The Vampire Hunter’s Academy

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Viper Returns

Staring into the hazel brown eyes of the woman who used to fuck the man you are in love with is not fun. Had it not been for the fact that Michael is damn near comatose, I am certain that this encounter would have led to a fight to the death. Tall, lean, with a thick head of naturally curly raven hair that hung loosely past her shoulders; full cherry red lips, high cheek bones set atop a perfectly symmetrical face-yeah, I will give Michael his props. She is taller than me by almost a foot, and as she glared at me with hatred oozing from her pores, I knew this is a bad idea… Scotland is a long ways from here, and the last thing I want to do is travel abroad with a bitter bitch.

“Where is he?” She demanded, pushing past me, barely giving me time to step to the side.

“Let’s make one thing clear bitch,” I say through clenched teeth. “The only reason why you were called is because I do not know how to heal him.”

She stops mid-step and turns to face me, her expression unreadable.

“It figures vampire,” she says coolly. “What knowledge would you possess on healing Vampire Hunters? We kill your kind and have proven ourselves to be effective at doing it.”

“Yeah, well for you to be so effective I don’t see too many of you around-“

–“I don’t think it is best that you accompany us to Scotland,” she snaps coldly.

“I didn’t ask you to come here to think.”

She glares at me. “Just because you walk in the sun does not mean you cannot be killed,” she threatened, her tone menacing and filled with murderous promise.

“I have killed werewolves, vampires older than me, and monsters among men,” I warn inching closer to her, “which means I will have no problem killing you. I am trying to get this man to Scotland so he could receive the help that he needs. Now if I am willing to risk my own survival with full understanding that I will be surrounded by very old and experienced Vampire Hunters that should tell your silly ass something. “

We glare at each other in a heated stand- off that extended past just a few minutes, and it was her who decided to stand down.

“Just watch your step vampire,” she threatens, and returned her attention to Michael, whose coloring had turned to a ghastly white. “So he was bitten by a werewolf AND a vampire?” She quizzed, pulling the sheet back and examining the wound.

“No. He was bitten by a werewolf/vampire hybrid,” I say, feeling slightly annoyed at having to re-explain what had transpired prior to her arrival.

“That cannot be…” she said quietly.

“Well it is. Even vampires are experimenting in the scientific communities now.”

She replaces the covers over him. “I don’t know how we are going to be able to transport him by plane to Scotland. He is gravely ill, and one look from the flight attendants and he will be asked to leave.”

“And not to mention that he is a wanted suspect for a series of what humans refers to as murders in Florida. He would never make it past the TSA,” I add shaking my head.

“And how the hell did he end up a wanted man ? He is the most honorable man I know and he wouldn’t dream of getting caught up in the likes of …” She scans me up and down. “…in the likes of your world.”

She has one more time to cross me with another slick ass comment before this whole thing becomes a wrap. “Clearly you don’t know him as well as you wished you did,” I snap. “And if he is so honorable then why the hell haven’t you seen him in how many centuries?”

She glowers at me, before focusing her gaze on Michael. Her eyes soften at the sight of him in such a vulnerable state.

“Because we were both young and reckless at the time…and incredibly foolish. I always knew that I would come back to him at some point…”

Irritated doesn’t even begin to cover the desire to rip her head off of her shoulders. I glare at her, fangs lengthening by the second.

“Well I hate to break it to you,” I say lethally. “But he is taken.”

“By you?” She scoffs in disbelief. “What possible future could he have with you?”

“One that he clearly didn’t want with you, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this position now would we?”

Game over. She says nothing more and looks longingly at Michael before reaching into a small sack that he held tied around her waist, pulling out a handful of herbs and then gently placing them on top of the wound. Her expression was incredibly pained, and from what I could gather full of regret. I suppose in her mind Michael was the one that got away, but what she fails to understand is that the feeling is not mutual. He grimaces, and his eyes flicker open in surprise of her appearance, and then he returns back to a peaceful sleep.

“That should help draw out some of the pain,” she says softly.

“What is that?” I ask curiously.

