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Old 10-03-2013, 02:00 AM   #1
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Night and Shadows -- (Closed)

Night and Shadows
By Dark Empress and the Gladiator

The sky was filled with thick clumps of clouds, threatening to dump water in a deluge over the party goers. Threatening to shatter the peace of this moonlit occasion. Today marked a great day in the world’s history, for today marked the day that lobbying, negotiating and political intrigue had finally yielded success for the vampire race. Today marked the day that vampires were legally considered citizens in the United States of America.

It had been a long 4 year struggle since the vampires were discovered, since excessive media coverage had forced the vampire leaders to come forward and admit to the humans that yes indeed vampires existed. The vampires had worked hard to convince humankind that they did not wish to enslave humanity, but wished to live alongside of them.

The celebration had spilled from the streets into the local bars as vampires openly celebrated even as they sought to get out of the rain as it began to pore. In a corner booth in the small bar, there was one figure that did not join in the revelry. He had been instrumental in bringing this success about, and yet he did not celebrate. Frankly he could care less. He had a purpose, a reason he was in this town, in this bar…. Business.

Vladimir sat twirling a wineglass in his fingers, the polished surface catching and reflecting the light, even as the red wine inside the class swirled with the movement. To any outsider, he seemed to be wholly absorbed in his drink, when the truth was far different. The wine was his cover. He had taken only a single sip in the hour he had been there. His kind did not consume alcohol, could not feel its effects, not that they could consume any food or drink. No it was blood that Vlad’s kind fed on. They were Vampires.

Vladimir couldn’t help but to note the irony in this situation. It felt like only a blink ago that he was in a similar bar holding another glass of wine. That web of intrigue he had stumbled into had set into motion events that now the people around him were celebrating. Ironic how such happiness could come from something that had started out so tragic.

Vladimir did not celebrate because he knew that it was his failure those years ago that had given rise to the events that had played out culminating in this celebration. If only he had caught Xavier, dispatched his people’s justice as he had intended. After a chance encounter with the rogue master vampire, when Vlad had stumbled into a turf war while dispensing final justice to a local serial killing vampire, Xavier had become his next target. This was Vlad’s duty, his calling, his honor. Vlad was one of the Sentinels, a secretive group of vampire police, assassins, vigilantes and hunters. They were the judge, jury, and executioners of vampire society, sent forth to dispatch justice and uphold the laws of the Blackstone council.

Vlad had pursued Xavier. Being chased, Xavier had left the sanctuary of his home town and began to sweep through the Midwest, causing havoc and destruction. Destruction that ultimately lead to the exposure of vampire kind to the humans. However, before he could be brought to justice, Vlad had been called back to serve as one of the emissaries to the humans. He had been pulled from his hunt, and in the intervening years Vlad had feared the trail had grown cold, that he would never catch Xavier until he resurfaced once again. However what would he do when he did come out of hiding, what was he doing now? Vlad could not allow this killer to threaten the fragile peace between Vampires and humans, a peace that was truly in its infancy.

So far, Vlad was having no real luck locating Xavier. He had started his search in the Midwest, and as far as he knew he was still in that region. Not that he cared, he was pretty sure he did not even know the name of the town he was in. Such a detail should not have escaped one such as he, was this hunt for Xavier making Vlad lose his edge? Was the stress getting to him?

He sat in this small bar, putting up with the party goers because of a message he had received. Vlad stared down at his iPhone once again, a piece of technology the sentinel still could not believe he owned, let alone knew how to use. However, he had to admit they came in handy.

Black eyes scanned the text message again, “I have information you will want. I know you need what I have to offer.” As if there was no double entendre in that statement at all. The message went on to provide a time and place. Vlad would normally not go to a meeting with so little information, but he needed answers, answers that this informant, whoever she was had better have. He suspected it was a master vampire, if not the master of the city. He just couldn’t see someone with less power or standing daring to reach out to a sentinel. After all his kind was as much hated as they were feared. He found that he was actually curious who it was who had reached out to him, why, and how they had managed to get ahold of him. It wasn’t like his phone number was in a vampire telephone directory labeled Chief Sentinel.

Vlad set down his wineglass and let his dark eyes sweep around the room again, seeking a sign, a clue as to who his informant might be. A second glance to the phone on the table, he saw that his informant, whoever they were, was late.


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Old 10-03-2013, 09:20 AM   #2
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It was supposedly a day of celebration, but Skye could not bring herself to trust the eerie calm. What were they thinking? Vampires are predators that feed on humans and the leaders on both sides of the line honestly believe that the humans will forgive the vampires and calmly accept their ways – no mess, no fuss? It goes against nature. No living being will accept another in its midst when that being threatens its very survival.

Skye had been a loner for most of her existence. She did not conform to the normal vampire customs. She had made a life for herself amongst the humans in an attempt to stay in touch with her human side, and thus far it has served her well. Her lifestyle allowed her a certain degree of freedom from the normal trappings of a vampire colony, which was quite liberating in this day and age.

At the moment she was running an eccentric bed and breakfast that exclusively catered for the refined taste of patrons with a more, shall we say, adventurous, outlook on sexual interludes. She always stayed as long as possible in a ‘life’ that she created for herself, without arousing curiosity, and then moved on to the next location to start a new one. She was a drifter at heart that enjoyed the complex variety that was the human soul.

Skye did however make damned sure that she complied with the vampire law at all times – as she never wanted to find herself on the wrong side of a sentinel … she still had to fight the sliver of fear that permeated through her mind. She had done the unthinkable…

She had approached Vladimir.

Since Skye could remember, his name was always whispered amongst vampires with a sense of dread, giving him an almost godlike quality. He was bigger, stronger and deadlier than all and somewhere in the back of her mind, Skye was curious to see whether the great Vladimir actually lived up to his reputation.

She was going to find out though … and soon.

She was here because innocent lives were being destroyed, needlessly and carelessly, and it gets under her skin. In the last week alone, Skye had to deal with the prying eyes of locals who were searching for three ‘missing’ girls … the three shallow graves in the backyard, holding a deadly secret that could easily dissolve the fragile human/vampire peace agreement.

A notorious vampire called Xavier has been running amok in Skye’s little town and had left these three girls, brutalised, mangled and drained of every last drop of blood, in her tavern. It vehemently irked her as it threw an unnecessary spotlight on her life. Skye would never dream of committing such atrocities and yet she was forced to clean up after his sloppy ass in a desperate attempt to keep the calm. Vladimir was the only one she could think of that could eradicate her Xavier situation, his hatred of Xavier almost as legendary as Vladimir’s reputation.

It wasn’t hard to spot him amidst the sea of enthusiastic celebrators. He was the only one sitting pensively, reserved … waiting. Skye fought down the little tendril of fear as she crossed the entire length of the bar in a few steps and pulled a chair up opposite him. The expression on her face was carefully blank, the blue depths of her eyes guarded.

She had to admit, he was imposing. An overwhelming sense of annoyance seemed to emanate from him, which made Skye stiffen slightly in her seat.

“Apologies for being late,” she said smoothly, her voice sounding surprisingly calm, considering the level of dread that was rising in the depths of her. To get through the throng of celebrators proved to be tricky.

“I am very sure that you have much better things to do than to waste your time with a commoner, Vladimir, but I have information that I believe will be of great benefit to you,” she half whispered, knowing full well he could hear her, clearly.

Skye had opened her mouth to continue, and then abruptly closed it again as a waitress materialised out of nowhere. Spotting Vladimir’s forgotten glass of wine, Skye smiled sweetly at the waitress, noting the girl’s morbid fascination with Vladimir. “I’ll have the same as my … partner,” Skye improvised, just to wipe the goofy smile off the girl’s face.

“Sure,” the waitress said, flushing, before she scurried off, while Skye studiously avoided looking into Vladimir’s dark, piercing gaze.

“I believe you are looking for Xavier?” Skye said quickly, scraping together the courage to look at him for the first time, determination flickering in her eyes. She needed Xavier out of her life and she was more than willing to hand him to Vladimir on a silver plate.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:29 PM   #3
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A ripple of power flowed over Vladimir’s skin. He was very sensitive to energy fields, and could sometimes even see the aura of powerful individuals. There was a lot of energy in this place, the vampire celebrators catching up humans in their celebrations. This energy felt different, like him, it was not caught up in the rampant happiness. It also felt more powerful. Vlad was sure that not a single vampire in this crowd was a master vampire. This meant that every vampire here answered to a more powerful vampire, in essence required this more powerful vampire to survive. There were 2 exceptions to this assessment, himself, and this new presence.

