Hunting Coven

Sirius turned his victim around in his hands. She trembled and he shivered, but for very different reasons and for the same reason. She trembled in fear of death and he shivered in anticipation of killing her. Around Sirius the coven was gathered, pickings had been small of late. She was only the second kill of the week and while the nearby villages were suspicious many of the coven wished they could be far more overt in their tactics. More importantly thought Sirius they want more food... and drink. With that he soothed his shaking prey allowing his mind to sink into hers lulling her senses and enslaving her mind. She stopped shaking as she had long ago ceased to struggle. He toyed with the idea of making her a thrall, after all mind games were his speciality. But one look into the coven's hungry eyes told him it was game he could not right now afford.

Jaris moved forward as if to remind him of that very fact. We are hungry she thought knowing full well that her sire would read her thoughts more easily than her lips and be more inclined to pay them attention. Long ago he had lost interest in her lips, he searched for the living to provide those. Jaris stroked one long nailed finger down the clamed girl face. Well she thought are you finished looking at your food. Sirius' head turned in a blink and he snarled at her viciously. She jerked back her sire was unpredictable and could be very dangerous even to the reborn. She heard her blood brother Tails laugh behind her. He also had been sired by Sirius and was close to his thoughts and hers. Jiris' mouth formed a snarl of her own. She would not be mocked, least of all by him.
Sirius silenced Tails with a wave of his hand and glared at Jiris.

"Unless you wish to suffer daughter you would do well to keep those teeth to yourself when near me.

He shook his head "I have half a mind to deny you all this meal simply because of how weakly you have portrayed yourselves." Tiri the youngest looked sullen her desire to feed was all too obvious, she was sloppy and constantly hungry anxious to quickly replenish her other worldly beauty, which faded as fast as her life had if she did not feed.

But Saarn rashly raised his head in defiance, "Not I master" he insisted. "Give me but your word and I will leave for other pleasures and to do your bidding." Sirius looked over to Saarn and smiled, he was harder to read, Saarn was older and had been sired by another, it was difficult to know how well he controlled his hunger but Sirius could not doubt that if he asked Saarn would walk away. For that he must be rewarded, it only stood to reason.

"You are well Saarn, many of my coven would do well to learn from you." Both Tails and Jaris looked abashed and angry, but their reactions were common and Sirius had known them before he had spoken. But he was interested in how Lockley would react. He stood as tall as Saarn though not quite to Tails' height he dressed in a dark green tunic and carried his blade close at all times. In fighting he was the most invaluable member of the coven. His blade was swift and enchanted, it spelt death to the undead and the ethereal and it gave him a position of terror among the others. He was Tiri's sire and had done little for her, he was not a responsible leader and so Sirius did not feel threatened by him, but the others did. 'Sirius', the leader thought to himself, 'you are a judge of character if nothing else and Lockley once half-elven, is not a threat to you. So why do you worry about him so much?' Came his thoughtful reply; 'because I cannot control him' came the answer.

Lockley smiled his usual mocking smile. "I would never cheat Jiris of a meal that she needed so badly but you are right, Saarn is a good example for me." The last member of the coven was Ledger. He had been a dwarf before his rebirth and had stood at Sirius' side for centuries now. He had seen the birth of three of the coven first hand and had been its first member after Sirius himself. If Sirius could trust anyone he trusted Ledger and so he looked to him now as if in that dwarf's old undead eyes he would find what the living found in friends, advice or understanding.

Ledger simply nodded his head. "Your right Saarn deserves something for his restraint and loyalty nothing faked about those."

Sirius nodded "She is yours Saarn" he said tossing the living girl to his younger coven mate. "What you leave will go to the Fledglings." With that he motioned to Lockley and Ledger and the three of them left. Jiris would be furious Sirius knew and to teach his spawn a lesson he was prepared to go hungry. Tiri was not worthy of anything but the mockery she received. Jiris and Tails just needed to be put in their place for weakness and learn from the situation.

