Tag Archives: #fullmoon

Silently Watching By The Light Of The Ice Moon

Frost sparkled on the rocks around him as he sat on the shore. In front of him, moonlight shimmered on the still, dark river. All around him, everything was blanketed in silence. He gazed up at the almost full moon. “Two more nights until its full,” he thought to himself. “Two more nights until they’re back.”

Sub-consciously, he touched his cheek. Four ragged gashes ran from the corner of his eye down into his bearded jawline. Blood still oozed from them.

He had two nights to put things right.

A fire burned in the grate, its flames sending shadows dancing across the stone walls of the chamber. Both women sat in silence watching the flames, almost as if they were seeking inspiration in them.

“We tell your father the truth,” said Meryn softly. “Tell him everything.”

“Everything?”

“Everything relating to Anna,” replied the older woman. Smiling, she added, “Maybe keep the truth about your depth of feelings for my son quiet for now. Let’s see what fate he proposes for our friend first.”

Silently, Trine nodded.

A tray of food lay untouched on the table. With a sigh, Meryn got to her feet, crossed the chamber, and poured them both a full goblet of blood infused wine.

“Here,” she said, offering the cup to the Ice Maiden. “Drink this. We both need to keep our strength up.”

“Are we on trial?” asked the younger woman anxiously.

“No,” Meryn assured her calmly. “We may both be reprimanded but tomorrow’s court meeting is not a trial. If we both tell the same truth, we’ll be fine.”

“And what will happen to her?” Trine paused then almost whispered “And to Jem?”

“Time will tell,” began Meryn, sipping thoughtfully on her wine. “I expect Stefan will demand that we bring Anna to him. We can argue that she’s still not strong enough to stand trial. She’s still unable to hunt. Unable to care for herself. She needs to be fit and well to face the Court of the Elders, Trine.”

“And Jem?” she repeated.

“He’ll be expected to honour the deal he struck with Stefan.”

“And then my father will honour his deal and…”

“No!” interrupted Meryn sharply. “I will not allow that deal to be honoured.”

“Can you prevent it though?”

“I’m working on it,” promised the older vampiress warmly. “Everything’s going to work out, my dear. Trust me.”

Alone on the beach, Jem reflected on the events of the day. The sun had barely set when his mother and Trine had been summoned back to the Court of the Elders. There had scarcely been time to say goodbye before both women vanished. From the shadows of the heavy curtain that served as a door to his bedroom, Anna had watched the entire scene.

Pausing to pick up a small blue tipped feather that had fluttered to the ground as Trine had been transported back to her father’s castle, Anna had walked across the room, her injured wing dragging uselessly behind her. Twirling the feather round between her finger and thumb, she commented, “Well, it looks like it’s just you and me, Son of Perran. Just like old times.”

“If you say so,” he muttered sourly.

“You’ll never be able to do it,” purred the dark angel, stepping towards him. Gently, she ran the feather down his cheek. “You don’t have it in you.”

“Don’t I?” he challenged, staring at her intently.

“No. You don’t,” she stated with a smug smile.

“Well, all we can do is wait till Trine or my mother returns,” he replied, swiping her hand away. “We’ll see what Stefan has in store for both of us then.”

“No, I don’t think so,” she said coldly. “I think I’ve out-stayed my welcome here. I’ve imposed on your hospitality for too long.”

“You’re going nowhere,” he growled angrily.

Letting go of the feather, the dark angel reached out as she murmured an incantation. Her fingernails turned to steel blades in an instant and before he could move to defend himself, she’d slashed his face then vanished in a swirl of smoky green light.

A purple tipped feather lay on the floor beside the blue one.

Staring out into the darkness, the runner deliberated what to do next. Did he wait until he heard from Trine or his mother? Or did he try to re-capture the dark angel before they returned?

Breathing heavily, the dark angel lay in a crumpled heap on a leaf littered, stone floor. She’d acted on impulse with merely a split second to determine her destination. Glancing round in the moonlit shadows, she knew she’d missed her mark but how far off course was she?

Standing side by side outside the door that led into the Court of the Elders, both women waited in silence. Sensing the younger woman’s fear, Meryn reached out and took her hand, whispering, “Trust me.”

Before Trine could reply, the door swung open, and they were ushered inside. Flanked by Michael and Alessandro, Stefan sat behind the oak table. His face betrayed no emotion; his hands were folded in front of him.

“Good morning, ladies,” he greeted them, keeping his tone even. “I trust that you are well-rested.”

“We are,” replied Meryn, her own voice cold and emotionless. “Cut to the chase, Stefan.”

“Such impatience, Meryn,” he commented. “But, fine, I’ll cut to the chase.” He paused to stare at each of the women in turn. “You have both lied to me. By lying to me, you have lied to the Court of the Elders.”

“Neither of us has lied,” interrupted Meryn bluntly. “We may not have revealed the full truth but there were no lies.”

“Well, let’s start by revealing that “full truth” now then, shall we?” he suggested. “Can you both please advise this court how you came to be living with our errant sister, Anna, instead of bringing her here to face trial? Can you perhaps explain why your son did not kill her on sight as agreed, Meryn?”

“We were nursing her back to full health to bring her to you, father,” explained Trine, her voice shaking with nerves. “I fought with her almost seven moons ago. I thought I’d killed her, but Jem found her lying injured three moons after the fight. She was too weak to face trial or to travel. I asked Meryn to come to me. She came to my aid without knowing who she was to heal.”

“Care to start this tale from the beginning,” said Stefan calmly. “Include all the details. Leave nothing out.”

It took several hours but finally, as the candles around the chamber burned low, Meryn and Trine finished their account. The three male vampires had listened intently, occasionally interrupting to seek clarification. When they’d told their tale, Stefan bowed his head. He sat deep in thought for a few long silent minutes then said, “I believe all that you’ve testified here today to be true.”

For the first time since they’d entered the chamber, Trine felt a glimmer of hope.

“How confident are you that she remains incapacitated?” asked Alessandro, his Italian accent echoing round the otherwise silent room.

“Confident,” stated Meryn. “She’s unable to fly due to her injuries. She’s barely able to get out of bed un-aided. She can’t hunt.”

Alessandro nodded then commented, “You’ll recall Anna trained with a mage in North Africa some time ago. When her training was complete, she drained him of life. How confident are you that she’s lost the skills he taught her? Does she still possess that magic?”

Exchanging anxious glances, the two women stood in mute silence, unable to truthfully answer the question.