It did not take the observant sentinel long to spot the newcomer, the source of the ripple he felt. She was beautiful, he noted as he watched her move. Her eyes were as unique as his own, hers a blue violet to his own almost black eyes. Her expression was almost inscrutably blank, but Vlad could feel her tension in the way she held herself, the energy she gave off.

Vlad let his eyes trail back down to his phone about to comment on her punctuality when she offered an explanation. Vlad grunted at her explanation, not sure he believed her. This certainly would not be the first time that a lesser vampire had sought to make him wait, in a vain attempt to display their power. It was a classic move in vampire politics.

Speaking of politics, he wondered who this woman was, where she fit into the local power structure. If she were the master of the city it seemed to him that more of the local vampires would have taken note of her, offered her some degree of deference. Was she a pawn for someone else, then? He suspected this; vampires that lay outside the rigid structure were rare, most of them Rogues like Xavier.

Before she could continue the waitress arrived. Although not hiding who they were any longer, it was still considered polite to order something, to keep up appearances, as it were. The waitress was busy staring at Vladimir, who was completely or at least seemingly oblivious to her interest. Vlad listened as the woman ordered her own glass of red wine and as the waitress left his eyes rose to her once more.

He simply nodded at her assertion that he sought Xavier. He did not deny it. Although, he was careful to mask his surprise that he had felt since he had gotten her text telling him she had information about someone he sought. It was not supposed to be common knowledge that Vladimir had returned to the hunt, that his duties as one of the Blackstone’s representatives was done, for now. How did this woman know? If she knew, did that mean that his target knew? Xavier was a master strategist, nowhere as sloppy or stupid as he would have some believe. He was cool, cold, had ice water in his veins as they say. Was this woman a plant by Xavier to bring Vlad out into the open?

“Tell me what you know.” He said. The first words he had spoken to her. His voice was likewise low; however his quite tone could not hide the deep baritone rumble of his voice. He did not say more than that, a simple statement, both a request and a simple order in 5 words. He had many questions, but he would get to them all in time, he had to start somewhere though, and he had chosen the direct approach. He was not here to make friends, to fall under the spell of a woman, he had been there, done that before, this would be different, or so he thought.
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:35 AM   #4
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“Tell me what you know.”
His voice was a deep, smooth baritone that instantly made Skye wonder what it would sound like if he whispered her name … against her ear … her neck…

‘God Skye, get a grip’ her subconscious scolded sourly, ‘this is Vladimir, a deadly sentinel, not some harmless fling!’ Taking a mock sip of her wine, Skye held the delicate stem between her fingers and swirled the deep dark liquid within, while she gathered her wits about her.

“Xavier has taken a liking to a little village, not far from here…,” she said carefully, debating whether she should tell Vladimir that it was her home. “The destruction he is leaving in his wake is rather shocking, with a death toll of three thus far,” she added and waited for the gravity of that revelation to sink in.

“People are starting to ask questions and I think we both know that the vampire race cannot afford that kind of attention at the moment, not with all of this,” she said, waving a hand to include the celebrations surrounding them, “going on,” she adds.

Skye took another mock sip of her wine, her blue eyes slowly swirling into a molten black colour with fury. “I have worked too long and too hard for a dimwit like Xavier to throw it all away in his careless disregard for human life and I’ll be damned if I am going to stand-by and watch innocents being slaughtered,” she almost hissed the words.

Levelling her gaze on Vladimir, Skye implored him earnestly, “I want to know if you can help me get rid of the idiot?”
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:22 PM   #5
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Vlad listened as she spoke, his eyes watching her every move. From the natural way she swirled the wine in her glass, a behavior she must have performed a hundred hundred times in her centuries of life. He was not exactly sure of her age, but his sense of her power levels put her over 500, possibly less than a thousand though. His own age was far older, but that was to be expected, there were few vampires of his age left. He watched the restrained intensity with which she spoke; she was obviously bothered by the things she talked about.

Finally when she finished speaking he started to chuckle, there was little humor in the sound; it was born more of sarcasm or snark. “A grand total of three?” He asked, “So then tell me MS….” He paused indicating she should fill in her name, “What evidence do you have to prove it is indeed Xavier?” His eyes bore into her. “I deal with blood addicts that kill more individuals in a single night than three humans.”

He steepled his fingers as he spoke. “Xavier is the equivalent of a vampire crime boss. When I drove him from his city, he fled with his entire kiss (group of vampires). They all became landless rogues, and prayed upon humans in a swath of destruction that ultimately lead to the exposure of our people. I am sure I am telling you nothing that you do not already know. So Ms. Skye, what is your evidence that this is the work of Xavier and not just some blood addict that yes needs dealt with, but is far different than what you claim the threat to be?” After he finished speaking, Vlad went quiet and still, watching her, his gaze intense, unforgiving, demanding an answer. His voice had mimicked hers, a low rumble so as he did not attract the attention of passers bye. Whispering invited attention, invited eves dropping, but low voiced conversations tended to arouse less suspicion.

Even as he spoke Vladimir was recalling the first time he had met Xavier. He had visited the city of a master named Lucius, to dispatch justice to Alan, one of Lucius children. The vampire that Lucius had created and one of his lieutenants had begun killing humans, enough humans that Vlad was dispatched to deal with him. Vlad too this day had never fully sorted out all of the intrigue in that city; he suspected that Xavier had been the one to alert the sentinels to Alan’s activities. He had wanted Lucius weakened, so he could strike, to take over Lucius’s rich holdings and power structure. Xavier had come in person to challenge Lucius. Vlad would have stayed out of the fight, however Xavier had attempted to use a human female to be spell, beguile, and ultimately try to kill Vlad. Not happy with this behavior, Vlad had involved himself in the turf war, ultimately sending Xavier running for his own territory, Vlad soon to follow. He still regretted his failure that Xavier had escaped Justice. He wanted this woman to have evidence that it was indeed Xavier, he wanted that bastard’s head on a platter.
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Old 10-10-2013, 03:58 PM   #6
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“A grand total of three?”
The question sounded a little too condescending for Skye’s liking.
“So then tell me MS…,” Vladimir said, pausing for her to fill in her name.
“Skye,” she clipped.
“What evidence do you have to prove it is indeed Xavier? I deal with blood addicts that kill more individuals in a single night than three humans.”

That definitely sounded condescending, and for the first time Skye questioned her wisdom in approaching him. Her situation was obviously of no great import to him, which aggravated her. Human life was precious and it didn’t matter whether one or one thousand lives were taken, it was still a life. Skye could appreciate the fact that Vladimir must have witnessed some horrific massacres in his life, but that didn’t give him the right to act contrived.

His gaze was intense and it almost felt as if he could see into the deepest, darkest part of her, which made Skye uneasy. There weren’t a great deal of vampires that could do that, which put Vladimir in a league of his own.

She listened to his monologue and was quite shocked to learn that there were more. Skye had only seen Xavier, which scared her in itself, but she did not have the ability to take on Xavier’s entire kiss.

“So Ms. Skye, what is your evidence that this is the work of Xavier and not just some blood addict that yes needs dealt with, but is far different than what you claim the threat to be?”

There was that condescending tone again, which rose Skye’s hackles. “I don’t have any hard evidence, other than having seen him with my own eyes,” Skye said levelly, thinking in the back of her mind that now was probably a good time to give up her life and start a new one somewhere else. “If you think that I am going to let you into my mind, you are gravely mistaken,” she added as she rose to her feet.

“I can see that this was a mistake and I can only apologise for wasting your time,” she said, trying to mimic his condescending tone. She nodded to him in a ‘goodbye’ and clipped his name, “Vladimir,” and then she disappeared into the crowd.

Skye fed off of emotions and the crowd was rife with it. It was almost dizzying. She used it to put as much space between herself and Vladimir. She didn’t want to see him ever again. A master at disappearing, Skye’s mind already worked through her meticulous plan of destroying her current life, leaving nothing behind and moving on. A drifter at heart and a gypsy in her soul, she went wherever the North wind took her and she tried to never take any baggage with her.

