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TVC II Supplemental Chapter 7 - A Strigoi Hunt

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
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#1
Kylar, Handler of the New Blood Squad, give an irritated sigh as he looked around at the men with him.

They were thralls, vampires sired less than a year or two ago and then put through an accelerated training program to try and grant them a basic level of usefulness. Still their skill lay more in their extreme numbers and utterly bestial blood lust that controlled the newest of their kind.

They were glowering sullenly, Silibar had ordered the Order to hunt down the single remaining member of the Council who had not fled with the others.

That had been five days ago.

Since then they'd been trekking constantly through hills, fields and now forests.

Hearing the muttering picking up Kylar lashed his whip at the New Bloods "Silence." he hissed.

Truth be told Kylar was likely the least pleased of the bunch, not only at this assignment but also his damnable "promotion" to Handler. The leaders of the New Blood Squad never lasted too long before their own underlings turned on them in a fit of insurmountable monstrous rage.

"Brother." a voice whispered.

Kylar nearly leapt out of his skin as he spun to see a small cloaked man carrying a Dark Longbow.

Senior Assassin Rikert.

"Damnable Seekers!" he though to himself, they always give him the creeps even before the rebellion Kylar had been uncomfortable around Meta's men.

To make matters worst he knew there were more seekers and even some of those sadistic hunters around, just out of sight.

"Yes?" he asked peevishly.

"She's near." Rikert responded.

The Thralls suddenly went still, the prospect of finally catching their prey causing them to immediately focus.

"Where?"

Rikert nocked an arrow and began walking away. "North-East. Less than a half a league. My squad is in tracking her but we'd rather you loosed your creatures on them first."

Kylar gritted his teeth, another hateful aspect of the Handler position was the fact that his men weren't considered to be Brethren of the rest of the Order, just half-tame attack dogs.

'Fine!" he growled "Lead on."
 

Ghouly

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#2
Sylvie had run, as soon as arrow had struck the tree Sylvie had broken away from the council and made a run for it. However, escape had not been her goal. Hidden amongst the foliage Sylvie watched as the council members fought and turned what should have been a riot into a half disciplined and coordinated retreat, proving what Sylvie had suspected the council was at least competent, merely lacking information. She waited several minutes after the battered carriages had rushed off into the night with the assassins in pursuit, before returning to the ambush site, to search for signs of any Council members who had done as she had, and successfully salvaged the mortal knight’s great-sword. It had taken her the rest of the evening to reach the Pinnacle and, in a futile effort quickly but efficiently scoured the ancient stronghold for hidden entrances, and unsuccessful had fled the first rays of dawn and the first signs of pursuit.
She had rose just as the sun sank beneath the horizon, to discover the nature and number of her pursuers, there was forty of them and they were Vampires. She had begun her flight southward at midnight, trying to create as much space between her and them as possible. From the third night onwards she had managed to barely evade the assassins, a mere spectre on the edge of their vision, they had not been able to catch her nor had she been able to shake them from her trail.
Sylvie crouched low to the ground; hiding amongst the undergrowth, for six nights she had led them on a merry chase through the damned woods and had been unable to shake them, a fight was unavoidable.
A silver tipped arrow exploded from her chest with a thunderbolt of agony barely missing her heat, Sylvie spun around with a snarl barely avoiding a second arrow as a third thudded into her windpipe, knocking the Strigoi tumbling down the hill behind her.
Landing heavily in a heap Sylvie had barely hit the ground before a heavy boot connected with her abdomen sending her flying easily twelve feet in the air and filling her mouth with her own blood.
Sylvie landed heavily on her feet and broke into a blind run behind her more arrows hissed past.
 

Get of W'soran

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#3
Kylar snarled at Rikert as the archer lowered his bow.

"You let her get away!" he accused angrily.

The archer looked calmly at the Handler before responding. "Be calm brother, she is now injured. If we let her run a little her strength will ebb due to her wounds and then we can strike once more. If we do this smart she will die without us having to loose anyone."

Kylar glared at the other vampire but he had to admit it made a lot of sense.

Rikert turned away and whistled sharply.

The trees near the vampires rustled and four figures strode out.

Kylar nearly cursed in frustration as he saw who the new arrivals were, one was armed with a crossbow and was clearly a seeker like Rikert but the other three were worst than even the seekers themselves.

Hunters. Vampires who specialised in the slaughter of their own kind, feared and reviled in equal measure by most of the Order.

