Chapter 8- The wings of a bird
Kara looked at Marko with a horrified expression. “What? How in the world could I be a vampire?” Unable to stay on the cold ground she stood to look down at Marko. “I am not a vampire!” She said starting to pace in front of him.
Marko looked at her trying to figure out what to say, or how to explain to her that everything would be okay.
“I was not bitten or whatever it really is they do to turn people. So how? Why would I do that to you? I have never wanted blood, I mean sure I had some of yours in the forest but I was not dying to have more of it!” She said her voice was hurried and on the verge of panic.
Marko stood up and made his way to her. Gently he pulled her to him wrapping his strong arms around. “There is something wrong with me, Marko,” she said to his chest as she let herself wrap her arms around his torso.
He kissed the top of her head and said, “There is nothing wrong with you, sweetheart.” The endearment was becoming familiar coming from his lips.
“Then what is this?”
“You were born like this. Your father was Fae and your mother must have been a Vampire.” She looked up at him with a look of confusion. “Rogue vampires are not the only sort of vampire in existence, some manage to retain their humanity, morals and overall sanity. They are rare and even though their kingdom is small they are very powerful. Their abilities at war balance their deficit in numbers. They drink blood like any vampire but they are not overcome by the blood lust. Because they keep that humanity they can enjoy light, because light is for those who live, not those who survive at the expense of killing others.” He smiled tenderly at her “And you, darling are the most alive little woman I have ever met.” The look in her face expressed her doubt. “Tell me, do you feel a raging desire to rip into my neck with your teeth and drink my blood till I die?”
She shook her head in a no. Well, the fact was that she wanted to taste his blood again but she was not desperate, nor did she with to harm him while doing so. If she ever had the opportunity to do this again with him she would be gentle.
She shook her head again. “My mother, a vampire... it makes no sense. How could she possibly be such a thing? How can she have given birth to me if she was dead?”
Marko gave a silent laugh that made his hard belly vibrate softly. “Rogue vampires are dead. They die when they forsake their humanity and can no longer step in to the light. But normal vampires are much like my kind.” He took her right hand and pressed in to his chest. Kara could feel his strong heart beat through the cotton shirt. “They heal very fast, they move fast. What sets up apart are their abilities. Some of them can teleport, other can manipulate the mind of humans, and most of them are intellectuals. But like us they have a heartbeat. Your mother was alive Kara; she was as alive as you and me in this very moment. She was not a heartless monster. No monster could give birth to a beauty like you.”
His words made her blush brightly. She had never been called beautiful by any man, and somehow coming from him it seemed like a dream. An impossible one.
Letting go of her he walked over to the tree where she had dropped the white sheets. It was then she realized how cold it was getting and how cold it was without his heat around her. Marko picked up the fabric and made his way back to her. He stood behind her and gently leaned down to press his lips and tongue to her neck in the spot where he had bitten her. The deed took Kara by surprise making her take in a sharp breath.
“Sorry but I needed to seal the wound.” Gently he wrapped the sheets around her small frame.
She turned her head to look at him over her shoulder. “Sure that is all you wanted.” He could hear the amused and playful tone that underlay her spiteful voice.
He laughed again. The sound of his tenor voice vibrating at her back made her smile. Marko put his large hands on her shoulder. “I want many things from you Kara. Many which I pray you will give willingly in its due time. But right now I only want for you to rest.”
She shook her head allowing it to fall back onto his chest. “I can’t sleep. Every time I close my eyes I have nightmares. Most of the time I forget them, but some... some...” Her words drifted off as images of a field covered with cadavers came into mind. She shivered at the memory of him drenched in his own blood as it poured from the wound caused by the sword impaled in his body. Her sword. “I can’t,” she said stepping out of his grasp. The disconnection left them both cold and at the mercy of the wind.
“Kara?” He asked sensing her fear.
She turned to look at his concerned eyes “Will you accompany me to the house?”
