Chapter 2

Part 6

Sixteen years had passed. Raven grew under the care of his foster family. He had not yet been told of the terrible secret that they knew about him. Not even Gale knew the truth of his adopted brother. Justin and Xavia were afraid to tell them both. How could they explain the horrible truth to Raven and tell him what he really was. But they knew that they would have to tell him soon. The sun bothered him, and the other children knew that something about Raven wasn’t normal. Why was he so pale? Why did the sun seem to weaken him? But most curious was the fact that Raven did not eat much solid food, yet he seemed to be always hungry. Raven was shy and didn’t play very often with the children of the village. They seemed to fear him. So they acted as most children would act toward someone who didn’t seem to fit in. They pushed him away and mocked him.

“Mother?” Raven asked. “Why are the children so mean to me? Have I done something to anger them?” Xavia looked down and then back at her foster son. “Raven, I think it is time you knew the truth. Justin and I love you like you were our own son. But the truth is you are the child of another woman. She died when you were born. It was nothing you did. Her body was so weak she could not live any more. She told us to love you as she would have had she lived. The mark upon your chest was put there for a reason. You are chosen my little one. Some day when you grow up, there is a task that destiny assigned to you long before you were born. And some day, you must fulfill that task. But until that day, you are my son, and I shall always love you. Some day, you will understand what I have told you.” Xavia explained and hugged Raven. As she let him go, his brother Gale called out to him. “Raven, come on. You promised you would come hunting with me.”

“I’m coming Gale.” Raven replied. Xavia hugged him and let him go play with Gale. The two went out hunt in the woods. Raven stayed in the shade. The daylight weakened him to some extent. Gale told him to wait in the brush as they waited for a deer to get closer to them. “It’s close enough for me to shoot it. Stay still, and don’t make a sound.” Gale whispered and aimed his bow and arrow. He drew back on the bow and prepared to release the arrow. The silence was broken by a group of older boys, village bullies. The deer ran away. Gale threw down his weapon and looked to see the group laughing at him and Raven. Raven came out from his hiding place and stood beside his foster brother. The boys looked at the two brothers and sneered at them. “Looks like you missed another one Gale. I told you boy this is our hunting space. Any game in these woods belong to us.”

“You don’t own this forest. All the children here have a right to hunt in it.” Raven said sternly. His stand was honorable, but the bullies did not take kindly to his words. “Who told you to make the rules?” The leader said. Raven looked at him and walked out in front of Gale. His shirt was open and his birthmark showed clearly for all to see. The group of boys looked at his mark. “What happened? Did the sun burn you?” They sneered and laughed. Gale picked up his bow and arrow and aimed it at the leader. Raven tried to stop him. “Gale, don’t. He isn’t worth the effort.”

“What effort? You couldn’t shoot a deer let alone me.”

Gale aimed between the leader’s feet and shot an arrow. It landed dead in the center of the boy’s feet. The others snickered to see their leader embarrassed by one younger than he was. “Shut up you idiots!” He barked. “No one, but no one, does that to me and gets away with it.”

Gale backed up and pulled Raven with him. He watched as the lead boy picked out an arrow and withdrew his bow. “Now we get to use you two for target practice.” He said aiming his bow at Gale. Gale stood petrified as the boy aimed straight for his heart. “Don’t waste your arrows on him. The other one practically has a target painted on his chest.” The boy aimed for Raven. “Yes he does, doesn’t he?” He sneered and prepared to release the arrow. “NO!” Gale screamed and pushed Raven out of the way. But he pushed at the second the boy released the arrow and Gale was struck. Gale cried out in pain as the point shot through his shoulder. “Gale!” Raven cried and rushed over to his brother. He saw the blood flowing from Gale’s wounded shoulder. At the sight of that blood, a feeling of unbridled rage began to burn within Raven’s heart. He looked up at the boy seeing him look at the bow he had just used. Raven could feel his blood beginning to boil. He felt as if a wild demon had possessed him. He looked up at the boy and snarled at him. Raven’s eyes turned red with anger. He opened his mouth feeling a piercing pain in his upper jaw. The boys looked on in terror to see a pair of glittering white fangs had appeared. All his life the vampire within him had been dormant, but the rage he felt had awakened it. He glared at the boy who had shot Gale, and before he knew what he had done, Raven attacked.