Was Vladimir going to be baggage?

She hoped not, though her subconscious kinda hoped he would be…
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:10 PM   #7
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Vladimir watched as she visibly stiffened at his words and the way he delivered them. So, perhaps he had come across a bit more harshly than he had intended, it wasn’t like it was the first time, probably nor would it be the last. So he obviously had mistaken her for a vampire yanking his chain around or maybe even a plant of Xavier’s. He was too suspicious for his own good. He still was not convinced that his suspicions weren’t true. However, yet again, his lack of people skills had offended another woman. They offended men too, but seemed especially difficult with women.

He did a slight double take as she made it clear that he would not be allowed entrance into her mind, he had to admit the thought had crossed his mind when she mentioned she had seen Xavier, something he highly doubted. Then again, maybe she really had seen Xavier, Was Xavier doing his own dirty work again? Had his Kiss abandoned him?

He opened his mouth to order her to stay but she had already gotten to her feet and glided away. He growled the order anyway, the order floating out into the air hanging there with no one to hear it.

Vlad rose to follow her, but found he could no longer feel her Aura. That was surprising to him. This woman, skye, was more than what she seemed.

“Well, that went well,” he muttered to himself, “She did not even tell me where this village is.” No matter, he would find her. He would learn more about her.

Vlad picked up his phone and began to search the internet seeking for evidence. She had misunderstood him, human life was important to Vlad as well, his entire life was dedicated to the protection of humankind, or had that escaped her. Did she forget what a sentinel was? He could not, would not allow his lack of manners to cripple a potential investigation. It did not matter of who she had seen was Xavier or not, the services of a sentinel was clearly warranted, and she had done the right thing in alerting Vlad.

Whether she would deal with him or not, Vlad would not be so easily driven from finding out more. He had a duty. Her information would probably prove useful to him, but if he had frightened her away so be it, he would do his duty alone, as he always had.

Vlad rose, he already had a place to start, a village with 3 missing persons in the past few weeks. Two hours later Vlad left the local police station. This was part of the new legality; he was forced to at least make a sham of cooperating with human police. Typically he would have slipped into their building at night and pulled the information he needed, if he needed their information, typically he did not. He found this new way exceedingly difficult and an utter waste of his time. The local cops had treated him like they would an FBI agent poking around asking about their cases that is to say they were not happy about it, and cooperation was severely lacking. From what he was able to learn, they had learned less than nothing, and seemed overly defensive about it, almost as if they had not tried hard to find these people. The only clue he had gotten was when one of the uniforms had muttered something about they got what they deserved, “fucking coffin bate.” Vlad found this curious, not that human cops were bigots against vampires, no real surprise there, no the surprise was in that the vampire victims had been considered to be people who dated or slept with Vampires. Was this his first clue? Was there a pattern in victims here? That wasn’t exactly Xavier’s MO, however he was known to enjoy human women, and enjoyed making them his pawns. Just what was going on?

He stared down at his phone. He needed to see the bodies, needed to look for evidence, more clues. Needed Skye. He finally typed into his phone, “It appears that my hasty tongue has left me in a position of owing you an apology, apologizing is not something I do often, but would like the opportunity to offer you one, and try this meeting over again. Your local police are…less than helpful. Where can I meet you?” He stared at his phone and then swallowing his pride hit send.

“Still hanging around nightstalker? What kind of a last name is that anyway?” Vlad turned his black glare falling on a portly cop glaring at him where he stood next to the building. Vlad chuckled, “It has only become necessary for me to have a last name recently.” Vlad replied ignoring the venom in the officer’s words, “fitting for a vampire don’t you think?” he said. The officer looked somewhat confused not prepared for Vlad to see something he thought insulting as a point of pride. Vlad was honestly indifferent about the whole situation, but his toothless smile betrayed the pleasure he felt at the fact that he had won this round against the detective. The detective only glared and got into his car and slammed the door. He started to drive off and then pulled alongside Vladimir. “Should I offer you a ride?” the cop said, sneering at the sentinel. Vlad shook his head, “No, typically I would just fly.” The cop’s grin wilted a little, “However at the moment I have my car with me.” And Vladimir pointed to a sleek black Mustang. The cop’s expression turned to a small o of surprise.

Tossing the man a small wave, Vladimir went to the car and got in, driving off. One thing humans respected was money, Vladimir had money. Thousands of years of saving and simple living paid off. Having a nice car didn’t really mean much to him, honestly he preferred flying, but if it gave him a leg up with the locals, so be it.
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Old 10-11-2013, 07:45 AM   #8
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Skye had gotten back to her tavern and spent the entire night getting her paperwork and documentation in order. In the past she often faked her own death, lying still on the floor, no breathing and no heartbeat. The humans were none the wiser, but now they were, so that option wasn’t viable anymore. The only other option was to torch the place. She would have to wait until all the patrons had gone, which was usually at around mid-morning.

Skye just about had everything ready, when her phone buzzed on her desk.

“It appears that my hasty tongue has left me in a position of owing you an apology, apologizing is not something I do often, but would like the opportunity to offer you one, and try this meeting over again. Your local police are…less than helpful. Where can I meet you?”

Skye read the message again, trying to find some hidden agenda or an alterior motive somewhere, but it seemed sincere. She stared out the window, contemplating Vladimir’s request. She owed it to all the people in the town to at least give him something to work with, she would never be able to live with herself if she didn’t. Even if the meeting went pear-shaped, there would be nothing but cinders left by the afternoon and no way that Vladimir could trace her. Skye had nothing to lose.

She replied with the address of the tavern and told him that she was there now. Putting the phone back on the desk, Skye looked at it contemplatively, not quite sure what to make of it, before she carried on.

A knock on the door startled her and Skye had a quick glance at her watch. Ten minutes. Vladimir must be really desperate. Before she could say anything, the door opened and a woman stood in the doorway, human, tall, blonde, she seemed sophisticated.

“Skye?” she asked.
“Yes,” she said, quirking an eyebrow. “How can I help you?”
“I have a gift for you from my Master,” the lady said smoothly.
“Pardon me?” Skye asked dumbstruck. “From your m-ma…” The word died on Skye’s lips as she watched the blonde woman reveal an intricate, almost ornamental, dagger, which she slid along the side of her neck to make a small gash. A few droplets of blood slowly trickled down her throat.

Skye’s eyes slowly swirled into two pitch black orbs as the hunger consumed her senses. Walking towards the woman, a predator circling its prey, Skye gently pushed the visitor back and pinned her against the wall. She buried her hand in the woman’s hair and tilted her head to the side, before she delicately ran her tongue along the woman’s neck, to taste the rich, dark ambrosia from her veins.

“Who is your Master?” Skye asked in a silky voice before she sunk her fangs into the woman’s soft, warm flesh. It was simply too irresistible. A moan escaped the woman’s lips, no doubt from the endorphins that were exploding in her bloodstream. Skye drank from her, long and deep, her mind in a state of euphoria as the woman’s memories flitted through her mind. Her childhood, family, friends … Xavier … dagger …

Skye’s mind exploded with pain, the dagger lodged in her back. Completely shocked, she hesitated for a second watching in disbelief as the woman’s beautiful features transformed into a malicious grin. She yanked the dagger from Skye’s back and proceeded to plunge it into her chest.

Skye staggered back, an incredulous expression on her face, as she watched the blonde banshee lunge at her again. With one smooth stroke, Skye backhanded her, which sent the woman flying across the room and landing in a crumpled heap on the floor before Skye collapsed.

If this was Xavier’s handiwork, then he must be close by … Vladimir … was walking into a trap…
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:13 PM   #9
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Vlad was sitting in his car, contemplating the implications of this whole situation, and his next move, when his phone buzzed. He glanced down at the screen and immediately began driving. The car engine roared as he headed towards Skye’s tavern.

Vlad arrived and parked his car. He inwardly cursed the inconvenience of trying to pass as human, once again. He entered the tavern and slowly looked around. It was full of what appeared to be regulars, or at least locals. Some looked from out of town; he suspected those were the guests staying at Skye’s bed and breakfast next door. Although everything looked normal, Vladimir felt like something was wrong. The energy of the place just felt off. There was something like a psychic echo of violence. Was it the murders Skye had mentioned earlier? Or something else?

