Tis Thursday, and time for some Shadow Wolf, my weekly serial.
The Ogre Vampire twitched and and hissed and died on the planks as I knelt beside Bull. The big scavenger wasn’t moving, but I could hear his shallow, laboured breathing in the sudden quiet of the ruined ship. His back had been broken, a slow death sentence in a place like The Jetties, even if he survived the day. Worse yet, I would not be able to move him without causing further damage. Often injuries like this were all the more lethal in Myrrhn’s slums and outlying areas simply because one could not find a healer quickly.
My training as a healer is rough, but I have seen and suffered through almost every wound a man can encounter on the battlefield. After a moment I realized that one of his lungs was punctured as well.
“Aela of the potent salve, guide me well,” I muttered, absentmindedly invoking my people’s goddess of the healing arts. I had several potions that would help heal Bull, but I needed to position him properly for the best of them to work. Having damaged tissue regrow into a puncturing rib would only hurt his chances.
Taking care to move Bull’s spine as little as possible, I adjusted his body so that his lungs would be able to expand and inflate without pushing on his ribs. He groaned and swore, which I took as a good sign.
“Potion Bull,” I said, holding a vial to his lips. “Drink it down like a shot of whiskey.”
After some fumbling Bull gulped the potion down, swallowing it in one gulp. He groaned as the liquid began to take effect. I looked around. Truth be told I wasn’t certain that the four vampires that we had killed were the only ones in the hold of the rotting ship. My ears picked up the sounds of movement below us, faint and weak, and the scent of blood.
I wondered if one of the vampires that we had killed was Cinder. I did not know my prey well enough to identify him, nor did I know what his plans were. How was a gang in Cliffshadows related to some Bloodsuckers haunting an isolated wreck in The Jetties? I needed to know more.
Bull coughed and sat up. “Fuck,” he intoned, part prayer and part exclamation. He shook his head, then his eyes found the massive form of the Ogre Vampire beside him. “Bastard was faster than he looked. I did not have time to get a shot off after he saw me. “
“He was a tough one,” I agreed. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m good, thanks to you,” said Bull, pushing to his feet. “Was that a healing potion you gave me?”
Bull looked down, his face reddening. “You didn’t have to.”
“I take care of my allies, Bull,” I said, seeing the pride in his expression. “I have a friend who makes them for me, you are not emptying my coin-purse. Now, there is something down in the hold. If you are able, let’s see whats down there.”
Bull nodded. “The easiest way down is back this way.”
We stepped over several bodies, our feet awash in blood. The vampires bled more than any living assailant would. They must have fed recently. I am always amazed at how much blood these creatures can store, where does it all go?
Bull took me to a set of double doors set in the floor above the hold. “If we open the ones above us, then the light should shine down through these un’s as well.”
I nodded and we quickly opened the hold doors on the upper deck. Sunlight flooded the planks below. I leapt down and signaled Bull to watch my back while I opened the next set of doors to the hold. They were locked, but the chains that bound them were no match for the tempered steel of wielded axe. I heaved the doors open and light flooded into the bowels of the ship.
I heard Bull gasp when he realized what was down there.