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St. George's School for Young Hunters (closed)

Mikotsuhime

Junior Member
May settled in close next to Alex, feeling a bit embarrassed at the compliment. Normally he didn’t embarrass easily, but it had been a very long day and he was looking forward to following Alex’s advice and getting some much needed rest.

“Ok, ok,” he submitted, making a show of closing his eyes and resting his head down. “I’ll go to sleep, but only if you do promise to wake me up if something happens.”

He had a feeling that he and Alex had different ideas of what constituted ‘important things that May should be awake for’, but he figured he would let it go just this once. He was tired after all.
 

jones573

Junior Member
Winona didn’t like this. She should have killed him when they’d had him outside. She should have killed him right away when she’d got in his room, the moment she’d been close enough. Who cared what he’d been planning? She was more concerned about what he was planning now.



“I’m not smart,” she admitted. “But I’m not /that/ dumb,” she shot down his proposition with a glare. The ‘stay out of my way and I won’t kill you’ thing wasn’t something she’d believe in even if she was the one saying it, so.



She looked over towards the door, affecting a wide and innocent expression as she moved, still circling to keep the slayers and Jurriaan in her sights. “That one? You sure,” she asked skeptically, running through scenarios in her head.



Even if she had enough explosives to bring the ceiling down, it would make it a difficult kill to confirm, especially if she was also dead. And she suspected the castle-thing would /not/ appreciate such an attempt-



She could probably ‘compromise’ his mind if it really came to it, but she didn’t really know /how/ exactly, and the concentration needed to mount a mental attack would have to come from the concentration she was using for her hypervigilance-



“I mean,” she continued, with a shrug in the door’s direction. “I guess- ‘Every single person’, might as well start with Bram, yeah? Can see why you’d like that route. Easier, for a coward like you.”



She didn’t know for certain that Bram was lurking outside the door, but she was pretty sure. It had definitely been him following her, and since he hadn’t burst in yet- Well. It stood to reason that he hadn’t gone anywhere.



She removed the pencil she’d jammed through the keyhole, but made no move to actually unlock the door or open it. Instead she pulled a folded up piece of paper from her pocket- She’d been considering writing a secondary farewell note and had decided she didn’t have the time. But it was always nice to have supplies.



She drew two long lines across the paper, intersecting at a right angle in the middle and reached into her pocket to pull out a small Ziploc baggie. “You’re the expert,” she conceded, glancing at the contents of the bag- Mostly small flecks of pink stained skin that she’d loosened from underneath her fingernails. “It’s not very much- Already gave Scarlet the blood and hair I took while you were sleeping,” she lied evenly. She had given Scarlet no such thing, if she’d even taken such a thing, but she figured Jurriaan wouldn’t be concerned that Bram or Vlad might use blood magic against him. But Scarlet on the other hand- It seemed more believable. And maybe frightening enough to give him pause.

“But still a decent bit of ankle- Think I got enough of you here to do much damage?”
 

Reynarda

Nerdy Vampire
Jurriaan’s neutral expression shifted slightly in amusement. He didn’t doubt she wasn’t stupid, not given the people she lived with. Vlad would have insisted on reading to her even if she didn’t care, and Bram would have taught her in his casual manner of imparting skills. Smart, perhaps. But smarter than him? Definitely not.

This amusement faltered slightly when he looked to the door. Bram was there? Oh, ho, the castle. It hadn’t fetched its resident vampire, it had fetched the one person he couldn’t—wouldn’t—kill. Jurriaan blamed all the books in the library. That was why this accursed evil castle was so clever.

“You think I would kill my own son?” he asked in honest offense. Kill everyone he loves, yes, but not kill him. “He’s the only family I have left—would you kill your brother?”

There was a cry behind Jurriaan amongst his followers, which was quickly cut off by the castle dropping a tile on the man’s head.

But then Winona was pulling paper out of her pocket and—was that skin? Seriously? It would have worried him if it wasn’t so… disturbing. That she had taken skin she had scraped from him and kept it. There was something decidedly not-right with this girl.

Jurriaan would have declared that she didn’t know what she was doing, but she had spent several weeks in this castle with a vampire who knew way too much about slayer magic for his own good. He seriously doubted that Winona had taken any blood from him without his knowledge, but Scarlet was absolutely insane enough to use blood magic, given the chance for revenge.

He hesitated, eying her warily. “And what do you plan to do, child? Do you even know the proper symbols? Will the castle even let you work such magic in here?"

Behind Jurriaan, the castle dropped more stones on the heads of his followers. There were a few more cries and then a commotion. Jurriaan smiled, keeping his focus on Winona. Several seconds later, two large slayers emerged from the group, Vlad stumbling between them. They shoved the vampire to his knees, and he grinned up at Jurriaan, blood that was definitely not his dripping from his mouth.

“So much for Nosferatu hospitality,” Jurriaan said dryly.

“Don’t touch my kids,” Vlad retorted.

“Whose blood is that?” Jurriaan asked.

“Thompson’s,” the woman who had lead the group that had caught May said. “He killed five others before we noticed.”

“Five?” Jurriaan eyed Vlad in surprise.

“Don’t. Touch. My. Kids.”

“Where are his knives?” Jurriaan asked.

The woman—whose name is Sara—shook her head. “He’s unarmed. He broke their necks.”

Three slayers used this distraction to get close enough to Winona to grab her. They snatched at her arms, hoping to hold her.

“There’s another way out,” Jurriaan said, turning back to Vlad. “To state the obvious. And I’m assuming only you can open it. Open it or I’ll kill her.”



Scarlet jerked, kicking a stack of books over. She sat bolt upright and in one swift move had Devon by the edge of his hunting jacket, a wild look in her eyes.

“Where’s Vlad?!”

“In the bathroom!” Devon said, wondering if this was how he died.

“The bathroom! Bloody silver, you were supposed to watch him!”

“He just—”

Scarlet dragged him over to the bathroom and kicked open the door. It was, of course, pristinely empty.

“Uh…” said Devon.

“You fell for the oldest trick in the book,” Scarlet said, dragging him out of Vlad’s room and down the hall. She pounded on the door to May’s room with the fist not still holding Devon’s jacket. “Stop making out and open the door! Mom and Dad are getting themselves killed! Come on, love birds, we gotta go!”
 
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Mikotsuhime

Junior Member
May had just been settling down for a nice, calming nap, but it seemed that he and Alex were not going to be given the chance to rest very long, because Scarlet was banging on the door and May was shooting up, still a bit drowsy.

“Huh, what?! Again?!” He exclaimed, because he was pretty sure that they had just been through this, and that Jurriaan was locked up safely in the castle crypt and that everything had been /solved/. Hearing that they were on the verge of losing family members yet again made him jump up from the bed in a hurry, only to stumble a little bit as a wave of dizziness overcame him.

