HalfBlood

Kanya - A name, a mix, an incarnation.

She was raised in a realm of flame and scale, living with the serpentine drakes she rides and controls, taming them to her hand. Yet a few days before her sixteenth equivalency, a visitor appears in her room, lusting for her strange blood. Everything changes for Kanya, in ways she cannot fathom. Who is her real family? Why couldn't they keep her? Why did that vampire try to kill her...and is literally everything she was raised to believe a lie?

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9. Chapter Nine

My head was throbbing sharply, and I let out a half-squeak, half-groan as I opened my eyes. The light above me hurt so much, though it was blocked partially by three hazy figures. I felt like I was being crushed under a drake's foot, and the soreness was spreading all down my back. What the hell had happened back there, and what was that light about right before I smacked my head?

I blinked a few times, and the haze faded, revealing that Cael, Drydon, and Asriel were leaning over me, and I was laying upon something flat and soft. Asriel seemed to smile as he saw me start to move and attempt to sit up. My back felt like it had decided it was actually overcooked noodles, so I just lay still, focussing through the pain.

"Hey. How're you feeling?" Drydon asked softly, placing his cool fingers on my forehead. They felt strangely soothing, so I just let him keep them there, calming the burning heat.

"I'm good...thank you. What happened back there?" I groaned, looking down at myself. I was still covered in that black ick, and had been laid on the sofa by one of the guys to recover.

"Came back and saw Asriel had been beaten pretty bad and was trying to draw in Light to heal himself. We heard you scream and get pulled down by the dybbuk, but you hit your head and passed out before we could help." Cael explained, as I weakly tried sitting up again.

"You did a pretty good job at destroying the contents of the box, Kanya. All it took was scratching out Shalom and replacing it with Layla tov." Drydon added, as he handed the familiar piece of marble to me. The original lettering, שלום, had been scratched out, and replaced with a new phrase. לילה טוב. Layla tov. Good night.

"We're gonna re-bury that tonight. It should stop the dybbuk forever. The Shema Yisrael was a seal for the dybbuk's power, so we scratched that out too. The box is now just that, a box. You did great, Kanya." Asriel added, as Drydon took one of my ick-covered hands and helped me stand up. He was only a few inches taller than me, but still looked down towards me, as he slowly moved his index finger in a pattern in front of my face.

"Yeah, she's good. No concussions. Bit covered in rotten dybbuk fat though." Drydon added. What?

"Rotten dybbuk fat? What the...what the hell?" I asked, as he tried stifling a laugh.

"Yeah...that black ick...dybbuks skin themselves alive down to the muscle when they mature after their first century, and from now on their clothing is made from their own skin. Over time, the fat rots, and as it rots it becomes that black icky stuff that you have all over you." Cael replied, also trying not to laugh. What. The. Actual. Hell!?

Ok, I know most practices associated with dark creatures are pretty disgusting, but that takes it one step too far. Dybbuk fat...rotting dybbuk fat...was just purely foul. It would explain the cat urine-esque ammonia scent too, from the sulfurous mix in the dybbuk flesh rotting. "Ok...that's more than just a tiny bit repulsive. Do you mind if I wash this off?" I asked.

"Bathroom's down the hall, third on your left." Asriel replied, pointing down the hall then pointing to the left. "We'll have the information on your mother ready for you once you've gotten cleaned off."

I smiled softly and thanked them, heading off down to the bathroom. I was going to probably be in there for a very long time, judging by how much rotting dybbuk fat had plastered itself to me.

*

I must have been in that shower for about two hours at minimum, but it was worth it when I finally got out and stood on that white bath mat, in the dark wood-panelled bathroom. The air was warm and moist from the hot water, and steam clouds still clung to the ceiling. The mirror had fogged up, but I could still see a faint ghost of myself looking back at me, wrapped in a towel. Wiping the mirror with a wet squeak wasn't an improvement, as my skinny form stood thin and pale in the bathroom. Albeit a bit greyer and wetter than before, with my dripping hair soaking the towel and clinging to my skin, but otherwise, still the same. Same blue eyes too big for me, same wiry, waif-like body, and I had the same lank and limp hair I always had when I took it down.

I suppose it would have to do. There's no way of changing how I look, so I'd better get used to it. Wringing out my hair with the towel, I let it hang damply down my back, and reached blindly for the clothes I'd left on the radiator. Yet instead my fingers found a scrap of paper, hastily written on with black Sharpie.

