Blood and Shadow
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The grisly news of a murdered young family reaches Lael's ears, and he ventures to Longchime to learn if he could be of any aid. He quickly learns that this is no oridinary murder, and that no ordinary person can avenge the family. (A newer, better written version. Enjoy)
BLOOD AND SHADOW
Blood and Shadow
The tall cloaked figure flitted into the town from the north under the protective shield of darkness cast by the shades of the trees and night. The moon was no more than a waning sliver of the coldest white, and that was the only thing that was visible in the sky. The moon was at its highest point, and the town's candles were low and dark. The figure walked with eerie calm into the sleeping town, even the livestock not awakening from the figure's silent gait. No sound stirred except for the wind making the dying leaves dance, and the occasional wolf cry in the distance. Even an owl hooted once or twice, but that was all. A dreadful silence was cast over the town like the night's darkness, as silent as the grave and as still as the gravestones.
The town was of descent size, but was isolated in the farthest reaches of the land. That was why the figure chose this place rather than anywhere else. Big cities would spread the news quickly like a plague, but towns such as this could not for they were spread so thinly. Big cities had bounty hunters and slayers, and towns did not. He was safe. He would not be discovered. A smile played across his thin lips at the thought.
The figure walked silently along the edge of a small house, casually peeking through the window to see who was inside. A young couple along with their infant child were all in bed, sleeping peacefully and comfortably. They all breathed easily, all unaware of the danger lurking outside their window. A perfect scene of family love.
The figure turned slowly from the window, chuckling under his breath as he rounded the house's corner. He approached the wooden door and twisted the knob. Not to his surprise he found it locked. Still smiling, he lifted his slender hand towards the doorknob, revealing long, bone white fingers ending in inch-long claws. He slipped the claw of his index finger into the keyhole and twisted, and with a click the door slowly creaked open.
His cloaked frame was a mere shadow against, outlined with the silver light of the moon. The only features that could be seen of him were his mouth and chin, and his eyes, pinpoints of pale yellow, shone out like willow-of-the-wisps in the shadows of his hood. His cat-like, yellow eyes instantly landed on the sleeping humans, and a grin found its way across his unnaturally handsome face. He silently strode towards the bed and studied all of them in turn before he turned his attention to the female, the one closest to him. He bent over the human, his hands on either side of the young woman as he dipped his head towards her exposed throat. He grinned widely, revealing four elongated fangs, and a hiss escaped from somewhere deep within his throat. A hiss rivaling that of an angered serpent, a hiss full of greed, pleasure, and hunger.
“So lovely…so young…so delicious,” he breathed, his hot breath tickling her skin. He bent his head further, his fangs slowly inching towards her throat.
Lael stepped into the village, the bitter autumn chill embracing him. Wrapping his thick, travel worn cloak tighter around him to fend off the cold, he walked through the village of Longchime. Word had reached his ears that a murder had happened less than a day ago, and that the murderer had left no trace of his footsteps. Lael suspected there was more to the story than what was told, and was in the Gayl Plains when he had heard this grisly tale.
The sky was a dismal gray, the clouds pregnant with rain. Longchime was deathly silent, all of the citizens nowhere to be seen. Lael's footsteps echoed eerily on the cobblestone streets, his dark figure equally so. He kept his head bowed, his features hidden in the shadows of his hood except for his eyes. Alien, bright green eyes that held no emotion or warmth. Expressionless eyes, hiding a deep unexplainable secret with a haunted air.
Lael looked up slightly, finding an excited crowd hovering around the door of a house. He knew then that this was the sight of the murder. Whispers floated from the shimmering crowd like an omen, speaking of assassins and the legendary dark elves that lived in the underground world of Shaternal. Lael approached and shouldered his way through the crowd, shrugging off the insults and threats like water off a duck's back as he forced his way through towards the door. An older man grabbed Lael roughly by the shoulder, his face contorted with grief and now rage as he was shouldered away.
“Watch where yer goin', elf!” he growled, his pale green eyes narrowing with rage.
Lael simply turned and glanced over his shoulder, his face a calm expressionless mask, except for his mysterious eyes. He parted his cloak, revealing a slightly curved longsword, and an identical knife. The man's eyes drifted down, and widened.
“My apologies…” he muttered, and released Lael's shoulder.