No sooner had Sirius left than Tails began to mentally taunt her. Knowing she could read his thoughts that was all he did; he thought. He pictured her at his mercy begging him to stop, to free her or just to kill her to put her out of her misery. He pictured her as his woman, slave, torture victim, tool, servant, soldier, lover, daughter, rival and always as his inferior. He enjoyed knowing she could see in intimate detail when he imagined her kissing his boots begging him to beat her if only to be forgiven of him. She could have technically done the same, he was linked to her thoughts as she to his, but unfortunately his ego was stronger. These images came easily to him and distracted her and stopped her from mounting an adequate defence. Her speciality was flying and how she wished that she could just fly away from Tails and all of them, but she was bound to Sirius and must return to him at his beck and call even thinking of being free of him hurt her mind. That too was the same for Tails, he was no less bound than she.

"Stop it!" she said aloud.

Her brother stood still and said, "Ask me nicely."

She turned to face him "Why? There are other things that are easier for you and provide greater escape why not try them?"

"Shaping?" he half inquired, half stated. "Bored of that, after all I got you and no dad to get in the way of my fun. After all we are just kids right, that's what he just reduced us too, AGAIN!"

Jiris turned on him "Take care what you say!" she snapped. "Sirius could kill you for no more than mocking him.

Tails shrugged "You think that worries me any more? I can't lose; if I live I live, if I die great! Jiris this is no life; I am just waiting for someone to kill me. I just hope I get to see Sirius bite it first and what's more he knows that's what I think. So do you Jiris but you won't say so or even think so, but it is what you want too."

Jiris took a step away from Tails her face aghast "You don't know what you are saying" she began.

Tails cut her off his face becoming suddenly serious, "Jiris here is the thing, Lockley wants you always has. Put yourself under his protection is my advice." Nodding towards Tiri he gave out a short laugh "You'll replace her in no time." Jiris began to shake her head but Tails was still talking. "I know what you will say, I can read you remember. Don't think I care if Sirius carves you up for dawnbait but fact is this you need protection and I want to see you humbled and accepting it. If you don't" he shrugged. "Sirius may just make me a lucky guy, who knows." With that Tails morphed into a bat and flew away. Saarn's voice would soon follow inviting the girls to come pick up their scraps if they wanted them. Tiri got there first but Jiris flung her of the corpse after a few seconds and took the rest for herself. Humiliating maybe it was but she had drunk well, better than had Tails.

The Bluebottle Inn was not far from the village of Samscree in fact it was on the out skirts of the eastern Elygian hamlet. It was quiet that night not even the birds made song. Inside the inn Silpur the tavern host thought the evening about done. Newly wed Migur and his girl were curled up by the fire and he'd leave em be and let them out the back in an hour or so. Tork was there with two of his lads finishing their drinks, as they'd all be up with the dawn to get to the hay loading. Yes plenty of work in order for farming folk and the upcoming winter would be a busy season for Silpur. In winter work was over sooner and people were colder, things such as shelter and sustenance were of the utmost importance. Gan the Hooper came to the bar and laid a few coins in Silpur's small hands.

"As usual my friend you know I don't count well. If I pay over give me surplus next time and if under put it on my tab."

Silpur nodded "Sleep well friend" and the two shook hands and Gan left. "Keri!" he called.

"Yes father," replied his young daughter still dressed in her barmaids skirt and loose blouse.

"Go get your brother from the horses, I'm going to close up and send Tork and his boys home.

With a quick smile she replied affirmatively, "Yes father and skipped out of the inn.

The young groom never knew what hit him. Saarn got him over the back of the head with a double-handed blow that would have felled a much heavier man. While Sirius and Lockley waylaid the man named Gan, Saarn began to feed. The fangs, tokens of his vampirism struck into the young man's neck and were firmly embedded when he heard the scream from behind him. Turning from his half dead prey fresh blood streaming from his mouth he saw a young horrified girl standing in the doorway. Lockley's idiot progeny jumped the child and attempted to drive her to the floor. Yet thought Saarn not even the vamparic rebirth can compensate for stupidity. The girl struggled free and fled, angrily Saarn commanded Tiri to follow. "If not for Lockley I would kill you where you stand, you are worthless! Now go!" Shaking his head in disbelief he returned to his meal.

