Mixed Blood

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Chapter 4- Streams of truth

Kara and Yenive walked through the village toward the camp. During their walk many villagers gave them strange looks, to which Yenive seemed it be oblivious to.

As they got closer to the camp the sound of an ax hitting wood grew louder and louder. Kara noticed that for some strange reason the air smelled like cedar wood. A tree that did not grow in the region. She mentioned it to Yenive but she said it only smelled like sweat. Yet the aroma stayed with Kara invading the rest of her senses. They reached the camp and walked to Yenive’s tent in the center of the camp. It stood beside a bigger tent. Marko’s tent?

Again the sound of the ax hitting wood caught her attention. Yenive entered the tent to get her things leaving Kara to find the source of the sound. The steady sound was coming from behind the tents. Kara stepped in between the tents looking around the camp. At the far end of the camp was a pile of stacked thick logs were being put up, beside another pile of what looked to be fire wood was being accumulated.

Near the pile stood a man, his bare back was to Kara but she knew who he was. She recognized that raven black hair that moved freely in the cold wind. She recognized his dominant posture, but most of all, his alluring scent. Yes, that cedar wood scent had to be him.

She watched as he turned towards her to grab a short log. Kara felt her face redden, as she shamelessly looked him over. His shoulders and chest were broad, strong and firm, as was the rest of his body. The muscles of his arms flexed as he picked up the log and placed it on a tree stump; he grabbed the ax, positioning his body to face her. He stood there for a second looking down at the log; his hair fell around his face like a curtain. She couldn’t help but look down at his exposed stomach. He raised the ax over his head, every powerful muscle stretching in the movement. He brought it down with the precision of an archer.

Now that’s impressive. She thought. I could probably wash a basket of clothes with those firm abdomi- what the hell is wrong with me? He is a man not a piece of meat.... she shrugged her shoulders. Who am I kidding? I would look at him forever if I could, it’s his fault for exposing himself like that. What was he thinking not wearing a shirt in this cold weather? “Although if I could, I would make it illegal for you to ever wear a shirt”

At her last thought he looked up, his eyes locked on hers. Even with the distance between them she could feel the power of those grey eyes, the pull they had over her. “Oh my, did I say that out loud?”

“Yeah you kind of did!” Yenive said coming out of the tent with a bag full of food drawing materials. Yenive saw Kara’s red face and sighed “It’s okay, just remember to control your thoughts around me. I like you, and I can understand that my brother is attractive in the eyes of many women, but please don’t forget that he can be a real pain in the ass. I would bet that he is even doing this on purpose.”

Her eyes widened as sly smile crossed his lips and then she realized that he could possibly be listening to them. “Can he hear us?”

“Yes, he can.”

Marko took the split wood and tossed into the pile and he began to walk towards them. Kara’s heart jumped to her throat as she watched him move so elegantly across the camp. Nervously Kara turned to Yenive who was amused by her redden face and wide-eyed expression. “Fine let’s leave” At Yenive’s words Marko stopped in his tracks and changed directions, disappearing from view behind the tents.

Yenive guided her to where some horses were tied to a bar. A palomino colored mare turned its head to greet Yenive with a snort and a smile that could make anyone give a smile of their own. Beside the mare a brown horse shifted nervously as Kara approached it, she tried to lay a hand over its neck but the animal turned its head and loudly whined. Worried that the horse would get more agitated she backed up a few steps but abruptly stopped when she collided with a wall.

“We have to stop meeting like this,” a deep voice said from behind her making her turn, her long hair whipping around. “It’s not good for my wolf,” said Marko.

She narrowed her eyes and stepped away. She was relieved, yet kind of disappointed that he was actually wearing a shirt. “Perhaps you should stop sneaking up behind me.”

“Brother… I see you have Froy with you; do you mean to come with us?” Yenive said from behind her. Bringing Kara’s attention to the great dapple-grey horse that stood beside Marko. The horse’s dark eyes looked her over as if assessing her character, as if deciding if she was interesting or not. The beautiful horse looked perfect beside Marko. She had no doubt that together they had seen many battles and been in the nightmares of their enemies.

“No, I’m not going,” he said looking at his sister with a serious look in his eyes. “There is still a lot of work to be done here, more wood to split and houses to rebuild.” The look he and Yenive were sharing seemed to hold another meaning than just his simple explanation. He turned his eyes to Kara saying. “I came to tell you that you will be riding Froy.” He patted the large horse on the neck.

