him more than I do so I want you to take him,” I said knowing there was no way Jeremiah could make the trek back into town on foot. At the time I had no idea if I would ever see Jeremiah again but it had to be done.  “You know where to find me if the need should arise. Whatever you do take care of my damned horse, because know that if you don’t, I have killed men for less,”

Ryder’s story: Chapter Sixteen

6 Aug

Chapter Sixteen

I fixed the amulet around my neck as I ran as fast as possible in the direction Eldrin had pointed. He’d been right, I found myself emerging from the forest and at the city gates within minutes. They were opened and unguarded; the place was in total chaos. Cries sounded around the city, elven men patrolled the streets in full armour and heavily armed and I knew I was too late. I ran, unopposed toward the castle. Somewhere along the crowded streets I was joined by Richard and Paul, both of wolves still in human form. They didn’t speak but I knew they realised we were finally going to carry out the task we’d been sent to do. The three of us made our way through the panicked rabble and past the guards at the castle doors. I would have thought Garryn would have been spearheading an army on the way to the dark elves camp; instead he was pacing in his office.

“Garryn, what are you doing?” I asked as the three of us stood on the other side of his desk. He glanced at us, expression distraught. He continued his pacing for a few more strides then stopped, bracing his hands on the desktop and hung his head.

“They have my daughter; they are going to kill her if…. I have to, there is no other choice, I am so sorry,” he spoke slowly, the distress clear in his voice.

“If what Garryn? What is it that they want?  Trust me there is always another choice,” I replied calmly and he looked up, his face emotionless, the man had been reduced to a shell of his former self and when he spoke again I knew why.

“They want Eldrin, Ryder.  They claim we have no right to him and are willing to make a clean trade. His life in exchange for his sister’s. Eldrin would want to do it, he would,” I could only stare at him

“He would,” I agreed, narrowing my gaze, “But you trade that boy to them, they won’t even have to turn him against you because you would have already done that. That boy tried to hire me to kill Veeck and bring you his head, to prove to you his loyalty and you are willing to trade him away like that. Eldrin is a good child, but that will change if they raise him. There is no question that Areoina needs to be saved,  but how as a father could you even contemplate, let alone make that choice. How can you tell yourself that it is the right choice? I do not claim to be a good person Garryn, nor a good man but I was a good father. Good fathers would never, could never make that choice. You are neither a good man nor a good father and you do not deserve a son as extraordinary as the one you have. So I am telling you now and I shall only say it once, if make that trade you will regret it, I’ll make sure of that.” I glanced over my shoulder at the two wolves; their skin was shimmering with the shivers that occur pre shift. Richard gave me a small nod. “You do not deserve our assistance but she does, so we will save Areoina or die trying. You have my word and know this Garryn win or lose you have already lost something that no one can ever replace.” The wolves howled, their skin rupturing and bones cracking. Their eyes blazed like fire as they advanced on the elf that was now cowering. I had not wanted to believe Eldrin when he’d said his family could just exile him like he meant nothing to them, let him die just to prove a point but looking into the eyes of the creature now cowering before me, I could. Deep down there was love but it was washed out with unease, distrust and most of all fear. I sneered at the elf as I stepped forward. The wolves at my side snarled and I bared my fangs as I spoke. “We are giving you a chance to do what is right, do not waste it,”

I nodded toward Paul then Richard and the two snarling wolves leapt over the cowering man and dove through an open window with a howl. I gave Garryn one last disdainful look before following. The three of us moved quickly through the streets, cutting through the crowds, elves threw themselves out of our path with screams of terror and we left more panic in our wake. I did not care. I had to get to that village, had to save Areoina and then kill Veeck. I knew our actions could trigger a war but I was ready, if I was to fall and finally join the ranks of hell, I could do it knowing I had made a difference.

Paul led the way, he was much faster than Richard, when he was in wolf form he was even faster than I was. After all the time I had spent with the wolves over the past year I’d never been able to work out what they were. Why they were unlike any other werewolves I had, or would ever, meet. I looked to the huge wolf running beside me as a growl sounded just ahead and the sounds of battle erupted. Paul had made it to the village.

“Dick since it’s likely we are all about to die, can you tell me what you are?” I yelled over the whipping wind that rushed around us. I reached for the hilt of my sword, neither of us slowing our pace as we tried to catch Paul. Richard’s snarling jaws almost resembling a smile as he dropped onto to all fours. The village was in view; Paul was barely fighting off at least half a dozen elves. His muscles coiled and just before he leapt to join his brother he answered me.