With the ferocity of a rabid wolf, Raven leaped at the boy and pinned him to the ground. With fiery rage, Raven sank his fangs into his victim’s neck and tore violently at it. The other’s screamed in horror and ran away as fast as they could. When he looked down and realized what he had done, Raven cried out. Gale saw what had happened and struggled to his feet. “Raven, go get help. Get father, quickly.” Gale yelled. Raven did not hear him. He sat still in shock at what had happened to him. “Raven!” Gale cried. “Snap out of it! Go get father!”

Part 7

At the same time Blade, who had also matured, felt a presence that seemed familiar, yet strange. The connection between the brothers was dormant, until now. Blade did not know it yet, but it was Raven he sensed. “Father. Something has disturbed me. I can sense a presence. It feels like a familiar presence, yet unfamiliar to me.” Blade said. “Who could you possibly sense without my sensing the same presence. It is your blood lust. You haven’t fed in a while.”

“Children don’t last very long. I’m getting tired of hunting them. They are so innocent and stupid that it is too easy for me. I want to pursue game that gives me a challenge. I’m tired of hunting children. You promised me soon I would hunt with you and the elders.”

“Yes, I did. I suppose you have matured enough to hunt with us now. But you must be patient. Challenges are not easy to come by in these parts. And when a victim is found, you must let it give chase. Otherwise there is no pleasure in making the kill. Understood?” Drake inquired. “Yes father.” Blade responded.

Raven ran as fast as he could to find Justin. Xavia saw Raven run into the village. His mouth dripping with blood. His eyes were full of tears. “Mother, Father! Gale is hurt!” He cried. “Raven! Justin! Justin, find Gale!” She yelled. “Mother, I’m sorry! It’s my fault! He was trying to protect me! I couldn’t help it!” As he cried Xavia held him and tried to comfort him. “It’s all right son.” Xavia said beginning to weep. “I’m sorry Raven. I’m so sorry. I should have told you the truth!”

“I killed him. I killed a boy. He shot Gale. I couldn’t help it. I killed him!” Raven sobbed. “It’s all right Raven. This is my fault. I should have told you everything.” Raven and his mother looked to see Justin running with Gale in his arms. He rushed into the home and laid Gale on a table. “Damned village bullies! What happened?” Justin yelled. “I don’t know. Raven came home with a bloody mouth and told me a boy shot Gale. Raven attacked the shooter, and, . . . he killed him. He knows Justin. The part of him that is a vampire has awakened.”

“You should have told Raven the truth the moment he asked you for it!” Justin snapped. Raven looked at Gale and began to cry. “I’m sorry Father. It’s my fault Gale got shot. The boy was aiming at me.” Justin looked at his wife sternly. “Woman, don’t just stand there. Your son is dying. Go get a doctor!” He yelled. “It’s all right Raven. You didn’t know any better. We should have told you the truth a long time ago. She meant you no harm Raven. I guess we both hoped that if you never knew, the part of you that isn’t human would go away. She was wrong. I was wrong. Forgive us son. We were only trying to protect you.” Justin explained trying to console Raven. Raven dried his eyes and looked up at Justin. “I know you were only doing what you thought was right.” Raven said. Then he walked over to Gale. “I’m sorry big brother.” He said. Gale turned and looked at Raven. “It’s not your fault. I’ll be all right.”

Xavia returned with a doctor. She pulled Raven by her side and took him to her bedroom. She washed the blood from his face. Raven looked at her. “Mother, why is it that I am the way I am? What is this horrible monster living inside me?” Raven asked. Tears began to fall from Xavia’s eyes. “Raven, oh how I prayed I would never have to tell you the truth of what you are. But keeping it from you has hurt you more than it has helped you. Your mother was kidnapped by a group of vampires. They are creatures who stalk the night looking for victims to feed upon. They must drink blood in order to live. Their leader took your mother and forced him self upon her. She became pregnant with you and your brother, your real brother.”