He needed to use magic, but he didn't know what to do. He didn't want to overextend himself in case he needed to do something wild and crazy in order to help (again) but he couldn't function with this kind of overload. He rolled up his sleeve and looked at what stones he had left to work with, and cursed because he didn't have anything that was really /useful/. The protection and luck stones he'd already used to keep Alex safe on the balcony and he hadn't had a chance to retrieve them at all.

He looked up at Scarlet rather pathetically, because when he tried to stand up again his legs felt like jelly and he just sort of slumped back onto the mattress.

"I don't know what to do," he admitted.
 

jones573

Junior Member
“You said ‘everyone’,” Winona parroted back at him- He hadn’t specified that blood relations got a pass.



He seemed pretty sure she was bluffing, but there was just enough doubt in his tone to indicate that the possibility she wasn’t did worry him a bit, so she proceeded to slowly unzip the baggie.



She hadn’t even considered that the castle wouldn’t ‘let’ her do anything, though she supposed the entire crypt might be an area in which such magic was void- But she and the castle seemed to have a decent enough working relationship, so- Or not.



Winona muttered something under her breath that sounded very much like it might rhyme with ‘duck you’, very annoyed at the castle she had just been counting as an ally. Sure, she herself had just unjammed the door so that Bram could access the crypt so she knew she couldn’t be mad that the castle had decided that interference was necessary, but she had specifically wanted Vlad to stay out of it and at least she had known Bram was there and-



Winona had previously let her connection to Vlad go lax, like a string between two empty tin cans hanging loose, but her flare of anger and frustration pulled it taught again.



YOU- i am not your- FIVE you hippo crit- why would



Not helpful, she reminded herself, though the slayers were already delivering that reminder by taking advantage of her distraction. One had grabbed her forearm and she grabbed back, carrying his momentum forward and flipping him so that he landed on his back with a cracking sound that probably wasn’t healthy-



She sneered down at him as she tried to think of a new plan quickly, stuffing the loose baggie and paper down her tshirt and into her sports bra- Another hand landed on the same forearm she had just freed, and a much stronger grip on the other.



She leaned into the stronger grip to balance herself and kicked out, her foot flying out three times. She landed the kicks to his groin and diaphragm well enough, but he had stumbled back enough that the shot at his nose was a bit too short to inflict enough damage to really break it.



But by now the third slayer had a solid grip on Winona’s left arm, even as she tried to twist away.



“The hell is he paying you with,” Winona muttered. She really wasn’t one to be critical of blind devotion and obedience, but really- Five of the companions had just had the necks snapped, not to mention the countless injuries sustained in the earlier fight. She had sort of figured they’d be willing to let their boss take the heat for once.



“‘Open it or I’ll kill her’,” Winona said in an incredibly mocking tone that was somehow actually a decent- if for more amusing- imitation of Jurriaan’s actual voice. “It’s ‘and’,” she clarified- He’d been pretty transparent on his plans to kill her regardless of any action taken. She actually wasn’t sure how Vlad had gotten in himself- Some secret passage or something? But she’d asked the castle for just such a thing, something that could get her into the crypt less noticeably… And there hadn’t been one. Had the castle /made/ one?



Passage to nowhere, she suggested to Vlad. Suffocation.



She would really prefer to do it herself, but… If they could trap him in the walls of the castle and starve him of air, it would solve the problem of his still-way-too-good reflexes. And they could always open it back up later to cut up the corpse and burn the pieces.
 

jones573

Junior Member
It was warm and cozy and Alex began to slowly relax, realizing he actually could just spend the next few hours with May cuddled up in his arms and-



“Scarlet, that’s not funny,” he groaned. “Seriously, May needs his rest and you shouldn’t joke about-“



Except for once Scarlet didn’t look like she was joking, and Devon was with her and he also looked very worried and Devon enjoyed a laugh but there was no way he’d be so committed to such a bad prank-



“Shit,” Alex said, which was a bit of an understatement, especially when he found himself needing to bodily support May because the other boy could hardly stand.



“We /cannot/ overtax May again,” he said firmly, pulling his shoes on quickly. “Or you know, armageddon.”



He really did not want ‘Larry’ to make another appearance, and certainly not so soon- He might decide May wasn’t taking good care of their shared body or whatever, and make his stay permanent.



“You need a power source,” he deduced when he noted May’s disappointment at his own wrist. “Closest stones are…. The balcony? Are those still… Charged?” He wasn’t really sure of the terminology, but he helped May into his own shoes.



Alex really wanted to forbid May from coming, but he didn’t really think ‘forbidding’ his boyfriend from doing something was going to go over well. And just leaving him behind was still going to gain him a very angry boyfriend, and possibly one that followed anyways except without anyone to make sure his shoes were securely on his feet. So.



“Um- You could use me, as a battery,” Alex suggested a bit hesitantly. “Maria has, in the past. But I really don’t know how.” There had been an extended metaphor about deep wells and different lengths of rope and how the Yates family tended to go /too/ deep and that’s why Maria had shortened his rope, and he had nodded in understanding at the time but in the current moment he had absolutely no comprehension of practical application.



“Uh, I don’t know how to get to the balcony from here,” he admitted, because if May needed the stones, someone more familiar with the castle was going to need to get them. Or at least give Alex directions.



“What’s the situation,” Alex asked Scarlet, now that they were mostly dressed and ready to move. “Or is this more of a… Spidey sense thing?” Maybe she could just /know/ if they were in danger, and was lacking on specifics. Though specifics would be very nice. Alex liked specifics. But he also liked spending several hours enjoying a safe and well-cuddled May, so clearly he didn’t always get what he wanted.
 

Reynarda

Nerdy Vampire
“You can ride on Devon’s back,” Scarlet decided, when May seemed to be a wet noodle.

“What? Hey, I didn’t—”

“Or Alex’s. Doesn’t matter. We need all hands on deck. Hang on just a sec.” She zipped out of the room and was back with surprising speed. “Here’s those stones you left on the balcony,” she said, handing May aforementioned stones. She held out an old wooden box. “And Vlad’s going to kill me, but I took out the important jewels. This is just nostalgic stuff. I’m pretty sure his ancestors would be okay with using them to save their kid.” She shrugged. “That, and they’re dead, so what do they care?”

“I don’t care how we do, fruit loops, but we have got to do something,” Scarlet said in a rush. “It is an understatement when I say that our livelihoods depend on it. Alex might have other parents up his sleeve, but I don’t.”

“Scarlet,” Devon said, gripping the eldest Drakonii-Leeuwen’s—or Leeuwen-Drakonii, whatever—arm. “Calm down. We need a plan or something.”

“Okay, Vlad.” Scarlet set her hands on her hips. “I think I can open us a passageway.”