Lael stared at him awhile longer, his eyes unblinking. He continued his silently stride, rewrapping himself with his cloak and concealing his weapons once more. After what seemed like an agonizing eternity, he managed to stagger into the house, and was confronted by who appeared to be the mayor of Longchime and two of his body guards. The bodies of the murdered were still on the bed where they had drawn their last breaths, a white blanket covering each. Lael glanced at the bodies, quickly seeing that one was male, one female, and one smaller. He felt sickened at the thought of a murdered infant, never going to live life and grow.
The mayor, a well-fed, richly dressed man in red robes and gold trimming with beady pig-like eyes turned and started when he saw the black figure standing in the doorway. A cloaked figure with an ebony longbow slung over his shoulder and a quiver full of arrows resting on the other.
“'Ey now, what's this about?” the mayor demanded, his voice so heavily accented that Lael had a difficult time trying to understand him. “Yeh best get outta here, boy. This is no place fer kids.”
Lael, his face expressionless, remained motionless. “I am here to investigate the…murder,” he said, his voice toneless and carried a faint accent, and the men in the room inwardly shivered at how calm he remained at such a gruesome scene..
The mayor and his guards looked at one another, then back at Lael.
“I'm afraid there's nothing here for you to investigate, kid,” a guard said, striding over towards Lael and placing a hand on his shoulder. “Now get outta here and go play with your friends.”
Lael glanced at the hand on his shoulder, then back up at the guard, his eyes ever so slightly narrowing. The guard's eyes widened when Lael seized his arm, and he let out a startled yell as Lael spun and threw him up and over his back in a single swift movement. The guard let out a pained grunt as he landed hard on his back, and the crowd outside backed away from the tall black figure.
The remaining guard drew his sword and advanced towards Lael, glaring murderously. “Yer gonna pay fer that, kid!” he hissed, brandishing his weapon.
Lael glanced at him, his narrowed eyes freezing the guard in mid-step, promising him much pain if he laid a hand on him as well. The guard, quaking with fear, laid down his sword and back-pedaled away with his hands out in front of him.
Satisfied, though not showing it, Lael made his way over towards the bodies, the mayor and guard quickly stepping away. He pulled the white sheet off the female, he doing well at hiding his disgust at what he saw. Her face was frozen in terror, her mouth parted in an eternal scream. A gaping wound grinned up at him from her throat, her juggler and windpipe sliced through cleanly. He studied the wound closer, frowning as he saw how the veins were so nicely cut through. He turned her head slightly, inspecting the left side of her neck where the major artery once throbbed with life. He leaned closer, his eyes narrowing as he studied where the cut began. Nearly indictable, only visible to his sharp eyes, were two pinpricks.
“Apparently this is not an ordinary murder,” Lael said as he straightened himself, and was satisfied when he saw the mayor and his guards flustered. “Slitting throats is a rather messy business. Did you not notice how clean the slices are?”
The mayor opened his mouth to speak, but he closed it. He opened it again and closed it again, and Lael was reminded of a fish he had caught once.
Lael went on, throwing the sheet back on. “Blood would have got on the bed covers and the floor. The murderer, unless he bathed, would have left a trail leading to the door. The murderer has tried to be clever, but should not have cleaned the mess. I must say, this is perhaps the worst cover up I have ever seen,” Lael turned his attention once more to the mayor, again satisfied by the mayor's expression though not showing it. “Looks like you have a vampire preying on your village. And this vampire must just have become one, or is not the sharpest sword in the shed.”
As soon as Lael said that foul word, the temperature in the room dropped, and the guards and the mayor turned deathly pale and started crying out in unison.
“What are we to do?”
“How are we goin' to find it?”
“We don't have enough men for the job!”
Lael watched them all with a naked mask, folding his arms over his slender chest. All at once the mayor and his body guards turned to Lael and asked, “Will you help us?” Apparently they had forgotten what he had done to the guard.
Lael nodded, and his calm demeanor remained. “Of course,” he said as he stepped out of the house. “I expect full payment once I return. I have a good idea where this vampire dwells.”
Lael walked through the crowd, who wasted no time in parting a pathway for him, and turned southeast of Longchime, towards the large woods called the Charegez Forest.
Lael looked up at the sky past the changing leaves, seeing that it was only midday and that the clouds were still heavy with rain. Lael knew he did not need to hurry. A well-fed vampire such as this one would remain in its underground lair for a few days before it ventured to the surface to hunt again.
The forest was deathly still and silent, as if the very trees were holding their breaths. The eerie calm pressed around him, suffocating him. The thick cloud hung over him like a spirit, pulling him into an embrace that he ignored and shrugged off without a thought. A bird fluttered above him, its wing beats disturbing the silence. This he too ignored, too focused on the hidden trail before him, his flashing green eyes never blinking, seeing something that no other could.
