Son of Elm

 

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Dear Diary...

Hey, diary it's me again. Liv...

 I’ve been thinking a lot about life and death, maybe I’m over thinking here but life ends before it starts, right? I believe it would take around one-hundred years before you figure out who you truly are. Human’s, they’re like a time bomb with approximately eighty years until detonation, if you survive that long! In this time you have to find who you are, produce an honest wage-get married and make a few more humans to take your place and then live a calm retirement. If you weren’t dying I think the offspring and matrimony part wouldn’t even be compulsory for another fifty years.

I was reading this book, not mine. Just my friend Celina, she’s all into zodiacs and fairytales, she’s a weirdo but she’s my weirdo. It was about a man who was very sick, in order to survive and rule his kingdom he had to sacrifice his five children, only four survived not without being cursed for the remainder of their many lives. The honoured rule is humans are sacred and must never be touched in any way, unfortunately  when something is forbidden, it becomes desired.  There is a price for any one that disobeys this rule and they will not be punished lightly.  

To live forever? Sounds great but the truth is, you’d be forced to watch everyone around you perish over and over again. It’s a good thing its just a fairytales right?

~ Olivia Eden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter 1

Chapter One –

1514, France.

 He threw his head up towards the heavens with a discontent groan, the burning in his throat throbbing until now. His face stained red and eyes bluer than the oceans, in his arms the limp body of a young female with red hair; almost decapitated she relieved majority of the pain he was enduring. “More!” he demanded, “-This is not enough!”,  “brother, you must rest, you have been poisoned, stress will only force the poison to spread”, the response was not what he wanted to hear, as if she was nothing more than a child’s doll the sadistically irritated man hurled the woman aside, “you insist on me to rest, brother? I have just learned of my fate Viktan!” Dan'Tanian removed the black hood that covered his face; two others standing beside him removed their hoods in unison. They were his younger and older siblings, Viktan being the eldest, then Dan’Tanian, Lilith and last Jestan D’Myer. “Brother, you forget yourself; who would dare harm us? We retain more power than any creature put together, calm ones self, you’re raving like a mad man, quite frankly it is embarrassing to watch” Jestan said, a composed Lilith listened to her brothers ravage valuable time, beside first born, Viktan. Her skin was ashen even under the light of the winter moon; her eyes scanned the environment constantly awaiting danger at each passing second. “Tylielu is an impressive witch, we must act upon her visions with vigilance, she led father into greatness she can do the same for us, brothers.  Are we not feared by all? We have an advantage because of our family name, a name that will go down in history. Let us not dwell on our fate, let us destroy the child and return to Elm where are thrones await us” her words we softly spoken but sharp and proud. “Sister is right, fear has made us inadequate, and Dan'Tanian you are faster than any beast? yet the hunters got you with their arrow, we must plan before or you’ll get us all killed” said Jestan, he shuffled through the ankle deep snow to his older brother, with no word he grasped the arrow which anchored into his shoulder,  it was out with  a firm tug. The north mountain echoed with his brothers cry. In retaliation Dan'Tanian took Jestan by the arm and slammed the six foot five man face first into the snow, Viktan rolled his eyes, out of all of them  Dan'Tanian and Jestan fought the most. “That wasn’t your place!” the older brother spat, Lilith raised her hand to immediately disrupt Jestan from attacking Dan'Tanian back, instead he hissed showing two sharp incisors on both sides of his top jaw. “The sprite should cure you by dawn” Lilith assured her brother, Viktan cracked his neck both sides, “return home, tell father I will not die in vain, we all know I'm the only one strong enough to kill this creature”, Viktan being the eldest always saw himself above his siblings, yet he respected them on an equal level. “Who knew the fate of Elm lies in a feeble child, where would we find this Anne-Laurie Limier?”  She said the name with revulsion, before realising Viktan was already climbing down the icy mountain. “Tylielu knew”, “-excuse me?” spat Lilith, “answering your question” Jestan replied with a cocky smirk.  Dan’Tanian now strangely gone quiet brother likes to thinks first and acts later, he had been monitoring the recent crisis and waited until he had a logical proposal, nothing like his siblings that let their survival instincts take over, before his eyes their recent behaviour appeared much uncivilized. “We hunt and we do not stop” he began, Lilith and Jestan looked at Dan’Tanian, almost amazed he wasn't going to rant about how much pain he was in, “we hunt until we find this child of our demise, then we keep her confined, pending her sixteenth year and devour...her” his eyes lit up with delight of his plan, Lilith smiled a wicked smile, Jestan nodded with a smirk. “Brother, why must we wait eight years?”, Dan’Tanian chuckled as if the answer was so apparent, it  really was. “Sprites, they do not come into complete power until they reach their  tenth year, feasting on her would be futile, more to the point they can turn their blood into poison whilst in infancy, as much as I take pleasure in a risk Jestan, I do not like the thought of feeling my internal organs reject me, the pain is believed to force a phantom to insanity”, “you answered nothing, why must we wait eight years not two?” his voice a little more assertive this time.

“Because she is not like us, she is a dual bred- repellent -adulterated creature of two races” a voice spat behind them, “she will not attain maturity until her sixteenth year for she is half human” Lilith and Viktan swiftly turned around and gazed up at their father, shocked that he had left the realm, he despised the human world as much as he despised anything weaker than himself-which is everything other than God. Instantly his children fell to their knees in the deep snow and bowed their heads. “Your greatness” they whispered and held one hand flat against their right shoulder. “Jestan, my wisest, I beg  of you to bring your brother home safely, he’s reckless and shouldn’t be left alone with his thoughts, he’s the eldest  son of D’Myer. It would break my heart if...” Lilith jumped in, “father do not fret, we shall thrive on our responsibilities, nothing will become of Viktan, you have our word”, their father bowed his head, his long hair with a silvery tint blew in the wind, his thick wolf skin cloak wrapped around his body guarding him from the harsh winter air.

“All I request is my children return unharmed”

 

1530, Forêt de rois, France

Whilst France’s King anticipated war with Spain, he wasn’t to know of the war rooting on the other side of his country.