“Hybrida Lupus” then he was ripping at the throat of an elf. I put on a burst of speed, my blade sliding free of its sheath with a hiss. Within the blink of an eye I’d joined the fight, the blade sliding through an enemy’s torso as if it was butter. I skidded to a stop and raised the sword in a defensive position, as a fully armoured elf struck out at me. Without hesitation I parried the blow and spun away using the momentum to strike out at another attacker from behind. Silver met flesh and the smell of blood erupted around me. I stabbed the tip into the dirt and rolled out of the way of a blade I would not have been able to block. I had no doubt that any blow received from these blades would do damage that even I could not heal from. I sprang to my feet, adjusting my grasp on the sword, counting four attackers surrounding me before I parried again. I swung the blade in an arc then spun in the opposite direction ducking under another attack. Pain burning, white hot ripped through my thigh right along with the tip of a blade as another attacker struck out. The metallic clash of metal meeting metal echoed as my sword struck the sword of the attacker in front of me and I was so busy parrying and dodging his blows, that I was left open to other attacks, I needed to get out of the centre of things.

 

Taking a chance I threw my sword into the air as high as I could and jumped. I threw myself backwards, barely escaping multiple wounds as my body soared over their heads. I landed with force on my hands and used the momentum to propel myself back up, out of the fray and onto my feet. Surprisingly enough, once on my feet I was able to reach up to catch my sword. Before I even had time to consider the fact that I’d actually pulled that off, I shifted my feet, changed my grip and charged my attackers while they were caught off guard. I took down three, each with a single blow, before my attack was finally parried. Metal bit against metal and I knew I was out matched. I might have been faster and stronger but I was out skilled and I knew better than anyone the disadvantage of that. I pushed against my blade, sending the elf stumbling back to give me some room. I knew I was never going to win in a close up fight. I moved faster than he could have seen and went in for the kill. But I was sent stumbling as he blocked my attack. Before I had a chance to recover my footing I was attacked again. Pain, white hot agony ripped through my side as I watched a sword run right through me. The sword dropped from my hands and they flew to my wound. Blood cold and dead, ran through my fingers mixing into bloody slurry that was already at my feet. I had not been expecting that, I had been so sure I could beat him with speed alone and I had left myself open. Now; as I fell to the ground, all my energy draining trying to heal a wound that my body just couldn’t; I was going to pay for that mistake with my life. A dark shape loomed in front of me the sun glinting off the metal in its grasp as it rushed forward, but strangely I wasn’t afraid. Though I wished I had more time, I could only hope that my end was swift, the sword froze, the elf wielding it gave a muffled cry and dropped to his knees. Another much larger figure appeared above me and kicked the still moaning elf toward me.

“Get up, it’s not break time yet Ryder, we need you out here,” growled Richard but he disappeared back into the fight before my eyes even had a chance to adjust. Thankfully the elves were ignoring me for the time being because I was in no condition to fight. The smell of blood made a jaw ache and I knew what I would have to do if I wanted to get back in the fight. I dragged myself toward the elf Richard had saved me from. Grabbing his shoulders, I ripped off the breast plate of his armour which took a great amount of effort in my condition and sank my fangs into pale flesh. I did not bother to be gentle, I didn’t bother to be neat and as it turned out my need to keep fighting was stronger than any niceties I could think of. The blood was like nothing I had ever tasted and I drank greedily. I could feel myself gaining strength, I felt vibrant, alive, wild, powerful. I could feel magic running through every vein; it was a high like no other. I dropped the body and stood. Blood covered most of my body by I didn’t care. The wounds in my leg and side had healed, all except for small scars that I figured never would. Everything around me was alive and so different. It was like I was seeing the world through new eyes. The forest was a living thing guarding the edges of the village and the battle, which now hosted a number of winged soldiers, raged with fury and spectacular dynamism.

I dove stright back in forgoing my sword and fought like the monster I was. My nails grew into points, something I had never been able to do before and I slashed the throat of an oncoming attacker. I looked around for Veeck knowing that if I found him I would find Aeroina but what I saw instead would haunt me for many years to come. Richard stood in human form, a sword protruding from his chest. His expression was stunned, as Veeck pulled the sword from his chest and Richard fell to his hands and knees. Veeck raised his sword, the pair were too far away for me to reach them in time but I tried anyway. I skidded to a stop as Veeck swung decapitating Richard with a single blow. I turned my head away unable to look and the single most agonized cry I had ever heard sounded over the din of battle. I did not recognise the voice, simply because I’d never heard it before but I knew immediately who it was.