She marched resolutely to May’s wall and placed her hands on it. “Alrighty, castle. I know I’m not the head of the household, but I need a passage pronto.”

Nothing happened.

“Dang you.”

Devon cleared his throat and pointed to the wall May’s bed sat against. The stones were shifting back with the clattering sound of rocks falling in a stream.

“Oh. Wrong wall.”

“What are we going to do?” Devon asked.

“Kick butt. All bets are off, peeps. We take them down with whatever means necessary. Chaos is our bread and butter, so let’s do this.”

Devon glanced at the other boys, more than a little impressed with this weird little motivational speech.







Vlad ignored Winona’s accusations. He had slipped in here and found Jurriaan taunting Winona. He had lost his temper. Of course he had been spotted. Of course they could not be allowed to alert their leader. Snapping their necks had been the obvious course of action since he had purposely dropped his knife in the passage. He probably would have made his way through the entire group had Sara not caught sight of him and organized the slayers to stop him.

Jurriaan ignored Winona mimicking him. It was surprisingly good, and the vampire in front of him was smirking. However, Vlad was being silent for once in his life.

Not a bad idea, Vlad admitted to Winona. He was feeling morbidly murderous. I should suffocate him with the ashes of my ancestors.

Fine, then, Jurriaan thought. He would have to do this the old-fashioned way. He advanced, fully intending to do as much damage with his tile shard as slayerly possible.

Vlad was about to open a hole in his crypt floor to dramatically swallow Jurriaan when the door banged open.

“What the hell?” Bram said, practically falling inside. “Win, what—Vlad! You let him go!”

Jurriaan turned casually, his eyes flicking to the open door. “He killed five of my people.”

“Vlad! We agreed—”

“He won’t stop touching my family.”

Using Bram’s momentary distraction and Vlad’s trapped state, Jurriaan lunged and cut across Winona’s middle with the tile shard.
 

Mikotsuhime

Junior Member
May wobbled a bit, but he was at least able to keep standing as Alex helped him into his shoes. He was not very fond of the idea of riding on Devon’s back, because that was kind of rude, but Alex was pretty much holding him upright now anyways. He continued to lean against him as soon as he was able, then took the offered jewels from Scarlet gratefully. Hopefully they wouldn’t curse him or something.

“That’s the opposite of the problem,” he pointed out when Alex suggested using him as a battery of some sort. “Not out of power, got too much of it. I’ve got so much magic in me right now I feel kind of like I’m drunk and also going to explode. But if I use some of it I’ll actually probably feel better.”

He looked down at the protective stones and squeezed them in his hands, trying a lucky spell to at least lower the chances of something overly bad happening to Bram or Vlad. He assumed Winona was still asleep in her room, and that they hadn’t alerted her because... of something.

That didn’t sound right, but there was no other reason she wouldn’t be there.

Casting a spell instantly started to clear his head, and he exhaled as he no longer felt quite as weak or fuzzy. He was even able to stand on his own beside Alex, and listened to Scarlet’s little speech while nodding with agreement.

“Ok, so we go in and blow them up. I can do that,” he agreed, but he waited for Scarlet to lead the way into the passageway, because this was after all technically sort of maybe her castle, kind of.
 

jones573

Junior Member
Alex had been… Handling things. And each thing was truly shocking in it’s own right and surely couldn’t be out-shocked, even if that rarely seemed to hold true. But he’d had dinner with dragons this week, so really. There wasn’t much that could top that.



“Holy shit,” he exclaimed, nearly dropping May in surprise when the far wall became an open archway. “Is that- Did you know it would- Shit, does /my/ house do that?”



Nope, he could ask Annabelle about it later. Matter at hand.



“I assume this is… Structurally safe?,” he asked, leading the way towards the opening and peering down. It had to be, because this was Vlad’s home and Vlad was Scarlet’s sire and it seemed unlikely that the castle would do as she asked if it couldn’t do so without danger- But still, he was watching stairs assembling themselves downwards before his eyes stone by stone and he couldn’t help but wonder what they were resting on and if they were being taken from other crucial interior structures-



“No-no-no, no blowing things up,” Alex interjected. He knew it was a preferred method of dealing with problems, but- Interior structures!



“We’re heading down, to the crypt, right?,” Alex asked Scarlet as she led the way. It was mostly just for confirmation. If Vlad and Bram were in serious trouble, it probably wasn’t happening in the library or the kitchen or anywhere Bram’s father /wasn’t/. “A.k.a. one of the lowermost structures in an ancient, magical castle. Explosions near the foundation of a building aren’t a good thing, even if it’s a magical building- And maybe /especially/ if it’s a magical explosion.”



He knew May’s magic was different enough from the kind vampires were accustomed to, to the point that even his aunt was wary of it and he wasn’t willing to just /hope/ that the magic of Vlad’s ancestors would be able to compensate for any sudden and violent structural changes, no matter how well intentioned.



“Also, you know- Our friends aren’t clear of the danger,” he pointed out. Scarlet’s urgency was genuine, but Alex slowed regardless as he began to imagine the possible disasters they might come across.



“Maybe chaos could just be the butter, to a bread that at least resembles a plan,” he suggested hesitantly. “Do you know anything about what’s happening beyond Vlad and Bram being in danger?”



He didn’t mean to be rude, but it wouldn’t do anyone any good to spread chaos if they didn’t have at least /some/ intention to it.









“There was /no/ agreement,” Winona argued with a snarl, though at least it seemed Vlad might finally be on board to actually end this via ‘give him what he wants and then kill him with it’ so that was somethi-



She twisted away from Jurriaan’s makeshift blade, even managing to drag her captor a little ways with her before the slayer realized what was happening and anchored their stance to shove her back towards her attacker, but it wasn’t enough. A line of blood a good four inches long appeared across her tee shirt, and based on her wince, it was at least deep enough to cause pain Winona was willing to register.



Or maybe her expression was one of anger, based on what happened in the next several seconds. She followed his momentum, catching the pointed tip of the jagged tile in her free hand and cracking it off with a sharp snap.



She growled at him, a far more feral sound than the annoyed tone she’d levied at Bram moments earlier, and lunged towards him with her mouth open and lips curled back.



Even with blunted canines, it was pretty clearly the face of a vampire ready to feed, perhaps made even more threatening /because/ she lacked fangs but was willing to tear his throat out regardless.



But one of the other slayers had jumped to assist the colleague in securing Winona when Jurriaan has first moved to attack her and had already grabbed at her upper arm before she’d broken the tile point off, and together the two restrained the snarling teenager.



“Asshole,” she spat at him. “Like he wasn’t going to give you /exactly/ what you wanted if you gave him a moment.”



She was certainly not impressed by Vlad’s willingness to stand up to threats against people who weren’t himself, but this was the rare case in which she had actually been hoping to use that to her advantage.
 