Hidden by icy mountains and golden acres of woodland; stood a small village of little cottages, markets and a tavern, more days than none it was empty, but the tree cutters liked to have a drink after a long day in the forest. Next to a glistening blue lake was a stable of horses and chickens darting around, the King’s men would often visit this village in the Fall to harvest its water’s to keep the King strong, his majesty was kind enough to give a token to each of the villagers for the water, that  is believed to have healing remedies. Being so hidden, the villagers only got a few hours of light a day, as the tall trees kept them in constant shade making them very open for predators that lurked in the shadows. Fiery torches were lit around a crumbling brick wall as a means to keep wolves and outsiders away, however its warm glow was more inviting than fearing.

The spring quickly turned into summer for a short while, too soon fall, had once again reached, the King took his routine harvest of water from the lake, fall left to welcome the hard winter. The lake froze over and the villagers struggled to keep warm, with the King’s token they used it to buy warm blankets for their families. The homes were glimmering in the winter, the windows reflecting the dancing fires, the village echoed with giggles of children playing in the snow and horses rustled around in the warm hay. Snow sprinkled from the heavens like glitter, it produced a white blanket over the cobblestone path that lead to a bakery, a petite cottage that sheltered a family of three, and they were frequently the subject of everyone’s talk as they were so reserved. They weren’t ones to interact with others, causing rumours that they were not too quick to hush.  No one knew a lot about them, just Charles earned his wage as a woodcutter, selling his wood to traders that visited, he was the illegitimate son of a musketeer, and he married in his eighteenth year to a beautiful woman and then fathered a baby girl now in her tenth year. Kissiae, envy to any one that set eyes on her, she had pink tinted lips  that were often curved into a smile, her eyes were an remarkable jade and her hair would naturally fall to her bosom, if it wasn’t hidden under a tangled disorder of cloth. Secrets are not unheard of, all hold one or two between their lips; never to be repeated until the day of judgement, however Kissiae wasn’t fortunate to be given an option of hiding it too easily, which is where the cloth came in. The shabby cloth hid hair as blue as sapphires, in fright of exposure she kept it cut short to keep it out of sight, for the village would surly condemn her a witch. The cuttings were buried amid the apple tree behind the cottage, it’s power kept the tree abundant.

Kissiae glanced up at the roof, her eyebrows forming a frown; again the roof was leaking melted snow. She would have to let her husband know on his return, another thing to burden him with. With a light sigh she found a candle on the fire mantel, her stitching sat on her rocking chair in front of the warm fire, it would make a nice blanket to keep her child warm, perhaps she’d find time to have it finished for next year. That is if the winter hadn’t killed them, a lot of people were sick this winter, it took neighbour Thomas’s son last year.

 Taking an empty pot from beside the fire, Kissiae situated it on top of the puddle; she could use the water to bath in once it had heated.  The errands were done; all that was left was to tuck one restless child. Kissiae delicately pushed the bedroom door open, she found her young daughter playing quietly with her dolls, she smiled but that vanished as soon as she noticed the window wasn’t locked. “Ann must I tell you again?” her voice cross, “mama I promise, I never touched the window”, “you know what happens if you lie Ann!”, “honest mama” Ann pleaded with her mother for her trust, Kissiae couldn’t stay mad with Ann for very long as she had the sweetest face. “Come child, I washed this today”, Kissiae picked up a long white night dress from the chair beside the window, she helped her daughter undress, “ah” the child gasped, “it’s cold”, Anne slipped into her night clothes and tip toed across the creaky floor to the bed, “that is better”, Kissiae folded Ann’s dress, it was a pale blue that bought out the child’s blue eyes inherited from her father Charles. She then gently untangled the child’s hair from the cloth hidden just like hers, “Your hair has grown a great deal”, the girl’s hair fell to her waist now, and this only made it a lot harder to hide. Unlike her mother’s hair, Ann had hair as white as snow. “Mama? tell me a story” the child crawled under her covers, she watched as her mother carried the chair to her  bed side, “just a little one tonight”, resting her head back, Kissiae watched the flame on the candle, it bought back a flash of memories that she began to tell.

“The winter spirit’s were a great and powerful tribe, they lived in the trees and the brooke, they even lived under the earth that our feet walk upon. one spirit was fascinated by the mortals that ruled the lands above, she wanted to see the mortals but she was forbidden and too small; so she called upon the great mother nature to help her. she had fallen in love with a man not much older than her, his blue eyes entranced her as she would watch him sit by a camp fire in the woodlands, he lived and worked in the forest; it was his home. Mother Nature wasn’t to give this spirit the power of mortal size for little price, she demanded a jar of hair, not her own but from the King of her tribe; the King was her father, and to do such a thing was punishable by exile. A winter spirit on their own wouldn’t last a night, her love for this dark haired stranger was far too strong and whilst her father slept, she cut a little amount from his long sapphire hair and presented it to mother nature. Every night the spirit would sneak away and become mortal size, the stranger and the spirit fell deeper with each meeting. But their secret was not to last, the King discovered what his daughter had done, he was furious that the heavens echoed and roared, for her treason; she was to be exiled and cursed to stay in her mortal size, so she could never return to her tribe. “I no longer have a daughter” his heart broke, she was stripped of her wings and crown, the real punishment is she would never be accepted by mortals either, her hair is the one thing that would remind her of her lie, who she really is.”

Kissiae’s eyes wet her cheeks with painful memories “he never spoke to her again”, “he does not deserve such a brave daughter, she followed her heart and found love” Ann knew more about the story than Kissiae wanted, the bright child read between the lines from the start, she could extract the truth and lies from anyone’s mouth. She may not know of her heritage, but Ann knew she wasn’t just a human but more, her mother tried to protect her by keeping her obvious to her blue blood line.

Ann closed her eyes as her mother blew out the candle,

 “Mama, might winter spirits have magic?”

“Oui, they are blessed with many gifts, Ann. They use them to protect themselves because they are rather small, but they must never use them on a mortal”,

“Why?”

