Chapter 1- Stolen Anger
They came in a cold night, hidden in the shadows, like they often did in her nightmares. It seemed that wherever she went danger followed and it was always the villagers around her that got hurt. The lucky ones died a quick death, but others specially the women were eaten alive by the worse creatures of all.
Unlike many other creatures vampires were savage, their thirst for blood always led them to kill their prey. They would leave piles of dismembered bodies wherever they went and like several times before, they found their way to her. Already four villages were dead, four villages she had lived on, four villages she abandoned. It seemed absurd to think that she had been the catalyst for so much death, but there was no other way to explain it.
Fear gripped her heart as the bells resonated through the cold air. People rushed to the big barn in hopes that they would find some kind of protection inside. Of course, she knew better, wooden panels and locked doors would do nothing to protect them from these monsters. They would stop at nothing to get their next meal. She cursed under her breath, and rushed against the stream of people that were going to the barn and headed for the small house.
She pushed her bed aside and began to tear up the floor boards. She paused for a minute and looked at The Legacy.
It was a sword. Not just any sword, it was The Legacy, a pure silver sword that could cut through any vampire. It was the only thing from her father that she had left. The sword was carved with Fae magic and whenever she held it, it seemed to vibrate to life like it was welcoming her home. It always felt like her magic focused and magnified when she held it.
The cool feel of the silver hilt spread over her and she knew her body was now coated in a silver armor. She stood up and left the house. She could hear screams coming from the barn and looked to it to find it crawling with Vampires.
She ran over with her sword at the ready and yelled for their attention. She got it. The Vampire’s blood shot eyes focused on her, their heads turned sideways with curiosity regarding her with fang covered mouths and distorted faces that had lost all semblance of beauty they once had.
“Come on!” she yelled at them letting the blue fire of her power consume her. This time she would fight, she would not let her magic transport her away from her responsibility. No more running away.
One by one they came at her and she let the fighting skill of her father’s sword move her body to counteract their attacks. She dodged sharp claws and threatening fang-covered mouths and cut the vampires’ heads as they stumbled past her. After more than twenty corpses had littered the ground the vampires slowed their pace, staying back to observe her. Thinking. Calculating.
She took a step back as twenty of the fanged monsters bunched around her. She took another step back and they stepped forward. Her pulse quickened as she understood what they were doing, they were going to attack all at once. Her instincts told her to run, lead the monsters away from the villagers and hope to kill them. Not the best idea but it was the only one she had.
Trusting herself, she ran for the forest’s edge behind her. She let her Fae magic power her run as the vampires followed her. She jumped over a fallen tree and felt the swish of a clawed hand rake through her long black hair as it trailed behind her. With the momentum of the jump she turned, cutting the vampire’s head off his shoulders.
Suddenly the sound of a wolf broke through the cold air, making all the vampire’s screech in rage. Werewolves. The powerful howl seemed to originate from the direction of the village. The distraction had been enough for the vampires to gain advantage over her. They lunged at her, tackling her to the ground without mercy. The silver of her armor would keep them at bay but only for so long. One took her arm and banged it on the ground so hard that the silver cracked and her sword fell away. Pain rose through her arm making her scream. She tried to summon her fire but the panic and pain she felt inhibited her.
When she thought all was done, that she would die being eaten alive she said heard the growls. Then she heard the sound of crushing bones and tearing flesh, sounds that were always accompanied by the smell of blood. In this case, vampire blood. The weight of vampire bodies lifted off her, but for some reason she could not move. She closed her eyes to regain some balance, to recover some of her composure. She sat up holding her right arm to her body, it was broken, she was sure of it. The lightness of her body told her that her armor had disappeared.
She looked up to find three men standing among what seemed like a pool of dismembered vampires. The men looked angry and lost with the flavor of fresh blood. They were all well-built, large and handsome but something told her to be careful. Mainly the fact that they were covered in blood had claws for nails and had lustful predatory looks in their eyes. They were Werewolves.