He felt the blade but not until after it had slid through him and back out again. He felt the odd sensation of pain, but as with all normal pain, since he had become a vampire it no longer controlled him when he felt it. It no longer forced out cries of anguish or screwed up his face. He was detached from it and his wound was healed almost as soon as it was caused. Turning he prepared to kill whoever had foolishly thought they could kill a vampire. "Young fool" he began turning. "You are about to learn why rookies should not mess with vampires."

The person behind him wore a mask concealing his whole head but for a slit in the eyes. The man was dressed in black and very dark greens and greys. "And you also will learn something Saarn" replied the masked man. With that a strange jagged edged knife appeared in his had and with the quiet but determined word of 'Shadowfast!' he rammed it into Saarn's leg. With a muffled yell Saarn hit the floor. He hadn't felt such pain since fleeing from the Priest of Mishaela who'd almost killed him all those years back. The wound hurt and burned and felt like it would never heal. He tried to attack but in a second the man had withdrawn his weapon and retreated a few steps. Saarn lurched forward but the man was too swift. Far from being an amateur, he was a professional of the first water. His cool demeanour, the fact that even as he fought he made not one sound, no curse, no battle cry, not even footsteps or his breathing could be heard. He did not seem disposed to play around and his shape blurred and he began to dodge at a rate hitherto unknown. Spinning inside the reach of Saarn's next attack, which involved a dive talons extended, the assassin had him. Now it was too late the blurred jagged shape of the long bladed knife, Shadowfast, was fastened into Saarn's heart by way of his breast. Brittle bone cracked and Saarn yelped in pain, the jagged dagger span in the wound making it larger and larger. For some reason it just wouldn't heal, Saarn's mind began to race through his pain. This hadn't been the first time he had nearly left unlife. Silver his mind screamed it must be edged in silver! He tried to spring away from his assailant but the masked assassin simply refused to loosen a vicelike grip. The black-gloved hand hardened to a straight line and then with a swift chop slammed into his throat. The dead do not breath, so Saarn did not choke but his throat collapsed and the impact sent him to the floor.

The dark killer stood above him and coldly watched as he squirmed below him the knife still in his heart leaving him incapacitated. For a moment Saarn had thought that the fighter had mistook and not realised what he was dealing with. But the fact that he had a magical or blessed weapon and that he knew that Saarn could do nothing with it in his heart spoke of a true professional vampire hunter.

"Who are you mortal?" he asked. He expected the mask to come off and the hunter to gloat in true human style. But he was to be disappointed the man did not reply or even move. He just watched as Saarn's mockery of life began to slip away. Blood so near and dear to a vampire, seeping from his pierced heart. So Saarn began to plead and finally he just wasted away and died. The master assassin of the silent kill moved on to the next of the coven.

Tiri seized the girl by her leg and dragged her to the floor. "Stop don't run" she implored. "I won't hurt you! I just want to make you beautiful like me!" Something in this strange girls tone caught Keri's attention and waylaid her human instinct of revenge and fear against her attacker. For that is what Tiri had done, attacked her there could be no doubt. Yet this girl was so beautiful Keri now saw, so small too and pretty, 'did she really jump me when I saw that thing biting Hans?' she thought to herself.

"Make me beautiful, you want me to be pretty don't you?" continued Tiri, her ability with persuasion and body language had been her only saving grace. It was one thing she was good at and it was what had gained her Lockley's vamparic embrace. He would have killed her out right draining her but she had realised what he was and pleaded to be turned instead. The girl stopped struggling and Tiri began to play with her cloths and hair. She suggested to Keri's mind that she was a harmless girl and a bit silly on top of that. They began to laugh and play and then Tiri pealed back the top of her blouse. "Now I will make you pretty Keri" she assured the girl. "Hold still and feel this" Keri did so now fully under the sway of Tiri's suggestions. Tiri then embedded her teeth into the girl just under her shoulder above her left breast. So soft the flesh right there lots to get her teeth into. Now she was in her element dealing with a fully sedated victim, not like before. She bit a little harder feeling her shame in front of Saarn all over again. They would never consider her an equal, even as she grew they grew faster. With out opening her mouth she pulled back ripping open Keri's flesh.