“Dick! NOOOO!” I turned my attention back to see a battered wolf charge to his brothers side. Veeck took off running toward the far edge of the village as Paul, collapsed to his knees next to his brother. I ran to them and almost unable to look. Paul clutched the bloody body of his brother in clawed hands. His sobs taking the form of whines and howls as he rocked backwards and forward on the spot. “No, no, no Dick, no,” the wolf growled between whines. This was the first time I’d ever heard the other man speak and the despair in his voice was heartbreaking. The dark elves had either fallen back or were being taken care of by the fairy knights. I placed a hand on Paul’s shoulder before running after Veeck, now it was personal.

I found him relatively easily, he stood in front of his home, waiting for me. Patches of blood, some of it Richard’s, glistened wetly on his armour and the poor girl stood bound to the porch railing behind him. His friendly smile was gone and had been replaced with one of cold malice. I snarled as I approached him stopping only a foot or two away. I needed to get him away from the girl before I could strike, I could not risk her getting caught in the cross fire.

“I knew from the moment we met Ryder, that you and I would end up here. It was inevitable you see, for it is the way things work. Men like you and me, we hold the fates of others in our hands, we hold the power to change things, but things can only be changed one way. We meet another such as ourselves, knowing that one will be destined to die by the others hand. Fate Ryder is a fickle thing and one never truly know which side of it they are truly on.” He took a step forward the tip of his bloody sword dragging along the ground. I growled in response taking another step back. I slowly walked in a circle coaxing him to follow my movement and thankfully he did. His smile grew colder as he raised his sword. “I had said that if you were not a vampire you would have made a formidable enemy and I was right, that amulet of yours blocks my magic so this can be the fight we both deserve. It will be an honour to kill you friend, an honour even to die by your hand.” I let a nasty smile cross my own lips.

“The honour will be mine,” I snarled, then I attacked. All but unarmed I ran toward him parrying his blow with my arm. The metal bit into my flesh but did not go straight through like I’d expected, throwing my arm to the side, I reached for Drake’s dagger with my other hand, losing a chunk of flesh as the sword ripped free of my arm. I ignored the mind numbing pain, quick to dodge another blow and landed a swift kick to the other man’s chest. I needed to get in close to use the dagger, if Veeck was half as skilled as his soldiers I knew I would be out matched and I could not risk that this time, for there was no one to save me now. He stumbled back and I was on him before he had a chance to regain his footing. He recovered much faster than I’d expected so I was to close and in the wrong position for a proper attack. Instead I spun, dodging his blow and elbowing him in the face before ducking from his grasp again. The elf stumbled back, his nose bleeding from my blow but he smiled as he straightened, swinging his sword up into a fighting stance. He motioned for me to come at him which gave me the distinct disadvantage even before I moved. Snarling I charge again, running in a straight line toward him, but instead of lunging him at as he expected I spun away at the last second dodging his blow before springing off my back foot and driving Drake’s dagger deep into his heart. I rammed our bodies together to drive the dagger deeper and avoid any attack he still might have in him and his eyes widened. I twisted the knife and blood gurgled into the other man’s mouth before I pulled out the knife and pushed him to the ground. I watched as the life flickered from his eyes and he collapsed. I reached down and grabbed what looked like a stake from the other man’s belt and I knew without even really looking at it had been the weapon I’d wanted. Suddenly without warning my arm burnt with the sting of magic and reality dropped out from under me. Then I was falling.

I landed none too gently on a polished stone floor. At the foot of a pompous looking throne, staring up at an even more pompous looking arsehole. Issas smiled down at me, his handsome face contorted in an ugly smile. I got to my feet confused and looked around for Paul but soon realised I was the only one that had been brought back. This was not right, I wasn’t done, I needed to get back to Paul, to Eldrin and Areoina. I wasn’t finished yet.

“Issas send me back!” I demanded as I got to my feet, my hands shaking with rage and the left over thrill of battle.

“You have done what I asked of you Ryder, why possible reason would I have to  send you back? After all it’s my home not yours” he said getting to his feet, descending the few steps toward me. I snarled at him. Thoughts of Paul holding Richards body and Eldrin holding Drake’s flooded my mind. They needed me; I had to be there for them. I had promised Eldrin I would never let anything hurt him, how was I to keep that promise if I was here. That boy needed me, I could not abandon him.

“Look you do not want me here, I do not want to be here, please Issas send me back, it will be the last you will ever hear of me,” I said through gritted teeth, but the arrogant prick just laughed.

