Thick, rolling clouds kept the air moist as Liam paced the confines of his home. Ice covered the stone walls, snow swirled and danced along the floor of the cave. He shivered, the rattle of scales music to his ears. After two hundred years, he was finally able to break out of the horrid humanoid form.
Padding to the mouth of his cave, he stared out. White clouds soared around the mountain's peak. Snow danced along the ledge, piling where it was easiest. The air was cold, crisp, sweet, much as it had been when he'd grown up in the Highlands.
He tapped his claws against the stone, his eyes searching through the mist, for what he did not know. The need to search, to find an answer to the elusive want had plagued him for days, disturbing his hunting, his rest. Nights were filled with the image of a female, her hair flowing over her shoulders, wide, trust filled eyes staring at him. Her hands outstretched, reaching toward him. The visage tickled at his memory of another woman, one dressed as a slave, following the footsteps of a vampire…one he'd feared.
Curling his tail around himself, he settled on his haunches, shoulders hunched against the chill as he stared out over the human realm. Faint, his hunger stirred. Soon he'd need to hunt, both for food and for the one who had done him ill. The sharp point of his tail beat a slow, steady rhythm against the floor as he tilted his head, listening to the howling winds, the bitter screams of the winter weather, and the elusive sound of a beating heart.
* * * *
"Do not dawdle, Una, our time grows short." Harsh, bitter, Anagor's voice scraped along her nerves as she hurried through the stone corridor. Stale air and dust sat in her throat, gagging her as she scurried among the debris. The sound of claws on stone sent shivers up her spine as some unseen vermin darted from her path. The heavy cloak she wore hid the shimmering fabric of her priestess robes but did little to battle the cold soaking through to her flesh.
"'Tis cold, this place we are being sent." Una shivered and ducked beneath a heavy beam. Her hand pressed against the icy stone as she struggled to maintain her balance on the uneven ground.
"You may think so."
Anagor's sneer pricked at the ready temper she'd struggled to control. Biting her lip, she kept the sharp retort to herself. She glanced up, her gaze falling on the thick wooden door Anagor stood before. He grinned as he gripped the handle and pulled. Dust and pebbles rained down as it creaked and groaned in protest before scraping along the ground to open. Shock ripped through Una as the pale streak of light spread along the frozen ground, wrapping around her with its icy chill.
Snow slapped at the ground, swirling in a maelstrom of white. It blew through the portal into the opening, piling around her sandal clad feet. Teeth chattering, she rubbed at her arms as Anagor stepped back, reaching for her cloak, all but shoving her into the freezing air.
"Duty does not wait for one who whines," he snapped, his grip tightening around her arm.
Bitter winds lashed at her dress, whipping the fabric around her legs. Her cheeks and toes burned, and fog formed in front of her with every breath. Her skin tightened, prickles of heat dancing along the surface. Wrapping her arms around herself, she fought to ward off the chill even as she felt it sinking deeper into her skin.
"My lord, I would hurry, but this wind…it is so cold, I fear I'll freeze."
"Nonsense. Amuliana would not send you forth to freeze. You have served her well."
Una stumbled, her hand catching at Anagor. Pain ripped through her, shredding her heart as she wavered, yet it wasn't her pain. Rather, it was his. His pale eyes stared at her, hate stirring in them, along with something else. Something terrifying.
Backing away from him, Una trembled. Her fingers clutched at her clothes, wrapping them tighter around her. Each step back she took, he advanced two, his eyes fastened on her throat. He grinned, a merciless expression which revealed blackened nubs for teeth and puss filled gums.
"What is this?" Una swallowed, the rising fear pushing any thought but escape from her mind.
"My penance has waited too long, Una. I will have what I seek this night." Anagor licked his lips, his eyes darkening with hunger.
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