The poker plunged once again in to the flesh. A scream pierced the air and Lucia realised it was hers. The pain was excruciating but she would not give in. She would not give them what they wanted. The poker was removed and she took a deep breath, preparing herself for the next shooting pain. There was a pause, and then a soft, frail voice spoke in her ear.
“Will you tell me what I want Lucia?” The voice was kind and encouraging but she was not fooled. She knew this voice. Through gritted teeth she spat out,
“Oh dear,” said the voice, “that is a shame. Well, carry on Edgor, carry on.”
The poker was slapped on to the leg. Lucia’s scream pierced the air again, this time higher and more torn. “Such a shame,” said the voice again.
Edward and Charlotte raced across the ice, the wind battling with their faces. They never slipped, but seemed to glide across the ice effortlessly. Since the werewolf had attacked them three days ago, Charlotte had recovered, and was now as strong as before. They had begun tracking Lucia for almost two days now and, as the sun sank lower in the sky, they were nearing their destination. A huge mound of ice rose up in front of them and they headed towards it.
Lucia leaned against the dirty wall, relaxing her muscles and letting the pain crash over her. The result made her double over in pain, and she let out a gasp. The cold, wetness of the wall helped soothe some of the pain, and she pressed against it, praying for it to release its hold on her. Thinking of the extended two hours of torture only made it worse, so she focussed on other things, like the fact that she could feel Edward getting closer to her prison. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t control Edgor’s mind, why he was immune to her skills. Never had she seen under the metal mask he wore, or the cloak that shrouded him in black. She couldn’t understand. All she knew was they were after…she wouldn’t give in, she wouldn’t tell them what they needed to know. Even if it killed her.
Edward skidded to a halt by the base of the mound, sending a spray of fine ice up in the air. Charlotte slid to a stop next to him, looking up at the gigantic structure.
“This is where her scent stops? Are you sure?”
“Yes. We’ve been round the whole thing and this is where she first entered.”
“Great. Just how do you suggest we get in there then?”
“I don’t know.”
“Brilliant.” She sank to the floor and looked at the ice in front of her. “I can’t see any crack that could show there’s a door.”
“There must be a way to get in. I don’t understand why they wanted her though. Tristan could have had any of us and he was after her. Why?” He helped Charlotte up and brushed some snow off her shoulder.
“Well maybe she knew something they didn’t. You never told me, who is this they?”
“I don’t know. But Tristan only works for people who are either extremely rich, or a large coven who can give him something he wants. I’m guessing it’s the latter.”
“Well there’s no way we can fight a large coven, so what are we doing here?”
“Trying to find away to bargain for Lucia. I’m sure with my wealth and knowledge I can find whatever they want.”
“What if you can’t?”
“Then we will have to re-think.”
“Lucia will kill me if I lose you. Let’s try to prevent a fight ok?”
“I promise… and if it does and is beyond my control, then I want you to run.”
“No! I can take care of myself!”
“Please, you can’t stay around if it turns nasty. I don’t want to see you hurt.”
“Look. You really need to think clearly. I will be fine. Just concentrate.”
“I can’t help if I like you.”
“Well try. I’m not going anywhere.”
He sighed and pulled her close. She struggled. “Then I have to do this.” She looked at him in confusion, and then, guessing what he was going to do, screamed,
“No!” He threw her backward and she landed in a pile of snow and ice. She jumped up, just in time to see him walk through the sheet of ice. She flew down the slope he had thrust her up and headed for the wall of ice. She reached it and ploughed in to the wall, only to find out she couldn’t get through. She hammered on the ice but it remained solid. He must have found out how to lock it so that she couldn’t get through. Under her breath she cursed him, and then started circling the mound to find another way in.