“You want me to do you a favour? After all the hassle you caused me. It is true I did not believe that you would succeed and after four months I’d truly begun to believe you were dead, because surely you could not have lasted even three days in my old realm.” I tried to ignore the fact that he’d just said four months. I knew that time worked differently in their realm but I had no idea how differently, because while I was there it felt normal to me. “But then I felt it, the moment Veeck met his end, it was like sweet freedom and joy and I thought to myself. ‘By god he’s done it’ I am grateful Ryder, so don’t misinterpret my still wanting you to suffer endlessly for ungratefulness, because I am oh so grateful, but forgiveness is not in my nature.”

“You dirty rotten louse! We had a deal, the deal was I kill Veeck then I never return to your kingdom. I upheld my end of the deal, now up hold yours! Send me back Issas, or you will be sorry,” he laughed out loud and slowly walked closer. I gripped the weapon I’d taken from Veeck’s body tightly as he strolled toward me, clearly unafraid. This plan was either going to work and Issas would die, or it would piss him off and I would, so either way it would be the end of an era.

“Are you going to make me pay fledgling? Though you have my utmost respect that magical amulet will not protect you from me. I could crush your bones to powder and laugh while I wait until you pull yourself back together so I can do all it again. You are nothing compared to me, you are…” his words were cut off as I drove the stake into his chest as deeply as I could; the point emerged through to his back. His eyes widened as he stumbled back his hands clawing at the stake. I watched calmly as his eyes met mine,

“I am your maker Issas, it was foolish to underestimate me”, his lips quirked in the smallest hint of a smile before flames erupted from his chest quickly swallowing him and soundlessly he was reduced to a pile of ash. Silence, the type only the dead can make followed. For the briefest of moments people looked at me like I was the avenging angel Michael himself. Then there was chaos. I barely escaped the coven with my life and fled across the country, holing up in a cave to heal. Only to find it was home to a nest of J’ba Fofi, have I ever mentioned I hated spiders. After  yet another close call with the giant arachnids, I went in search of a mage that could send me back to the elven realm. I searched for years, all whilst hunting creatures for coin and being pursued by those who would see me dead for my assassination of a royal; but all that effort was to no avail.

In the first week of the seventeen hundreds I boarded the first ship I could find to the new world. England was no longer safe for me and I could not spend my eternal life running like a coward. I had made a promise and until I was able to fulfil it I would continue to fight.

writing tips!

5 Aug

I have been thinking of giving writing tips for all you out there that like to write. Now I know getting writing tips from a slightly crazy dyslexic might seem like a bad idea but trust me it’s not.

Sure my grammar and spelling suck (it’s why I keep my best friend Lauren around!) but overall I do have some useful tips to help anyone who wants to write fiction. Be it for an assignment, or maybe you want to write a novel I can give some advice, I can’t promise it will always be good advice but it might help. At the moment I’m just thinking of ideas on what might be helpful but I’ll start off with one of the best tips I can think of at the moment.

Ideas are not linear things; they don’t always work in a straight line. Sometimes the best ideas aren’t even whole things. For example Stephenie Meyer, author of twilight, wrote that entire series from something she dreamed about. I think we all know how confusing some dreams can be. So down to the advice, if you have a good idea don’t disregard it because it’s only half an idea. Don’t disregard it because it seems insane, don’t disregard it because you think it won’t work, ideas are just that ideas they aren’t set in stone and they can be played with. I will probably go more into that in another post seeing that’s pretty vague but I couldn’t have a post called writing tips and not actually give any 🙂

and to finish it off here is a picture of my dog smiling over his new toy 😛

228880_10150741491530282_121259_n

he looks slight crazy like his owner, but he’s really not 😛

shan

Ryder’s Story: Chapter Fifteen

3 Aug

Chapter fifteen

 

Neither of the wolves would speak to me. They headed straight to the room they shared and ignore me completely. Silence was nothing new from Paul; he never spoke, but from Richard who talked incessantly, it was different, disturbing. I knew they thought I’d betrayed them. It was my fault they were here and as far as they knew killing Veeck was our only way home. But I would find another way, I swore it. In my business, the only reason a person that you are sent to ‘deal’ with remains breathing is if you aren’t. Usually I have no problem with that, but I was not about to give Issas what he wanted, not if I could help it. Killing Veeck wasn’t going to change anything, anyone turned by one of his original creations would still be a vampire. In truth, no matter what he’d done to them he’d never forced any of their hands and I knew full well that he could have. Issas would still kill me when I’d completed his task, no doubt Richard and Paul would suffer the same fate. If I truly believed killing Veeck would do more than benefit the Original’s I would do it, well at the very least I’d try. Because if I am to live as a vampire until something finally gets the better of me, I’d prefer that my life be as simple as possible.