Thunder sounded in the distance, and icy rain began pelting down. Lael hunched his shoulders and continued his silent ghost-like walk, wrapping his cloak tighter about himself to fend off the chilling drops. At first the rain was a steady fall, then it began to pound harder, the droplets bouncing off the leaves. Lael was instantly soaked, chilled to the bones but pressing onwards nonetheless. How many times had he walked through storms such as this?
After a few hours of walking, Lael stopped in mid-stride and tilted his head curiously, confused. His instincts told him that he was there, but he did not see anything to his left, to his right, and in front of him. He looked up and only got rain in his face. He looked down and only saw leaves and twigs. Confused, he took a ginger step forward, and his foot disappeared into the earth.
What followed next was his scream as he disappeared into the cleverly hidden hole. It was more like a cleverly hidden tunnel for Lael found himself sliding down a rocky, bumpy chute that vanished into the ground. He managed to sit up, but his heel hit a rock and that caused him to bounce up and land with a thump on his belly. Lael ducked and shielded his head from any possible low rocks, not wanting to be knocked out by the time he reached the bottom of the slide. The slide grew steeper with every passing moment, grew more and more rocky and bumpy the farther he slid. Lael once more managed to get onto his back, and saw that the slide had a turn in it. Not wishing to end up as a blood-stain on the wall, Lael did the only thing that came to his mind and he drew his knife, and dug it into the ground. He used that to make the turn, and he managed to keep a firm hold on his weapon.
His eyes widened as he saw another turn, and after that a series of turns. He quickly jabbed his weapon into the earth to make the first turn, and did the same for the rest. The slide straightened out again, and he let out a relieved sigh, but wished he held that for later. He saw a dim light from ahead, and by the looks of it water was on the other side. And he could not swim. Not wanting to go careening over the possible ledge and into the water, Lael dug his knife into the earth for a final time. He still continued to slide quickly as the weapon drew a straight line down the slide, and he gritted his teeth, closed his eyes tightly, and prayed. Inch by inch he felt himself slowing down, and he sensed the ledge was no more than a yard or two away. He realized he was still going to go over the ledge, and he braced himself.
The ledge came, and the knife came free from the ground. Lael found himself falling only couple of feet before he splashed into frigid water. He instinctively began to panic and thrash, but it slowly dawned to him that the water was only knee deep. Glad that no one was there to witness him, Lael climbed up to his feet and struggled to find not only his weapon, but some of his pride and dignity. Sloshing to shore, and soaked to the bone even more, he surveyed his surroundings as he wrung out his cloak.
He was in a small cavern of slimy stone that smelled of damp earth, lit only by the algae and rather large pale blue, almost white mushrooms. A tunnel yawned in front of him and appeared to be the fanged mouth belonging to a dragon. He could see nothing beyond it, not even with his keen vision, and heard nothing except the steady dripping of water behind him, and he could only smell earth, mold, and decay. But something told him to press forward, to journey into the gloom before him.
Walking cautiously, and drawing his longbow and knocking it with a silver arrow, Lael moved forwards into the dark tunnel, instantly swallowed up by the blackness. All of his senses were alert, his ears strained for the slightest sound, and his eyes were unblinking as they flicked from side to side as he tried to detect any movement. Walking slowly in a crouch on the balls of his feet, Lael appeared only to be a mere shadow as he moved down the tunnel, the only thing visible were his eerily glowing green orbs. Now and again he would stop and tilt his head to the side and listen, and hearing not a sound, he would continue on. His heart thudded wildly, but his breath was calm and steady, unafraid of the possible dangers.
He slipped around a corner, and another, and came across nothing but rats. Something told him to quicken his pace, but his instincts told him not to. They told him that something was wrong, but did not know what. For the first time in his young life, the Lael found himself beginning to tremble. Not from cold, not from the chilling water running down his spine, but from a steadily growing fear. Knowing that something was in this cave system did not frighten him, but not knowing where it was sent an icy chill racing down his spine and made his blood freeze. Lael's thoughts seemed to become reality; they seemed to play tricks on his eyes. Shapes and shadows began to emerge from the wall, invisible hands seemed to reach out to grab him, to stroke him, to feel his warmth and flesh. Faces loomed at him, peeling through the walls. Faces with empty sockets and howling, grinning mouths, calling his name. Jeering, goading, daring him. And he began hearing things as well. Screams seemed to come out from nowhere, and a faint, heavy breathing. He felt something was creeping up behind him, he felt hot breath panting on the back of his neck. But he knew there was nothing, and even turned around to see. But only darkness greeted him, and the ever present feeling of dread. Cursing to himself for being foolish, he turned back around and continued. The glow from the mushrooms had long ago disappeared, and his eyesight had grown accustomed to the darkness. But he felt as scared as a mouse cornered by a hungry cat. He felt just like a child again; a helpless, blind child crawling in an unknown room.