“It is forbidden”

“What happens?”

“Ann, sleep it is late”,

Kissiae waited for her husband in front of the fire, she soon drifted into a deep sleep, as the village slept too, the mountain lit up with lightening, dark clouds ascended over France carrying a heavy storm. From the fog, men in dark cloaks walked out as if appearing from thin air; their faces perfectly hidden. These men did not walk down the mountains; they leaped at impossible heights making what would have been a long journey to land, just minutes long. At the bottom of the mountain was the foot of the woodlands, it led to two the village. Lilith removed her hood, she was not pleased as a cloaked accomplice returned alone from the trees, “your greatness” bowed the cloaked man, “I was unsuccessful”, Lilith wasn’t patient enough to wait for any more disappointing excuses, she lashed out at the man with a stinging strike to the face knocking his hood off. He hissed at her, a red mark visible on his pasty cheek, “I was unsuccessful in bringing him, I was however successful in finding him”, “where is Viktan?” jumped in Jestan pushing his sister away, the young man with black hair combed to one side; straightened his posture, “he’s in a mortal village, making a scene. He believes the child is hiding amongst peasants”, “-he’s mad, surly?” said a voice amongst them, “no, my brother perhaps abrupt and reckless, but he is smart” said Jestan, “since he has already made a parade for us, there is no need in our quietness?” smiled Dan’Tanian who loved a good party, he was more than pleased to gather attention from the terrified humans he looked down on. “Let us gatecrash brother’s party, I’m awfully hungry Rochester, peasants are below me but I do enjoy a bit of trash food on occasion”.

Charles rode into the village, the gates had been destroyed and flames soured high into the sky, sending homes crashing to the ground. The cries of families running into the snow was something out of a nightmare, bodies parts were scattered on the ground. “Ann” he cried and galloped through the village to find his family. Viktan stood on top of a hay bale holding the body of a woman, her face hidden by a blood covered rag; he watched the villagers running to safety like insects and laughed at their fear. “I will devour village after village, town after town until I find the child of Limier!” Charles stopped at the foot of Viktan; he would have continued if he hadn’t of recognised the dress. His heart pound against his chest, each second it slowly broke at the thought of this dangerous stranger holding his wife. “Be gone peasant” shouted Viktan, he penetrated the woman’s jugular again with his teeth, scarlet blood oozed down his chin as he gasped excitedly, “blue blood, hits the spot” he chuckled dropping the body at Charles feet, the rag fell off and revealed the sweet face of Kissiae Limier, the most beautiful woman Charles had ever set his eyes on, her blue hair cut short at the shoulder fell across her face and her blood dyed the snow red. Charles let out a loud cry and fell to his knees he tried to touch her hand but he couldn’t bring himself to except her death, his world as he knew it, ended. For the last month he counted the days until he returned to her. “Kissiae, please” the destroyed man kissed her cold face, combing his hands through her hair. Viktan felt nothing for what he had done; he looked at the man as if he was entertainment in his little twisted plan to bring this village to its knees. He sat down and crossed his legs at the feet of the woman he had killed, licking her blood from his fingers.

“Oh dear” he laughed as Charles stroked his love's face; he took a necklace from around her neck, “what has become of my daughter? Did you kill her too beast?” hissed Charles, looking into the eyes of the savage. “I don’t think I understand peasant” Viktan looked confused almost, a little disappointed he missed out on two blue blood meals, “my daughter!” Charles drew a knife from his boot and pointed it at Viktan who jumped to his feet with a smirk, “insolent man, that thing cannot harm me”, Viktan’s expression changed as he began to do the maths in his head. “Wait, do you mean to tell me you married a winter spirit..., of course producing a half blood daughter”, Charles looked confused, what was this man thinking? Somehow he felt like he may have given away too much. “You are mortal are you not?”, “what are you?” stuttered Charles crawling away, Viktan followed each step he made away from him, “answer me or I’ll rip you limb from limb”, Charles nodded a yes, “mortal- spirit...daughter...” Viktan thought out loud, he lit up with excitement. "I will tell you nothing!", "oh my friend, you already have, you see I can see your thoughts" Viktan bowed “thank you kind sir” and ran at an inhuman speed towards the burning bakery, “Ann!” gasped Charles and ran after him; his mere human speed was no match for such an advanced predator. By the time Charles had reached his home, Viktan was already cradling his daughter in his arms, her face black from the smoke. “Papa!” she cried and tried to escape but Viktan was far too strong, “I beg of you, she is all I have left do not make me childless and a widower on this night” his heart ached and his legs felt heavy with the shock. Viktan rolled his eyes as if he had heard that one too many times, “I have been searching for this child for months, why would I give her up? If you want her, you’ll have to kill me!”, “What do you want with her?”, “she will have her uses, but her death is my survival”, Charles thought if he was going to get his daughter back, than he would have to think smart, the only problem in this, Viktan could read every idea that came to mind.

Just at this moment, reaching the village; an army of blood thirsty demons stretched out and finished off the surviving peasants. Like a black cloud of death, their faces hidden as they devoured all in their path. “Brother!” called Lilith, “show yourself” she looked around at the damage he had caused, her army making it far worse. Soon the Vanatium would hear of their presence and come for their blood, they must act fast. “My siblings, always here to destroy my fun” Viktan laughed and dragged Ann past her father, “Sister! Did I not promise I would find this dangereux bebe?” he said a little smug, through his voice quiet, their hearing was strong enough to pick up a conversation miles away. Lilith smiled at the news and to hear her brother’s voice, “we are safe” Lilith cheered to the shadows behind him. They were prepared to leave when Ann bit Viktan’s arm, her heart racing with fear accidentally poisoned her saliva a power she was not yet aware she had, the power that was now seeping through the bite wound and into Viktan’s veins, once inside: her poison worked instantly causing agonising damage to his organs. Viktan began to seizure on the floor, blood oozed from his nose and eyes, red blisters grew around the bite. Lilith and her brothers came to Viktan’s aid in mere seconds, they had nothing that could help him in this realm, “we need Tylielu!” Jestan panicked, “the child?” Dan’Tanian looked around, she and Charles were nowhere to be seen, “we need to return to Elm!”, “-he will go mad before we reach” Rochester said holding his legs as another lifted his other half, “take him home!” Jestan demanded, “I will stay here, we must show no trace we were here” Lilith said picking up a dismembered leg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter 2

The village burned to the ground, Charles watched the smoke sour into the sky from the mountains, his heart felt as if it would break from his chest. Ann fell asleep protected by her father’s arms, in light of an attack, he wouldn’t be able to defend her from hungry beats but to a child; a father’s arms were like standing behind a thousand soldiers.

