Blood and War

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Chapter 73 - Animal

Catherine stared out over the crowd, and her eyes met those of Eduardo. For the first time since she was a child, there was real emotion in his eyes.

There were so many unsaid things between them, but only one she would have asked. Why did he save Dillon and why hide it? Just then horses approached, they pulled an iron covered cage.

It was brought to a standstill, and the gate opened with a lever. The smell hit Catherine’s senses, something familiar, it reminded her vaguely of ... Dillon and yet it was faint compared to the overwhelming smell of Priest. The woman jumped out of the wagon and landed with a roll.

Her blond hair was tied back, her armor meticulous and black as night. Her manners though were wild and untamed. She snarled and attacked without pause.

Catherine barely got her sword free to block the first assault. Goran’s howl of fury was all Catherine needed to tell her who the woman was. This was Dillon’s mother.

Catherine found herself forced on the defensive and within seconds she knew that if she didn’t do something and soon, she would die.

The combination of animal fury and well-trained cunning was too unpredictable. Already she bled from several shallow gashes, and her attacker showed no signs of slowing.

Catherine spent her life being taught control and that control was holding her back. She felt her fury rise, her humiliation, her anger, her hatred and she instinctively fought the tide of red, afraid of losing control, afraid of what might happen, afraid of losing herself...

Then the blade slid across her abdomen and sparked off metal. It slashed through, just deep enough to draw blood and suddenly the world turned red.

There was no room left in Catherine’s pounding head for worries and thoughts. Her eyes zeroed in on the woman who fought her, drawn like a magnet and the world seemed to slow.

They were alone in the midst of nothing and no world existed but for them. The woman’s head came up, her teeth gleamed, and her eyes burned with mindless hatred.

Catherine leaped, and they collided in the middle of the arena, their swords forgotten as they clawed, bit, ripped and tore at each other.

Even as they fought, rolled in the dust, vaulted, ran and moved at incredible speed, Catherine felt something inside of her surge.

It was a strength that burned through the anger, something that took over the madness, the animal, a thread of logic and reason. I am stronger, that reason suggested.

Catherine was hurt. She could feel the pain throb, she was dimly aware that she was losing blood and lots of it. Damaged enough that she should be close to incapacitated, but instead, that strength surged again. She never felt this way before, but she was also never this close to dying either.

Catherine’s gaze zeroed in on the exposed neck of her opponent, and for the first time in her life, she allowed her blood-lust to completely overtake her.

She moved with a speed she never thought possible, and her fangs sank deep into the artery. The world stopped to exist as her mouth filled with blood.

Catherine did not feel the pain of the wounds inflicted upon her by the vampire monster that fought for its life.

She did not feel when the sharpened claws found the weaknesses in her armor and sank in.

She only felt the weakening of her opponent, bit by bit, as she drained the life blood out of her. She was no longer Catherine, she was just an animal fighting for survival...

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