Just letting you know your clothes are in the wash. Dybbuk fat gets everywhere and stains worse than blood. You'll have to make do with a few things of ours, which you can keep. Cael found something you may be interested in.
Drydon

I sighed and caught a glimpse of my eyes rolling in the mirror, as I took the bundle of clothes off the radiator. It wasn't that bad really. A dark grey shirt and dark blue plaid button down, with black jeans that were so long in the leg on me they came up to my waist when I belted them, and well-worn dark green socks. Unfortunately no underwear though, so I'd have to make do without. I suppose I didn't look too bad in this, despite the mix of sizes. If I braided my hair back, I might even look like a hunter myself, especially when I eventually had to put on my boyfriend's borrowed combat armour.

"Hey, you're back then." Cael announced, once I came back into the main room. It had been cleaned up a bit from when I last saw it, but there were definitely more than a few dents, scratches, and breakages still around. The back of the sofa had been ripped open, but still Cael lounged back on it, with his laptop on his lap.

"Yeah, I am. So what'ya got?" I asked, slipping onto the sofa next to him and dislodging some white fluff from the gashes. "Drydon said you found something I may be interested in. Where is he anyway?"

Cael smiled then, muttering something similar to 'so eager' under his breath. "He's outside with Asriel, attempting to calm that Drake with words, or bribing her with the contents of the salad drawer. She really is vicious, you know." He added out loud, chuckling to himself.

"She's not that vicious. Favnir and Apophis were definitely the worst in my year. Half of the flame and venom burns recorded each year were because of them." I replied, as the old burn scar on my left thigh rubbed against the rough inside of my jeans. It didn't hurt, but it did feel strange, and acted as a reminder to always be on my guard amongst any drake that wasn't Saphira.

"The bite Asriel came in with whilst you were showering begs to differ. Anyway, I went looking, and found this. It's from a paranormal tracking website, that a bunch of hunters set up to keep tabs on distinctive creatures. ThatSuccubusNemorixis.com has a lot on vampires." Cael replied, putting the laptop on my lap and letting me read through as he got up.

"ThatSuccubusNemorixis.com? Why would whoever created the site choose a name like that?" I exclaimed, settling the laptop as he went around the back of the sofa to the kitchen.

"Urban legend says a hunter had been married for several years, when his wife began acting far more lustful and kept trying to get him to sleep with her. This was not normal for her, so he trapped her and found out that a succubus had killed his wife and taken her form. The succubus revealed her name to be Nemorixis before she escaped and fled into the night. He set up this page to hopefully track her down, and it grew to this, with sightings of distinctive creatures being recorded on the site. There's a whole section on a vampire named Holly under the 'Vampires' drop-down tab."

Huh, well that explains it. "Still a little weird. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Where's the whole section on her again?" I asked, prompting Cael to lean over me and tap the link for 'Winter woodland witch - Holly Stoher'.

The page came up with reams of red text on black, occasionally pierced by blurry photographs of what looked like a black-haired woman, and clearly professional photographs ranging from a sepia-toned group photograph of some kind of army battalion, to a child's grave, all the way to an old terraced house typical of the early Twenties. Right at the very top was what looked like a witness' sketch of what was clearly her, captioned 'This Holly bears her fangs as sharp as any thorn, and her victims blood shines berry bright until they're found next morn.' in text like blood.

She didn't look much like me, for her hair spiralled down like black strands of uncoiled rope, in a style associated with the Thirties. The sketch had been coloured in, and I could see she had the traditional paleness of a vampire, though her eyes were a kind of soft olive green, instead of the expected vivid scarlet of a vampire, or my dark blue. Two pale scars, like bullet wounds, settled into the left side of her neck just on top of where her pulse would be, and just poking through her parted lips were the distinctive white tips of her fatal fangs.

"So this is you, mother." I whispered to myself as I began to read. It was arranged a bit like a blog, with the most recent sighting of her dated a good two years ago, from someone who caught sight of her opening a portal to the vampire realm.