As the night steered into early light, Ann woke gently with a yawn; she could smell the pine and hear a crackling fire, they must still be in the forest. When she opened her eyes there was the face of a bearded man looking down at her, there was a camp fire just to in front of her and the shadows of what looked like more men around it. Ann let out a scream soon hushed by his hand, “shhh!” he whispered, “ye’ wint tham to hear ye? We can take on one or two, bit nae the clan that took down your village” agreeing grunts came from around her, “monsieur, where is my pere?” Ann asked as she crawled out from under his wolf skin cloak, the abrupt silence answered her question but she refused to accept it. “Monsieur?” her voice cracked, a boy behind put his hand on her shoulder, he wasn’t much older than fourteen. “That’s Raibert, ma name is Cameron, over there is Lachlan and the one bringing back our breakfast is William, it was Raibert that fand ye on yer own. A young sprite shid nae be in these woods alane” Cameron said tossing a few sticks on the fire.

“I was with my pere!”

 “Father? Lass he wis gone when I fand ye, I doot say those shadows gotten him”,

 “It’s my fault!” Ann wailed, “They wanted me”, Cameron looked at Raibert, “why?” he asked kneeling in front of the child, “my mother told me stories, they needed me, I can’t remember why”, Raibert chocked on his water, the other’s stood up and gathered around the child for a closer look, Ann looked up confused.“It can’t be?”, “the prophecy?” gasped Raibert, “that’s it! that’s what I heard my mother talking about”, “ye need tae go, go back tae where you came from Fairy” said Lachlan in a fluster, he was a young man with long blonde hair tied back, “she will last a second, less if the phantoms fand her first” Cameron argued, “we can’t feed anither mouth, Cameron” Raibert sighed, “ye brought her here jis tae send her away?” Cameron scoffed, “if we leave her they will kill her. She’s the prophecy that Lachlan saw in his dream! What if she wis meant tae find us? We could end the phantoms” the group exchanged shrugs, Raibert let out a groan, “she can bide, bit she is yer responsibility, ye sort it, clothe it an walk it”, Cameron smiled and sat Ann next to him, like a puppy he was given permission to keep.

“ye hungry lass?”

“Oui”

“Rabbit?”

The clan never stayed in one place longer than they need to, which is fine as none belong to a known family, anyone associated to them would always be in danger. They are better known as the Vanatium, phantom hunters existing solely as guardians for humans, keeping the paranormal in their own realm where they belong. Killing on any hand, human or not is not for the faint of heart, it took a while before Ann could make her first kill, however Cameron trained her from the day she joined them, she earned her sword and trust. Trust was not something Ann was too familiar with, she kept close to Cameron and Lachlan above all, the new man to join them; Oliver wasn’t going to be on the trust list too soon. Either it was her powers or intuition; there was something different about this human. He hadn’t said much since he showed up claiming to be an English cousin of Raibert; he answered their questions with questions, and how he knew so much about them only amplified their interest and fear.

Raibert the leader and muscle held a serious face persistently; it was hard to tell if he was sad, thinking or happy. Although he would never admit it, he had grown warm of the child he adopted and would secretly ask his men to keep a watchful eye on the sprite whilst hunting. As Ann grew, her adventures never ceased to amaze her, so much do the humans not know about the world they live in, the creatures that hide in the dark, in their homes, under their beds. Out of fear humans do not believe in the stories shared, which is what puts them in danger as you cannot see what you do not believe. Ann could stand up and preach they are saintly people doing God’s work, except everyone knows God is a merciful God; so anyone that stood beside the Vanatium were no more better than the phantom’s that feast on the weak. As under the layers of animal skin and weapons were heart’s content with ripping another limb from limb and setting it on fire, torturing their victims until they plead for death.

 Ann fell back into a pile of crispy leaves, her body stretched out and welcomed the earth underneath her fingers, “I’m tired, can we rest here?”, Cameron let out a chuckle and sat at the side of her with a groan, he glance up at the heavens that were now a beautiful mix of yellow and blue, darkness was approaching all too fast. “It’s nae safe, these woods they belong tae the phantoms, we are stronger wi the clan”, “ah can take them on!” Ann said sitting up, she put her head on Cameron’s shoulder, “spoken like a scot” he laughed, “ah ken lass, you’re a fairy an ah human, what are ma chances oot here alane?”, “don’t worry, I’ll stand for you”, Cameron leaned in and kissed Ann, she kissed him back for a moment long enough to rob his sword, “aye!”, “last one back gets the rabbit!” Ann teased then vanished behind some shrubbery, “nae fair, ah killed that dear, it’s rightfully mine” yelled Cameron. They made it back to the security of the camp with Cameron running seconds behind; Ann jumped on the back of Raibert and kissed his cheek. “Did ye miss me?”, “div ah need tae answer that Ann?” with a satisfied smirk, Ann slid off his back afterwards and handed Cameron back his sword with a playful wink. Tonight was a full moon it was always the best time to hunt, as Ann could draw her energy from the moon, her hair how glimmering just as clear as the moon, she was eager about catching a D’Myer, he was believed to be hunting in these woods, even if it was just a speculation; the Vanatium will be there, it’s their job to find the truth and kill it, the D’Myer’s are the first of their line, being fast and cunning they are not typically seen particularly by mortals; this one had become idle which means he has been here a long time, not usual behaviour as they only cross realms to feed. “I’ll head north with Lachlan and Cameron” declared Ann tucking her dagger into her boot, Raibert shook his head, he stroked one side of her cheek, the way he looked at her was the way a man would his daughter, his own flesh. “Ann, it’s far too dangerous fur ye. They will kill ye ah first chunce they get, every second ye live the prophecy gets closer” he explained, Ann froze wordless she wasn’t sure how to respond, this was the biggest hunt of their lives, a genuine D’Myer. “Cameron an William ging east ah will take the north road wi Lachlan”, “Raibert!” Ann cried, the groups moved out drowning in their own weapons and traps, each of them lit their torches on the camp fire before. Cameron pulled Oliver close so he could whisper in his ear, “if anything happens tae Ann, ah will div the same tae ye” he slapped Oliver lightly on the back. “You should cover your hair, they’ll see it” Oliver suggested,  “you should cover ye face, I can see it” Ann snapped sitting next to the fire; she cast stones at it until she fell asleep.

