Since I was given two days to myself, I spent them with those closest to me, telling them my presence might be scarce due to upcoming training. First,doing what ladies love most, my mom and I spent most of the days together, spending quality time shopping in the village because she’s been occupied with the witches, as I have with my new responsibility. We explored the village, admiring the architecture in further detailing. The shops were quaint and offered enough to keep patrons coming back for more.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the pubs small diner attached to it, offering a cozy ambiance. The pub and diner were specifically separated for drinks and dining.
There were no sightings of Nathan or Erik; whom I found out was avoiding me, which was fine. But everywhere I walked, I felt as if eyes were watching me.
Zanz too, enjoyed these two days as I ran the property with him on his leash and harness or allowing him to run free around the estate within the wall. I explored as much as I could within a full day, growing accustomed to the estates layout. There was an elaborate maze and garden out back behind the manor; large training yard off to the right when you enter through the walls’ main gates. Scattered clusters of trees offered shaded spots where couples would sit.
The days rolled by quickly and I prepared for the training Marxus had scheduled, giving me time for other things. Idressed in comfortable clothing and sneakers then made my way out to the training yard.
Making my way across the estate, I took a slow walk around the manors’ gate toward the front. Looking to my right,was that largered haired man coming from the lycan dwelling. Turning my head away, I continued walking toward the training yard.
Catching my figure walking across the grounds, he sprinted toward me in large fast strides, coming up from behind, rather quietly. Catching his breath, he softly called out in a deep voice with his raspy Scottish accent,
Startled, I turned looking up (and I mean up), at him. His appearance was striking as I explained when we first saw him upon our arrival. I guessed he was 45-years-old, 6’6 in height with a very herculean build. So now you understand why I was startled momentarily. He was like…your modern day Viking-biker, withwavy shoulder length hair, bright orange-red in color, (not like Jonathan’s) that could be seen without being hidden away beneath a hat. He wore a furred vest over his long brown sleeved polo-shirt; sleeves rolled up, dark blue jeans tucked into black combat boots; brown leather cuff bracelets on his wrists.
I caught a whiff of his cologne and although it smelled good, it was very strong as if he bathed in it. But then there it was…that wet dog odor and I knew for sure, this man was a lycan. Upon closer inspection…he looked the part.
“Oh, um…hi.” I replied, “Where the hell did you come from!?”
“Visiting a friend. Mind if I walk with you?” he asked politely,“I’m heading in the same direction. I apologize if I startled you.”
“No…you’re fine. I’m on my way to meet with Marxus.”
“Funny. So am I.”
“Great. So, you’re…Leonus, right?”
“Yes…yes it is.”he gave me a slight smile,“My name is Leonus Lancaster to be precise. Pleasure to meet you...”he hesitated, waiting for my reply.
“Yzavela.” I answered then remembered the altercation he engaged with Marxus.
After trying to pronounce my name, he finally got it.Afterwards, he gave a quick handshake, almost breaking my hand but I’m sure he didn’t mean to.As we walked, I asked about Marxus and he revealedhow they met, became friends, etc.
Sure enough, coming toward us was Erik, heading toward the manor.However, as we passedone another, we exchanged irritating expressions.
“Pissant.” he blurted over his shoulder.
“Really?” I mumbled then turned replying sarcastically, “Jackass.”
Erik stopped as he too turned, watching me walk with Leonus shaking his head, mumbling to himself. He walked backwards watching as we continued our stroll before he disappeared.
Approaching the training yard, I didn’t see Marxus and it was closely reaching the time he set.
Looking down noticing my gaze glued in Erik’s direction; eyebrow raised, Leonus asked sternly with a hint of distaste,
“Ignore that Bloodsucker. He’s such an arrogant, pompous little rat. Now, why are you looking for Marxus?”
Noticing the tone in his voice, I stared up at him, sensing his hatred for the vampires.
“I was supposed to meet him for training. And as far as ignoring that…Bloodsucker, that’s my choice, not yours. And Bloodsucker is a harsh term. How would you feel, if I went around calling your species, mutts all the time?” I answered firmly, then glanced back once more, in Erik’s direction but he had disappeared.