I caught sight of her just north of the cemetary in western Chicago. She could have been like a banshee, clad in black and shrieking out her tormented moans as she lay atop a grey and worn slab of stone embedded in the ground. Probably a grave, but I couldn't get close enough to read the name, as she was kneeling on it as she wept. Eventually she got up into a kneeling position from her laying on it. Muttered something undiscernable at the grave, then leaned down and kissed the stone before getting up.
I don't know if she'd spotted me in the bushes, or if this was directed at the grave, but she turned back and looked at it, (and where I was) and waved. It was just a brief wave where she bent her fingers in a few times, but it was enough to send me crouching lower into the bushes and hide for a bit, in case she spotted me. The fact she didn't come told me I hadn't been caught, and could resume watching her.
When I looked up again, she was dipping her finger in this glass phial of black liquid over and over, using it to paint a small circle around her. From the ashen smell, I guessed it was vampire blood. Once she completed the circle, she put the phial back into a small purse on her hip, and stood in the middle, arms spread wide. She muttered something again, before a strange phenomenon happened.
The black blood began to bubble, springing up like fountain jets and forming a black, opaque dome around her that bubbled and swirled. It must have only lasted for a matter of seconds, before the dome collapsed in on itself, revealing she had gone into the Vampire Realm, from what I'd read. The blood vanished once it reconnected with the earth, leaving absolutely no trace of Holly Stoher behind.
With her gone, I could get a good look at the grave. It was very small, so a child's grave, and the details matched myths of her having a dead child. I took a photo of the grave, which I included, and the details are as follows:

'Carlo Stoher, Born August 30th 1928. Died October 19th 1932. Beloved child cut short from this earth. My baby, Mummy will always love you, and Mummy will always miss you.'

It seemed stranger the more I read it, and made no sense at all, but I did get one thing out of it. My mother was last spotted going into the Vampire Realm, and to do so involved vampire's blood. To follow my mother's trail, I needed a phial of vampire's blood, and I needed it quickly. Who knows how far my mother could have moved on by the time I got into the Vampire Realm.

"Cael, how do I print this page out?" I called, as he returned from the kitchen, holding something wrapped in what looked like my clothes.

"Right click, go down, click print. Should work ok. You find anything?" He replied, laying the bundle of my clothes on an un-ripped part of the sofa. "I'm going out to check on Drydon and Asriel. Let me know if you need anything." He added, giving me a quick smile as he headed out the back.

I was gonna take that as a hint, as I set the page to be printed out and moved the laptop off me. Toxotes' sweater was right at the top, and still smelled very faintly of him when I picked it up and held it. All earthy, with the rusty, salty zing of his warm blood. The smell of comfort and support, when I had a gut feeling I was gonna need it most.

Oh what the heck, I didn't care if it was summer outside and I was already wearing two layers. Putting down the old combat armour, I slipped on his black sweater and felt the warmth of his soft arms creep through and hug me. Yeah, so it was probably just the warmth of the dryer, I could still pretend he was here giving me a hug, and that he was whispering in my ear that I could do it and he loved me.

Yeah, I could do this. If I could wrestle with my clothing trying to put on underwear without revealing too much, and buckle on my boyfriend's combat armour, then I could do anything. It's the little victories that make a girl's day shine. Pulling on my boots and lacing them, I took out the print-out of the page from the printer over in the corner, and rolled it into a tube as I gathered up the remains of my clothes, and nipped outside to see Cael and the others.

Three layers didn't exactly help with the glowing caress outside, which only served to tease out beads of sweat and weigh myself down further as I made my way to the waterside. Judging by the splashing, Saphira was doing just fine, and the others hadn't been hosed down. Her water jets were definitely best avoided.

"Kanya, how do you tame this thing?" Drydon's strangled yelp came from nearby, as I got through the small fence of tall trees between the waterside and the cabin. Puzzled, I looked across to where I thought it came from, and then looked up.

I couldn't help but stifle a laugh, as Saphira was balanced on her hind legs with Drydon hooked by the back of his shirt on one of her bottom canines. Judging by how she was shaking her head and how her black, forked tongue was writhing, he must have gotten stuck in her teeth. Asriel must be trying to pull him free, judging by how he was frantically flapping nearby and trying to grab hold of him, and Cael was nowhere to be seen. Probably he was waist deep in water on the other side, trying to coax Saphira into calming down.

"One second." I replied, stifling a chuckle and resting my things on a soft bit of grass. "Saphira, down! Come on, down!" I yelled, causing Saphira to suddenly stop, let out a snort of discontent, and reluctantly lower her head so Drydon wound up being practically pressed into the ground.

"There's a good girl, hold still." I added, gently scratching her behind her horns as I unhooked Drydon's shirt from her front canines, and earned myself a wet lick with her forked tongue as Drydon scrabbled free, and Asriel fluttered down to land by his side. "Ick, thanks for that, Saphira." I replied, wiping my now wet cheek as she went back into her usual position.