“Is he like me?” Raven asked. “I don’t know. After we took you with us, we never saw the other child again. Your mother told me before she died that his father would claim him. If he has, then your brother has been raised as a vampire. The mark upon your chest is a symbol. Destiny has chosen you to fight the evil that has polluted the world since the beginning of time.” She explained. Raven looked away. “I understand now. I’m going to my room now. I need to be alone.” He said quietly. “Yes. You should rest son. Things have been too hard on today. Go rest now.”

That night, Raven lay awake in his bed. He looked at his foster brother and lowered his head. “All my fault.” He sighed to himself. “I’m a monster. I killed a boy. I might kill you, Gale, or our parents. I must leave. You all will be better off once I am gone.” He said to himself. Then he took out a small sack with food and water in it. He looked at Gale one more time, then went and said a silent farewell to his parents. “I love you Mother. I love you Father. You’ll be safer without me.” He choked and quietly left the house, and the village, never to return.

Part 8

The years rolled by, and Raven grew to manhood. His height surpassed that of any ordinary man. His skin remained pale, which made the raven’s feather upon his chest stand out. His eyes were clear and blue as ice. A long dark mane of hair flowed down his back like a black river. Years of living on his own had given him a strong body, and an even stronger will to survive. Though Raven could eat like other men, the hunger for blood plagued him. And when that hunger awoke, he had to satisfy it. And quelling it was not easy. He could live off the blood of animals, but the taste of mortal blood still lingered in his memory. And the more it lingered, the more Raven hungered for it. Deep within his heart burned the fires of vengeance. It was Drake who was to blame for his condition.

Raven sat at the edge of a river. He looked into the pool and stared at his reflection. The sight of his own face, how human it appeared, and yet how deceptive it could be made him resent his exile. But he felt he had no other choice. Anywhere he went he did his best to keep his distance with people. He felt he was too dangerous for anyone to get involved with him. He was alone, and lonely. He thought about the family he left behind so many years ago. And he thought about the woman who was his real mother wishing he could have known her.

His thoughts soon turned to something else. He could sense a small animal near by, a rabbit. The blood hunger within him began to stir. He tried to resist it. “I can’t be hungry now. I just ate.” He growled to himself. But the more he tried to fight it, the more powerful the hunger became. “No. I am not going to kill another animal. I will not.” He gasped trying to fight off the blood lust. He resisted to the point where it caused him physical pain. His mouth began to ache as his fangs descended. He started to shiver from the fierce hunger. The mortal within him was satisfied, but he starved the vampire blood within him. Now he was paying for it. Raven cringed in pain trying to ignore the small rabbit that was only a foot away from him. “Run away. Please for the love of God, run away.” Raven gasped. But the unassuming animal continued to nibble at the green grass.

He could bear the pain no longer. Like a wolf Raven lunged at his prey and grabbed it by the neck. With one swift bite Raven tore the animal’s throat open. The he quickly sucked it dry. He looked at the now bloodless carcass and let it drop from his hand. A drop of blood fell onto Raven’s hand. He looked at it and then at the dead rabbit. “DRAKE!” He screamed. Only the animals of the woods heard his cry of anger. He fell to his knees and pounded the earth with his fist. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a light. “My son,” a voice called. Raven lifted his head. He saw coming from the light was the form of a young woman. “My son,” she said softly. Raven looked at the spirit in awe. “Mother?” He asked. “Yes my son. I am you true mother.” Sara answered. “You are in pain my son. Drake has put his vile curse upon you. You are chosen my son. You are the warrior who must stop Drake and his demon seed from plunging the world into eternal darkness. Your brother has been raised to serve evil and live as a vampire. You must stop Drake before he takes another virgin to produce a daughter. If he succeeds, then he will breed his son and his half sister to produce a new race of vampires. You must stop him by the next cycle of the new moon, when the sky grows black and the stars are darkened.”