 

I squandered an hour in the guest room before finally deciding to head to Garryn’s office. I fully intended to give him a piece of my mind, but before I even reached the necessary hallway someone grabbed my arm. It caught me off guard, the strength of my assailant caused me to stumble and I was dragged into a room. I quickly jumped to the defensive, managing to awkwardly roll away and get to my feet. My shoulder twinged painfully but it stopped as quickly as it started. As much as I hated being a vampire I will admit I was fond of a few things. The healing especially, because without it, pulling that move from the position I had might have incapacitated me, or at the very least hurt like hell. I let my fangs slip into place and had my sword drawn as soon as I was on my feet. Paul raised his hands and took a few steps back. I sheathed my weapon and retracted my fangs. I looked behind him for Richard, Paul never went anywhere without the other wolf, since he didn’t speak it was often a necessity, but this time he was alone. He glanced nervously at his feet, something I’d noticed he often did when having to interact with others.

 

“Paul?” I decided he needed some encouragement, he looked up slowly and I noticed for the first time he had blue eyes, not at all like his brothers green. He was clean shaven and quite handsome. I had never really been able to get close enough to have a good look at him. Paul normally stood as far as he could from anyone who wasn’t Richard. There was a scar that lined his top lip on the left side and also two more on his cheek, if I had to guess I’d say they looked like claw marks. They were so faint I knew they must have been old and I found it strange that I hadn’t noticed them before. His hair was lighter than Richards and cropped very short, at a glance you’d think his hair was blonde not red. He stuck a hand into his pocket and pulled out two pieces of paper. He handed me the first, briefly meeting my gaze, motioning for me to read it. So I did. Unfolding the crumpled note, I found it was a single line scrawled in scratchy handwriting. It was messy and misspelt, but I knew he’d written it.

 

I understand, Dick wil cum round, do wot you ave to

 

I looked up at him and spoke regardless of the fact I knew I wouldn’t get an answer. “You do?” his gaze met mine again and he gave a noncommittal shrug before handing me the other piece of paper. This one was crumpled like the other, though not as badly. The paper was thicker, different somehow and when I opened the neat perfectly written letter, I knew this one was not from Paul.

 

Vampire,

I know who you are,

I know why you’re here,

And I know about the deal you have with Veeck.

Nothing escapes the attention of the Seelie Court.

Should you wish for that information to remain secret, I would suggest that you think very carefully about future alliances. It would be in your best interest if we had this discussion in person.

You know how to find me,

By the brightest,

Drake

 

I re read the note another three times, shocked. If Garryn found out that I was conspiring with Veeck who knows what he would do and if he found out Eldrin had assisted me, it would only cement his belief that the boy would turn against him. I clenched the letter in my fist. It took me a few minutes to realise that I did in fact know how to find him, but I feared I’d be too late. I rushed from the room moving at full speed, something I rarely did, especially when in company. I came to a sudden halt as I nearly ran straight into Areoina. She screamed and jumped back, staring at me with wide eyes. I’d seldom spoken to any of Garryn’s other children, besides Eldrin but that was mostly because they seemed much too wary of me. Erryn stopped next to his sister and stared at me with an expression not unlike his fathers. Though he resembled Eldrin in most ways, despite slightly different colouring, there was no doubt in my mind who he took after. From what I’d gathered Areoina was the eldest child she appeared to be in her mid-teens. She was taller than both of her brothers and clearly well on her way to becoming a woman. Eldrin was the middle child, whereas Erryn, at least for now was the youngest. He looked no older than eight at the most if I had to guess.

 

“Have you seen your brother?’ I asked much too quickly, I’d not meant for my urgency to slip into my tone.

 

“He left,” Erryn’s small voice held enough contempt that it would have made his father proud.

 

“Where was he going? And how long since he departed?” I asked, hoping it was not too late to catch him. I knew if I tried to navigate those forests without a guide I would surely be lost for a good part of the next century.

 

“He had his bow, so I guess he was going hunting. He often hunts it’s the only thing he does that Father actually approves of,” it was Areoina who answered, her voice sincere no trace of contempt and I nodded my thanks.

 

“When did he leave love?” I glanced toward the door, knowing I would regret everything that was to follow but seeing no alternative.

