BLOOD MOON RISING
Youkai Fire Fox
This is how you remind me, this is how you remind me of what I really am... - NickelBack
985 A.D The West Central Coast, Scotland
“Dragons! Dragons on the horizon! Deliver us, oh, God! Dragon ships sail the horizon.”
Gabriel De`Mont heard the cry while studding the delicate gold workings of an Irish artist at the spring market. Natrainia was at his side; she had let out a soft cry of delight at the beauty of a jeweled cross. Having just haggled over the price of the work with the artisan, Gabriel had barely hooked the piece around her neck when he heard the alarm. He looked up sharply. From where he stood, he just sees the high mast of the ship coming into view above the cliffs before harbor.
It was the year of our lord 985 A.D., and he was well aware of the meaning of the dragon ships on the horizon. Like that, many Scots men along the coast, his blood was mixed with those earlier invaders, mainly Norman, English, Asian and other reneges that joined the empires. Though the attacks had somewhat lessened in the last fifty years, they still came frequently.
There were great riches to be found on this coast, for like the many colonies across the sea, the people here, led by priests and their students, were undergoing a great age in gilded manuscripts. Beautifully crafted books the priest labored so hard to produce. Necklaces, earrings, rings and more riches of the villagers who strived to rebuild their home.
Screams went up, rising higher and higher on the wind, which suddenly seemed to blow with an omen of what was to come. Fire began to rise from houses, canopies fell, and Gabriel gripped his wife by the shoulders. “Go!” he told her.
Her eyes met his. They were a brownish-green color, as beautiful as a jade stone. They met his with a simple understanding. She was to run to the cliffs; as wife of the Chieftain and proud member to her husband’s family crest of Korin she would gather other women and children as best she could, and stay away until danger was over. Gabriel was a warrior who carried the royal crest of Korin, servant to the ancient kings, and Gods, he was a strong man and a proud fighter. He would do what men too often did by giving their lives to save their woman, and the greatest contribution to the fight would be for her to leave him with the assurance that she was safe.
Natrainia rose on her toes, and kissed his lips. “Husband!” she said softly. Then she spun around, calling out that others must follow her.
“Stand ready and brave, sons of Korin!” Gabriel cried out, reminding them of the ‘God-like’ warrior king to draw the great tribes of the Ancient’s together as one nation. Korin, Rekka, Tenko, Kongo and Suiko were the tribes and crest of families that ruled by the side of the Ancient’s nations. Korin ruled along with the nations of Ancient Scots.
“Stand!” Gabriel roared again, running through the crowd to reach his great gray warhorse. He mounted while drawing his No-Datchi. The huge horse reared, and he allowed it the freedom, drawing the attention of his people to him. “Stand!” he shouted again. “Stand---or die! And give over the heathens all that is yours!”
His cry roused the courage of his men. They ceased to run like scattered ashes, those who had fought as warriors before came to their arms and their horses, and those who were farmers and herders went for their pikes and weapons. “Archers, to the cliffs!” he ordered, and though the wind blew and a clap of thunder raged across the sky, there was an order as men rushed to as he had bidden.
Viking ships neared. There were three of them. Each dragon-powed and filled with men. “Now!” he cried to his men who had scrambled up the craggy rock to attack the foe while still at sea.
Arrows flew. Vikings, startled by such a land attack, screamed. And many died.
“Again!” He shouted. More arrows flew and again invaders died.
But not enough.
The ships had reached harbor. The enemy plunged off their ships into the shallow waters.
Gabriel rode out to meet the coming foes.
It was then that he saw her.
She stood at the bow of one of the great ships, as straight, defiant and as fierce as the dragon-headed ship.
Beneath a rich coat of fur, she wore a gown as black as the raven’s wings. The clothes stuck to her like a second layer of skin, flowing in the wind. Her sliver hair cascaded over her shoulders, blowing around her.
But his eyes were drawn to her face. Wide, sparked with the fire of battle—and amusement.
She ignored the arrows that passed her head, ignored the screams of her men, the agony of the dying.
He turned away from her and began hacking and slicing those who would unhorse him. The attackers lay before him. He tensed for the next assault. He looked again at the ship and saw her watching him, her lips curled with amusement. The fight was great entertainment for her.
