Blood Descent

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Chapter Two

The late night air was cold. If I were a human, I’d be freezing to death in the next oh… five seconds. I let out a yelp as the cold wind hit, bringing with it a flurry of snow. It rarely snowed in California, and tonight just had to be the night. Sven let out a sigh, tilting his head back to look up at the sky. Then he went very, very still, a split second before I felt something cold and sharp at my neck. I froze, not even breathing as the blade pressed in, enough to hurt but not enough to draw blood. The scent of something metallic reached my nose, and underneath that was a hint of sweet. Whatever the scent was, it tasted bitter at the back of my throat. The silence stretched on and on, so long that I began to sweat. I was going to die, and I wasn’t even a year old in the supernatural world. I also had no idea who was holding a blade to my throat, and my heart sped up as my fear grew stronger. “Viviana,” Sven said slowly, not looking at me or taking his eyes from the sky. “Do not make a sound, move, or panic.” Easier said than done, I thought as I controlled the urge to swallow. For one, a drop of spilled blood could cause me to lose a head before I could even blink. It felt like I was shocked by a taser and was now just recovering from it. The air seemed to drop a hundred degrees as the darkness around me became darker. The pressure in my head was sudden and intense, I almost gasped out in alarm. It took all I had to remain very still as the pressure in my head became painful. As suddenly as it came on, it was gone. The cold biting of the blade at my neck went in a little deeper, and I let out a squeak as hot blood trickle from the wound. The blade withdrew, and I felt a cold finger catching the blood before it could trickle down my shirt.

“Hmm,” a low growling voice said thoughtfully from behind me. It wasn’t Tristan, though I could feel him nearby. The air stirred, as whoever was standing behind me moved, until I could sense him in front of me. I squinted but couldn’t penetrate the darkness. “If I had not been forewarn about vampires such as yourself,” the voice continued. “I wouldn’t have hesitated in severing your head, tearing out your heart and eating it.” I shuddered, and my throat began to close. Though I no longer needed to breathe, I struggled to get air into my lungs. A low amused laugh sounded in my head, and I almost whimpered out loud. The scent of metallic and sweet grew stronger, and I gasped as fangs grazed the side of my neck. “Have you met a necromancer, girl?” he asked in my ear.

“No,” I squeaked. There was a pause, and then a low chuckle.

“Actually,” he said, almost whispering. “You have.” He inhaled deeply, and I felt him pulling away. The shadows in front of me dissipated to reveal a tall vampire with short black hair and cold pitched black eyes staring down at me. Wow, I thought. A vampire with black hair, who would've thought? Almost every single vampire I’ve met was blond. I squirmed as those penetrating eyes continued to stare at me, unblinking. Glancing at Sven, I let out a sigh when I saw that he hadn’t move at all. Returning my attention to my would-be killer, I watched as the tendons in his neck stood out stark against his pale skin, looking ready to burst.

“I have?” I asked. The vampire in front of me grunted, every muscle in his body going taut.

“You have,” Jailyn said, and I had to blink several times against the strange pull of going under.

“Um…” Jailyn stepped from the shadows and to the unknown vampire’s side. She rested a hand on his arm, and he grunted as she squeezed. “Jesric,” she said. “This is Viviana. Viviana? Jesric.” Jesric pulled away from her and scowled.

“Nice to meet you,” I said slowly.

“Where are you off to?” she asked when Jesric remained silent.

“Hunting?” I said and hugged myself. Ice numbing cold suddenly hit me, and I gasped, staggering back a step. “What the?” Jesric let out a snarl and disappeared into the shadows, taking the ice numbing cold with him. Jailyn took in a deep breath and let it out sharply. “Did I do or say something wrong?” I asked.

“No,” said Jailyn. “Excuse me,” she finished and she, too, disappeared into the shadows.

“You smell like a rogue,” Tristan growled, and I spun around, cursing.

“What?” I spluttered.

“You do, sweet cheeks,” a cheerful female voice said from the shadows. “It’s too bad I can’t kill ya.”

“Who are you?” I asked slowly.

“Tristan, can I—?” She grunted, growling as she struggled with some invisible force pulling her into the light, so to speak.

“Be a sweetheart and introduce yourself,” said Tristan.

“Fine,” she said and glared up at him before turning to me. She stuck out her hand, and I reluctantly took it. “I’m Kira.”

“Viviana,” I said as her hand tightened around mine.

Glancing back at Tristan, she stepped closer to me and leaned in. “Listen, and listen closely,” she hissed in my ear. I gulped. “If I get so much as a flicker of a thought with the intent to hurt or betray my family in that tiny brain of yours, I will make damn sure that you suffer every second of your existence.” She released my hand and stepped back as chills skittered down my spine. Something flickered in Tristan’s eyes, but it was gone too quick for me to make it out. “So,” Kira continued, back to her cheerful self. “I killed my first demon an hour ago.”

“You what?” Tristan snarled and grabbed her, yanking her to him.