His skin broke out in gooseflesh as he slowly made his way through the ever winding tunnel. He found that his feet were beginning to refuse to move, and the effort to lift them was agonizing. He found that his breaths were not calm and leveled anymore, but gasping and uneven as his lungs begged for air. He swallowed and tried to think of pleasant things such as the forest where he lived, the quiet streams where he used to fish…but all of that quickly evaporated into a mist and was replaced by the things that he was seeing, and the things that he thought he saw and heard. He asked himself why he had agreed to help the mayor of that little village, why he wanted to become a vampire slayer. Lael could not remember the memories that made him follow this dangerous, suicidal path.
Gulping, Lael turned another corner, and saw a fork in the path. Cursing under his breath, Lael looked at the left fork, and then the right. Both appeared to be going down deeper into the earth where it seemed to grow darker. Taking a random guess, Lael turned to the left fork and slowly shuffled on, his fingers trembling on the string of his bow. He rounded another corner, and another, moving as silently as a stalking cat, but as slowly as a snail. He rounded yet another corner before he came across a rotting wooden door that led to what he guessed to be a chamber. His mind screamed at him not to open the door, begged him to turn and take the other tunnel, but his curiosity got the best of him. He laid one quaking hand on the doorknob and turned it slowly. Its following creak made him cringe and grit his teeth, but he continued to turn the knob, and he pushed the door open. Darkness greeted him not to his surprise, and he found the room empty. It was only about seven paces wide from wall to wall, and rafters held the roof up to prevent cave-ins.
He scanned the room quickly, his gaze lingering on the open coffin that was in the center of the room. He took a quick sniff and wished he had not, because a rank odor of decay and death greeted his nostrils, causing him to gag as if the very air was poisoned. Blinking his tearing eyes, Lael took one step back and crouched a bit more, one knee resting on the dirt floor. He tilted his head and listened, and again heard something. Yet something was in that room that told him to get away from, but he did not see anything.
Lael looked harder, squinted his eyes at the darkest corner of the room, and thought he saw a flicker of movement. His breath caught in his throat, he leaned just a bit further, wanting to know what it was. He thought it to be the vampire, but the smell was too overwhelming even for a parasite.
Then he heard it. A sound that froze him in his place and chilled him to the marrow of his bones. A low moan. Not the moan as if in sorrow or frustration. A moan that sounded as if in pain, but it was more terrible and frightening than a natural moan. There was no word to describe it, only that it sent shivers coursing throughout Lael's body, paralyzing him where he crouched. Lael stiffened uneasily and squinted harder, desperate to know what that sound belonged to. He then heard shuffling as if something was walking about in the room, but the stride was uneven as if the thing was dragging something, and it did not sound like it was wearing boots but was barefoot.
Still holding his breath, Lael leveled his longbow and willed his feet to take a little step into the room, wanting to know what it was in there. Again the moan, and again the shuffling foot steps. The odor was stronger as the thing, whatever it was, seemed to come closer to him. Lael bit his tongue to keep himself from screaming when he saw it.
Decaying flesh hung loose from yellowed bone, and wisps of gray hair stuck out of what was left of its head. It wore torn pants that seemed as decayed as its skin, and Lael could make out white maggots squirming in what was left of muscle. One of its hands was missing, and part of its side was open, revealing ribs and something else that Lael did not wish to know. One eye was missing, and the other was yellow and held no life what so ever. Its lower jaw was missing, yet it still made moans as if it were in pain, and a swollen blackened tongue lolled out between crooked rotting teeth. Lael found himself staring at a zombie, an animated corpse.