The first thing Edward noticed when he walked through the mound was how warm it was. The first things he smelt were burning vampire skin, ashes and a hot metal. The first thing he saw was a big wheel, which was obviously used for closing the mirage. He pushed it, shutting Charlotte outside. She must be safe. Lucia would kill him if she got hurt. There was something about her that he liked, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He turned and saw a huge figure shrouded in black, charging towards him, holding a long hot poker. Obviously the hot metal he had smelt. He ducked and rolled. The poker soared behind him, an inch from his back. He felt the heat pass him and cringed. He jumped up from his roll and spun, kicking out and catching the figure in the small of his back with his heel. The figure stumbled, and fell. Edward was on top of him in a second, tearing back the cloaks hood. The mask that covered the face was off in another second, and Edward recoiled inside of himself. The creature was that of legend, something that there were rumours about but that had been hushed up, or denied. What lay helpless under Edward was a creature of human origins and made by magic. It was a zombie. The human had no choice in the matter. A victim was taken when young, and fed magic brews until it died. It never learned to speak, read or play, like a normal child. It learnt to serve. When it died all of the magic was extracted, bringing the organs with it. The magic will have deformed the brain, making the creature obedient to its creator only and it had just enough thought to do as it was told. They were feared, and pitied among all immortal creatures. They could never be free, until they died. Edward reached down and held the creatures’ head. It groaned. He whispered to it,
“Be free my friend, be free.” He twisted, and pulled the zombies head off its shoulders. Quickly, he threw it in to the nearest fire and jumped off the body. Getting up, the body stumbled after its head, jumping in to the fire, and crumbling in to dust and ashes. Edward watched the fire for a few seconds, and then turned to follow Lucia’s scent, which he could now smell strongly. It was not the same however, and he noticed the slight smell of burning. He hurried forward and followed the scent to a small staircase. He ran up it then stopped suddenly, only halfway up the steps. He noticed a vampire near. Crouching he waited. The vampire was still, waiting for him to turn the corner. Then he noticed the familiar scent and stood, walking normally up the next few steps. A fast, furious thunderbolt of a figure leapt at him. They crashed in to the wall, the figure snarling as it tried to tear the neck. Then, suddenly, the tearing stopped and the figure jumped back. Edward picked himself up and, holding his head, looked down at Charlotte’s face. She reached up and slapped his face. He staggered, not having expected it.
“Charlotte, what did you do that for?”
“You really are an idiot. Did you really think throwing me as far as you could was going to help?”
“Yes. Obviously I will have to build up my throwing muscles.”
“Yes. You will.”
“But how did you get in?”
“They opened a window, so that I could get in and they could attack me. I was too quick for them though. Two guards are no match for me, even if they were vampires.”
“Of course they aren’t!” He laughed. “Come on then, I guess I can’t get rid of you again now, so just be careful.”
They slunk quietly up the stairs until they reached the top. Then, they followed Lucia’s scent to a doorway at the bottom of the corridor that stretched out in front of them. Halfway down they saw a door to the right, which was open, and inside were the remains of the two guards who had tried to capture Charlotte. Edward smiled as he saw them and then they carried on along the corridor. They turned around a corner and then saw what they were looking for. The door was padlocked in many intricate ways and in front of it were two large and muscled vampires. As soon as they saw the intruders they leapt upon them. Charlotte punched her guard and then tore his head from his shoulders, and turned, only to find Edward pinned to the wall by the one that had attacked him. She flung herself on to the guards back and wrestled to get a grip on his neck, while Edward fought to be free. He succeeded in freeing his arms, and gripped the vampire’s neck, ripping at his throat. The man sank to the ground and gasped, his throat still in Edward’s hands. He twitched and then he was still. Charlotte got up from where she had thrown herself as the vampire fell. Edward leaned down and gathered the vampire’s keys from his belt. They went to the door and went through the keys until they found the right one for all of the locks. When they finished they opened the door and went in, ready for anything. Lucia lay on the floor, attached to the wall by a strong metal chain. She was weak, and her face showed the bones through the skin. She had obviously not had any blood recently. As they walked in she shifted weakly, and they saw the burn marks along her body. They had scorched her legs and arms, and then continued the torture along her body and face. She