“Have you placed your son in danger by leaving him alone with her, Meryn?” asked Michael softly. “Anna has never shown any signs of compassion. What’s to stop her from killing him now that you’re not there?”

Meryn paled visibly. It was Trine who found her voice first.

“I don’t believe she’ll kill Jem,” she began. “She loves him too much.”

Stefan nodded slowly, “I believe you’re correct, daughter, but your mate may still be in grave danger left alone with her if that magic remains intact.”

“Then send us back there tonight,” proposed Meryn. “Together the three of us stand a better chance of controlling things than my son does on his own.”

“You both need to feed first. Hunt tonight and you may return to them at dawn,” stated Stefan, his tone leaving no room for debate.

Using some of the medical supplies he’d procured to help with the dark angel’s wounds, Jem cleaned the four deep slashes on his cheek. They were ragged and deep and should probably be stitched but he had nothing to close them with. He would have to take his chances that they would heal without leaving him too badly scarred.

Instead of going to bed at dawn as he usually did, he threw some more logs into the wood burner, poured a large glass of blood infused wine, and sat staring into the flames, seeking a solution to the key Anna dilemma – where had she gone?

Using her magic had drained the dark angel of all of her limited energy. She had crawled into the corner of whatever ruined building she had landed in, covered herself with leaves to disguise her presence from prying eyes and slept from dawn til dusk.

When she awoke, she was still weak, but she found the strength to get to her feet. In the fading light, she managed to work out that she’d transported herself into the ruined chapel beside the main house in the grounds of the estate that lay to the north of the village. Her aim had been less than accurate, but she was less than a mile from home. If she could get back there, she could use her magic to try to restore her damaged wing.

First though she needed to feed and in her current physical state she was unable to hunt. Cursing her damaged wing under her breath, she walked across the chapel to the doorway. There were sheep in the field beyond. A possibility but they were likely to run the moment they sensed her. In the field across the driveway to the south, she could see that there were horses gathered together under one of the old oak trees. They were less likely to run if she approached.

Keeping to the darkest shadows, she walked slowly across the field, trailing her wing through fallen leaves and mud. As she suspected, the sheep scattered as soon as they sensed her in their field.

Car headlights approaching up the driveway sent her scurrying for shelter in the dark shadows behind a huge oak tree. With her heart pounding and her legs trembling, Anna watched as it continued its way up to the “big house.” Satisfied that it was safe, she continued her journey to the field where the horses were still gathered beneath a tree, munching on the contents of a hay net. There were three of them, two chestnuts and a grey. None of them flinched as she walked down the grassy slope towards them. It was decision time. A thick prominent vein in the grey’s neck caught her eye. That was sign enough for her.

As the two chestnut beasts fled in terror, the dark angel drank greedily from the pale coloured horse, draining its life from it swiftly.

Shortly before dawn, Meryn and Trine were summoned to Stefan’s private study. When they entered, they found him sitting alone, gazing into the depths of the wine goblet in his hands.

“Are you ready to take your leave?” he asked without looking up.

“Yes,” replied Meryn. “As soon as you say that we can.”

“You can on one condition,” he began, looking up to stare at them. “Bring Anna to me no later than one week from today.”

“As you wish,” agreed Meryn calmly. She paused before asking, “And Jeremiah?”

“Bring him with you. I have a lot to discuss with him.”

With that he clicked his fingers. Both vampiresses felt the air shift and, the next thing they knew, they were standing on the path that ran along the front of the beach hut. The sun was just beginning to rise and the sky to the east was streaked with red.

“Red sky in the morning, sailors’ warning,” said Meryn absently. “My grandmother used to say that. Come on, my dear, let’s get inside. Its too cold to stay out here watching the sunrise no matter how pretty it looks.”

A welcoming warmth greeted them as they entered the beach hut. Looking up, eyes wide, the runner gasped, “Trine! Mother! You’re back!”

“So it would seem,” stated the older woman somewhat sarcastically.

Sensing that something was amiss, Trine went straight across to the bedroom, drawing aside the heavy curtain. The bed beyond was empty.

“Where is she?”

Turning to face them both, he said simply, “She’s gone.”

“Your face!” gasped his mother. “Anna did that?”

He nodded, “Right before she fucked off in a puff of green smoke.”

“Guess that answers that question,” sighed Trine, crossing the room to inspect his wounds.

“What question?”

“Our friend trained with a mage a long time ago,” Meryn explained. “Her magic would appear to be intact.”

“A mage?” he echoed, looking confused.

“A witch,” said Trine by way of explanation.

“Actually, a warlock,” corrected Meryn with a smile. “The same mage who trained me but let’s keep that between the three of us.”

“Would one of you please tell me what is going on here?” demanded the runner bluntly.

“Plenty of time for stories after I’ve looked at those wounds,” declared his mother sharply.

With his wounds freshly cleaned, the runner sat and listened while the Ice Maiden and his mother told him about their appearance before the Court of the Elders. He was relieved to hear that Stefan hadn’t punished them, seeming to understand the need for the dark angel to be in full health before meeting her fate at his hand.

“So, now what?” he asked, running his hands through his hair.

“We rest,” said Meryn calmly. “We have a week to find our friend, but I suspect that tonight’s full moon offers us our best chance.”

“Do you have a plan?” asked Trine quietly.

“I do but I’m too tired to explain it right now. All I’ll say is this. Jem, you’re going to have to trust me completely.”

Before he could reply, she disappeared into Trine’s room.

“Help me put fresh linen on the bed,” said Trine. “Your mother’s right. We need rest.”

Smiling, the runner got to his feet, took her hand, and said, “I can think of something else we need too.”

Giggling, Trine allowed herself to be led from the room.

The full moon was living up to its name as it rose. The temperatures had plummeted as dusk fell. All around the beach hut everything was glittering with a thick layer of frost under the glow of the Ice Moon.

When Trine and Jem entered the living room, they found Meryn already sitting by the stove, sipping a glass of wine.

“Are you both well-rested?” she enquired casually.

“Yes, mother,” replied her son. “So, what’s the plan here?”

“We…I need to use magic to trace magic, but I need a conduit. That’s where you fit in, son.”

“A conduit?” quizzed Trine as she poured Jem and herself some of the blood-infused wine.

Meryn nodded, “When a vampire creates another, they leave a trace behind. A little bit of themselves. Their maker’s mark so to speak.” She paused to take a sip from her glass. “I’m hoping that our friend has left a little of her magic behind in that trace.”