“Hunters Bane. It is an herb that is grown in the lands of Scotland, Ireland and even in certain parts of Africa. We use it to help us heal faster.”

We watch as he sighs in relief even in his sleep, and I wonder if perhaps keeping him here would serve all of our interests. I may not have to travel all the way to Scotland after all, especially if I can locate enough Hunters Bane from one of these off the market herb stores that offer holistic alternatives that give humans a false sense of hope in the art of healing.

“We have to get him out of here,” I say out loud. “As much as I would like to keep him comfortable in this hotel room, we just raided the lair of one of the most notoriously feared vampires the world has seen, and I expect there to be an army after me.”

Rowena shoots me a quick look before returning her gaze to Michael.

“He can come with me. I have plenty of places to shelter him. Considering the fact that you are responsible for this man’s current condition, transporting him to Scotland would probably kill him. I can contact his parents and the rest of the elders and have them meet me-“

“You have got to be out of your goddamn mind if you think I am going to allow you to take him anywhere alone,” I growl between clenched fangs.

“Tread carefully vampire,” Rowena whispers with a hint of poison. “It is because of you that he is even in this predicament-“

“And it will be because of me that he lives. You are here because of me. You would have never known he was in need of help had I not reached out to you-“

Suddenly, there is a crash just beyond the hallway. Both of us key in, our sense on high alert, and I detect the disgustingly potent smell equivalent to that of a wet dog: werewolf.

She looks at me, her green eyes littered with distrust.

“We have to get out of here,” I say. “Now.”

“How are we going to transport him without us being seen?” She asks, her gaze dancing between myself and Michael.

“I can transport him through vapor. You just have to tell me where to go,” I say moving quickly towards the bed where I bundle him into the blankets.

“And where does that leave me?” She demands.

“You’re a huntress,” I say, gently lifting possibly one of the largest men in the history of the world into my arms. His pain filled groans tug at my heart, threatening my concentration. “I am sure you can handle yourself just fine. Now, where did you park?”

I can taste the shift in the electricity that saturates the air. Familiar howls, and snarls from shifting werewolves are approximately ten feet away from the hotel room in which we stand.

“Listen,” I say firmly. “We don’t have time for bullshit. We have to leave now. Where the fuck did you park so I-we can get this man to safety!”

“I am parked underground in the black Lexus truck,” she says quickly.

“Take the window. It’s about a thirty foot vertical drop. Once you hit the ground, there is a side door which leads to the underground parking structure. Meet you there in 20 seconds.” With that I dematerialize with Michael in tow.

“More like 15,” I hear Rowena whisper as she rushes to the window and takes a sprawling leap.

Traveling through the vapor, I see how we managed to leave just in time, because as soon as Rowena makes it out of the window, the double latched door goes flying off the hinges and in comes three massive wolves, fresh from transition with fangs dripping with frothy white saliva. The news of Lucas’ Barnes death clearly travels fast, and with that in mind, I move Michael and I through the airwaves and materialize in front of Rowena’s truck just as she came running into the parking structure. She unlocked the door and started hit the ignition button that is on her key chain, and I gently ease Michael into the backseat, strapping him in. Rowena is already in the front seat, and there is a brief moment in her gaze where I can tell she is debating on pulling off without me or not, however I am not about to give this bitch one second of wishful thinking because I am strapped in the passenger seat before she can complete the thought. She scowls but hits the accelerator and we speed out of the underground garage and onto the busy streets of New Orleans.

 

 

Viper Book 2 Teaser 2

In the Light of Darkness: The Grey Chronicles of Dawn

He was not supposed to love me. As a matter of fact he is not supposed to protect me. He was supposed to murder me as was ordered by the Queen years ago. I am supposed to be dead-a thousand times over and yet here I stand ready to fight another day. I have fought. I have died. I have killed. But, I have yet to be extinguished. He lives and therefore I am. And yet, we run. We will continue running until her entire line has been exterminated and I am finally free. I cannot help what I am nor did I ask to be born and still, she hates me.

They say stay in the light!

I say run from it.

They say reject the darkness.