was a mess. Burn after burn ran over her, sometimes overlapping and some showed the purple bruises around them. Her eyes were a grey colour, which matched the sunken rings around them. When she saw who they were, her eyes flashed to their normal black for a while, then they faded to the starving grey. She struggled weakly to get up, and they rushed forward to help. They heaved her up and almost carried her to the door. When they had reached the corridor they had to stop, because in front of them were four vampires. One was old and frail looking, but his face showed his great strength. His eyes were a dark red, darker than Edward’s, and muscles were visible even on his face. The man to his left was Tristan, grinning cruelly again, and his eyes gleaming. On Tristan’s other side was a woman. Her wild red eyes darted from side to side, watching each one of the intruders and the prisoner. By the stump that had been an arm Charlotte could tell that this was Emily, Tristan’s partner. She was pretty, there was no doubt, but there was something wrong about her. She acted like an animal, just like Edward said she did. Edward let out a slight growl when he saw Emily and Charlotte glanced at him before turning to stare at the vampires again. On the old vampire’s right side was a vampire who was not in the least bit strange when just looking. He was dark skinned and his red eyes were like rubies in their sockets. He had a similar grin to Tristan’s on his face and his teeth gleamed. However there was a strong pulse coming off him, and he looked strained, as if he was fighting someone right now. Edward was looking at him in shock, and a flicker of doubt passed over the vampire’s face. He looked at Charlotte and his eyes widened. He gazed at her, and the strain in his face grew. She looked at Edward, but he was still watching the vampire intently. She turned to face the four again, and noticed that the old vampire was still looking at Lucia. She set her down and stepped forward to hide her from view. Several things happened at once. The old vampire shifted, turning to look at her. Tristan and Emily both hissed. However, the reaction of the vampire that had stared at her shook violently, and the light that hung above them shattered, sending glass down on to the two groups. No one shifted, but both sets of vampires had scratches from the glass. Emily’s arm was bleeding, and a dribble of blood made its tracks down from Charlotte’s head to her chin. The result of this was that the odd vampire threw himself towards her, only to be stopped in his tracks as Edward leapt in front of her, and Tristan grappled with him from behind. The sound of a window shattering could be heard from the room behind the smaller company.
“Now, now, we don’t want to hurt them do we Alexander?” Tristan’s voice told them that he would like nothing better than to hurt them. Alexander struggled for a while, then pulled himself back, his face resuming its previous strained look. The old man looked at Edward and smiled a weak but sinister smile. He stepped forward and bowed.
“I believe this is the famous Count D’Angelo is it not?”
“You would be correct.” Edward was stiff as he replied. Tristan’s lip curled and he put a restraining hand on Alexander, who had hissed.
“Well it is an honour. I have heard so much about you from Tristan and Emily. But I don’t believe I know your friend?”
“No you don’t. But then I don’t know who you are.”
“Oh of course, how rude of me. I am Drittain L’Faye. This is Alexander Demetrius L’Faye and, well I think you already know Tristan and Emily.” Charlotte hissed, eying them threateningly. Edward put a restraining hand around her shoulder and when she saw this, Emily’s eyes narrowed, and she also hissed. Charlotte shrugged Edward’s arm off. Edward spoke to Drittain L’Faye again.
“I do. I am sure in better circumstances this would be a much better meeting, but my friend and I would like to return to our home with Lucia.”
“Oh I thought that little snag might come up.”
“I fail to see the snag.”
“Well you see I can’t let her go until she tells me what I want to know.”
“What is it you wish to know?”
“Ah but you could not possibly know the answer Edward, so there is no point in telling you is there?”
“What makes you think I won’t know the answer?”
“I just know these things. Oh, but you haven’t told me the name of your friend yet.”
Edward looked at Charlotte and nodded, whereupon she stepped forward.
“My name, Mr L’Faye, is Charlotte Myron.” Alexander shifted and hissed. Drittain hushed him, but Charlotte was looking at him curiously. Her eyes wandered over his features, taking in every detail. Her eyes widened, and she gasped in shock, stumbling backward and nearly tumbling over Lucia. Edward turned to her but she could look at nothing but Alexander. He turned back to face the group, who were now watching Alexander calmly, making no attempt to stop him as he walked forward. Edward snarled, and Alexander stopped a few steps away. He held out his hand, and Charlotte, her gaze still on his face, stepped forward. Edward snarled again and leapt in front of her. He put his arms around her and held her, stopping her from going any further.