“And how do you propose to find it, mother? I assume its not a physical mark like my tattoos.”

“I need to scry your mind back to the point when she created you.”

He had suspected as much.

“Remember there was a partial transformation first that failed,” he prompted before drinking deeply from his glass.

“Do you trust me, son?” asked Meryn plainly. “I promise to probe no further than that partial transformation. For this to work, you’ll need to open your mind willingly to me.”

Knowing he had no choice, he nodded his consent, “No further than that. You promise?”

“You have my word,” she answered sincerely. “But I intend to use my own magic to seek out Anna’s in your mind. This will feel different to any other attempts that have been made to probe your memories. I need to locate that trace then feel through it till I connect with her.”

“Will it work?”

“Only one way to find out,” answered the older woman. “I need to draw on the moon’s energy, so we’ll do this outside.”

The rocks were glittering as the three vampires settled themselves down out of sight of the path. They’d walked a little further east of the cottage to find a suitably secluded spot where the light was also right. Sitting facing her son, Meryn looked into his deep brown eyes and smiled. “Try to relax. I’m going to place my fingers on your cheek bones and jawline. I’ll try to avoid those cuts. I need to use an incantation. All you need to do is let me in. Don’t resist the probing. There might be intense heat or intense cold. I won’t know which until I find the connection. It depends on which type of magic she used.”

“And if you don’t find any?” he asked.

“I’ll find it,” she said confidently. “Ready?”

With a quick glance towards Trine, he nodded.

Closing her eyes, Meryn placed her fingertips along his well-defined cheek bones. She positioned her little fingers on his jawbone below his ears then nestled her thumbs among the wiry hairs of his beard at the centre of his chin. Whispering words he couldn’t decipher, she moved her thumbs together to touch. The instant they connected, he felt an icy piercing pain shoot through him. It seemed to curl through his mind carving a frosty trail as it twisted and turned. He resisted the urge to scream as his mother probed deeper and deeper into his soul.

After a minute or two, he felt her hesitate then the energy shifted slightly. A vision began to form in his mind. The scene was misty at first but slowly cleared to show Anna lying on a leaf strewn stone floor. He could see tall stone walls surrounding her. She was swathed in moonlight, but it was coming from a gap in the roof rather than the small square windows that were high up in the walls.

He felt the icy magic being repelled then the world went black. As he lost consciousness, he felt his mother’s touch retreat as Trine’s arms wrapped round him to prevent him from falling backwards.

“Jem,” he heard his name being called through the fog in his mind.

“Jeremiah! Wake up!” Immediately, he recognised his mother’s sharp tone.

Groggily, he muttered, “Awake.”

“Are you ok?” asked Trine, her voice filled with concern.

“I think so.”

“Did you see her?” demanded Meryn, looking pale and exhausted by her efforts.

“Yes.”

“And do you know where she is?”

As the world came back into focus, he looked his mother in the eye and nodded.

“Can you get to her tonight?”

“Yes. She’s not far from here,” he said, sounding surprisingly calm.

“Where is she?” asked Trine curiously. “Back at her mausoleum?”

“No. She’s lying in an old stone watch tower. It’s in the estate to the west of here. Less than two miles away.”

“We’ve no time to waste, son,” said Meryn. “Go and fetch her before she moves on. Bring her back here.”

“Do you want one of us to come with you?” offered Trine, concerned that her mate might be heading into danger.

He shook his head, “I need to do this on my own.”

Before either of them could stop him, he got to his feet, spread his majestic, green-tipped wings, and soared silently into the night sky.

In less than five minutes, he was perched, crouched down on the top of the crumbling wall of the tower. Some thirty feet below him, he could see the dark angel sprawled on the floor, her damaged wing lying at an awkward angle. Soundlessly, he jumped down, landing sure-footed as a cat beside her.

“Son of Perran,” she murmured without opening her eyes.

Laying a hand on her shoulder, his heart filled with sadness. She suddenly seemed so frail and vulnerable. Before his emotions could get the better of his common sense, he lifted her into his arms then wrapped his wings around her. She lost consciousness in his arms as the world went dark.

Frost sparkled on the rocks around him as he sat on the shore. In front of him, moonlight shimmered on the still, dark river. All around him, everything was blanketed in silence. He gazed up at the almost full moon. “Two more nights until its full,” he thought to himself. “Two more nights until they’re back.”

Sub-consciously, he touched his cheek. Four ragged gashes ran from the corner of his eye down into his bearded jawline. Blood still oozed from them.

He had two nights to put things right.

A fire burned in the grate, its flames sending shadows dancing across the stone walls of the chamber. Both women sat in silence watching the flames, almost as if they were seeking inspiration in them.

“We tell your father the truth,” said Meryn softly. “Tell him everything.”

“Everything?”

“Everything relating to Anna,” replied the older woman. Smiling, she added, “Maybe keep the truth about your depth of feelings for my son quiet for now. Let’s see what fate he proposes for our friend first.”

Silently, Trine nodded.

A tray of food lay untouched on the table. With a sigh, Meryn got to her feet, crossed the chamber, and poured them both a full goblet of blood infused wine.

“Here,” she said, offering the cup to the Ice Maiden. “Drink this. We both need to keep our strength up.”

“Are we on trial?” asked the younger woman anxiously.

“No,” Meryn assured her calmly. “We may both be reprimanded but tomorrow’s court meeting is not a trial. If we both tell the same truth, we’ll be fine.”

“And what will happen to her?” Trine paused then almost whispered “And to Jem?”

“Time will tell,” began Meryn, sipping thoughtfully on her wine. “I expect Stefan will demand that we bring Anna to him. We can argue that she’s still not strong enough to stand trial. She’s still unable to hunt. Unable to care for herself. She needs to be fit and well to face the Court of the Elders, Trine.”

“And Jem?” she repeated.

“He’ll be expected to honour the deal he struck with Stefan.”

“And then my father will honour his deal and…”

“No!” interrupted Meryn sharply. “I will not allow that deal to be honoured.”

“Can you prevent it though?”

“I’m working on it,” promised the older vampiress warmly. “Everything’s going to work out, my dear. Trust me.”

Alone on the beach, Jem reflected on the events of the day. The sun had barely set when his mother and Trine had been summoned back to the Court of the Elders. There had scarcely been time to say goodbye before both women vanished. From the shadows of the heavy curtain that served as a door to his bedroom, Anna had watched the entire scene.