A Pretty Red Haired hostess stepped up to Vlad where he stood in the door. “How many, sir?”

“I do not need a table; I am here to see the owner.”

“She has not told me you were coming, Please, let me show you to a table and I will let her know you have come.”

Vladimir’s expression darkened into a glower but he was unwilling to make a scene, at the moment.

He took a seat and waited as the leggy red head walked towards a door in the back disappearing into an area that Vlad assumed were offices. He waited for the woman to return, however she did not immediately come back out.

It was only a moment or two until there was the startling sound of a woman’s shriek of surprise and horror. Vlad was on his feet in seconds moving through the room to the door. He could now feel the woman’s horror, her shock. There was a low rumble of surprise throughout the crowd. Vlad Cursed if there was something wrong he did not need a bunch of people trying to come investigate. He turned and let his glare sweep over the crowd. “The tavern is closed.” He bellowed, his loud voice filling the hushed expectant space. One of the staff, probably a manager stepped up to him and tried to stare down his nose at Vlad. This was difficult to pull off as the man was at least a head shorter than the sentinel.

“And just who are you that you can say such things?” Vlad had no time for this. One hand caught the man’s chin forcing the man’s eyes to meet his. It took only seconds for his glamor to roll the man. “I am the owner’s boyfriend, something has happened, you need to get all the people out.” His voice was low, so as to not attract more attention than they were already getting. The man bobbed his head.

Vlad did not know what he would find through that door, but he knew the less civilians present, the better.

Vlad opened the door and walked through, following the sounds of the woman’s terror to a doorway to the right. The office was tasteful, and well decorated, with a distinct feminine touch that was unmistakable. The hostess stood just inside the doorway her eyes bugging out as she stared at the two bodies on the ground. Vlad took in the situation with a practiced eye. There was a blonde human, and the other form was Skye. There was blood all over the floor. At the sent and sight of blood, Vlad felt his fangs explode into his mouth. It was a physiological response, one that even his iron will could not control. He turned to the human and ruthlessly captured her mind. Immediately ordering her to be quiet and to wait for instructions near the door. That task accomplished Vlad Found his way to Skye. He knelt beside her hands moving to turn her over. Taking note of the wounds. It was obvious that the damage was severe, although not instantly fatal. With help she would recover. Her heart had been struck, but who ever had attacked her had not had time to destroy the heart completely. If she was the newly dead such a wound might kill her, but Skye was a master vampire, over 500 years old, she was not so easy to kill.

He needed to tend to her wounds, but he first needed to learn a little more about what was happening here. Vlad rose. His knees were already wet with Skye’s blood, the blood almost as black as the jeans he wore. He moved to the other body, it was a human woman. He could tell by the awkward way she laid that she was dead, her neck had been broken. Probably from being thrown into the wall.

Vlad Knelt down beside the woman, double checking her pulse, she was not shocked to find that his initial assessment was correct, that she was dead. This was not good; he would have loved to question her. However there still might be some clue. He looked around and spotted the silver dagger not far from the body. He also saw both the slice and the bite punctures in the woman’s neck. What exactly was going on here?

Vlad grabbed the dagger and shoved it into his belt, it looked ornamental, and it might serve as a clue when he had more time. Returning to Sky Vlad again knelt by her side. He grabbed a thick handful of her hair and jerked her face around to face his. “You will not die.” He ordered in a low urgent tone, “I forbid it. Do you hear me?” he asked, his fist tightening in her air, trying to be sure she focused through her pain focused on him. In contrast to his almost brutal command his other hand gently stroked her face, brushing hair back as his hand found her temple and he sought inside himself. “You will allow me entrance into your mind.” He snarled, and encase his order was not clear enough he gave her no choice as his mind forced its way into hers. He could fight his way in to see her memories, and to heal her, although he would prefer it if she gave in and allowed him to help her. Vlad knew he had no time to do this, that he would be vulnerable while he was outside his own body and in her mind, but he saw no other choice.
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Old 10-13-2013, 04:40 PM   #10
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Pain seared through Skye’s mind as the darkness fought to keep her down. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t open her eyes, she couldn’t move.

“You will not die. I forbid it. Do you hear me?”

The words were a haze, floating in her subconscious. It sounded like … like Vladimir? Skye’s mind was racing. She wanted to tell him that it was a trap. He needed to get out of here. She wanted to tell him about the murdered girls, what had happened here with blondie … she wanted to tell him she was sorry…

But her body would not obey.

A hand in her hair, a soft caress across her cheek … Skye moaned. It had been such a long time since anyone had touched her like that. The last time, the stakes were too high, Skye had too much to lose.

“You will allow me entrance into your mind.”

His voice was a beacon in the dark and Skye held on to it for dear life. She knew Vladimir could heal her, but that meant that she needed to give him access to the one sanctuary where no other has been before. She could feel Vladimir pushing at the edges of her mind. This is what he wanted and Skye knew it was the only way that he could bring her back…

Skye slowly brought her defences down and she had to carefully concentrate to focus Vladimir’s mind down the channels she wanted him to go. She envisioned it to be a dark corridor, lined with ominous black doors. Some of the doors were locked containing memories that Skye did not want to share with him. The doors that she wanted him to focus on, were open.

The first one would take Vladimir to the first body that Skye found in the courtyard, the details crisp and clear, as if he was standing next to her. The second door painted the scene of the second and third body that she found, and a glimpse of Xavier disappearing in the background from the third murder scene.

“Do you see?” Skye asked him in her mind.

The fourth door played out the scene from moments ago … Skye was weakening… her concentration slipping. The hallway flickered, the doors almost stuttering, leaving no barriers up… giving him free reign.

“Vladimir… please help me.”
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:05 PM   #11
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Vlad’s will was like a sharp blade carving into her subconscious. He envisioned slicing through her mental barrios. He then envisioned himself as water seeping through the cracks in her mind. He would gain entrance; this woman would not die, if he would be responsible for her death… He would kill her himself.

Even as he began to force his way through her mind’s defenses, she opened a door to him. Vlad found his consciousness in a long black hall with dark doors to either side. Some of the doors were shut and locked, others open. The hall stretched before him and behind him. He knew for the moment the hall represented the timeline and the doors were spaced based on when those memories occurred in Skye’s life. Vlad could have forced his way through any of the doors, but it would take time, time the two of them did not have.

He instead let himself be funneled into one of the open doorways. He took in the seen in all its details. The girl lay face down over a picnic table. The killer hadn’t even bothered to flip back down the woman’s short black skirt. The woman’s thighs and buttocks were clearly exposed, and there were clearly fang marks on the woman’s inner thighs. The woman’s head was left to the side leaving a long line of her throat exposed, this too revealed fang marks. This woman had at least 2 vampire bites on her, however she would not rise as a vampire, she had not been drained over time, and she had been killed in one massive feeding. Although it was a memory and Vlad could not measure the radius of the bite wounds, he strongly suspected they would not match. There had been at least two vampires present, and Vlad suspected there had been more. He could not know for sure for even though he could see the memory crystal clearly, he could not manipulate it, he could only see what she had seen, do what she had done. This stank of the handiwork of not Xavier, but another. One Vlad thought he had killed. Xavier was cruel to women, but was not this… brutal, no this stank more of Lucas, Xavier’s second.

Vlad found himself back in the hallway; the second murder strongly resembled the first. However, the third was much different. He caught the sight of the figure leaving the murder scene. Skye had gotten only a short glimpse, but there was little mistaking that oily black hair, that thin almost emaciated looking form, with those red tinted eyes—Xavier. This victim was also a woman; however there was no evidence of rape on this victim. Xavier was many things, however, his sexual preferences rarely extended to adult females. Without that glimpse of the cadaverous vampire Vlad was sure that Skye might not have even recognized the kill as done by a vampire and not some other magical practitioner. There was no outward mark on the body. However the unmarked body was a dead giveaway for Vlad. This was how Xavier dealt with servants who failed him, he had seen it before. He had only seen this once before, but he knew he would never forget it. He had killed her with no more than the strength of his mind. Had reached inside her mind and melted it from the inside out, destroying everything she was—stealing her life in the process.

Vlad found himself in the hallway once again, Skye had more she wanted him to see. He drifted through the third door and watched the events play out. The attack was classic Xavier, manipulating a pawn like this were a real life chess mach. He had sacrificed a pawn trying to steal a power piece from vlad’s side of the board.