I say embrace it.

The Queen of light has tasted the bitter sweet nectar of vengeance and she loves it. She is the hunter and I am her prey. But in all stories, there is a beginning and an end; there is good, there is bad, there is wicked and there is kind…but there is a special brand of evil that deceives even its own self…an evil that has convinced itself that the light that it bears makes it inherently and unquestionably good.

There is black. There is white. And then…

There is me.

She is coming for me. She is the blizzard that blots out all shades of color; destroying everything in its path, freezing it to its core and stripping away everything encoded in its DNA until there is no sight, no sound, no warmth…just the hum of the freezing cold and the soul of the barren.

Beware the light. There is safety in the shadows…

 

Prologue

In the beginning there was oblivion: an absence of light, sound, and life. Darkness was the companion of the Infinity, the beginning and end, the creator and destroyer of worlds…The Supreme Being. And then, from the darkness, a small spark of light grew and The Infinity watched with amusement as this tiny form began to take shape, separating the darkness and separating itself from the oblivion until The Infinity found himself the center of opposing forms which vied for his attention. The two forces warred with each other, competing for the attention and approval of The Infinity until finally they were separated and each given a certain portion of time to hold the attention of The Infinity. The Infinity called one Day and the other, Night and bestowed upon each their own gifts so as to amuse themselves whenever one or the other were not in His presence. And then, one day The Infinity expanded the darkness further beyond the realms of oblivion, and decorated it with solid forms of varying circular and three dimensional shapes that could not be seen through such a thick blanket of darkness. And so, The Infinity took from the Light and scattered across the darkness countless numbers of dusts of white hot heat that shown brightly whenever Light disappeared to entertain The Infinity.

And then, the Light became sentient as did the darkness, both sides peeling themselves from the backdrop of what no longer what they’d been. Both left their imprint in the skies and beyond while The Infinity watched with idle curiosity with full knowledge of all of the limitless possibilities that intertwined with the fates of The Light and The Dark and the next level of creation He had yet to call forth from His essence. And while the newly developed life forms of archaic knowledge evolved into powerful beings capable of their own creation, The Infinity created Man, sculpting them in His image and likeness and granting them dominion over the newly formed world-their own kingdom to rule while He would watch over them. He assigned the newly sentient beings a single responsibility: to watch and to protect these humans, for other beings formed as a byproduct of His creations and sought to destroy everything He created.

For centuries, the Light and the Dark guarded the humans with vigilance until one fateful day, the strongest of the Darkness, a being by the name of Han violated the Law of the Higher Realm by appearing during the Day in the human world, causing a solar eclipse as he watched the barbaric atrocities that humans committed against the other. He frowned in disgust as he witnessed armies of mindless, human males seize a smaller village of peoples, one by one and decided that he would not act as a Watcher for mankind. His black eyes blazed with indignation and prideful fury of being subjected to a keeper of men who were not worthy to rule a kingdom of their own. He concluded humans did not deserved to rule; but to be ruled.

The solar eclipse signaled the Light of the breach and therefore triggered a series of irrevocable events that lead to the separation and creation of the two houses: House of Light and the House of Dark. From the House of Light, the strongest of the beings was elected to rule as King and upon his election he selected his Queen-another powerful being of Light and the strongest of the female class. From the House of Dark, Han emerged as the sole ruler without the benefit of a Queen to rule by his side. The House of Light banished the House of Dark from entrance into the human world, prompting a millennia long war between the two houses. The House of Light claiming victory, and forgetting the values from which they originally stood and took form in the presence of humans across the globe and became “gods” in the eyes of men.

Furious and not willing to succumb to defeat, the Han and his armies of darkness infiltrated the human realm, destroying everything in its wake. He ordered the capture and execution of beings of Light, and a bounty for the capture of the King of Light. Millions of humans died by the order of Han’s decree, and with their new found kingdom on the brink of extinction, the Queen of Light called forth a great flood washing away all traces of Darkness, but unfortunately nearly wiping out the entire human population.