"Still a messy eater I see" came a taunting voice. Looking over her shoulder she saw Tails, he was in wolf form but his smile was still unmistakable. She pulled bits of flesh from her fangs and stroked away the rampant blood around her mouth. She tried to make the process alluring after all that was her weapon against him. Sirius and Saarn were immune to her charms in many ways but the younger Tails and Lockley were not. She had drained the girl completely and so was adding Keri's beauty and good looks to her own. At this instant more than any other she was particularly irresistible.

"So Tails you've arrived a little late" she reasoned leaning back over herself stretching her body taunt tempting him to look it over and challenging him to deny his hunger for her.

"Looks to me like I have arrived right on time" he countered.

She smiled "For what may I ask?"

He shook his head and approached her "You may not" he replied simply. With that the wolf pounced on her reclining form, its forepaws slamming her shoulders to the floor and its weight keeping them there. His saliva covered jaws settled gently onto her thin, smooth throat.

"Oh" she managed to say but not without her naked fear being obvious, "for that!" She felt the lightest imprints of the fangs in her delicate throat and knew in an instant she could be dead. She immediately let her strength leave her body, melting beneath him. "Master" she said quietly. "Spare your servant and she will please you." The maw of the wolf paused and lifted from her. The wolf tilted its head to one side and then in but an instant reformed to betoken Tails' grinning face.

"Now why can't Jiris be like that?" he asked.

Tiri took her chance and laughed, "Who knows?" she said lightly.

She moved to roll to her feet and lightly even jokingly pushed Tails off her. She met iron resistance and a cold voice asked her "Where are you going?" She cursed inwardly looked like there was no bluffing her way out of this one, he was serious. She felt his hands roughly twist her around and he placed his face but an inch from hers "Deadly serious!" he agreed.

"Your in my mind" she angrily accused. He raised a brow and then he laughed but not in his usual light hearted tone, this one was crueller.

"Submit to me Tiri or I will break your body and then use it as a rag to clean my mouth with." She stopped struggling and let him turn her onto her front.

Mask couldn't tell if it was a rape or some sick vamparic ritual but once the man had obviously begun he slipped in behind him. There was no need for him to know he was even there but Mask disliked this kind of enemy. "Hey Tails," he said quietly in the vampire's ear. This is from your sister and with that he pressed the back of the armlet to the rear of Tails' neck. The flesh sizzled for an instant and then it began on his fallen soul. Tails wretched in torment for a moment, then a jerk and finally he was finished and Mask yanked the body off the one below. Tiri did not turn over her bare rear left as if in invitation to spare her life and continue where Tails had left off. She lay still for a moment as if to persuade the breather, she was already dead. No sound or movement came and Tiri in her usual impatience turned to see if he had gone, after all she couldn't hear him breathing.

Mask looked down at the girl, for that is all she was, she must've seen no more than 19 or 20 winters when she had been bitten. Of course how old a vampire looked was seldom an indicator of their power. But Mask had seen two that he had already killed take advantage of this one and order her around. She must be weak and she felt fear, fear of him, and fear of leaving this un-life. Her clothing had been badly torn but Mask felt little more than a slight primal tug. After all he knew that she was more than any painted scarlet, wore her good looks as walking lie.

"Well Fallen One" he asked, "How do you feel?" She did not answer for some time and he knew she must have been carefully choosing her words. Her loyalties meant nothing to her of that he was certain. But to throw in with him could lead to a mind scan later and punishment at her leaders hands. After all she knew that the strongest of her coven had yet to fight him.

"I am well for now" she allowed and curled her legs around her, pulling herself into a pitiful protective ball.

"What do I want?" he asked pre empting her question.

She nodded slightly and added a strange spark in her eyes "And who are you?"