“I can’t do this alone.” Raven said somberly. “You will never be alone my child. My spirit will always be with you. I love you my son, my Raven. I am with you, always.” Sara spoke as her spirit faded into the wind. The light disappeared, and Raven was again on his own. His mission was clearer to him now. But it gave him little comfort knowing that part of him would always be a vampire. But it was also that knowledge that gave him greater determination to stop Drake. He looked up at the sky. “I will not fail you mother. I swear it.”

Part 9

Raven got up and walked on. His journey had taken him many places, but he still did not know where to find Drake and his undead servants. Many times he had sensed Blade’s presence as Blade could Raven’s. But sensing Blade did little to help Raven locate Drake’s lair. And he had to be careful what he said, and who knew about what he really was. And at this point, no one knew the terrible secret. The forest was long and winding. It took half the day for Raven to get through it. By the time night fell, he was tired from walking and decided to rest. All was quiet that night. The sounds of the animals and blowing of the wind were all Raven heard. He reclined against a tall, wide tree and settled into an uneasy sleep. All was silent as Raven slept. Then the dream began again, the dream of the day Raven learned the truth of what he really was.

“NO!” Gale screamed and pushed Raven out of the way. “GALE!” Raven cried as the arrow pierced Gale’s shoulder. “Raven, get father. Hurry, I’m bleeding.” Gale gasped in pain. Raven looked up at his brother’s attacker. Then a rage so fierce began to burn in Raven’s heart. Then he felt the pain in his upper jaw. Raven began to struggle in his sleep. He could see himself transforming before his own eyes. “Raven don’t!” He heard Gale cry in his mind. But it was too late. He had already leapt upon the boy and tore his throat to pieces. “RAVEN!”

“NO!” Raven screamed and jerked his head up. His eyes glowed red and his fangs shined in the moonlight. Sweat ran down his face. He felt as if his heart would explode from his chest. The attack lasted less than a minute. Then he felt his breathing return to normal and his fangs retract. He looked around. Not a soul had seen the spectacle. Raven looked down trying to clear his mind of the terrible memory. “Drake, when I find you, I am going to the greatest pleasure in sending you straight to hell. For what you did to my mother, my family, and me.” Raven hissed angrily. “I will find you Drake. I will find you.”

Raven slept no more that night. The nightmares were too strong for him. He walked through the darkened forest. Soon the sun began to rise. Raven continued to walk until he heard the sounds of hunters running in his direction. Raven quickly hid himself in a tall group of brush. He stayed hidden and watched the hunters run by him. He saw they were chasing a white stag. Elegant hunting dogs ran ahead of their masters. They chased the stag into the woods. But one hound could not keep up with the rest of the pack. It fell behind and finally collapsed upon the ground. The lead huntsman caught up to the dog and looked at it in disgust. “I told you we should never have kept this worthless mut. That is what I get for listening to my wife and keeping a runt.” He barked madly. “The other hounds are fast on the trail of that stag, and you, you stupid beast, stop to take a nap. The stag will probably escape because of your laziness.” The leader yelled and then proceeded to kick the poor creature’s leg. It let out a wail of pain. That began to awaken the beast within Raven. It made him think of the boy who shot Gale. His eyes began to burn, but he tried to fight it. “I will settle this without my damned vampire blood.” He said gruffly. Before he made his presence known, the lead huntsman kicked the poor dog again, this time, in the rib cage. Raven would not stand for such barbarianism any longer. He came out of his hiding place and confronted the hunters. “I would suggest you stop kicking the poor animal. You’re going to kill him if you don’t.” Raven said angrily. “And I would suggest you do not interfere with matters that do not concern you. I intend to kill him. I wanted to kill him the day he was born. He’s a runt. He’s worthless, and I intend to get rid of him.” The huntsman growled.

“If you hate him so much then let me have him. I’m in need of a companion. He will do nicely.”

“I hate such sentimental fools. And just what are you willing to do to take the dog from me?”