“Do you see?”

“Yes, little one, I see.” He answered in her mind. There was little doubt anymore that Xavier was involved. This was a setup, Xavier had drawn Vladimir out, and he wanted his revenge.

Vlad could feel her control wavering. “Vladimir… please help me.” Her words were a plea that reached him even as the hall flickered and disappeared, leaving her mind completely exposed to him. He had every intention of helping her, especially so now that she had provided him the information he would need, even at risk of her own life and safety.

He let himself flow through her mind. He let his will wrap around her spirit, holding her to him, he would not let her slip away, he let himself be her anchor to the world of life. He then let his mind find her wounds, encouraging her body to heal the wounds. It was somewhat similar to the way some medicines could speed up one’s metabolism. He sped up her body’s natural healing ability. The puncture wounds were serious, her heart punctured, however not destroyed. He would heal her however; he could not heal all of her injuries in one session, especially if he were to donate blood to her. Having some of his ancient blood in her, powerful as he was, would aid with her healing as well as providing her strength, strength she would need to survive. He watched as the wounds slowly closed, the blood slowly stopped.

Coming back into himself he felt his fangs lengthen as he tore into his own wrist before he pressed it to her mouth. “Drink, accept the gift I offer freely.” He said, his voice still an implacable command, giving her no choice. He did not care that she might not want his blood. Blood called to blood, Vlad would always be able to find her through his blood now. This is one reason very few would share blood with a sentinel; it made that individual much easier to hunt. He did not want to think about the fact that that had caused one half of a blood exchange, a right which could under the right circumstances bind vampires together as mates for life. He knew these potential drawbacks to her having his blood, and disregarded them. He made the decision that she would live—she had asked for his help—after all.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:31 AM   #12
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It felt as if Vladimir had pinned her down, his mind taking possession of hers and seeping into the very core of her. She could feel him concentrate his energy and thoughts on her wounds and she gasped as he went to work, slowly healing them. It ached and burned and once he had set the wheels in motion, Skye could feel him retreat from her mind.

Skye was alone with her thoughts and she desperately tried once more to open her eyes. They slowly fluttered open, a pale almost translucent blue colour. Vladimir was hunched over her, blood on his hands, his clothes. Her blood. Skye watched, unable to speak, as he tore his wrist open and pressed it to her lips.

“Drink, accept the gift I offer freely.”

It wasn’t a choice, Vladimir would not relent and Skye needed his blood if she was to survive this. She looked up at Vladimir, a haunted expression lingering in her eyes. She knew what this meant, she knew the risks and understood the gravity of it. Something inside of Skye quaked. She had avoided this her whole life, subjugating complete power to someone else was not her stronghold, but she had no choice.

She would probably need to give Vladimir access to her mind once more, to complete the process, but for now, they needed to get away from here. It wasn’t safe.

Skye shut her eyes tightly and sank her fangs into his wrist, drinking the offering of life that Vladimir was giving her. The blood of a sentinel. The blood of a born killer, who would now be able to find her, wherever she went. The thought scared her.

She could feel the warmth spread through her veins, the wounds healing a little more, a distant echo of his strength sounding in her depths. Skye lifted her hands and took his wrist from her lips, just staring up at him for a moment as the blue in her eyes deepened into an azure colour.

“Thank you,” she said, breathlessly. She wanted to tell him so many things, but this was not the time and she didn't quite have her strength back yet. Danger was looming.

“We have to go,” she implored him, fear flickering in her eyes.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:06 PM   #13
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So many rights—so many rights could be performed by the sharing of blood. He could have bent over her, taken her blood, invoked the ritual and bound them together as mates. Had they spoken the right words, her taking his blood could mean she was swearing fealty to him. He didn’t want her loyalty, and certainly didn’t need a mate. No, he shared blood so she would live, cause even though he did not desire this stranger as a mate, he needed her.

He watched her eyes open, the eyes a very pale blue. He had noticed that her eyes seemed to reflect her mood or her body’s state. The pale blue was a cold color, like that of a husky dog; it seemed to fit the cold weakness of her body. Her gaze took in his body seemed to inspect him, taking in her blood all over him.

His blood dripped into her mouth at first, but as she regained some of her strength let her tongue sweep over the slash he’d made in his wrist, sealing the wound he had made before her own fangs bit into his wrist feeding on her own. Although feeding was not as intimate from a wrist as it would be from the neck, or other places, he still felt the pull of her mouth, the combination of pain and pleasure that was characteristic of the act.

Her strong yet delicate hands came up to grip his wrist as she slowly pulled back from the wound, her tongue sweeping across it once more respectfully healing the punctures with the healing agent in her saliva. As she pulled back from his wrist her eyes met his, the color deepening. His eyes so dark they were essentially black met hers seeming to see inside her with that one gaze. He could see fear in her eyes, uncertainty, but under it, her core of strength. Even the color of her eyes reflected her greater level of comfort, as his blood revitalized starving cells.

“Thank you.” Her voice was low and almost horse as she spoke her first words allowed since he’d arrived.

He merely nodded acknowledging her thanks. Contrary to what most thought of him, he was not just a cold blooded killer, so many forgot that he in fact devoted most of his life to saving lives. Granted—he often saved lives by taking life—but still; he protected life all the same. He let his hand brush her cheek as she released his arm, glad to note that she was feeling warmer, her strength was returning.

“We have to go.” She implored him, and he could see the fear flicker through her eyes once again. Vlad did not disagree, for it seemed as if this location was compromised, judging by all the attacks, but Vlad was not from this area, where should they go.

“You have a plan? Or was running as far as you had gotten?” He had not intended that to sound condescending although upon reflection it may have come across that way, call it his frustration with the situation. “I agree we should flee,” he continued hoping that she would not misunderstand his first sentence, “But we cannot just run blindly, we need to know where we are going, what is our best option, we need a place of safety to plan our next move, I should find you a safe place and go after Xavier before he learns his plan has failed. “This was quite a speech from Vlad. It was like he was half talking to her, half to himself.

Even as he spoke he had offered her a hand to help her to her feet. He had wiped the bloodstained hand on his black pants, before he offered it to her. She too had blood on her, it just seemed wrong to offer her a hand up covered in blood, even if that blood was hers, from saving her life.
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Old 07-14-2017, 04:40 AM   #14
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Vladimir offered her a hand and effortlessly lifted her to her feet, the chivalry contained in the act, catching her by surprise. It was not something she would have associated with his godlike reputation.

What he said made sense, but Skye found herself at odds with the suggestion. It has been a lifetime since she last trusted someone enough to allow them passage into her personal life. The fact that she was contemplating giving that rite of passage to a sentinel was a frightening prospect, and not just any sentinel, Vladimir himself...

What had just happened here, meant that Vladimir was the one person on this earth that she could never evade. That reality had not quite sunk in yet, but skye was sure she would have ample opportunity to mull over her predicament at a later stage when their lives were not in imminent danger.

She had no choice.

“I was planning on destroying my life tonight,” Skye admitted, gesturing to the B&B, “by torching it,” she added as she picked up an oil lantern and threw it on the floor. The glass decanter shattered across the floor, instantly creating a pool of flames that were eagerly licking at the solid wood floor, soon to conceal what had transpired here tonight from the prying eyes of the law.

Usurping a folder from her desk, containing all her personal documentation that she was getting in order before she was accosted by Xavier’s pawn, Skye made her way to the door, half pulling Vladimir to follow her. Skye was aware that the gesture was futile as she was pretty sure Vladimir only went where he wanted to go, but she hoped he would follow...

“Sarah,” Skye whispered to her 2IC that Vlad had left standing outside the door, awaiting further instructions, “I need you to leave this place and to erase any memory of me from your mind.” Skye said as she stared into the glorious green eyes of her ginger friend before she gave her a parting hug. They had actually become good friends during Skye’s life here as a tavern owner and she would miss her.

Stopping for a brief moment, Skye clenched her teeth. She still felt so weak and she hated feeling so vulnerable. The colour faded a little more from the pale blue depths of her eyes as Skye turned and looked up at Vladimir. “I have purchased a cottage in a sleepy little town, about 5 hours’ drive from here in the name of Alice Monet,” she said breathlessly, giving Vlad the folder that contained all the details of the cottage. “That was where I was planning on going tonight... please come with me,” she almost whispered the words to him. It still felt surreal that she was sharing the next stepping stone of her life with a sentinel... with Vladimir.