Angered by the ambitions of His creations, and disgusted by their constant warfare, The Infinity commanded that both houses cease their warfare and demanded that they form a truce. The House of Darkness scoffed at the idea of a truce with his greatest enemy, but even he understood there was no other choice to be made. And so, the House of Light and the House of Dark signed the first peace treaty in the history of the realms that would last for only but a few centuries.

Peace could never be eternal when chaos remained king.

The House of Light returned to their thrones high above the human realm, and the Queen of Light surprised her court the birth of the first heir to the kingdom, a son whom they named Orion and the first of a line of powerful Light Beings. The news of his birth reached the ears of Hans, who went into a jealous rage within the Dark realm of which he ruled. With no queen or any female counterpart to couple with, he could never replenish the ranks of the his armies. And besides the replenishing of fallen men, he suffered a loneliness and a yearning for the tender touch of a beauty that would carve her heart with his name. And despite his hatred for the House of Light, he could not deny that the Queen was a beauty that could not be explained in any language by any tongue. Fair and delicate features with eyes that blazed with valiance and golden truth, lips blushed with rose with a natural fullness that when pulled back even into a hateful grin could bring a man or being to his knees. Her hair cascaded in a river of gold to the center of her back. There’d been many a time when he considered kidnapping her for his own pleasure, and now that she’d blessed her king with a son was too much.

Disguising himself as a mortal, he infiltrated the earth realm unguarded and fell into the heart and bed of a human woman, after enticing her with every charm at his disposal and within months she gave birth to the first of his many descendants. Unbeknownst to the House of Light, he courted hundreds of women, but only selecting 13 of what he considered to be the most desirable and it was not until the Legend of the 13 Concubines reached the ears of the House of Light that the treaty was broken and war continued. From these 13 Concubines came the 29 of his descendants: humans with all of the powers of darkness, combined with the infallible human spirit who would later become known as The Greys. The Queen, horrified by the abominations that were plaguing her human subjects, conferred with her husband, who decided not to destroy the new race of humans that were being bred in their midst. Infuriated with her husband’s decree of diplomacy, she sought the skillset of a well-known and rogue assassin from the House of Dark, and with the promise of a seat in her kingdom, under the blinding secrecy of the light, the King of the House of Light was murdered, and the assassin forced to take the blame was executed by the now adult son of the Queen. Without a King, the House of Light became strictly matriarchal by her edict, and so began the call for the House of Light to seek and destroy any and every human reported with supernatural powers and abilities to preserve the kingdom that the Queen had grown to love.

But the Greys fought back and they fought hard against the Warriors of Light to the delight of the King of Dark, Han. Next to his pure blood warriors the Greys proved to be formidable against the House of Light, equaling in their numbers of casualties. But then, The Infinity moved His Hand against the House of Dark and imprisoned Han and his armies in a hole of impenetrable darkness, leaving his children, The Greys alone and without his defense. With Han incapacitated, The House of Light swept through the human populations, eradicating the Greys by the thousands until they no longer bred and no longer thrived…with the exception of a small clan that learned to live in secrecy. They successfully hid from the Queen and her Warriors throughout the centuries until one fateful day when the first female Grey was born in decades. Having been born of a pure blood Dark father and a half blood mother from the House of Light, she is destined to reunite the Houses by freeing her ancestral father according to prophecy.

The Queen watched and waited and once the news of her birth was sung across the dimensions she dispatched her warriors to locate the child and extinguish it. Han sat quietly in the surrounding and impenetrable darkness and smiled, “It has begun.”

 

Available May 22, 2016

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New Characters and New Stories

It has been almost a year since I posted any blogs relating to my writing. But worry not, the drought is over. Changes have been taking place over the course of my life that forced me to redirect my focus on strengthening my craft, which brings us to this: I will release five new books before the year is over. And if you think I am kidding, follow me over to the next few blogs for samples of what is to come.