Pausing to pick up a small blue tipped feather that had fluttered to the ground as Trine had been transported back to her father’s castle, Anna had walked across the room, her injured wing dragging uselessly behind her. Twirling the feather round between her finger and thumb, she commented, “Well, it looks like it’s just you and me, Son of Perran. Just like old times.”

“If you say so,” he muttered sourly.

“You’ll never be able to do it,” purred the dark angel, stepping towards him. Gently, she ran the feather down his cheek. “You don’t have it in you.”

“Don’t I?” he challenged, staring at her intently.

“No. You don’t,” she stated with a smug smile.

“Well, all we can do is wait till Trine or my mother returns,” he replied, swiping her hand away. “We’ll see what Stefan has in store for both of us then.”

“No, I don’t think so,” she said coldly. “I think I’ve out-stayed my welcome here. I’ve imposed on your hospitality for too long.”

“You’re going nowhere,” he growled angrily.

Letting go of the feather, the dark angel reached out as she murmured an incantation. Her fingernails turned to steel blades in an instant and before he could move to defend himself, she’d slashed his face then vanished in a swirl of smoky green light.

A purple tipped feather lay on the floor beside the blue one.

Staring out into the darkness, the runner deliberated what to do next. Did he wait until he heard from Trine or his mother? Or did he try to re-capture the dark angel before they returned?

Breathing heavily, the dark angel lay in a crumpled heap on a leaf littered, stone floor. She’d acted on impulse with merely a split second to determine her destination. Glancing round in the moonlit shadows, she knew she’d missed her mark but how far off course was she?

Standing side by side outside the door that led into the Court of the Elders, both women waited in silence. Sensing the younger woman’s fear, Meryn reached out and took her hand, whispering, “Trust me.”

Before Trine could reply, the door swung open, and they were ushered inside. Flanked by Michael and Alessandro, Stefan sat behind the oak table. His face betrayed no emotion; his hands were folded in front of him.

“Good morning, ladies,” he greeted them, keeping his tone even. “I trust that you are well-rested.”

“We are,” replied Meryn, her own voice cold and emotionless. “Cut to the chase, Stefan.”

“Such impatience, Meryn,” he commented. “But, fine, I’ll cut to the chase.” He paused to stare at each of the women in turn. “You have both lied to me. By lying to me, you have lied to the Court of the Elders.”

“Neither of us has lied,” interrupted Meryn bluntly. “We may not have revealed the full truth but there were no lies.”

“Well, let’s start by revealing that “full truth” now then, shall we?” he suggested. “Can you both please advise this court how you came to be living with our errant sister, Anna, instead of bringing her here to face trial? Can you perhaps explain why your son did not kill her on sight as agreed, Meryn?”

“We were nursing her back to full health to bring her to you, father,” explained Trine, her voice shaking with nerves. “I fought with her almost seven moons ago. I thought I’d killed her, but Jem found her lying injured three moons after the fight. She was too weak to face trial or to travel. I asked Meryn to come to me. She came to my aid without knowing who she was to heal.”

“Care to start this tale from the beginning,” said Stefan calmly. “Include all the details. Leave nothing out.”

It took several hours but finally, as the candles around the chamber burned low, Meryn and Trine finished their account. The three male vampires had listened intently, occasionally interrupting to seek clarification. When they’d told their tale, Stefan bowed his head. He sat deep in thought for a few long silent minutes then said, “I believe all that you’ve testified here today to be true.”

For the first time since they’d entered the chamber, Trine felt a glimmer of hope.

“How confident are you that she remains incapacitated?” asked Alessandro, his Italian accent echoing round the otherwise silent room.

“Confident,” stated Meryn. “She’s unable to fly due to her injuries. She’s barely able to get out of bed un-aided. She can’t hunt.”

Alessandro nodded then commented, “You’ll recall Anna trained with a mage in North Africa some time ago. When her training was complete, she drained him of life. How confident are you that she’s lost the skills he taught her? Does she still possess that magic?”

Exchanging anxious glances, the two women stood in mute silence, unable to truthfully answer the question.

“Have you placed your son in danger by leaving him alone with her, Meryn?” asked Michael softly. “Anna has never shown any signs of compassion. What’s to stop her from killing him now that you’re not there?”

Meryn paled visibly. It was Trine who found her voice first.

“I don’t believe she’ll kill Jem,” she began. “She loves him too much.”

Stefan nodded slowly, “I believe you’re correct, daughter, but your mate may still be in grave danger left alone with her if that magic remains intact.”

“Then send us back there tonight,” proposed Meryn. “Together the three of us stand a better chance of controlling things than my son does on his own.”

“You both need to feed first. Hunt tonight and you may return to them at dawn,” stated Stefan, his tone leaving no room for debate.

Using some of the medical supplies he’d procured to help with the dark angel’s wounds, Jem cleaned the four deep slashes on his cheek. They were ragged and deep and should probably be stitched but he had nothing to close them with. He would have to take his chances that they would heal without leaving him too badly scarred.

Instead of going to bed at dawn as he usually did, he threw some more logs into the wood burner, poured a large glass of blood infused wine, and sat staring into the flames, seeking a solution to the key Anna dilemma – where had she gone?

Using her magic had drained the dark angel of all of her limited energy. She had crawled into the corner of whatever ruined building she had landed in, covered herself with leaves to disguise her presence from prying eyes and slept from dawn til dusk.

When she awoke, she was still weak, but she found the strength to get to her feet. In the fading light, she managed to work out that she’d transported herself into the ruined chapel beside the main house in the grounds of the estate that lay to the north of the village. Her aim had been less than accurate, but she was less than a mile from home. If she could get back there, she could use her magic to try to restore her damaged wing.

First though she needed to feed and in her current physical state she was unable to hunt. Cursing her damaged wing under her breath, she walked across the chapel to the doorway. There were sheep in the field beyond. A possibility but they were likely to run the moment they sensed her. In the field across the driveway to the south, she could see that there were horses gathered together under one of the old oak trees. They were less likely to run if she approached.

Keeping to the darkest shadows, she walked slowly across the field, trailing her wing through fallen leaves and mud. As she suspected, the sheep scattered as soon as they sensed her in their field.

Car headlights approaching up the driveway sent her scurrying for shelter in the dark shadows behind a huge oak tree. With her heart pounding and her legs trembling, Anna watched as it continued its way up to the “big house.” Satisfied that it was safe, she continued her journey to the field where the horses were still gathered beneath a tree, munching on the contents of a hay net. There were three of them, two chestnuts and a grey. None of them flinched as she walked down the grassy slope towards them. It was decision time. A thick prominent vein in the grey’s neck caught her eye. That was sign enough for her.