She couldn’t think of anywhere else that was safe and for the first time she was grateful that she had trusted her sixth sense and got everything arranged. Vlad had saved her life and at the very least she owed him a safe escape from the trap that was laid out for him.
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Old 07-15-2017, 01:10 AM   #15
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Vladimir listened to Skye speak describing her plans. Dark eyes watched her casually light the place on fire. One dark eyebrow lifted over that eye at her actions. He managed to not voice the sarcastic comment that popped into his head about the action; the part of him that wanted to ask exactly how had that been helpful.

Her actions were swift, practiced. They only served to deepen the mystery that surrounded her. She was so much more than she seemed. Her actions nothing but another piece in the puzzle that was Skye. The casual way she systematically deconstructed her very existence, and had an alternative identity already constructed spoke of experience. This was not the first time she had done this. Was this then how she was able to live outside the traditional vampire power structures? Did she create a life only to destroy that life when she came under too much scrutiny? Did she swear loyalty to each master of the city she came in contact with? Perhaps she avoided cities with vampire masters to reduce risk of such encounters. She might even cut a deal with any master she came in contact with to exist outside the accepted chain of command. Traditionally the sentinels were the only ones who lived outside the power structure. That being said, just as the wereanimals had their lone wolves, so vampire kind did have those that somehow like Skye, seemed to exist outside of the order of things.

Vladimir allowed her to pull him from the room. Not that it took much coaxing after she lit it on fire. Her hand was delicate, so much smaller than his. He let very few people touch him, but found it to be a much more pleasant sensation than he expected. Her touch was cool; her body not wasting energy on generating a large amount of heat, that sort of thing was reserved for when a vampire was at full strength. As he followed her into the hall he got another surprise as she continued to outline her new life plan, a plan that included an invitation for him to join her. He had asked her if she had a plan, and despite his snark she not only had a plan she seemed intent upon sharing it with him.

“My car may be too well known, and we have not 5 hours until sunrise to drive anyway. We will fly.” Not all vampires had the gift for flight, he wondered if she did. However, even if she could, her current strength would not be enough for such a prolonged flight. He had not made flight a suggestion, his tone suggested it was just this side of an order, he had been in command so much of his life, that he sometimes had a tendency to give unnecessary orders. She had probably come to the same conclusion, but he wanted no argument, they did not have time for it, so he made it an order. “I of course will carry you.” There was no condescension in that statement, just simple statement of what he saw as the obvious with her so recently being at death’s door. He wasn’t thinking about the further intimacy of holding her to him the whole flight, her body—so feminine—and he having denied himself the touch of a woman for far too long. He was running numbers, strategies self-controlling thoughts through his head. He needed her alive, he had questions for her. Questions that he could not ask now, it was neither the time nor the place. The threat on Skye’s life had been very real, and it stank of a way to get Vlad into the open, therefore there was probably a trap just waiting to be sprung to capture or kill Vladimir. It also stunk like Xavier. Using the woman in such a fashion to attack Skye was just his sort of scheme.” He had not as yet replied to her request to accompany her but he finally nodded. “I have no other better plan at the moment; your idea sounds as good as any.”

They had no sooner exited the building before it suddenly violently exploded. He hit her in a tackle, taking her to the grass, his taller form pressing down atop her eclipsing her from view and preventing her from being hit with any of the flying debris. His eyes looked into hers, just inches away and his breath tickled her cheek when he spoke. “Did your evening’s planned destruction by chance include explosives, or did we manage to set off another one of Xavier’s traps? If they were not yours then someone will come to investigate their handiwork. It would be best if they do not find us lying on the grass like school children out on a lark.” When the carnage died down he rose again from atop her and offered her another hand up. It again seemed incongruous; something so normal and gentlemanly seemed unusual for his reputation. Not really waiting for Skye’s response, Vladimir was up, pulling Sky to him getting his second feel in as many minutes of Skye’s well-built form pressing to him. Though, he did not allow himself to notice, his mind focused on avoiding more of the traps, as their feet left the ground under his powers of flight.
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Old 07-17-2017, 07:32 AM   #16
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Skye was quite taken aback by the fact that Vlad could fly. She knew that it was a gift, but she had never met a vampire that could. It was yet another aspect of Vlad that placed him a notch higher in Skye’s esteem of him.

She tried to hide a mirthful little smile at his statement that he would carry her. Perhaps it was relief, saving her from confessing that she had not quite mastered the gift of flight as yet; Or the fact that he couldn’t help himself but take charge. It was yet another aspect of his personality Skye was starting to admire, though it was sure to cause havoc as she was not known for subjugating her free will, that easily.

“I have no other better plan at the moment; your idea sounds as good as any.”
“Then it is set,” Skye said as they turned to leave the tavern.

The silence was suddenly shattered as an explosion rang out. Before Skye had the chance to react, Vlad had literally tackled her off the porch, both of them landing on the grass, his hulking form completely covering her, their faces mere inches apart.

A chill ran through her as her breathing came in short gasps, her eyes impossibly wide as she stared up at him.

“Did your evening’s planned destruction by chance include explosives, or did we manage to set off another one of Xavier’s traps?” She could feel his breath play across her cheek, a spark igniting.
“No, that wasn’t part of the plan,” Skye whispered, completely distracted. The explosion almost a side-act to the main attraction of Vladimir in such close proximity. The man was intoxicating.
“If they were not yours then someone will come to investigate their handiwork. It would be best if they do not find us lying on the grass like school children out on a lark.”
“Agreed,” she said, holding his gaze, for an insane second wishing they could just be school children, innocently staring into each other’s eyes, getting lost in the insanity of this whole evening.

The universe was hard at work here tonight, firstly placing her in a position where she had to offer up her most personal sanctum to him and now focusing all her attention on the sublime male form pressed up against her.

For reasons beyond her comprehension, Vlad had just risked his own life – acting on pure instinct - to save her, again. And what was more disturbing is that whoever had done this, really wanted her, and Vladimir by definition, dead. There was no denying the fact that she would not have made it through the night, without him, which put Skye in very unfamiliar territory. She prided herself in being independent and capable of handling her own...

When sanity finally settled in, Vladimir was up and offering her another hand. Skye accepted it and before she could even thank him, he wrapped his strong masculine arms around her and they were up in the sky.

She was completely out of her depth. Skye was so thankful that he couldn’t see her face, as she carefully tried to school her features into a blank canvas. Vladimir was a tidal wave that had completely uprooted her entire existence and propelled it into another stratosphere.

Skye feared that he would be her undoing... she never thought there would be another man that had the power to do this... and in such a short time.
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:28 PM   #17
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A frown creased Vladimir’s brow as Skye whispered that the explosives were not part of her plan. He had suspected so. Moments later they were in the air, moving towards what he hoped was a safe place. Vlad hated retreating, and he remembered what someone had once called it to him. Yes, that would do, they were simply advancing in a new direction.

She probably could not see his smile as he had pressed her head to his strong chest. The button-down shirt would probably feel slick under her cheek, smoothness over firm muscles. He did not how she would react to flying so had held her in such a way that she could focus on something calming, like his heartbeat. He however took his kind gesture just a little too far, his lips hovering close to her ear for a second before he imperiously ordered her to match her body’s rhythm to his, to slow her heartbeat. Much had happened to her, she had lost a lot of blood, she would do her best healing when she was at peace.

He was more aware of her than he thought he ought to be, could feel her generous curves pressing to his chest and stomach. He became aware that he could even smell her, he knew not if it was a shampoo, a tantalizing perfume, but she smelled of flowers, plants, life, and all woman. It was probably some sort of floral perfume, but one so delicate that he had not smelled it until he had her in his arms. It somehow seemed to fit her and the persona she projected. She seemed to live her life slightly under the radar, why then would not even her scent be reflective of that. A perfume that boldly announced her presence and lingered hours after she had gone was not her style; no she was more subtle than that. And he couldn’t help a self-deprecating chuckle. Had he also just spent actual time analyzing how she smelled? He supposed it was more helpful than thinking about her breasts. At least the perfume gave him more insight to her character. Thinking about those other assets would just lead him down a road that was dangerous for him to contemplate.