“But I thought you said- yes of course,” he said she had no intention of sleeping that much he could tell from the restlessness in her posture. She just needed the warmth of a burning fire.
“Thank you,” she said turning to the direction the village.
Marko came to stand beside her. He looked down at her admiring her face in the glow of the moonlight. Never had he felt as happy as in this moment. She was his. Their blood was bonded in the face of all magic. His essence mixed with her for now and forever.
Yet it worried him that she didn’t seem pleased. For a moment she seemed happy but at the mention of her sleep and her dreams it all went away. Well that and learning that she is part vampire.
“I wonder what house your mother came from.” Trying to diverge her thought from sleep and whatever was bothering her about them. He was sure that in time she would tell him on her own.
“What do you mean?” She said looking up at him.
“Vampires have houses, families. Some hold more blood power that others, it is what dictates their abilities.”
“Is there any way you could tell?”
“Well I have heard that they have birth marks, there is usually an alteration in the mark of each individual.”
“Birth mark?” Kara thought of the small flower like mark that rested on her hip. She had always though it an amusing thing but never did she imagined it could actually be more that a weird mark.
“Do you have one?” He could see her hesitation. “Kara this is important if you want to know more about your mother.”
“Yes I have one” she said with a tone of confusion.
“Can I see it?” his voice was filled with a boyish interest.
She blushed and stooped walking “No you cannot see it not now or ever”
He turned to look back at her with a wolfish smile “Oh, you cannot possibly mean that. I intent to examine every inch of you someday, sweetheart.”
She blushed even more and crossed her arms. “The endearment wins you no favors, Marko.”
She walked pass him not looking at him. “Still what does it look like?” Marko said coming to her side in two strides.
She sighed, “You do not give in do you?”
“No, I do not, I would not be a great warrior if I did” he smiled.
“A flower, four petals with lines in between each, in the center it looks like a spiral-” she stopped talking when Marko took hold of her hand and pulled to a stop. “What are you?-”
“I need to see it Kara.” He was serious; there was a severity in his voice that made her fearful. “It matters not where it is or that it is I who sees it. This is more important than you could ever imagine. Your life could be in danger. It could help explain why you were attacked today by northerners.”
She looked up at him with a confused expression. What could be so special about a flower looking birthmark?
“Flowers, as silly as it may seem are... well in simple words...” he raked a hand through his dark hair. “There are no simple words. I must simply see it...Please.”
“How will I know that you are not simply saying that to see more flesh?”
“I am not saying that I do not appreciate to see more of you,” he said with bright eyes “but right now I can only think of keeping you safe.” she was about to protest when he continued “I know that you can protect yourself. I am fully aware. But it is my duty as your mate to care for you; it is all I want right now. Not knowing who you really are could be more dangerous than knowing.” She was still not convinced. “Look into my eyes,” she did “Am I lying to you?”
No, I know you’re not, but I am not ready to show more. The more you know of me, the more I know of you, the harder it will be to part ways tomorrow. I am still leaving. It breaks my heart but I am still too dangerous. Kara thought as she looked into his grey eyes.
“No, you’re not, but I simply cannot...” she started
“I implore you to show me because someone might be looking for you. And I do not mean the northerners, who I promise will pay for what they did...I mean a man who could possibly be your uncle.”
“Uncle?” she didn’t remember her mother ever mentioning having a brother. But the idea of having some physical connection with her parents, even if it where through an unknown familiar, excited her. She looked away from Marko to observe the ground.
Marko watched as she brushed the shallow layer of snow away and picked up a stick. Kara made a series of precise strikes with the crooked stick until the image of a flower was imprinted on the cold ground. “There that is my mark... but a lot smaller”
“Are you sure this is it?” he asked looking down at the four petals and the swirl in the middle. Looking down he could hide his small disappointment at not seeing it on her skin, but in truth her shyness amused him. She was discrete, well, when she was not consumed by blood lust or simply lust.