Leonus said nothing as he looked ahead; biting his lower lip. Taking a deep breath, he revealed bluntly as he walked forward,
“Training, you say? Follow me, if you’re done searching for the…never mind.”
“Mm…never mind is right.” I mumbled as he led metowardthe open area to the right of the main gates.
A large section of the estate was fenced off, creating an entire training yard. Half the size of a football field, it was enclosed with an elaborate five foot tall steel fence that was supported with cobblestone pillars. There were practice dummies of various sizes and purposes, archery targets and small shooting range to the right. A rather large metal weaponry cabinet firmly sat on a thick concrete slab keeping it off the ground. Open doors revealed swords, bows and quivers on one side; axes, Escrima sticks and staves on the other, with eight drawers down the center displaying daggers, arrows, bullet cartridges and other smaller weapons. The ground was fine compact gravel with a small stone slab in the center displaying Ravenstone’s R insignia. The brown gravel was a striking contrast to the gray cobblestone walkways and the surrounding green landscaping. Beautiful!
Standing next to the cabinet was Marxus (aka Molock, but I’m going to call him Marxus2), staring down at his pocket watch waiting for my arrival. Hearing Leonus’ voice, he turned,
“Are you looking for her?” as he gestured his left hand to me.
“Ah, yes I was. Where were you?” Marxus2 replied, “You’re late, my lovely.”
“I’m sorry but I got sidetracked talking to Leonus.” I remarked, “And since when are you calling me…your LOVELY? What happened to Little One?”
“Apologies. I meant no offense. Now, shall we begin? Time is precious.” he boasted.
“Marxus…are you feeling alright?” Leonus questioned.
“Why does everyone keep asking me that?” Marxus2 snapped, “Yes, I’m fine!” as he stood there rolling his shoulders.
Leonus studied Marxus momentarily, then looked down at his feet and muttered,
“Well, then…I’ll leave you alone. I came to talk to you, but it can wait.”
“Indeed it can, mutt.” Marxus2 added, “Now, run along.”
Leonus leered at Marxus, as did I, seeing a side of Marxus we’ve never seen before. Marxus2 nodded before Leonus casually walked away, mumbling Scottish words under his breath.
“Whoa…what was that!?” I asked, “Since when do you talk to anyone like that? Much less, call his kind…mutts? I know you must still be upset at him, but really?”
“Isn’t that what they are…in some sorts?” Marxus2 answered.
I smirked as I glanced away then whispered, returning my gaze making eye contact,
“Of sorts.” then I changed the subject, “So...what kind of training is this going to be?”
“MM…YOU’LL DO JUST FINE, MY LOVELY.” Marxus2 thought, standing there studying my mannerisms and spirit then continued verbally as he stepped toward the cabinet, “Weaponry.You must learn how to protect yourself in any or all situations. It’s crucial in your training and very necessary to know. Don’t you think?”
“Perhaps.Who will I be fighting?”
“Me, of course.” he answered with a conceited bow.
“Right. Marxus…are you sure you’re feeling all right? You seem, I don’t know…off.” I questioned, placing my hands on my hips.
“For the last time, I am perfectly fine. Like I told Jonathan the night I asked him to deliver my letter, I just have…an extra spring in my step. Excited over the fact that my replacement is actually here. Nothing wrong with that, right? Now, enough about me and nonsensical chitchat. Choose the weapon that calls out to you. Every warrior must choose one and that’ll become your primary weapon of choice. But be mindful, that a weapon also chooses its warrior.” he released a deep breath after giving that speech in one breath.
Putting aside Marxus’ odd behavior, I nodded as I walked toward the weapons, examining them all, not knowing which one would feel right. I thought about the staff, but realized it would be a bit difficult to use in tight spaces, and decided to try the sword, which I have always been fascinated with. The look of them. The sound of them being removed from their sheath. Striking each other on impact blade-to-blade.
All the weapons were blunt tipped so no one would get injured.
I removed a swordholding it in my hand, feeling the weight.
“Excellent choice. The sword never fails. Now that you’ve chosen your weapon, it’s time to learn how to yield it.” Marxus2 confirmed as he walked over, retrieving one himself.
“Okay, but if I cut myself it’s your fault.” I replied, twirling it once.
“They’re blunt tipped…Little One, so I hardly think you’ll get injured. Now, stand your guard for I’m going to strike and you need to prepare.”