“Hey,” she gasped, trying to pull away. “I didn’t bite any of them or get their blood in me.” Sven growled and was on her in a heartbeat. “I swear,” she screeched.

“Did I not tell you to wait for me?” Sven snapped, and she grunted as he wrenched her arms behind her back, pinning her between him and Tristan. Okay, I thought. This was getting weird.

“I’d be screaming in pain if I had demon blood in me,” Kira said, cursing. “The burning was bad enough when it splashed on me.” Tristan hand flashed, and she choked as her air was abruptly cut off. Sven released her, cursing under his breath as he stepped away.

“You,” Tristan hissed as Kira struggled to remove his hand from around her neck. “Were lucky.” He released her, and she gasped in air, glaring at him. “Tell me you weren’t alone,” he said quietly. When she remained silent, his low growl practically vibrated the air around us.

“Eavesdropping, are you?” Sven whispered in my ear, and I let out a yelp as his hand landed on my shoulder. Before I could reply, everything went dark.

KIRA

“Wait, wait,” I said breathlessly as Tristan’s freaky ass aura wrapped around me. I backed up a step and gasped as my world fell away from me. Stumbling, I reached out, catching myself on the edge of the table as Tristan’s living room came into focus. I didn’t have time to straighten before he grabbed me again. My vision blurred as he propelled me across the room. The floor rushed up to meet me, and I yelped as my world flipped. My head slammed painfully against the wall, and white light burst before my eyes. I would’ve slid to the floor if I wasn’t being held up by his will alone. Tristan stood twenty feet away from me, seething. He looked like he wanted to kill me and I shuddered. I wouldn’t be surprised if he shot laser beams from his eyes to fry me on the spot.

“Tell me you weren’t alone,” he repeated, drawing out the words.

“Why are you—?” I let out a squeak as he was all of a sudden directly in front of me. He pressed me into the wall, his fangs just inches from ripping out my throat.

“Tell me you were not alone,” he said again, his tone calm and deadly.

“I was,” I gasped out, his mere presence almost suffocating.

He pushed himself away from me with a snarl. “Why?” he snapped. “Why would you not listen?” I gulped. “Why do I always have to make you do as I say?” Hot and cold flashes of sensation coursed throughout my body, and for the hell of it, I couldn’t stop shivering.

“I couldn’t wait around and do nothing,” I mumbled.

“Doing nothing is sometimes the best course of action,” he growled. “Demons are not rogue vampires, you foolish child. Do you understand?” I nodded. He flashed to me, and I swallowed as he cupped my chin, tightening his grip so I couldn’t move. His eyes bored into mine, and I couldn’t look away even if I wanted to. “Do you?” he repeated, barely getting the words out. “Because I don’t think you do.” I stiffened, afraid of what he was about to do. “With you, it will always be the hard way.”

“Sorry,” I said. “I’m sorry.”

“I am, too,” he whispered, and then I found myself pulled into the void. And falling.

{December 14, 1908}

The battle was getting worse and worse by the moment. One demon struck down only to be replaced by another demon, more vicious, more ruthless. The snow-covered ground was drenched in black and red blood, littered with body parts, the wounded, and the dying. I was bathed in demon blood, and it burned like the fire of hell itself. Screams filled my ears as I stood in the middle of a warzone. Sucking in a sharp breath, I jerked as I felt a painful stab in my chest followed by a brief emptiness of numbing cold. Another death of a vampire, and rage continued to boil my blood as I cut down a demon. My sword flashed, blurring as I pushed my way through the horde. Snarling, I kicked a demon with green scales that oozed something white, and I nearly gagged as the odor hit me. “Fuck,” I hissed as more black blood rain on and around me.

“Tristan!” Jailyn yelled over the screams of dying vampires and demons. Pale hand covered in blood appeared in the multicolored scales, yanking me out and to her side. I stabbed another demon in the gut and out her back, before withdrawing and decapitating her head from her shoulders. A silver claw came at me, and surrounded as I was, I couldn’t dodge fast enough. Pain sliced through my arm, and I sucked in a sharp breath, realizing too late that the tip was coated in its own blood. As I began to burn from the inside out, I lunged for him. Knocking him to the ground, we pounded the shit out of each other. Breaking off a horn followed by the other one, I put my sword to his neck and pressed down hard. His glowing red eyes widened a split second before the head parted from the body. Cursing them all out in several languages, I got up and stumbled as I broke out in sweat. A fireball narrowly missed me as a redheaded witch grabbed hold of me.

“Stay with me, vampire,” Davina said close to my ear as my vision blurred with the beginning of a fever. Sven dropped from the sky, killing all demons his sword came in contact with. When there was ten feet between us and them, he sheathed his sword at his back and looked at me.

“Damn,” he growled. “You do not look good.” He pulled me from Davina, and as the burning pain increased, everything went dark.

I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t speak as I shook uncontrollably. “Okay,” I said, my teeth chattering. “I hate you.”

Tristan sighed and pulled me into his arms, muttering something I couldn’t make out. “Have you not noticed? Everyone hates me.”