 

“Just a moment ago, he can’t have gotten far,” I didn’t stick around to respond. As soon as she’d finished speaking I was gone. Darting through the streets, leaving elves confused and staring in my wake. The gate was drawing close as I approached and I hoped I was just behind him. Skidding to a stop I ordered the gate open. My sudden appearance startled the guards stationed on the battlement and one fired a silver tipped arrow at me. I stepped out of its path and scowled up at them with impatience.

 

“Quickly, I must catch the prince!” I commanded, knowing I had no right to but not caring in the slightest. The gate opened and I sped off again, catching Eldrin just before he reached the tree line. I felt slightly out of breath as I came to a stop, my lungs drew in the air as though my body needed it. My sudden arrival frightened Eldrin, he backed away quickly, stumbling and almost tripping, he righted himself, drew his bow and aimed with an arrow ready to fire as he steadied himself. I had to give the boy credit he was fast and evidently very familiar with the weapon. Just as quickly recognition crossed his features, he relaxed lowering the weapon and letting the tension off the string. He returned the arrow to the quiver slung across his back.

 

“I nearly shot you,” he said in a matter of fact tone, I shrugged it wasn’t like it was the first time today and I said as much to him. He looked as if he was going to question the other time but must have decided he didn’t care enough to bother. “So why are you appearing out of nowhere? Were you trying to test my skills with this thing?” he asked, I shook my head.

 

“No. I believe you, I come because of this; it seems I will be joining your little hunting trip.” I replied as I handed him the letter. It took longer than I would have expected for him to read it. Then realised how foolish I was being, he probably couldn’t read English and if he could it would be difficult. I read Latin, but sometimes it took me a while to figure out some of the words. I could see his jaw working and realised that he was grinding his teeth.

 

“I swear one of these days Drake is going to have an unfortunate accident that only I happen to witness. It’ll be a shame that they won’t find the body,” he said through gritted teeth. I tried to contain a laugh because for all I knew he was serious but I wasn’t too successful. He passed the letter back and stormed into the forest. It took little effort to catch up with him. He didn’t look at all happy. He was muttering about the other boy, using language that would make a whore blush.

 
“Eldrin I do not want to offend you, but may I ask you something?” I asked slowly unsure if I truly wanted to. I’d noticed a few things about the boy and my curiosity was getting the better of me.

 

“If you don’t mind getting an arrow between the eyes if I don’t like the question, sure go for it,” he said distractedly.

 

“Not at all. I was wondering what Drake actually is to you?”

 

“A pain, an annoyance, an irritation, a frustration, the list is endless Ryder take your pick,” he didn’t even bother to glance in my direction as he spoke.

 

”Not”That is not what I meant. What I meant was what is he to you? It is clear that the boy likes you Eldrin, in more than a friendly way,” Eldrin stopped walking and stared at me.

 

“What do you mean?” he asked, voice trembling. I froze; I’d thought that maybe Eldrin harboured similar feelings. I’d seen the way he’d look at Paul, Richard and I at times and it wasn’t admiration in his eyes. He’d blush like a fool if Paul glanced at him and even behind his clear distain for the fairy, I was sure there was still interest. I wasn’t the foremost expert on the subject but I’d had I few brothers at the monastery that had done the same. It was something that no one talked about; after all it was a sin, punishable by death in some places.

 

“Never mind, I over stepped,” I said quickly trying to cover my tracks.

 

“NO! Tell me what you mean Ryder!” the command was clear, the words left my mouth and I was powerless the stop them.

 

“He is in love with you Eldrin and I was just curious as to whether you felt the same way. I’ve seen the way you look at Paul. I was curious” I threw a hand over my mouth in an attempt to stop anything else from coming out. I was the last person to judge, my upbringing ensured that they only thing I was taught to hate was monsters, the usual rules didn’t apply.

 

“I think I like this new power,” he smirked and I narrowed my eyes at him. He did not appear upset but he didn’t respond either.

 

“I am sorry Eldrin,” I said and he looked perplexed and shrugged.

 

“Why? I’m not,” he said and kept walking. I stood puzzled for a moment before following.

We stopped in what to me seemed to be a random area of the woods. Eldrin propped himself against a tree, crossed his arms over his chest and tipped his head back closing his eyes. The clearing was indistinguishable from others I’d seen; I could hear the sounds of running water nearby and seeing as I had yet to see a river of any kind in my limited travels, I knew that we must be in an area I’d not ventured. There were no markers or anything of the kind to indicate this was a special place. We waited in silence and I could almost feel Eldrin mulling over my words in his mind. I knew that somehow he’d forced me to speak them, because if it had been my choice I would have lied, but I just couldn’t get over the fact that he had not been mad. I’d expected he would be angry. Of course my misjudgement of his reaction only showed me how very little I knew of his kind and I didn’t really need any proof of that.

