Alona gave an extra tug to the heavy black vest that encased her chest before swinging her dark leather coat over her arms, her hands shaking as nervousness made her stomach spin uneasily.
Blake had been adamant about her not going on this trip since she had told him about meeting Tristan again the night before and from his angry yelling, she had been glad that she hadn't mentioned the kiss they had shared.
"You are not to leave," he had cried, his eyes wide and wild, "You are not to even think about going on this trip."
"Blake calm down, Tristan was just trying to pay us back for the concert we lost," she had told him calmly.
Blake's fury grew, "He is the reason mom is dead and I forbid you from going anywhere near Tristan Balan or any member of his family. You are to stick with clean up and forget about any future hunting trips until he and that family are dealt with."
Alona's fury flared as well, "Don't you dare take this from me. I've spent my life working for this trip; you are not going to ruin it over something as stupid as me being friends with a vampire. I thought we were supposed to be on friendly terms with the Nobles."
He glared down at her, "That house is the exception, they would just as soon throw you into a nest of fallen. I'm giving you two options, stay away from Tristan Balan and become the hunter you were meant to be or continue your meeting and end up like mom, need I remind you that your life isn't the only one on the line?"
She continued to glare at him but conceded, "Fine but you had better keep your word. I will not waste my life following you when you know I'm better."
Alona tightened the straps to the holsters at her legs when Blake yelled from the next room, "You ready?"
She fastened the last buckle on her jacket and leaving her room, "Yeah."
His face was solemn as he mulled her over, "Then let's go," he said sharply.
The two of them made their way through the manor to the underground levels where they found the rest of their clan doing ammunition and weapon checks.
Alona let out a heavy sigh as she sat waiting since she had already done her checks, ignoring the glares she received from the others, occasionally her hearing picked up their whispers to one another, "What's she doing here?"
"We're dead before we leave."
"She should have died with that traitor."
Alona felt her chest grow tight, as she tried letting out a heavy breath to release her growing anger, "I'll show you all that I belong."
"Alright folks," Blake called, "just so we're clear, this is a kill mission. From what recon has found there have been at least five confirmed deaths in the last month. There are roughly fifteen Fallen, that leaves us only slightly outnumbered, but with what we have it will be a simple in and out."
"Hey Blake, why'd you have to bring that thing with you," a man called, "we aren't babysitters or are you trying to get us killed?"
Alona tensed, digging her fingers into the sleeves of her leather jacket as a hiss escaped her lips.
"Don't start Ronin, Alona is a part of this team so get over it," Blake replied.
Alona stood, "You won't be complaining when I pull that leech off of your throat, or should I just put you down now."
"Alona," Blake scolded.
"We'll see," Ronin yelled, about to lunge at the woman.
"I would hope that there is no squabbling among comrades," a woman said happily from behind them.
Turning, they found Shera smiling sweetly.
"No ma'am," the man replied, glaring one last time at Alona.
"Oh good," Shera replied, her smile growing as she walked through the group to stand with Blake and Alona, turning to everyone else, "This mission may seem small but I pray that each of you return safely."
They all bowed before her, dividing themselves into two groups and ducking into two dark colored vans.
Alona began to follow her brother when the older woman grabbed her arm gently, "Pay them no mind; they'll come around one day."
Alona smiled, placing her hand over the others and shaking her head, "No they won't," she then followed her brother.
They had driven for nearly an hour when they came to a stop, the sky illuminated in dark blues, reds and oranges as the sun began its final leg of its journey.
The group exited their vehicles amongst a clump of oak trees, the trunks grey in the dying light while their leafy limbs reached for the sky like gnarled fingers.
After a quick regroup, they made their way through an old gate, its hinges fused to the old iron with thick layers of rust. They found themselves before an old mansion that had at one point been sprawling and lush but was now run down and in need of deep repair as the paint was now stained grey and green from dust and plants that now grew wild as they climbed over nearly every wall and into several windows that had long since been broken out by vandals and weather.
