Chapter 3: The Siren of Death
The gentle breeze of the evening caressed my shoulders like a lover’s embrace. The brilliant light of the full moon kissed the city streets. Cars sped past, the inhabitants oblivious to the creatures stalking the city at this night. Lucky for them, they were surrounded by tons of steel and iron, continuing on their merry way. The chill of the late summer evening was made sharper by my thin spandex top and tight black leathers. I slipped between the shadowed outline of figures in the crowded street, a few throwing confused glances at my dark shades after two A.M. I adjusted the leather strap across my chest, and tugged at my long red braid to free it from being trapped between the enormous claymore and my back, while keeping my pointed ears covered. My sword gleamed in the moonlight, and I commanded the shadows to hide it from mortal sight.
Prowling forward, my hips swayed. I navigated the crowd of intoxicated tourists who reveled in the magic of the French Quarter, oblivious to the power emanating ley lines beneath the ground. Oblivious to the fatal danger that surrounded them. A tall, masculine figure gazed at me through the crowd. The air rippled around him, the shadows blared crimson. There was a distortion surrounding him. I paused only momentarily before turning my gaze toward the outskirts of the crowd. The humans milled about him without glancing in his direction, passing around him as if he was not present.
Not my target, not my problem.
I continued to survey the crowd. Opening my senses, I took a deep inhale. A rotting, coppery stench invaded my nose. I focused, expanding my area of sight into the distance. There. Retreating towards the outskirts where a maze of alleyways awaited, an analogous blob of black indicative of a creature using magic to mask their presence moved farther away.
“Got you” The corners of my lips tilted in a smile.
I sauntered towards the edges of the Quarter, reaching back to grip the hilt of my blade. Taking a quick left into a deep alley, I stopped.
The grotesque masculine form gripped the blond hair of a young woman. Her head was ripped to the side. Fangs pierced her throat, as the Blood Wraith drank his fill. The girl was whimpering and screaming, trying to struggle with the monster, causing the fangs to tear her jugular. Blood gurgled up from her lips.
Reaching to my right thigh sheath, I threw a six inch blade that embedded in the back of the Wraith. An inhuman growl protruded from him, and he spun and tossed the girl to grown as if a rag doll. As the demon faced me, he smiled. Blood and human remains coated his teeth.
“I suggest you start running, knife ears, and mind your business before I’m ready for you.” He purred, taking a step towards me.
I smirked, and with one hand, gripped the large hilt of my claymore, drawing the blade that was taller than I am in front of me. The demon examined my reaction and tossed his head back in laughter.
“A large blade, little bitch, maybe you’re compensating for something? Learn how to grip your slab of iron before you charge into death.” He laughed at me.
I smiled brightly in return, and before placing my second hand on the hilt and adopting a wide defensive stance, I reached up and removed my shades, gazing into his wide eyes. His gaze immediately cast downward, eyes bulging out of their sockets.
“Siren” He gasped.
His stance grew defensive, bloody torn claws protruded from his hands. His fangs further revealed in an aggressive hiss. He launched toward me, I could see the ripples of air around his wraith form glided through the air. I twisted, channeling strength into my arms I swung up with preternatural speed. The edge of the sword collided with the Wrath’s stomach, the metal pulsated, and I followed through with my swing, metal gliding through muscle, shattering bone. A strangled cry released into the dark night. Finally, the Wraith lay on the ground before me, his mid-section effectively severed. He used his arms to try to drag himself away, whimpering. Blood loss and injury would not be enough to kill him.
I stepped towards him, and kicked him onto his back with a steel-toed boot. Stepping down on his chest I placed the heavy point of my blade against his skull.
“Wait! I have information! They are coming for you! The Siren of Death.” He begged and pleaded for his life. I bit down on my lip and stared deep into the eyes of my victim.
“Then let us hope they are stronger than you.” I pushed down, not gazing away from the crack of the skull beneath my blade, severing the brain stem. I lowered my shades over my eyes, and watched the wind carry the particles of ash the body had disintegrated into back to Hell.
I knelt over the body of the young girl, silenced before her time. I saw the telltale shadows surrounding her form, indicating her soul rising from the body. I crossed her arms over her chest, and reaching into my pocket I placed two coins over her eyes.
“May Chiron guide you to the mother.” I whispered. Wishing I was able to give her a proper burning. At least this way, there would be closure for the family. Victims of the blood wraith had been littering the city.
Clap...Clap...Clap... Sounded. Sensing the figure of red shadows behind me, I turned on the spot launching a blade from my left sheath directly towards the heart. The tall, dominating figure plucked the blade from the air, raising a brow at her in surprise.
“Why are you following me?” I hissed. A low chuckle escaped his lips. With a speed even I could not track, he pushed me back against the wall of the alley, the iron blade pressed against my carotid. The strength of his hard body trapped me in place.
“Little Aelia...The Siren of Death,” He whispered seductively.
I gasped at the use of my given name. I struggled against his hold, only for him to press the blade harder against my neck. Three fingertips raised and trailed gently down my cheek. He lifted my glasses, exposing my soulless silver eyes. As he tossed them aside, I took the opening to grip the dagger in my belt I flicked my wrist and held the blade directly against his manhood, moving as little as possible. I applied enough pressure the blade nicked the skin, and beads of blood black as night welled. The man growled lowly.
“Who are you?” I spat, guiding him away from me with the knife, which he followed. I stepped away and crossed my arms over my chest. The man ignored me and his lips curved in a smirk.
“The time is coming for you to fulfill the purpose for which you were created.” He spoke quietly, and reached out to touch my arm.
My head began to pound. Something was trying to come to the surface. Visions flashed of blood, death, large iron gates surrounded by shredded corpses and blood. Then another, of a warm bed in a lonely castle, a kiss to the side of my neck, followed by a blade across my throat. The memory of deep black eyes, unruly black hair, and a bloodthirsty grin.
I shook my head to clear the images, the pounding in my head ever increased.I knew I would be unable to distinguish features on a mans face with my current sight. I pushed the man backwards, he barely stumbled.
“My purpose is my own.” I stated clearly. Gripping my sword and raising it again, I feinted and tossed a fallen blade toward the figure, but he was consumed by the shadows. In the grip of the shadows, he disappeared, and the knife I threw clunked to the ground. Laughter echoed along the breeze.
There is no running, little Aelia, not from destiny.
I gripped the sides of my head and clawed at my hair. Bending over, I bit my lip and groaned.
“Erlik...” The named appeared in my mind. Who are you?