The man nodded and replied, "I am Mask, and I want Tael." She spread her hands in a gesture of helplessness. She did not want to admit she knew no one called Tael, as then she would be useless to him and probably die momentarily.

"I could be useful to you" she tried instead.

Mask nodded "I think you could be Tiri, I think that also."

The inn's door flew open and Lockley and Sirius strode into the room. Tork and his hands were at the counter paying off Silpur. Migur and his new wife didn't even look up from where they rolled together in front of the fire. Silpur leaned over to Tork and under his breath gave a warning. "Don't like the looks of these, leave and get some lads, then come and check on me will you my friend?"

Tork nodded, "You sure you'll be okay?" he whispered.

Silpur nodded "Don't you say I am the master of stalling?"

Tork laughed and said aloud "Truth!" Then he turned and head for the door with his lads.

Sirius stood in the doorway blocking their passage. "Excuse me foreigner" said Tork "But I'll be on my way now." Sirius shook his head and drew a long bladed sword.

"It has been too long since my children fed and though Gan was appetising he was hardly enough." Tork tried to charge him, as did one of his farm hands. Tork received a kick to the face and the other a slash on his arm.

Meanwhile Lockley raised and arm and the fire turned green and coiled out to wrap itself around his arm. Turning to Silpur he ordered a drink and added, "Any problems and I'll burn this place down around our ears."

With the green flames dancing around his arm Silpur could not deny his threat. Retreating into the kitchen he called for his wife and eldest child. "Helen, Cherish! Where are you?"

"Right here father," replied his daughter coming up from the celler. "You must leave this place a warrior and a mage have just taken the inn, you and your mother leave by the back door and run for your lives you hear me?"

She nodded tears in her eyes as she realised her father meant to die for her. "Yes Daddy, I'll go get ready." But Silpur was already shaking his head "No time go now and don't think you'll be safe in the village only pause there long enough to tell them to get running too! Don't stop running till you get to a Torashan town. Do you understand?" She nodded and then he pointed to her mother entering the back door "Tell her and take her with you!" he commanded. Then scooping up a bottle he hurried into the common room. As Cherish turned her mother came fully through the door and before Cherish could speak she saw the dwarf and the other lady and the blades they held trained on her mother.

Lockley began to drink and chat to Silpur who managed to restrain the fear in his voice enough to talk. Migur and Whitney huddled in each other's arms by the fire and Tork and his two stood over them, one trying to stop the blood flow from his wound. Silpur was glad to have the time to stall and give Cherish time to get clear or so he thought but as Ledger and Jiris came in from the kitchen his hopes fell. Cherish was roughly pushed before them and when he didn't see Helen follow he knew his wife must have tried to fight and died. He always said her spirit was why he loved her and why she would die at the same time. He gave a silent prayer that the Gods would keep her till he could join her. Sirius laughed from his place at the door. "Maybe Saarn and Tails will bring the dead bodies with them and we can have a family reunion and funeral all at once."

"And I" put in Tiri meekly as she came in through the kitchen.

"Yes you too" said Sirius with a good-natured laugh. Things had gone well, not one little mix up no escapees and no wounds on any of them. Utter secrecy, utter success and finally everyone could have their fill of blood. "Wife dead" he asked, Ledger lifted a hand and nodded. "The boy from the stables?"

"Saarn and I" replied Tiri "Though he took all the drink."

Sirius turned to Tiri "And the girl Keri, what of her?" She shrugged but he probed her and she quickly blurted out "I tried but she escaped me and Saarn and Tails went after her." She looked at the floor in shame and sullenly added, "She won't get far!"

With an angry snarl Sirius backhanded her across the face sending her groundward. "Guard the door, worthless puppy!" he snarled and Lockley did not remonstrate with him. Cherish was tossed over to stand with Migur and his wife. "The three men first" explained Sirius I think they'll put up a good fight. Turning nonchalantly to Silpur he enquired, "Fancy your daughter's survival by any chance?" Predictably the barman nodded. "Very well I can't guarantee your life but if you and she behave she will live. Fair?" Silpur agreed to the deal and from then on was ignored. Tork knew he was dead but like so many humans it gave him some pleasure to try to fight anyway. Any one of the reborn could have killed all three but instead all four of them cut them off and cornered them.