Reynarda

Nerdy Vampire
Scarlet gave Alex a look as she passed him and led the way downwards. Of course she had known it could do that. To prove it was safe, she stepped out onto the stairs and jumped up and down on the top step. Eerie light flared to life and Scarlet began the descent.

“When the castle is in its protective mode, it becomes a giant maze. And by that, I mean it never stops changing. Currently, the entire floorplan is in flux. Anyone not family will be swallowed whole by the castle. But all family has to do is march resolutely towards their desired destination and the castle will get them there.”

“Only it doesn’t want us going towards the danger,” Devon guessed.

“Yup. So I had to ask it nicely for a shortcut.” She muttered something under her breath that sounded to Devon like she still wasn’t sure that it would take them to the crypt, but he wasn’t about to inform anyone else.

Instead, Devon said, “I’m pretty sure the crypt is actually inside the mountain.”

“It is,” Scarlet confirmed. “But Mr. Killjoy is right. Maybe no big explosions. Just some little ones to keep the chaos high. That’ll give us the upper hand.”

She stopped as the stairs leveled off and pressed her ear to the bare wall in front of them.

“Uh, Scarlet?” Devon ventured. “You gonna answer Alex on the plan bit?”

“Oh. Um, so… best as I can tell, Jurriaan’s got Winona and Vlad—and Vlad, at least, is not a happy camper. I can hear Bram cursing, but I’m not sure what that means other than he’s alive. So… I can’t think right now—the castle won’t stop with it’s stupid high-alert magic-thing.” She waved her fingers to demonstrate the magical nature of the castle’s alarm system. “How about kill everyone?”

Devon shook his head.

Scarlet put her hands on the side of her head as if that would organize her thoughts. Think, think, think. What would Vlad do? Freak out and run in with a crazy plan that would work only because of Vlad’s innate stubbornness. Okay, bad idea.

“We’re gonna need a distraction.” She pointed to May. “Sugar crystal, that’s you. Light explosions, sound explosions—the works. The rest of us with take down as many slayers as possible. Stay away from your paternal grandfather. He’s going to be shooting to kill, so don’t get close enough for him to grab.”

Devon gestured to the gathered people and himself. “You realize that none of us are actually genetically related to Bram, right?”

“And that makes you expendable to gramps. Stay away.” She glanced at the three boys. “That’s the best I got. Any pressing concerns, Mom Friend?”




Bram was swearing. In fact, he was calling everyone in the room—especially Vlad and Winona—a series of very rude names.

Of all the idiotic things! All Winona and Vlad had to do was not engage his father. Then, they could have sent him off to the Guild—who would have put him in Guild prison and they would never have had to see him again.

But no. These two could not just leave well enough alone.

But then his father was attacking Winona with a freaking shiv and grinning at the blood that dripped to the stone floor. Bram leapt forward without thinking—his modus operandi—and kicked one of the men holding her to the ground. There was a satisfying crack as his boot hit the man’s ribcage, but he didn’t dwell on it. He landed easily just in front of Winona. He brandished his knives at his father, leaving Winona to deal with the other slayer.

“Leave my family alone.”

Jurriaan almost lost his temper at Bram’s declaration of a familial relationship to a bunch of vampires, but he bit down on it. Later. Right now, he needed one of those knives. He sprang forward, which did not surprise his son. The now-pointless tile coming towards his middle did not surprise him. The fingers digging sharply into his wrist, however, did surprise him.

Before he could stop himself, Bram dropped the knife in his left hand. Before he could snatch at it, his father had it. Bram swore.

But Jurriaan, who clearly had planned this move and knew his opponent, spun to gain power and slashed out with the knife. Bram jerked backwards, but Jurriaan knew his opponent.

The knife sliced through Vlad’s hoodie sleeves, then the skin and muscle of his forearms, as he appeared in front of Bram.

The spray of blood was wonderful. Jurriaan would paint this castle with the blood of every vampire his son thought he loved. He smiled. Oh, they were so predictable.

Vlad—or the castle, or something—ignited black fire in Jurriaan’s face, and the slayer leapt back, swearing.

“Winona!” Bram yelled as the fire died down. He had his arms around Vlad’s middle and looked like he fully intended to bodily drag the hissing vampire from the crypt. “Take Vlad and get out of here!”

They were liabilities and his father had a knife. But maybe, just maybe, if he talked to his father, his father would put down the knife and wait for the Guild.
 

Mikotsuhime

Junior Member
May followed Scarlet down the tunnel, a little in awe as well, but less so than Alex. The caves in between back on the island would often do similar things, creating new passageways and changing tunnels around so that one could get hopelessly lost if they didn’t belong there. He imagined the castle was doing much of the same thing.

“Ok, ok, no explosions deep underground, got it,” he said in response to Alex’s concern, and offered him a smile as well, though it was a bit more wobbly than it normally was.

He swallowed thickly and grimaced at Scarlet’s idea for a plan, though.

“I can’t kill anyone,” he said again, already shaking his head. “I can’t do that. But I can do lights and sounds. Oh! Wait!”

He looked down at the stones that Scarlet had given him earlier, an idea coming to him. Normally this was a bit outside of his expertise, but these were some rare jewels. Finding the one he wanted, he turned to Scarlet and then grinned.

“Ok, on my signal, see if you can convince the castle to open up the wall and then charge in,” he said in a stage whisper, because he didn’t know how thick these walls were, and if Scarlet could hear through... “Ok, Mr. Castle, this is going to require a bit of cooperation, if you could just let me tap into your magic a little bit...”

He closed his eyes and tried to focus all his energy on forming a magical presence in the opposing room itself and then, with a deep breath, he gently prodded the castle walls, a small hole forming at his request which he quickly tossed the stone into.

It immediately burst into an incredibly bright light, like a flash grenade, and then began to emit a hazy smoke that filled the room. May looked down at another stone that he held in his hand, cleared his throat, and used the first gem as a portable speaker of sorts, amplifying his voice so that it came from within the room itself instead of outside.

Except it wasn’t his voice that came out when he spoke - it was Jurriaan’s, a perfect magical copy that was already making him feel better and better as he expended more of the energy that was overloading him.

“The vampire’s escaped! He’s gone to the left, all of you go after him!” May exclaimed, then winced because he hoped that wording was convincing enough. Then he turned to Scarlet and pointed to the wall. “Ok, that was the signal.”
 

jones573

Junior Member
Alex was not really following whatever ‘conversation’ Scarlet was having with the castle, but he figured that was about as much information as they could hope for at this point anyways. Bram, Vlad, Winona were in there and at least Vlad and Win were restrained. Probably they were all unhappy campers.



“Uh, lots,” Alex told Scarlet because he was pretty sure all his concerns were very pressing. But he could narrow it down. “Are you being metaphorical when you say ‘shooting’?” Because he’d purposefully left his handgun behind even though he was more comfortable with it than knives and blunt heavy objects, because he figured the only way this could get worse would be if Jurriaan was able to get his hands on a firearm.