The path lay in crumbling disarray as grass over grew the lawn, swallowing up the fountain that had once jumped merrily.
The group made its way up what remained of the brick stairs, past wild and thorny roses that crept up the porch pillars, Alona smiled as she brushed her fingers over the soft petals, bending down to inhale the strong scent.
They came to a stop at the front door, splitting into two groups, "You take the porch to the back, we'll take the front," Blake said.
Alona went to follow the second group but Blake grabbed her arm, "You stay close to me."
She nodded, following him through the door; its hinges were twisted and warped, into the house.
Alona listened to the hum of night vision gear being activated, shaking her head as her eyes brought the dark space to light, her face fell as she looked upon the interior, the stairs leading to the next floor were missing several steps as the railing lay in pieces on the floor next to the staircase, a stand across from it balanced on three legs as the mirror over it spider-webbed in several places.
She walked into an adjoining room where she found a sofa that had been split in half, cushions and springs strung about the room.
Alona felt her chest grow tight the longer she stayed in the house, she tried to shake off the feeling but the flood of sadness cascaded over her with the feeling of loneliness.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as her chest began to heave in silent hiccups.
"You ok," Blake asked, standing next to her.
She nodded, "Yeah, I'm good."
"Ok," he replied and left the room.
She went to follow when her chest gave a flutter, dispersing the feeling of isolation as a familiar scent reached her nose. She scanned the room when a strong arm wrapped around her waist from behind, pressing her against a strong chest while a hand wrapped around her lips, silencing her soft cry, while dragging her into a dark corner of the room.
The figure breathed softly as it pressed against the wall, leaning down to nip at her ear once it was sure the woman in his arms hadn't been heard, "Hush my sweet iubi, do you wish us to be caught?"
Alona blushed, her heart stuttering as it fought to regain control. She brushed his hand away, spinning to face him, "Me, you're the one who scared the life out of me," her voice below a whisper.
He smiled, bending so that he could look her in the eye, a cocky grin spreading over his lips, "I suppose I do enjoy watching you squirm though it isn't much fun when you already know when I'm around. How is it," he stopped, drawing her close to him as his face grew grim.
A tall male walked into the room, "Alona it's time to move, where are you?"
"I'll be right there Blake," she called, pushing Tristan closer to the wall.
The man looked in her direction, "Alright, get a move on it before they make a break for it."
Blake left the room, leaving the two alone again.
Alona felt Tristan growing tense under her hands as he pulled her against him, "Who was that?"
"My older brother."
He glared down at her, "Blake Schwarz is your brother?"
She grew nervous, "Yeah, why?"
His expression softened, "I'm sorry, forget it. I'll let you go." He kissed her gently, making her breath catch and her knees buckle.
"I'll be close so if you need anything just yell," he whispered after he released her.
She nodded, leaving the room to find everyone gathered in what remained of the kitchen. The overwhelming feeling of sadness began to wash over her again, making her wish Tristan was standing with her. She also caught the strong smell of iron and decay, making her stomach clench.
"Listen up," Blake whispered, "I want to take half of you and go down, the rest of you will take care of any who get past us. Alona you stay."
He swore when he turned to find she was already making her way down the rickety stairs, her gentle steps never making a sound.
When she reached the bottom, she found fifteen beings grouped together desperately clutching onto one another. The clothes they wore were in tatters and falling off of bony limbs, their hair was matted or none existent while dark, sunken eyes frantically searched for a way out.
A woman sat at the center of the group watching intently, her dark skin sunken and dull, her once rich lavender dress was a filthy mess like the mop of dark hair on her head.
"My, aren't you a young one," she whispered, "and so very gifted, such a brave little thing."
Alona stood fast, willing her body to relax, "You know why we're here."
The woman nodded, "I have never seen someone like you before, such a rare little creature, yes very rare, pretty too."