“Charlotte…what’s wrong?” He struggled against her as she tried to walk to Alexander and succeeded in pushing her back a step.
“She has to come to me. We have a tie. I am the vampire that made her.” At this news Edward snarled deeply, and Alexander looked at him. “I can see that she has told you the story of how she was made. Do not worry, she is not in pain. I am in more than she is. But if I want her to join us she will. There is nothing she can do to stop it.” He winced and the strain in his face grew more apparent. “The bond between vampires and their makers is strong; there are not many that could just ignore the call. I know that you could tell when you first saw me that I am a magician. Don’t worry; I don’t need magic to make her do my bidding. I can do that simply with my mind.”
“Stop calling her to you. I swear if you touch her I will make you regret it before I kill you.”
“Oh look, he is protective of her. What do you think of that Emily?” She snarled and came to join him.
“Edward, I never thought we would meet again. It is good to see you have got over me so quickly.”
“I never got over you Emily,” Edward said, and Charlotte turned her head to look at him, her muscles standing out in her face as she fought against the pull of Alexander. Emily smirked and stepped forward, but Alexander caught her and pushed her backwards. She snarled at him but went back to Tristan, and looked up at him with adoring eyes, just like those of a puppy. Alexander put out his hand for Charlotte again, and her struggles with Edward grew. She ripped one of her arms loose and wrestled with him, freeing the other arm. She managed to pull his arms off her, and took Alexander’s hand. He pulled her to him and held her at his side. Edward had leapt forward but stopped, his face pained. Emily stepped forward and spoke to him with a cruel laugh,
“You can’t seem to keep the women you fall in love with can you Edward? In the end they always stand with someone else. But I wonder what you will do to this one? Rip off a leg? Tear her throat out? Or will you just rip her arm off like you did to me?”
“You should really let me finish sentences Emily. I said I never got over you. I didn’t have to. I never loved you. What we had wasn’t love, and if it had been, I would have left you as soon as I saw this girl, because she means more to me than you could.”
Emily snarled and leapt at Edward again, but someone else was quicker. Charlotte stood, rigid and defiant, watching Emily as she stopped, and looked at Alexander in confusion. His face was also confused, but it was contorted in anger too. Edward smiled at their confusion, and tried to put his arm around her. She snarled at him and stepped back, so that she was standing in the middle of the two groups. They all looked at her, both sides confused. Her head was in her hands and she seemed to be wrestling with herself. Then she looked up, and her face was clear. She turned to Alexander and smiled.
“You can’t hurt him Alexander.”
“What the hell are you doing?”
“You can’t hurt him while I’m here darling.” Edward looked at her shocked, trying to understand the situation.
“What are you talking about Charlotte?” Alexander was getting angrier every second, “Do you prefer him to me?”
“He has something about him, I can’t understand it, but he seems special. You shouldn’t hurt him. No good will come of it.”
“Charlotte, what is going on?” Edward, who clearly understood what was now happening, had hurt in his voice, and he stepped forward, his hand outstretched.
“Edward, if I were you I would run now, just take Lucia and go.”
Tristan twisted round snarling and lunged at Edward’s throat. Charlotte was there in a flash, pushing Tristan in to the wall. There was a crack as he hit the wall, but he was only down for a few seconds. He jumped back up and glared at Alexander.
“Alexander, control your partner. Whatever has gotten in to her she is going to be in serious trouble if they get away.”
“I can’t. She isn’t mine to control. She is her own free will.”
Charlotte grinned, and then turned to Edward.
“Run Edward. Run.” Edward picked up Lucia and backed away cautiously.
“But of course,” said Alexander who was now grinning evilly, “I will punish her if this isn’t a joke.”
Charlotte turned to Alexander and opened her arms.
“It isn’t a joke.”
The last thing Edward saw as he jumped out of the small window in the room behind the corridor was Charlotte, her arms open, Alexander, Tristan and Emily leaping on her with their fangs bared.