The caves are where it all started. They allowed the first wandering wolves access to the land of Blossom Forest, and afterward housed the monster that had threatened the earliest of inhabitants. The heroes had slain it, yes, but in doing so had also closed off one of the pathways in the caverns, magic blocking one of the many exits to Blossom Forest. But over the years, the original spell has weakened and now the way is clear. What will not only crawl out of the caverns, but erupt from it? The caves now thrum with the ever growing magic wellspring as it spreads out into the land. It is from here that the first vampire of Blossom Forest was corrupted, and it is here that any subsequent vampire will be born. To traverse its paths is dangerous - there is an almost impenetrable darkness, and in that abyss lays many secrets - hidden holes one could fall through, weakened floors, and then of course there is the labyrinthe itself. No one knows what the deeper levels hold - no one has traveled them and survived to tell tales. Not even those who call this place home dares to test their luck by going in deep, deep, deeper. The magic exuding from this place has rearranged the lands - moving packs, changing the terrain. Here the cave looks the same but it is not - it is more dangerous than ever. In addition, outside the mouth of the cave the sacred stones that once stood erect in another place now stand guard. They are colored the most beautiful arrangement of jewel tones, and almost appear to be made of gems themselves, no longer the dull grey they once were. It is within them that all official fights must take place - at the Blican Orlege. Welcome to Drylic Cofa...


knives in your back

. . . there is nothing you can do that I have not already done to myself . . .

Thackery buried his muzzle into the girl’s throat—right into the seeping softball-sized negative space carved out of her shredded flesh. She barely clung to life as he plunged as deeply as he could into that blood-drenched bowl, jaws yawning open and shut to stretch the wound wider. This jerked a few thin wheezes from Margaurite’s tattered vocal cords, noises that wanted to be screams or whimpers but drowned too soon . . . eventually, even these rasps rattled into nothingness, and the only sound other than the steady beat of rain on glossy leaves was the ugly slurp of Thackery’s tongue drawing out congealing skeins of scarlet like a bear licking honey from a hive. The warmth of his meal poked at smoldering coals buried in his chest and coaxed fire forth; he felt his abnormally slow heart rate throb to a quicker beat, a delicious stirring in his loins that drove him to moan as his teeth slicked themselves on the she-wolf’s life. He pulled his snout back to give long, loving laps to the hideous trench he’d eaten into his prey’s body—stroking her as if he were her devoted paramour. Soon that scrumptious iron tang thoroughly coated the inside of his maw. Satiation suffused him from the inside out. Thackery nuzzled into the carcass’s red-drenched fur, smearing streaks of gore across her once pretty palette of greys and creams. “Looks like you were good for something after all, little loudmouth. Your family would probably be proud you managed to serve one use . . .”

His words faded into a pleased, gentle purr as he began cleaning himself of his crime. The rain only helped so much to wash away the stickiness of bodily fluids and mire from Thackery’s golden robes; his tongue helped swipe away the worst signs of a murder, though rust inevitably clung to a few bronze-tipped hairs. He chuffed quietly at the mess, rolling his blazing carmine eyes—when a sound snagged his attention. Those same twin hellfires burned toward the darker sections of the forest, where the entrances to the caverns were hidden. The young vampire instantly jumped to attention at the sight of another night-hunter crawling weakly into the clearing . . . the boy’s monstrous irises appearing to dull with each step he took. Thacks observed with a snarl caught in his throat as this stranger threw himself at the chunk of meat Thackery had tossed away, latching onto it as if to drain it of its last vestiges of blood. It was no use. Another second later, a stream of dark vomit splatted into the runny earth by the lad’s paws.

“You don’t look so good,” Thackery barked out harshly, his tone anything but sympathetic or worried. Sunlit hackles spiked and he hovered protectively over his kill, face creased in a dangerous grimace. “What’s the matter? Forgot to feed?” At first, the other male did not answer. Thacks waited impatiently for some sign this bastard had heard him—and finally received it when the sickly vamp tiredly lifted his sunken skull.

“Please . . . take me to my mother in Caidir . . .”

Confusion tightened Thackery’s angry features. “Your mother?” Since being turned by that living shit stain Draven, Thackery had stayed far, far away from wherever he sensed his Sweoster’s presence. He only stuck to the caves when absolutely necessary, and even then drastically avoided any hallways marked with Draven’s touch. He had not gone to visit the pack his master sometimes frequented . . . and therefore had no idea who ruled Caidir Olc, much less who lived there. Thackery guessed it might be a vampiric sanctuary. It would have to be, if Draven bothered to go there and this stranger claimed his mother was there. Slowly, a smug mask replaced Thackery’s furious façade, and he walked slowly over to the clearly dying bloodsucker. His tail wagged in a parody of friendliness, his head cocked to the side as he stared down at his “brother.” “Sure, kid. I’ll take you back to mommy. I’ve been meaning to see what Hell hole Draven’s been slumming in, anyway.” Still careful—just in case the brute decided he wanted to take a bite of Thacks as a last act of revenge—the toffee-toned leech took his patient’s ruff between his fangs and began dragging him backward, grunting with the effort required to budge that large dire frame. “Holy shit, kid. This might take a while. Can you stand at all?”

The unsual pair made it about two yards before the sound of paws splashing through puddles force Thackery to freeze, letting go of the opposite vampire to throw a warning roar toward the trees. His seething scarlet windows narrowed at the sight of a ghostly soldier stepping calmly into the clearing, normal ruby lanterns scanning the scene before him with . . . concern. Not terror, not repulsion, but a genuine puzzlement. “Um, sorry to intrude. But do you need assistance?” A voice clear and free of fear. Thackery’s mouth hung open in shock. He glared harder, voice grinding out of his vocals like chopped meat. “Um, sorry to offend you, but what the fuck? Do you see that dead female over there? Do you smell the death on my teeth? What kind of sick piece of shit are you that you’re not running right now?”

Rain began gradually fading away, transforming into a fine soft mist while clouds continued to roll black across the heavens. Thackery’s paranormal pools seemed to flare brighter with his temper while he scanned the pallid stranger up and down, gears turning in his head. At last, Thacks reached a silent decision. His outward demeanor shifted drastically. He dipped his crown, antagonism disappearing with a syrupy smile. “Jeez, what am I thinking—looking a gift horse in the mouth. Here you’re trying to be a good person, and I’m just snapping at you. Not cool. If you’re not doing anything, mind helping me get this guy back to his mom? She lives in Caidir Olc, and I don’t think I can carry him by myself.”

. . I never wanted to dance with anybody but you .
. .

⦃ Without a Home – Heartless – No Legacy – Spawn of Draven – xathira ⦄


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