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The man riding up the little road astride the back of a white warhorse was not the same as the other humans he had seen attempting to head into his hunting grounds. Alone, unlike the occasional group of travelers or bandits which happened along the isolated road, and unburdened by a cart stacked high with some form or another of goods like the merchants he was young with the weapons and armor of a warrior and the bearings of a nobleman who carried himself with an enormous amount of pride despite his evident exhaustion.
It was not usually that such lesser creatures as humans interested him much beyond the scope of a fresh meal, but at the sight of this man-patterned in the hues of a lion and with a demeanor much the same as that belonging to the king of the beasts-Aser found himself inexplicably intrigued.
There was a power to this mortal the like of which he hadn’t encountered before; he’d killed a good number of hunters since the time of their fool sect’s founding-they all had-but not a single one of those had felt so...strong.
You must be the AshHand himself, then. Come to slay me, have you Hunter-Lord? A smile far more bitter than the cruelest mountain winter twisted the Vampire’s pale face as he pursued the mounted figure through the shadows of the trees. Let’s see if you can get around my little roadblock first.
It was only a few moments after the thought crossed his mind that the mound of fallen rocks, scoured with spider cracks of crystal by his other form’s fiery breath-came into view. Pulling his steed to a stop the Order’s leader dismounted and approached the wall of massive tumbled boulders on foot, reaching out to run his hands over the smooth cold stone and dried mud pockmarking its surface. He was fit enough to scale it without too much difficulty, but doing so would mean leaving his horse behind, and a detour off the path would take hours.
“Luculentissime.” His voice rang with authority as the word of power fell fluidly from his lips, his hands moving upwards and then to either side as if to push something apart. “Othila: Luculentissime.”
The massive stones shuddered and then, with a low grinding sound, began to move rising off of the ground and rolling up and over one another as if transported by some unseen force. With the way before him cleared by the invocation of the Earth Rune, the AshHand mounted back up and spurred his horse onwards through the resultant opening.
Found that too easy, I see. I’d expect no less from the Angel’s Own. Aser licked his parched lips, tasting blood which one long fang pierced the soft flesh of his tongue. Well, I’ll be sure to pay you a visit tonight; invite you as a guest of honor to my lair so that I can have you for dinner. The trees surrounding him shuddered to their very cores as the sound of his brittle laughter. I don’t make a habit of dining on those who have passed their fifth year but something tells me that your blood, AshHand, is a most exquisite vintage.
Still cackling to himself, Aser Bleak Heart retreated deeper into the trees. Nightfall was only the matter of a few hours away, now, but to the Dhampir Lord the beginning of his latest and most exciting game couldn’t arrive quickly enough.
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