Alex really wished he got to see May do more magic /outside/ of life threatening situations, because it was really hard to appreciate how cool it was when he had been suppressing a panic attack for most of the day and his paranoia was through the roof.



The paranoia turned out to be a good thing, though, because when the wall opened up, one of the slayer’s was standing just a few feet away, and his eyes widened comically when he saw them.



“Uh, surprise,” Alex said quietly, and the slayer crumbled to the ground when Alex clocked the man solidly over the head with the base of the heavy decorative candlestick he’d swiped off the desk in May’s room.









With the more assertive slayer down for the count, Winona turned her attention to the woman who had more recently joined the effort of restraining her. The woman had a decent enough grip on her from behind, so Winona had to wrestle her to the floor before driving the small fragment of tile into the soft skin of the shadow under her right eye.



She turned back in time to see the black flames and presume what had happened, and hear Bram’s order- She had minimal interest in following it, but…. It was an order.



As the room grew hazy, she darted in front of Bram to scoop Vlad up with one arm around his shoulders and the other beneath his knees, then twisted quickly to trade places with Bram so that he was between them and his father- Wait, who was talking?



The smoke made it difficult to see and the sudden flare of light beforehand had been a bit disorientating as well, but she was pretty sure Jurriaan’s mouth wasn’t moving…



Wait a minute. Those /assholes/, what was even the point of trying to keep other people out of this if they were all going to just come barging in, wasn’t May supposed to be /resting/-



Winona had a brief moment of panic about whose ‘left’ she ought to avoid before deciding it didn’t matter, and made a run for the edge of the room, bolting between the pillars as she tried to find the others and trying not to let Vlad’s weight rest against her own wound.



“Here,” she told Alex when she abruptly appeared in front of him, rather gracelessly handing Vlad over as though he were a baby with a smelly diaper, or something else she had no clue what to do with.



“Um, hi,” Alex said. “This is Scarlet’s doing, I have nothing to offer in terms of plans or resources,” he told Vlad to be upfront. “Some knives? If you want.” He didn’t even have bandages he realized, not that he thought Vlad would allow for their application even if he did.



“Far enough away to be safe, close enough to do magic shit,” she instructed Alex before taking off as suddenly as she had come.



Bram was being dumb if he really thought completely removing the guy who could control the castle and make flames appear out of thin air was a good idea, and even dumber if he thought Vlad was going to allow it.



Also, he hadn’t said that she couldn’t /return/.



She seemed to instinctually understand Scarlet’s plan to create chaos and confusion, and set to work incapacitating the slayers one way or the other as she worked her way back to the center of the room. It was taking longer to get back to Bram than it had to leave him, mostly because the slayers were now spread throughout and because she was actually fighting them rather than just running.



Hopefully he wouldn’t do anything /too/ stupid in the few minutes she’d- Who was she kidding?



Passage o’death plan is prol out, yeah, Winona checked with Vlad. Jurriaan was clearly more intent on just hurting people than getting what he claimed he wanted, so even if they could get his attention to offer him a magical escape tunnel, he’d probably just ignore it.
 

Reynarda

Nerdy Vampire
The castle was happy to oblige at the request of the littlest family member. His magic wasn’t strictly Drakonii magic, of course, but the ancient building had learned to be flexible.

Scarlet gave Alex a look that said he was being dense on purpose when he declared he had many pressing concerns. “Yes, metaphorical.”

“I don’t think Scarlet intends for you to kill anyone,” Devon assured May. He certainly didn’t plan on killing anyone, so he hoped so.

He watched May with curiosity, taking a slight step back when he recreated Bram’s dad’s voice. He had no clue how realistic it was, but when Scarlet opened a door in the wall, there was mass panic. Apparently, the slayers didn’t know how realistic it was, either. Some were running off to do the bidding of the voice while others were attempting to stop their comrades, declaring it a trick.

As Alex clubbed a man over the head with a candlestick—there was a joke about “Clue” in there somewhere, but Bram refused to play the game anymore, so Devon couldn’t think of it—Devon wished he had had the foresight to bring a weapon.

“Scarlet! How—”

“Punch them! You’re big!”

Devon wasn’t sure if he should be flattered or insulted. He had been in fistfights, but he usually lost. Bram had been teaching him, but he hadn’t actually fought anyone since.

He dodged a grab for his arm and kicked out at the slayer. The man fell over, which Devon was going to count as a win.



Bram was decidedly impressed with the copy of his father’s voice. It wasn’t how he would phrase commands—it was definitely the way May would phrase commands—but he doubted most people would know that. As mass chaos started, he nodded to himself and flicked his eyes to his father.

Jurriaan was likewise surprised and confused. How—that blasted mage. He supposed Armageddon was postponed, then.

One would think, with as many times as Bram felt the need to pick his vampire up that Vlad would at least be used to it. He wasn’t, but he lived through it. But now Winona apparently thought that she also should be picking him up and carrying him around.

“Put me down!” he demanded, not struggling because he didn’t want to exacerbate her wound.

And then she was handing him over to Alex. For the love! Just because the vast majority of his wards were bigger than him did not mean they should be holding him. He was a grown-ass adult for crying out loud.

“It’s a flesh wound, and this is my castle,” Vlad said, squirming away from Alex. Of Scarlet, he demanded, “What are you doing here?”

“Going to the bathroom,” Devon said.

Scarlet snorted. “He’s been waiting this whole time to say that.” She nodded to a body laying to her left. “Lose your temper?”

“No one seems to understand that I physically cannot be not close to Bram in fights,” Vlad said, starting after Winona.

Scarlet grabbed his sleeve. “That’s a lie. And you know Bram’s dad blames you most of all for”—she gestured at the gathered group—“this. Running over there with Bram will just slow Bram down.”

Vlad scowled, hating that Scarlet could be perfectly logical when she wanted to be. “And Winona?”

“I’ll worry about baby sis. I’m a small fish. Grandpappy has bigger fish to fry. He won’t notice me.”

Vlad seriously doubted that.

Scarlet pointed to May. “You keep doing the chaos. Alex, guard your BF. Devon, watch Vlad.”

“Got it,” Devon said, planting his foot in an approaching slayer’s groin. The man went down with a shriek. Devon thought he was pretty good at this kicking thing.

“Be careful,” Vlad said, dropping to one knee and resting his hands on the floor of his castle.

“I’m always careful,” Scarlet called over her shoulder with a wink.

She darted into the fray. Winona wasn’t hard to keep track of. She was tall and left a trail of destruction in her wake.

Yes, Vlad responded to Winona. There is not enough space, even if we decided to drop him down a hole.