Feeling the intent looks in their eyes she looked around for her sword. It laid a few meters away from her. She turned back to the men to see one of them approach her. Panic set through her entire being and she rose to her feet and ran for the sword. But before she could get to it, she fell and another one of the wolves kicked the sword out of the way with his boot. A scream left her throat as strong hands roughly grabbed her and pulled her back. “Let go of me!” she yelled.
“What do you guys say we have a little fun? I think we deserve it after saving her.” the man dragging her said. The motion of the short drag made her skirt ride up, leaving her long legs exposed to the eyes of these men. She couldn’t see him because she was facing the ground but she knew he was staring at her skin. The man roughly turned her broken arm slamming against the soil with agonizing pain. She yelled and kicked as the man startled her legs and pressed his hard groin to her. The man was laughing when a thundering growl shot through the woods.
“Get. Off. Her. Now!” those four simple words were spoken by the most intimidating voice she had ever heard. The werewolf on top of her scrambled off her like she was poison. She sat up slowly afraid of what other monster she would meet. What she saw surprised her.
In front of her stood the most handsome man ever, a title that she had never appointed any man. He had luscious black hair that tucked behind his ears and the most alluring grey eyes she had ever seen. His eyes spoke his anger, the rage that all wolves seemed to carry and the lust they always wanted to appease. But she also saw a softness, a tender care, an interest that seemed to scare her more than the expression of anger, of rage. His shoulders were broad and strong as were his arms from the looks of the tight muscles covered only by a black, long sleeve cotton shirt. His pants also did wonders to enface his strong legs, great ass. This was a perfect specimen.
“My Lord, we were only having some fun," said the man that had kicked her sword away.
“Fun?! No one was to be harmed! I thought I had made myself clear,” Grey eyes said coming closer to the man staring him directly in the eyes. The man seemed unable to resists the pressure of Grey eyes’ stare and bent his knee.
Using the moment she looked around to see were her sword was only to find that the one man who had not laid a hand on her held it wrapped in a cloth by the hilt. He came to the grey eyed Lord’s side and handed him the weapon. She gasped as Grey eyes lightly ran a finger over the sword, but didn’t burn him.
“I believe it might be hers My Lord, she was desperately trying to reach it. And by the trail of vampires left behind I suspect she knows how to use it well,” the man said bowing his head trying to sound innocent.
The Grey eyed man’s body tensed and turned to face her. His stardust eyes bore in to her azure ones with a frightening fervor as he stalked towards her. “Are you hurt?” He asked leaning down and offering her a hand to stand up. She looked up at him, unable to believe that such a beautiful and dangerous man could exist. The danger he radiated made her want to run, but those eyes, those sweet predatory eyes compelled her to stay. His eyes broke away from hers to look down at her exposed legs. A look of hunger crossed his eyes and her body tensed. The urge to get away from him increased, she needed to get away. Careful of her injured arm she stood, but even the lightest movement made shards of pain course through her making a shallow cry escape her lips. “Your arm,” he said stepping closer to her.
His movement only made her back up; she turned to run but was halted when she collided with the man who had dragged her earlier. She stumbled back in fear and pain, the man’s wicked smile sent chills up her spine. As she backed up a warm, strong hand sneaked around her waist pulling her softly to a hard body. She turned her head to look at the man, those grey eyes, soft yet angry. She tried to step away but the man held her still. “Please calm down, you’ll only hurt yourself more” She looked between him and the wicked man in front of them. Grey eyes seemed to understand her panic, “they will not hurt you,” he said so softly that only she could have heard. “You three return to the village and help gather the bodies for the burning.” They turned to leave. “Feran leave the sword on the ground.” Feran did as he was told and left with the others.
They were alone now.
“Let me look at your arm,” he said letting her go to come stand in front of her. He was huge compared to her, her head only just reached past his shoulders. She looked at him with a questioning glance. He didn’t seem like the kind of man that would take interest in an injured woman in the middle of the forest. So why was he so concerned? “I could never hurt you,” he told her and for some reason she believed him. Something about him made her trust him.
