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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10. Chapter Ten

By the time the blood fountains around me had stopped and dissipated, I had arrived in the Vampire Realm with Saphira. Here, the air was hot, dry, and brittle; it was gritty enough I could grind it between my back teeth, though that might have been because we had arrived on an old dirt road. It smelled strongly of iron and salt here, beneath a sky that seemed permanently on fire behind light wisps of purple clouds. I remember being told the sun never rose here, and day was a state of twelve-hour sunset until the comforting blackness of night. Compared to the Human Realm, the place seemed calm, almost anaemic, yet like I was standing at the bottom of a swimming pool.

Was it the middle of summer here? Back home our calendar is a few months out, using St George's Day as our New Year, so do the vampires use another date? Halloween is used by Hell as their New Year, so what date would the vampires use?

Eh, I can ask a vampire when I find one. The most important part now is working out where my mother was. I could tell where I was, as from looking around, I can tell I must have landed somewhere in the central part of the Vampire Realm, as just visible over a thin forest of fir trees was the imposing structure of the Societal Building - its highly polished black granite and red sandstone architecture reflecting the blazing sky above and making it seem like the building was nestled safely in the heart of a bonfire, like a phoenix in its nest. The ice white marble statue of the First Commander graced the rooftop, about the size of my little finger at this distance, and either side in alabaster stood the rice grain-sized statues of the second Commander, and the third Commandress. The hollow Hall of Eternity must be just underneath it, if my teachers were correct. Judging by the haze of light and tall, gothic buildings on the horizon all around, I was in the mile-wide circle of pure grassland around the Societal Building, that kept the capital city of Darkened at a distance.

Guess those pricks back at Drakine were right when they said the vampires were a haughty bunch, and proud of their so-called 'superior' politics and government. They just had to put their governmental headquarters smack bang in the middle of the central city of Darkened, and just had to show off every bit of their so called superiority by keeping the capital city at arm's length from their 'perfect' government.

My mental rant on the general stuck-up front of the Vampire Realm was interrupted by an impatient snort from Saphira, who began pulling enthusiastically at her reins back towards the city of Darkened. "What, what is it, baby?" I asked, as Saphira began trying to pull me along the dirt track like some kind of overgrown lizard-husky puppy. I've never seen her so energetic in such a hot, dry place. Normally she's only like this in the middle of a rainstorm, where she's surrounded by water. There was no water for miles around, so there would be no reason for her to be acting this way.

I just gave up being dragged - dust clouds gathering from around my boots as I dug my heels in - and let go of Saphira's reins, jogging lightly behind her. The mundane dybbuk box rattled loudly on its well-fastened chain strap as I broke into a run to cope with her broad gallop. What had gotten her so hyped up? Another drake, perhaps? She was still a juvenile, so it would be a while before I considered getting her a mating partner, but she'd still be eager to see a male water drake.

I had to break into a run in the end, as she took off and began gliding about two metres above ground level, letting the draughts from her wings rustle the tufts of rough-looking grass scattered around the dirt road. My thighs were starting to ache a bit, but still she kept gliding, occasionally looking back over her wings to check I was still following.

Eventually, she landed just off the dirt road, on the edge of where the city of Darkened cut off to allow for the circle of grassland. The scorched ring of burned earth stuck out as a smudge of black amongst the yellowish-olive of the dry grass, and the rusty brown of the dirt road leading into what looked like the main market district of Darkened. Here, gothic stone buildings carved with Celtic knots and lattice designs dominated this part of the market, with their black slate rooftops making the perfect perches for the crows and hawks that circled in the blazing sunset. Shops lined the wide dirt road, with stalls out front containing blood phials shimmering like rubies, and gemstones of every colour. A tavern marked the entrance to the market district, with its wrought iron sign displaying the name 'The Dark' over the gothic arched door, and a low trough carved in stone and filled with water outside of it. Of course, that would explain Saphira's eagerness, as she probably smelt the electrical zing of the nearest small body of water, and got attracted to it.

My theory was confirmed when she stuck her nose in the water, exhaling slowly from her nose and forming bubbles before bringing it out again and beginning to lap up the water with her deep navy tongue. Good grief, it's like dealing with a hyperactive puppy of one of the really massive dog breeds. Sighing, I scratched her behind her horns, making her let out a soft, reptilian sigh of bliss.

