Drake (Book 1)

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[43]-The auditorium


12:00 a.m.

Together, Drake and Lyn stepped past the threshold of the door where the light shimmered. They ended up in a vast chamber that resembled an auditorium. In fact, that was what the room was named. In its center rested a circular platform made of marble, with four surrounding pillars on each corner. Circling the platform were rows upon rows of seats and higher stands on each side where presumably the judges sat.

Lyn remembered the rumors concerning this room. It served as both courtroom, arena and execution grounds though it hadn’t been used in centuries. She felt the reek of corruption and death still lingering in it. Above them was an opening in the ceiling where the moon hovered, shining its lights upon a single point in the center.

She snapped her head towards the sound of rattling chains as a figure emerged from another passageway. He stepped in the center, revealing himself under the moon’s rays. Lyn gasped.

The beast stood in the likeness of a man, but with a wild mane covering his face with large, fleshy arms and sharp talons. He stood unnaturally tall with a vigorous build, and several tendrils protruded from his back. In one hand, he wielded a massive ax and in the other he held a woman. He raised his head, revealing his wolf-like grin and glaring yellow eyes.

Although the woman was unconscious, Lyn recognized her long red hair. Molly. The man snickered and tossed her aside. He shouldered his ax and faced them. Ancient blood covered its blade, which could have been mistaken for rust. But Lyn knew that smell. He wore the tattered trappings of nobility and a worn trench coat concealing his gray fur.

Lyn clenched her fists. “Judging by your mutations; you’ve devoured quite the number of humans haven’t you?”

He scoffed and glanced at Drake. “It’s been a long time. He, from whom all others are made…”

The blood drained from Drake’s face, and he stepped behind Lyn. “Lyn, what is he talking about?”

The monster guffawed. “So, it’s true. You really have forgotten everything?” He swung his ax towards the ground, carving a deep gash. “I am what I am because of you, Drake,” he said, his voice bitter.

Lyn looked over her shoulder. “Godfrey…”

Godfrey nodded and reached in his backpack, revealing a silver crucifix. He placed it in Drake’s hand and its pointed ends extended and glowed. Drake’s face was perplexed, but he accepted the cross. He stood there a moment, pensive.

“Leave us,” Lyn said.

Godfrey bowed, and without second thought, directed Kalen back out the way they came. Kalen stopped mid-stride and looked over his shoulder. His gaze shifted to the horror before Drake and Lyn before forming a frown.

Godfrey made a face. “What?”

“Am I destined to become something like him. A monster?”

Godfrey shook his head and smiled. He patted Kalen on the head. “Master Drake wouldn’t let that happen to you. He gave you his blood. He saw something in you.”

Kalen returned a smile and relaxed his posture. He followed Godfrey’s lead where they would wait at the bridge for their master’s return.

12:02 a.m.

Lyn’s opponent dragged his ax across the floor, creating a terrible screech as he paced around her. She gulped and a drop of sweat fell from her forehead. She weighed her options. Sure, he was bigger, stronger, and savage. But she knew her strengths. She was nimble and experienced. Her wounds would heal at the same rate as his, if not faster. But she also knew one swing of his ax would silence her for good.

He was also perhaps the most grotesque Shaytan she had ever laid eyes on. A creation of Drake, the progenitor. Only one thing could explain his circumstance. His gift was anointed as a scratch, not a direct bite or blood transfusion like hers. Their maker was the same, but here she stood; perfection, the pinnacle of evolution. Across from her an abomination, an imperfect being yearning for a perfection it would never attain.

But Lyn always debated the concept of perfection. Was there such a thing? Perhaps, but unlikely. She never thought herself perfect. But close…

Lyn ripped the black pearls from her neck as they changed to her champion bow, Styx. She drew its string as it vibrated and illuminated, forming its bolt. Then she released it towards him. Her opponent stood his ground and swung his ax, dispersing the bolt into mere fragments of light.

He chuckled. The tendrils on his back twisted and floated around him. “Was that it?”

Lyn gasped and turned to Drake. “You’re the only one who can kill him! Use that scarab in your pocket! Use the cross! Remember!”

Her words brought him back to reality. He clenched the crucifix and reached in his coat pocket for the scarab. The cross glowed, and the scarab came to life, opening its shell and flapping its mechanical wings.

As the tendrilled monster charged, his steps shook the auditorium. The chains around his ax and legs rattled, and he raised it for a savage overhead swing. Lyn dodged his blow that shattered the ground beneath her. However, he adjusted himself and swung again, closing the distance between them much to her surprise. He grazed her bow, and she bounded backward.

She prepared another bolt, aimed it at his head, and fired. He charged her and deflected the bolt off his ax. Lyn whimpered and dived to the ground to avoid a dissecting blow. She struggled to hop to her feet and was met with a heavy kick that shattered her ribs.

She yelped. The searing pain felt like napalm flowing through her side, but she couldn’t stop there or risk death. The ax fell upon her and she rolled as it cut the stone beside her. She raised her bow and blocked the blade, already adjusted and coming down again. Sure, the man was colossal but spry for his size; he seemed to be a step ahead of her. His experience mirrored her own, if not superior.

The ax felt like a car on top of her as she struggled to keep the blade’s edge from her head. He moved his tendrils that wrapped around her arms and legs and crushed them with one squeeze. Lyn’s grip loosened on the bow and the ax carved into her shoulder. She shrieked and cried from her wounds.


He blanched but froze suddenly. Her ear-piercing scream awakened something from within him. His blue eyes shined, and he crushed the scarab into fine black sand. It became Acheron. The scythe from hell; its blade a molten red.

Drake plunged the scythe into the ground and with firm authority said: “Roland! Your strife is not with her. I’m the one you want. So, here I am…”

Roland looked up and grinned. He released Lyn from his grasp and sauntered to Drake, fresh blood dripping from his ax. He faced Drake; the pale skin from his face now vibrant.

“You remember my name…”

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