 The night was peaceful, except Ann could hear her name being called, the voice was alluring, getting louder, clearer until it woke her, when she opened her eyes the camp fire was dying, where was Oliver? He should have been collecting wood; Ann shuffled to the fire and threw at it whatever she could find to stop it going out. “Oliver?” she called with an aggravated tone, it was pitch black all around her, Ann’s thoughts plagued her with the worst things, she felt fear not just for herself but for Oliver out there alone. “Let’s go fur a walk” Ann gathered all the courage needed to leave the protection she felt next to the camp fire with naught but her sword. “Oliver? If you jump out ah will run this sword through ye”, she could no longer see the light of the fire, it had shrunk the further she got. Beneath the trees, the only light was from the moon, she battled with bushes and fallen trees with every passing step. Ann come across a glade in the midst of Waltham Forest, she acknowledged she was now well and truly lost, her clan couldn’t be too far someone would find her she thought, oblivious someone already had.

Ann Limier” sang a voice, the voice sounded familiar, “who goes there?” the defiantly masculine voice got inside her mind, seduced her feet to follow it, “what are you?” Ann cried stopping herself, “you already know” it answered, out of the blue she felt a finger touch her left arm, she leaped back stumbling over a tree branch, “Oliver?”, a snigger echoed within the trees, it was a different voice from earlier, “foolish child”, it was Olivier’s voice, “Oliver this is not funny” said Ann with a wave of relief, that was until something with a lot strength tossed ten foot away into a tree.

“I’m the son of the uppermost power, supreme ruler of Elm and the five thrones, Prince Dan’Tanian or to you; Oliver” a thunderous thud behind her made the ground tremble, either something big fell or something great landed. As she nervously stood, she could feel a trickling down one side of her face.

 “I don’t understand?”

“All this time you’ve been hunting a D’Myer when all you had to do was look no further than beside you” he laughed, a flare of light blinded her for a measly second, upon opening her eyes there was a fallen tree engulfed in flames, the light was a blessing in disguise she could see what she was up against. Oliver’s skin flickered a warm orange next to the fire, “still think you can take us on?”, “us?” Ann choked looking around her, Oliver strode over, his body language had the poise of a King, Ann flinched as he reached out and grabbed her neck subsequently bending her arm painfully up her back, she let out a whimper as bent her over and pushed her face to the fire, close enough that she could feel the heat yet not as close that she would burn, Ann tried to struggle free from his hold but his strength was remarkable. The Vanatium have meddled with grand forces, all with their own power, but nothing like Oliver’s, she knew Raibert and his men stood no chance surviving them, this wasn’t even Oliver using half of his immortal strength. The only thing she could think of now was how she had been missed this all those years? His random disappearances now explained, once disregarded.

Ann looked up and saw a face through the flames, she cried out forcing her eyes shut. “I knew we would be reunited, it was just a matter of time, fortunately I have a lot of it” the second voice spoke with such conviction as if nothing about this circumstance was out of the ordinary for him, he seemed cheerful in her presence or perhaps her fear was his pleasure. “Oh how you’ve grown into this exquisite young lady” he smiled, parading around her with his arms open wide like he was greeting a long lost friend.

“-You!”

Ann could put a face to the voice at long last; it was him, the man who killed her parents six dark years ago. His chemise was rolled up at the sleeves the way she remembered; on his arm was a scar, a row of tiny teeth marks permanently printed in his skin as a souvenir of the pain he endured for weeks. Viktan hadn’t aged a bit, his hair still tied back with a black ribbon; eyes like the ocean too beautiful for such a creature, his lips were tinted red from his wine. “Brother” Viktan began turning to Oliver, “-find her friends” “-no!” Ann screamed, “Feast, on the contrary please conserve one, I’ll be relatively thirsty after I’m finished here”, Oliver let go of Ann and ran so fast it was as if he evaporated into air. Viktan circled Ann who now trembled with fear, the bravery she had felt, her enthusiasm to destroy Viktan and his family had become lost, he had the ability to make her forget who she was, what she had been trained to do. “Do you taste as good as your mother? Blue blood is the richest of its kind, however yours is tainted by human blood”, “my clan are searching fur ye, they are no force to reckon with my friend” Ann said retrieving her voice. “Friend? Oh no dear, we are not friends” Viktan felt insulted that she even considered it probable he could be defeated, for her idiocy he tossed her into the air. Ofcourse he liked to do such things for fun when on a hunting spree, it shocked the prey which made it easier to kill. “Those Scots have made you delusional Ann”, he smirked at the helpless being the prophecy threatened him with. “Sleep” and his words become, Ann fell into a deep sleep with the wave of his hand. 

 

 

 

Water trickled down one cheek, it ticked her neck, Anne opened her eyes her sight blurry, she looked to her right there was a candle, above her dusty curtains and to her left a woman, she hummed a tune as she squeezed a cloth into a bowl and bent over to her. She noticed Ann had woken but responded with a smile; Ann flinched as she put the warm cloth to the wound on her head. “I spoke...” she paused, “I argued with the masters, they were adamant you stay in the tower with... them, you have me to thank for your room, stay on good form and they’ll be gentle with you, they gave their word” she explained, although Ann now had more questions, was she one of them? Why was she so nice? What were they going to do with her? What was ‘them’ that lived in the tower? “Who are ye?” the woman turned around, her dark skin radiant in the light of the fire, her hair was long and black with feathers on the ends of her single plaits, she wasn’t from here, this land even. “You may call me Tylielu, now rest young lady” and she was gone. It was not possible to fall asleep in light of certain events; furthermore she hadn’t slept in a bed since she was a child. What had become of her friends troubled her all through the night. 