“I don’t know you,” she said and instantly his body tightened with delight, as if her voice surprised him.
A smile crossed his lips “I’m sorry I should have introduced myself by now. My name is Marko Leipoden Prince of-” as he said his name she stepped back from him. “The werewolves,” she completed with him.
He could sense fear surfacing in her and as much as her reaction pained him, he understood it. Werewolves have never been known to show mercy, to be delicate and tender or for that matter trustworthy. But he would at least try, for her he would. “Please? I just want to help you,” he said extending his hand to her.
“What do you mean ‘why?’ You’re hurt, I can help. Now let me help.” He stepped closer to her tempted to run his fingers through her long black hair. He wanted to do much more than just touch her hair but now was not the time to let her know that. Right now all she needed was all the safety he could give her. He reached her and her fear seemed to be replaced by curiosity.
She looked at him intently as he brought his index finger to his mouth and bit it. It was by far the most sensual thing she had ever seen a man do, especially one of such size and masculinity. He offered it to her and she hesitated.
The offering of blood is one of the highest gifts werewolves can make. For them blood is a food source, an element that becomes basically sacred as it passed through them. The fact that he was a royal only made this offering more important, well at least to other werewolves. Afraid she might offend him by rejecting it she reluctantly accepted it.
The warm metallic taste of his blood swept through her like the licks of a fire. It seemed to dance with the magic inside her like partners who had not seen each other for a long time. His blood released its healing power and she felt her broken arm snap back in place. The sudden pain made her cry out and stumble forward. Thankfully his arms were there to catch her.
“It okay, you’re okay, give it a minute,” he said as he soothed her hair away from her face. The soft vibration of his voice traveled through her body, distracting her from the sharp pain.
As the pain started to diminished she leveled her breathing. “Kara,” she said, so quietly that even his werewolf hearing could have missed it. “Kara Dosnia”
A small smile tugged at his lips at the sound of her name “That’s a beautiful name, Kara,” he said testing it out loud; a shiver ran through her as he spoke. For some reason him holding her to his strong body and speaking her name in her ear made her blood race with excitement. He inhaled deeply taking in her scent. “I think I should get you back to the village, I’m sure someone must be worried about you.” Kara could hear the tension in his velvety voice.
Slowly she stepped out of his arms and looked at her father’s sword where it leaned by a tree, then back at him. “The only person who would worry about me would be my landlady and only because I am a steady and dutiful payer,” she said with a chuckle. Her eyes landed on the sword again and he noticed.
He walked over and took the sword carefully and examined it as he walked back to her. She tensed as he neared. The man looked too at home while holding a lethal weapon.
“This is yours, is it not?”
“Y-Yes... it belonged to my father and his father and his father’s father and so on,” she said in a small voice, wary of the way he looked at her, as if weighing her presence as a possible threat.
“I suppose you know how to use it. When I arrived at the village the first thing I noticed was the pile of beheaded vampires on the ground, each one a perfect cut. But as I look at you now I don’t see an experienced slayer,” Marko said handing her the sword, their fingers brushing lightly in the careful transaction. She let out a small breath not having noticed she had even held it back.
“The sword lends me the skill and knowledge needed for battle, I myself know very little of it.”
“Is that why my men overpowered you? You had lost the sword?” he asked, anger tainted his words but it was not directed at her. She nodded and looked at him to see the restlessness in his eyes and furrowed brows. A strand of his thick black hair fell over his face and she wanted nothing more than to brush it back and make his worries go away. He was fighting something inside him, that much she could tell, and by the way his fists were curling he needed help.
Without thinking she dropped the sword at her side, its tip buried in the wet ground, and took hold of his right hand. It was large and warm against hers, with her other hand which his blood had healed she reached up and moved the stray hair from his face. The look of surprise on his face as he stared at her made her smile.