"More like thanks for that Kanya. How do you tame her?" Drydon asked, getting to his feet and dusting himself off.

"We're taught how to since our first year. Plus she's naturally bonded to me." I replied, before turning to hear the splashing of Cael getting out of the water behind me.

"Kinda useful with that thing. So, have you found anything?" He asked, brushing himself off.

I paused for a second, biting my lip as I looked up at the three of them. It was like being a sprite in a world of elves, and I'm about five-eleven. Bloody hell, how tall were they? "I think I may have found where my mother was last seen." I replied, as Saphira knelt down and gave me a wet nuzzle in the back.

Cael paused at my words, as a small smile began forming. "That's good news then. Where was it?" He asked, as Asriel nipped back and got something from within the trees.

"Well...that's the thing. She was last seen over two years ago, in a cemetary in west Chicago. However, she was seen entering the Vampire Realm, which has only one method of entering it. It involves a circle of vampire's blood." I replied, adjusting my right arm guard.

Cael's smile faded very rapidly at that. "Well it's a start at least. Maybe she has more founding in her realm, and only comes here to feed. Drydon, do you have any ideas?"

"Well someone must have seen her in the Vampire Realm at least. It could be a linking place. Kanya, what realms can vampires safely traverse?" He asked. That was a good question actually.

"Well pretty much all Realms except the upper portions. So no Light Realms. That leaves the Vampire Realm, Shadow Realm, Magi Realm, Human Realm, Drake Realm, Cataconian Realm, and Hell." I replied, counting them off on my fingers. It was starting to add up to a lot of places, especially when the individual Levels of Hell were concerned, plus the mysterious anti-Realm of Shadow Haven, wherever that was.

"Ouch." Asriel announced, coming out from the forest with something wooden in his arms. "Still, you have a starting point, and well...we thought we'd give you something to make your journeys a bit easier." He added, before coming over to me and handing it to me.

It was the dybbuk box, with the Shema Yisrael scratched out of it. Only it had been changed. A chain about two centimetres thick in total had been welded to two drilled-in loops of metal, turning it into a kind of shoulder bag. When Asriel opened up the doors, I could see a fabric pocket had been stapled into the inside of the right door, and inside it, my mother's letter had been slotted with a small notepad and pencil.

"You...did this for me?" I asked, unable not to smile as I took it, admiring the handiwork. Not having a family meant gifts were rare, usually only coming from Toxotes on Valentines' and my birthday. This...this was really something else.

"You helped us out, we're helping you out. We tested it, and everything should fit in nicely, so finding your mother should be easier." Cael explained, demonstrating by slotting my folded clothes in, and adding the rolled print-out. "Perfect, just as we thought. My brother has a knack for crafting."

His brother? "Drydon, you did this? Wow...how can I thank you?" I asked, running my fingers over the wood, and smoothly locking the doors.

"You did already, what with the dybbuk and all. Besides, you've got a long journey ahead of you." He replied, as I slipped the chain over my shoulder and tried it out. "You able to get into the Vampire Realm?" He asked.

That was a good question. Would I be able to? It required a circle of vampire's blood, so I should be alright there, as I bleed black like a vampire. I only had to hope the realm accepted cross-breeds, and I could bleed enough to allow Saphira and I into the realm without putting myself in danger.

"Well...I think so. I have a vampire's blood in my veins, so that should mean I can open the portal. Only question really is if I should have enough." I replied, pulling back my right sleeve and exposing the cobweb veins beneath my skin. Looking at my wrist, I teased my fangs to extend, feeling them reach my bottom lip and threaten to pierce it. This was gonna hurt a lot.

I could tell the others were probably gonna be repulsed by this, but it was the quickest way of getting out enough blood. My fangs out, I forced myself to bite hard into my wrist, piercing the vein and letting my blood - my black vampire's blood - leak out. God it hurt, as I felt my skin ripping from the motion of my fangs. If the smell of a cold grave coming from my torn veins was anything to go by, it would definitely be potent enough. That and the rotting, ash-like taste, though I could definitely taste the dryness and slight acidity of type 0 blood underneath. Like wine. A dry and acidic wine, that someone had emptied a funeral urn into.

No matter how many times I licked my lips once I withdrew my fangs, the taste still lingered, eager to remain. My fangs retracted pretty quickly to their normal shortness, but my veins had been torn open. Two ragged scribble-marks stood out in deep black on my wrist, leaking thick streams of black blood that dripped into the grass.

