BITTER BLOOD SERIES
BY ANDRA-CRISTIANA STAN
Chapter 3 - Hariri Forest
The Hariri Forest was an unmapped forest as it was a magical one. Only supernatural beings knew of it and how to enter and exit from it. It was delineated by protection veils held with ancient spells and underworld energy. You could say that it was the passage from the underworld to the human world. Nonetheless, not just any supernatural being could exit from it into the human world. There were guardian masters who had the responsibility to surveil the traffic and to apply law and order inside the forest. The forest was in fact a huge city where supernatural beings lived like humans did in their world. There was civil law and criminal law and punishments were applied to offenders or those that deserved it. For example, if an unauthorized supernatural being had crossed over in the human world, the punishment would have been a-100-years ban for requesting a permit to go there or decapitation. Decapitation was more for those on multiple strikes and who affected the human world irreparable.
Anthony Seymour reached the gates of the Hariri Forest. A guardian bouncer prevented him from entering. “Sir Anthony Seymour, we had some turbulence a few hours back. We have changed the way of exit and entering. The price has doubled. I am sorry to inform you.”
“How much my old friend?” interrogated Anthony without a worry as he was one of the big shots of the underworld.
“Two drahgos,” replied the guardian. A drahgo was a golden coin the size of a dollar coin. It had on it the guardians’ emblem which consisted in a spitting fire dragon, three amaranthus flowers and a raven on one side, and on the other the letters “D.H.”. As a comparison to dollars, a drahgo was the equivalent of about 10,000 dollars.
“You know that’s not a problem for me.” Anthony gave the guardian the pay and put another drahgo in his large black green hand. “This is for the kids from uncle Anthony and buy something for the lady too”, winked Anthony at the solid bouncer who was now dancing like a kitten that was just petted by his master.
“Aww! Master, you didn’t have to do that! You are always so generous to us! Thank you! I will! Come to dinner sometime, the kids are always asking about you and my wife has prepared a bottle of blood the kind you like. It’s the rare edition.” A demon that many would keep away from, as he was cruel and gigantic, spoke with Anthony like he was an old friend. If he had a tail, he would played it in front of Sir Anthony Seymour as he was always throwing a “bone” in their direction.
“Not at all, Rhinders. It’s always my pleasure. I will come by next time. Say, you, what was the problem here?” asked Sir Anthony on a serious tone.
“Master, the High Demon Alhazar broke the vail. His long-waited jewel reincarnated, and he wouldn’t wait to receive the permit. It’s a female apparently and reborn in a female body again just as the prophecy said. Her blood allows him to walk freely in the human world. Something like that. He broke the treaty with the human world and now he is on the run from our hunters. It will be a hard catch as he is one of the most feared demons. You should have seen the hunters when they prepared for the hunting, they were almost in tears. Many of them have established families here and a battle with Alhazar means a forty percent chance of coming back for them.” Actually, the High Master Guardian said to send you to him when you pass by. He wants a word with you,” Rhinders updated him, making the path for his cherished Master to enter Hariri.
“Thanks, old friend! I will go to him first.” While entering the city his eyes sparkled blood and emerged the devil inside of him. The magic air would always bring out the real nature of each supernatural creature.
He passed by a hoard of guardians that were cleaning the scene of a murder. A bloodbath with remains from the victims was all over the place. Several low-level demons were caught trying to follow Alhazar to serve him and live in the mundane world. The punishment was severe as low-level demons are never allowed to cross over. They needed hundreds of years to consolidate their powers and base of human followers to be eligible for a permit.
“I salute you, High Master Guardian! Heard you were waiting for me. Rhinders informed me of what happened,” greeted Anthony the High Master once he entered the palace where officials resided. Not only once, the High Master consulted and required the help of Sir Anthony Seymour to deal with the special cases in over 120 years of friendship. Though Anthony was a brute and a bad demon, he had honor and code of ethics. He would never break a rule. Moreover, his mix of supernatural powers was no match to many. Even the High Master Guardian considered he wouldn’t be able to put him down.
“Welcome Sir Anthony! I am honored! Happy to see you! Alhazar is after Alexandria, Great Witch and High Priestess. He located her. He broke the veil to capture and overtake her. She’s at the 27th year of human life. We couldn’t delay him to announce you beforehand. If he manages to get her, Hariri and the protection walls are in danger. Alexandria’s blood and soul are the remaining keys to his global awakening. He could even become Lord over the underworld and human world. It’s imperative to stop him and prevent that from happening. Hence, I need your help in this once again. Whatever the price you set, we will pay without a problem.” With a worried voice the High Master Guardian searched a parchment in his office’s library.
“Certainly, I will help. But, what’s the story of this Great Witch, Alexandria? Why is she so crucial for such turnover of events?”, asked Anthony pretending not to know the backstory of Alexandria. In fact, he was tempted lots of times to sneak in and read the parchment regarding Alexandria, but every time he wanted to do it, stopped. He didn’t want to break the rules and fall from his honorable place. Anthony was aware of who Alexandria really was at first hand to break a rule and know more. She was a traitor in his opinion, and this nothing and no one would ever change.
The High Master Guardian took a parchment and gave it to Sir Anthony. “Here is her story. Long story short, she is a former Angel. A fallen one to be more precise. One of the best warrior Angels from above”, pointing with his thick black finger. The High Master Guardian had the appearance of a Djinn, however, he possessed shapeshifter abilities in the human world. “After her falling, she helped a boy who was left to die in the woods. She used her last angelic magic to give that boy life. Deities above cursed her for that.”