Sirius froze the mind of one just as Lockley released his green fire into another. Jiris launched herself on Tork and batting aside his human-strength rebuffs she latched on and began to suck. "Interesting tactic" remarked Sirius with a laugh and bent to drink himself, Lockley followed suite. Ledger watched over them and meanwhile the last three victims ran for the door. None of the vampires moved, almost casually Sirius told Tiri to stop them.

Then the door slammed and all four vampires stopped their feeding and turned to the portal. Tiri stood to one side of it without blinking or moving even now. "What have you done?" screamed Sirius finally losing it with the incompetent girl. He leapt across the room and seized her by the throat. "You dare ignore my orders and lose me my food!" She struggled but needed no breath to speak. "I am Lockley's, I obey him, not you Sirius!" he almost dropped her in surprise and that turned swiftly to anger when he heard Lockley's taunting laugh.

"Silence!" he demanded and dropped Tiri. "It is you Lockley not her who has crossed the line. You have filled her foolish head with nonsense and you will pay for it." Lockley stopped laughing and narrowed his eyes.

A wound appeared in Sirius' front and he dropped to one knee. Ledger did not need to see any more in a single swing he parted Lockley's head from his shoulders. Gasping Sirius got to his feet grasping his side and swiftly healed his wound, clotting the flow of blood. He turned to Tiri "What is going on?" he demanded.

"I am" came a voice from elsewhere, Sirius could not tell where but he knew it was nowhere near Tiri not anymore. So he reached to seize the young vampiress and a dagger appeared from nowhere spinning through the air and cut through his hand finally jamming into the next table and pinning his hand under it. "She is under my protection Sirius" came the voice more ominous this time.

"Where are you?" Sirius shouted. Jiris had already taken off from the floor and stood hanging in mid air, her sword drawn. Ledger still had his axe out with Lockley's blood on its blade. "Ledger come to me," cried Sirius. "Jiris get Tiri" he commanded. "Don't Jiris" begged Tiri "If you do you will die like Tails did." Jiris looked at her sire and he, infuriated that she dare pause and think over one of his commands, hurled a knife of his own at her.

Then all in the room hear a sword being drawn, Lockley's sword. It's new wielder appeared also, covered in black from head to toe and taunt with potential power. The sword gleamed in his hands and he flipped it to balance blade against hilt. Balancing it on the edge of his hand for a moment he gave the impression he was smiling. None of them could tell for all his face was covered in a mask as black as night. Then with a slight jerk of his hand he sent the sword up and into his grasp. He cut it in a right left pattern and span it around. He cut diagonally rolled the blade and spiked it to a downward thrust. Then he began to weave the blade up and to each side. Spinning it around him as if weaving a shield of steel and he slashed on every side of himself. The piece of showmanship was extra ordinary, super fine and beyond the quickness of the eye and with a blade so well balanced and so sharp as literally cut into the air. He stopped and then spoke quietly but with a hint of humour in his voice.

"That was an invitation Sirius won't you send her over?" Sirius got to his feet holding the dagger Mask had thrown through his hand.

"Ledger and Jiris, I am wounded take him!" he commanded.

"What you mean is you are afraid to do so yourself" taunted Tiri. Sirius turned on her and waved the other two off to deal with the mortal assassin. Mask realised immediately that Ledger was the greatest threat, Sirius included. The dwarvern vampire moved with practised steps and gace. His axe would bite deep and he was not too arrogant to use his flying ally to maximum advantage.

The Mask glinted and Mask's imagine blurred, no point in taking risks after all. He leapt forward; as the vampire's axe swung over him he flattened his body to the floor. Then slipping from beneath the dwarf he arrived on his other side. Jiris flying above could not get to him as he had just somehow got below Ledger. Mask rolled backwards twice stood pirouetted and launched a knife into Sirius' back. Sirius who had almost got to Tiri fell onto his face. But her foot on its way up caught him mid- fall and launched him backwards to land with a thud. His head rebounded off the table but his back cracked.