Alona felt her chest grow heavy as though it was being placed under weights, a hollow feeling beginning to expand in her stomach as the tears she shed grew in number.
"You feel it don't you little halfling, you feel our sorrow and pain, you should not be here little one. A halfling is useless when it comes to hunting us, you may be strong but your heart flutters. You do not wish to kill us; they wish it, your keeper’s wish it or you will die."
Blake stepped between the two, his gun aimed at the older woman's head, "Alona what's wrong?"
She tried to shake the feeling but all she could see before her was darkness and isolation, the hallow weight continuing to grow until she grew physically ill, heaving with each hiccup.
The other woman stood, "Poor little child, they haven't taught you how to handle yourself, poor little halfling."
"Back off," Blake growled, but the woman continued her trek to the youth before her.
"Alona pull yourself together."
Alona wrapped her arm around her stomach, placing her other hand over mouth, growing more ill by the second.
The woman drew closer, "I see now, you are kept ignorant of what you are, and you are unaware of your full strength."
Alona gasped, giving a final heave, "What are you talking about, what do you know about me?"
The woman smile, though it was weak and hallow, but before she could answer her head snapped to the left as her body crumbled to the dirt as dark fluid oozed from the side of her skull.
Alona's ears rang from the explosion that erupted from her brother's gun, bringing her back to her senses.
Her eyes grew wide as she watched the woman fall, "No, no, Blake what have you done?"
He glared down at her, "Are you seriously listening to a damn leech?"
"Yeah well your track record isn't exactly shiny either."
As the two glared at each other a hiss caught their attention, a moment later the two were fighting off the hoard.
"You're an ass, you know that," she yelled, shooting a female vampire between the eyes as she shot a male in the temple as he tried to make his way toward the stairs.
"Can we talk about this later," Blake yelled, kicking his foot out to collide with the skull of a male that had ran at him, shooting him in the forehead.
"Like hell," Alona hissed, shoving a female off of her, "You'll clam up like you always do and pretend nothing happened."
"Not now Alona,"
"Fine," she growled, kicking a male vampire into another and sending both into a far wall.
She felt fingers dig into her right shoulder, nearly dropping her to her knees as a male vampire bared his fangs and lunged at her neck, though his attempt was stopped as a sudden jolt of electricity ripped through him, rendering him unconscious.
Alona cried out as the same charge coursed through her, dropping her to the ground.
"Alona," Blake yelled, continuing his assault and making his way to the woman. He turned to check on her, yelling for back-up, finding her in the arms of a man he didn't recognize.
"Iubi are you alright," the newcomer asked, kicking out at a male who had attempted to lunge at him, sending him hissing into a wall.
She looked up at him, her eyes heavy, "You need to get out of her," she whispered, "or you'll be killed."
Blake watched in stunned silence as the man bent down to kiss her.
"I don't care what happens to me, it's you who is hurt," he smiled, "now we need to finish this and get you out of here."
Blake spoke as he fired on two more vampires, "Take her, I'll finish this."
"Blake," Alona whispered, her energy continuing to drain.
The man nodded, disappearing up the stairs.
Alona waited to be stopped at the top of the stairs but as the two of them raced past them, they appeared motionless as Tristan blew through them and out the front door, stopping when Alona began to thrash in his arms.
He gently placed her on the soft grass where she gave a gentle heave, gasping for air.
He smiled, gently stroking her back, "I suppose you aren't used to going that fast."
She shook her head, grabbing at the choker, trying to pry it off, "No, it's this damn thing."
She cried out when another charged coursed through her, making her fall back into his arms.
He took her hands into his; kissing the burned flesh of her palm, "Stop before you hurt yourself."
She buried her face against his chest, "What happened back there? I felt so alone and heartbroken?"
He grew solemn, stroking her hair as he drew her close, "You felt what they feel. It's why we Nobel's have such a hard time destroying Fallen ones, we take pity on them because they have lost so every bit of will to live while we continue to go on with our lives, knowing love, but I don't understand how you are able to feel it, until Morgana spoke to you." She clung tightly to his shirt. "Alona she called you a halfling didn't she?"