“Don’t try my patience. Just let the dog go, and leave it alone.” Raven snarled. But the hunter was becoming amused at Raven’s anger. “I wager that I can beat this overgrown brute, kill him, and then kill the dog.” He laughed, then lunged at Raven, who quickly knocked him unconscious with one swing. After felling his opponent, Raven hung him up by his shirt upon a tree. After getting the troublemaker out of the way, Raven looked at the other hunters. Within a moment, they all decided that a fight with Raven would not be profitable, and quickly ran away. Raven looked down at the wounded hound. It yelped and tried to back away from Raven as he approached. “Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.” He said to calm the animal, and held out his hand so the dog could get his scent. He patted the animal on its head and felt of its ribs. The poor animal cried out in pain. Raven knew he could do nothing to save its life, and the only merciful thing to do was to end its suffering.

Raven found a sword on the unconscious hunter and took it. He walked over to the dog and put the blade to its heart. He raised the point to plunge it into the animal and end its pain. But he felt such guilt that so many small animals had already died because of him. He tried not to think of it as killing the animal, but rather putting it out of its misery. He raised the blade and prepared to bring it down, but he faltered. Raven threw the sword to the ground. “Poor beast. I can’t see you suffering, and yet I cannot end it. There is only one thing I know to do to end your suffering, and mine.” Raven said. He knelt beside the animal, placed his hand on its neck. He found a nerve and pinched it. The dog instantly fell unconscious. He would end the animal’s pain by feeding upon its blood. He did not feel a sharp edge of the collar cut his finger open. Then he sank his fangs into the dog’s throat and sucked the blood from it. He pulled away having satisfied his hunger. As he put his hand to his forehead, several drops of blood fell into the dying hound’s mouth. Its breathing stopped. Seeing it had died, Raven picked it up and went to bury it. He dug a shallow grave with the hunter’s sword and buried the dead hound. Then, with great anger, Raven went back to find the hunter had come around. “Get me down from here! You overgrown buffoon, I demand you put me on the ground! Put me on the ground!”

Raven grabbed the hunter by the throat. His eyes glowed red and his fangs glittered with blood. “If you don’t be silent, so help me, I’ll put you in the ground instead of on it!” He hissed. The hunter found himself flying through the air. He landed on the ground with a thud. He backed away from Raven in terror. “Where’s my dog? What did you do with him?”

“I buried him. He died because of your impatience. Are you happy now? I had to kill it because of you.” Raven snarled. “Your eyes, your mouth, what are you!” the hunter screamed. Raven smiled insanely at him. “I’m just a bad dream, a figment of your sick imagination. You understand something right now. If I ever hear of you doing this to an animal or any living thing for that matter, I’ll be a bad dream that will haunt your sleep for the rest of your pathetic life. Do you understand?” Raven replied. The hunter got up and then fell on his face trying to run. “You’re a devil! No, you’re the devil! That’s what you are, the devil!”

Raven watched the cowardly hunter run away from the forest. He did not care who the idiot told. Who would believe him any way? But now Raven felt compelled to stay in the woods that day. He had to make sure that no one would disturb the grave of the hound. He would stay the rest of the day and all that night. He went to the tree where the grave was dug. Then he did something that gave him some solace. He climbed the tree and found a large branch to recline on, and there he stayed all that day. Night came, and Raven began to fall asleep. He closed his eyes as the sounds of the forest lulled him to sleep. He lay still upon his perch like an owl back from its nightly hunt. His slumber; however, was interrupted by movements below him. He looked around and then looked to the ground. His eyes widened to see the grave that held the hound had opened. Not too far from the ground, Raven jumped from his perch and looked at the grave. Then he looked behind him to see the dog he had buried, standing before him. “That’s impossible. I took your blood. You can’t be alive.” Raven gasped, and then looked at his finger. He saw that there was dried blood on it. Then he saw the wound and realized that it was his blood that had dried upon it. “You have tasted my blood. I must have cut myself when I drained you, and my blood fell into your mouth. Somehow, it turned you into a vampire, . . . dog.” Raven said as the dog walked up to him. He sniffed Raven’s hand and instantly recognized the scent. The dog sat down and begged. “I guess I’m your master now. Well, if you’re going to travel with me, you’ll need a name. I’ll call you Darshon. That sounds like a good name for you.” Raven said. Darshon barked and stood beside his new master. Raven went back to his perch, and Darshon stood guard over his master. Raven went back to sleep.

**to be cont.**

Chapter 3

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