August 25th, 1758: Fort Frontenac
One hundred and ten sets of eyes, but none of us saw it coming.
I had been sitting behind the fort's wall with the other four members of my squad. We were just one of many that made up the Foxtrot company of our army. I was part of what would later be known as the French and Indian War.
I had been just a man just fresh into twenty-third year of life when the war was declared. I had not been married yet, because I had still been an apprentice in my career. It took quite a long while to master the field of blacksmithing when you were a person like I had been.
I was a man with wanderlust and the urge to explore. I frequently skipped my job to hunt with my younger brothers or chase after the ladies. Damn, I did love the ladies.
It was that aforementioned wanderlust that tempted me to sign up for the army once we found out soldiers had been needed. How terribly fun it would be to go across the great water, and chart unknown territories, for the better of my country. Forget horseshoes and leather, I was going to be a warrior.
Anyway, back to the actual story.
Our platoon was the Foxtrot, which meant we ranked sixth within the entire brigade. We were one of the smaller ones, but we were one of the elite ones. The men of Foxtrot were fighters. We had a reason to live. Some had wives and children. The youngest ones had younger siblings they helped care for, or aspirations for their futures. Most others my age did it for fun and glory. We wanted to be heroes when we returned to France.
The promised glory and riches was not a bad thing, but I had darker reasons in my mind. I liked the thrill of it all.
The power that coursed in my veins during a battle.
The adrenaline after killing another man.
The sick joy I felt when I played little games with our prisoners.
Okay, anyway, this time we really are getting back to the real story.
I was sitting with the other four members of my squad inside of the fort on that day. As usual, the younger two members were arguing about something. Warren and Percival were both just twenty, having joined the armed forces when they were sixteen and just into manhood.
"I want some real action!" Warren complained, glaring darkly at Percy. I must have missed a comment of his. "Sitting around here is water logging me."
"Get into a fight with the Caporal again." Linus, the eldest and easiest going member of the squad, suggested playfully. "I'm sure that will help you spend all this energy you have stored up."
Percy and I both started chuckling, which made Warren growl at us. About a month ago the hotheaded young man had gotten into too heated of an argument with our higher-ranking man in arms. It turned into a physical fight. Warren lost so fast it was hilarious. You'd never out shoot the kid, but he was rather scrawny and useless in a bare fisted battle.
"I didn't start that!" Warren tried to defend himself.
"You didn't finish it, either." Linus pointed out simply.
Warren began to turn red faced with his fury. Our squad leader, Algernon, quickly put a roadblock on the path to violence. He quietly ordered, "Stop harassing him."
We all fell into an awkward silence. Algernon was a person that we all just listened to. Even the most defiant could be put in their place by one of him. Why?
Because he freaked us out.
He just was not normal. Even if we were over looking his ice-cold skin, that was as pale as fresh snow, and his unnatural red eyes- his personality in general screamed dangerous. He was pretty wild. Very violent and mean.
I liked him, and the two of us had grown to be friends, but almost every other person who had encountered him kept their distance.
Before anything else could be said, part of the brick wall- very near to where we sat- was blown into fort as a cannon collided with it. The commotion startled us all. Two seconds later, the trumpets alerting us that we were under attack (as if we couldn't have rightfully assumed that ourselves) sounded from the roof.
One hundred and ten sets of eyes, but none of us saw it coming. Three thousand British troops had arrived. How did we miss that?
Their cannons sure as hell got our attention.
Fighting was on and off for the next two days. Just over fifty hours had passed, and there were not many of us left. Those remaining knew we had lost, and we knew we would fight just as our brother's had- to the death.
My death, apparently, was going to come to me in a very different way then the one hundred eight others.
Algernon had found me on the battlefield, clinging to life. I had taken two shots to the chest, and the hot powder was flushing through my blood stream. I felt my heart as it palpitated, desperately trying to keep beating but unable to find a strong enough flow of blood for that to happen.
"James." He addressed me, his voice holding more emotion then I was accustomed to hearing from another man. "You're going to die."
I laughed once, though it was ragged with pain and very strained. "So what? Everyone dies eventually."
I felt a warm gush of blood soak out of my chest because of my choice to speak. I started to cough, and just about gagged as that same metallic liquid bubbled feebly out of my mouth. I swear I could feel my lungs starting to fill with my own blood. Was that possible?
I'd have asked a medic, if one were around to question.
Algernon looked terribly unhappy with my answer. He shook his head, sighing darkly. "You shouldn't go yet. You have so much potential."
Many times, during the off times us soldiers had, Algernon and I had gone hunting. I had instantly impressed him with my tracking skills. I could follow a mouse for ten miles using only broken fern fronds and nutshells.
During training back in France, when we met, he told me that I had leadership skills. One day, I might have become a ranking officer, if I had perused the career.
I would have tried to answer him, but I started to choke on another wave of blood. I angrily spat the hot crimson out. The taste didn't bother me; it was just annoying to have it blocking my airway in my final moments of life.
Algernon pulled me into his cold arms, making me shiver. I had been wounded for almost an hour, and the infection had already spread though me. He felt colder then usual because of how hot I was.
He held me in an iron grip. "Don't be afraid of the pain, James. It will help you."
What was he talking about? How was bleeding my life out of my chest going to help me?
I gasped weakly as something cold cut into my shoulder. Some sort of liquid, a shot or something I'd guessed, was squirted deeply into the thin tissues.
The fire started, and then I understood.
