As the moon peaked out from behind the flowing misty night clouds, a lone vampire hunter sat with his head tilted back resting against a willow tree. His cyborg steed stood by a small creek with his head hanging low. The creek trickled quietly adding a soothing affect to the sleep that wandered around in the hunter's head. He closed his eyes and let a small whispy sigh escape his lips.
"Ah, nothing like a nice peaceful night after fighting demons, huh, D?" itched the face in his hand.
D blinked his eyes slowly and took off his long brimmed hat. He pulled off his sword, still in it's sheath and rested it on the ground. His long dark auburn hair twisted in curls and waves around his face and down his shoulders.
Almost suddenly the wind picked up and whirled loose leaves around D and his horse. The air brought a stinging familiar smell to his nose. Blood. Human blood. An open wound, fresh and flowing. His eyes flashed through the environment around him. Straight ahead he could hear the faint sound of a sleeper's breath. Long and swift. Inhaling and exhaling.
D picked up his sword and hat and walked deep into the forest ahead of him, leaving his horse behind. The smell became thicker and warmer. Somewhere in this forest someone was in need but who and where?
Finally, in front of an oak tree, D came across the young woman. He looked down at her, questioning her appearance. She was asleep in peaceful slumber unaware of the dangers of an open wound. D bent down to wake her up but her eyes were already half open as he reached out to touch her.
She jumped suddenly gasping and crawling backwards against the tree.
"Who are you? What do you want?!!" she screamed.
"It's okay. I wont hurt you, " D replied.
She looked down at her knees. Realizing they were bleeding, she pulled her legs close to her chest and clenched her teeth tightly, trying not to cry.
"Let me help you. I can stop the bleeding if you let me help," D pleaded.
She lifted her head and saw his face glowing from the light of the moon dancing on his face. His grey eyes brightened as she smiled.
"I know you," she said still smiling and relaxing.
D peered deeply into her eyes. He noticed one was green and the other was blue. He had seen eyes like hers once before in his life. A hunter, just like him, but with a heart too hard to let bygones be bygones until a vampire nearly brought her down.
Leila, he whispered in the back of his mind. Those eyes, exquisite and mysterious. Open to the world but shut off by her own reflections and here in front of him, her legacy wore on.
D stood up and pulled a small white cloth from the pouch on his belt. He kneeled down beside the young woman and offered the cloth to her. She took it, still smiling at him and pressed it to the small laceration that bled terribly for it's size.
"My name is Leisha. I remember you but I never really knew your name," she said.
"D," he replied in a deep raspy voice.
"I remember you from so long ago. My grandmother told me stories about you when I was younger. And then I met you. Do you remember?"
D lowered his eyes, resting them on her blonde brow and said "Yes... I remember your eyes."
"You have Leila's eyes," D said and he sat down completely on the ground next to her and leaned against the tree.
"Yes," she finally answered, "My father said it's because the spirit of my grandmother lives on through me. Heh, sometimes I can still hear her telling me stories of her time with the fearless bounty hunters."
Leisha wiped at the wound, seeing that it had stopped bleeding and dropped the cloth back on her knee.
"I fell. I was running from something. It was strong though whatever it was. It drove me right out of town. I fell in the graveyard and finally stopped here. I was too tired to keep going. I had to get away. It made me run away."
D was quiet but still watching as she talked.
"D, my whole family is gone. My parents, my cousins...everyone."
"What happened?" D asked.
"Vampires. Apparently when my grandmother was still crusading with the bounty hunters, they had come across an elite family of vampires. The Coven of Chorpus."
"Yes, I've heard of them. Go on, " D interupted.
"Well," she took a deep breath and continued, "They had a large bounty on their heads. Some $180 million dollars. She and the bounty hunters took it. They killed every one of them. Except one. But Leila and the others didnt know of his existance so they went on through life not even knowing that while they hunted, they too were being pursued."
"A few years ago an uncle of mine and his family were murdered. They lived far from here on the other side of the mountains. Vampires were the cause of their demise. In the town I was living in zombies invaded, killing my whole family. I fought off most of them with my brother and cousins but the zombies were too much for them and they too died. I was the last one so I ran. I've been running since sunset."
"So the vampire is still around, " D concluded.
"Yes. I think that's what was following me."
"It's almost morning," D sighed and continued, "He's gone for now and hiding out in the graveyard most likely. "
Leisha looked up through the canopy of the trees and saw the dark night sky starting to lighten one shade at a time. She sighed and turned to D.
"Will you help me? Right now, I have nothing. I need you," she pleaded.
D looked deep into her sad eyes and exhaled deeply.
"Yes. I'll help you."
(Part II of Visions of a Hunter)
A cool breeze swept in from the north gliding through the golden blades of wheat growing wildly in an abandoned pasture. The morning sun sent warm rays of yellow and orange throughout the countryside. The colossal shadowy mountains rising in the east sparkled like diamonds in darkness. D and Leisha sat together, she in front and him behind her on his cybernetic gelding.
The cool breeze began to blow monstrously across the pasture in all angles. D pulled his black cape over Leisha and held her tight. The wind blew as if it were deliberately trying to knock the hunter and his horse over, almost in a contemptuous manner.
Leisha looked out over the cape and saw that the golden morning had quickly withered away into a gigantic black storm cloud. White streaks of lighnting filled the black sky, striking in the fields surrounding the wanderers.
