Chapter 4

Part 14

“Father,” Blade called. “What is it my son?” Drake asked. “Father, something burns inside of me. I am hungry, but not for blood.” Blade answered. Drake smiled a wicked smile. “You lust for flesh, the warm flesh of a young woman. Come, I have something for you.” Drake replied. He motioned for Blade to follow him. The two walked into a bedchamber. There on an exquisite bed laid a beautiful woman. She rose and slipped off her sheer robe and revealed her nude body. “She is an exquisite beauty is she not?” Drake asked. “She is, indeed.” Blade answered. “She is well experienced and fulfill your every desire. See how she beckons to you. Go to her.”

Drake left Blade with his consort. Blade walked over to the woman. “You are a beautiful creature, but I am afraid I do not know what to do with you. I have taken a wenches blood, but little else.” Blade said. “I will teach you master. Come to me, and I will give you every pleasure you could possibly think of.” She purred. Blade walked up to her ran his fingers down her face. He stood still as she unbuttoned his shirt and slipped it off. She pressed her lips against his chest and ran her hands down to his waist. Slowly she untied his pants and laid back. He finished undressing and moved on top of her. He felt the fire in his loins as she scratched his back with her long nails. She pushed him back and slithered down to his hips. He felt sensations as he had never felt before as she took him into her mouth. He groaned loudly and pushed her head down. She released him and straddled him. Quickly he rolled over on top and entered her. He squeezed her breasts as she squealed with delight. He moved within her faster and faster until he could hold back no longer. But at the height of his pleasure the blood hunger also over took him. With uncontrolled lust, he sank his teeth into the woman’s neck and drained her dry. Satisfying both his hungers, he rolled off what was now a bloodless corpse. Drake, having listened to the whole encounter, walked in. Blade smiled coldly as he looked at the body. “I’m afraid I was a bit much for her.” He sneered. “Oh well, practice does make perfect after all.” Drake laughed wickedly.

Part 15

Within a few hours, Raven and Brinna arrived at her brother’s stables. She called out to him. “Gale!” She called. Raven froze and his skin turned white. “Gale?” He said to himself. His foster brother walked out and hugged her. “How are you little sister?” He asked kindly. “Gale, I want you to meet someone. This is Raven.” Brinna replied. Gale stood dead in his tracks. “Raven, is that you?” Gale asked in shock. “Yes, Gale. It’s me.” Raven replied. Brinna looked at the two men with a confused look on her face. “Wait a minute, you two know each other?”

“We did, until Raven walked out on us.” Gale said sternly. “I didn’t walk out on you. I left because I was a danger to you and our parents.” Raven answered firmly. “You said nothing, not one damn thing. Not so much as a goodbye or a reason why you would just leave without telling us. Do you have any idea of the pain and suffering my parents went through because of you? Mother became pregnant with Brinna and nearly died in childbirth, but went insane and died of a broken heart. She never understood why you ran away. And that was the last thing on her mind before she completely lost it. And father got himself killed looking for you. My sister grew up without her mother and father because of you. And now you show up with her.”

“Enough! Don’t you stand there and tell me what suffering is. I ran away because I felt I was a danger to you and your parents. You saw what I did.” Raven snapped. “I would not have turned my back on you for it!” Gale barked. “It could have been you I killed Gale!” Raven yelled. “Stop it! Gale, I know what he is. Raven told me the whole thing.” Brinna yelled. “And our parents died because of it. Do you have any idea of the sorrow,”

“Do you have any idea what it is to live with vampire’s blood in your veins?!” Raven cried. “I have lived with the guilt of my first kill for nearly ten years now. Do you know what it is like to feed upon the blood of animals? Do you have any idea how powerful, and how agonizing it is to lust for human blood? Ever since I ran away, I have lived as an outcast. Brinna is the first person I’ve trusted since that horrible day. Do you have any idea of what my mother went through to give birth to me? Do you have any idea of the horrors I witnessed when I discovered her body? She was nothing more than bones when I found her. She gave her life so that I could have mine. And then Drake took my brother and left her to rot. He left her like a dead animal for the vultures to feed off of. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay, but I felt too guilty. I felt like a murderer. How could I have stayed knowing you might have been my next victim.” Raven shouted. “Gale stop it! The poor man has suffered enough. He made a mistake. Besides, you can’t stand there and judge him. Neither of us has any idea of the hell he’s been through. He didn’t know you and I are related.” Brinna yelled.