The leader of the trio was a tall lean man who wore the tattered remains of a long coat and the wide brimmed hat of the witch hunter, at his side was a robust military rapier and his two underlings, similarly dressed, one carried a set of hatchets and the other a scimitar. All three vampires had pistols in their belts, no doubt with silver bullets prepared. Kylar could also sense the wind of Aqshy blowing around the three vampires.

"Pyromancers". he thought distastefully, perhaps the most dangerous kind of magic to vampires.

"Henrick." Rikert said to the tall vampire "Take Markus and Sorin." he said nodding to the two other hunters "Find the Strigoi and kill her."

Henrick nodded and took off with his two underlings.

Turning to the crossbowman Rikert spoke again "You come with me Sieghard, we'll follow at a distance."

Rikert glanced at Kylar "Follow, your hounds can finish her off once she's injured enough." he said as shadows swirled around the two archers and in a few short moments they both vanished into the darkness.

Kylar cursed angrily, he was in charge and that damnable archer thought he could give commands?

Snarling he lashed his whip at the large gathering of New Bloods "Come on!" he growled as he stalked off after the others.
 
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The Dread King

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#4
OOC Note: this post was co-written by @Ghouly , @The Dread King , and @Get of W'soran . This concludes the supplemental and, following Get of W'soran's next post in Chapter 7, will link into the main storyline of the chapter.

Sylvie burst into the clearing nearly on all fours despite the silvered arrows sapping at her strength Sylvie had managed to create some space between her and her pursuers, not enough to escape “but enough to turn the odds a little in my favour” she thought. First she needed to remove the arrows, reaching up Sylvie snapped off the arrow head and pulled out the shaft nearly collapsing as the weird feeling made her knees wobble, the back half of the arrow in the chest had snapped off during her tumble down the hill Sylvie simply yanked it out and threw it on the ground. “and now the tricky part” she said quietly her voice came out raspy as her silver inflicted throat wound had not healed yet, though that had taught her something about her attackers “they had bows, I’m faster than they” Sylvie already knew that she would have the physical advantage over the majority of the assassins, hers was strength comparable to that of a Blood Dragon Lord.
She also could tell that the assassins were members of the von Carstine line, their strength the Elders had warned wasn’t that they possessed some inherent advantage over the other bloodline, but that they were competent at everything, but that also meant Sylvie had some glaring advantages, she was faster, stronger and tougher then they, despite their better equipment and their soldiering training.
Sylvie smiled a formal combat training was as much a weakness as strength, their offence would be unbending and uniform, most of them would struggle to counter Sylvie’s unique and chaotic style, honed with her vampirism they were looking to fight targets in the form of men, a Strigoi was an entirely different matter. “Let’s lengthen the advantage” Sylvie reached out with her magical senses, drawing the writhing masses of colors together into a bulging mass of Dhar, Sylvie watched as the trees and grass around her withered and dies, and sensed as thousands of insects and small animals died beneath and around her, her necromantic powers stripping them of their life essence and converting it into more Dhar. Slowly Sylvie began the shape the cloud of dark magic that blighted the land around her, drawing it into herself and filling her muscles with unholy fire that caused the beast within to surge, Sylvie threw back her head and let out a euphoric roar, as she dropped gracefully down onto all fours her talons tearing ruts in the earth as she clenched her hands “ HELL YES!!” she shouted back at her pursuers “ COME FEEL THE WRATH OF STRIGOS”

The hunters were concealed within the pack. Even as the disorderly crowd of new bloods shambled towards her, Markus, Sorin and Henrick, hidden within the shadows, crept at a much faster pace towards her. Hearing a quiet and measured tread from behind her, she hissed with suspicion and whirled around. Her earlier challenge then received a short, simple and terrifying answer: "Gladly." The daintiness with which she had been ambusbed appalled Sylvie: this advanced preparation for her destruction could only mean that her mysterious new assailants were vampire hunters, which were dreaded by vampirekind (and for good reason).

With the aforementioned word, Henrick drove his sword downwards in a devastating cut, in an apparent attempt to sever her arm. She leapt to the right in the nick of time, but this had been expected - planned - and Markus was waiting for her. He drove a silver blade deep into her side and she screamed, rolling off the blade and away. "Markus!" Henrick chided, seemingly faintly amused. "You should have aimed better. Don't lose your head! It's hers we want."