“Cursed her for giving a boy life? I thought they would be delighted to see her performing good deeds,” interrupted Sir Anthony with a perplexed grimace.
“You see, that boy was born from black magic. A witch with a demon. Their boy was set to rule evil on earth. At that time, humans got a hold of it and placed an enchanted knife in his heart. Because of his origins he didn’t die immediately. Humans left him far away in the cursed woods for the white magic to devour him bit by bit until he is destroyed. The demon was a High Demon. His father that is,” continued the High Master Guardian.
“Maybe she didn’t know about it, or she did?” asked Sir Anthony with a curious voice.
“She did. The Demon responsible for her falling was that boy’s father. Anyhow, her curse was to become one of the earth demons. A vampire. Having angelic blood still, she started learning white and black magic. The angelic blood was increased in strength with each spell and use of magic. She became the Great Witch, High Priestess, Alexandria. She has never bitten someone. She has never used her vampiric side. She kept her thirst in control with potions and magic. And that was for hundreds of years. Alexandria did her share of bad deeds. But only against bad creatures and bad people. Nonetheless, those above considered her and even today, an abomination. She was unstoppable. Superior mind, highly trained and almost got her hands on that demon until…,” the High Guardian Master paused with a light sadness. Even demons have their soft side.
“Until what? Come on, don’t let me hang in here!” With a slight smile Sir Anthony pulled a chair in front of his friend. “I have to make myself comfortable as this is an interesting piece of story you’ve got there.”
“She fell in love…. Her most stupid mistake, anyone could make.”, replied with a sight, drumming the desk with his fingers in a slow motion.
“Ha-ha! Fell in love? What has that to do with everything?” Sir Anthony was laughing as he never thought Alexandria was capable of love. She was only a bitch that would betray through fake love. Nothing more, nothing less.
“It has to do with it as that was the reason she had to die and give up on everything. To save her lover. She sacrificed everything forever, just to help that man live. She accepted the pact in the name of her love. I have never seen her crying, but that was the only time I saw a drop of blood pouring out of her eye. It was bitter blood, she said, when I asked her about it. She was dear to me.” The High Guardian Master remained in silence….
“Who was that man? He survived?” Sir Anthony became serious and really interested in the story at this point. It was something he didn’t know, would never want to hear, but at that moment something inside his being was driving the lust for learning the truth. He was kind of fidgeting on the chair to hear about it.
“We don’t know for sure. In the pact she made, her terms were for the man in discussion to be erased and covered for a peaceful life as much as he could. No history of him should ever surface. She wanted to be sure he will never be found or disturbed. The only thing we know she regretted was that he will not have a happy life, but she did all she could to save him and have at least a long life. My guess is that she hoped, somehow, to be reunited with him. To gain time for her to find a way back to him. But 173 years, if I am not wrong, passed. And the pact she made was to reborn as a slave to the Demon that helped her give life to her lover. She had a cruel death back then. I am sorry, Anthony, I can’t continue the story anymore. The rest is in that parchment with her portrait. She is the same as before. You will have no difficulty in finding her with that. Believe it or not, she was like a daughter to me, and remembering it, it breaks my heart. I want to help her from this. That’s why I am asking you to help,” concluded the High Master Guardian with a bit of tears in his devilish eyes. This was a side of the High Master Guardian that Anthony never saw and never thought would exist in him. After all, he was one of the High Demons with over 2,000 years of existence.
“Wait a second. So, what does she have to do with Alhazar? And why is she important to him that would make him Lord? You missed telling me that part.” A confused Anthony searched High Master Guardian’s gaze.
“Her blood and origins. She now is a human with a pure soul. Being reborn, everything is a trigger length touch for Alhazar to take and use. After she turned into a vampire that boy was her instinctively first and last pray. His blood is in her cells now. She didn’t want to do that to the boy.”
“You said she’s never bitten anyone, keeping her vampiric side under control. Hope you are not lying to me, my friend!” Sir Anthony poked with words, revealing half of his fangs and vivid sparkling bloody eyes.
“I would never, Sir Anthony! You know me! She’s never bitten afterwards. That was the only time. She didn’t do it again as she said blood is bitter. She’s against drinking blood. Alexandria continued to rule her life by heavenly orders like she formerly did. Drinking blood is a sin. But the curse to take effect forced her against her will to consume that boy’s blood.” The High Master Guardian never lied to the noble vampire as a fact. However, Anthony could see there was more to it by the way High Master tried to put an end to the questions. Anthony observed High Master’s clumsiness when he dropped an ink bottle on the floor, seemingly by mistake. Fear he smelled around him. Unusual to sense this around such a Demon.
“Are you afraid of me High Master? That’s a first! Ha-ha! What’s all this about? Chill, my friend! OK, I will take care of it, don’t worry. Will let you know of my findings and further guidance.” To ease the ounce of tension he perceived, Seymour stood up from the chair with the intention to excuse himself and go.
“Afraid? No, why would I be afraid? Nonsense! Ha-ha! I had a ritual before you came, and I feel worn out. It was intense. To rebuild the veils is no easy mission even for myself,” explained the High Master Guardian with a forced smile on his rigorous face while walking Anthony to the door.
“All right.”, said Anthony, “You will hear from me soon enough. See you next time, my old friend.” Anthony left with the parchment going back through the castle. A few demons of different species bowed in front of him at his sight and made room for him to exit the castle.
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Bitter Blood Series-Cursed by Andra-Cristiana Stan, Romania. Copyright © January 2019. All Rights Reserved
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.