Kara stared at him in shock, “I- I cannot possibly ride this horse,” she protested.

“Well, I can’t let you ride that one, he is too nervous and bad tempered,” he said pointing to the brown horse.

“Oh he is fine; we just got off on the wrong foot.” She turned back to the brown horse, who again shifted uncomfortably and whined at her. “Maybe not.”

“Come on, Froy is a good horse, and at any sign of trouble he will stay with you until you are on him so he can bring you back here. On the other hand that brown one will run away and leave you stranded, plus he is not as fast as Froy,” Marko said with evident pride in his grey stallion.

“We are just going to the stream Marko,” Yenive said as she saddled her palomino horse and tied her bag to it. “Besides she is with me, I can protect her.”

“Why do you all think I need protecting? I have been doing just fine by myself since I was eleven, I think that fourteen years of fending for myself has earned me some say in what horse I ride or not,” Kara said tossing her hands in the air in indignation.

Marko sighed. “Perhaps it does, but we will not take chances when there could still be rogue vampires out there.”

“It’s daylight, no rogue vampire is going to come out for a stroll,” she said raising a brown at him.

He frowned at her, quickly he closed the space between them, grabbed her by the waist and sat her on the horse. He did it so fast she didn’t have time to protest. “Do you always have witty replies?”

She narrowed her eyes at him again. “Depends on the occasion. I especially like to give them out to people who get on my nerves, and by the way, you’re on your way to the top of that list.” In response he smiled up at her. She held back the urge to slap the top of his head, but that would probably be overstepping some kind of line of respect towards a person she just met a few days ago.

Marko stepped back to look at her sitting on the stallion. “You look great together… are you not going to protest and try to get down or something?”

“Why would I? I am already up here! He is too tall anyways.” At her words the horse snorted shaking his head “Yeah I am talking about you, you are too tall.” she said smiling down at the horse as she patted him on the neck and raked her fingers through the silk of his black mane. She noticed Marko staring at her with a smirk on his face as she did this.

“We should get going,” said Yenive, making Kara raise her head to see that she was already sitting on her mare looking perfectly at home. She started to move forward, but when Kara signaled Froy to move the horse stood still. It softly turned its head to Marko and snorted.

“I know, I know,” Marko said reaching into the pocket of his black cotton pants. “Here, I almost forgot,” he said offering Kara the content in his fist. She hesitated but accepted his offering. She looked at the hard white cubes Marko gave her. “They are sugar cubes, he loves them, give him some when you get to the stream.”

“O-okay, I will,” she said nudging the horse to follow Yenive who was now almost to the tree line of the forest. The horse followed the command without protest.

As she caught up with Yenive Kara looked behind her to see a woman with fiery red hair approach Marko and snake her arm through the crook of his arm. He looked back at her with a small smile. Sudden anger filled every fiber of her being. It was a strange because in reality she had no reason to be angry.

What the hell was I expecting? He is a very good-looking man who probably has lines of women desperate for him to spare them a glance. She thought. In that case I should probably avoid him, I think the more I am around him the harder it will be not to become one of those women.

She turned her head to look forward, not wanting to dwell on the scene behind her.

Marko was watching as Kara left the campsite following his sister, when Kendra approached him. The red headed woman looked at him with a smile on her lips but concern in her eyes.

“You have not fed in sometime Marko, you are worrying me,” she said lacing an arm through the crook of his.

He smiled softly at her. Kendra has always been a good friend to him, almost like another sister, or cousin. She was always keeping record of his feedings, it bothered him at times, but he knew she meant well.

“I am not hungry”

“Do not lie to me; werewolves are not the only ones able to detect deceit,” She said narrowing her gaze on him. “You are hungr-” She stopped talking when he turned his gaze away from her to look in the distance. She could see someone… a woman riding his horse. The dapple-grey horse was the only of his kind in the campsite. “Oh I see, have you found a substitute for me, Marko?”

“No one could substitute you Kendra,” he said looking down at her. “But she is… special.” He turned his gaze back to Kara to find her looking back at him, he could see the anger in her eyes. “And she is angry.”

“Hmm, what do you mean angry?” Kendra said confused.

When Kara turned her head around a strong gust of cold wind whipped around Marko and Kendra and then moved on. The gust violently slammed against his tent sending it flying through the air. The tangled mess of fabric and retention poles fell on the pile of wood he had been splitting.