The sun rays broke through gaps in the boarded windows, the corridor became noisy with the echoes of footsteps and voices. “How dare thee call this fresh, remove it from my sight!” yelled a voice, Ann’s door creaked open and a face poked through, it was Tylielu, “breakfast?” she asked, “aye” Ann nodded jumping out of bed, her legs gave way as she was still a little light headed, it was only now that Ann grasped how enormous this place was, the corridors broke off into additional corridors, doors scattered these halls, some leading to guest rooms, others leading to large halls that led to secret rooms. An impressive staircase met the entrance hall to the mansion; a glimmering chandelier stole the show not to mention the paintings showing age and extensive amount of dust. Ann was escorted past the kitchens until they came to double doors at the end of the gloomy corridor, it opened up to a room filled with books, the largest library Ann would ever see, there was a table in the centre with seven dusty chairs, on the table candles sat on top of piles of dusty books. Breakfast had been served, fruits and bread, cheese and meats; at the end of the table sat Viktan D’Myer, his face buried behind a book, leaning back into his chair with his feet up resting on the corner of the table. “Have I ever told thee horse blood tastes like mud mixed with piss” he grumbled, Tylielu rolled her eyes pulling a chair out for Ann, “sit” she insisted, Ann anxiously did so. “Sir, this shall not quench thy thirst, it has been days since thee did fed on pure blood” Tylielu snatched the goblet from his hand and slammed it on the table; she grew tired of his constant complaining lately. “I cannot hunt because dear brother made sure of that did he not? thee frolicking my blue blood around is not helping this insufferable hunger”, Ann remained quiet she really didn’t want to attract any more attention to herself, as she reached out for an apple a man all of a sudden landed on the table disturbing food and candles making Ann jump back, he stepped over the food and crouched in front of Viktan. His shirt undone half way hung off one shoulder showing his muscled chest, his hair unlike his brother was untidy and fell to his shoulders with tangled sweaty curls. Viktan’s eye looked above to acknowledge his little brother, he rolled his eyes and turned a page, “brother, get down from the table we have guests, must thee make us look like animals?”, “alas, we are animals!” laughed Dan’Tanian standing up, “predators, top of the food chain, king beast’s consuming the weak so we can be stout” he fixed his arms out and strolled along the table as if it were his stage and all present, his audience. Tylielu gave little attention as she poured water for their frightened guest. “why fore is our meal seated at the table like the lady is one of us?” asked Dan’Tanian pouring himself a glass of wine, “she needs to eat, the lady has been unconscious for three days, sir”, Ann choked on her water, “three days?” she gasped, “would a king allow his servants to consume with that gent?” he protested, Viktan bit an apple aggressively, evidently agitated by Dan’Tanian’s company, although he did agree on the small matter of this creature seated among Kings. Tylielu raised her hand and with it Dan’Tanian rose into the air, her theist tightened and he began to choke midair, “Ty...Ty...I can’t...breathe!” he gasped; Viktan rose from his seat up and pound his theist on the table cracking it.

“Enough!”

 Tylielu released her hand sending Dan’Tanian plunging onto a pile of books; Viktan let out a heavy sigh and left the room with his book and wine. Dan’Tanian climbed out of the books and marched over to the witch, “If that is happen once more, witch...I will not be liable for my own actions”, Tylielu chuckled once he left as she knew very well she was more useful alive than dead. Ann as well waited for him to leave before lastly opening up, “Am I going to die here?”, Tylielu knew the child already knew the answer she wouldn’t burden her with putting it into words, “I shall make thy days as pleasant as possible”, “fit has become of ma people?” was the only matter she wanted to know at this precise minute. “Forgive me Ann, they are dead but one, they kept the youngest”, “Who?” Ann felt a spark of hope, “he has not spoken of his identity, he calls for thee, I can feel a strong link between thee both, perhaps thy lover?”, Ann wiped tears from her eyes, “Cameron!”, “Ann, do not excite yourself, that gent will die a painful death,  he will be sent to the tower any day. Do not deceive, there is a not a life for you both outside of these walls.” Tylielu spoke harsh and true, this witch showed little compassion for the people killed and the child she had led these men to kidnap.

 

The next few weeks passed longer than years, well, that how it felt at least. Ann was trapped in this endless cycle of sitting in ‘her’ room waiting for death, knowing somewhere in this hell was Cameron, she wondered if he were cold?  

Hungry?

Scared?

Did he know his fate, being ripped apart by phantoms?

Ann could not endure the torment, she checked the corridor twice before sneaking out, she was confident she would not be caught, she’d spent days learning the schedule of the mansion, when it was safe to walk about and for how long. It was now afternoon in London, the brothers frequently slept until early morning hours; they were more ‘awake’ at night, which is when they would hunt. The house was still, Tylielu had left this realm as her services were needed for the Elders. When Ann passed the library where Viktan spent his mornings, she surprisingly heard voices coming from inside almost derailing her plans; were they not hunting? She could do the smart thing and keep walking or she could take a risk and listen in, her option she would later regret.