She crosses her arms and raced a brow at him “Well I should know how it looks like, I see it every day. You know, unless it changed without my knowledge.” He would have laugh at her retort but as beautiful as the mark was it didn’t make him very happy.
“Perhaps it would be better if it did” Marko said looking up at her. He sighed, “There is only one Vampire I know that bears a three petal flower. His name is Adril Vorgonzoa. He is the current Vampire king...” he looked down at her, but her eyes where more focused on the falling snow that got pass the trees. “You could be his nice.-” Her face was unreadable but he kept talking “He is a good man, caring, passionate about the prosperity of his kind, formidable opponent in every way. He is looked up to by many and all-”
“But?” she said turning her blue eyes to look at him. “The tone in your voice tells me there is something that bothers you about him, but you are cannot say.”
Marko chuckled and hanged his head in defeat, even if he tried to hide his discontent about the matter she could see or hear right through it. “He is a friend of my father. I have known the man all my life. I have also heard many stories of him it was only a few decades ago that he became king. His father was a great king but something changed him, more rogue vampires appeared which made Adril have to take action. He took hold of the throne, by force. And he has been a great king but there is something, something in the back of his eyes.” he looked up giving her a small smile “I... do not know, perhaps I am delirious.” he paused “I know some about his sister, though I never met her. The old king kept her in their kingdom until one day she up and disappears into the night.”
“She ran away? That is really hard to imagine. My mother was the sort of woman who would fight till death standing for what she believed in.” Kara said with a saddened pride. Sad because she did, her mother fought to protect those she loved even when it cost her own life.
“She ran away to be with the man she loved, well, at least that is what I have heard.” a wicked smile came upon his handsome face. “If you wish to know more I suppose you will have to agree to leave with me tomorrow,” he looked around noticing that it was well past midnight “or should I say today. I can arrange for you and King Adril to meet. He will be able to tell you all you wish to know.”
“And what then? I meet a stranger have a nice conversation, and then what am I to do with myself?” She said renewing their walk to the house.
“Then I will do my very best to ensure your safety, your happiness and at the same time woo you and cherish you every single day until you are willing to show me that birth mark of yours” At the last he smiled mischievously.
Kara shook her head “you are incredible, you know that? Very confident in your powers of impressing women.”
He smiled at her. The dimples on his cheeks and the seriousness in his eyes made her blush. “The only woman I want to impress is you, Kara dear.”
“And not at all ashamed to admit it” she said under her breath.
“No need for shame, I know what I feel is right.” he paused letting her gather her thoughts “so will you come with me tomorrow?” he said with a nervous tone. They were now at the front door of the house.
He needed her; she could see it in the burning flames of his eyes. That flame begged her to deliver more air, to stay with him. “But what if- what if I lose control again?”
He looked down at her and brushed a stray strand of silky hair behind her ear. “Then I will be there again, I will do everything in my power to ensure your power remains under your control.” He could see the stress that his question was causing her “you know what?... answer me tomorrow, I mean later today if you want.”
She opened the door to the house and turned around to look at him. Under the moonlight with his bark hair and silver eyes he looked stunning. Of course his face would look better if he didn’t have smudge blood on his mouth or stains on his shirt. But he also looked tense; he wanted her to go with him and so did she.
Say no, say no. She kept telling herself.
“Fine, I will decide and tell you later.” She just couldn’t bring herself to say it.
“Good” His face brightened.
“Hey, you don’t have to sound so excited, my decision is not set in stone,” she said with a scold at him.
He put his hands up in surrender. “Very well, understood.” He reached out to grab one of her hands, bringing his lips to the back of it he said, “I will see you later today. Rest my sweet. Know that I am near if you need anything.” With that he left leaving her to stare at his retreating back as it disappeared into the shadow of the great barn.
Kara sighed, stepped inside and closed the door behind her. She saw that the fire in the fireplace was burning low. She sat on a chair after tossing in a few logs. The flames quickly revived, their heat spreading over her softly. Somehow their warmth was nothing like the warmth she found in Marko’s embrace. She wrapped the sheet tighter around her trying to revive that feeling of safety.