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Blind Salvation: Damien

Prologue

Damien

Damien once again found himself buried to the hilt between the legs of another superficial, and mind numbingly boring female. How many did he bang this month? 19? And what was her name again? Last night it was a brunette with the perky breasts and the nonstop chatter, and tonight a curvy red head with the killer legs. She moaned as he pushed her legs forward, ankles above her head and continued to pummel her insides until she cried out, bearing full length fangs and sunk those pearly whites deep into his shoulder, sending an orgasmic shockwave through his body and forcing him to pour himself into her. As a reflex, he returned the bite, deep into that dainty little jugular of hers and took back what he unwillingly gave and when all was said and done, he rolled off of her quickly and made his way into the shower to wash away tonight’s memory.

The female lazily lolled about under the sheets, hoping for another round and after Damien had finished showering, he anxiously disappointed her when he reappeared in her bedroom fully clothed and a disinterested glance. She sighed. She knew what time it was when it came to Prince Damien of the Draco Line. Here he was with a destiny as great as the stars that graced the night sky; killer looks, and sexual stamina that could match the gods and yet he still found no female worthy of his affections. She had hoped like so many other females of the aristocracy that she could be the one, and maybe just maybe if she offered her body, he would offer his heart. Unfortunately for her, she knew that she was just like the hundreds of other females that whoever female he chose would have to be a little more than just pretty to seal her fate with his.

“So, that’s it? You’re just going to leave without as much as –“

”-A what? A thank you? A gift card?” Damien said without remorse as he searched for his keys. The female said nothing more as she watched him slip his feet into his black Steve Madden’s. “

You don’t have to be so damn rude Damien,” she snapped, covering herself in her white sheets.

“I just wanted to make sure that there was no misunderstanding about where this night would lead,” he said nonchalantly.

“I don’t deserve to be treated like this,” she hissed. And that is when Damien noticed that the female was remarkably beautiful, with her long red hair and dazzling green eyes. His father would have definitely approved. But still, he was not interested.

“You don’t act like it. Females of the aristocracy always act as if they are so above everyone else; that you are the cream of the fucking crop when it comes to beauty, brains, and morality and half of you are so far past your maidenhood you would have to take a survey just to figure out how many partners you have had and I should know because I have lain with most of you.”

She gasped, while fighting back tears of anger. How dare he?

“Get out!” She demanded. He chuckled as he grabbed his keys from her mahogany coffee table.

“With pleasure Denise,” he said playfully as he headed for the door.

“It’s Layla!” She shrieked.

But her outcry fell on deaf ears. Damien was already climbing into the drivers’ seat of his BMW. One down, and one more to go. Denise or Layla, whoever she was didn’t satiate him the way he needed to be sated. He still felt just as empty as he did when he entered her family’s five bedroom mini mansion. As a matter of fact, he had been dealing with his feelings of emptiness for months now and wondered if he would ever have a moment of feeling complete.

Whether the female was human or vampire, it all the same: they wanted something from him. His body. His money. His throne. Yet, they all tried to cover it up with the same old tired lie: “All I want is your heart Damien.” He scoffed as he sped down the freeway overpass to the next female’s abode. She was some dark haired beauty that he met two weeks ago at one of his parent’s glamorous shindigs and he hoped that after he was through with her, he could shake the restlessness that had him feeling tightly wired like a spring otherwise he had no idea how he was going to go on. This was his life: fuck, feed, and fuck some more. Their veins will do come tomorrow, he needed human blood to take the edge off: preferably female. He could fuck her and then take the edge off by draining her dry.

But first things first: the dark haired beauty. Sometimes it truly sucked being the future king.

***Blind Salvation is now available for preorder and is scheduled for release November 23, 2015***

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A Review of Siren’s Call

A Review of Siren’s Call

It has been a while since I posted any thing that was not related to my own books, and I figured writing my review of a recently purchased novel would be great way to welcome my come back into the blogging world. Being an independent author is difficult in itself. Just the idea alone of taking on multiple roles (not even including the title “author”) is a sobering experience. It is a reality that even I face, and when I stepped out onto the scene after several unsuccessful attempts at getting published, I realized that this is not a journey any of us should take alone. I support any and every indie author to the fullest, doing any and everything in my power to promote their work. Every little bit of exposure counts, and I had heard great reviews about Jessica Cage’s book, Siren’s Call-hell, it was even granted an award by the Reader’s Favorite- and so I ordered it from her, she personalized the autograph AND sent me a bookmark. I began my journey into Syrinada’s world of mermaids yesterday and my journey came to an end today. Here are my thoughts:

According to Wikipedia, a siren  “In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous yet beautiful creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island”.