"This should be enough." I replied, letting it drip. When I looked up, the two humans seemed to be controlling themselves. Only Asriel was turned away, trying hard not to look. His wings had furled in, and he had gone very, very pale.

"Asriel, you alright?" I asked, as he turned back to look at me. The more he looked at my blood dripping into the grass, the paler he seemed to get, until the glowing white upper portions of his wings had more colour than him.

"Yeah...just...well it's your blood." He began, forcing himself not to look at my wrist. "I just...you're only half-Dark and it smells so damn strong."

Ah, that explains it. The strong scent of my blood must be putting him through a sensory assault course right now. "Right. Don't worry, I'll sort it out. It's starting to clot anyway." I replied, feeling the familiar slimy chunks of clotting blood forming on my wrist. Dark blood clots eerily quick, with vampire's blood clotting quickest of all. Probably to avoid bleeding out under an attack from a Light or Neutral being.

For Asriel's sake, I had to be quick. My wrist extended, I began walking around in a wide-ish circle, occasionally rubbing my forearm to encourage more of my blood to come out as the healing process began on the bite wounds. Pretty soon I had a circle about five feet in radius around me, and still my wrist was dripping.

"There, it's over." I announced once I had finished, letting my blood clot on my wrist. The circle had been drawn, and all I had to do now was lure Saphira out of the water to join me.

"It still smells extremely strong. Here, let me help." Asriel replied, tentatively reaching behind him. He winced a touch, before coming back with a single feather. Gold at the tip, and brilliant white for the rest. "Brush your wounds with this and they shall heal." He added, handing it to me, before he suddenly wound his arms around me in a hug. "The feather also serves as a connection between us. Simply pray with it, and I can speak to you through the divine power within. Where I am, you will find Cael and Drydon nearby."

I didn't know what to say. I was a half-vampire getting a hug from an angel whilst two hunters looked on. It sounded like the start of a really bad joke the more I went over it. Or a horror story used to stop Dark children from wandering off at night. Still, it felt kinda nice. I could trust Asriel not to burn me in his embrace, and trust Cael and Drydon not to ram a rowan blade into my heart. They were...well, as strange as it sounded, a half-Dark creature had made friends with two hunters and an angel.

"Thank you for all this." I muttered, letting him hold me a touch tighter before letting me go. "I'll try to stay in touch. Honestly I will." I added, brushing the angel feather over my wounds. It seemed to tingle, but not in a bad way. Like something fizzy was on my skin. Looking back down at my wrist revealed the wound had completely healed, with not a scratch to show.

"If you ever need us, just pray with the feather. Oh, and if you ever have any trouble with Dark creatures, you know who to call." Drydon added, going over to me and shaking my hand.

"Ghostbusters?" I replied, earning myself a chuckle. It was a cliché joke, but it was just begging to be used.

"Only a matter of time before you fit that joke in somewhere." Cael laughed, joining his brother in shaking my hand. "I hope you find your mother quickly, Kanya. She should be proud to have a daughter like you."

I couldn't help but grin at that, as Saphira nuzzled her nose into my back. Yeah...he was right. I'd managed to make friends with hunters and kill a dybbuk with them. My mum should be proud of me for that at least.

"I hope she is. I hope I made her proud of me." I replied, looking over at Saphira as she climbed out of the water and settled behind me. She should fit, if I hold her steel collar the whole time.

"There isn't a doubt in my mind that you have, Kanya. Not one doubt at all." Cael replied, stepping out of the circle with his brother and Asriel. "I take it this is goodbye then."

Goodbye? "No, this isn't goodbye. I'm gonna see you soon, I can tell. It's...it's..." I replied, the word tripping on my tongue, face-planting my tastebuds, and flashing it's letters. "It's a farewell. A farewell until next time."

It seemed just right. Farewell. That was the word I had been looking for but couldn't find. Silently, I slipped Asriel's feather into the dybbuk box, took hold of Saphira's steel collar, and waved at them. "Farewell Cael, Drydon, and Asriel. I'll be seeing you very soon."

I could see them go to speak, but couldn't hear what they said over the roar of the blood starting to boil and fizz, and the fountains springing up to form blood pillars. I could see them waving back though, as Saphira let out a reptilian roar of fright at the newness of a blood portal to the Vampire Realm. Gently, I reached up to stroke her neck where she liked it, before the thick veil of black blood descended around us, and we were gone.

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