Shadow Wolf time! This is part of my weekly writing exercise, written raw and rough. The first story arc, Blade Breaker, can be found here. The first story of this arc, Red Fangs, can be found here. The previous week’s post can be found here.
We followed Murith out into the pre-dawn murk. My sensitive nose picked up the scents of the blood that had been spilled this night, the smoke of a thousand alchemical processes, and something sticky sweet and cloying foul that must have been part of the drug that the junkie vampires had been using. The thought gave me pause, and I motionned Murith and Berkhilda to stop.
“Can a vampire process a drug taken on its own?” I asked Berkhilda.
“It requires a great deal of practice to do so without mixing it with blood,” answered Berkhilda.
“oh, fuck, Tranis…” said Murith, eyes widening as she grasped the intent of my line of questioning. “She said she was clean…”
Berkhilda raised a brow.
“Whoever turned the addicts chose a drug that someone in Murith’s squad would have in their bloodstream,” I said. “They would be going mad from withdrawal and wondering why taking their normal hit wasn’t helping. While blood was what they truly desired, the scent of the drug combined with blood would drive them wild.”
Murith muttered a string of curses.
“This is not going to be… clean. Murith.”
The dwarf woman glared at me.
Half-way down the street from Git’s shop we began discovering bodies. A shape on the cobbles resolved into bloodsucker with a terrible gash on his throat who had bled himself dry pursuing Murith. The next body was little more than an exsanguinated heap covered in a torn watch officers uniform. Murith knelt and grabbed a badge from the corpse.
“Calim,” she said. “He was married last year. Has a child on the way. Transferred to my squad because burning hills west was supposed to be safe. Bloody fucking cage of thorns.”
We discovered the rest of her squad as well. As I expected Murith had not cut and run, there were at least two bloodsuckers on the ground for every one of her comrades fallen. It was an impressive tally considering that the Vampires were much stronger and faster than normal men.
Murith knelt by the last body, a body that had been so thoroughly drained that the woman appeared mummified.
“Tranis…” she said.
“My people can scent even old taints the in blood,” said Berkhilda. “Even if she had stopped, they would still smell it in her.”
I looked at Berkilda. Was that truth or condolence?
“You did the best you could Murith,” I said.
“Why did they come after us?” said Murith.
“Cinder made them,” said Berkhilda. “He wants to start a war.”
“Agreed, but we are missing something,” I said. “There are cleaner ways to start a conflict in this city. He was into the illegal blood trade in Cliffshadow, and smuggling in the Jetties. Murith, why do you do a night patrol here?”
“To keep the addicts under control and off the streets,” said Murith, shaking her head. “And to prevent the thieves from The Fences from plundering the shops… why?”
“Killing your men was only part of the plan,” I said. “A little voice tells me the black hearted whoreson was here to steal something as well.”