“All I am declaring is we not kill the lady yet?” Dan’Tanian recommended, he sat on the end of the table with one leg up, his bare feet muddy and his hand clenching... a heart! One thing Ann had noticed other than the fresh heart was a lot of phantoms prefer not to wear shoes, especially when hunting. “Brother, this makes little sense? Father already believes the lady is dead. Doth thee wish us to further foreswear to him?”, “listen!” hissed Dan’Tanian, “locks own mortal beings as a human would a dog, thus they conserve time hunting by keeping the mortal alive.”, “locks are an embarrassment to our kind, please do not suggest we live like them, those gents think them still human” Viktan scoffed, “not live like them Viktan, at which hour are we to find a blue blood again? It be true the lady is not pure, she is still half blue blood, we spare her life, her blood keeps us fed for weeks, not to mention stronger for that day we conquer all realms, not even their poison arrows would stop us fed on her blood”, Viktan put his book down now very fascinated in his brother’s new proposal, “an endless supply of the post powerful blood...”, “yes brother!” cheered Dan’Tanian, “even father would be weak against us” said Viktan with a wicked smirk, “kill our father, brother and dear sister and we can be king’s of every realm from here to Elm” Dan’Tanian drew his sword and raised to the sky boldly, “all creatures will bow to us”, “oh they already do” Viktan laughed, “the prophecy will only be passed on if the lady dead, this way we are controlling our fate, brother” Dan’Tanian said excitedly, “control her we control the prophecy?”, Dan’Tanian fell back on the table with a smile, his brother finally on side and it felt pleasant to be inside the head of the eldest brother, any other day in Elm their father would have had Viktan seen sense, understood Dan’Tanian was the child of corruption, he had a gift for seducing others into doing what he wanted, father wasn’t there to stop him now. 

Ann clasped her hands to her mouth holding back terrified screams as she heard what her life was to become, as if being confined wasn’t bad enough now she has learned she is to be a slave, consistently fed on until one day they go too far and drink her dry. This was not her fate, she would find Cameron and they will escape tonight. It could have been the adrenaline or this connection Tylielu spoke of but Ann’s desperation prevailed and she found a door that led to the stables, it was the first time she had been out, the air was crisp, fresh, everything she missed, she allowed her lungs to greedily breathe it all in. Out of the blue there was a snivel from a pile of hay, Ann crept over grabbing a lantern swaying from a wooden beam, “hello?” she whispered hanging the lantern over the pile of hay, she though perhaps it was a rodent but then the hay began to cave in the centre, Ann stepped back as a hand reached out and pushed the hay away to expose a face.

“Cameron!”

Ann fell to her knees in relief; the poor boy had been chained out here using the hay and small blanket to keep warm. “Please ah need food” he cried, he hadn’t looked over to realise it was Ann, he sat up expecting one of the brothers, however was stunned to find it his beloved Ann there well and alive in flesh, for now. Surly he was dreaming, perhaps seeing a ghost, on second thoughts he could have died and this is them reunited he knew he’d be at peace with her.

“Ann is that really ye?”

 “I thought ye were dead” Ann wept and moved the hay so she could hold him, feel his flesh on hers and know for sure this was true, her heart healed the second she felt his arms wrap around her body, he cried on her shoulder that the first time she’d ever seen him cry, his tears rolled down her breast. “Never leave me Cameron” Ann begged in between kisses, he combed his fingers through her long white hair and kissed her soft lips, their love made strands of hair glimmer like stars. Cameron pulled away just so he could look at her, when she leaves he can remember her face just this way to keep him warm at night, “I will get ye out of here ah promise”, “they killed tham Ann, ah watched, ah dream aboot it every night! Ah jis sat aire an watched tham die” he began to relive the horrifying moments in his head as he did every time he closed his eyes, the blood, the body parts, their screams. “There was nothing ye could do” Ann held his face, her eyes begged him to believe he was not at fault here as he was on the brink of madness, “I’m scared, Ann”, “listen, I will get ye out of here, trust me” with one more long kiss, enough to keep Ann strong for the night she left him in the stables, he wasn’t alone he had the horses and they would play a part in their escape she was sure of it. Over the next few weeks Ann would sneak food and water down to the stables, they would spend the night talking until dusk, she felt safe in his arms and now she slept better knowing he was not hungry and the blankets she left would keep him warm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The brother’s bickered loudly over a lady Viktan had been toying with only for Dan’Tanian to be... well Dan’Tanian and feed on her whilst his brother was in a drunken coma. Ann gathered up a pile of food in a cloth from breakfast, they were completely preoccupied giving her the chance to sneak it to Cameron; Ann was ever so excited as the previous night he had vowed to marry her. She had imagined a life outside of these walls as soon as they would escape.

“ANN!”

 Ann jumped and the food fell to the floor as the library doors burst open, Viktan grabbed her by the neck and began crushing her airway, “where is he?!” the beasts eyes turned black with fury, his face began to convert into this sinister...thing, he no longer had his human disguise he had been hiding behind, Ann got to see what they truly looked like, the genuine face behind the curse of the D’Myer’s. Tylielu intercepted quickly, squeezing her theist his leg snapped, he hell to the wooden floor cursing her name. Ann gasped for the air almost forgetting what it felt like to breathe, “Viktan?” Tylielu snapped, “It was not her, I saw him escape last night, he must have cut the rope before stealing a horse”, “you did nothing to stop him!” Viktan shouted, he cracked his leg back into position and stood up with a perfectly healed leg. Tylielu crossed her arms, “he’s not my problem” said Tylielu, one eye brow raised, she strolled out with a wink at Ann, Ann knew she must have helped him escape, but why? Ann was saddened sincerely that he was gone but she was thrilled he had a chance to live it really was a bittersweet moment. Letters after would appear under her cushion from him, each one making her smile from ear to ear. He had a home in London; he got a job at a bakery and prayed for the day they would be together, the worst part to getting his letters she would have to burn instead of keeping them close to her heart at night, in fear of her captors finding them or... him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As evening approached, the mansion became lit up with many new faces. The brother’s threw a little party, shockingly to Ann a lot of the guests were human, the brother’s not fond of humans used the guests as camouflage so people would believe they were like them, Ann learned they were respected highly in society, entertaining lords and ladies from near and far in this mansion, the drinking and gambling went on through the night, Viktan and Dan’Tanian would choose out a guest and lure them away from the party, he would then turn up in the forest with marks only a wild animal could have made. Ann kept herself amused with the few pleasures she was allowed, her sewing; she relived in her memories the afternoons she sat watching her mother who was indeed gifted at many things. On her wrist she was distracted by the healing bite marks, the brother’s had agreed on one thing for once and that was to make use of her presence, her body was a canvas of marks, sometimes they would get into a frenzy and cause bruises that would take too long to heal. Existing as a half sprite was a curse more than a gift.

