Thursday, 15 July 2010
Azura stands over the body of her dead father. He's lying half in and half out of the river. His jet black hair waves around his head with the currant. His eyes are wide with the horror of death. The water surrounding his torso is tinged sanguine. She stands with her arms limp at her sides, head tipped sidways, as if she can take in this information better from a different perspective. Azura bends at the knees and picks up her father's sword lying in the mud. She plants the blade into the earth and grasps the hilt with both hands, holding herself steady in her crouched position.
Azura crouches upon the thick branch of an oak tree. She's watching the path below her, waiting like the serpent for the opportune moment to strike. A doe passes beneath the branch, unaware of the predator above. Azura falls swiftly and silently upon her prey, sinking her fangs into the grisly meat of the doe's throat. It screams once before it dies, crumpling within the lover's embrace of Azura's arms. She drinks her fill until the animal's heart ceases beating then rips her fangs from it's neck, causing blood to spurt from the puncture wounds. In the frenzy of her feeding she fails to notice a pair of electric blue eyes watching her every move.
"Does that actually taste good, because it looks terrible." Asks a curious voice.
Azura's head whips around, flashing elongated fangs dripping with blood at the voice. She's crouched and ready to spring with reflexes ten times that of a feline. Her companion's appearance causes her to hestitate long enough to take him in. With a shock of brilliant white-blonde hair and piercing electric blue eyes he stands out amongst the trees like a neon sign. He's wrapped in a simple deer skin coat and pants with a sword sheathed at his hip. His feathered wings, the same brilliant color of his shaggy hair, are what Azura notices first. They send a trill of panic down her spine she can't contain. It's a necessity of survival for her kind.
"I've done nothing wrong," she says her speech impeded slightly by her fangs.
He chuckles. "I'm not going to punish you. Killing deer is perfectly within your rights." He says taking a step closer. Azura inches farther away in response.
"Pardon me if I don't quite trust you yet," she says straightening up as her fangs retract.
He waves it off with his hand as if he's used to this kind of behavior. "My original question still stands," he says watching her reaction.
Azura considers for a moment, back-tracking through her memory. She glances at the dear and nods curtly, a devious smile pulling at the corners of her lips. "Do you like wine?"
"Blood is wine for me. However, it tastes better from the neck of something human."
"So I've heard, and yet you follow the laws anyway?"
The smile turns into an impish grin. "Sometimes."
"I've also heard something else, something that makes my presence here dangerous."
They exchange glances. Azura's face blanks. A smile flickers to life upon his face.
"How do you think my blood would taste?" He asks.
"Too sweet for my liking." Azura says, pretending to be disgusted by the thought.
"Really? Because I've heard that once a vampire feeds from an angel they never want anything else."
"Not true. Overexaggeration."
"Oh. So what else is overexaggeration?"
"Garlic can't hurt us though it is repulsive."
Azura pauses a moment, "Deadly, but only in lethal doses. I'm sure you know all of this all ready so why are you asking me? And who the hell are you anyway? You're definitely not royal or you'd have tried killing me all ready."
"My name is Shugo and I'm an angel, but not royal as you say because I'm not here to kill you," he says extending a hand to shake. Azura stares at it with a raised eyebrow.
His hand drops after a moment. "Okay, so vampires don't have manners either. I'm learning all sorts of things today."
She smirks. "Why are you here?"
"A guy can't enjoy going for a stroll through the woods anymore?"
"Fine. Be that way." Azura turns to walk away.
"Wait a minute, you never told me your name." Shugo says, stepping forward and grabbing her upper arm to stop her leaving. She feels his blood pulsing through is veins as if it were her own. She hears his heartbeat inside her head and her fangs elongate once more. She turns back in his direction and he steps back instinctively. Her eyes swim with the blood of her recent kill and unsatiated hunger.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that." He says backing away, his hand resting upon the hilt of his sword.
Azura closes her eyes. They stand stone still, Shugo barely breathing as she gathers her senses. When she opens her eyes they're no longer blazing but still hungry. Her fangs have retracted once more.
"I'm fine. You're fine. I won't kill you."
"As if you could," he responds jokingly but it comes off shakily. His hand still grips the hilt of his sword.
"My name is Azura."
Shugo relaxes and the smile returns to his lips. "Guess I now know why vampires don't shake hands."
A grin twitches at the corner of Azura's mouth. "At least not with angels," she adds.
"Touche. So tell me, do you live around here?"
"I do. So does an entire village of vampires. Which makes me wonder why an angel, who's evidentally not royal, would stroll around the woods in vampire territory."
"It's quite the mystery isn't it?"
"It is. You're not going to tell me are you?"
"That implies that you might someday. But we're probably never going to see each other ever again so what's the harm in telling me now?"
"I don't want to ruin the surprise."
Azura shifts anxiously on her feet. "For an angel who isn't royal you're acting awfully suspicious."
"Maybe you're just paranoid," Shugo supplies off-handly.
"And maybe you're just an ass," Azura retorts bitterly.
"You're easily offended. I suppose that comes from your family's history?" His inquiry is greeted with initial silence.
"How do you know of my family?" Azura asks, sizing him up. Her hand instinctively reaches for the hilt of her own sword. Shugo responds similiarly.
"It's my job to know things."
"And it's my job to stop people from knowing things," Azura retorts through her teeth. She's shifting into an offensive position as she speaks.
"Are you really going to initiate a fight with me?" Shugo replies as he shifts into a defensive position.