As the two chestnut beasts fled in terror, the dark angel drank greedily from the pale coloured horse, draining its life from it swiftly.

Shortly before dawn, Meryn and Trine were summoned to Stefan’s private study. When they entered, they found him sitting alone, gazing into the depths of the wine goblet in his hands.

“Are you ready to take your leave?” he asked without looking up.

“Yes,” replied Meryn. “As soon as you say that we can.”

“You can on one condition,” he began, looking up to stare at them. “Bring Anna to me no later than one week from today.”

“As you wish,” agreed Meryn calmly. She paused before asking, “And Jeremiah?”

“Bring him with you. I have a lot to discuss with him.”

With that he clicked his fingers. Both vampiresses felt the air shift and, the next thing they knew, they were standing on the path that ran along the front of the beach hut. The sun was just beginning to rise and the sky to the east was streaked with red.

“Red sky in the morning, sailors’ warning,” said Meryn absently. “My grandmother used to say that. Come on, my dear, let’s get inside. Its too cold to stay out here watching the sunrise no matter how pretty it looks.”

A welcoming warmth greeted them as they entered the beach hut. Looking up, eyes wide, the runner gasped, “Trine! Mother! You’re back!”

“So it would seem,” stated the older woman somewhat sarcastically.

Sensing that something was amiss, Trine went straight across to the bedroom, drawing aside the heavy curtain. The bed beyond was empty.

“Where is she?”

Turning to face them both, he said simply, “She’s gone.”

“Your face!” gasped his mother. “Anna did that?”

He nodded, “Right before she fucked off in a puff of green smoke.”

“Guess that answers that question,” sighed Trine, crossing the room to inspect his wounds.

“What question?”

“Our friend trained with a mage a long time ago,” Meryn explained. “Her magic would appear to be intact.”

“A mage?” he echoed, looking confused.

“A witch,” said Trine by way of explanation.

“Actually, a warlock,” corrected Meryn with a smile. “The same mage who trained me but let’s keep that between the three of us.”

“Would one of you please tell me what is going on here?” demanded the runner bluntly.

“Plenty of time for stories after I’ve looked at those wounds,” declared his mother sharply.

With his wounds freshly cleaned, the runner sat and listened while the Ice Maiden and his mother told him about their appearance before the Court of the Elders. He was relieved to hear that Stefan hadn’t punished them, seeming to understand the need for the dark angel to be in full health before meeting her fate at his hand.

“So, now what?” he asked, running his hands through his hair.

“We rest,” said Meryn calmly. “We have a week to find our friend, but I suspect that tonight’s full moon offers us our best chance.”

“Do you have a plan?” asked Trine quietly.

“I do but I’m too tired to explain it right now. All I’ll say is this. Jem, you’re going to have to trust me completely.”

Before he could reply, she disappeared into Trine’s room.

“Help me put fresh linen on the bed,” said Trine. “Your mother’s right. We need rest.”

Smiling, the runner got to his feet, took her hand, and said, “I can think of something else we need too.”

Giggling, Trine allowed herself to be led from the room.

The full moon was living up to its name as it rose. The temperatures had plummeted as dusk fell. All around the beach hut everything was glittering with a thick layer of frost under the glow of the Ice Moon.

When Trine and Jem entered the living room, they found Meryn already sitting by the stove, sipping a glass of wine.

“Are you both well-rested?” she enquired casually.

“Yes, mother,” replied her son. “So, what’s the plan here?”

“We…I need to use magic to trace magic, but I need a conduit. That’s where you fit in, son.”

“A conduit?” quizzed Trine as she poured Jem and herself some of the blood-infused wine.

Meryn nodded, “When a vampire creates another, they leave a trace behind. A little bit of themselves. Their maker’s mark so to speak.” She paused to take a sip from her glass. “I’m hoping that our friend has left a little of her magic behind in that trace.”

“And how do you propose to find it, mother? I assume its not a physical mark like my tattoos.”

“I need to scry your mind back to the point when she created you.”

He had suspected as much.

“Remember there was a partial transformation first that failed,” he prompted before drinking deeply from his glass.

“Do you trust me, son?” asked Meryn plainly. “I promise to probe no further than that partial transformation. For this to work, you’ll need to open your mind willingly to me.”

Knowing he had no choice, he nodded his consent, “No further than that. You promise?”

“You have my word,” she answered sincerely. “But I intend to use my own magic to seek out Anna’s in your mind. This will feel different to any other attempts that have been made to probe your memories. I need to locate that trace then feel through it till I connect with her.”

“Will it work?”

“Only one way to find out,” answered the older woman. “I need to draw on the moon’s energy, so we’ll do this outside.”

The rocks were glittering as the three vampires settled themselves down out of sight of the path. They’d walked a little further east of the cottage to find a suitably secluded spot where the light was also right. Sitting facing her son, Meryn looked into his deep brown eyes and smiled. “Try to relax. I’m going to place my fingers on your cheek bones and jawline. I’ll try to avoid those cuts. I need to use an incantation. All you need to do is let me in. Don’t resist the probing. There might be intense heat or intense cold. I won’t know which until I find the connection. It depends on which type of magic she used.”

“And if you don’t find any?” he asked.

“I’ll find it,” she said confidently. “Ready?”

With a quick glance towards Trine, he nodded.

Closing her eyes, Meryn placed her fingertips along his well-defined cheek bones. She positioned her little fingers on his jawbone below his ears then nestled her thumbs among the wiry hairs of his beard at the centre of his chin. Whispering words he couldn’t decipher, she moved her thumbs together to touch. The instant they connected, he felt an icy piercing pain shoot through him. It seemed to curl through his mind carving a frosty trail as it twisted and turned. He resisted the urge to scream as his mother probed deeper and deeper into his soul.

After a minute or two, he felt her hesitate then the energy shifted slightly. A vision began to form in his mind. The scene was misty at first but slowly cleared to show Anna lying on a leaf strewn stone floor. He could see tall stone walls surrounding her. She was swathed in moonlight, but it was coming from a gap in the roof rather than the small square windows that were high up in the walls.

He felt the icy magic being repelled then the world went black. As he lost consciousness, he felt his mother’s touch retreat as Trine’s arms wrapped round him to prevent him from falling backwards.

“Jem,” he heard his name being called through the fog in his mind.