Twirling my sword once more, I wondered as to why he began speaking in a more ancient way of speech, but figured this is Marxus. He’s ancient anyway. Shrugging it off, I stood in position, beginning my first day of training to become a warrior.
He began with easy moves; blocking at a slow pace and after three hours of training, the pace quickened. Marxus2 grew pleased with the progress and I too, surprised myself as to how natural the movements felt. Taking a moment’s break, we returned to the session and as the pace picked up once more, somehow, and I don’t know how, I knocked the sword from his hand, holding the sword’s blunt tip under his chin.
Marxus2 stared into my eyes, seeing the spark of flame, as my demonic nature began coming to the surface.
“Very good.” he said, moving the blade away with his right hand, “You learn quickly.Are you sure you’ve never used a weapon before? In this life…or a past one?”
“I’m sure of the first one, but not the second.” I replied.
“Mm...well, now that you’ve learned the first stage and skills, I think it’s time for a break. It’s after lunch, so let’s get something to eat, then resume where we left off shall we?”
“Sounds good.” I commented, as I returned our weapons.
Walking toward the manor, Leonus stood nearby behind one of the trees, watching and studying everything taking place between Marxus and I. As he continued to stare, he watched as Marxus turned, leering in his direction, making perfect eye contact flashing a mischievous smirk. Sensing an uneasiness from Marxus’ leering gaze, Leonus then sniffed the air, catching a strange scent of what appeared to be sulfur. In a low growl, he then turned away sprinting toward the lycan dwelling.
Entering the dining hall, we strolled toward a small counternear the kitchen, taking a seat. Once drinks and platters of light foods were set before us, Marxus2 explained more about training, being the Keeper, my new destiny; bits of his past, which I could see was painful for him to talk about, but he felt I needed to hear it.
“So...after training, what’s next for me to learn?” I politely changed the subject.
“A lot of things. But there’s only so much time to learn them.” he replied.
“Why do you speak in riddles, Marxus?”
“Because sometimes they can get a bit annoying and hard to figure out.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes!” I smiled, “Please, stop.”
“Alright…alright. But, riddles are something you’ll need to learn to solve.” he smiled, “There will be many.”
“Uh-huh, sure. Not only am I destined to be Keeper, but now I must become Master of Riddles. Fan-freaking-tastic. I mean, you’re a riddle in yourself.”
“Never thought of that.” Marxus2 joked.
“You’re joking right?”
“Why not? It’s just so much…fun.”
We exchanged a moment of laughter as we picked around at the food on our plates. It was almost refreshing to see this other side of Marxus, and I liked it.
“You know…it’s good to see this side of you, Marxus.”
“Oh, and why is that?” he asked.
“Well…you just seem so…and don’t take this personally, but so serious and stern all the time.” I replied, “But with the elegance, of course.”
“Really? Never noticed.” then he turned away, looking to his right, rolling his eyes as if realizing how boring Marxus really is and couldn’t wait to return to his original form which he wished he could just reveal, but knew now wasn’t the right time for it would’ve ruined his plans.
Coming down from the library, Erik and Jonathan came in, spotting us at the counter.
Nudging Erik with his elbow, Jonathan muttered,
“Hey...there’s Marxus and Yza.”
“Oh, no. Please no.” Erik replied, “It’s been so peaceful not hearing her mouth for the past week, even though I tried ignoring her today. I was hoping maybe she left, giving up this…whole Keeper business. I mean, does she have to be so bloody irritating and tiny, with those big dark brown eyes and raven hair that are…” then he looked at Jonathan who gave him an expression of “REALLY DUDE? SAY WHAT YOU REALLY FEEL ABOUT HER.”
After realizing what he had just said, he lookedover at Marxus and I; remaining silent as he pouted slightly.
“To me and any other smart person, it sounds like you missed her.” Jonathan teased as he nodded, “Besides, she’s your type anyway. Tiny. Curvy. Petite. Dark hair. Exotic. Smart. Just what you’ve repeated over and over. Anyway, I’m going to say hi, so you could stop being a jackass as she called you; walk over with me and be nice, or you could just wait for me at another table. Your choice, mate. But you know, I’m just going to say one more thing. I’ve known you since we were kids and I never knew you to be scared of anything except for snakes and rats, but a girl? Really? Since when does a girl, regardless of who she is and her attitude, make you want to hide under a rock like a coward? Really, Erik. You’re a vampire. Act like one, like you keep badgering me to do.”