It seemed strange how one day she was having a normal life, well as normal as it gets for a fae hybrid, and the next she was being attacked by rogue vampires and tossed into the arms of the almighty werewolf prince. Now she was blood bonded to a man she hardly knew, who seemed to know more of her family than she did and who claimed was her mate.
What does it even mean to have a mate? Her parents never talked about things like that with her, after all she was only elven when they died, and they hardly had time to tell her about her powers because she had barely gotten them herself. So she had to wonder what it meant to be mated or blood bonded. Was it simply a mutual carnal attraction? Because she would definitely be attracted to him even if he wasn’t her mate. It had to be something else.
What did she like about him? Other than the obvious physical qualities she enjoyed to see on him. He was a big man in body and in character, certainly a man that could draw a crowd’s attention when he stepped into a room. His presence called for respect, even if at times he was too frank about his desires. When he spoke with that low voice or laughed that soft vibration it made her weak of the knees. And her heart raced when he looked at her in that smoldering way. He was a man of action, a man how has seen blood and killed countless of enemies and yet he was capable of compassion and tenderness.
“What am I going to do?” She asked herself leaning back on the wooden chair. She looked into the fire as if it had all the answers to her problems. The gentle sways of the flames seemed to work a strange magic over her, her mind became unfocused and her eyelids closed from the heaviness of exhaustion.
“Kara come along,” said a tall woman with long black hair and fair skin. Her voice was soft, almost like music. “Come and help me pick some flowers.”
“Yes mother,” Kara said. But her voice was different; it was like that of a small child, innocent and unprepared for the cruelty of the world outside her home.
She ran to her mother’s side and grabbed her hand. Her mother looked down at her with a soft smile, the kind of smile that could light up any dark night.
“Your father will be home from the main town today and I think he would love it if we gave him some flowers, especially if you pick them out,” she said was they walked down a path behind their home.
“How do you know he will like them? Papa like flowers, but he is a boy, boys like flowers? Papa is a boy, right? Where do boys even come from? They are weird,” little Kara asked confused.
Her mother laughed softly and leaned down to kiss her forehead. “My sweet girl. You have a wonderful and curious mind.” Her mother turned her sight to a bright purple flower and plucked it from the bush. “Yes, your father is a boy, but he likes flowers because they remind him of his home land.” she took the flower and put it on Kara’s hair by her ear “in his homeland there are hills and hills covered in flowers of all shapes and colors. And the sun is always warm.”
“Is that why papa looks sad sometimes, because he misses his home?” Kara said turning her attention to picking the next few flowers.
“No, we are his home, what he misses are the flowers and some of the people he has not seen in some time.”
Kara smiled at her “how do you always know what papa is feeling? If he is sad, you look sad, if he is angry you get angry. Sometimes I cannot tell who is reacting to who!”
Again her mother laughed, “Sometimes neither can I!” they both laughed “You could say your father and I are... connect” she saw the confusion in Kara’s tender eyes. “Hmmm, we are like... a bird. What happens if a bird only has one wing?”
“It cannot fly?”
“Exactly, it cannot fly. Your father has one wing and I the other. We need each other and we work like one. So if I feel sad?”
“He feels sad too?”
“In a way yes, he feels my sadness.”
Kara looked intently at the flowers they were picking, they had moved on to picking some yellow and white ones. “But how does it work?” she asked with exasperation.
“Darling you are too young to understand, but when your time comes you will meet someone who will get sad when you get sad, and mad when you get mad. And if you ever lose sight of who you are or lose control of yourself, that person will be there to show you your way back,” she said as Kara looked up at her.
“That is never going to happen” Kara said pouting.
“That is what your father would say.” She kneeled beside her daughter. “But I think it will, someday-” her mother nervously looked around, indistinctive agitated whispers resonated through the air around them. She looked back at Kara with alert eyes “Kara you must wake up.”