“Jeremiah! Wake up!” Immediately, he recognised his mother’s sharp tone.

Groggily, he muttered, “Awake.”

“Are you ok?” asked Trine, her voice filled with concern.

“I think so.”

“Did you see her?” demanded Meryn, looking pale and exhausted by her efforts.

“Yes.”

“And do you know where she is?”

As the world came back into focus, he looked his mother in the eye and nodded.

“Can you get to her tonight?”

“Yes. She’s not far from here,” he said, sounding surprisingly calm.

“Where is she?” asked Trine curiously. “Back at her mausoleum?”

“No. She’s lying in an old stone watch tower. It’s in the estate to the west of here. Less than two miles away.”

“We’ve no time to waste, son,” said Meryn. “Go and fetch her before she moves on. Bring her back here.”

“Do you want one of us to come with you?” offered Trine, concerned that her mate might be heading into danger.

He shook his head, “I need to do this on my own.”

Before either of them could stop him, he got to his feet, spread his majestic, green-tipped wings, and soared silently into the night sky.

In less than five minutes, he was perched, crouched down on the top of the crumbling wall of the tower. Some thirty feet below him, he could see the dark angel sprawled on the floor, her damaged wing lying at an awkward angle. Soundlessly, he jumped down, landing sure-footed as a cat beside her.

“Son of Perran,” she murmured without opening her eyes.

Laying a hand on her shoulder, his heart filled with sadness. She suddenly seemed so frail and vulnerable. Before his emotions could get the better of his common sense, he lifted her into his arms then wrapped his wings around her. She lost consciousness in his arms as the world went dark.

Silently Watching at the Hunger Moon

A thick blanket of snow covered the area. It had fallen thick and fast for more than two days, creating the deepest snowfall in the area for almost a century. Nothing stirred outside the beach hut. The coastal path had all but disappeared; the dog walkers had stayed away. All was silent and still.

Inside the beach hut was a different scene. Now extended to three full rooms, it was warm and brightly lit. When he had built on the bedroom for Trine, the runner had partitioned off his own sleeping space. They used heavy curtains instead of doors, but it was more than enough to afford them their privacy. When the bedroom had been complete, he’d allowed Trine free rein on how it was to be furnished. He had built a platform to serve as her bed with storage boxes underneath. Within a couple of days, Trine had sourced bedding, cushions and curtains for the small west-facing window. She had laid a cream deep-pile rug on the bare floor. Under the cover of darkness, the runner had made a couple of trips to his former home bringing a small chest of drawers and a large vanity mirror from his daughter’s old room.

Over the weeks, Trine had added some touches to the living room too, making it more homely. He hadn’t objected.

Pouring the last of the deer blood that she kept in her leather flask into the open bottle of wine, Trine said simply, “Snow or no snow, we need to hunt tonight.”

“That could be risky,” commented the runner, accepting the wine glass from her. “We can’t risk leaving footprints or blood stains on the snow.”

The Ice Maiden nodded, “And we can’t bring our kill back here.” She paused to take a sip from her own glass then said, “We may need to take a human life, Son of Perran.”

“No,” he said firmly, shaking his head to emphasise his disagreement. “I won’t.”

“It’s been over a week since we both drank warm blood. We need to hunt soon.”

“I know,” he said with a sigh. “Tomorrow.”

“It needs to be on a cloudy night,” stated Trine. “Tonight is perfect.”

“Fine. We’ll hunt tonight,” he relented.

“We could go together,” suggested Trine softly, reaching across to touch his hand.

“We could,” he agreed smiling across the table at her. “We could.”

Hidden by the shadows, the dark angel crouched behind the rocks to the east of the beach hut, watching closely as the runner- her runner- and his vampiress left presumably to hunt. Her patience had finally paid off! The hut was empty at last. Now was her opportunity to discover who this mysterious woman was.

The dark angel watched as the runner and the Ice Maiden disappeared into the dark to the north then, satisfied that they would be gone for a while, she approached the hut. Drawing her majestic wings around her, she transported herself inside.

Scanning the room, she took note of the two wine glasses on the table before exploring the bedrooms. There was little of interest in the runner’s sleeping space. His bed was neatly made, not a thing out of place. She ran her fingers lightly over the framed photo of his family that sat beside the bed. Slowly, she inhaled the room’s aroma, relishing in the smell of him. She could almost taste that toxic exotic blood of his.

The Ice Maiden’s room was a different affair. Her bed was a crumpled mess of quilts, blankets and pillows. There were no personal effects on display to give any clues as to who she was. Several shells lay in a dish on the chest of drawers. Collected from the shore in front of the beach hut, guessed the dark angel. The only other item on top of the pine unit was a hairbrush with long strands of platinum blonde hair entwined in its bristles. Carefully, she knelt down beside the bed and slid open one of the two deep under-bed storage drawers. Inside were some books, some journals and few loose pens rolling around the bottom. The journals were filled with drawings of wild-flowers and seabirds with the occasional portrait of the runner. One caught her eye and without thinking, the dark angel tore out the page and slipped the picture into her cloak.

The second drawer was filled with the Ice Maiden’s clothes. Something, however, drew the dark angel to explore the contents further. She rummaged under the neatly folded garments. Her slender fingers found a small suede leather pouch, containing something round and hard. Taking care not to disturb the clothes, she withdrew the pouch and opened it. Inside was a small crystal ball. Carefully, she tipped the heavy ball out into her hand and gazed into it.

At first the dark angel saw nothing in it and was about to return it to its pouch when she noticed the glass appear to shimmer. Gradually it cleared to reveal a scene inside. Her blood ran cold as she recognised Stefan, the head of the Court of the Elders. Swiftly, before her side of the scene emerged in the crystal ball’s twin, the dark angel dropped it back into its suede bag.

So, the Ice Maiden was connected to the Court of the Elders but who was she? If the ball was what she thought it was, it would show the person who had gifted it to her. The only person in the scene that had begun to emerge had been Stefan. Was the Ice Maiden his precious daughter? Still mulling this over, she returned the crystal to its hiding place and closed the drawer.

With a quick glance round to check that she hadn’t left anything out of place, the dark angel drew her wings round herself and disappeared.

A small black, purple tipped feather fluttered to the floor.

