Money is only a bite away...

 "Alright sir, for the six horses that comes to about... sixty-five hundred gold pieces." A short, tubby man with gray hair spoke. He was selling his remaining horses to a young lad with black hair, a man with blonde hair, a woman with blonde hair and a short black haired kid from an eastern country. The blonde haired woman had her arms around the tall, muscular blonde in an affectionate manner.

 "Sixty five hundred?" Tadrith yelled in shock. He then winced as Piper wrapped her arms around him and jumped onto his back.

 The old man snapped his fingers. "Sorry, these are the only horses I got and they're all purebred. Worth every piece however." He smiled.

 Chao rolled his eyes. "That’s a load of bull shi.."

 Zane scowled at Chao. The old merchant swore that the boy had unnaturally sharp teeth. Chao merely spat on the ground. "It's true.” he protested.

 "You must excuse my young friend," Zane apologized. "He's do you say uneducated in treating a gentleman such as yourself with proper manners." The old merchant raised his eyebrows but quickly handed the reins of six horses to Tadrith. Piper then took out a bag filled with coins. She tossed it to the old merchant. They all then proceeded to mount their horses, and then began to gallop out of the small town.

 In a small clearing beside a crossroad, a camp had been set up. A young maid was playing a small flute like instrument. Beside her stood a very annoyed young man, bound in silver chains. He growled and clawed at the chains but to no avail. 

"Damnit," Jacob swore to himself. He continued his useless effort to break the chain but he knew I could not be done. Silver although very weak normally changed when a certain spell was enchanted upon it, it gave it power to bind and hold a were-wolf.

"Just my luck, not even being half wolf is going to help me here." Jacob sat down and sighed. It was only recently that he discovered he was a were-wolf. "Explains why father always left during a full moon." Jacob thought.

 Suddenly his ears wiggled. He began to hear and smell a putrid and decaying stench. The vampires are back." Jacob remarked. Amethyst placed her instrument away and walked towards the approaching group.

 "Where to next Zane?" Amethyst questioned, stroking the head of her horse.

"Not really sure," Zane responded. "Guess we eat here first, before we make any moves. Amethyst nodded and began to open a large bag. Inside it was an assortment of bottles. Ranging from small vials to cider containers, they were full of a reddish liquid. Jacob inhaled the scent of blood. The rest of the group dismounted and began to drink.

 "Hmm, doesn't taste too bad." Chao remarked. He then picked up another vial and walked towards Jacob. "Want some bud?" he asked.

 Jacob shook his head. "Sorry Chao, I prefer fresh meat, not blood." Jacob stopped and stared for a moment. Chao stared back, realizing that Jacob had just asked for fresh, uncooked meat. Jacob sat down and dug his head between his knees.

"What's happening to me?"

 Zane slurped down a small jug and turned to Jacob. "Your wolf instinct is finally coming out dog." Zane said, blood dripping from his mouth. Jacob growled at him but the resumed putting his head down. A large growl from his stomach however caught the entire group’s attention.

 "So hungry." Jacob complained.

 Zane looked at Tadrith then at Chao. "Let him hunt, but follow him," he began. "Once he has eaten his fill return him here."

 "And if he should try to escape?" Tadrith questioned, cracking his knuckles.

 "Break his legs." Zane answered coolly, taking another sip from a vial. Tadrith nodded and undid Jacob's chain. He grabbed him by the neck then ran towards a nearby forest. Chao followed right behind.

 In the forest, three figures stepped through the underbrush, trying to make as little noise as possible. They wore a black cloak and all had crossbows and swords with them. The lead figure stopped.

 "Halt here comrades," he began. "Something approaches." The two figures behind him drew bolts into their crossbow as their leader did as well. Suddenly a deer bolted across from them, on its heels was a wolf like creature. It leaped at the deer, snapping its spine. It then began to feast on the carcass, devouring almost all the body in seconds. Suddenly it looked up at them, its muzzle dripping with blood from its kill. It bared its teeth at them and snarled.  "Holli, Niko, fire on my command."

 "Yes sir!" the two responded. They aimed their crossbows at the creatures face. But before their leader could issue the order, a dark figure leapt at him. It tackled him to the ground, then raised its fist and struck right through the leader's chest. He let out a moan before he stood limp, the life fading from his eyes. The figure then plunged his fangs into the dead man's neck. 

 "V...V...Vam.." Niko stammered. The figure then hissed at them.

 "Vampire!" Holli yelled. She then fired her crossbow at him, hoping the quarrel would hit the bloodsucker in the face. But the vampire merely ducked.

 "Hey watch it vermin!" Chao yelled at his would-be attackers. He then prepared to pounce on the nearest one when a hand placed itself on his shoulder firmly. Chao turned and came face t face with Tadrith.

"There's two!" Holli gasped. She then quickly fitted another quarrel into her crossbow and aimed it at Tadrith. Niko stood still, out of both fear and shock. Tadrith raised his arms, gesturing them to put down their weapons. He then turned to the were-wolf.

"Get cleaned up and head back to camp. Chao follow him, make sure he doesn't escape." Tadrith ordered. the were-wolf snarled at him but ranin the direction they had appeared from. Chao nodded and took off, close behind the wolf. Tadrith then turned towards the two frightened warriors in front of him. "You two will come with me."

