Chapter One

HOMECOMING

As she stalked through her former coven’s crypt, the silence gripped at her soul and twisted violently. All of their work had been reduced to nothing but rubble. The ground had been coated in a thick layer of ash and she grimaced upon noticing it. Her friends and family, her everything. Lilith shook despair from her mind, clenching her fist into a ball as she stalked towards a strange contraption giving off a crimson glow. The vampire hit at some buttons on the wall and a dull ‘ding’ sounded, marking the opening of the doors. She recoiled in shock, but then hastily stepped into the little red room that had opened up. There was no other way to go, after all. 

One3The elevator shut quickly and nipped her heels, so she hissed at the mechanical doors. A calm feminine voice responded:

“Please select a level.”

 

Growling at such insolence, Lilith shot a glare over at the glowing panel of buttons, only one of them pulsating with a slightly brighter light. She supposed that was the ‘level’ she would have to choose.

One1

The lift shot upwards with frightening speed but she just tapped her foot impatiently. The red lights in this little cubicle were starting to annoy her. Finally, it came to a halt and the doors opened slowly, revealing a musty little room that was severely in need of renovation. The front door had been left slightly ajar, letting a cool mist drift inwards and float around her like wisps. Brambles had begun to grow through the cracked tiles, clawing their way up through the cracks with desperation like the undead. While not overly haughty, Lilith took in her surroundings with a vicious eye. The humans had done this. They pillage and burn and then stop to wonder why the world is no longer beautiful. 

One2

She exited the funny little contraption with the her ever-present scowl and breathed deeply, savouring the acrid fresh air. While it was nice to be back above ground, Lilith had enjoyed the serenity of her slumber. There was no hunger, no burning thirst that drove her to the brink of madness and back again, and there were no humans to deal with. Her thoughts were disturbed by some obnoxious rustling to her right and a drawling deep voice. 

“So, you’re finally awake. I’d been waiting here all night – thought you’d never snap out of your little trance.”

One4

Lilith whipped around – a little slower than usual, but she was working on regaining her agility – and glared incredulously at the male. His face was unfamiliar, but his scent was all too recognisable. The male pushed himself to his feet, stepping a little closer to her and extending a hand. 

“I’m Draven. You must be terribly confused, with that awful letter and all – but I can explain everything – “

One5

He didn’t finish his sentence as Lilith cut him off. 

“You!” She bared her fangs and pointed at him. There was a ferocity in her eyes that glinted as she dashed up to the stranger, something hideously feral and unstable. There was no logical reason behind her anger, just the need to blame anyone other than herself for the death of her coven. “You did this, didn’t you? You led the humans here to destroy my coven and now you have the audacity to- to play the gentleman? Why did you lead them here?” 

Her blood boiled, simmering beneath her pale skin and irritating her further. She prepared herself for a fight even though all her strength had not returned. She had yet to feed, and she was ravenous the moment her eyes had opened. She would even drain this vampire if it was necessary. 

One7

But Draven didn’t seem fazed in the slightest, sighing and holding his hands up. It almost seemed like he’d done this before, angering Lilith further. 

“Look,” he huffed, dropping his head a little to look at her face-to-face, “I had nothing to do with this – the whole destruction of your coven thing. I just found this place and you in it. And I really don’t want to fight with a thirsty she-vamp who’s got some issues.” 

Lilith growled at his last statement, exposing her fangs even further and glowering at him. 

He rolled his eyes. “Back off, alright? You’ll just end up hurting yourself and then how are we supposed to find out who did this to your coven?” 

One9

“So there’s a ‘we’ now?” Lilith spat out the words as if they were coated in poison, but she dropped her accusatory finger. This seemed to encourage him as the tiniest of smiles crept up onto his features. What a pansy, she thought quietly while glaring impatiently. 

He nodded confidently, gesturing to the elevator she had stepped out from. “There was always a ‘we’ considering I set you up with that ride. Besides, how do you think you managed to slumber so safely for so long. I should be promoted to guardian angel – there were so many curious tourists I had to scare off.”

Lilith remained wholly unimpressed, and somewhat creeped out that he had decided to protect her. She was capable of protecting herself, and she would have been able to slaughter those scrawny humans had she been awake when they attacked. “Tell me what happened here,” she demanded with a guarded look. She still didn’t trust this stranger, but she was more than happy to squeeze information out of him. 

One8

To her surprise, all he offered was a shrug and some vague hand gestures. She had been expected a full run-down of all that had happened, especially considering that he seemed to have been here a while – watching her. “There were weapons everywhere when I found this place. Stakes, ‘holy’ water – heck, even garlic.” His smile brightened a little, but then vanished all together. “I cleaned up, burned all the dangerous things and salvaged what I could from the crypt. Whoever attacked – they came very prepared. I was pleasantly surprised when I found they had forgotten to murder just one special vampire – you!”

One6

He seemed elated. She was seething. 

Even so, Lilith had decided to trust this strange vampire for now. He was the only person she had, and she would desperately need the help. But she could see herself using him and then tossing him to the wolves later on. She didn’t know where his loyalties rested, and she wouldn’t accept potentially contaminated vampires into the coven. It was against the code. 

“Okay Draven. You’re staying with me… for now. Just until I find out what happened. Just until I can bring this coven back from the ashes. Why are you out here anyways? Isn’t there a pact you’re loyal to?” 