A large log was ablaze in the fireplace in Stefan’s study. The Court of the Elders had been deep in discussion all day about some troublesome vampires in Rome, who were embroiled in a territorial dispute. Against his better judgement, he had agreed that Alessandro should go alone and intervene to ensure peace was restored. With a yawn, he reached for his wine goblet. He really should have gone out to hunt but he was weary. Sipping the warm blood infused wine, Stefan vowed to hunt just before dawn. Beside him on a small table next to his chair sat a crystal ball, the twin of the one he’d entrusted to Trine when she’d left the sanctuary of the castle. A flicker of purple light in the globe caught his attention. Curious, he lifted the ball from its stand and studied it. There were wisps of purple smoke in it but no clear images. It should be blue not purple, he mused as he looked deep into the sphere. Who had found his daughter’s crystal ball? Shaking his head, Stefan decided it must have been a trick of the light. His daughter was well versed in their ways and knew to keep the crystal on her person at all times. She would not have left it unattended. He placed it back on its stand as the last speck of purple disappeared.

Light was beginning to streak the sky to the east as the runner and Trine arrived back at the beach hut. His sixth sense was twitching as they stood in the courtyard outside the hut. Before unlocking the door, he stood studying the footprints in the snow.

“What’s wrong?” asked Trine, drawing her cloak around her tightly to ward off the icy cold easterly wind.

“I’m not sure,” he said as he fished the key from his pocket. “Feels like someone has been here.”

“The snow from the path is untouched and its only our footprints on the beach,” observed Trine looking round the area.

“I know,” he agreed, opening the door. “It just feels… feels off.”

Inside the cabin, everything was exactly as they had left it several hours beforehand. The only difference was that the fire was down its last glowing embers.

“I’m ready for sleep,” declared Trine with a yawn.

“Me too,” agreed the runner. “Let me add some wood to the stove to keep the place warm.”

“I could keep you warm,” teased the Ice Maiden playfully.

“You could.”

“Your bed or mine?” she quizzed with a mischievous wink.

“Mine,” he replied without hesitation. “It’s bigger. More room.”

Alone in her mausoleum, the dark angel paced backwards and forwards trying to reason out why Stefan’s daughter should be here with the runner. They may not have parted on the best of terms, but he was still her fledging and she was bound to him. She’d allowed her temper to get the better of her and been too lax in her observation of him for too long. Drawing her cloak around her, the dark angel contemplated her next move. The last thing she needed was the Court of the Elders poking their noses into things. If they found out about all the rules she had broken, she would be taken to their hidden castle, put on trial and either sacrificed or sentenced to eternal life in the castle dungeons.

If the Court of the Elders and Stefan had discovered the runner’s existence, it could also mean certain death for her regardless. Her last sentence from them, more than two centuries ago, had forbidden her from creating another creature of the night. At the very least, she had to learn more about the mysterious vampiress who was sharing his cabin with him. Who was she and why was she there?

It was the blue hour, the hour just after sunset when the last light of the day added an extra clarity to the world. Stepping outside the beach hut, Trine breathed deeply, drinking in the crisp, cold, salty air. A cold wind blew across the river from the north east, its chill biting at her pale skin. She could see the full moon, the Hunger Moon, rising above the hills. With a smile she thought that she’d satiated  her hunger on their hunt the night before. But, after spending the night with the runner, Trine was keen to hunt again.

A crow sitting on a nearby rock caught her attention. It might have been her imagination, but she felt sure it was watching her. She could feel its eyes boring into her soul. In the dying light of the day its feathers looked almost purple in places. Something about the bird made her uneasy. Turning her back on it she returned to the warmth of the beach hut.

As the door closed, the crow spread its wings and flew up to perch on the roof to watch and wait.

Once back inside, Trine checked on the runner. He was still sound asleep, sprawled across the bed, his wings relaxed over him. Even in sleep, a satisfied smile played on his lips. Resisting the urge to caress him, the Ice Maiden returned to her own room. Having drawn the curtains and lit the oil lamp, she knelt down beside the bed and opened the drawer. She rummaged among her clothes and pulled out the pouch containing the crystal ball. As she gazed into its depths, her father’s study came into focus. Probing with her mind, she tried to reach him. Her efforts were met with silence. His study lay empty.

“Well, at least I’ve tried,” she thought as she returned the suede bag to its hiding place.

A small feather lying on the rug caught her attention. It was black with a purple tip. Gently, she picked it up, noting how pretty it was. On a whim, she tucked it into the edge of the frame of the mirror that sat on top of the chest of drawers, silently wondering where it had come from.

Time to hunt, she thought as she headed back to the warmth of the main room. There was nothing lying about that she could use to leave a message for her sleeping host. Guessing he would sleep for another hour or two, she decided to hunt swiftly in the hope she could return before he stirred. Taking care to be quiet, Trine slipped out the door.

Feeling the snow on the courtyard cold under her feet, she checked to see that there was no one around then spread her wings and soared into the night.

With barely a second’s hesitation, the dark angel transformed back from her crow disguise and soared off into the darkness, keeping the Ice Maiden in her sights.

The beach hut was silent, dark and cold when the runner finally stirred. Without lighting the bedside lamp, he dressed and wandered through to add more wood to the stove. There was no sign of Trine. His sixth sense was twitching. Something was amiss. Quickly, he checked outside to see if she was sitting on the rocks beside the hut she wasn’t there. He could see her footprints in the fresh snow outside the door of the hut and little scrapes in the snow to either side from the tips of her wings. Something still felt wrong to him. On a whim, he decided to check her room to see if she’d left a note or any clue as to where she’d gone.

Her room looked exactly the same as it always did, apart from one of the drawers under the bed was pulled out slightly. Everything else looked to be in its rightful place. Then his eyes fell on it. The purple tipped black feather tucked into the mirror. It could only be one of the dark angel’s feathers.

Suddenly he was consumed with dread. She’d been here. He’d been right when he felt that something was a bit off. His creator had been in the hut the night before while they’d been hunting. However, that didn’t solve the current puzzle. Where was Trine?

Silently Watching At The Buck Moon

dark-angel

Blind fury surged through his veins as he pounded out some long, angry miles along the trails behind his village home. He could feel the blood burning through his lean body. By running hard and fast, he was trying to distract himself from the cries of the Rabbia Sanguigna. His changeling soul was screaming for blood.

It had been an infuriating day from the moment he’d opened his eyes. Breakfast has been beyond chaotic as the kids had been fractious, each squabbling with their siblings over nothing. The family cat depositing a live bird in the middle of the kitchen hadn’t helped matters. He’d left with his daughter’s shrieks of hysteria echoing through his mind.

A white pebble had sat on the wiper blade of the car when he’d left to go to work. He was being summoned. His intention was to end his evening run with a visit to the graveyard.

