The loud crash was what awoke her from a fitful sleep that next night. Disoriented and with exhaustion hazing her vision Kennina clambered out of bed and padded over to her door, peering cautiously out into the darkness before creeping down the hallway to glance cautiously around the corner into the front room.
Eros, the front of his clothing soaked with the water that had sloshed out of the wooden basin when he’d dropped it, was standing in the middle of the room dead center of the inch-deep puddle coating the floorboards looking none-too-happy.
“Who am I kidding anyway, trying to drink any of that,” he muttered furiously, baring teeth which in the dim light of the dying fire burning low in the hearth glinted like shards of jagged milk white glass. “Been centuries since things like ‘water’ helped anyway! Don’t know why I even bother.” He flitted to the window, his sudden movement taking him right past her position hiding in the shadows but thankfully he didn’t seem to notice her. Raising himself up onto the platforms of his feet, Eros pressed his face to the frosted glass and squinted into the mist and shadows beyond. “No choice. It’s been too long. I have to feed.”
His eyes panned over the room until they met with the dark hallway, Kennina pressing herself tighter against the wall as he passed by to stop outside of her room. Eros reached out with one hand, resting it palm down against the coarse texture of the wood; his pink tongue slithered over parched lips and sharpened teeth as he swallowed thickly. His hand moved down to grip the doorknob, turning it until the latch clicked softly.
With a ferocious snarl he wrenched himself away from the door and fled the cabin into the night. Rushing into her room the moment that he was gone, Kennina grabbed her cloak and weapons and ran out after him.
The mist was thick and cold, but she could still see the distant outline of his figure up ahead of her as he headed deeper into the trees. Doing her best to quiet her footsteps and falling back on her hunter training, Kennina sprinted after him so as not to risk losing sight of her quarry in the darkness.
She didn’t know how long it was that she followed him through the thick forests hills and dales, but eventually his inhuman stamina won out; she fell behind and the blurred edges of his outline vanished from sight.
Shit! Where’d he go?
She knew, now, beyond any shadow of a doubt that her mysterious benefactor was a Lord Class Dhampir, and perhaps the most dangerous out of the eight of them. And what kind of Vampire Hunter would she be if she were to abide by the existence of such a creature when she could do something about it? It was much slower going than before for her to follow his footprints on the snowy forest floor, but it was far better than wandering blindly.
Perhaps another hour passed before she caught up with him again, kneeling in the middle of a depressed clearing hunched over the body of a deer; the horrific wet slurping sounds that rang through the clearing were enough to make her skin crawl.
Every instinct screamed at her to run, to get as far away from him as she could and never look back, but Kennina disregarded them. Forcing down her fear and tightening her grip on her weapons, she slowly crept up behind him. Step by step. Closer and closer until she was standing just behind him. Eros’ head was bowed, his back arched and undefended leaving her with the perfect opportunity to strike both his head and his heart.
But hunts were never that easy.
His hand shot out to catch her wrist with bruising force as her blade came down, twisting her arm to the side and forcing her to drop to the ground to avoid having the bones broken. “They do say that curiosity killed the cat, Leoaică.” Rising to his full height Eros turned to face her, blood staining his lips and dripping down his chin and his eyes-their brown hue replaced by the straight black of two chips of jet set into his handsome face, pupils reduced to two ruby spindles all but swallowed up by the abyss-locked on her in an unforgiving gaze. “You really ought to be more mindful of who you chose to pick a fight with.” He was advancing towards her now, forcing her to scramble back desperately on all fours. “Even back when I was human I far outmatched you! I am the greatest warrior to ever live! Lord of the Thyone Vampires and wielder of Cenuşă and Thaurisaz! You, girl, don’t stand a chance!”
The black spector’s harsh laugh rang out behind her as she threw herself up the embankment of the clearing, running through the trees blind with mist and darkness tripping over roots and stones in a desperate effort to make it back to the cabin, to the safety of the room she’d been given that he seemed somehow barred from entering.
Her heart beat thundered in her ears, blood thudding through her veins, the fog itself threatening and in its nature accomplice to the efforts of her attacker. Kennina strained her hearing in an effort to pick up any sounds over her own hurried footsteps and quickened breathing for any signs of his approach but was met with only silence.
The cabin was in sight now, its door left standing wide from her hurried exit earlier in the night. So close that she could almost taste the safety of the enclosed room.
Eros materialized from the haze in front of her, fangs bared and black wings spread wide to prevent her from darting around him to either side. His taloned hands shot out to grab her but Kennina leapt backwards, tripping over her own feet and landing hard on her front. Winded, she struggled to push herself up onto all fours but he was faster; his iron grip closed around her ankle and yanked her backwards up and off of the ground to dangle, face to face with his heinous snarl, from his unyielding grasp.
A low hiss rumbled in the back of his throat as he observed her futile struggles,her claw blades lashing out to fall just short of cutting into his face.
“You struggle in vain, Leoaică.” His other hand came out to gently grab her chin, pinning her face where it was and locking eyes with her. When he spoke again, his voice had taken on an irresistibly honeyed tone. “Your efforts are futile; just give up. Sleep; it’s late, and you need your rest.” At his words, exhaustion flooded through her, stronger than anything she’d ever felt before. Kennina fought against the desire for rest that was not her own, unable to look away and break the spell of his unnatural gaze. “You’re in my power, now. No matter how strong your will, it’s worthless. Now, sleep. Sleep.” His voice and the fear and the hypnotic mist surrounding them all faded away into the background as she fell forwards into the void of his eyes and darkness overwhelmed her.ns 18.104.22.168da2