Gale looked at Raven and saw the pain in his eyes. He looked down at the ground knowing his sister was right. “Brother, forgive me. I spoke out of anger and grief. Brinna is right. I have no right to judge you.” Gale replied. “It is I who should ask forgiveness. I should have told you why I left. But I knew that if I did, Xavia would never have let me go. Your family did so much to raise me. I thought they would be better off without me after what I did. I was wrong. Forgive me.” Raven said sorrowfully. “Let all be forgiven. The past is the past. Vampire, mortal, you were a part of my family, and so shall you be again. I am sorry to hear of what happened to your mother. It must have been horrible, what you saw.”

“Be thankful to God you did not see what happened to her. My brother Blade literally forced me out of our mother. She bled to death internally at the moment of my birth. Then Blade ripped his way out of her womb. It was from her death that we gained life. For so long I didn’t understand why her body was left to rot above the earth. But when I found her body, and saw the visions, it was then I understood. Justin and Xavia had no time to bury her. They took me, and then you, and ran away before Drake and his demons arrived. They took my brother, and left her body to the elements, and the vermin. Drake cursed me for all time with this affliction. I can eat like any other mortal, but because I am half vampire, I hunger for blood. And that hunger was made all the worse when I killed that boy the day I left you. I have lived on my own ever since.” Raven explained.

“That’s why we came here Gale. Raven is hunting Drake and his devils, but he can’t make the journey entirely on foot. He only has until the next new moon.” Brinna said. “The new moon. Why the new moon? What happens then?” Gale asked. “Drake will look for a new mate. He will try to breed with her and produce a female offspring. And once his daughter has come of age, he will join her with Blade. If all goes according to Drake’s plans, he will begin an army that could be invincible. If I don’t destroy Drake before the sky is eclipsed in total darkness, all of humanity could be destroyed.”

“I told him about the horses you’ve been breeding. He needs the fastest one you have. You have some of the largest horses in the world. And Raven needs a horse that can carry his weight.” Brinna said. “Yes, I can tell you certainly have grown. Of course you will have the best of my stable. Come, I’ll take you to see the herd.” Gale replied. The three went to the stable to see the horses Brinna said so much about. Raven saw several running in a fenced section of land. Indeed, they were magnificent. Raven spotted one huge stallion and pointed to him. “The black one, is he tame?” he asked. “Yes. He is one of my best stallions. Have you taken a liking to him?” As Gale spoke, the stallion left the herd and galloped right toward Raven. The animal stopped and nudged Raven’s hand. “It would appear that the animal has taken a liking to me.” Raven replied patting the stallion’s neck. “Then he is yours.” Gale said. Raven looked at the horse. The stallion was black, but its mane and tail were deep red, as red as freshly dried blood. “Spend what time you have with your herd. Neither of us will be coming back here for a while. I pray to God we come back at all.”

“Shall I saddle him for you now?” Gale questioned. “Not now. Let him spend what time he can with his herd mates. Besides, I think it best I put something in my stomach. I haven’t eaten for several hours.” Raven replied. “Yes. I think we could all stand to eat. Come inside. I just skinned some game I caught yesterday. Your dog is welcome to eat with us.” Gale said. “He’ll only take blood and some flesh.” Raven said. “I have a few carcasses from some chickens I slaughtered. I think those will do nicely for him.”

Part 16

That evening, the three had dinner. Afterwards, Raven went outside to have time by himself. He stood outside and watched the sun slowly fade behind the mountains. “What am I going to do? I have a fast horse and my foster family to help me, but even with all this I still have to find Drake. I can sense Blade, but that hasn’t led me any closer to Drake’s lair. The world is doomed if I fail. What am I supposed to do?”

“Homing in your senses might help.” Said a voice from up high. “What in the world?” Raven asked startled. “Up here.” Said the voice. Raven looked up to find, of all things, a raven looking down at him. “What’s wrong? Don’t you recognize me?” the black bird asked. “Recognize you? What are you talking about? Hold it Raven. Get a hold of yourself. You’re talking to a hallucination. The night air has taken its toll on you.” Raven said to himself. “I beg your pardon, but I am very real. And yes, you are talking to me. It’s taken me years to find you. If it weren’t for the mark upon your chest I would never have spotted you. Thank goodness it grew up with you.”