“What?” she asked confused.
“You have to wake up now!” her mother’s tender hand slapped her across the face. “Wake up!” her soft voice changed into a gruff bark, a voice that held no love or care, only hate. “Wake up!” another slap and she was awake.
Kara’s blue eyes flue open to find herself being dragged out of the house by two village men. Her feet were bound and her hands tied behind her back. Now fully alert she tossed against the men’s hold on her. Her eyes focused fighting against the blinding reflection of the early morning sun on the snow that covered the center of the village. Someone kicked her on the back of the knees making her fall to the hard ground. She looked beside her to see a young man being held down by heavy chains and a man with a silver knife to his neck. The lad looked angry at the man, and got even more agitated when he looked to the left and saw a girl trying to fight her way to his side. She was being held back my some other men. It was the daughter of one of the chief villagers called Herard, the man who was holding the knife to the lad’s throat. They were they couple Kara had seen when she sat to eat stew with Marko.
“What the hell is going on?” she almost growled at anyone who would listen.
“Shut up!” the man she knew as the village’s smith said bring his strong hand down on her face. The impact was strong enough to make her lose balance on her knees and fall to the ground, making her scream at the sudden pain. He pulled her to her feet by the hair and pressed a cool blade to her neck. She opened her eyes to see a group of wolves running towards them, Marko in the lead.
He looked angry, no, he looked like he was about to murder something.
“Come on you dogs!” one of the men incited.
Marko stopped about two meters away. “Kara,” he said with a dangerous growl, as he looked her over. “Let them go,” he ordered the men.
“Or what, you’ll kill us all?” said the one of village’s chiefs, the father of the girl.
“Is that what you want?” He yelled at the men, his grey eyes glowed that strange pale blue. “If you harm them that is what you will get!” Kara saw as Marko’s hands grew claws and his exposed arms grew grey hair. He was transforming, and he was also losing control. That much she could gather from the crazed look in his eyes and the sensation of building magic that emanated from his tense body.
“You come into our village, parading as saviors and then turn on us by taking our women.” He turned to the girl that was still being held back from the lad on the ground, her face was covered in angry tears. “And our children.”
“If you hurt him I will never forgive you, father. You will not take Roan from me,” the girl said with a growl that would make any wolf envious.
“Silence! He is a monster, and I will not have you bedded to one,” Herard said with poison in his voice.
Marko growled again his enraged expression made her fearful. He was going to snap at any moment if she didn’t do something.
“You have to let me go,” Kara whispered to the man holding her. “He will kill every human here if you do more harm.”
“Shut up!” The man hissed in her ear.
“I would listen to her,” Marko said. No, this was solely the wolf talking.
Feeling her anger rise she gathered her magic and focused it on the knife on her neck. The magic quickly heated up the metal making the man drop it. Like the flames of the fireplace a blue fire danced around her, the smith staggered back as the flames consumed her and the rope that tied her hands dissolved to ashes. Her anger seemed to keep growing and she knew that part of it was not hers, it was Marko’s. She turned to the smith and looked at the knife on the ground. With a flick of her hand the knife found itself pressed against the villager’s throat.
“Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself,” She said with heated power in her voice as she looked at the other villagers who were staring at her as if she were a demon. “Please, stop this and let them go.”
She turned and walked towards Marko. As soon as she was in arms reach he took hold of her. He was careful not to injury her with his claws as he hugged her to him. “Mine,” the wolf said with a growl burying his face in her neck and hair.
“You need to calm down, Marko,” she said putting a hand on the back of his head raking it through his black mane. “I can feel your anger, it makes it difficult to control my magic.” He slowly relaxed against her, and as his body returned to normal and her magic fire subsided. She turned around at the sound of the knife falling to the cold ground.
“She is a demon!” A woman screamed.