“A coward? I’m not a coward! I just hate people who are extremely...irritating. But you’re right. Give me a minute. I need to prepare for this…encounter.”
“Your choice. You don’t have to talk to her, you know.”
“Yeah. I know. She’ll do all the talking for both of us, I’m sure!”
Jonathan walked backwards shaking his head, leaving Erik standing there.
Erik glanced at his feet then toward the counter, remembering the list of things Jonathan mentioned, hearing them run through his mind, “SHE’S YOUR TYPE ANYWAY. TINY. CURVY. PETITE. DARK HAIR. EXOTIC. SMART. JUST WHAT YOU’VE REPEATED OVER AND OVER.”
“Bloody hell…” he whispered.
Marxus2 looked up, sensingJonathan’s presence and said cheerfully,
“Ah, hello Jonathan. How are you?”
Jonathan frowned as he replied; eyes squinted as he studied Marxus,
“I’m fine.” then he looked over at me, “Hey.How are you?”
“Maxus is training me.” I added, “And I’m good.”
“Indeed, and she’s picking up on it rather quickly I may add.” Marxus2 remarked.
“Oh, really?” I heard a voice say from behind and turning around, therestood Erik,“You better be careful Marxus. Make sure she doesn’t bump into you, especially with a weapon. She has a habit of doing that, you know…without apologizing too.” then he stared into my eyes, “Hello again, love.” he leaned in.
I squinted my eyes slightly, saying nothing at first.
Marxus2 smirked, as he knew where this was leading. He thought as he studied the situation between Erik and I, “AND NOW IT BEGINS. PERFECT.”
Erik holding his left hand up to his left ear, sarcastically remarked,
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. What did you say?”
Thinking maybe he won this round, I returned the same sarcastic tone,
“At least, I don’t spill things on the floor and not apologize for it either.” then he paused, “Wait, I’m sorry...I didn’t catch that. What did you say?” I held my right hand up to my right ear.
Erik stood there; handson his hips,shaking his head in disbelief in a light chuckle.
“Where the bloody hell did you come from?” Erik asked sarcastically.
I nodded as I replied,
“Maybe you’ve heard of the bird and the bee theory?”
Marxus2 then said as he slid off the stool, looking at Erik and I,
“I see you’ve already met. Good. At least I hope. Now from what I understand, it was you Erik, carrying the cup with no lid and you know that’s apparently one of the rules here.”
Erik remained silent, but I didn’t.
“Ooo, you just got told.” I commented.
“Now you, my lovely...shouldn’t have danced backwards in the first place.” Marxus2 confirmed, “You should’ve been more attentive of your surroundings.”
I remained silent, but Erik didn’t.
“Ooo, you just got told.” he whispered as he leaned in.
“Both of you are at fault. Leave it at that.” Marxus2 stated firmly.
“Unlikely.” both Erik and I replied in unison, then exchanged a brief glance.
“No damage done. The stain can be lifted. Now, I do have other business matters I need to attend to, so I think I’ll leave Erik in charge of the rest of your training.” Marxus2 said.
“What!?” Erik and I argued in unison.
“Oh, boy.” Jonathan walked over, sitting at the nearest table, enjoying the moment.
As Marxus2 walked out, Erik followed him outside into the foyerarguing,
“Really, Marxus? Why me? I know this is wrong for me to say, but I don’t like that girl.”
“Are you sure?”
“How do you know?”
“What?” Erik asked in a confused stated, “Is this another riddle?”
“Maybe? Maybe not.”
“But in answer to your question, you’re the perfect person for the task.”
“But how can I train someone who doesn’t need to learn weaponry or combat skills, when she has a mouth that could kill alone? Hmm? Can you tell me?”
“I mean, she’s the most irritating pissant of a girl, I’ve ever met in my life. I’m just so tempted to bite her!”