“The mark on my chest? How did you know?” Raven asked skeptically. “I should know it. I’m the one who put it there.” The large crow answered. “All right. Now I am going insane. I’m standing here in the middle of the night talking to a bird that claims to have put this mark upon my chest. Dear God, what is happening to me? I’m going insane. I know it.” Raven said to himself. “If you will halt with your ranting I will explain what happened. Before you were born it was foretold that the chosen warrior would bear a mark, a symbol representing an animal present at the moment of your birth. I was that animal. The moment you came into the world, I shed a feather from my wing and so marked you as the chosen one. Now do you understand?” the raven asked.

“I don’t believe this. I’ve gone completely mad. Look, you are not there. You’re a hallucination. You’re a bad dream is what you are. I don’t know how you could possibly be a dream seeing as I’m awake, . . . Ouch!” Raven shouted as the bird flew at him and pecked him on the head. “Are you convinced that I’m real now?” it asked. “All right. You’re real. That still doesn’t explain why you decide to make yourself known to me now.” Raven growled. “The time has come for you to fulfill your destiny. But you need a guide to help you succeed in your mission. Even if you find Drake tomorrow, you will never be able to kill him so easily. Drake is a vampire unlike any other. He was chosen by the devil itself. It is said that the bride of darkness Lilith brought Drake across. The usual methods that would kill his follower will not, however, kill him. Legend says that the archangel Michael forged a sword. The blade is said to be solid gold and in the center is a crystal. For centuries, it has lain dormant in the mountains of eternal darkness. It is a place where no sun ever shines. The sword lays in wait for he who is chosen to destroy Drake. But it will not be easy to procure. If you’re strong enough to make through the mountains themselves, there is a test you must endure to claim the sword. It is called the mirror of truth. You must look into the mirror. There you will see the reflection of yourself. If you can accept what you see, then you will pass through the glass without a scratch. But if you cannot, then the glass will shatter and tear you to pieces.”

“What do you mean if I can’t accept my reflection?” Raven muttered. “The mirror does not cast a mortal reflection. It shows you the reflection of your heart. If you have so much as even a ounce of self-doubt, then you’re dead.” The raven answered. “And if I do claim this sword, what do I do with it?”

“As I said, in the center of the blade is a crystal. At present, the crystal is clear, but once it claims Drake’s soul, it becomes as red as a ruby. You must stab Drake directly through the heart. If you miss, the sword will only wound him. Once you have imprisoned his soul in the crystal, you must hurl the sword into the flames of hell. Only then will Drake be forever banished from the earth.”

“How do I know you’re not making all of this up? What if you’re an agent of Drake, or perhaps Drake himself? How do I know you’re not trying to lead me into a trap?” Raven asked. “How else would I know that your brother ripped his way out of your mother. And how else would I know that Xavia and Justin would raise you if I had not been there to see it. I am not here to lead you astray. I am here to see to it you accomplish your mission.”

Raven looked at the bird with wide eyes. How could it have known the names of his foster parents? Drake or Blade would never have known their names. Raven nodded now convinced the bird was telling the truth. “All right then. You’re my guide. Do you have a name?” Raven asked. “No. I have never had use for names. They’re pointless.” The bird answered. “Well, now you’ll have one, Peck.” Raven sneered. “I don’t find that very amusing.” Peck answered. “You’ll get used to it. Now if you don’t mind, I’m,” Raven stopped. He looked toward the stable and sniffed the night air. “What is it Raven?” Peck asked. “I sense something.” Raven answered.

Part 17

He walked toward the stable and then rushed to it when he heard a blood-curdling scream. Running as fast as he could, Raven got to the stables and found a figure standing over a now deceased mare. Raven walked in and confronted the intruder. “Who are you? What are you doing in here?” Raven demanded. “Animals aren’t half as good as mortals are. But I thought I would see for myself.” A voice answered. Raven felt dizzy for a moment, and then felt the familiar sense. “Blade.” Raven growled. “How did you know my,” Blade stopped. “So, you are the one I have been sensing. How is it I can sense you, and you can sense me?” Blade inquired snidely. “I’m your brother.” Raven answered. “Brother? That is impossible. I am the only son of Drake.” Blade sneered. “Thanks to your father’s lust, so am I. I’ve lived in a mortal hell because of that bastard. And I intend to see to it that you both spend eternity in fire.”