 

We waited for a good ten minutes in total silence. Eldrin opened his eyes and looked around. My muscles tensed, I could feel the boy’s panic from where I stood. My jaw started to ache as I moved toward Eldrin, who was staring into the trees, it took me a few seconds to identify the scent that had caught my attention. It was blood, sweet, intoxicating blood. The blood of a fairy.

 

“Eldrin stay here,” I murmured, as I slowly walked in the direction of the smell. It was faint and I was having a hard time keeping track of it with all of the other scents around me.

 

“As if that’s going to happen,” muttered Eldrin as he followed after me. I motioned for him to stay behind me just in case there was any danger. The last thing I wanted was for to Eldrin to have to see his friend injured, or even worse, but someone was hurt and that someone was a fae, I could smell it. The smell was stronger as we broke into a small clearing. Signs of a fight were everywhere. Scorch marks on trees, arrows, even a body. Eldrin gasped as he saw it, I think we were both grateful to realise it was not Drake. I walked over to the body, a dark elf lying on the ground in a pool of blood. The male’s throat had been sloppily cut and if the bloody arrow was any indication, I’d say with an arrow head. Burnt flesh and bruising was evident on what skin I could see. Even though the smell of the elf’s blood was overwhelming, it was nothing like the fairy’s and I could still smell that faint trail. My gut told me it had been Drake who’d been attacked, he’d put up a good fight, but he was clearly injured and there’d been more than one attacker.

 

“Ryder!” yelled Eldrin snapping my attention to him. I was up and by his side in under a second. His shaking hand was clutching the corner and a bloody note that had been pinned to a tree with an ornate looking dagger. Eldrin’s face was ashen as he started at the note I couldn’t read. It was written in what I could only assume was elven. It was hard to believe the beautiful baroque script could hold something so sinister. His eyes glistened with terror and unshed tears and his hands shook as he tore the note down. “That’s Drake’s knife,” he whispered as I pulled the knife from the tree and studied it. It was a beautiful weapon though it was clearly more decorative than anything. Admittedly it was sharp, well balanced and wonderfully crafted, but a dagger like that was not meant to be driven through someone’s heart, even if it was capable.

 

“Eldrin what does it say?” I tucked the dagger into my belt hoping the sharp blade wouldn’t slice through the leather. Eldrin still pale, swallowed. His body trembled with terror and his voice shook as he spoke.

 

“They took Drake, they are going to kill him, to send a message,” he said softly.

 

“To who Eldrin, does it say where they took him, what do they want?” I asked trying to snap the boy out of it. This was no time for panic I needed answerers if I was going to save the fae boy. Eldrin stared at the note, clearly there was more that he had not told me, in horror. “Eldrin!”

 

“A message, they want to send a message! To his father, to his people…. To me”

 

“You?”  I could still smell the faintest hint of Drake’s blood. Maybe if we were lucky I’d be able to track it to him. But I needed to know their motives, having insight on your opponent never hurts in a fight.

 

“Yes Ryder to me! They took drake to get to me! To show me they could and to show me what’s to come if I don’t join them,” he snapped looking distraught. I glanced around zeroing in on the trail, it was getting clearer by the second, now that I knew what to look for.

 

“Go for help, Eldrin, get the fae, they will be more inclined to send help, I’ll get the boy,” I ordered and he shook his head.

 

“No they want me, I’m coming, please Ryder I can’t let Drake die because of  me,” I clenched my jaw. I’d learnt that no matter what I said or did Eldrin would follow if he wanted to. It would be safer if he were by my side, where I could watch him, rather than trailing along behind. Though it would be considerably slower and time was of the essence. Seeing no other way I nodded and knelt to his level.

 

“Stay with me, be quite and above all do what I tell you. I will not see either of you die this day, do you understand? They want either of you dead they will have to kill me first. Now snap out of it and come on, we are wasting time.” He quickly nodded in agreement and squared his shoulders, stuffing the note into one of his pockets. Silently as possibly the two of us weaved through the trees. I was impressed by the ease in which the boy moved, his steps made no sound and he could disappear among the trees within a second. If I didn’t know better I would have sworn he was trained for this kind of thing. Not even I was capable of such feats when I was alive.

