Chapter 1

Of the two versions I still wonder which is actually better, the original intro or the recently re-written version?

He stumbled into the ground his hand clasped firmly to his side as the red blood trickled through droplets hitting the dirty beneath him now, a faint moan of pain escaped him as he grabbed the fencing beside him pulling himself up awkwardly now, he was unsure if it was he pain clouding his vision of perhaps the loss of blood, cautiously he glanced behind him for a moment the hauled himself full to his feet and staggered off down the street each step taking energy he was unsure he had at that moment.

            After another few feet of uncertain footstep he stumbled once more this time through a slightly open door crashing to the ground in a clumsy heap causing a squeal of shock to erupt from the female occupant.

                        “Quickly Tarin he’s trying to hurt us” She squealed in a panic

                        “Oh don’t be so dramatic woman, I’m not a sure a brute who wish to harm us would fall through an open door” Her husband replied as he moved to the heap of a man on the ground, with a firm push he hauled the fallen body over revealing the sight underneath, charred areas of flesh upon the man’s face and of course the wound which was now pouring blood from where the hand had prevented it before hand.

            Tarin had now approached the scene surveying it with her husband who was quickly trying to prevent further blood loss compacting rags from the doorway into the wound, trying to at least stem the flow.

                        “Is he going to survive?” She asked softly

                        “I doubt it” Her husband replied grimly “The best we can do now is make him a little more comfortable, come on help me”

            With that the two hoisted the fallen man to his feet and helped him as he struggled toward the sofa, the laid him upon it as with a groan he struggled to make sense of the event then slipped back into an unconscious state. Tarin moved off to fetch supplies to help make things a little less of a mess as her husband began to cut through the cloth of the fallen mans shirt revealing the true damage beneath.

                        “He’s been stabbed or something similar this wound goes very deep, perhaps if we can slow the bleeding we should call the doctor?” The husband stated firmly

                        “Yes of course Marlan” She replied then placed the tin bowl of hot water she brought beside her husband “I’ll go get him”

            He husband nodded as he dipped a rag into the heated water and began to slowly wipe away the blood preventing him getting a truly good look at wound, the skin charred and black beneath the blood that covered it.

                        “There’s something not right in all this my dear man” Marlan stated quietly “Perhaps before you pass you’ll let me know what that is?”

            After around twenty minutes or so Tarin returned with the doctor, and elderly man with silver hair and a single lens as he hurried in bag in hand seeing the bowl of bloody water and the man laying upon the couch breathing slow and steady.

                        “You said he was dying?” The doctor inquired

                        “He is .. or he was “She replied her tone both panicked and confused as she noted the silver bow and sword that now lay to the side in a pile, along with the remnants of the shirt the man had been wearing before his abrupt entry into their house.

                        “He’s not .... well he’s different doc” Marlan replied walking from the back room into the living area, the house was older it seemed , the log fired burned more brightly, it was warm and inviting in some way.

            The doctor raised a brow a moment then moved over to the man on the sofa looking at the now bandaged wounds as he opened his bag and began to peel back the bandage that was holding back the damage below, the charred flesh was now gone replaced with the faintest of normal flesh.      

                        “He was burned you say?” He asked

                        “It began to heal not long after Tarin left to fetch you, and the bleeding stopped not long after that, it seems he may survive after all”

            The doctor rubbed his cheek in a thoughtful manor for a moment before he stood to address the two who were now stood in a gentle embrace.

                        “I have heard that those who are from the castle in Elvera, are said to be, somewhat unique it of course is all speculation as they have their own healers and medicine men and few of us regular physicians get to see them, it is done so we are told to protect us from specific disorders they are born with, but upon enquiring a little deeper as I once did in my youth you see the fabric of reality to be very different” By the expression on Tarin and Marlans face the doctor knew he was losing them “Tarin could you make a pot of tea my dear?”

            She shuffled awkwardly then with a nod from her husband headed to the back of the small cottage into the kitchen area and began tinkering and pottering with the kettle and mugs.

                        “Doctor Alberts?” Marlan began

                        “Marlan, I think we have one of the royal guards with us, they are said to heal incredibly quickly, when he wakes he isn’t going to be too happy and I’m afraid if you are unprepared for this moment he may prove quite a handful, stories tell of a man with a heart so cold he could tear your head off without a second thought” Alberts replied softly “Not a scenario we want hmm?”

                        “Would we not be best taking him to this hospital of yours then?” Marlan replied his tone crept with a sense of panic 

            It was that moment that heard the shriek of Tarin and the clatter of the pots hit the ground as she dropped the tray she’d been carrying after a moment they followed the line of sight to see the formally almost dead man sat rubbing his head as if trying to shake the cobwebs

                        “Where ... ow .. where am I?” He asked

                        “You were bleeding on our floor, we thought best to make you comfortable if you were going to meet your end it may as well be in relative comfort” Marlan replied trying to bring a sense of strength to a very panicked voice

                        “Yea, quite a shock than I suspect, I’m ... “ He shook his head awkwardly for a moment then looked to Marlan the bright emerald of his eyes catching Marlan by surprise “Names Kane”

                        “I’m ... er ... Marlan” He stammered for a moment as Kane rose from the sofa awkward at first “This is Doctor Alberts and of course .... my wife Tarin”

            Kane looked a moment then return to rubbing his head for a moment blinking hard allowing him to focus on the scenario in front of him before he breathed deeply then spoke

                        “You have nothing to be afraid of, I owe you life it seems, a debt I cannot repay for the moment at least, but please allow me to aid in cleaning up the spilled tea?” He moved toward Tarin as his foot went forward his weight buckled his knee causing him to fall awkwardly against the wall and draw a breathe sharply through his teeth

                        “Please sit, your still hurt” Doctor Alberts stated “I’m sure Tarin can clear the mess now she knows you have no intent to harm them?”