He sighed. “See?… angry,” he told her, turning to see Kara disappear into the woods.

Kendra looked at him in shock, “Wait… she did that?”

“Yes, she did”

“She has an anger management problem.”

“It would seem. Although she didn’t do it on purpose, her magic seems to react to her anger.” He moved around Kendra to gather the pieces of his tent.

“Around you, anger can be an easy state to be in,” she said half-jokingly.

“I am not that bad,” he protested.

“You are overbearing, and overprotective. That alone is enough to make me angry at times,” she said trailing behind him.

“I am a wolf and soon to be king, protecting my people is my duty and the thing I want to do the most. But to do that I have to be able to give orders and have them be followed. So forgive me if I don’t see any wrong in my behavior.”

They reached the tent and began to pick it out from the pile of logs; some of his men had arrived to lend a hand. She eyed him for a minute then said with realization in her voice. “She was riding Froy…” She looked at him in shock. “You never let anyone ride Froy. I have been your best friend all my life and I have not gotten on that horse!” She said letting go of the fabric she was holding “Just what is this woman? She has even got you smiling!” In response he laughed at her. “It’s not funny!... who is she?”

He calculate her question for a moment. “Her name is Kara Dosnia, and she is my mate.” The men around him froze in place and the campsite seemed to go quiet. They all knew what this meant, what this would mean for the Kingdom. A new era was approaching, and the future of their kind would depend on the survival of one woman.

“Oh, well, that’s a hard act to follow. Congratulations!” She said surprise evident in her face. It was a happy surprise nonetheless. “But I am still upset with you,” she said with a pout on her lips, she turned around and started to walk away. “You never let me ride that horse.” Kendra said looking back at him.

“Come on! You don’t even like horses!” Marko called after her.

“I could have liked that one!” She yelled playfully.

“You have been quiet for some time now,” Yenive said from beside her as they rode through the forest. Most of the trees still had their leaves but as soon as fall passed, the forest would lose all the beautiful colors that made it look like it was on fire. It seemed strange that soon a snowstorm would arrive; at least that’s what Marko predicted. The thought of his name made her body tense, which did nothing to help her already sore muscles. “Kara?”

“Werewolves drink blood,” she said without thinking and looked at Yenive. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I said that.”

“It’s okay,” she said with a small laugh. “It’s not a shameful truth. We are not barbarians like rogue vampires.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, where do you get it? It seems like the camp is well fed.”

“About a fourth of our soldiers are actually humans who do give some of their blood. Some warriors have their own donors, like us in the royal family.”

“You have a donor?”

“Yes, and so does my brother.” Yenive looked over at Kara. “Her name is Kendra. She is like a sister to us. When we were children my father never let us venture out of the castle alone. But she always found a way to make us happy; we would play games around the castle and such. It is funny to think that she is as old as my brother.”


“Marko is a lot older than he seems almost 243 years old, not much for a werewolf actually.” It surprised Kara to know Marko’s true age, he barely look thirty. She wondered how old Yenive truly was. She looked to be only a few years younger than herself.

“Wait, but donors are supposed to be humans, are they not? If she is as old as him then she can’t be human.” Confusion was evident in her voice.

“I understand your confusion you see, she is an elemental, a human with the powers of earth, they live to protect the royal family, sometimes they even give their blood. She says she will keep giving her blood to my brother until either of them finds their mate. Then her children will be expected to follow in her footsteps,” Yenive explained.

Kara frowned. “So she is human, but she has… earth power, and this power gives her a long life?” She said trying to understand.

“Yes, the power runs in her family, and her family protects ours.”

“Is she a fighter?” Kara asked as they reached the stream.

“She is. Her magic is excellent as well. You should see her when she uses her fire magic, her red hair makes her look like she is a flame,” she said with awe.

Red hair? Was it possible that she was the woman standing beside Marko earlier? It had to be. Kara felt slightly ashamed to have been so angry when she saw them together. In fact she felt like a complete fool.

“Brother tells me that you can do magic. Is that true?” Yenive said as they dismounted the horses. Kara took more time to get down having to use a small boulder as a step. They tied the reigns to the horn of their saddles so that the horses could move about without stepping on them. Kara took the moment to give Froy his sugar cubes.