“You people are fools,” Kara said shaking her head “If I were a heartless demon, I would have rid the world of such close minded people. But I am better than that and will give you the opportunity to let them go.”
“My daughter will not leave with this vermin. Fine women do not mix with these monsters, only whores and prostitutes do!”
The insult made every one of Marko’s men snarl in anger, but none of them compared with the one given by Marko. Herard’s words were not only insulting the women present, they also insulted their human mothers and fathers, who not by choice had been fated to love werewolves. “Mind your words or you will eat your tongue.” The warning was clear and truthful. He stepped towards the villagers, and instinctively Kara took hold of his arm, making him turn to look at her.
“Please, this has to stop,” Kara said looking up at his burning eyes, he was so angry it seemed to be pouring out of him.
“They insult you, they insult me and my kingdom,” he said with a tight voice.
She swallowed. “I know, but I will not have you prove them right. Do not give them what they want,” she whispered loud enough for him to hear, although all the other werewolves behind them seemed to nod in acknowledgement. Her hold on his arm tightened a bit before letting him go, she turned her eyes on the villagers “Why would monsters go through the trouble of saving this poor excuse of a village? They saved your sorry lives not even expecting hospitality and this is how you repay them. They are not monsters they just have the misfortune of having to live in a world filled with self-centered humans.” She looked at the girl who was still struggling.
For a moment she could see it like a tightly knit golden braid that connected the girl to the werewolf on the ground, but the braid looked unfinished. She blinked and looked at Marko, she could see a similar braid with a more complex and finished design wrapped around him and come to wrap around her. She blinked again and the braids were gone. “That werewolf is her mate,” she said turning to look at Herard, who was still holding the silver knife to the man’s throat. “Your daughter needs to be with him or she will die, but not before feeling immense pain. I tell you that from experience. And that pain will not be his fault, it will be yours.” The man shook his head “This is not a matter of choice, it is a matter of keeping her alive and happy. Is that not the job of a good father?”
The man’s angry face seemed to contort into one or sadness. “I can’t lose her too, I just lost her mother last year.”
“I cannot lose her either,” the lad said with a hoarse voice. “At my side she will be safe, loved and cherished. She will have a home and bread on the table every day; whatever she asks of me I will give. But the lady is right we cannot be apart, she will die and I will not allow that to happen.” The last he said pushing his head up to look the man straight in the eyes.
At Roan’s last sentence Kara thoughts turned to the dream she was so rudely awaken from. Her mother had told her that she and her father were like the wings of a bird, if ever separated the bird would not be able to fly.
The man held the blade closer to the lad’s throat making the wolf hiss, the daughter struggle harder, but the father had a hiss of his own. “If you ever hurt my darling Alua, I will personally come and slit your throat. If you ever step out of line or die before your time and leave her behind, I will spit on your grave and marry her off to a better man.” The lad look intently at the Herard and gave him a small nod. In an instant the man was off him, Herard looked to his daughter with sorry eyes. “Let her go.”
“Herard you cannot possibly believe or accept this!” Said the outraged smith.
“Let me go!” Alua said tugging hard at the hold on her arms until she broke free. “Roan,” she said kneeling beside the lad helping him get rid of the chains that held him down. Now free Roan hugged her tightly as she helped him stand and move away from the villagers.
“I have no option but to accept it.” Herard barked at the audience, then turned to Marko. “Take your wolves and leave, we can manage and finish the fortifications ourselves.” The man should have known better than to give Marko a direct order, but this was Herard’s territory, and in his home he had more power.
“Very well,” Marko said to the man. Swiftly he moved to stand in front of the smith who had held the knife to Kara’s throat. The smith held his burned hand to his chest where it had been wrapped in a towel with snow. With a low voice he said, “Next time, think twice before you hold a knife to my mate’s throat, it will save you a lot of pain.” The man visibly swallowed and took a step back making sure to divert his sight from the predator in front of him.
Marko turned to his men and said “Pack the camp before the hour is through, we’re moving out.”