Lael, trembling with terror and not thinking, found himself aiming the longbow at the zombie's head, and he released the string. The silver arrow flew true, and found its mark between the undead's eyes. With an unearthly howl, a howl that could not be described in words, the zombie staggered backwards and fell onto its back. Lael did not waste his advantage and darted in, drawing his knife, a knife with a polished black luster. He held his breath as he jabbed the weapon repeatedly into the monster's decayed flesh, sending sprays of blood flying with each impact and splattering on his snarling face, the zombie screaming and thrashing wildly in pain. Lael continued to stab the thing long after its screaming finally subsided, long after its jerking stilled. He kicked the zombie hard to make sure it was dead, again, and satisfied that it was Lael quickly ran out of the room before the smell made him ill.
He backtracked to the fork and took the right path, hoping not to run into anything else. Lael found himself surprisingly calm, considering what he had just killed. He found that odd, but not much. He found that his confidence was returning, though he remained wary of his surroundings and of possible threats. Other than the zombie, he ran into nothing but rats. He began to doubt there was a vampire down there, but then again, what could have animated the corpse from its grave? A necromancer could be making his home down there, but he felt, and he knew, that the vampire was indeed down there. Somewhere.
After a few more minutes of skulking and tunnels, Lael came across a second door. Trying to steady his hand, he opened the door slowly and dared to peer inside. This room was just like the last one he encountered, but was by far larger, and more decorated. Candles on the far side surrounded a coffin of stone, rather than wood, and the coffin was closed. The remains of past victims were piled up in one corner, and a table with beakers and tubes were in the other. Intrigued, Lael took one cautious step in, and nearly feel over in relief that no trap was triggered. He carefully searched the ground, the ceiling, and the walls for possible tripwires or anything of the like, and saw none. Lael found it strange that the vampire's quarters were unprotected, and his mind again screamed at him to get out.
Lael took another cautious step in, and another, and another. Slowly approaching the coffin, he took a steadying breath as he readied his knife and inched his other hand towards the lid. His hand lingered on it, his body trembling with fear and excitement, adrenaline coursing through his veins and setting his blood on fire. He took a calming breath, and quickly he flung open the lid, his knife arching down. The knife's descent halted abruptly, though, and his eyes widened in shock, horror, and dismay.
The coffin was empty except for the velvet cushions lining the sides and bottom.
Then the door slammed behind him.
Panic surging through his mind, Lael slowly turned around to see a tall, cloaked figure standing at the closed door. Their eyes met, his green eyes widening as he stared into lifeless, yellow slit orbs. The vampire was garbed in silk, necromancer robes of black trimmed with blood red. He wore his raven, waist-length hair long and free, and his gloves were inky black and same for his boots. His face was deathly pale, young, and unnaturally handsome. The vampire was grinning, a grin that revealed perfect teeth and four elongated fangs. Lael saw the cruelty and malice in that single grin, and another shiver was sent down his spine as he imagined those fangs sinking into the tender throat of the young mother.
The necromancer vampire took one step towards Lael and tilted his head as he studied Lael, his expression showing a mixture of amusement and pleasure. And he simply said, his voice colder than a winter's midnight, “Ah, a hunter,” he said, his eyes flashing eerily. “How delightful. I may find a use for your corpse yet.” He approached Lael slowly, walking around him, nodding with satisfaction. “Firm arms. A strong back. Yes, you will do very nicely.”
Lael shivered inwardly, always watching the grinning vampire with his narrowed eyes. He whipped his knife around, his body a mere blur as he turned towards the vampire with his weapon leading. However, the knife never found flesh. It sang through empty air, and he spun to stop, frantically looking around for the necromancer.
The necromancer was standing in front of the closed door once again, grinning widely. “Yes, you will do very nicely,” he repeated, raising his arms in front of him.
He then said something in a tongue that Lael did not recognize, and a white mist slowly appeared into being, and began to take shape. The air in the room suddenly grew icy cold, and the ghost at first glance appeared to be human. It appeared to be outfitted in heavy armor and a shield, showing that in life it was a human or guardsman. But its eyes were empty black sockets, and an eerie blue white mist cloaked it. It opened its mouth impossibly wide and let out an ear piercing shriek, drawing a silver white sword and advancing forwards with long ghastly strides.
Lael screamed over the noise, clamping his hands over his ears as he doubled over from the shrilling wail. He could not drown out the ungodly noise, his sensitive ears ringing long after the ghost's shriek had ended. The ghost, though, brandished its sword and glided towards him with surprising speed, ready to defend the one who had summoned it. Lael drew his hands away from his aching ears, and whipped out his longbow and an arrow. Without even aiming he let fly the arrow, the silver streak singing as it flew through the air before embedding itself in the ghost's armor with a thud. With a second loud cry the ghost disappeared in a flash of blue light.