He averted his glowing eyes but quickly snapped them back to her face with a resolve that had been re-enforced. “I’m a rogue. I work alone. I drift. I’m only loyal to myself. But I can offer my loyalty to you, if you would allow it?” 

One15

Lilith was unprepared for such an offer, slightly disgusted at the desperation she sensed in the breaths between his words. Of course he would attach himself to me quickly, she thought bitterly, he knows I intend to rebuild and he wants in. Without deliberation, she accepted his offer with a brisk nod and a wave of her hand. “Fine. But I only offer you protection until my coven is rebuilt. After that, there are no guarantees.” 

He pretended to consider the arrangement, tilting his head either side before finally bowing to her and accepting. He couldn’t refuse. He had nothing to lose. 

“Then you have my complete loyalty…” He paused and looked at her questioningly. Had she even disclosed her name? 

“Lilith.” A brief smile passed between the two, uncomfortable for a moment but warmer as it drew on. 

“Lilith.”

One12

The moment passed, interrupted by a humming Lilith felt in her chest, beckoning her into the moonlight once again. It had been so long since she had felt the pull of the moon, her glassy seduction wrapping around the vampire and calling. Draven watched her go, wishing the moon would beckon him in such a way again. He hadn’t felt the pull since he had been turned.

One16

Lilith responded, pushing open the door and letting some light drip into the building, pooling just at shoes. The night smelt gorgeous tonight. She dipped herself into the light, watching as the sky shifted and mutilated into something monstrous and beautiful. Nature knew that she had returned. The trees sensed her wrath and trembled. The sky sensed her rage and celebrated. 

One17

The display astonished even her, and she clutched at her empty chest while the colours danced like bruises on a peach. They danced just for her, the display both welcoming and strangely spiteful. She was home. 

One18


One22

As the night continued to crawl along, Lilith became ever more comfortable with the presence of Draven. He would be useful. But more than that, he would also provide the company that Lilith  had lacked while she had been asleep. Even prior to that, she had never been popular with the rest of her coven. She was mean, everyone agreed on that at least. She was barely ever seen without a violent twist to her mouth and a bored fury in her eyes. 

She had gone out to hunt while the moon still caressed her skin, tasting all the fresh blood in the air with euphoric anticipation. While stalking around the town, sticking carefully to the shadows, she stopped at a large building that seemed to lie at the heart of Moonlight Falls. The lights still burned fiercely, lacerating the darkness where it tried to invade.

One24

This, she supposed, was where they congregated to hold their pathetic meetings. Where they sat in stiff chairs and discussed the extermination of an entire race while furiously washing their hands of the blood. Revolting. Feeling anger bubble up in her veins, Lilith sprinted away quickly, heading back towards the Olvera Crypt to find some blood that was slightly closer to home. Besides, it would be better to start with victims further away from the heart of the city. There would be less panic. 

She found a large estate just walking distance from the crypt, sliding behind a mature tree to spy on the estate. It seemed pretty late, so she decided it would be fine to peek in through the windows and single out her prey.

One26

Her senses tingled with the thrill of the hunt and they locked onto a suitable target in no time. She was a larger woman, her soul was warm and her blood was even warmer. She would be more than enough. Preparing to breach the estate, Lilith noticed that her prey was on the move – towards her! She frowned and tried to focus in on the woman, but there were other strange beings interfering with her tracking – hollow beings. In her confusion, she had failed to notice the footsteps to her side and she whirled around at the overwhelming scent of blood. Lilith smiled wickedly when it was her prey who had come to shoo her away. 

One27

Lilith really needed to refine her skills. They were getting out of whack. She turned to face the woman and stared into her eyes, forcing her strength to go into the hypnosis she was attempting. 

One28

It seemed to be working well enough… initially. Her prey’s eyes started to glaze over and Lilith could’ve sworn she had her – but those hollow creatures again interfered with her spell, snapping her victim out of hypnosis and refusing Lilith a bite. 

One29

The woman was about to scream bloody-mary – Lilith just knew it. They were so reliant on others, expecting other people to help them at all times, placing their own lives above the lives of other species. A sudden anger gripped Lilith. She hadn’t planned on too much bloodshed tonight, but her instincts kicked in and invaded her mind. 

Lilith willed the last bit of her strength into lifting the woman off the ground and holding her by the throat. “Filthy creatures. So dirty. So unpure.” She began to squeeze tighter, choking the lady in a blind fit of rage. 

One30

“How does it feel? To suffer? To have everything taken away from you – your breath! Your breath and blood belong to me!” She was fuming, and unfortunately this woman had to be the outlet for her rage. She didn’t even know her name. But to hell with the oldschool style – she would feed however she saw fit. Her coven would feed by whatever means necessary. Lilith waited until the woman’s eyes had fallen shut before pouncing on her limp body and sinking two throbbing fangs into her neck.

One31

Once she had finished, Lilith made no effort to hide the carnage. She shouldn’t have to clean up after her meals, the humans would do that for her. Perhaps her ancestors would disagree with her conduct. They would probably hate the way she was so reckless and crude. But Lilith had no time to worry about pleasantries – this was a war.

One32

She sure as hell didn’t start it, but she would finish it. 

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