Balez hunched, barely concealed behind the burnt out shell of a car in the furthest corner of the dead-end alley, watching. His prey, the dark haired vampire, leaned against the dirty brick wall beneath the shattered street lamp, oblivious to the danger of the hellhound stalking him. Balez was on orders from his Master to find and kill whoever had interfered in his territory. Petrus was a petty man, given to use even minor slights as an excuse for blood. When some of his best men came back with stories of a vigilante vampire, and then some of his men never came back, Petrus flew into a fury demanding the death of the rogue.
Balez missed the centuries he spent protecting the world of humans against the more sinister of the supernatural creatures with his previous Master, Wilhelm. Since Petrus had captured him, he had known nothing of honor and duty, only vengeance. A discontented rumble started in the core of his belly, and the cracks in the scaly armor of his skin began to glow with hellfire that trapped within.
The vampire pushed off the wall and began to follow his own victim, who Balez recognized the man as one of Petrus’ lackeys, Dominic. There was viciousness in that one. He took what he wanted and reveled in the aftermath. He followed the distinctive scent of cool copper tinged with the trailing magic, like the rustle of fallen leaves, that all vampires left in their wake. There was no need to rush.
He kept to the shadows even though he was virtually invisible to anyone who might have been on the street. His innate magic acted as a shielding glamour against human eyes, most just saw a huge mangy mutt. He caught the glance that Dominic tossed over his shoulder, but he was still ignorant of the fact that he was being trailed. Stupid child. Petrus’ men needed to do better.
He followed, the click of his claws on concrete a song of his impatience. When both Dominic and the vampire turned down a street lined with warehouses, he saw his chance. He used the dumpster against one wall to launch himself on the low-hanging roof across the way. For all his weight and bulk, there was a lupine grace to his movements. He sailed through the night and, landing silently, immediately began to survey the situation. The vampire had gotten in front of Dominic, who, to his credit, stumbled only slightly, and then stood his ground.
Balez dropped down beside Dominic. Dominic, you need to leave now. Head back to Petrus and I will take care of your mess. The telepathic command carried with it the undercurrent of anger that Balez felt mixing with the bloodlust. Dominic scowled, backing away begrudgingly, but did what he was told. Good little minion, Balez chastised, and then turned back to the vampire planted in from of him.
“So it’s to be a battle to the death then, I assume,” the vampire said with a surprising self-assurance. “I have a better idea. Try and kill me, if you can, but if you lose you come with me.”
Why would I do that? Balez was intrigued. Where was the begging, the screaming? The “oh god, oh god, I don’t want to die!”
“Why not? The hellhounds I’ve known were noble creatures. They drag the unworthy to hell, not serve at the mercy of men without morals.”
Balez schluffed out a startled spurt of hot air, shaking his head in disbelief. Why you impudent little fool, how dare you? Balez was furious. Mostly because the vampire was right. I will say neither yes nor no, but if you do manage to best me, I will consider your proposition.
“Shall we then?” With that, the vampire unsheathed a sword almost as big as the man.
This might be a fair fight after all.