He held her close like a lover might, his chin resting on the top of her head. There weren’t a ton of positions that he could carry her in while flying, and he had figured this would allow her to preserve more of her dignity than if he had cradled her like a baby. Also not knowing her thoughts on flight, he did not want to carry her with her back to his front, what if the view made her dizzy. Idly Vladimir wondered why exactly her comfort mattered to him. Perhaps that was a better question for another day. The brief time he had spent with Lila, the vampiress he had mistakenly thought was his Anastasia reborn, not withstanding, Vladimir had not had an opportunity to hold a woman let alone think about her comfort in a long long time. Had Lila so broken through his shields those months ago that now just anyone could get in? Perhaps she had planted a seed in his mind that made Vlad wonder if he had suffered long enough, had he punished himself enough, maybe it was time to find happiness again. Perhaps—there was more to life—than simply duty.

Vlad let his eyes scan the surroundings, navigating them through the sky’s heading them towards her home. He wanted to get there to ask her his questions. More than once he thought of touching her mind again, communicating with her through the flight. He held back, knowing that if he pushed her too far too quickly she would bolt. She was cooperating with him willingly so far. However if he broke that fragile connection she would flee and he would have to compel her to stay. Willing underlings were productive underlings. He made no move to turn her in his arms, figuring if she wanted a view of the flight she would indicate she wished to turn around. He was rescuing them not playing tour guide.

Sometime later he let their feet touch down on the edge of a forest, one that bordered a small town. “Lead us to the cottage.” He said, again somewhere between a request and an order. It was a logical request for him to make, her knowing the area much better. He had known the town’s location but not the specific address. His GPS couldn’t seem to handle the directions in flight. Logical request though it was, his somewhat gruff tone made it an order.
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Old 07-18-2017, 08:36 AM   #18
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Time stood still. For some inexplicable reason, Skye felt like she needed Vladimir’s arms around her. He made her feel safe, something that Skye had not felt in decades. Closing her eyes, she tried to memorise every aspect of him, the confident air about him, the way he speaks and looks at her, as if he can see into the deepest, darkest corners of her soul... the way they just seemed to fit... his heartbeat...

Skye had worked so hard to build up as many walls and barriers around her as she could, never letting anyone in. She couldn’t trust a single person in this world, which made it easy to wear a mask. But a mask was not going to keep Vladimir at bay, was it? He had already shattered her defenses.

Skye wanted to hold on to this moment for just a few seconds more...

Something was gnawing at the back of her mind, though. Things did not quite add up. Skye wasn’t sure who the attacks tonight were aimed at. On the surface, it appeared as if someone was trying to draw Vlad out, but why go to such extraordinary lengths to put her in harm’s way? The only connection between Skye and Vlad was the meeting they had, which certainly had no guarantee that Vlad would show up at the tavern...

Unless...

Skye was pulled from her reverie as Vlad placed her firmly back down on the ground. She stood for a moment staring up at him, before she took a step back, her body instantly missing the feel of his arms around her.

“Lead us to the cottage,” he said in that tone that was becoming a familiar ‘sincere order’ Vlad way of speaking.
Her eyes softened into a lighter shade of blue. “Thank you so much. You have managed to save me, twice tonight. I owe you my life,” she said earnestly.

For an awkward moment her comment kind of hanged in the air and then she turned with a, “Follow me,” towards the forest, not quite ready for the intensity that seemed to crackle between them.

It wasn’t far to the cottage, from here. The quaint little building was nestled in a meadow on the outskirts of the forest and this time of the year it was normally adorned in a tapestry of wild flowers. Skye ran her fingers across the bark of a tree as she walked past it, reveling in the earthiness of the place. It was one of the reasons why she chose the sleepy little town. In this life she wanted a secluded existence, to gather her wits and immerse herself below the radar, even more so now, after the events of the evening.

She hoped Vlad would see the charm in it too... though she had a feeling he had a reason for coming here with her.
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Old 07-18-2017, 06:15 PM   #19
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The moon was just beginning to sink in the sky as he set her gently yet firmly on her feet. He let his hands hold her upper arms until He was sure she was steady and then he let them fall away, fingertips brushing her skin. He tried not to notice. Dark dark eyes returned to hers as she spoke. It seemed to stick slightly when she thanked him, admitting she owed him for saving her life. Was the hesitation at having to accept help, fear of owing a sentinel, embarrassment at either. He could not say. All he knew was her words were honest and not forced, she was genuinely grateful. Perhaps that was not a familiar position for her. He could identify. He did not rely on others, he was always the one others depended on, a position he was comfortable with and used to.

She responded to his request to guide them by breaking their long shared gaze, breaking the tension, the intensity between them. “Follow me,” she simply requested.

He observed the environment, he missed nothing, however he made little notice of its beauty, focusing more on angles of approach, terrain, signs of other’s passage. In addition to being very practical, the observations kept him from focusing on Skye. She had far too much draw for his liking. He finally spoke as a small cottage came into view. “The only thing I ask in repayment for now is shelter this day. It was nearing dawn and he was certain her home would have a safe place to protect from the deadly rays. “As well as your cooperation and willingness to answer some questions.” Considering it was one of the rights of a sentinel to demand shelter, he showed respect for her to ask it in repayment rather than simply demanding it of her. She had also offered to help him prior to the attack, so it was also not asking much for him to answer questions.

There were many questions he had. He still wondered what had caused Xavier to target Skye, why had he been in her area, punishing one of his employees no less. He was also disturbed by the thought that Lucas was still alive, or else Xavier had found another cruel twisted underling to replace him. If he was using Skye to get to Vladimir, why? Why single her out? If she was an unwitting pawn, was Xavier upping his game? Skye seemed much more powerful than most of Xavier’s victims. There were of course exceptions but he suspected that her power levels were far higher than even he could readily sense. It was equally as obvious to him that she did not wish that common knowledge.

Not wanting to enter a home before invited, a place he did not know even the layout of, he took a seat on a swing on the front porch. Outside of the context of a hunt, Vladimir did not like to abuse his power; he did not care to offend locals, especially ones who could be useful. When hunting a rogue, he had no hesitation invading where he needed, utilizing his power—real and imagined—to execute his duty. She had invited him to her home, but he had chosen not to extend that invitation to entering her home, especially not ahead of her. He could afford to give her a few minutes to regain her composure before he pushed her to give him answers. His eyes looked again to the sky, even though he knew they still had a couple of hours until dawn. He reflected how uncharacteristically he was treating Skye; he normally would push people until he got what he wanted, when he wanted it. Something just told him to tread carefully here. She showed from their very first meeting that pushing got him nowhere with her and that’s why he was in this position. He had had to swallow his pride to apologize to her, or had intended to apologize to her; instead he had saved her life. That still did not take away the fact that he had been prepared to swallow his pride and apologize to her, something he almost never did.
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:23 AM   #20
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“The only thing I ask in repayment for now is shelter this day, as well as your cooperation and willingness to answer some questions.”

Skye was willing to cooperate with Vlad if it meant the person that was responsible for this evening’s events was put to book. “Of course,” she said, wondering how he was planning on doing this. Would it be a casual chat or would he want to probe her mind? In reaction to the latter Skye nervously worried her bottom lip, as she opened the door.

Vlad took a seat on the porch swing and as Skye looked back at him she couldn’t help the slight smile touching her lips. He was possibly the only man in history, who could make a porch swing seem like a regal throne. “You are welcome in my home, Vladimir,” she said as she opened the door.

Entering through the door, Skye stood for a moment in the cosy lounge, running her fingers through her hair. What was it about Vlad that seemed to completely throw her world off kilter? She had only ever known one other man that could do that to her, but it had turned into a nightmare that nearly cost her, her life. Perhaps that was why she was so hesitant with Vladimir?

Shaking the thought from her mind, Skye moved to her bedroom. There were still a few things wrapped in boxes that she had not quite had the time to unpack as yet. Skye had assumed so many lives ranging from a discreet attorney that took up residence in a niche high-rise apartment to the tavern she ran a few hours ago. Always running, always hiding. This life was meant to be a time-out from the hustle and bustle, but it has been nothing of the sort.