“Yes it is,” she said giving the horse a final pat on the neck and moving to help Yenive gather the bag from the saddle. “Although it’s very unpredictable,” Kara added as they made their way to the side of the stream. The clear water rushed past them emitting their calming lullaby. The soft grass at the banks of the stream swayed with the cool breeze.

“Unpredictable, you mean you cannot control it?” Yenive said with a quizzical expression.

Kara sighed. “I can control it to do specific things, like make things grow.” Yenive opened the bag and retrieved a red blanket. “Or do things like this.” Kara let her magic wrap around her hand like warm water, and touched the blanket. Yenive watched in amazement as Kara dropped her hand to her side and the blanket lifted itself in the air, it then unfolded and gently fell to a spot by the bank of the streams. “But sometimes, especially when I get angry or afraid it lashes out. Like a cat that has been backed into a corner or it does nothing at all and leave me helpless.”

Yenive moved to where the blanket was neatly spread out saying. “I know what it’s like… My mother is half witch, which means I also got some witch powers.” She sat down and looked up to watch Kara’s perplexed reaction to her words as she sat beside her. “They only pass down through the females in the family. But I remember when I was young I use to cause all sorts of trouble when I had tantrums. I usually shattered stuff, vases, doors, windows, you name it. It was my mother who helped me through it all, she taught me how to channel my anger or whatever I was feeling at the moment and convert it into something useful.” She looked at Kara closely and sniffed. “I know that you are fae and not witch, but the same rules should apply.”

“I was never taught how to control it. My parents died when I was young, and my magic was barely manifesting,” she said looking at the rushing water of the stream. “It was my father who had the fae magic.”

“But there is more to you than just that, isn’t there?” Yenive said as she searched through her bad retrieving a leather bound notebook and a pencil.

“Marko says that he cannot tell what else there is in me, but that by having my blood he could.”

“Would you? Would you give him your blood?” Yenive said the serious tone in her voice compelled Kara to look back at her.

Kara thought about it for a moment, by the look on Yenive’s face this was an important question. “He saved me, if anything that would be a small payment. But I doubt he would be interested, he already has a donor-“she stopped when she heard Yenive’s soft laughter.

“Not interested?” Her eyes softened and her laughter subdued but a smile remained on her face. “In all my life, I have never seen my brother so… alive. He never used to smile, but now he does, constantly. Ever since we got here my brother has been focused on you, on keeping you safe. He has been so focused that he has not even fed in days”

“I never asked for that-”

“It matters not if you asked for it. What matters is that he has not fed and that the more time that passes, the weaker he will become.” Yenive opened her notebook and look ahead to the stream and began to sketch it. “Believe me, he is interested.” Her concentration was on the scenery in front of her.

Yenive’s words didn’t sound like a warning, but a speck of fear ignited in Kara at the thought of anyone actually drinking her blood. In theory, she would do it if the situation were of life or death, but in reality her magic would probably attack the person as an act of self-defense. It scared her half to death to think about losing control and hurting someone.

“He will not ask for it, he is too much of a gentleman to ask that of you. And because of that neither will I. But if I asked you for a favor would you do it? Would you ask, no, tell him to go to Kendra and feed already. I feel that in this situation you are the only person he will listen to.” There was something close to desperation in her voice.

Yenive was asking her to convince Marko to drink from another person’s blood? Part of Kara wanted to tell her no, the last thing she wanted was to have a one on one conversation with him, much less about blood. Yet another part of her wanted to go over to him and stick the woman’s arm in his mouth until he was full. And if that didn’t work she would bleed herself, surely that would get his attention and his appetite going. But deep down she knew there was another reason besides just satisfying his hunger.

“What if he doesn’t listen?” Kara asked.

“Do what you think must be done...” Yenive said cocking her head at the picture she was drawing. “What do you think?” Yenive said handing her the notebook.

Kara’s eyes widened at the likeliness between the picture and the scene in front of them. With delicate pencil strokes she was able to capture the movement of the water and the mysterious shades of the trees at the other side of the stream. “It is beautiful, you are amazing,” Kara said looking at Yenive, who was smiling proudly.

“I know, but you should see my brothe- huh?” Yenive’s face contorted in obvious pain as a scream left her body.

“Yenive, what’s wrong?” Kara asked her voice filling with panic. Yenive’s hand immediately went to her right shoulder when she pulled it back, it was stained crimson from her blood.

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