“I’m sorry,” I repeated and snuggled into him as his body began to radiate heat. “You’re a horrible sire,” I mumbled.

“I’ve been told that a couple of times or two,” he said, carrying me to a couch and sitting.

I snorted. “Uh huh.”

He pulled back a little and put a finger under my chin, tilting my head until I met his eyes. “That was reckless of you.” I pouted, and his eyes narrowed dangerously. “Do not ever do that again. Am I understood?”

“But what if I’m attacked?”

He arched an eyebrow. “You run?”

“But—” He put a hot finger to my lips, shutting me up. I scowled.

“Stop being so…” He glared at me.

“Difficult?” I offered, slapping his hand. He dropped said hand to my shoulder and growled.

“Yes,” he snapped as I felt Ari entering. “Ariella, be a sweetheart and kill this child for me.” He grunted as I pushed myself away from him.

“You suck!” I complained. “You all fucking suck!”

“Kira Conoleki Tronis,” he said slowly, softly. I cringed as my name came out more of a deadly warning and not exasperated or reprimanding. Ari winced but didn’t make a move to help me. “Do you want to see more?”

“No,” I said quickly and flashed out of his reach. “No.”

“Are you sure, because it seems to me that one little scene from my past isn’t enough for you to take seriously.”

“I am taking it seriously.”

“Are you?” I nodded, not taking my eyes from him. I let out a small scream as he once again grabbed me. Shit, I didn’t even see him move. “Show me,” he growled. “Show me the demon you’ve killed.”

“Let go,” I said, grunting.

“Now,” he warned.

“It was an imp.”

“This is ridiculous,” he said, and before I could so much as process that, I screamed as he sank his fangs into my forearm. The bite was only for a split second, but the pain told a different story. He released me, his eyes going unfocused as I curled into myself and clutched my bleeding arm. Tristan’s breathing grew ragged as Ari flashed to my side. She pulled my arm to her.

“Honestly, Kira, why don’t you ever do what you are told?” she asked, scowling.

I groaned. “I hate following orders.”

“Apparently so,” she said, sighing. “If it was me that told you not to kill demons alone, would you have listened?”

“No.”

“I thought as much,” she muttered and closed her mouth over the bleeding wound. I shuddered as the pain faded and warmth took over. Grimacing, she pulled back, sealing the wound.

“Corinne!” Tristan snarled. “Come here!” A second later, an out of breath and bloodied Corinne appeared in the middle of the living room. He grunted as Ari jumped on him, knocking him to the floor.

“Sire?” Corinne asked and then groaned. “Sorry, sorry, I killed a rogue a few seconds before you called for me.”

“Get off,” Tristan snarled, but Ari shook her head and straddled him.

“You were saying?” Ari asked, and he hissed as she touched the deadly silver blade to his neck. I scowled at her. Where the hell did that blade come from? Tristan bared his fangs, and Ari yelped as he grabbed her wrist.

“Tristan,” Corinne said loudly. Ari jerked her wrist from his hold and dodged his grab for her. I slowly got to my feet, absent-mindedly rubbing my arm. Taking in a deep breath, Tristan looked to Corinne and grunted. I had no idea how much effort it took for him to not kill us all, but from all the grunts, I gathered it was a lot.

“Your sister is one step away from death,” he said dryly.

Corinne blinked. “Did she overdose on chocolate again?” I glared at her.

“No,” he said, drawing out the word. “But I am a few seconds away from staking her.”

She smiled. “Okay?” Corinne let out a gasp and stumbled back, her butt hitting the floor hard.

“What is he doing?” I asked, glancing at Ari.

“Showing her your wonderful demon kill,” she said with a heavy sigh.

“Great,” I muttered. When Tristan was done, Corinne was a panting heap on the floor.

“What do you want me to do?” Corinne asked, pressing her fingers into her eyes.

“Watch her, and if she is about to engage in another demon fight alone, you are to teleport her out.”

“Got it,” she said, sitting up.

“But,” I spluttered.

“Damn it, Kira!” Tristan snapped. “You’re going to get yourself killed. You were lucky the first time! You will not be so the second time around! Do me and yourself a favor and not! Test me!” By the time he was done, my ears were ringing, and I of course, felt like shit. I so needed my chocolate fix, I silently groaned, my hands up and slowly backing away. “And if I find that you incapacitate Corinne, I will compel you to stay away from what you crave the most.”

“Maybe you should do it anyways,” said Corinne. “It might help her to get over her ridiculous addiction.”

“Perhaps I will.”

“I won’t go on a demon hunt alone,” I said, finally giving up. “I swear.”

Tristan appeared in front of me and took hold of both my wrists, yanking me to him. “Say it,” he growled in my ear.

“You don’t trust me?” I squeaked.

He chuckled. “This has nothing to do with trust, sweetheart,” he whispered, and I shivered. “Now give me your word, or you are not leaving this room.”

“I give you my word,” I said, and then yelped as a brief burning sensation went through me.

“Good. You do best. Not to break it.” He shoved me none to gently away from him. “Get out.” With a miserable nod, I headed for the door.

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