Bram was—naturally—doing something stupid. He put away his knife and took a few steps toward his father. Black fire hissed to life around his feet, so what could go wrong? “Dad, put the knife down.”

Jurriaan did not put the knife down.

Bram tried again. “Why are you doing this?”

His father frowned. “I have never felt the need to explain myself—”

“Yeah, you’re infallible, sure. I’m trying to understand.” Bram took another step forward. “Why you have all this hate.”
 

Mikotsuhime

Junior Member
May squeaked when Winona showed up. Sure, Scarlet had mentioned her name, but it hadn't really registered with him that she was /down here/, and he looked almost a little bit hurt.

"Win! You're supposed to be sleeping!" He exclaimed, because she was hurt and she should have been resting, and now that he thought about it she was probably the whole reason that everyone was down here to begin with. He didn't really want to blame her, though, because blaming was not going to help anyone right now. But still.

Then Win darted off, and Scarlet after her, and he and Alex were left with Vlad. He wasn't really sure what else he was supposed to be expected to do, but he squeaked again when a slayer grabbed at him, and he elbowed them in the stomach, squirming away before they could actually get a good, solid grip on him.

"/Why/ is this happening?!" He asked, because that had not yet been answered and while he was pretty sure that he could put together the pieces, he still didn't understand why on earth everything couldn't have just been left well enough alone. "I thought we ended everything! Called the guild! Beat evil dad! Why are we still fighting?!"
 

jones573

Junior Member
Alex, having been raised by people with at least vague notions of ‘boundaries’ and ‘respecting your elders’, very readily helped Vlad back into a standing position and honestly seemed relieved at Vlad’s insistence that he was perfectly capable of caring for himself.



“You are /also/ supposed to be sleeping,” Alex muttered, not in any particular annoyance towards either May or Winona, but more a general frustration that no one was getting the rest they needed.



He was distracted by whatever Vlad was doing and missed the guy approaching May- Focus, he reminded himself. Scarlet had given him a task, and it was one he very much agreed with. He needed to do it.



Once May was clear of the slayer, Alex swung the base of the candlestick down into the guy’s stomach and got in a second hit before the man doubled over in pain. And possibly was going to vomit. Great.



“Not to point fingers,” Alex answered May, keeping an eye out for any more approaching figures. With both Scarlet and Winona in the mix, the slayers seemed far more interested in keeping themselves safe than debating if the order had been a trick, much less trying to find the source of the trick. “But I feel like that answer probably involves ‘Winona’,” he guessed. Call it a hunch.










Winona’s momentum came to an abrupt halt when she just about stepped into the dark flames around Bram’s feet, but she caught herself from tripping physically. She did stumble mentally, though, because what Bram /doing/?



He’s being stupid, she tattled.



“It’s how we are,” she told Bram with annoyance at his persistent desire to be forgiving. “It just /is/. Doesn’t hafta make sense.” She glanced around quickly, all too aware that the chaos and distractions would not last.



“They will always be in danger when he lives,” she reminded Bram, assuming he could figure out who ‘they’ were without her having to give away anyone’s location. “C’mon. Let him die. Please.”
 

Reynarda

Nerdy Vampire
Vlad didn’t exactly plan to lose his temper with Winona, but May reminded him of exactly why he was frustrated. He kept it in, and kept his thoughts to himself, but he did say, “Winona did not agree with Bram’s methods and therefore took matters into her own hands.”

Devon kicked out at a slayer, but he lost his balance. He would have fallen over if Vlad hadn’t reached out and caught his coat.

“May?” Vlad said, keeping his eyes closed and the vast majority of his efforts focused on keeping Bram alive. “You wouldn’t happen to have any sort of sleeping spell in your repertoire, would you?”

That is expected, Vlad assured Winona. Believe me when I say he MUST do this. He would never forgive himself if he didn’t try.



Bram glanced over at Winona. Had she said “we”? He was pretty sure she had. “I can’t do that. I can’t just let him die—he’s my father. If he dies, I’m the last Leeuwen. I’m alone.”

Tell that overgrown idiot that he is not alone and that we will all just take his stupid family name. Vlad knew this was not the problem—there were plenty of other people with that name, it was a common Dutch name. And he understood Bram’s pain. Knowing that you were the only one of your family left was hard. He has a family—you tell him I said so.

Bram was not privy to this mental conversation and so had turned his attention to his father once again. “Why do you have it out for Vlad and the kids?” he demanded. “What have they done to you?”

“That vampire—”

“Is not the person you hate! I became friends with him. I chose him over you. I chose this life. I adopted all those kids. You hate me.”

Jurriaan deflated a little. “I don’t hate you.”

“No,” Bram agreed. “You don’t. You hate yourself.”

Jurriaan Leeuwen lost his temper. He sprang at Bram, stabbing at his son’s side—not to kill, just to put him out of commission. Cold, angry energy caught the knife, allowing Bram to leap back, unscathed. Jurriaan didn’t seem to mind too much. He wrenched the knife from the grip of the energy and leapt past his son, plunging the blade towards Winona’s chest.
 

Mikotsuhime

Junior Member
May’s mouth opened and closed like a gaping fish, because he didn’t understand why on earth Winona would put herself in danger AGAIN. She had already caused a small disaster by sneaking out earlier, and now she had done it again. He really didn’t want to be angry with her, because deep down he knew that she was trying to protect them. Or at least, he hoped. He found he did not understand her very much lately.

“I don’t need sleep, I feel fine,” he reassured Alex, and at least he wasn’t swaying on his feet anymore. But he was glaring at the vague direction of the crypt, and there was a look of clear hurt on his face. He even startled somewhat when Vlad addressed him, and he bit his lower lip. “I’ve got something, yeah, but it would knock out Bram and Win too, probably. And it might take a minute or so until anyone can enter the room without feeling super tired.”
 

jones573

Junior Member
Winona could /not/ believe what she had to listen to.



“I got a father, too. Hip-crite,” she pointed out neutrally, because Bram and Vlad had both been sure to tell her and Devon that a blood relation was not a demand for obligation, and had no bearing on who was counted as ‘family’. No one ever seemed to apply their own advice, or perhaps there was some distinction she did not quite understand.


She didn’t need Vlad’s prompting to reach the same conclusion, but she agreed to voice it, because maybe then Bram would see how stupid he was being and if not help her, stop hindering at least.



“You got enough ‘family’ you couldn’t be alone if you wanted,” she scoffed. “The half a dozen people who would take a knife for you, that’s not enough-,” she began to ask, but Jurriaan was as tired of talking as she was.



She was startled –and a little unnerved- again by the protections around Bram, and the moment of distraction cost her the chance to duck from Jurriaan’s attack. If she tried to avoid him, he’d likely just hit somewhere more vital or unpredictable- Armpits had a surprising amount of veins and arteries.