He hadn’t realized that he had not been able to draw his eyes away from her hers until men assaulted him from the rear. His horse kicked and reared, smacking a man in the head, instantly killing him with the impact of the horse’s hooves. Half a score of men were upon him now. Despite his experience in the saddle and fury with his sword, he was dragged from his giant animal. He struggled, slashed out, and when he lost his sword, he fought with fist. His attackers dragged him down in the water, his lungs began to burst, and he fought free. Fumbling in the frigid water at the shoreline, he found his sword. He stumbled up. The cold water chilled the small coat he wore, swelled in his boots and pants like heavy weights. Bursting from the surface, he saw that he was surrounded.
Worse. With his back to the ships, his eyes on the shoreline, he saw the Vikings had broken the farmers. He and his men had fought well, but there had been too many of the enemy, and not enough time for help to come from up or down the coast, or inland.
And they had caught up with the fleeing woman and children.
“Give over Chieftain, and we will let them live.” He heard her voice. She spoke Scots Gaelic with a deep husky tone.
Oddly, she was no longer on the ship, but stood before him. Or seemed to stand. The hem of her gown appeared to ride above the water. He had thought he must have received a horrible blow to his head, because she seemed to be floating above water.
“What guarantee?” he demanded.
She arched a brow, still very amused. She turned back to the shore with a shrug.
“Free the children…let those flat-footed farmers there run with them. Let go the silly peasants and lasses there, and the women…..except for that one.”
She had pointed to Natrainia.
Could she recognize the wife of the chieftain?
“That one!” she commanded to one of her warriors. “Take that one and behead her, so that he will know we have no mercy.”
His heart slammed against his chest. “Let her go, or I swear I will kill you myself. I too can have no mercy.”
She looked back at him, a winged silver brow rising. “Warrior of Korin, I do find you…curious.” She said. The sound of laughter in her voice. “Let us barter with the warrior here. He desires it, so leave the lass her head!” she ordered.
“Gabriel! Give over nothing for me! Barter nothing for my life!” Natrainia cried fiercely.
“She asks to die!” the woman said.
“Don’t touch her!” He commanded. The woman smiled slowly. “I will try to refrain,” the woman said.
“Now—give your sword,”
“Let her go with the rest of them,” he said, indicating his wife. The woman watched him a long moment, then walked toward him. It seemed that she barely stirred the water. He did not believe in such things, but God, she walked over the water.
Sorceress! She was some kind of witch. She practiced magic, the darker kind.
“You do not need her,” the woman told him. “You will have me.”
Illusions! He reminded himself. Deny her!
“I have no need for a witch such as you.” Her smile deepened.
And he did. She had power. There was something about her…something that created a fire in him, a hunger unlike any he had known. He wanted to touch her. With his wife, whom he adored, standing before him, with an audience of warriors and farmers and children, with God above him…he wanted her.
He fought for his senses. “Let her go. Let her run after the children then.”
She looked at him, her eyes amused.
“Tell me to come with you.”
“Invite me…to know you.”
“Know me, milady, have what you want; do what you will. But let the woman go!”
Her smile deepened with wicked triumph and she turned. “Let her go.”
His eyes met Natrainia’s. God, how he loved his wife! Her eyes, her laughter, the softness of her voice, her quest of knowledge, her love for books, learning, art….
He inclined his head. Run! Help me fight for my own life, knowing you wait for me. His wife held his eyes a moment longer. Then she ran after the children. He knew the Viking warriors could easily run after them again. The Viking crew knew it, too.
“The woman has gone,” the silver-haired witch announced; then she turned to Gabriel, irritated at last. “Perhaps I should take your fool head to prove to all that we will take what we want?”
He stared at her, his anger a sudden wall against her. “Perhaps someone should take ‘your’ fool head, and you’ll see that the world is not your playground alone.”
“Your sword Korin.” She said.
He held still.
“Is your word no good then?” she demanded. Slowly he stretched out his arm. His sword fell into the water. It glittered beneath it. She nodded and started to walk away. He heard a noise to his rear. He spun around. Vikings had moved behind him. He felt a crack of steel against his head, and went crashing down into the water. Pain went into a land of darkness…
He knew that he remained in a strange place, a place of darkness, as time passed, eons of time. Dreams began, and he fought those dreams. He ached; he burned, from head to toe.
I will heal you She was there. The silver-haired witch. His teeth gritted. Get away, vile, fetid witch
Her laughter seared him. I will heal you, as you never have known yourself healed. I will give you strength you have not ever imagined. You invited me.
