Blood and War

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Chapter 72 - Inevitable

Men burst into the tent. The distraction drew the attention of the archers, who shot in the direction of the new threat, before realizing too late that the nearest vampires were attacking.

Even as more of Priest’s men burst into the tent, they were taken out as they entered. Running into the fray, they hesitated for a fraction of a second to get their bearings, and that was all the men inside the tent needed.

Outside the sounds of battle started up as the people realized that intruders were among them, more strangers still poured from the brush and down the slopes to attack them. Caught off guard, many soldiers were killed before they managed to regroup.

Priest found his way blocked by his own men. It was almost funny for Catherine to realize that the man who planned this whole war, down to getting all of the vampire council, all of the human kings and lords in one place, was just caught in his own trap.

Five pairs of eyes settled on him with only one intention in the world and that was that Priest would not leave the tent alive.

They surged in his direction as one, but more of his men managed to invade the tent. Dealing with them split the five attackers apart.

Goran managed to get there first, and he held up against Priest for a while, but Priest’s strength and his abilities far outmatched the human king.

Priest beat Goran down and would have beheaded him if the Drake did not manage to deflect the blow at the last second.

It still hit flesh and cut deeply into Guran’s upper arm. He knocked the sword from Goran’s hand and left him defenseless, Darcon changed his course to help his father.

The Drake took up the fight, and it was like two lions clashing. They seemed to be evenly matched, but all his years of fighting and all of his strength could not find a hole in his opponent’s defenses that was large enough to do any real damage.

They were soon both bleeding as more and more people streamed into the tent. It limited their range of movement and brought new threats to both.

There was no time for Catherine to think, she turned to defend her father and Dillon followed. There was no lull in the fighting, but the council held their own.

They added to the growing pile of dead enemies. She spied Derrick and Gunther, who fought beside Gillian and kept her safe. There was no doubt in Catherine’s mind that they were the ones who intervened and saved them all.

Her eyes kept darting to Dillon. Kept checking if he was alright. It was as if her mind could not accept what her eyes saw. He was unlike any newborn vampire she had ever seen.

His actions were that of the man she loved, not some deranged animal as she was led to believe such creatures to be.

There was no time to consider the matter, and then someone gasped. Catherine turned to find Eduardo staring at Priest with thunder on his face, but the fight around them had come to an end.

“Parlay, I call upon the ancient rights, one ruler to another. We will settle this the way of our forefathers,” Priest mockingly insisted.

There was a low growl from the men of the council at these words from Priest, and he smirked. The rules of war were set in stone and could not be disobeyed.

“Your champion, the one nearest your rank, against my champion. Winner takes all,” Priest announced and his glee was chilling. An unholy light shone in his eyes. The Drake hesitated, but there was no choice...

They all followed the two men outside, and at their command, the fighting ended. The soldiers formed into two large groups.

The dead lay strewn like broken dolls as many of one as the other. Blood and death hung in the heated air, along with the smells of fire and sweat.

“Who is second in command?” Dillon spoke almost into her ear, and she shivered. She found it hard to accept that he was alive. The two men, Priest, and her father stood face to face and almost on cue Priest’s eyes wandered to her.

“Come, sister dear, come defend your precious humans,” Priest sneered, and many gasped as the realization dawned on them that since Aldrich was dead, that left Drake in charge and automatically made Catherine his second in command... His champion...

Her wedding dress was covered in blood, shredded and dirty, but she stepped forward without hesitation. Even with the utmost certainty in her heart that she was about to die... Dillon touched her arm, but she pulled firmly from his grasp.

“At least allow your sister the dignity of armor,” The Drake demanded, and Priest smirked evilly. Catherine expected no less, but he inclined his head anyway.

“It’s almost noon, hurry,” Priest mocked as their eyes met and the hatred in hers met the darkness in his.

How had she never seen it? How did he fool them all? He winked at her, and she barely kept herself from launching her sword at him.

Dillon growled, and she turned to face him. One small shake of her head stopped him in his tracks, and she walked away.

“She can’t deal with you now, brother,” Darcon said beside him, and he fully expected Dillon to turn on him, but he stood motionless.

“And if she dies and we never spoke?” Dillon asked instead, and Darcon frowned.

“Then we will kill every Easterner that was ever born,” Darcon replied darkly, and finally Dillon stared at him with inhuman eyes.

“Why would you?” He asked as darkly and Darcon tssked.

“You are my brother, and she is your wife, some things are worth killing for,” Darcon replied, and Dillon stared at him for the longest time. Humans were easy to read, now that he was no longer one.

“You speak the truth,” Dillon realized with surprise.

“Of course,” Darcon agreed.

“And what would Father have to say about that?” Dillon asked coldly.

“I would be right there beside you,” Goran said firmly, and Dillon almost growled. He was so focused on Darcon, he never sensed Goran approach.

“Why don’t we stop it?” Derrick demanded before he could respond.

“It is impossible, Priest knew that and it is why he did this,” Robert stated and spat on the ground, the hatred in his eyes burned with furious fire.

“He fooled us all, Robert,” Catherine’s voice was firm but soothing. Her eyes were incredibly blue and her decision to accept her fate visible, as her gaze rested on them one by one. Her approach had been soundless.

“Robert, you and your men will follow Dillon in my stead,” Catherine ordered, and Dillon growled, but Robert nodded.

“Gillian, Dillon will look after you. Darcon, I hope you find a way to marry the one you love. Goran, stop being a horse’s rear end and tell Dillon the truth,” they started to protest, but her eyes stilled them.

“Dillon, I love you. I have loved you since the day we met, and you are my mate. You were, even when you were human,” Catherine stepped forward and kissed him, but as his arms started to tighten around her, she stepped back. Her hand on his lips silenced him.

“I carry your child in my womb, and her death is the only regret I will take with me,” Catherine tore herself away from the myriad of emotions in his eyes, while she still could. He froze at her words.

It took all of them to restrain Dillon and calm him down as Catherine stalked away from him and took her place in the makeshift arena.


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