She braced herself as the knife sank just beneath her sternum, twisting her arm so she could pin her elbow against his forearm and grab his wrist so she could at least lessen the depth of the wound.



With her other hand, she brought her own knife down to where his pectoral connected with the arm she assumed was his dominant, and continued to yank the blade downwards even as she tried to dig it deeper.







Scarlet was /terrifying/, Alex concluded, if only because the slayers seemed to have mostly forgotten the rest of them. But he didn’t lower his candlestick.



A sleeping spell would definitely stop the fighting, but Alex thought it was risky- There was movement, and he could see to the center of the crypt. The sudden expression on Winona’s face when Jurriaan leapt at her was /not/ a ‘avoided that knife’ face. Like, at all.



“I’d say go for it,” he advised with a lump in his throat, trying to keep the panic out of his voice and attempting to crowd the others back into the passageway as subtly as he could.
 

Reynarda

Nerdy Vampire
At last, Jurriaan thought with no small amount of glee. He only grinned at her as her blade bit into his flesh, his eyes gleaming at the sight of her blood. It was about time these children succumbed to his blade. They all did, in the end. They could run, and they could hide, but they never escaped him.

His revelry was cut off by a loud, “NO! Win!” The sound of which was echoed by Vlad through his and Winona’s mental link.

Bram moved to tackle his father to the ground, but another redhead was faster. Scarlet pounced on Jurriaan, shrieking like the banshees of her homeland. This was abruptly cut off when she bit him. Jurriaan jerked back in surprise, yanking away from Winona and taking his—well, Bram’s—knife with him. They went down in a tangle of arms and teeth and red hair.

Bram was torn between protecting Scarlet and kneeling next to Winona. Figuring the elder vampire could handle herself—and figuring his father deserved the biting, snarling terror who was Vlad’s fledgling—he yanked off his jacket and held it over Winona’s wound.

“You’re okay, you’re okay,” he lied as he looked at her wound. Oh, this was not good. “Stay with me, okay?”

Scarlet yowled like a fighting cat at Jurriaan ripped her off his back and threw her into a clump of hunters. She hissed and kicked and bit her way out of the group, but Jurriaan rose to his feet. He was still bleeding heavily from his shoulder and there were dozens of puncture mark across his neck, shoulders, and back. But he was a Leeuwen, and they were the single craziest, most pig-headed bastards in the entire universe.

He had always told his son never to throw his knife. Because if you threw your knife, it was gone and now you were in trouble. Bram always threw his knives, but he usually had Vlad to throw them back.

Just because he was a Leeuwen, that didn’t mean he was going to last much longer in this fight. He didn’t heal like he used to—not after that nasty fall.

Scarlet was still occupied with the other hunters, and he had a clear shot. She was the only other one he could get to at the moment, so she would have to do.

He would have taken the shot, but years of slaying vampires alerted him to an approaching presence. He turned just in time to see Vlad use a hunter as a stepping stone. His eyes were fixed on Winona.

Bram looked up at his father just in time to see the cold smile curl his lips and the knife poised in his nondominant hand. He didn’t even have to know who was behind him. He jumped up in front of Vlad shouting, “No, father, stop!”

But it was too late. Jurriaan had already released the knife. His eyes widened in horror, and he watched as—in apparent slow motion—the knife spun, slowly, slowly. Then hit home.

Bram jerked, more in surprise than pain. Vlad tried to catch him, but Bram had always been nearly twice his weight. He barely managed to protect his companion’s head as he fell.

But there was a knife in his friend’s chest. In Bram’s chest. And red was quickly coloring his shirt.

Vlad couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think.

No, no, no. This was—this was wrong. He wasn’t supposed to—no. This was wrong.

The castle shuddered and stilled. The air seemed to freeze, and then something screamed. Maybe the castle, maybe its resident vampire, maybe both.

Vlad turned blood-shot eyes on Jurriaan, who had staggered back and sunk to his knees. His eyes were wide with horror, but Vlad didn’t care if he had intended to or not.

He lifted his hand, cold flames humming through his veins until they danced on the end of his fingers. The air temperature dropped in the already cold crypt, and the orange-fire torches went out. He would burn Jurriaan Leeuwen to the ground.

“So… dramatic,” Bram coughed.

Vlad looked down through blurry vision. The blade was definitely not through Bram’s heart, but it was through his lungs and liver—which already had enough damage with as much jenever as the idiot consumed.

“You’re short,” Bram reminded him, by way of explanation.

Vlad still didn’t know what arteries had and had not been hit or how much damage Bram had sustained, but at least he could draw air into his lungs again, and the touches reignited with their orange flames.

“Shut-up,” he told Bram. “If you die, I will never forgive you. I will burn everything down.”

“Is he—” Jurriaan began, but Vlad curled his hand in a fist, and stones from the crypt deformed and reformed around the slayer’s legs, trapping him.

“Lil sis could probably use some medical attention,” Scarlet said. During the commotion, she had escaped the hunters and taken up a protective position near her family. Now that Jurriaan was trapped, she was inspecting Winona’s wound.

Vlad looked back at Winona. Hang on. The second she had been hit, he had funneled his own energy into Winona through their mental link and their familial bond. Now he also allowed Bram to draw energy through their bond. But Vlad was no healer.

“May!” Vlad shouted, the castle carrying his voice to the trio towards the back of the crypt. “We need your healing magic!”





Devon had stood frozen, staring after where Vlad had disappeared into the crowd. He could tell by the way his guardian had gone tearing into the fray that someone was hurt. Whether that was Scarlet or Winona, he was unsure. At least until someone had screamed. Devon had spun on the other boys.

“What do we do?” he asked. “One of them is hurt. I can’t—” he choked back a sob. He couldn’t lose anymore parents.

But then Vlad’s voice was so clear, he looked around, expecting to see the smaller half of their parental unit standing next to him.

“May! Alex! Let’s go, I’ll get us to them.” He wasn’t sure how he was going to do that, but the castle began lifting floor tiles to make a wall—like parting the red sea. That worked. “Come on! May, bring all that pent-up magic!”
 

Mikotsuhime

Junior Member
Somehow, today things seemed to be having a tendency to go to hell in a handbasket at the drop of a hat. The instant Winona was stabbed May let out a loud, wretched noise, because Winona had just been /stabbed/, and then Vlad was gone and Bram went down too, and he was very much on the verge of hyperventilating when Devon's voice broke through his panic.

Right, pent up magic. He still had a fair amount of that. He nodded his head and followed after the other boy while digging through his collection of stones for /something/ that was meant for healing. But he wasn't exactly a dedicated healer either, as much as his repetoire was a bit wider than any of the other magic users in the room, and the amount of blood he saw surrounding Bram was /definitely/ not helping him concentrate.