She stood in front of the full length mirror staring at herself. What are you doing? The familiar inner voice asked her. There was a deadly sentinel sitting on her porch and since she made contact with Vlad there had been two very serious attempts on their lives. The risk at hand was Xavier, that’s why she made contact with Vlad. But what if the meeting with Vlad had cast an unintended spotlight on the fact that Skye was still alive? What if he had found her...

She had to fight down the urge to bolt. Her eyes slowly swirled into ominous black orbs, fear flickering in their depths. She would rather die than be at his mercy...
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Old 07-19-2017, 01:59 PM   #21
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Black eyes flicked up to regard her at her softly spoken words. “You are welcome in my home, Vladimir.” The words seemed simple on the surface, but they held deeper meaning than just what she said. For one they held that trace of formality. He had not fooled her by his deceptively casual pose sitting on her swing. She had known what he sought. At times he wished that vampire society was not so steeped in traditions and formalities. Yet, her words had also carried in it a note that was genuine, not forced. She seemingly did not feel pressured to offer him shelter but offered it freely. That surprised him. Very few offered simple kindnesses to one of his kind. Sentinels were respected, feared, treated with grudging respect, but never true welcome. They were a necessary evil. Additionally the way she let his name roll from her lips, felt right, felt somehow familiar.

He lifted a hand in acknowledgement, not wasting her time with a verbal response, but had the lighting been better she might have seen the flash of gratitude there in those dark depths. He was convincing himself he wasn’t watching her bottom as she walked away, his thoughts drawn back inward when she had disappeared completely into the small cottage.

When she was gone he rose, and proceeded to follow through with the true reason he had allowed her to go into the home without him. He had tried to convince her it was because he did not feel welcome, or he was giving her space, and although these things were true, he also had other reasons. He had carefully mapped out the various approaches to the cottage, and began to systematically set up traps to slow anyone that might seek to disturb their soon coming rest.

He had not wished to argue with her about the need for such safeguards. Many vampires prided themselves on their abilities to set wards to warn, or traps for intruders and could take offense to his usurping that duty. Others might be grateful for the assistance. Rather than find out, he had merely avoided the issue completely. In addition to the arcane wards he also worked to set some human traps as well, trip wires, snares, a pit fall or two, one could never be too careful.

Sometime later Vladimir was on the porch once again. A glance at the sky showed perhaps half the time until dawn had elapsed. It was finally time to confront his hostess and see if answers could be found. In addition he wanted to inspect her wounds again before they slept.

Entering the house, he took in the lounge area. There was a small kitchen off to his left, with a table that had two chairs at it. Before him was a hallway leading back to what he presumed was the bedroom. This place was too small to contain more than one, and as she was not in the main living area that seemed like a logical place to find her.

His footsteps were silent as he moved down the hall to appear in the doorway to the bedroom, eyes sweeping over it, its old-fashioned looking bed, long floor length mirror, and some boxes still being unpacked, and in the middle of it all Skye. He cleared his throat by way of announcing himself. “We should talk, and I should look at your wounds before you show us where we are to sleep the daylight away.” His tone was low, but confident. He saw these things as forgone conclusions, they would take place, suggesting them to her was seemingly just a formality. He took a step into the bedroom crowding her smaller frame just a little against the bed, “I could accomplish both goals by touching your mind, but am not counting on one such as you opening to me twice in one rising. A slight smile accompanied his next words, “That would be too easy. And my dear Skye, nothing is ever easy.” He gazed down at her before he reached for her, turning her around with gentle but firm hands. “Take off your shirt.” The command was not meant to be seductive, it was meant to be clinical, a healer with a patient, however delivered in that gentle tone with its low pitch, a tone that brook no argument, could it be anything but slightly sensual?
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:06 AM   #22
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Vladimir clearing his throat announced his arrival and pulled Skye from her reverie. She glanced down at the floor in an attempt to conceal the fear in her eyes. Smoothing her hands down her form, she cleared her mind and reigned in her apprehension, which slowly turned her eyes back into its translucent blue colour before she lifted them to look at Vlad’s reflection in the mirror.

“We should talk, and I should look at your wounds before you show us where we are to sleep the daylight away.”
“Okay,” she said, taking a deep and steadying breath. She had been preparing herself for his onslaught of questions. When Vlad entered the room, the lack of space became apparent. Skye moved slightly to provide more room, but there really wasn’t much to play with.

“I could accomplish both goals by touching your mind, but am not counting on one such as you opening to me twice in one rising. That would be too easy. And my dear Skye, nothing is ever easy.” The words were spoken with a soft smile touching his lips, almost as if he was teasing her. In return Skye gave him a wan smile, “No, it isn’t,” realising that he understood a great deal more about her, than he let on.

For a moment they just stared into each other’s eyes before Vlad’s hands came to rest on her shoulders. He gently turned her around and Skye stood staring up at him.

Instead of launching into a barrage of questions, Vlad said, “Take off your shirt.” Skye frowned slightly, remembering that he wanted to check on her wound, the concern for her well-being greatly disarming... and perhaps, unusual?

Skye hesitated for a moment before she complied, undoing the top part of her shirt and pulling it down to where the angry scar still adorned her flesh, just atop the swell of her breast. The tone in his voice sounded very clinical, as if it was a mere formality performed by a medic.

She looked to the side trying to deny the fact that her body was acutely aware of his proximity, the sheer size of him, the electricity that seemed to crackle between them... a tiny part of her, daring to hope, that he felt it too?
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:58 AM   #23
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He realized in the moment that she pulled down her shirt that he had made a mistake. Vlad was one who rarely made or tolerated mistakes in himself. He should have asked to see the wound on her back first. Instead he was presented with the view of her exposing the upper swell of her full breast. He had tried to keep his tone clinical when he had asked her to take off her shirt, but even that had sounded forced. There was no denying the jolt of awareness of her beauty, and a type of electricity between them when his eyes kissed her skin.

She hadn’t done as he asked, had not removed her shirt completely. However in retrospect this was probably a good thing. There had been something sensual about her small hands moving to open the top of her shirt, to expose the upper swells of her breasts to his gaze. Hands that for some inexplicable reason he wished he could feel—on his skin. She had exposed the merest hint of the black lace of her bra; it was a stark contrast to her pale skin. He had seen more of her body than this healing her, why then did this time seem so much different. It probably had to do with not being hindered by adrenalin and the need to save her life.

It Took Vladimir longer than he cared to admit to move his gaze to the wound, rather than fixating on her breast. It had closed yet still stood out very red against her skin. Her body was working to heal it, but he knew just by that glance that he wanted to do more to heal her. “It is making progress.” The clinical tone almost completely gone now, and was that a hint of relief in his voice?

His hand rose to lay fingertips on her skin. The injury felt warm, her body actively working to heal her. However it felt as it should, not overly hot. Her skin was not cold to the touch, something that might indicate she needed more nourishment. His fingertips had started out touching the scar, but he had soon let his fingertips trace the skin surrounding the wound, to be sure she neither felt fevered or cold, and he couldn’t help but to notice the incredible softness of her skin.

His eyes came up to meet hers, and for one flickering moment it was clear in his eyes that he liked touching her, hungered to do so. The moment was fleeting though, his rigid control sliding back into his eyes as he moved his hand to her shoulder gently turning her back around, turning her away from his penetrating gaze, forgetting that she could probably observe him in the mirror still. His touch was gentle as he lifted the back of her shirt to find the wound in her back, surrounded as it was by the straps of her bra. He gently touched this wound too, testing its state of healing. He only afforded himself a few seconds more than clinically necessary to admire her form before he became aware that his control had again slipped and he again slid her shirt down.

After turning her to face him once again he tilted her chin up with the fingertips of one hand, gentle but firm, forcing her gaze up to his. When he spoke though, his first question was not what might be expected for him to ask. It was not about the case, or what had happened to them that night. As he spoke his face seemed to indicate that he was as surprised as she might be by what he actually asked her. “Why do you affect me so, when no woman has in so many centuries?” There was curiosity in that tone, and perhaps a bit of confusion, the most vulnerable the sentinel had yet appeared. It was only the merest hint, yet nevertheless a hint that more existed behind the control he displayed to everyone, all the time. He was not even sure she had seen his flashes of interest, his desire for her. However, if she hadn’t, his words made it clear that there was something there.
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