            Tarin nodded quickly then moved off to fetch a mop and broom and drifted into her own isolated little world, Marlan helped Kane return to a seated position on the sofa and then moved off to help his wife.

                        “You have them in quite a panic my dear sir, but they are good people, they took you in even though you could at any moment harm them, please remember this?” Doctor Alberts had a near pleading tone in his voice now

                        “I have no intent to harm them, as I said I owe them my life but you are correct they took me in not even knowing my name, that is an act of mercy I cannot say I’ve seen from many, and I of course must thank you for the patch job you did on me Doc” Kane replied in a frustrated manor, his hand still clutched against the bandaged wound

                        “You mistake my skills sir, it was in fact Marlan who ... patched you up as it were” Alberts replied

            Marlan now stood beside Kane as he looked to him the uncertainty it seemed had now disappeared as he stood straight and far less uncomfortable than before

                        “My wife and I have spoken, and we agree that you may if you wish stay with us until you have strength enough to make your way home?” With that he offered a cup of hot tea the steam rising gently in the cool air of the cottage

                        “Thank you, I ... I’ll try not to be a burden and please if there is anything you need to be done I will of course help you both” Kane smiled before grimacing in the pain that clearly tore through him

                        “I will prescribe you something for the pain” Alberts interjected before he stood reaching in his bag then handing Kane a small phial full of small white pills “Take only one when needed they are quite potent I assure you my good sir” With that Doctor Alberts bid the couple good day and headed out from the cottage leaving just the three

                        “I’m sorry, I never meant to inconvenience you both, I’ll be gone a few days I promise” Kane smiled once more

                        “There is no ... wait until you are well enough” Tarin now added having joined the two men in the communal area by the fire, her own doubt it seemed had now lifted as she looked to her husband then entwined her fingers in his and smiled softly “We offer you our home”

                        “Thank you, both, I will find a way to repay you for this kindness, I promise you both that” Kane replied sipping from the cup  

            Tarin smiled then headed back into the kitchen, a few moments later the fire roared into action by the stove it seemed she was now preparing dinner.

                        “We only ask you are honest with us Kane, we are simple folk, I am blacksmith and my wife is the village teacher, simple folk, from a simple town, we have nothing to hide from you sir and we hope you will give us the same respect” Marlan now added

                        “Of course, I am Kane Elcarus” Had he not finished than Marlan looked rather worried it seemed he recognised the name

                        “Elc... arus? As in son of the Evermore, Lord Ceremon? But you are vicious cold killers”

            Kane looked rather puzzled then in the same moment almost relieved as he drew the cup to his lips and again sipped for a moment before finally continuing “Yes as in son of Ceremon, who as it happens is insane, I am Commander of the Everlandian Army, and Personal Guard of Ascondia Exaltia, I however am not a killer, nor have I ever taken life without the need to do so, I do not kill for the sake of killing, others of my line may but I do not, I got myself into an issue with Molvar who was at my last check a member of Ceremons personal guard, a half breed werewolf with a really bad attitude and issues to match, I told you I owe you my life and for that I will ensure you are reward either by me or by the court itself”

                        “Again sir we ask for nothing” Marlan stated firmly

                        “Very well, then it will come from me in whatever form is needed whenever it is needed”

                        “So you’re like us?” Tarin asked now reappearing from the kitchen area

                        “No, I’m a vampire demon hybrid, and I’m also not to be feared, I promise you I intend nor will allow any harm to come to you both, you have my word on that” Kane replied softly

                        “Explains the healing I guess” Marlan replied

                        “It wouldn’t have mattered if it wasn’t for you Marlan, without you and your wife’s help I would indeed be dead at this moment”

            Tarin smiled her blonde hair bouncing as she once again moved off to the kitchen the cottage had become filled with an aroma of vegetables and meat cooking before she stopped and looked back her eyes looking to Kane ten to her husband “Don’t vampires drink blood?”

                        “Some, yes, ones like me ... not so much” Kane shrugged softly the statement was matter of fact and straight

                        “Not so much” Marlan pushed quickly fearing if he didn’t Kane would merely avoid the situation

                        “It’s rare but I do have vampire genetics which mean eventually I have to feed, thankfully the need is few and far between and the it is a well managed point by the High Council, you again have no need to worry”

                        “Even with the amount of blood you lost?” Marlan replied

                        “It just means it’ll take a little longer to heal, the need is more a psychological point with me, I can months to almost years before I have to feed again, the demon side is stronger and has a more asserted control for my personality this is a more favourable outcome for me”

            Marlan nodded though he barely understood a word Kane had just said only that they were safe and weren’t about to be fed upon the moment they turned their back, that it seemed would be enough for him “We had better keep this to ourselves it may panic others who understand less than we understand”

            Kane nodded softly in reply as Tarin finally brought them dinner the three sitting down to eat the meal now chatting about the lives they led.

The End

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