Blade smiled coldly at his sibling. “Oh do you now? How could you talk so of the man who gave you life?” He asked. “ I can say it because it was our mother who gave up her own life to give me mine.” Raven snarled. “Mother, ah yes, dear mother. I have only one fond memory of her. She was my first meal.” Blade laughed. The words evoked a familiar rage in Raven. His eyes began to burn, and his fangs appeared. “BASTARD!” He roared and leapt at Blade. Blade hissed as Raven landed on him. Raven raised his left hand and violently punched Blade in the mouth. A small stream of crimson began to flow from Blade’s lips. He laughed wickedly, “Dear brother, you have so much to learn.” But as he drew his hand back to strike, Raven caught it and proceeded to hit him again. “You’ll be surprised at what I already know.” He hissed. Blade hissed back and spit blood in Raven’s eyes. He drew back and wiped the vile substance from his face. “As I said brother, you have a lot to learn.” Blade snarled and ran off. “Come back here you coward!” Raven yelled. Gale and Brinna heard the commotion and ran to see if everything was all right. “Raven, are you all right? What happened in here?” Gale asked. “My brother, that’s what happened. It would appear that Blade and I have now been formally introduced. I’m sorry, he killed one of your mares.” Raven said. “Poor girl, she was a good girl, but alas, she was sickly. That mare would have died within a week anyway. Raven, I’ll need you to help me move the body. It isn’t wise to bury her. I’ll have to burn the body. I can’t take any chances with the carcass infecting the other horses.” Gale replied. He and Raven when to get a rope to drag the body away from the stable. Brinna went back into the house and went back to sleep.

Blade found his way back to the camp he and his small band of vampires had made several miles away from the stables. “That father of mine has some explaining to do.” Blade hissed. “And just what is it this father of yours must explain boy.” Said the angry voice of Drake. “You never told me I had a brother.” Blade growled. “What are you gibbering about? You don’t have any siblings.” Drake answered harshly. “Oh I beg to differ father. He sensed me, and I sensed him. He said he was going to make us both pay dearly for the death of his, and my mother. He has my strength, and your blood. But he lives with mortals. He helps them, cares about them. He lives off the blood of animals.”

“That proves that he couldn’t be my son or your brother.” Drake sneered. “It is true father. I read his mind without him knowing it. He ran away from his foster parents after he killed a boy out of anger. He’s been searching for our lair. He had a mark upon his chest, the mark of a raven’s feather. Raven, his name is Raven.” Blade said. “So, that is why mother was so desperate to hide the girl from me. She knew the bitch was carrying twins. Does he know where we are?” Drake asked. “No. He is a sentimental fool, but none the less, he is a dangerous one. He won’t stop until he kills us both.” Blade replied. “By the coming of the new moon, it won’t matter. When I produce a female offspring, the entire fate of humanity will be sealed. And this Raven will be just another trophy among my conquests.”

Raven and Gale finished disposing the dead mare and returned to the stables. “Damn him.” Raven growled under his breath. “You and Brinna may not be safe here anymore. Blade might have stumbled on it by mistake, but he can sense me and I can sense him. He might come back. It would be best to move your herds, yourself and Brinna. It would be best to avoid any contact with me for now. I’m afraid my presence would only put you in harms way.” Raven said in frustration. “Raven, it doesn’t matter where Brinna and I run to. Those beasts are probably everywhere. Besides, I fought and worked too damn hard on this stable to be scared off it by a bunch of vampires. As long as they don’t know we’re here, Brinna and I will be safe.” Gale said.

“Very well. But it would be too dangerous for me to stay here. If I do, then I will surely endanger your lives. I’m sorry Gale, but I must leave you again. It is the only way to ensure any safety for you both.” Raven said. “I will keep a look out for you.” Gale said. “You can’t. I can’t come back this way right now. If by the passing of the new moon I return, then I shall come back here. If not, then you will know my fate.” Raven said. “Must you leave now?” Gale asked. “I must. Time is against me if I do not know where Drake’s lair is, and I have not long to find him. Tell Brinna I’m grateful for all you both have done for me. I only wish I did not have to leave as suddenly as I came.” Raven said. “The riding equipment is in the stable. I’ll go the stallion.” Gale brought the horse that would carry Raven on his quest. After saddling up the animal, Raven hoisted himself upon the massive steed. “God speed, my brother.” Gale said. “Pray God, I return alive and in one piece.” Raven answered and rode off into the night. Peck took off from his perch and went to join him. Darshon headed up the rear and soon caught up to his master. Gale watched his foster brother ride off and went back inside to join Brinna.

**to be cont**

Chapter 5

Alternate Universe