“Erik...that’s enough!” Marxus2 ordered and hearing the tone in Marxus’ voice, Erik calmed himself down, apologizing forthe disrespect. Marxus2 continued as he placed his hands on Erik’s shoulders, “I chose you Erik because she needs strong people around her forstrength, and those she can truly trust. And believe it or not, you’re the only one that’s suitable for the task. You’re an excellent warrior thanks to your father’s training and my creation. She could really benefit from those skills. You’ll be surprised, Erik. She’s a fast learner. You don’t have to like her. Just train her.” then for a moment, Marxus2 briefly squeezed Erik’s shoulders and upper arms, feeling the hard muscles (but not in a sexual manner), “My, you’re a fit young man.”
Erik quickly brushed Marxus’ hands from his shoulders and hissed. He stared into Marxus’ eyes that were beginning to change in color,
“First off…don’t EVER touch me like that again…Marxus or not! And if you want me to train her, fine…alright.I won’t let you down, butthere are no promises. And Marxus…your eyes. They’re…”
Marxus2 turned away momentarily, blinking his eyes then replied over his shoulder,
“Oh, yes. They, uh…tend to do that sometimes. But no worries, Erik. Begin your training with her when you’re ready. But don’t wait too long. There’s isn’t much time left.” then he ran toward the steps leading upstairs.
Erik turned, watching as Marxus disappeared around the curvature of the staircase, baffled.
“WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WAS THAT!?” he thought, “AND SINCE WHEN DID MARXUS BECOME SO BLOODY HANDSY!? AND WHAT THE BLOODY HELL DID HE MEAN...HIS CREATION?””
Running into the study slamming the door behind him, Marxus2 rolled his neck and shoulders. Suddenly, his form changed into Molock with the strange tattoos and red eyes. Breathing deeply, he mumbled as he grew a large grin of contentment,
“Now, everything’s in place. It’s just a matter of time, now.” then felt a rush of energy flood through him as if he were being called from an unknown source, “Yes, Master. I’m coming! I’m coming! It’s time for me to go anyway. My task here is done. For now.”
He disappeared in his burst of red flame, returning to his domain in Hell, taking on the responsibilities his Master had laid out for him.
Erik walked over, staring at his reflection in the hallways’ mirror, then peeked his head inside, seeing me laughing with Jonathan who sat on Marxus’ stool-chair. Taking in a deep breath, he thought, “OKAY. HERE GOES NOTHING, ERIK. BE STRONG. BE BRAVE! BE VAMPIRE. YEAH. THAT’LL FREAK HER OUT!”
He walked back inside standing behind me, taking in a sniff of the air around me.
He said as he leaned his head slightly over my right shoulder,
“So...it looks like you’re stuck with me, pissant. Not my choice.” he looked up and down at my face then down at my neck intimidating me deliberately, in all his vampire charm.
As I felt his breathing against my neck I turned my head,freezing in place for a moment. I stared into his gray eyes. I blinked then turned in my seat, replying as if his vampire charm had no effect,
“Fair enough. But let’s make a deal to go easy on each other. Then, we’ll see how we get along from there. Deal? And if you think about biting me...you have another thing coming. I might taste a little charred.”
“What!? How did you...never mind. Wouldn’t dream of it. But no nasty remarks or comments?”
“Ooo...can’t promise that.”
“Didn’t think so. But all right. Deal.” we exchanged a quick handshake, “Although, you did smell very good and it wasn’t just your perfume.”
“So, Erik...is that with a C or a K?” I asked, leaning on the counter.
“What?” he replied.
“Oh, Erik...with a K. You?”
“I’m Yzavela...with a YZ and the letter V in between.But I like to be called Yza. Nice to meet you Erik, with a K.”
“What a lovely name, but you too…Yza with a YZ and the letter V in between.” he sensually eyed me up and down.
“Thank you. And another thing?” I inquired, “You really need to stop watching me from across the way. You’re considered a peeping vamp.”
“What!?” Erik answered with a chuckle, “Excuse me? A peeping vamp? Really? Besides, you watch me too love, making you a… peeper Keeper!”
I stared at him momentarily, smirking then added,
“Okay…okay. Touche. You got me on that one.”
Jonathan continued watching us as we stood there laughing then grew another smile, shaking his head thinking, “AND THERE THEY GO. IT HAS BEGUN!”