The year of 1905 – Russian Territories
For a long time, Algernon and myself were a coven of two. We floated around Asia or Africa for the fun of it. India was a personal favorite of his, having so very many people to choose from when we were bored or thirsty.
It was half a decade into the new millennium when Algernon died. We were in Russia at the time, preying off the soldiers participating in the Russo-Japanese war, when we spotted the unusual creature that would one day kill him.
It was the very strangest thing! He was just a simple soldier that we had seen once while we observed a large brigade. He disapeared for a while, returning in a bad state and declaring the gashes on his body were from a tiger. The men who knew him said he was a lucky bastard for survivng at all. He nervously agreed, saying that the tiger had been scared off or something.
A few nights later the moon was full, and Algernon and I watched in amazement as the healing man changed into something else. He resembled a man still, but he was nearly eight feet tall. He had thin grayish fur instead of flesh, burning golden eyes, and much like us he snarled with the ferocity of a wild animal.
Seeing him made me feel so hostile. I never did understand why that was, but every single sensor in my body began to scream with aggression. Algernon felt it, too, and asked if I wanted that beast to be our next victim.
After his strange change, he fled his army, headed for the depths of Siberia, the coldest and harshest terrain around.
Besides, the snow covering his tracks and scent just made it a lot more fun to find him. It took us twenty odd days to do that. He was a human again, anxiously sheltering with a young farmer couple.
We waited, and a week later it happened again. The moon reached it's fullest spherical form, and it's bright light triggered the weird change in him.
Algernon and I cut him off as he began to run. We challenged him for fun, but we had underestimated him. That, or we overestimated ourselves. Either choice would have been an acceptable one. Maybe it was both.
Anyway, the beast was a fighter. His vicious claws had ripped my arm right off. Up until then, I had not known that I was able to feel pain as a vampire except for the ever present burn in my throat, or the venom of another vampire.
It did hurt, though. It hurt a lot.
And in the time it took me to get that arm attached back to my body, the wounded monster had killed Algernon. His head, his limbs, his torso- they all were scattered in different places of the tundra.
Furious, I launched a second wave of attack onto him. This time it was not for sport, but revenge. My coven leader had been slaughtered. I was surprised myself by the passionate rage that made me feel, but I suppose it was all part of my instincts.
I narrowly managed to destroy the beast. I collected Algernon, and after quite a search returned to the pile with two flint rocks and a little bit of shrubbery. I gave him a proper death ceremony, burning his pieces and watching the ash blow away and mix with the clouds of snow.
I never did return to Russia.
Early February, 1915: Black River Falls, Wisconsin
I had been a vampire for one hundred fifty five and a half years. I was officially a loner for the past decade, this month.
I hated it.
It wasn't exactly that I was tired of being companionless. Sure, friendship was a perk, but I could do just fine as a loner for eternity. The bare and simple fact is that it was difficult for me to be a tracker- which I was- when I was alone.
I had to do everything myself, which took up too much time. Giving the opponent time, especially if they happened to be another vampire, was just irksome because they tended to flee.
I loved the chase when they fled, but I wasn't pleased with the fact they were able to flee at all.
That day I had entered Wisconsin through Minnesota. I came to a stop in my travels in a region known as Black River Falls. I was thirsty, and I had a good few hundred people to choose from.
I strolled through the thick forests, waiting for an unsuspecting hunter or gatherer to happen across my way. The wind shifted, blowing to me a scent all loners despise.
Another vampire, of course.
I was in the heart of somebody else's territory, and of they happened to be aggressive I happened to have a problem. I decided to continue on, because it was the quickest way out. It was not long before I ran into her.
Well, actually, she ran into me. Somewhat literally. The redheaded woman had been perched in a tree, and she aerial attacked me the moment I was in her sights. Her leap was tremendous, and she held me down with strength too great to flee from. She was a newborn vampire, and I was trespassing in her territory.
"You're not human." Was the very first thing she said.
"Quite right." I smirked. "I should hope not, too, because then you'd probably have bitten me already."
Her knees were dropped down to rest against my sternum and she sat up, peering down critically. She looked guarded, but not particularly defensive. I didn't think her much a threat. If she wanted to fight, she would have already engaged the battle.
"As much as I enjoy being pinned under beautiful women, I would greatly appreciate you letting me up." I raised an eyebrow at her, hoping she'd take the hint.
Looking embarrassed, she rolled off of me so I could sit upright.
Before I could do anything else, she launched an unexpected question my direction. "What are we?"
I was startled. "Vampires, of course. What else?"
"Hmm." Was the response she gave to me.
I found myself intrigued with the exchange, and I inquired, "Didn't the one who turned you fill you in to that bit of information?"
She grimaced. "I don't know who it was. I was collecting firewood out back for my mother when I was attacked, three months ago. Something scared her off, and then a few days later I was just like this."
The poor creature. If that's how it had happened to me, I would have been terrified. Even with Algernon around I was scared at first. The newness of everything could intimidate a guy who had grown to use to his own way of life.
I decided what if she would have the mind to accept the offer; I might just have the mind to invite her to travel with me. Her personality already seemed compatible with my own, and it's not like she wasn't good to look at. She might even be able to assist me in my quest for fun.
I leaned forward, looking into her bright red eyes and smiling a little. "I'm James."
She smirked, tossing her hair over her shoulder. "I'm Victoria."
A/N: This was a set-up chapter. The next however-many to come will possibly be in the same format. However, if it doesn't time skip, don't be surprised! I just wanted to warn you guys, as to avoid confuzzlement. :D