On the other side of the room Mask finished his spin soon enough to block to the descending slash from Jiris and to launch himself over Ledger who was slashing his axe in right to left. After hitting the floor at the other side Mask turned his fall into a forward roll and came back up standing. Turning he drew Lockley's sword out in front of him using the extended reach it gave him to keep his foes at bay. He feinted to the left but span right. In so doing he avoided the careful attack of Ledger who seemed to have learned not to over reach himself with this opponent. But the vampire's luck was out, Mask having safe guarded Tiri and now was bringing the fight to a close. Jiris unfortunately for her had predicted the feint and had been diving to Mask's right all along. Mask came out of his spin went down on one knee and flipped his grip on the long sword. The bending his head down and aiming the sword through the gap between his side and arm he thrust it cealingward. Jiris dived onto his back ready to cut his throat only to find she had impaled herself on an enchanted weapon. She died almost instantaneously.

Standing he automatically extracted the weapon from the corpse of the vampires, as she slid lifeless to the ground. Mask span the blade before him in a protective screen. Then Ledger in an attack more of dwarf than vampire charged the blade head on. Mask hurdled the running dwarf and turning before he hit the ground threw the sword end over end with expert precision. It embedded itself in Ledger's back and brought him to the end of his charge. He fell to his knees and died.

Mask walked over to the body and casually withdrew the sword. Flipping it so it lay with the blade in his hands he offered it hilt first to Tiri. She took it and the two of them walked over to where Sirius was finally getting to his feet. The vampire leader called aloud, for the coven to come to his aid. He shouted for Saarn and for Tails but none answered. "Lockley was your only chance," said Mask quietly. Then he shrugged "But you still would all have died even if the dwarf had not simplified things. As Sirius continued to call out for help Mask laughed in mockery. "They are dead this Saarn and Tails!" he declared. "The only ones who can hear you are mortals and mortals who will kill you if they can!" Sirius controlled himself, but never had he felt like this since being embraced and reborn. He felt a naked fear deep in his gut. Who was this heartless killer with such extreme skills that he could mock the chosen, the reborn and kill them at his pleasure.

"Who are you?" he asked for the second time.

"As I said before" Mask replied "I am Mask, the master assassin of the silent kill."

"Why have you done this?" Sirius continued.

Mask shrugged, "Many would say I needed no reason, as your destruction is a reason unto itself. But nevertheless I will answer you I hunted your coven because of Tael."

Sirius's face betrayed his confusion and he looked to the treacherous fledgling "Her?" he inquired.

"She is his heir" Mask replied pleasantly.

"Well deducted, I don't think even Tiri realised so much." Tiri looked shocked and Mask motioned to Sirius.

"If you are going to kill him child now would be the time before he heals himself." Tiri nodded and slashed the blade across Sirius's face. As the senior vampire fell back she inverted the blade and drove it deep into his heart and he died. Pulling it free she glared over at Silpur and made towards him but Mask laid a hand on her chest. "No this man has lost most of his family to your kind this day best to spare him more." She lowered her sword and Silpur came forward and threw himself at Mask's feet.

"You are a hero!" he began but Mask cut him off.

"Far from it! I am an assassin! Get to your feet!"

The snapped command was instantly effective and the man faced Mask and defiantly stuck out his hand "I am in your debt" he insisted. "You killed those who killed my family and ensured that my daughter Cherish and I still live. How can I repay you?"

Mask shook his head, "You cannot, but you may give me what money you have and promise to read up on the old legends of the Avatars." As Silpur gave Mask all his money he looked at him quizzically.

"Are you a follower of the forgotten Gods?" he asked Mask. Mask snarled, "Do not call them that. They are the Platinum Gods, the fathers and mothers of all the Gods of our day. The Avatar of Darkness once did me a great service and I promised to repay him by mentioning his title wherever I go and reminding all that the Forgotten have not forgotten, that the Dead Gods are not dead!" With that Mask left and Tiri not knowing what else to do followed the master assassin into the night.