Niko continued to stare while Holli shook her head. "And if we refuse?" she questioned, unsheathing her sword.

Tadrith merely smiled and produced a blade of his own. "Then i will run you through and suck you dry." he stated. Holli grinded her teeth but sheathed her weapon. She then motioned Niko to follow her. Tadrith sheathed wis weapon and began to walk the same direction Chao and the wolf had gone. Holli and Niko follwed close behind.

"Alright Piper, concentrate on that boulder over there," Zane instructed to Piper, who was struggling to lift a boulder with her mind. "Thsi is a hard spell to leanr but a valuable skill to master."

"I'm trying!" Piper shouted back at him. Zane shook his head. Piper was already showing signs of exaustion. Anything more today would probably kill her. Suddenly Tadrith appeared, behind him were two figures in blck cloaks. One of them was a boy maybe a year older than Zane with gray hair and gray eyes. His companion was almost identical to him, was it not for the fact she was a girl. Her long gray-silver hair covered by her cloak. They arrived i the camp and Zane began to question the two.

"Who are you?" Zane asked. The two prisoners glanced at each other before the boy spoke.

"My name is Niko Strorm, and this is my cousin, Holli Gordon. We are rangers for the army of Ferdinand Rodelero. We have come to seek assistance from skilled warriors and assasins." Niko said.

Zane opened his mouth to question what these warrior were need for when Chao appeared. On his back was a tired Jacob. He was sleeping, but was soon awaken by Chao. He got off Chao and began to strecth his legs when he noticed Holli had been watching him. He stared back at her, causing her to blush and turn away. Jacob stared at her for a moment. He felt as if he had seen the girl before.

"Maybe the wolf saw something." Jacob thought to himself. 

Niko then gazed at Holli, then at Jacob and began to pseak again. "We have been dispatched from our lord, Sophia and Gustav Sandoval to recruit these fighters in order to kill Ferdinand."

"Why would you want to kill your Duke?" Zane questioned. Niko bowed his head down and spoke.

"Ferdinand was once a just and able ruler. However after a battle with demons in the north, he began to lose his sanity. He suspected everyone for being witches or demons. He had thousands of innocent people killed. Our vassals have had enough and want to rule the land. They promise to make it a just and fair one, without any madness." Niko explained. "Sir, would you assist us in dethroning this madman?"

Holli gasped and turend red. "We don't need these...vampires help! We need real warriors." she complained. "And besides they would all be known as vampires because of their skin and eyes."

Piper smiled. "I think we can fix that." Suddenly Holli gasped as Piper and the rest of the group began to glow. In their place stood humans with the same hair colour but same hair. 

"Unbelievable!" Holli said.

"Tell me Niko," Zane adressed Niko who spun around. "What would we recieve for assisting your cause?"

Niko told him that they would receive not only a large sum of gold but the assistance and gratitude of the city itself. Zane then smiled and turned to the group. "Comrades, let us assit this just cause." They all laughed and began to mount thier horses. Niko and Holli lead the way through the forest, Tadrith and Chao right at their backs. Zane and Amethyst stood side by side while Piper held a metal chain that leashed Jacob. Holli turned around and wondered what the chain was for.

"You are testing my patience merchant!" Alastor yelled. The entitre town was in ruins, an aftermath of his rage. He held the merchant by his neck. The merchant was cut and bleding all over. Outside, screams of terror could be heard followed by the screeching of an unknown monster. The merchant began to cry.

"I have no idea where this Zane went," he pleaded. "I sold horse to this boy and his group and that's that No Zane!"

"Which direction did they go?" Alastor growled. The merchant pointed towards a road leading away form the town. Alastor smiled and threw the merchant into a wall. As the merchant struggled to stand, a large, white creature landed on him, squishing him under its bulk. The monster laughed, its voice as hellish as Alastor's.

"Greetings Alastor." The monster spoke, its voice a rasping sound.

" Ah Wendigo, it's been too long." Alastor replied. "I'm assuming you've had a good feeding. Wendigo licked its lips.

"I had almost forgottren the taste of human blood" Wendigo said. Alastor smiled and then pointed to a road.

"The group that we are searching for has left that way. I garuntee there will be more prey, including a wolf."

Wendigo stared at him, droll drpping form his now open jaws. He adored the taste of wolf blood and enjoyed a good fight with one. "Wolf, something i have not drank in a while."

"However," Alastor said. "You must watch out for there is a demon, as strong as I with them in disguise. If you find her, subdue her and bring her to me."

Wendigo smiled, baring long, yellow teeth. "And of the others with her?" 

"Kill them all." Alastor said. Wendigo lauged before strecthing his wings. He began to pump them furiously before ascending higher and higher. He then flew faster, beating his wings and heading towards the group's direction. 

"Soon Amethyst, your little game will be over." Alastor said to himlself. he then pulled out a stone tablet. It was written in ancient writings that only he could decipher. "The one born from the greatest vamoire kingdom in the world shall be its downfall, creating a new race of his own to eleminate the other. The Queen of demons shall leave her throne and assist the chosen, then in time become his queen." Alastor laughed and threw the tablet on the ground. "We'll see about that." 







The End

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