Leisha glanced into the black clouds whirling above them and in between two lightning bolts, she saw the face of the ghastly bloodsucker hidden within the shadows of the clouds.
"Oh my god, he's all around us!" she screamed.
"Not for long, " D said and with that he kicked his horse hard in the sides making him rear up and run hard into the foothills ahead of them.
The horse bolted at high speed across the foothills and into a shadow valley below. The black storm boiled behind them but the horse ran faster until the high mountains covered the sky and darkened the environment.
"This is the Valley of Caverns," D informed, "There is a pathway in the Cavern of Verde that will lead us to the highways of the Southern Valley."
"Where are we going, D?" she asked.
"To a small town called Crystal Hare. I know a few people there. All of the villagers are hunters of sorts. Some of the most elite vampire hunters were born there. You will be safe there. I can guarantee that."
"I have no doubts." Leisha smiled and held tight to D's armored chest.
As they walked through the dark paths of the cave, Leisha slept quietly and the parasite within D itched for conversation.
"I thought she'd never fall asleep," scoffed the parasite, "Now, if you think you're gonna get past that decrepit pile of ash and timber, you've got another thing coming. Dont you know that the Castle Dreiken towers over Lake Demonesque and the town of Crystal Hare? Or have all the stories of the demons possessing that castle just withered away in your vast yet void mind?"
"Well apparently so. Well now, hunter, how do you expect to keep her safe while you're off fighting those pesky twirp like demons?"
"Remember the road that leads west of the highways of the Southern Valley?" D questioned.
"The road is twisted and steep but it goes up and over the mountain valley range that Castle Dreiken was built between."
"Yes, I forgot all about that. Well, there you have it. Get over those mountains and lead her safely to the hands of other hunters. My my, young man, you've out done yourself this time," sneered the parasite, "Okay, so once we get into the village, which is, mind you protected by the thickest glass dome ever constructed by man, what do you plan to do?"
"Find this vampire and relieve Leisha of her misery."
"What a kind hunter you are. I mean I really admire you, " said the parasite sarcastically, "Such a beautiful young girl she is and you two have more in common. You're being hunted, you're young-phsyically speaking-and you both have a past shared by the same person. What would her grandmother think? She'd roll over in her grave is she knew the thoughts you were having of her granddaughter. I can see inside you're mind, hunter. I know where this will end. You will kill the vampire and the young damsel will be so pleased she will offer a kiss or herself to you in return for saving her life....pitiful fool."
D squeezed his fist tightly digging his sharp fingernails into the parasite's face, smothering him painfully quiet.
Down a gravel path, the cybernetic horse galloped fast under a rising noon sun. The black storm was barred behind the tremendous mountains that served as a harsh boundary. There, beyond the gravel road stood two signs indicating the road had ended abruptly. The horse screamed and screeched to a halt starring down into the valley below.
"Now, when they call it the Southern Valley, they mean SOUTHERN!" laughed the cynical parasite.
Two thousand feet below the edge of the road the valley sparkled in green shades. Small mountains and foothills popped up all over the area. Four large highways stretched from one point and scattered out over the valley hiding in deep shadowed forests.
A small creeping path lead treacherously down the side of the wall. The horse edged it's way forward but couldnt go on. Finally, D dismounted, leaving Leisha upon the horse, and lead his steed carefully down the dusty path.
The bright day crept by and small white stratus clouds appeared in the sky, whisping by the sun and creating little shadows across the valley. The travellers reached the bottom of the wall where the small path lead to an asphalt clearing. Four black highways stretched out far in front of D. One to his left, his right, another extending towards the north and a small road creeping over a foothill reaching towards the east.
"This road will take us over the mountains." D nodded towards the path.
Leisha sat up straight scanning the layout of the land ahead of her.
"Ive never seen this before, on any map, " she gapped.
"It's not on a map. This valley is known only through small talk from travellers and nomads. Where we were standing before up behind us now, is what was fabled as the end of the world."
Leisha gasped in amazement at the beautiful landscape. She looked down at D standing in front of the horse.
"D? I have something important I must tell you."
D turned slighty to his left to put Leisha into view in the corner of his eye.
"There is a scratch on my right arm. I've had it covered for a few days now under my sleeve. One night back at the village, a vampire was seen running through the streets on a black horse. My eldest cousin, Abell, ran outside to catch the vampire and kill him. This vampire was part of the Coven of Chorpus. One that must die because he was the last.' She sighed, remembering the painful past of her late family. "Abell was side tracked by ambushing zombies. The vampire crept into my room. He came at me with such speed I had no time to think." She cringed and a small tear streamed down her pink cheek. "I could feel his horribly hot breath on my neck. I knew then I would not survive to see another mortal day. But then Abell came crashing through the door. Abell barely missed the vampire as the horrible creature slid past me scraping his teeth against my shoulder. He escaped out the window."
She lowered the collar of her dress down past her shoulder to reveal a small red mark.
"It's so small and it didnt hurt much but I know my fate, D."
"A bite, cut, slash or scratch from any vampire or anything infected with vampire's blood will surely change the victim, " D implied.
"Yes, I know."
"How long ago was this?"
"The night before last."
D lowered his head, walked around the horse to face Leisha and mounted his steed. He held her tight once again, covered her with his cape and dug his heals deep into the horse's sides, and they rode fast down the narrow gravel path to the east.