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Redemption(2)

By:Amy Miles



A cry of protest rises as camera flashes light up the crime scene. Employees of the Fortune Theatre push their way through the crowd, doing their best to keep people back off the street.

The killer rises fluidly from his crouched position. He tilts his head, listening to the squealing tires and blaring sirens that converge on his location. The crowds below swells, creating a writhing circle around the three fallen girls.

Opening his eyes, Lucien Enescue takes a slow, deep breath. His eagerness has blended into long awaited satisfaction. Too long has he lived in secret, forced to hide from the humans…but no longer.

Confusion over the victim’s markings will lead to doubt, and hopefully a niggling fear will begin to bloom in the pits of the investigator’s stomachs. They will begin to question everything they think they know about this world. And maybe, just maybe, they will allow themselves to consider the impossible: that monsters really do exist.

Tonight, they will begin to fear the unknown, that which lurks in the shadows. Tonight, the existence of immortals becomes a reality.





One



Smoke hovers over the courtyard below, the moans of the dying rising from its depths. The heavy stench of death clings to the nighttime air. Nicolae Dalma wipes sweat from his brow, groaning at the effort that it takes to lift his arm. His vivid green eyes take in the scene below him. He is exhausted, more so than he has ever been before.

Victory is theirs. Bran castle has been overthrown.

He looks out over the broken bodies and rubble strewn about the castle grounds with mixed emotions. From atop the stone staircase landing, he ponders how this sweet triumph has come at a high price. Countless immortals have fallen, and although he is grateful for their exit from the world, he knows this night will anger those who remain.

This battle may be over, but the war rages on.

His own men, loyal hunters, have fallen as well. Their bodies will be buried in the earth with a monument erected in their memory, but that will not be enough recognition for the service they gave here.

People said it was impossible to take down the mighty Vladimir Enescue. His reign of tyranny lasted through many generations, but tonight all of that has come to an end. Roseline went after him and, judging by the look in her eye, Vladimir won’t live to see another sunrise.

Nicolae looks toward the right, to the far end of the courtyard, and dips his head in gratitude to Fane Dalca. The immortal’s long blond hair falls over his shoulders in sweaty locks. Without his help, this victory would never have come. Although they only spent a couple of weeks together while in London, Nicolae has grown to deeply respect Fane and is proud to have fought side by side with him.

His thoughts turn back to Sadie, locked away in one of the castle towers. He prays that she has remained undiscovered, left to rest. His jaw clenches in anger and the muscles of his forearm grow rigid as he forms a fist at his side. Vladimir hurt Sadie, tortured her. Nicolae would like nothing more than to drive an arrow straight through that monster’s heart, but he would not take that right away from Roseline.

As he gazes up at the tower, he sees movement along the rooftop. “Roseline,” he calls out as Malachi drags her across the open-air balcony. Malachi’s grip is fierce on her arm, his eyes wide with terror. Nicolae starts to call again but his mouth falls slack at the sight of the being escaping the shattered window behind them.

The black man is tall, a giant compared to Nicolae’s second in command, Grigori. His dark skin is bare to his waist, revealing an intricate pattern of scars across his chest and arms. It is not his enormous size, or the startling scars that makes Nicolae’s skin tingle with apprehension, but the two wings that rise from his back.

The feathers, seen just above his shoulders, are deep scarlet, the color of fresh blood. Powerful legs propel him to the edge of the building. The being stops and watches Malachi and Roseline fleeing, but makes no move to pursue.

“Roseline!”

Nicolae’s gaze drops to the courtyard below. “Gabriel?”

Gabriel Marston has always been large, his shoulders broad and his muscles strong from hours on the football field, but his transformation into immortality has amplified his natural characteristics. His hair is longer, shaggier than before. An umber robe drapes over him, brushing against the top of his sandaled feet

Nicolae lifts his hand to wave in greeting but whirls around at the sound of Roseline’s cry. Her fingers curl around the stone banister, resisting Malachi’s grip on her. Nicolae frowns, unease settling heavy in his chest at the desperation on Malachi’s face.

Crouching low, Nicolae leaps off the exterior staircase, his knees jarred by the force of his landing in the center of the courtyard below. Fane is already on the move, heading straight for him, his gaze focused intently on Roseline.

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