“What happened was not your fault Marko. You arrived just in time, so please stop fighting with yourself,” she said in a clear and calming voice. Her eyes were soft and as she stared into his, they seemed to shift between grey and pale blue. He loved the way she had spoken his name and given him a direct order, but it was also a very stupid thing to do.
“If I don’t fight, my wolf will not wait to take from you more than you are willing to give. I am just angry with my men.” He was, he looked murderous.
Part of her wanted to flinch at his words, more specifically at his anger, but she knew it was crucial for her to control her reactions.
“Then let me help you,” Kara said and his eyes softened “the anger will still be there but the beast inside you will be more... manageable,” she continued letting go of his hand to put both of hers at his temples. The feel of her light touch sent currents through him and from the beating of her erratic heart she felt it too. She closed her eyes and let her soothing magic wash through to him, she could feel his tense body relax ever so slightly.
When she opened her eyes she met his confused yet alert gaze. As she was about to take away her hands his reached up to gently grab her wrists, drawing a gasp from her lips. “Did you just do magic on me?” fear griped her body at his question. She blinked a few time realizing what she had just done.
Why the hell did I do that? She thought, it only made him mad.
“I am not mad at you Kara, but I must know what you are. I was able to find you because you smelled different. But I couldn’t tell exactly what you were and I still can’t, not without... having your blood or you telling me,” he said an anxious tone in his voice.
He had just saved her from men that wanted to do unspeakable things to her, and now he was proposing he have her blood? What is wrong with these people? She could feel her anger start to escalate at an alarming rate.
“Why is it so important?” she said pulling her hands away from him “So I can do some magic, what’s is so outrageous about that?! You are werewolf, things like magic should be trivial to you!” Her anger was clear in her voice; in fact she was so angry she actually felt feverish. She had never felt so enraged in her life. It was a rage that consumed her, burned her from the inside and tried to claw its way out. She turned away from him, picking up her sword as she started to walk in the direction of the village.
He took a deep breath and followed her. “It’s important because rogue vampires are attracted to magic and the more powerful a creature is the more of them it attracts. Magical flesh is like a drug for them. For there to be so many vampires in one small village there must be a good reason,” Marko explained to her, but her stride didn’t break. Was she even listening to him? “Kara this is important, your life is in danger, the villagers’ too.” He grabbed her by an arm turning her to face him drawing a gasp from her. “I want to protect you, but I need your help”
“I do not need your help!” she yelled and a boulder near the path split in half. They looked at it in shock, her breathing was fast and agitated. She raked a hand through her hair trying to control her magic.
“Kara... I can sense you are angry. Very angry. Yet, I don’t think it’s yours.” His words made her eyes grow wide.
“I think you might be right,” she admitted, she was angry but she never got this angry.
“You must have taken some of my… rage when you did your magic on me,” he said stepping closer to her taking hold of her shoulders.
“My magic can be rather difficult to manage, it’s like rolling a dice you don’t always get what you want.”
“It’s going to be fine, look at me,” Marko said softly. She looked into his grey eyes. “Take a deep breath, hold it and now let it go in a long breath.”
As she let out the long breath tears surfaced in to her eyes, and he gently pulled her to him. It amazed her how a total stranger could feel so right, so calming when she was in total stress. She felt no shame in wrapping her arms around his torso, savoring the feel of his toned body; enjoying the warmth that she knew only he could give her. “I don’t know what I am exactly... my father and mother died when I was eleven. Since then I have lived in four villages, and all of them have been attacked... I am angry because I am alone, they left me, and those damn vampires keep taking my home from me,” she frowned. “So maybe I did take some of your rage, but believe me, I have plenty of my own.”
She let out a yell, but this one was filled with power and it rippled around them erecting every strand of hair on their bodies. The ground around them shook and the trees rattled their leaves. His hold around her body tightened. Accepting the safety of his warmth and the strength of his body she let herself relax. Her eyes felt heavy with exhaustion the anger she had felt left her body and then she let the darkness take her mind.