His fear slowly disappearing to be replaced by battle-lust, Lael remained on one knee as he warily watched the smiling necromancer. He tensed his legs, ready to spring to the side if needed, yet the necromancer remained still except for his mouth. The vampire's mouth was moving though no sound escaped his thin pale lips, yet his cold gaze remained on Lael. Those eyes were like twin beams of damnation, peering into Lael's thoughts and worming into his heart and his reading his most precious secret. Balls of orange light appeared around the vampire, circling him like many bright birds before they burst into flames. The swirling fireballs continued their circling, though one by one they raced towards Lael as if thrown by an invisible hand.
Lael leapt to the side to avoid the first streaming fireball, dove into a roll to escape the second, leapt to his feet and danced back to dodge the third. He danced and leapt, spun and rolled to avoid the seemingly endless barrage of fireballs. Black scorches dotted the dirt floor, his feet narrowly missing being burned as he fought to keep his boots away from the little bursts of fire.
Finally the relentless assault came to end, and as Lael shouldered his longbow, a red mist swirled before the vampire, the necromancer summoning another undead into being. The mist faded, revealing a grinning skeleton that laughed a grating, high-pitched cackle that made the hairs on the back of Lael's neck stand on end. The skeleton wore no armor, but it carried a wickedly curved long sword in one bony hand and a small round called a buckler shield in the other. It brandished its weapon, goading on Lael. He, though, did not move. The skeleton obliged itself, and with a blood-chilling scream it lurched forward, its sword leading.
Lael stood calmly, watching the skeleton lumber towards him with long creaking strides. The knife appeared in his hand, and in the other his slightly curved longsword. The skeleton was three feet away, two feet, a foot…Lael burst into action. He was a whirlwind of black as he danced about the skeleton, parrying its lazy thrusts with his longer blade and attacking with the knife. The skeleton grew dizzy as it tried to follow Lael's movements, but it could not catch him. Lael easily breached through the undead's defenses, knocking its shield out wide and his knife snaking in slicing through a rib. He reversed his momentum, ducking under a horizontal slice and sweeping a foot at the skeleton's ankles. The skeleton toppled over, landing hard on its spine. Lael was upon it, his foot pressed against the thing's empty chest cavity. His longsword pulled back over his head, Lael brought it whistling down with all his might. The skull shattered in two with a small flash of red, and the bones underneath him fell limply.
Lael stood up and tilted his head at the vampire, his face taking on a cold, almost sinister look. But the vampire remained calm, even when those flashing green eyes promised much pain and death. He began another summoning, but was halted when Lael sprang, his weapons weaving to and fro. The vampire back-pedaled away, having nothing between him and death but simple silk robes. He blinked when he saw Lael, saw something entirely different. Lael's face was no longer calm, but held a savage, wild grin, revealing four elongated fangs that resembled his own. His once green eyes were now golden pools burning with an inner inferno, yearning for blood and the kill. The necromancer's own eyes widened at the visage of death before him, knowing full well what will be the outcome.
The vampire begged, he pleaded as he fell to his knees. He promised he would never pray on Longchime, and would no longer practice necromancy. Even his blood turned to ice at Lael's laughter. Lael threw back his head, cold laughter escaping past his lips. Lael turned his eyes back to the quaking necromancer, grinning wickedly. The grin was so familiar, yet distant at the same time. Almost like... The necromancer screamed.
Lael returned to Longchime where he was welcomed and revered as hero. Around his throat hung a black piece of thread, and hanging from that thread was a pair of vampire fangs, which was proof that he had a slain the vampire. He had chopped off the vampire's head, and afterward burnt the body and scattered the ashes in the woods. Lael was indeed well rewarded for his victory, having earned himself a new cloak that resembled his old one, food (that he sold) and many gold coins. The first autumn rains had passed, and the sun was finally favoring Longchime and its merry people. Lael was the guest of honor in the mayor's fabulous house and was treated like a king, even though Lael had insisted not to.
There he remained for a day at the most before he set out again to explore, moving northwards towards the lake in the heart of Firdyl. And to add more fangs to his collection. Lael had proved to the people of Longchime that he was indeed a vampire slayer, and he proved that whenever he found a case about more vampire sightings. Lael went wherever his feet took him, or where his ears heard rumors of the monsters in human form. However, wherever he went, people avoided him. Not because of his dark clothes or the weapons he bore. But because they could not see was lay underneath that dark hood except for those haunted green eyes. And some say they thought they saw those blank orbs flicker to a golden yellow…
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