Dan’Tanian opened the door a lot gentle than usual which is why at that moment she mistook him for the witch, “might I go...” she paused once realising her mistake, “go...go where?” he slurred his words clearly heavily intoxicated to the point he could just about stand, Dan’Tanian wouldn’t admit it but he could not handle his wine. Ann shrugged and continued with her sewing, “I asked you a question, you will do right to answer”, “ah wish tae go for a walk tomorrow...outside of the mansion?”, “I do not like this” he said slamming her door closed, Ann stood up trying to remain calm, “forgive me if ah caused insult”, “I am insulted thou is at ease here, perhaps I should put thee in the tower? You think this is thy home? This is thy prison! What makes matters worse, you grow content around us, like we are mere dog thee have tamed” he spat in revulsion, each step closer she mimicked backwards pushing herself further into the corner of the room, he was correct on his suspicions she had began to settle here. “Ah have learned yer behaviour, what tae expect, I do not fear ye Dan’Tanian, ah pity. I think ye desires tae be free from this thing ye have become” Ann admitted, if this was her first day she would have trod carefully on her words, regrettably she had got careless. Dan’Tanian’s faces twisted with enrage, in some way she was right and the truth did hurt and for it she must feel pain in return. “Become like thee!” he shouted and ripped the drapes from the window, “a foul, half blood mortal? A being so weak and fretful, your words are venom to my ears!”, “ye praise my God ah have nae yet learnt my magic, when ah do you’ll regret yer words!” Ann clenched her teeth; her words stung and fuelled her with confidence to stand up to the monsters that intimidated those weaker. Dan’Tanian pulled her from the corner of the room by her hair, Ann screaming for help bravely tried to fight back for once and for it she felt the back of his hand across her face sending her rolling over the bed, she landed hard on the floor her cheek throbbing. He jumped over the bed effortlessly, landing over her feet on each side of her his speed is what caught Ann of guard, she scrambled out from under him and used the bed sheets to hoist herself up, Dan’Tanian cracked his neck both sides and grinned as she tried to crawl across the king-size bed reaching out for the candle, what she had planned to do with that was a mystery. Dan’Tanian pulled her towards him by her ankle, his grip left finger prints on her skin. “If I have to put up with this, I want it to be worth it”, Ann watched as he tore off his shirt with one hand, he had a scar on the right side of his chest, there was no time to wonder what had caused it.

“No!”

Maybe he had considered this a while and was finally acting out on impulse or he was thinking illogically by the amount of wine he had drunk. Ann frantically tried to kick him away in her heart knowing she could not stop him by herself, “help me please” she hoped someone would hear her now, for tonight she will surly die. He held her hands above her head and punctured his teeth through her breast Ann let out a deafening scream.

Ann woke with Dan’Tanian’s hand firmly holding on to her wrist, she had started to lose feeling in her fingers, he was so deeply asleep it was hard to see if he was actually breathing, Ann had watched the way they breathe, it’s slower. His shoulder length hair loose and sprayed across his face, around his neck an amulet with deep red ruby. She did not admire his body in any other way than repulsion, no one had ever held her in such a way, violating her body in ways she could not describe, and there he shamelessly laid there in his nudity, sleeping with no qualms for what he had done. Ann wriggled her wrist trying to loosen his grip, he tightened his hold instinctively before waking up, at first he rolled over to face  her a little puzzled when his eyes did finally flutter open to find her there staring at him. “Hello” he croaked, “Sortez!”, “leave? Personally I’ve never been a fan of the français tongue” “noo!” Dan’Tanian jumped back “is that any way to talk to a gentlemen?” he laughed and sat up quickly making her recoil, he noticed and it made him grin, “that looks painful”, she looked at her belly, it was covered with nail and bite marks, “I hear our bite feels like a blade cutting the flesh for days until it heals, fortunate for you...you can’t turn” he said climbing into his black breeches, “turn?” Ann asked, “-turn” he repeated picking up his stockings, “into a phantom, like us I mean, Winter Sprite blood is too strong you are the only kind that cannot be reversed” Dan’Tanian explained as he found what was left of his shirt, “reversed” Ann  repeated again, “ we do not wend forward, to wend forward is to die... wither, once we drink pure blood our bodies are renew...we reverse” no more explanations were needed, Ann was clued in and hoped she could find out more about them over time, the more she knew the better at understanding how to destroy them. She wasn’t sure what response he wanted as he stood there looking at her; she huddled up the bed sheets to cover her body. “breakfast shall be ready soon” he left the room and instantly Ann felt a lot more at ease, but like a bad smell her room no longer appeared the same in her eyes, he had contaminated the one place she felt happy.

His visit was not to be a onetime occurrence, it was almost every night he abused her and took advantage of her lack of weakness and there was little she could do. In fact it was one of the only things keeping her alive; he fed on her less when he could have her in other ways that satisfied him. You see, things like the D’Myer’s are far too strong, anyone they lie with die in minutes because they cannot control their temptations, their lust for blood, the energy it gives them. Ann is so very unlike, after the first time Dan’Tanian learned why she is their downfall; he hoped she would not find out the truth that she is in fact stronger than them if she was to use full power. Her body could handle what would crush a mortal’s bones, not to mention not be reversed by their poison.

It was not too long before Viktan began visiting Ann, actually he wasn’t as gentle as Dan’Tanian and discrete, he would drag her from the corridor, the breakfast table like a dog in heat. As much as she hated to think it, she favoured Dan’Tanian. “Help me” Ann begged Tylielu as she washed a bite on Ann’s shoulder, Viktan was always violent after feeding, Tylielu said as she had before, “I am as much here a slave as you, child” Ann belived her, she was a bright and powerful witch but she was also brainwashed into doing their will.

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Chapter 3 ~ Son of D'Myer

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31 Roman Way

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