The main character, or heroine is awakened to a new sense of being with powers that she must learn to control. After an unfortunate turn of  events, she discovers she is a siren;that her mother was a siren and her father is a warlock. Due to her mixed breeding, there are two sides of a war that are after her. She is unique to her kind, a variable and highly unpredictable and the one responsible for guiding her through this journey is the ever present, ever watchful, super attractive Malachai. Malachi is what one would consider a “merman” and his family (for undisclosed reasons) were given the duty of watching over her until the time came when she would discover who and what she is. His family are sworn to protect her and as the story unfolds, she will definitely need his help.

There is a particular twist in the novel, which involves Malachi’s older, wiser, and confident brother Demetrius, and I suppose that there will be a lot more of him in the pending sequel. Now, there is a lot to be desired throughout the course of the book. I wanted more from Syrinada. I wanted to eat what she ate, hear what she heard, see what she saw, and feel what she felt. I wanted more strength. I wanted more conflict between her desires, her thoughts and her pain. I wanted to feel every ounce of betrayal, every nuance of gradual acceptance into the world that was thrust upon her. However, aside from that there are elements from the book that I am more than happy to explore and one of the elements being female sexuality.

Upon her awakening, not only are her senses heightened, and she possesses supernatural abilities that I predict will aid her in her continued quest into self discovery, she blossoms from a shy, almost demure girl into a woman with needs-no, scratch that, demands. Throughout the ages, women have been trained to believe that embracing their own sexual thirsts and quenching them would render them as “used”, “unwanted”, “dirty”, and a plethora of other negative labels that women are still being plagued with today. Syrinada embraces her newfound “awakening”, and although she does experience some feelings of shame, she quickly understands and accepts that being “sexual” is a part of who and what she is. She demands to be pleasured and the men she commands all too happily oblige.

I can appreciate the fact that this book is a straight no chaser type of read. I am not one for the slow building of a scene. I can appreciate detail to some degree but not to the point where I am bored out of my mind. The thing that I liked most about the story is the fact that it is original and with each chapter I am motivated by the sheer fact that the plot is interesting. I kept asking myself, “Well damn what the hell is going to happen next?” and before I knew it, I was finishing the last few pages of the book.

In conclusion, I can see Siren’s Call in development for a CW production. I like the concept. I like the authenticity of it. Now granted, I can be a bit of a hard nut to crack when reading a new book. I have a very short list of favorite authors and that is because I have been spoiled beyond repair by the likes of L.A. Banks, J.R. Ward, and Karen Marie Moning. But I will say that I will be purchasing book two of the Siren Series to see where Syrinada will end up and which brother will she choose. I will also suggest if witches and mermaids tickle your fancy, well this is the book for you.

Remember to support indie authors. And for all of you writers out there both published and unpublished, let us support each other in good will and never forget that there is room on a book shelf for more than one book. 1795597_532084253567230_7038278173835978212_n

New Character Alert: Raphael (Book 1 of the Marked Series) Release Date TBD

Chapter Two A Slave With Two Tongues

1350 A.D.

Nothing but the sound of his own heartbeat flooded his brain as he drove his blade deep into the chest cavity of the entity that had long plagued his village with a war that seemed to be as endless as Time itself. The two clans had been warring for so long that no one really knew how or when it started. But he knew one thing; he was going to finish it one way or the other. He would not bring his children into the world to fight what their father could not, and never know the sweet joy of what true peace felt like. They would never live in fear; know what it takes to the learn the mysteries of the swords they would carry…no. This fight would end before they entered into the world; there is already enough evil and turmoil in the world that they would have to adjust to and dealing with the Lizard clan was not an option.