The smell grew stronger as we drew closer. We picked up our pace, I could only assume Eldrin’s ability to blend into the forest was something all the elven people shared so when the two of us burst into a large clearing I had no idea what to expect.

 

We both froze our gazes pinned on the sole tree in the middle of the clearing. It was at least fifty feet tall, the trunk and bark was the colour of the sky. The silk like leaves glowed brightly and seemed to float on the branches, but that wasn’t what had stopped us dead. About half way up, nailed to the trunk with what looked like iron pegs, was Drake. His head drooped and blood, thick and royal blue dripped from him. His once bright rainbow coloured wings were dull and black, the iron spikes driven through them to hold him in place. Eldrin cried out and ran toward the boy. I followed suit, I didn’t know much about the fae but if those pegs were indeed iron, we might already be too late. With a grace and easy that looked almost effortless Eldrin sprang to the lowest branch and started climbing with impressive speed. He reached the other boy in only a matter of seconds and I stood at the base below them looking up. Eldrin pulled the pegs from the boy’s wings and he fell limp and lifeless toward the ground. I moved to catch him and the boy landed heavily in my arms. I set him to the ground, the smell of his blood was thick and rich, my fangs slid from my gums almost expectantly. It was like nothing I’d ever smelt before and I wanted it so badly it hurt. My mouth ran dry and my throat burnt as I listened for a pulse, before I felt for it. He had been worked over pretty well and silver lines littered his skin from the poisonous iron tearing through his veins. His head lolled and his body was limp but he was alive.

 

“No Drake!” Eldrin landed in a crouch next to us, dropping to his knees and taking the other boy from me. He patted his face gently, begging him to wake up through the tears streaming down his face. I looked away unable to watch, the pain in the young boy’s face was heart breaking. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, I lied, all those time I said I never liked you, I lied. I was just scared. You are my only friend Drake, please don’t leave me alone,”

 

“Eldin….” Was all I managed. My voice was rough with emotion as I fought back my own tears. I knew that pain, I knew it all too well and I hated that he had to experience it.

 

“Drake, please! Wake up and I swear I’ll be nicer to you; I’ll even come over when you ask…. Just don’t die, please, don’t leave me,” I knew we needed to get the boy help, but Eldrin was the only one who knew where that help was and he was in no shape to get us there. I looked around, but I knew it was useless we were alone and I had no idea where we were. Drake was dying, Eldrin was heartbroken and I was furious. I’d warned Veeck not to force my hand; I had warned him I would not hesitate to retaliate; having an innocent young boy nailed to a tree, more than constituted as forcing my hand. Veeck was going to die, even if I had to die to achieve it, he would pay. Drake’s laboured breathing turned into coughing and Eldrin let out a small relieved laugh as the other boy regained consciousness. His dark eyes fluttered open, his body curled in as he coughed, blue blood speckling his lips.

 

“Eldrin, ”he croaked the word barely audible. Eldrin’s shoulders sagged as he held the other boy tighter relief washing over him in waves. “You saved me,”

 

“I’m sorry this is my fault,” he sobbed and the other boy shook his head. He went to say something but to my surprise, Eldrin leant down and kissed him stopping his response. I stared at them taken aback. Though I’d suspected as much it was still surprising to see I was right. When Eldrin pulled away the faintest hint of a smile could be seen through the pain on the other boys face.

“No! Areoina, they….. I was a distraction; they’re going to take your sister. They wanted the two of you occupied so you wouldn’t stop them. They know how close you are to her and he’s worried about the vampire,” I looked to Eldrin alarmed, had we not come after Drake, he would have died, but because of our actions, my actions, now Areoina might.

 

“Quickly Ryder you must warn father! Run straight ahead and you will come to the city gates, please help her. I’ll get Drake to the court, to his people, they will send their knights. Please save my sister and Ryder promise me you’ll kill Veeck” I nodded and stood.

 

“I will,” I turned to leave but Drake grabbed my leg. A burning pain shot through it and I almost cried out. He released me, his hand falling to the ground.

 

“You saved my life, I will not forget that. You will forever be a knight among my people, it is the highest honour I can bestow…” he coughed up more blood and took a few gasping breaths motioning to my belt. “The knife…. Twist the hilt, the pommel is an amulet. It will protect you from his magic and the blade, it will kill him. It is yours my friend.” Eldrin reached up to his neck and removing the chain he wore tossing it to me.

 

“Here for the amulet, now go!” I snatched the chain from the air and ran at full speed in direction he’d pointed. Hoping I hadn’t saved one innocent only to lose another.