I suppose I could allow her a rest stop. I could take the time to write a letter to Toxotes, to let him know I'm ok, and to check out what those hunters gave me again. A short twenty-minute stop wouldn't do any harm. Giving Saphira another scratch behind her ears, I made sure she was calm and happy as I took off her riding halter and clipped it to my belt loop, before pushing open the oak arched door and heading into The Dark.

It was definitely large, with a warm but modern feel to it. The bar was made of sterile-looking silver steel and red plastic - just like the circular bar stools alongside - with a row of silver steel tables at the back, and red plastic-looking booths against the side walls. The red curtains were drawn, leaving the only light to come from the red circular lampshades hanging from the ceiling. To be honest, it looked like something extracted from the Fifties. Not exactly the sort of thing that would fit in the Victorian Gothic-inspired capital city of the Vampire Realm.

I suppose it was alright though. Nice and bright, and I could probably get away with sitting at the bar, writing a letter to Toxotes and letting him know I was ok. Slipping onto a bar stool, I opened the doors of the dybbuk box and took out a plain bit of paper and a pen, beginning to write a long-overdue letter.

Dear Toxotes,
I'm sorry I couldn't write to you earlier, but so much has happened since I left and got chased over Flamepen. That portal you told me about actually leads to the Human Realm. To be precise, halfway along Route Thirty-Six just west of Scandia and North-East of Courtland, somewhere in the USA. I never asked what state, and the hunters I stayed with never told me.
Yes, you did read that right. I helped out a bunch of hunters in exchange for information on my mother. Well, to be precise, two hunters and an angel that was hanging around with them, but they were still great people. Don't panic, I didn't have to do anything extremely betraying to my Dark kind. Just help them track down a dybbuk that was running rampant on that stretch of road. I got a lot from them; Cael, Drydon, and Asriel.
My mother may have a whole page dedicated to tracking her down on this paranormal tracking website, if it's her. I have a print-out of the page, but if you want to see it, then use one of the computers in the school library to search 'ThatSuccubusNemorixis.com' and there's a whole page on Holly under the 'Vampires' drop-down. I know the site name is a touch what-the-hell, but it's a long story.
I miss you, baby. I miss you a lot. Hopefully I'll be able to see you soon, once I've found my mother. I promise, I'll tell you the second I do. I love you, baby. Truly I do.
I love you so much, baby.
Kanya.

It took several re-readings before I was happy with the letter. All I had to do now was either post it, which would be risky as I had a gut feeling the Academy would stop any letters from me now, or persuade Saphira to take a quick detour and deliver this to Toxotes on her own.

Yet I couldn't let her go off on her own like that, especially as I had another realm to get into. Ah shit, what was I gonna do?

"Need help there?" A woman's voice asked, prompting me to look up. She must be about my age or a bit older, with golden yellow eyes, and dark brown hair in artificial curls down to her shoulders. Two pinpricks stood out on her neck, and she had tiny silver dragons hanging down from her earlobes. Her black waitress' uniform had a tiny copy of the sign outside sewn in red over the right pocket, and she had a pencil sticking out of the band of her dark red apron.

"Do you have an envelope I could use please? I need to send this to Drakine Academy." I asked, as she reached behind the bar for a glass.

"Sure, one second. Sending it to anyone in particular?" She asked, fiddling around behind the bar and bringing out a plain white envelope and a glass of what smelled like type A, from someone with a high blood sugar level. "You look like you could use the energy. Been a rough time lately?"

"You don't know the level." I replied, taking a grateful sip of sweet type A and tasting the tiny pops and crackles that high blood sugar adds to it. "I've gotta send this to my boyfriend, to let him know I'm ok. I got kicked out of Drakine a few days ago and he's kinda worried." I explained, setting the glass down and folding my letter into the envelope.

"Ah, I see. Tell you what, my brother's in his third year at Drakine. I can give it to him to give to your boyfriend if you like." The waitress replied, watching as I licked the envelope shut and wrote out 'Toxotes Elzwear' on the back. "He's the captain of the group aerial combat team, right?"

"That's him, though he does solo combat too. Does your brother know him then?" I asked, downing more type A.

