My head is bowed forward reverentially over the cool waters.

A rippling reflection stares back at me, the dark coppery red of my hair looks almost black as it hangs down, casting a twilit shadow over my features. The only remarkable thing I find in the wavering picture before me, besides the halo of moonlight glowing in drastic contrast to my hair, is the sight of two clear shining emeralds staring back from the shrouded shadows of my face. I feel a smile touch my lips softly as I raise my head once more, still balancing with ease on the balls of my feet. I draw in a deep breath and let it out slowly, rolling it over my tongue and tasting the air. The stream continues to gurgle by as my eyes close and I process the onslaught of scent from the world around me. I can smell the cool, damp soil below my feet with it's earthy aroma lingering richly on my tongue. Alongside that is the invigorating scent of wild mint, soothing lavender and the utterly calming peace of all the green moss gathered on the plants and trees surrounding the small clearing. I spare only a moment to savor these things before mentally sweeping them aside to find what I seek with a stubborn display of self discipline. I mentally peel away the layers of aroma that is surrounding what lies underneath. The sickeningly sweet ancient pungence of death is revealed...both old death and new. I turn to the group at my back that have been quietly waiting and watching as I gathered what I could make of what we were searching for. “He's passed through.” I look to the man directly behind me and smile darkly. “We will take him before dawn, my Lord. He's not gone far for he knows no fear.” His smile reflects my own and he nods in agreement. “Yes. Before dawn.” The rich, gravelly baritone voice reverberates like a throaty growl. His muscles begin to jump and twitch in anticipation of the hunt ahead. Everyone hears the clanking of the black gauntlets on my arms as I bring them together in a signal of no further need for silence. With a swish of skirts, I walk past my fellow warriors, my friends, my family and I reach out to take Vengeance by the reins, swinging one leg over his sturdy solid back once more. Leviathan prances up with a spring in his step that is always there when the hunt is on. Much like my Lord, his steed was built for the chase and reveled along with him in every moment of it. With a wide grin of excitement, Lucas spurs the horse forward and I can't help but give a sultry, throaty laugh in agreement as Vengeance and I follow on his heels. The sound of the hooves moving steadily and with purpose beneath me is echoed by those that have fallen in behind us. The cool night air moving briskly over my face and through my hair sends a shiver of excitement through me and I call over my shoulder to the others, "This night we shall stain our swords and arrows! We shall take back that which was stolen! The very nature of fear will meet our quarry's heart for the first time for we shall revel in our duty of true justice!" I slow my own horse just enough for Magick to match my pace bearing a slight, dark, creature of beauty on his back.

"My sister," I speak in softer tones so that only she and I are privy to the words, "When we overtake him, Lucas and I will contain him. It will only work for so long but it should give you the time you need. Be ready." Her long black hair flows over her shoulders and the mark of the temple within her eyes reflect a vast pit of rage lying beneath the surface. A cruel smile graces her features and despite the malice that shines through so clearly in her icy blue stare, it only serves to make her more devastatingly beautiful. She is no longer known by the name I once spoke in the dark when she and I would lay awake for hours making predictions of the future that would never come true. No longer is she the young girl that was sweeter then any nectar, my little Angelyn. Now, she is known only as a beautiful poison for she now carries the name of Death's Bride. The injustice she suffered at the hands of those meant to care for her helped shape her from a creature of duality in which dwelled both light and dark, to a soul tainted by the need for revenge. They had tipped the scales of her soul in favor of the dark, not she and for that I would never fault her. I understood this of her and, though we could not openly maintain our familial ties to one another under the strictest of orders, it was moments like this that I welcomed her at my side. Her involvement was one of the secrets all of us guarded closely, for if it were to be discovered, it would mean her death and most likely mine as well. "I am always ready, my dear sister." A glimmer of savage excitement shines from her clear blue eyes. She is thirsty for this new blood. I am one of few people that she ever shows true affection to anymore and I am grateful for the fact that her words are sincere. The woods open up and the small area is surrounded by hoof beats. A mere rustle of branches and all sound of the steeds stop as we come to a halt on the clearings edge. I can feel the eyes of those around settle on me expectantly. They are waiting for my sight. I’ve never understood why I am able to see what others do not in their surroundings, it is something I was born with, but despite my confusion on the matter I am still grateful to use my gift to further our efforts. I dismount once more and stride further into the clearing. A shiver runs down my spine before I’ve even gone two steps. This place is thick with Death, it has a nearly tangible presence. I take a breath to steady myself for what is to come and place an outstretched hand on a nearby tree trunk. The ethereal energy of the nature in this place reaches out to me offering me its eyes and memories. At first I can make nothing out, there is something covering my eyes, masking them from what is there…then I realize, no I am not being blinded at all. There is a coating through the whole clearing, covering everything in thick, dark red and pieces of flesh. My breath catches in my throat and my eyes burst with the light of green fire, glowing brilliantly from within. In the midst of the horrific vision before me I speak. “My Lord! He has taken many here…this is a realm of putrid horrors, deaths unnumbered. They have been taken from their beds. Raped and murdered for

the sake of entertainment to one that has gone insane. He laughs while they weep. Our children, our young ones, our charges…they have been betrayed. Blood flows everywhere! Oh..their tears, their suffering, their lives pouring out on the ground to the sound of crazed rantings. I cannot tell them apart, there are so many, ripped to shreds and left to rot. No! No!” The tears of the lost ones stream down my cheeks in shiny tracks mixed with my own pain and disgust. I close my eyes, not wanting to see any more, and shake my head as I wrench my hand from the tree as if I’ve been burned. In truth I have, my mind forever seared with the images of gory violence inflicted on the innocent. My breath comes in ragged gasps as I try to find my peace once more. I reach out to my family as my knees begin to give out and they take my hands and arms, steadying me. I feel the light of love pouring into me, through me, and my breath slows. The last wash of red disappears from my vision and on it’s heals I am overtaken by righteous fury. When I at last open my eyes and settle them on Lucas there is a wild untamed nature reflected in their depths. “He…will…die…this…night.” Each word I speak contains the venom of pure unadulterated hatred as I spit them out like bitter drops of poison and my limbs are shaking with the efforts to not scream out in primal rage. Behind me, off to one side and separated from the surrounding group, my sister tries unsuccessfully to cover over her giggle of delight with a feeble cough. When I turn my heated gaze on her she does not flinch but rather she smiles sweetly and cocks her head to one side as if appraising me for the first time. “Yes sister dear, he will die. And he will be revisited by all that he has inflicted on others. Do not fret so, all will be well. You will see. You will have your vengeance…” a slow lazy smile spreads like poisoned honey across her red lips, “…and I will have my fun.” This time she giggles and makes no attempt to mask the sound of twisted joy. Her face lights up with a look of hungry, eager anticipation and from the corners of my eyes I see the two youngest ones of the group slide their eyes in one another’s direction to exchange an anxious glance. It is their first Hunt with us. They both show much promise but it will require all their nerve and prodigal skill to survive the remainder of the night ahead. Time will tell if they are worthy to fight alongside the rest of us, if they are such as I would choose to protect and serve this Family.

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