"I should've killed you when I had the chance."
Shugo laughs disbelievingly. "That's quite a jump you're making there. I meant you no harm."
They begin to circle one another as they speak.
"That's what your kind all say, 'we don't want to hurt you, come quietly, we just want to control you.' Well, no more."
"You're judging me based upon a stereotype of my kind? How convenient. Makes killing me easier doesn't it? Associate me with the group and it's not even like murder anymore."
"Self-defense isn't murder."
"I haven't even threatened you. You're the one talking about killing. If anyone has anything to complain about it's me."
"You're all alike. You always play the victim but you're not. You're just a cold-hearted bastard who does what he's told. I bet you are one of them you just don't dress like them."
Shugo stops circling and straightens, taking his hand off from the hilt of his sword. "I take offense to that. I'm not one of them. I wouldn't enslave you or your entire race out of fear. I'm better than that." He says and walks away.
Perturbed by the turn of events Azura watches him disappear into the shadow of the trees. She stands a moment longer, listening. She hears nothing but the birds chirping in the trees. She turns and walks in the opposite direction towards home.
While riding bareback down the path toward Erid Azura met Shugo once more. She smelled him before she ever saw him. Her horse reared unexpectedly and threw her off. She heard screams as she fell to the ground and jumped to her feet. She took off towards the source of the noise and came upon two vampires draining an angel. He looks up at her with his electric blue eyes, only they're duller now as he dies. One of the vampires is a female with fiery red hair. Her fangs have pierced the flesh of Shugo's throat and she's drinking greedily. Her companion is a male who's clinging to Shugo's wrist with both tooth and claw.
Azura's fangs elongate and she jumps upon the male vampire's back. She sinks her own fangs into his shoulder and he releases Shugo with a scream. Azura moves fluidly, ripping back with her fangs and grabbing the man's head between both her palms. She breaks his neck before either he or his partner know what's happening. Azura grabs the female by the back of the neck with her left hand and her lower jaw with her right hand. She applies pressure to the bones in her jaw, causing her to release Shugo who falls flat upon his back. Azura lowers her head to the female vampires face and kisses her lips for a moment. The red-headed female only notices the difference when it's too late. Azura's fangs move to the female's throat where she pierces the vein, sending waves of blood down her own throat. She drinks as the female screams. She stops only when every last drop of blood as been drained.
Azura tosses the female's body off to the side of the road and drains the male as well, discarding his body as carelessly before going to Shugo's aide. She kneels beside him covered from chin to toe in blood. His wounds are seeping blood and poison. She touches him arm and he convulses in shivers. She examines the puncture wounds at his neck and wrist. His eyes lock on hers as she picks up his wrist in her hands.
"I have to take the poison out or you'll die," she says moving his wrist towards her lips. When he doesn't protest she puts her lips to the wound and drinks the blood and poison. It tastes far better than wine. She drinks a bit more than necessary but stops when her fangs start to grow. Sweat rolls down Shugo's face and neck. Azura turns his head towards the side and pauses a moment to collect herself. When her fangs have completely retracted she places her lips at the base of his neck and drinks. When she's certain she's taken all the poison she moves away from him.
Azura sits upon the gravel path with her knees drawn up to her chest, willing herself not to kill him. Shugo lies on his back in silence as the fire that had been rolling through his veins leaves him completely. He stares into the star-studded sky in wonder.
"How did you do that?" He finally asks, breaking the silence. He lifts his head far enough off the ground to look at her.
"I don't know," responds Azura still sitting with her knees drawn up to her chest.
"I thought you'd just decide to finish me off after a while. I guess my blood doesn't taste that good." Shugo says sitting up. The world around him spins slightly.
"No," she whispers. "It's the best damn thing I've ever tasted."
Silence permeates the air around them.
"We need to get you out of here." Azura says after a while, getting to her feet. Shugo tries to catch her eye but she won't look at him. "Before someone else comes along," she adds and whistles for her horse.
It comes trotting up the path as Shugo staggers to his feet. Azura climbs on and extends a hand to Shugo. He takes her hand and climbs on behind her, placing his hands on either side of her waist to steady himself. Azura urges the horse on with a kick in the sides and they disappear into the trees. The sudden rush of air makes Shugo's head spin furiously. He wraps his arms around Azura's waist instinctively. She's pretends not to notice as they near the Raiki manor.
They enter a moonlit clearing in which stands the Raiki manor. The surrounding trees stand at least 30 feet back from the house but they tower over it with years more time upon the earth. The manor itself is an architectural marvel made of stone from the nearby river. It stands two stories high with open glass windows in front that allow a person to see directly into the front room. Azura cuts around behind the house and takes Shugo to a hand-crafted hut barely noticable among the trees. She dismounts and goes to the front door, leaving Shugo to fend for himself.
Head still reeling he falls gracefully off the back of the horse more than dismounts. Azura turns back to him when the door is unlocked and leads him inside. They enter a spacious room with a fire place, bed, and desk. Azura leads Shugo over to the bed where he collapses.
"You'll be safe here for the night," Azura says and turns to leave. Shugo grabs her by the arm and pulls her back on the bed. She looks down at him impatiently.
She contemplates him for a moment. "You're welcome. Now rest; you need it."
Before he can ask any more questions she's gone and the door closes gently behind her. His eye lids close then jerk open again. His brain tells him he isn't safe but he feels safe. He lets his eyes close and he falls asleep.