Chapter 12 - Medallion
“I’ve seen this before. On a medallion, in one village they plundered,” Rowan murmured. It depicted the head of a dragon on a standard with strange writing all around the edge. She rose to her feet and fetched her pack. They didn’t know it, but all of her worldly possession fit in that small satchel, and it was a choice she made for herself a long time ago.
Rowan fished the little medallion from a side and held it out to them. Marcus studied it briefly before handing it over to Alena.
“I doubt if a Daywalker wore it, but I noticed a similar symbol on the floor of a shrine in the village. Someone partly destroyed it, and it turned out to be hollow. Price thought its purpose was to hide something inside,” Rowan offered the information as Alena the coin back, but Rowan shook her head. She no longer wanted it, and Alena put it away with the scrolls.
“So maybe these attacks on the villages are not random. Maybe he’s searching for something,” Marcus deduced, and they glanced at him. His eyes were thoughtful. It was pure conjecture, Rowan thought but said nothing. Alena saw the expression in her eyes, but Marcus was far too distracted with his thoughts to notice.
“They destroyed one of our villages in the same way. There were no medallions, but something like a shrine, near a well. They damaged it so badly one could barely see the symbol. It was also hollow, but we didn’t think it might have housed something inside,” Alena offered, and Rowan frowned.
“The more facts you give me, and the more I hear, despite how plausible it sounds, the less I believe it. It gets stranger and stranger like a massive joke played by some deranged mad man. This prophecy of yours is thousands of years old, and they didn’t construct that shrine yesterday or a hundred years ago. The ages wore it down,” Rowan asked. “How can events from so long ago affect our lives now? Why is this all happening? What did he wait for? If he exists or ever existed?” She continued, and Marcus caught her glance.
“He waited for something to fulfill the prophecy, and he expected your birth. He needs something from your bloodline; his bloodline. He has killed vampires from your line for a thousand years. Taking from them their essence, and their lives,” Marcus explained, and her frown grew deeper.
“Why doesn’t anyone know this then?” She demanded, and he nodded at her intelligent questions.
“He made them disappear. Without a trace and no there is no proof that it’s him, not until he took Victor. He wrote the number 26 on the wall with Victor’s blood in ancient vampire. It’s the exact count of how many vampires of your line have gone missing over the years, and yes, we keep extensive records,” Marcus admitted.
“When he killed Sara, Victor’s niece, he wrote ‘two to go’ with her blood, on the floor. He also made this symbol beneath the message with blood, and when Phillipe disappeared just before her, he wrote ‘they are mine’ and left a piece of leather with the symbol on it. Only when Alena saw it, did we realize it was not leather, but Victor’s skin,” Marcus’s voice became grave, and not even Rowan found anything to say.
If it was not this creature doing all of this, it was someone. Even an idiot could deduce from the evidence that someone hunted Victor’s line into extinction; they were the last ones.
Her eye caught on the piece of leather on the floor, and her heart stilled. She glanced at Arlene who avoided her gaze, and something drew her eyes back to the awful thing. She hadn’t paid it much attention before, but it had much the same smell as Alena, and herself, which was why she hadn’t noticed it earlier.
She almost reached out and touched it, but there was a horror in her she could not curb. All that remained of the man who fathered them was that small piece of his skin. Although it must have been much more significant when carved from his living flesh. The symbol on it became something that inspired a feeling of dread in her.
How much hate must one have to do such a thing? To kill so many people and why the games? Was he messing with them? Was he making them chase after shadows for his amusement before he killed them too? Rowan shuddered and sensing her unease, Marcus picked up the piece of skin and put it away, her eyes followed it out of their own accord. Rowan seemed pale, and her eyes were dark with emotions she struggled to contain. Marcus noticed this, and he felt hope reborn inside of him.
Finding that thing must have been a horrible shock to Alena, Rowan conceded. Alena was a beloved daughter, and it had to cause her suffering. It hit Rowan much harder than she would have imagined and she had no fondness of her father. No man deserved such a fate, not even Victor, and Rowan dared not look at Alena. She didn’t want to admit to the pity and sympathy she felt. People should not suffer such horrors, not for the amusement of a killer.
She felt a cold shiver run down her spine, and some sense warned her that if they continued on this journey; if she believed them and stay, they would find far worse things. Probably endure things the mind would not want to ponder. She briefly thought someone watched her from the shadows, but there was nothing there. Despite what her eyes told her, she couldn’t shake the feeling of some unseen presence.
She didn’t sleep much, vampires rarely slept, but of late she had nightmares. She hadn’t had them since she was a small child, and she could never remember them once she woke. She only recalled the feeling, and she had that same reaction now. The distinct sensation that she wasn’t alone; that something watched her and had bad intentions.