Eric Northman walked the beach, feeling the salty cold air hit his face and blow his hair back. He could smell the blood in the air, and he had to admit that he liked it. The bodies in front of him were mostly Saxons that had tried to stop them from coming to shore. He didn't really mind the blood or battle, but now he would lose a few days chasing the whole reason he was now in England. He stopped as the surf hit his boots. He turned to the sea with a slight smile. He loved the ocean. In this area, it was close enough to be like home only it was a little warmer.
His men were down by the ship, unloading the supplies. He started toward the ship. It would be dark soon. He wanted the camp sit up long before moonrise.
"We should burn the bodies," one of his men said suddenly.
Eric looked around. It would make one fantastic bonfire. However, it wasn't as if wood was hard to find. There was a forest close by. The land had stories though. The Saxons used witchcraft and turned that land into something full of magic and myth. He didn't really feel like trapping through a woods trying to find kindling for a fire.
"Do it," he said simply.
Eric started back down the beach. He knew that the men who escaped would be back in the morning. He just wondered if that man with the wolves was already here. He could still see him holding his Father's crown, and calling that wolf like it was nothing more than a pet. Why his family? He knew that the man was no Viking from a rival clan. That cloak was too sleek. He was something else too. Werewolves were hard to control and no mere human could do it. That left one thing he could be. Vampire.
Eric shook his head as he thought about that. The myths about the walking dead that only lived from drinking blood were just that. Myths. He hoisted his sword onto his shoulder and stopped as he looked around. There at the edge of the beach stood a big black wolf. He was simply standing there, staring at all of the men. Eric lifted the sword and suddenly threw it at animal. He quickly ran off, leaving Eric with a smug smile. He would get his sword later. The men had started calling to him. They had a wonderful fire going. He could feel the heat from it, but the smell was almost unbearable. He didn't mind though. He had smelled far worse than that.
"So now what?" Patric asked as he looked around.
"We keep looking for the man who killed our King," Eric said.
The men nodded. His followers were becoming smaller and smaller with each passing day. He had many loyal men that would follow him anywhere. They were proving that now. He just wondered if should continue alone. He started to voice opinion when he heard the slightest sound. It was an arrow being loosened. He hit the ground flat and turned around, trying to see who was attacking them. All he could see was the black wolf. He heard a noise and looked up. Patric was lying slumped over with an arrow in his heart.
Eric cursed as he tried to climb to his feet. He found himself on the ground again as he heard another arrow being released. This one landed too close to his head. He reached for his sword. It was gone. He had left it on that hill when he tried to hit that wolf. He raised his head.
"Who's out there?" he called in his native tongue.
There was no answer and he didn't hear anything else that sounded like a bow pulling. He turned to his men and found that they were all looking to him for answer as to what had happened to their fallen comrade. He looked up and around to find a figure standing at the edge of a clearing. He was hooded in a long black cloak and beside him stood that black wolf, eyes glowing with hatred.
"Kill the wolf," Eric told his men as he stood.
He would draw the fire from the person. Eric stood up and saw the man pull the bow again. It was the most beautiful weapon he had ever seen. It arched in all the right places and he could see gold engraving carved on it. He heard the thwack of the arrow being released and quickly dodged. The shaft flew past as he rushed at the person. He tackled the person and heard the wolf charge at him. He knew as soon as the dog hit, it was no normal animal. He knocked it away with the swift hit and turned to the person that was now trying to squirm free of him. He pinned him down and flung the hood back. Eric's breath suddenly stopped in his throat.
The man or person that he thought he was looking at was a she. She had long, dark red hair pulled in braid down her shoulder. Her eyes were a stormy, grayish green color. Her skin seemed flawless and her lips were full and light pink. He was almost in too much awe to notice, but then he heard the wolf. He grabbed one of the arrows to stop him.
"NO!" she screamed and knocked the arrow away.
Eric turned back to her and thought about hitting her, but a creature that beautiful and pure didn't deserve to be hit. He stopped and yanked the girl up.
"Call him off!" Eric hissed.
The girl looked at him. She didn't speak his tongue. He held her tighter, which only seemed to aggravate the wolf more. He glared down at the animal, hating the girl on the sheer thought that she surrounded herself with these hell hounds. The wolf moved closer to him and watched the girl. Eric could sense that if tightened his grip at all, the wolf would kill him. He heard his men coming toward them. The wolf suddenly bared his teeth.
"Wolf," the girl said. "No."
Eric saw the wolf relax. The odd thing was the girl had spoken a language that Eric did know. It wasn't his Norse, but he had heard before. He turned her to where she was facing him.
"Who are you?" he asked in his tongue.
The girl looked at him for a long moment. She stared at his long blonde hair and blue eyes as if she was assessing them. Eric felt his grip loosen as he looked at her. He had no idea why, but he didn't fear this girl, even though she had managed to shoot one of his best archers. She kept looking at him for a long time and then spoke very softly.
Madelyn Townsend awoke with a start. She looked around the room and found that she was home, in her bed, with the Maine ocean breeze blowing in. She glanced at the clock, but barely registered the time. All she knew was that she had never had a dream that vivid before. She rubbed her eyes and could still the land. Rolling, lush, green valleys and hills. The air smelled so fresh except for that fire. She shivered as she thought of that.
She climbed from the bed, knowing that a good face washing would clear her mind. She had not gone three steps when her phone rang. It was late; she knew that much. There were three people who call her this late, and it would only be to deliver bad news. She ran through the list. Alcide or his sister, Janice. That meant something terrible had happened to him or his family. Or her Grandmother. She took a deep breath and picked it up.
"Miss Townsend?" the very professional voice said on the other end.
"This is St. Mary's hospital in Rockford," there was a pause. "I hate to inform you that your Grandmother has just passed away."
Madelyn's free hand went straight to her neck and touched the necklace there. It was an antique, silver chain with a charm of six, small stones that were set around one big, blue stone. Her grandmother had given it to her only a few days ago, telling her it was heirloom that was rightly hers. She held it tight now, hoping to find comfort in it.