The sword pierced the black heart of the Lizardman before exiting through his back. The creature’s eyes widened, his red pupils expanding then retracting as he screamed and gurgled before his body finally succumbed to the darkness from which it originated from, and Raphael watched without emotion as the lifeless body collapsed onto the muddy ground. His brothers were busy themselves, fighting back the enemy that had destroyed the hundreds of small villages that surrounded their main stronghold. The Isle of Capsos’ which was just north of Ireland and almost twice its size had become a booming nation in the sea trades, and his family had not only been one of the few ruling class families that dominated the ports, but were also of warrior blood. Training in combat had been one of his family’s specialties, and many generations before him, men of his breeding also took interest in the business of mercenary work; hiring off their skill set in exchange for exorbitant pay by the princes, kings, and men of power and prestige seeking to put an end to their enemies.

He skillfully dodged a swing from behind, and turned to face his enemy: another one of those disgusting soldiers. Red hateful eyes greeted him with a twisted snarl. The human entity that met him with a serrated toothy grin, stood at almost 9 feet in height, and built like one of the many Redwoods that offered a protective refuge to his camp. The Lizard man, as those of his kind were called, wore nothing but tattered rags that barely covered his waist, leaving a great deal of his body exposed and vulnerable. Raphael reacted quickly and lowered a powerful punch into the creature’s jaw, forcing it to stumble back. Despite its lack of protection, the Lizards were a powerfully formidable race. They possessed skills that rendered them almost unstoppable in battle, well except for him and his brothers. They knew exactly how to kill them.

The creature quickly recovered and charged, moving at a speed impossible for the human eye to follow and slammed into Raphael, knocking him to the ground and into a thick puddle of mud. The impact, despite the muddy cushioning not only left him stunned, but left at a disadvantage. The entity, now piled on top of him, layered a series of punches to his face, and had it not been for Micah’s arrow piercing the creature from behind, Raphael knew that today would have been the day he met his fate. He rolled the creature off of him, as his brother emerged from the shadows, cautiously surveying the scene for a potential ambush. When he saw there was none he hurried over to his brother’s side and extended his hand which Raphael gratefully grasped, and helped him to his feet.

“Looks like you almost had it there brother,” Micah mused pointedly.

“Indeed I did…”

“Are you well?”

“Not a scratch.”

“How many?” Micah quizzed  still looking around. The sun had long set, and the surrounding darkness did nothing to ease the sense of dread that begun to fill the pit of his stomach.

“Twelve this time. They attacked the villagers on the eastern side of the lake. It was another ambush. Half of the village is either dead or dying. A few managed to escape and are taking refuge in the church where we have men standing guard.”

“They are becoming much more aggressive in their tactics brother,” Micah said rubbing the stubble that was forming on his narrow chin.

“Indeed. We need to figure out the source of their power; we know very little of their origins and have only within recent centuries have uncovered their vulnerabilities. Father says they may-“

“Enough for now,” Micah exhaled with a slight grin. “Your wife awaits you. She sits by the window  watching the sun rise and set as while the young within her grows. I believe she fears that someday you will not come home. Mother has tried to persuade to come to the gardens with her but she declines…”

“Ah, I will go to her. I had no idea that she awaited me with such longing. I have been too preoccupied with-“

“Winning a war that cannot be won. Our men are dying-“

“Which means our children will have to pick up the fight.”

Micah ran his fingers through his dark shoulder length hair that was  pulled back tightly behind his ears, and lowered his gaze. “It is an unfortunate fate to inherit.”

Raphael said nothing more as he tried to wipe away some of the mud from the back of his leathers, and tried not to think about the growing distance that seemed to have his pregnant wife beyond the edge of his grip. Something was amiss with her, and he had spent many days trying to convince her to open up but to no avail. He figured her moods may have something to do with the pregnancy and hoped by the time the babes were born, she would return to her normal talkative self.