She nodded, "Yeah, what is it?"
He smiled gently, "A halfling is someone who is half human, half vampire, and it kind of makes sense."
She looked up at him, "What?"
He looked down at her, his smile growing, "Alona I've only know you a little while and every day you do something that absolutely amazes me, like I said before, I just can't stay away from you. Alona I can tell you everything you want to know, I know your mother, Amelia, beautiful and kind woman and your father would be overjoyed to know you." He snickered when another person came to mind, "You also have an older brother."
Alona blushed, "I have a father and brother?"
Tristan nodded, "Yes."
His face grew grim as he crushed her against his chest, his body going stiff as a red hot bullet tore into his right shoulder, making him hiss.
"Tristan," Alona cried as he staggered. She spotted Blake behind them, ready to unload another round.
"I don't know what you're telling her friend but I suggest you shut your trap before you end up like the trash inside the house," Blake growled.
Alona felt her heart race as a hiss left her lips. She looked down at Tristan who lay slumped in her arms, "How dare you," she cried, gently setting him on the ground.
Her mouth began to grow sore as she clenched her jaw harshly, lunging at the blonde man.
"Alona don't do this," Blake yelled, holstering his gun and bringing his arms up to parry her attack.
She hissed feraly, "You think you can control me, every time I came to you seeking your help and protection, and all along you were protecting them from me. I know this thing I wear is a collar and you're using it to keep me in line." She lunged at him again, sending them sliding through the yard.
"No Alona, my life was spent protecting you from them. It killed me when you came to me in tears. You are my sister, my only family," Blake cried.
The group inside the house heard the commotion and raced outside to find out what was going on.
"Master Blake, what's going on?"
"Stay out of this," he called back, not taking his eyes off of his sister.
Alona growled, "You answer them, but you can't answer me, what a shocker."
Tristan stood, the lawn tilting under his feet, "Alona, iubi, forget him, come with me and," he began to fall back until Alona left her brother, running up to catch his descent.
She hugged him close, tears running down her cheeks, "I need to get you help, you were shot with a dead blood and vervain bullet."
He tried to stand again, using her for support, but again fell, "I'll be fine, I'll call Dem," his words cut short as he slipped into unconsciousness.
"Tristan," she searched his pockets, finding his phone, quickly dialing the first number she saw until it was ripped from her fingers.
"Leave him Alona," Blake said angrily as he threw the phone across the lawn.
She glared up at him, lunging to her feet and as she tried to spring at him, she felt a searing pain rip through both of her shoulders, the force sending her sprawling into the grass.
She cried out in agony as the same poison that hit Tristan, now tore through her.
"You idiots," Blake yelled, sending two hunters sprawling, "I had her under control."
"Like hell you did," one yelled, "she's a monster that should have been put down ages ago with that leech loving mother of hers."
Blake struck the man, knocking him unconscious, "Anyone else?"
"Master Blake," a woman replied shakily, never taking her eyes off of the man, "we were told that if she went rouge, we were to eliminate her."
He glared at her, "This is my mission, and I am the one giving the orders. You all will be reprimanded when we return."
He returned to his sister who now lay on the ground gasping, both of her shoulders bleeding heavily. He knelt down beside her, "Alona you aren't ready, and I see that now. I've made a terrible mistake, I'm so sorry." He placed a hand over the choker, whispering quietly, "Schlaf."
The choker grew warm, sending a gentle pulse through her body.
The sensation making her fall into unconsciousness, as her limbs grew heavy and her eyes closed, "Tris...tan."
This content is intended for mature audiences.
or, enter your birth date.*
Please enter a valid date format (mm-dd-yyyy)
Please confirm you have reviewed DeviantArt's Terms of Service below.
* We do not retain your date-of-birth information.