"Yeah, they're on the same team. My brother's left flanker. I can get that letter to him in a matter of days." She replied, taking the letter from me and putting it in her apron pocket. "If I may ask, why did you get kicked out?"

How long did she have? "It's a very long story. Basically it involves a purebloodist attack aimed at me, and being classed as too much of a liability. Been hanging around trying to figure out if my next lead will take me anywhere significant." I explained, looking up past her at the blackboard were all the offers were written. It seemed pretty normal, until I got to the bottom.

Advice for the day: If forced to spend the night in a basement with a hungry werewolf, get out of its way, try not to annoy it, and try not to look edible.

Huh, kinda weird, and a touch impractical for my situation, but all the same, not bad advice.

"Ah, I see. Drakine being very firmly Darkist again. Don't worry, at least you're outta there now." The waitress replied, turning to see what I was looking at, then looking back at me. "Oh, don't mind that. One of my colleagues has psychic abilities, and my boss decided to turn one of their daily predictions for one of our customers into our daily advice quote. Most of the time it's a bit weird, but it's a talking point." She explained.

Psychic bar staff. Well there's something you don't hear about every day. "It's good advice overall though."

"I guess, but personally I think better advice would be, 'Don't get into any situations that could force you to spend the night in a basement with a hungry werewolf' if you ask me. By the way, you mentioned you were following a lead. What kind of lead? Perhaps I can help."

I gotta admit, she had a point. Though I doubt there are many situations requiring a furry little basement sleepover. "Well...this sounds ridiculous, but you wouldn't happen to have seen a particular woman around here? I have an artist's impression of her, but that's it. Hold on, I'll get it out for you." I asked, reopening the dybbuk box and getting out the rolled up print-out.

"Artist's impression? Isn't that what they do in the Human Realm when someone describes an attacker, or someone seen around a crime scene around the time a body is found? Did she do anything wrong?" The waitress asked.

Well she gave birth to me, for one. "Not that I'm aware of. I'm kinda...well, I'm looking for my mother, and from what I've managed to find so far, that may be a sketch of her. Have you seen her?" I asked, handing over the print-out and watching her examine it.

She pursed her lips as she looked, rubbing them together as if she had lipstick on, before handing it back to me. "I'm afraid I haven't seen anyone that looks like this, sorry. You might wanna try asking around the city though. Someone's bound to have seen her, or at least have a lead. Remember, even the stupidest leads must have come from somewhere."

That made sense, and to be honest, even a lead saying my mother was last seen in the Human Realm dressed in a coconut bra and dancing the hula was better than all of the nothing I had now. "Thanks for the advice...you know anywhere in particular I could try?"

"Shops might let you put a copy of that in the window, or behind the counter. Maybe try pinning some around the main squares. Who knows, it might work."

Eh, it was better than nothing, and it might work. Darkened was massive, so someone should have a lead somewhere. "It probably will...especially if I find a way of posting these in all the major cities. I mean, there's others like...like Nosfer, Sanguinax, Bathorya, Noctem, Tantibus...someone in at least one of those places has to have a lead." I replied, getting off the bar stool and getting ready to go. "Thank you so much for your help." I added.

"Happy to be of service. I hope you find your mother." The waitress replied, taking my empty blood glass. "Though aren't you forgetting something? Talk is free but blood isn't."

Oh shit. "But you still offered it to me."

She leaned on her elbows on the counter. "Well t'ain't my fault. You gonna pay or not?"

All my warm feelings towards this woman had just drained out of me, as she raised one well-plucked eyebrow. "I don't have anything to pay you with." I exclaimed, as she let out a sigh of exasperation.

"Well that leaves us with a dilemma. Tell you what, could use an extra hand. My shift finishes at eight. You can share the shift until then instead. Sound fair?"

That sounded reasonable, and even in the permanent twilight of the Realm I'd bet the vast majority of the fanged inhabitants were nocturnal anyway, so I might find it easier to ask a few people about my potential mother after dark.

"Alright, I can do that. Hey, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, what?"

"What day of the calendar does your New Year fall on?"

The waitress smiled, aiming a cloth in my direction. "Our January the first falls on the Julian date of July the first. Seven months ahead."

That explains the heat. The Vampire Realm's in the middle of an Indian summer.

One which I'm starting to feel the heat of.

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