Another attack came, but this one was anticipated: Sylvie had found Sorin's scent just before his emergence from the shadows and had leapt at her target. The assassin came into vision in a surreal flight through the air - having borne the brunt of the strigoi's deadly charge - but landed gracefully on both feet in a defensive stance.

Sylvie whirled around, slashing at Markus' face like the gale on a cliff-face in a storm. It should not have connected with him, for he was naturally faster than her and her wounds, infused with silver, were slowing her down. Unforunately, even at a young age he expressed the Von Carstein trait of arrogance, and in his confidence he had not prepared for - he had not even expected - the wielding of enhancing magic by a strigoi. And so it was only with expert reflexes that he escaped the attack with a long scar ploughed into his cheek. He stepped back as Henrick stepped forward to stand beside him, and snarled at Sylvie. Rivulets of black ichor welled up and slid down his face, beginning their sickening descent towards the dark abyss of his robes.

Whilst Henrick and Markus spread outwards to prevent escape from Sylvie's front or either flank, Sorin leapt in for the kill from behind. The strigoi had anticipated this, however, and ducked low, the decapitating strike only skimming the uppermost part of her head before the assassin went sailing past.

Forcing a bloody grin to her lips, she rose to her feet once more. Something wet had hit the ground and for a moment Sylvie wondered what it might be, before realising that it was a centimetre of her own head, sliced off neatly and quickly by the straggering assassin, who had barely managed to wrench his blade around in time to face her next assault.

The aforementioned attack being, of course, but a feint to disorient an already shocked vampire. Swiping his sword at the attack, Sorin managed to sever the very tip of Sylvie's index talon. What he did not manage to do, however, was anticipate the kick to the legs that followed Sylvie's initial feint. This floored him, and as he desperately tried to scrabble to his feet, (Henrick and Markus rushing forward to assist him in this matter) he received a horrendous cut down his chest as one of Sylvie's lower talons ripped through flesh, gristle and bone indiscriminately. He crawled back a few paces as Henrick and Markus circked him protectively, driving Sylvie back whilst doing so. He tried to let out a gasp of pain, having been gravely wounded, but all that emerged from his lips was a mute gurgle, his cry suffocated by the blood flooding his punctured lungs.

The beast growled, in defiance, at the hunters. The hunters, embattled and, in Sorin's case, gravely wounded, glared back. For a moment, both sides tried to predict what the other would do. And then, in a flash, Sylvie ran. Henrick simply smiled. She had proven she was dangerous, and had now created distance between herself and her pursuers. This way, when and if they came for her, there would be little risk of collateral damage, Henrick reasoned. And, punctual as ever, they did come: the silver tipped arrows flew gracefully through the air like sleek panthers chasing prey. And to Rikert and the crossbowman, Sieghard, who had just emerged from the treeline, that was what Sylvie was.

To her credit, she avoided the first two shots. Even after the third arrow hit her in the leg, she kept going and was able to avoid the fourth. But the fifth and the sixth, penetrating her legs again, toppled Sylvie. Smirking, Rikert, Sieghard, Henrick and Markus walked towards her. Sorin, recovering from his injuries via vampiric healing and some modest use of Dhar, followed at a constrained, slower pace. "Congratulations on proving yourself a threat," Sieghard said mockingly to the grounded vampire. "If it weren't for the injuries you just inflicted on Sorin, we would still have considered you a waste of arrows," he chuckled. In a bitter tone laced with contempt, Sorin hissed, "You're worth less than the blade you are about to die on." As he said these words, he stepped towards the encircled strigoi and readied his own sword. He raised it above his head, almost ceremonially, as a priest would prepare to sacrifice some animal to their pantheon of gods as tribute. "One final strike," he muttered, and brought his sword down with a sickening swing.

For a moment, the group paused, the only thing moving being the writhing form of Sorin, who duly collapsed into dust. As the assassins observed the silver tip of the as-yet undamaged bolt, alarm wrote itself all over their faces, and those who had not already looked towards the treeline did so.

They were rewarded with a shocking sight, and some considerable firepower. A crossbowman, repeater in hand, was running towards the group, guilty of the crime just committed. Behind him ran another three vampires - one who was festooned with knives and blowdarts, another who seemed to have a penchant for blackpowder weaponry, and a third who seemed to be armed as a traditional archer would be, barring the strange arrowheads his quiver toted..