Ah, but you did invite me… Then, he knew a pain that caused him to scream like a child, like a woman, fierce and exquisite, horrible and thrilling, climactic and terrible. Sweat covered his body, pleasure—deep, decadent, shameful—wound up with the pain. He was strangling in the length of her silver hair, in agony, shuddering with desire, and still, he was certain none of it could be real. It was a nightmare.
In the days that followed, Gabriel learned what ‘Jacqueline’ created…a ‘vampire’. He learned how to feed, master his strength, as well as become her lover. Though he would admit he craved her, he never loved her. They left his Island, moving across the ocean with no knowledge of the routes that were planned for the journey…. Gabriel had dreamed of running away, to his beloved wife but Jacqueline had warned she would follow and destroy him as well as his wife. Deep down….. he knew she would; and could. Her strength was much more than anything he had ever seen. She was among the oldest vampires in the world and wisest.
Gabriel strayed away from Jacqueline as the days went by. Refused to make love to her, refused to see her and refused to obey. He became defiant, to the point where he would not feed.
One day he awoke to a commotion outside the ship. They had docked somewhere ashore. When he crawled from under his hiding, he had seen that they had returned to his homeland. A horror crawled at his heart…they were attacking! Jacqueline sidestepped the carnage. She had reached the shore, running with the children.
She seized Natrainia.
“Jacqueline!” He cried her name in rage, ready to head for the shore. But the battle had ended, the monsters victorious. Before he could reach land, Jacqueline returned to the ship, her men dragging his wife with them to the platform. Brining Natrainia aboard, wet and shaking. Jacqueline forced her before him.
“Natrainai!” He name was a whisper on his lips, a caress. She smiled a smile that promised him love never died. Her eyes were on him. Her beautiful –brown-green eyes, trusting, still, -- ~oh, God~ --trusting him, his word, his thoughts….
“She dies tonight, chieftain,” Jacqueline said. She was to his wife’s right, and just behind her. She lifted Natrainia’s lush of hair. Then Jacqueline smiled, and started to part her lips, salivating.
He rushed forward, amazed at his own strength; he moved like the wind, like the power of the earth, with the fury of thunder. He caught her before her lips could rip into his wife’s throat.
And they began to battle…
He caught her by the hair and waist, tossing her hard from her would-be feast; she faltered, and stood. Then, rushing him, she struck him with such power that his head rocked. He was thrown hard to the ground. He staggered up, catching her by the waist, swinging her around. She kicked him in the chin, spun, and struck him hard so that he heard his bones snap. Both desperate and enraged, he slammed his fist into her midsection, and as she doubled over, he finished with a blow to her jaw.
Again, he heard bones snap. Hers, this time, rather than his own. She screamed, shrieked, crippled with the pain. The whole of the crew on board the vessel stood dead still, watching. She looked at him, and then turned, plummeting down the length of the vessel, straight for his wife.
She tackled Natrainia. With him flying after her, hot on her heels, she hadn’t a prayer for the seconds she needed to tear her teeth into his wife.
Yet she would not be defeated. She flew at Natrainia, catching her with fierce power that sent her toppling over the bow of the ship.
And the sea. Gabriel flew to the bow, grappling Jacqueline, seizing her with such strength that when he threw her to the floor of the vessel, she stayed down.
However, it did not matter. Natrainia had gone into the sea. He crawled to the edge of the rail, ready to leap after his wife, who had disappeared beneath the swells of the sea.
He never found her. Natrainia was gone…forever.
1995 A.D Japan
Seiji glared at her with burning, reproachful eyes. “You bitch!”
She laughed viscously and shrugged. “You know the rest. Gabriel De`Mont became a Viscount some decades later. I found him again.” She sighed amused. “And because of his great loss for his wife he no longer existed. He was cold, viscous, a killer.” She smiled proudly. “He was mine. He no longer had a heart…he was black as death.”
Seiji growled at her. “You killed him!”
She shook her head regretfully. “No…he killed himself….took his own life along with the prostitute. All the blood was his and hers. A vampire carries a larger amount of blood than a mortal does from all the feeding we devour.”
Her golden eyes came to study his enrage face. She smiled in approval at his reaction. “But now…..Gabriel has returned….”
A time will come when I will rule. And I will know what I am, a creature, a monster, a hunter, but there will be rules to hunt, and they will be followed, and there will be a reason, and sanity, even within the horror.
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