Scars, Chapter 20

With a new chapter of Scars, we’re back to this fantasy horror story. Events at Janth’s Bend and Allona are picking up steam as at the latter, Jilene continues to struggle with the curse as Khy-kala tries to hunt an elusive and deadly predator. They might have a chance, though. The bond between sire and offspring is strong, but not unbreakable…

Meanwhile, contracts of employment are very breakable and Kevac appears to be dancing on his as a long-simmering confrontation between the thief and Justir erupts.

In this excerpt, we get a look at the elf’s efforts to track the vampire are going. For the full story, check out the links above.

Hope you all enjoy!

~

She didn’t expect this outing to end in combat – if they found the vampire, it should be asleep and then it would be a simple matter of beheading it, or driving one of the stakes the humans were carrying through its heart. Despite that, she’d learned the hard way that ‘if’ and ‘should’ weren’t be trusted. The boar should have been dead and she’d planned her follow-up strike if it turned the way she’d expected. Neither of those had happened and she’d nearly died for her overconfidence. A painful lesson, but one she’d remembered for more than sixty years.She hoped it was one her companions knew, too.

There was no spoor or tracks to follow, so they’d continued their search from yesterday, Khy-kala and the hunters keeping their eyes open for any sign of their target. She didn’t know if they’d find it, but this was the best lead they had. So far, she hadn’t done much for these people. Some of the younger generation had already started talking. The older ones like Omaniv had lived through the first encounter and knew it hadn’t been as quick as Hilk-taar’s arrival and the vampire’s death, but she could sense their anxiousness.

She felt the same. She wanted this to be over quickly, too. She wouldn’t let this creature haunt this town anymore.

Khy-kala paused, straightening a little more and sniffing the air. The forest smelled like many others in Talloic, dominated by the scent of growth, leaves, moss and animals. There was something else here. Something she couldn’t quite identify, couldn’t even say was present, but it hovered at the end of her perception.

“You can feel it,” Omaniv said, taking off his headband and wringing it out before tying it back in place. “Can’t you?”

She nodded slowly. “I feel… something.”

“You’ve heard a lot of stories about Janth’s Bend,” the man told her. “This is another of them. The deep forests are like this. Like you don’t belong here, isn’t it, sa’hiri? Like something might be watching you and it ain’t at all happy to have guests.”

Khy-kala twitched her ears. She didn’t feel that way, but the humans had lived here for generations. They’d know more about the land than an elf on the periphery of… whatever this was. “What is it?”

The guardsman shook his head. “No one knows. The men used to say it was bad air that blew down from the mountains and was caught in the trees, but since the Scarring, it’s come farther out. Normally it would be another full day’s hike before you started feeling it.” He took a small sip from his canteen, the other men likewise taking advantage of the brief break. “In the years since then, two men who went into the deep woods have gone missing. A third came back after several days, but he was never quite the same. One day, he cut down every tree on his property. Said he didn’t want them watching him.” He shrugged. “That’s all we know.”

They continued on for several more minutes until Khy-kala raised her head, her tongue licking out. “Flesh,” she announced. “This way.”

~

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