Ahead of the crossbowman raced the obvious leader of the squad of loyal Sylvanian Assassins. Jack "The Hatchet" Dixen was an obvious axe enthusiast, with axes of all different shapes and sizes covering his entire body and acting as an odd sort of protection. If one had looked within his robes, they would find even more axes, a seemingly limitless and terrifying collection of weapons, some poisoned and others double-headed. Indeed, the only tool he possessed that was not an axe was a strange runed pole strapped to his back; the glowing device seemed to shroud what might otherwise be taken for nothing but a raving psychopath in mystery. Jack judged that his position had been discovered by the assassins by this point, and so felt completely liberated to say whatever he wanted.

Sylvie, meanwhile, had taken advantage of the commotion to rise to her feet and scamper through the gap in the cluster of assassins, a gap now possible because of Sorin's death. The assassins were also unnervingly quick, silently following on the wounded strigoi - and gaining ground quickly.

If Jack's madness wasn't already apparent from the insane look in his eye, it was about to be revealed. "HELLO!" he yelled jovially, bounding towards Sylvie at breakneck speed. "Come, with us," he hissed, approaching her. She almost hesitated, not knowing just what these new arrivals were, or what they intended to do with her. Still, she reckoned, what chance did she have staying here? She resolved to leave with the assassin, even as the words, Better the devil you know... echoed ominously through her head. "NOW!" he said, more loudly. Evidently, her cautious approach was not fast enough for Jack's intentions - the delay had already cost him his crossbowman, who had been shot by Sieghard with the very same bolt that had killed Sorin, before collapsing to the floor only to be decapitated by Henrick - and without warning Captain Jack grabbed Sylvie's hand and ran as fast as he could into the woods. Once she had fully realised the nature of the situation Sylvie's strigoi speed allowed her to naturally keep pace with the group of assassins, and, midway through flight, Jack let go of her hand. Unfortunately, fast was not fast enough, as was proved by the crossbow bolt that whilst past the captain's ear, drawing out a trail of blood and an excited laugh.

Turning his head around for a moment to catch a glimpse of Rikert firing shots at the group, with the other assassins, led by Henrick, catching up with the Carstein-led group, he shouted happily, "Hello Rikert! It's a sunny day!" He laughed uncontrollably at some inside joke that nobody could understand except for a twisted personality hiding somewhere in the recesses of his warped brain, and casually tossed a throwing axe at the archer without coming to a stop. The assassin avoided it easily, but it broke his concentration enough for the second shot directed at the loyalist assassin group to miss its target - the assassin with the blackpowder weapons - completely.

The rebels picked up speed, their imminent encroachment on the group of Triumvirate assassins seemingly inevitable. Sylvie shot a questioning glance to Jack, who responded blithely, "We're going to find some council friends. FRIENDS!" He chuckled at his last word, as his group ran through gradually thinning foliage. Silent speculation in his squad as to why he wasn't grouping up with the other nearby loyalist assassins instead of the council was expected and answered (although it had never been asked) by the captain: "No, not the others. They're too far away at the moment; that bunch of idiots of mixed bloodlines is unfortunately the only ones close enough to help, not that they'll do much of that," he grumbled, seeming to calm down as he explained this new misfortune.

Whilst the assassins made their way out of the forest, they heard a rumbling behind them. It was the sound of new bloods charging through the forest towards them. "Kylar is here, and he's got the younglings with him," Jack hissed cheerfully, his mind now fully focused on the chase he was the victim of. The more experienced group of assassins had almost caught up with the loyalists by now, and one of Sieghard's bolts made its way through the trees, burying itself into an assassin's shin. The assassin, armed with knives in his hands and blowdarts at his waist, fell to one knee before rising to his feet in a smooth motion, his pain restricting his speed. This proved to be the vampire's downfall, for before he could prepare his blowdarts to return fire, a hunter, clad in black, leapt out, sword in hand. The loyalist was able to parry the rebel's first attack, but the rebel stepped back. Dim light crept through the trees, eerily lighting up Henrick, and the instant the loyalist recognised who his adversary was, he almost sagged with despair. Captain Jack, Sylvie and the surviving assassins who served Satsu had not stopped - the captain was not taking any chances - and the stranded loyalist knew his duty was to slow Henrick down. He blocked a second strike from his attacker, but failed to hear Markus behind him in time. The ensuing strike to his back proved lethal, and provided little delay in the hunters' relentless advance. The prospect of escape was a rapidly diminishing hope.
 
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