Authors Name: Dragonfey57
Beta: ericsminion
Chapter Number: 1
Title: "Trail's Head"

Eric set at his desk, thinking over the conversation with the tracker he had hired. Ian was one of the best around, but even Weres have limitations. He would be helpful during the daytime in the search for Gabriella's human, Matthew, but no Were had his particular set of skills. It was decided; he was going to Chicago himself.

"Pam!" he called out as he moved quickly towards Fangtasia's back door, "call ahead and make all the arrangements for me to get to Chicago a.s.a.p."

Before Pam could even call out "good luck" to Eric he was gone.

He had known Gabby since the 16th century, when they were both taking advantage of the upheavals in Genoa, Italy. It was an exciting time, Eric recalled as he sat on the plane. So many battles over seas and lands that one could fight and feed in. Or you could enjoy the great painters at work at the time, such as Rubens and Van Dyck.

Of course, Eric had loved jumping on board outbound ships for battle or trade, just for the adventure. Gabby had been a privileged Roman as a human, and had the best of the aristocratic features; a proud profile with thick, dark hair to match her dark, devilish eyes. Standing next to each other, they were like night and day. Early on, their relationship had been fiery, erotic and heady. They were never meant to last as lovers and they both knew this; fortunately they became extremely close after they had burned their intense passion out. But Gabby was still a wonderful fighter, a worthy warrior in his eyes. And they had often revisited their affair over the centuries. But it had been quite a while since he had seen her outside of official functions.

Ian met Eric at the Chicago airport. The Were's car was a rental, since it was rather mundane. Eric knew his personal car was a Porsche. Not one to blend into the background.

"Tell me," Eric demanded.

"Well sir, I could easily pick up Matthew's scent in his loft. Apparently he is a painter with a growing local following and he goes there during the day to work. There was obviously a struggle, and I could smell several Weres, and I believe a witch. The air is heavy with magic. I followed their scents to a parking space behind the building and obtained some very grainy security footage. You can only tell there are three figures carrying another one, while one follows. They get in a van and drive off. But there must be a charm on the van, I can't follow the scent at all from there," Ian told Eric.

"This is what I paid you for? You are supposed to be one of the best in North America!" Eric's voice rose only slightly but his voice still carried great menace.

Eric wasn't as irritated with Ian as much as with the situation. He had known Ian Volkov Zolnerowich since he was a pup. Ian was from a long line of Russian Werewolves who were known for their extreme size, tracking abilities and high morals. He and Godric had often combined forces with them to find the pack of insane Weres led by the then unknown vampire. Ian was an impressive wolf; a large, black male who would certainly be a pack leader if he didn't work as tracker. As it was, he was a great contributor to the numbers of his pack, being extremely popular with the females when he was back home. In human form he was as tall as Eric, with bright blue eyes to contrast his coal-black wavy hair. He was just slightly stockier than Eric but not by much. He stayed lean by preferring swordplay to guns as much as possible, along with martial arts.

"Honestly Eric, I have spoken with Sheriff Calabrese and I believe she is withholding facts from me. She tells me she went to her day death and then that night she could feel he was missing. And she cannot track him. But the strange thing is, she insists that neither she nor Matthew have anyone who would wish to do such harm to them."

"Have you found something to make you think otherwise?" asked Eric as the car closed in on Gabby's home.

"Actually I have. I haven't been able to trace it all, but she seems to be funneling large sums of money, $75,000 or more, a month into Matthew's checking account which then goes out in a couple of days to an off shore account in the Caymans. I think she or he may be being blackmailed. My contact down there hasn't been able to find the account owner yet, but they are in the U.S."

'Dammit, Gabby,' Eric thought to himself. She had basically told him the same story that she had told Ian. What was she hiding? Why would she hide it from him of all people? She could trust him with her life, and had on many occasions. He knew she loved this Matthew; she had been hysterical when she called. He could barely understand her words for her tears. He simply could not stand crying women, dammit!

"Change of destination Ian; let's check out that loft before we go to Gabby's. I want to see it for myself before I ask her what the hell is going on."