A long hot day in the office hadn’t helped. There were new members in his team and his boss had buddied him up with one of them. The guy was a “know-it-all” who knew nothing and talked crap all day. Despite his best efforts to calmly walk him through the correct processes, his colleague knew a better way to do everything. After lunch, he’d adopted his “fuck it” approach and left the guy to it. He’d emailed his boss to express his concerns over the less experienced team member’s attitude to following documented processes and his understanding of the importance of complying to regulation then left for the day.

Over the months, he’d noticed that it proved more challenging to control the urges associated with the Rabbia Sanguigna around the time of the full moon. For four or five days his already heightened senses were on edge and the least little thing sparked the urge for blood. The dark angel had tried to teach him how to control the desires and how to prepare for them to lessen the effects but, four months down the line, the blood from his mother had long since worn off and none of the techniques were working.

Up ahead, at the side of the road, he spotted a cyclist standing beside his bike studying the front wheel. His sensitised nasal passages caught a whiff of blood in the air.

“Hey, everything alright?” he asked as he approached. It looked as though the cyclist had crashed. Blood was trickling from cuts on his arm and thigh and he was holding his arm protectively over his ribs.

“Car clipped me,” explained the cyclist through gritted teeth. “Think I’ve broken my collar bone and some ribs. Bike’s wrecked. Wheel’s twisted.”

Glancing round, the runner noted there was no one in sight. His blossoming vampire urges seized control. In a split second, before either of them had had time to think, he stepped towards the injured cyclist, reached out as if to help him then sunk his teeth into the ripe throbbing vein in his neck.

The clean vibrant human blood flowed into his veins tasting divine. He drank deeply.

It hadn’t been his intention to drain him dry but, before he realised what he was doing, the cyclist crumpled at his feet. His eyes were open and glazed.

He’d killed him.

He’d made his first human kill.

His satiated blood ran cold. What had he done?

 

 

A crimson sunset was lighting up the sky as he ran up the steps into the quiet cemetery. His earlier blind fury had been replaced by blind panic and he prayed the angel was waiting by the tree.

“Care to explain yourself, Son of Perran!” she hissed in his ear as he walked towards their usual meeting point.

“Jesus!” he yelped. He hadn’t heard or felt her approach.

“Careless! Messy! Sloppy!” she berated him angrily. “Have you learned nothing from me? What were you thinking about? You never even attempted to cover your tracks!”

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled staring down at his feet.

“Too late for sorry!”

“I lost control. My blood’s been burning all day. I hunted last night but I was so thirsty. He was bleeding…” he faltered. “I didn’t mean to kill him. I meant to stop like you explained. Leave him alive.”

“But you didn’t!” raged the angel, her green eyes blazing with fury. “Fortunately for you I was nearby and smelled the blood. I’ve covered your track this time. Heed me well, Son of Perran, this is the only time!”

“I’m sorry,” he repeated quietly, feeling like a child being chastised by its mother.

“You will be,” she muttered, her voice a little calmer. “Think! Was the moon visible while you drank from him?”

“No idea.”

“Oh,” sighed the angel, her voice ringing with exasperation. “What have you started?”

“How’d you mean?”

“There is no going back for you now.”

“No going back where?”

“You may have just made your first human kill under the rising of the full moon. The Buck Moon at that, you fool!”

His dark brown eyes suddenly filled with fear, the runner stared at her.

“Sit,” instructed the angel, indicating their usual bench beside the tree.

Without complaint, he sat down and watched as she took a seat beside him, angling herself in such as a way as to prevent there being any damage to her majestic wings.

“The full moon always acts as a catalyst. It strengthens the effect of things. It speeds up the changes. It enhances the desires. It heightens the senses,” she began calmly. “Some full moons have different effects. That’s why I wanted to speak to you. To warn you about the dangers of tonight’s full moon. I knew you’d hunted last night. I thought there was time….”

“Time for what? What dangers?” he interrupted.

“The Buck Moon is powerful, Son of Perran. Have you drunk your mugwort today?”

A realisation dawned on the runner. He hadn’t taken his mugwort tea for three days.

“No,” he confessed. “And I might have missed a day or two.”

“Missed a day or two?” echoed the angel sharply. “Golden rule, Son of Perran. That was one of your golden rules!”

“Sorry.”

“Stop apologising,” she snapped. “It’s too late for apologies. If there’s been damage done, it’s too late to stop it.”

“Stop what?” His tone was sharper and more demanding than he’d intended.

Taking a deep breath to calm herself, the angel said, “By making your first human kill under the light of a full moon, you have increased your body’s need and desire for human blood. Animal blood may no longer satiate your thirsts. You, Son of Perran, have made yourself a killer.”

With his head in his hands, the runner sat trembling. What had he done?

“That’s only part of it,” continued the angel. “The Buck Moon is so named as it’s the moon that marks the time when young male deer start to develop their antlers. For our kind, it’s the moon when wings are most likely to bud. I had been going to warn you to double up on the mugwort for the next few days but it’s too late for that now.”

“Fuck,” he muttered.

All of his worst nightmares were gathering in front of him and becoming a cold harsh reality.

“Now what do I do?” he asked when he was finally able to speak.

“For a start, double up on the mugwort for a week. If your wings are going to bud, you’ll feel it by the end of the week.”

“I can’t grow fucking wings!” he growled. “How will I explain them?”

“There may be a way to slow their growth,” she said slowly, “If they bud.”

“Great! More hocus pocus!”

“Quiet,” she cautioned sternly. “How you feed is now a more pressing issue.”

“Why?”

“Have you listened to a thing I’ve said?”

Gazing at him with almost motherly concern, the angel wanted to reach out to reassure her fledgling at the same time as she wanted to scream and yell at him for his stupidity. Her own anger was rising and she knew if she didn’t hunt soon, she’d lose her temper with him.

“Son of Perran, I’ll be blunt. Your impetuous meal tonight has ensured that you’ll need human blood at least once a week to survive. You might want to work out a plan on how you are going to find the source of your sustenance!”

“Once a week? I’ll need to kill once a week?”

“Not necessarily kill if you can master the art of restraint,” she said.

“I’ve really fucked this up, haven’t I?”

“Succinctly put,” she said getting to her feet. “Go home. Drink your mugwort then drink some more. Keep your temper in check. Meet me here one week from tonight.”

Before he could reply, she’d spread her majestic wings and vanished from sight.

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)