He picked up his sword that had fallen just a few feet or so away from the fallen entity and returned it to its sheath. He took one last look at the creature whose race had plagued this nation’s history since its inception, and made a mental note to return after consorting with his wife, to properly dispose of the body. There was already enough death that haunted the valleys that kept his people awake at night, and the last thing he needed was an epidemic like that of the Black Death that was currently sweeping through Europe at rate that was almost exponential. When he was ready, he allowed his brother to take the lead, so that he may have time to gather his thoughts.

This was life for him and the people of Capsos; when night fell the blossoming economic cities had to take refuge behind monolithic gates made of iron, and the small villages had to hunker down as best they could underneath the protection of the masters of the castles that ruled over them in the areas that extended far beyond the grasp of the cities. And once daylight arrived, what it would reveal would haunt the memories of the people for a lifetime. Small towns burned to the ground, some of its residents left half eaten, or worse: turning into one of those lizard entities just to begin their own reign of terror in the next village.

They continued their walk in silence until they reached their horses on the other side of the bank, safely hidden behind a thicket of trees and bushes that provided the landscape a protective covering that would have been the perfect escape route for a villager on the run from the menacing jaws of Lizard men. Once he mounted his horse, an all-white mare of impeccable breeding, he would only have a few short hours to recover before he was out to battle again. Being a Shadow Warrior was indeed an unfortunate fate to inherit.

Annamarie sat nearest the window facing the gardens inside the stone walled monolith that not only protected her and her family from the rest of the world that is now being terrorized by the race of demonic men whose purpose was unclear. She brushed her hand across her belly, feeling the firm roundness and the tiny indent where one of her young had pressed upon with she assumed to be its foot. She smiled, but only for the minute joy of giving birth to children that are undoubtedly hers. Since the moment her nursemaid informed her that she was with child, while her husband found every moment he could to celebrate, and the entire fortress lit up with excitement, she knew that time had become her prison. Once the children were born certain undeniable truths would be uncovered, and then she would either have to flee for her life or risk being executed by the same man who protected her valiantly.

She blinked twice to shed the huge droplets that were making her eyes blurry at the thought of what may be a part of her fate. She hoped that the children come out looking so much like her that no one would dare to question their paternity, but then that was nothing more than hope. She had seen families where an entire brood of children looked like mini replicas of their mother while the father looked like the odd man out. It made her wonder if Raphael knew about her indiscretions and was simply waiting for the moment of truth before coming to a conclusion, but then again, unlike his brothers, Raphael was always the first to react.

She looked down at the gardens where she and her husband used to stroll hand in hand prior to the wedding. Unbeknownst to him, her heart belonged to another although there wasn’t anything about the warrior that made him difficult to love. It was just her father did not like the man that had stolen her heart, and he wanted her to marry someone that not only could protect her but provide for her as well; and although Raphael took his responsibilities seriously, and nor did he fail in any shape or form, but the one who was meant for the soul is the hardest to release, and that was just it in her case.

She carefully stood up so that she could grab a taste of the moonlight that washed over the acres of land that Raphael had declared as hers. The phantom moonlight caress was all that she needed to return to a semblance of “normal” just in time for her husband to arrive. She could hear him down in the main room with his brother Micah, his voice low in less than audible whispers for reasons she assumed to be so that she may be unaware of his recent battle. She dared not leave their bedroom where she had confined herself for many days because for one she was underdressed in the night gown that now failed to cover her growing assets, and two, because she just wasn’t ready to face her husband. She purposely kept her distance from him, and she hoped to do the same tonight.

She crawled into their spacious bed blanketed with bear skin, and thought to pretend to be ill so that she could avoid any of his questions, but most importantly his touch. She tied her thick waves of blonde hair high above her head to prevent him from being tempted to run his fingers through it. It had been months since they had joined together as one, and despite his bedroom skills were legendary, the burden that she carried did not allow her to enjoy his touch or his masculine scent the way that she used to. The idea of him touching her was enough to make her vomit.  She snuggled deeper underneath the blankets and closed her eyes and prayed that sleep would find her. As she heard his heavy footsteps in the hallway, his destination clear, a plan began to weave its way into forefront of her mind; and once she heard the door to the room creak open announcing his presence, she wondered if time would permit such betrayal.