Naris stood not more then fifty steps from Layna and Adrastos. He had watched as Adrastos transformed and heard the words the female had spoke to him.

“My, my, it’s been too long since I’ve introduced myself to a Dragen.”
Although he recognized the black leathery skin that covered the males of the Fire, something about her appearance confused him. She did not look like females of the Fire. The red scaling that snaked over her body seemed alive, It did not cover her completely. There was also a familiarity about her as well. This creature could not be human. The power resonating from her was too great. Even those humans with magic did not carry their power within. They pulled it from elsewhere. No matter, he would deal with the male first and then her later.

Adrastos hissed as he scanned the forest around them. He had dealt with the ones who dwelled in the darkness before and knew they never traveled alone.

Layna’s eyes widened as she heard that word leave his lips. Her mother had warned her of them. They had a large part in destroying her people. With just a word under her breath, both of them were fully clothed again. Even with the tales she had been told, Layna did not expect what she saw next.

Naris focused his mind, calling to his brood.
"Come my children, I have a gift. Hurry, hurry to me now..”
As the shadows in the forest seemed to come alive, the ancient vampire allowed his body to relax, drifting through the shadows until he stood before them.

“I hope I was interrupting something.”
A cold and dangerous smile crept across the dark one's face.“I am Naris Amun..and you..” he pointed to Adrastos, “..are Dragen, I presume.”

Moving Layna behind him, Adrastos reached for his scimitar now at his side. It seemed to hum as he slowly pulled it from the sheath. Killing those of the darkness had never been an easy task, but he had been lucky so far. Never, though, had he come upon any who seemed to hold the strength as the one who stood before him. The thought of protecting Layna pounded in his head. He needed to get her out of here before he dealt with this vampire and his brood. “Run,”

"I will not..." Her words carried a heavy and exacting tone as she replied. She would not run, leaving him to be slaughtered. She had just found what she never thought possible in her life and she was not giving him up without a fight. Stepping to his side, she watched as the shadows surrounded them. Layna focused her power, praying she was ready for the chaos descending upon them.

The blackness around them began to screech and wail and soon, what seemed like waves of vampires flooded the clearing.

The first head came off with a sickening scream as Adrastos whipped his sword through the air. More came in it’s place and soon their heads rolled as well. It had never been this easy but then again, he was not as he once was.

Layna slipped through the masses as they tried to grab her, tearing at her cloak. Their vile spit sprayed as they seemed to murmur in unison. “Mine, mine..yes..for us..yes..devour..”

She reached her arms towards them, letting the fire rain from her fingertips. Almost smiling to herself, she watched at they writhed and shrieked as the fire turned them to ash. These pathetic creatures disgusted her. They filled her with rage and hatred for what they had done to her kind. Letting those feelings consume her would be her mistake.

Cutting a path through the vampires, Adrastos charged Naris. The vampire had been ready and raised his khopesh to meet him.
“I had been hoping for a good fight, Dragen. It’s been too long since I watched one of you die!”

A claw slipped out of the masses around them, tearing at Adrastos’ leg. That distraction allowed Naris to pierce his sword through the right side of the Dragen’s chest, barely missing his heart and stopping him in his tracks. It was all the time the vampire needed to slip back into the shadows, reappearing a moment later behind Layna. Reaching around her waist, he pulled her against him, claws at her throat. The vampire’s tongue darted out and ran along her cheek. 
“We will finish this another time..For now I shall take this as my trophy.”

In a flash, they were gone, disappearing into the darkness, followed by the masses that surrounded them. There was nothing now but silence.

Adrastos screamed for her, racing to where they stood but it was too late. He stood frozen for moment before dropping to his knees. As rage and anguish swept over him, he threw his head back, letting out out a terrifying roar. It echoed threw the forest and down into the core of every living being in it. The one thing that had given him life was now gone, stolen before his very eyes. It was as if a piece of him had been ripped from his chest.

He howled until his breathe was gone. Falling back towards the ground, his forehead rested on the very spot where she had once stood. Adrastos lay there for what seemed like an eternity.  “I will find you, Layna..there is no place in this world or another that he can hide you from me...”

The world around her faded from view, taking Adrastos with it. Layna screamed for him but to no avail. Collapsing in the vampire’s grasp, everything went black.

The End

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