"I-I can try, b-but I don't know how much I can do, and there's two of you, it's really hard to focus on two people when you both have wounds this deep, and--" He broke off and took a deep breath to keep himself from rambling and wasting time. He found a stone that, while not perfect, would do in a crisis, and he immediately pushed it into Bram's hand so he could channel energy into it. Most of his 'healing' was usually transferring energy to another person to speed up the body's natural healing process, but that probably wasn't going to work out when Bram seemed to be on the verge of /not/ healing, and that alone was almost enough to make May panic.

"A-Alex I can only work on one at a time, can you do, like, first aid or something on Win until I can focus on her?" He asked, managing to keep his voice from cracking but not from shaking dangerously as he focused on Bram's wounds and tried to redirect his own energy there to at the very least stop the bleedingl, if not heal them perfectly. Stopping the bleeding was probably a good start.
 

jones573

Junior Member
Winona's satisfaction at finally managing a decent blow against Jurriaan was shortlived, and she fell back and onto the ground once the force of them both holding the other in place had been so thoroughly disrupted. She should not have been surprised by such from behavior from Bram- she had the hindsight now to realize she was foolish for not anticipating his intervention- but she would have expected Scarlet of all people to understand. She had just been about to remove her knife and go for an internal organ, or the neck if she could get away with it.



"M'okay," Winona replied automatically, not looking down at the blood blossoming across her tee shirt but bunching the jacket and holding it down to her chest with one hand regardless.



"Behind you-," she started to warn, but Bram moved faster than Winona could talk and- She recoiled from Vlad's mental anguish as though she had been slapped, and ducked away physically too, but Scarlet was already at her back.



Winona was overwhelmed by an abundance of anger and grief and frustration and despair and a hundred other things she wasn't sure of, and she wasn't even sure they were even /hers/, and the moment Vlad make the slightest conscious effort to redirect his energy in Bram's direction, she all but shoved it there herself.





Don’t want don’t want, take it TAKE IT



“I’m okay,” she repeated to Scarlet, a bit more coherently this time, even though she wasn't okay, she was angry, she was so angry, why couldn't she ever do anything right-



“Bram first,” she agreed with the direction of the triage assessment, though she said it with a finality that implied she was not interested in hearing otherwise.



The wound was a bit deeper than she had hoped, but no worse than she had reasonably been prepared to take if it meant she could finish him- But of course, he was still alive. And was going to stay that way it seemed, because in addition to Scarlet at her back, Alex was bearing down on her with May’s instruction.



“On it,” Alex told May, tugging off his own sweater as he crossed to Winona in a handful of steps. This was… Terrifying, but manageable, and Alex ran on instinct and First Aid classes that he’d taken years ago.



“Breathing?”



“Lungs are fine,” Winona reassured him. She assumed she would be able to tell if they were rapidly filling with blood and in danger of collapse.



He removed the Bram’s jacket- the lining was soaking up blood, but leather was not known for its absorbent qualities – and replaced it with his own sweater, tightly folded and even more tightly pressed to her wound.



“Can someone take her knife,” Alex asked, and Winona’s grip tightened on the handle at her side.
 

Reynarda

Nerdy Vampire
“M’fine,” Bram mumbled. “Win?”

“Stop talking,” Vlad commanded. Mostly because at any moment, everything inside his head might burst out again. He needed to think logically now.

“She’ll be okay,” Scarlet said with as much optimism as she could find. She did not like the amount of blood leaking from the wound even through Alex’s sweater.

“What do we do?” Devon asked, trying not to sound like he was freaking out—which he was.

Vlad fluttered his fingers around the knife in Bram’s chest. That was going to have to come out. But he had no way of knowing if it was holding in the blood of an important artery. Besides May’s healing, Bram was naturally quick-healing and Vlad’s castle and Vlad’s proximity would double that, but he could bleed out in a matter of minutes. The thing about Bram’s blood was that it was not like normal human blood. It tasted vile for one thing and did not type like human blood for another. A transfusion of normal human blood would give his blood the necessary volume, but the transfused cells would die quickly from being over-taxed. He might not be able to recover his own cell count fast enough if he lost a substantial amount of blood. They kept some of his blood frozen for this express purpose, but the stock in the castle was more than five years old and probably not viable. Stupid! He should have insisted Bram replenish it. Vlad was used to Bram breaking bones and getting cut or burned, but never something so life-threatening.

He should have ignored Bram’s wishes and killed Jurriaan Leeuwen long ago.

Speaking of the devil, he spoke. “You need to remove that knife. Even with your mage, it won’t heal with the knife in.”

Vlad refused to look at him. However, when he spoke, his tone was even. Too even. So even that the castle creaked in warning. “And if the knife you threw hit an artery?”

“Then you will have to be quick. How much medical training do those children of yours have?”

The castle shrieked as stone ground on stone.

“Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement. You know you need another pair of hands with centuries of experience.”

Vlad squeezed his eyes shut for a second. Everything was crumbling. Jurriaan Leeuwen was in his home and was once again destroying everything. Winona had been stabbed and was lying on the tiles. Bram was bleeding out. And had Vlad, the person who was supposed to be the responsible planner of the duo prepared for such a disaster? No. And now his family was suffering for it. He had let his emotions guide him and that got him exactly where it always got him. He should have made a deal with Jurriaan. Surely he would take Vlad in exchange for the safety of his family? No, of course not. He would take Vlad and force him to watch his family die. And anyway, if Vlad was being honest, his desire to die rather than any of his family was not entirely selfless. He didn’t want to live through the pain of loss again. Selfish—he didn’t deserve any of this anyway. He didn’t deserve Bram’s friendship or this family or any of it. But deserved or not, he was losing the only thing that had ever mattered.

“Every second you waste in indecision—”

The tiles slid away from Jurriaan Leeuwen’s legs, and Vlad ignored the look he could feel Scarlet giving the back of his head. Jurriaan Leeuwen might be a monster, but he was a logical monster, and at this point they had a common goal.

Jurriaan dropped to his knees next to his son, and the floor’s tiles shifted, once again trapping him in a kneeling position. His own wound was still oozing blood, but he seemed entirely fixed on Bram’s wound. He reached towards Bram, but Vlad slapped his hands away.

“Don’t touch him.”

Jurriaan fixed his eyes on Vlad. “You know this was not my intention, right?”

Vlad ignored him. Taking a page from Alex’s book, he tugged his hoodie over his head and arranged it carefully around the knife. He hesitated, staring at the hoodie, then the wound, then the blade. But there was nothing for it.

“Devon, as soon as this knife is out, you’ll need to put as much pressure on the wound as you can.”

Devon, who looked like he was about to start trying primal scream therapy, nodded and hovered his hands over Vlad’s hoodie.

“How long is his blade?” Jurriaan asked.

“That’s what she said,” Bram said, then coughed.

Vlad almost slapped him. “Fangs, Abraham!”

Bram wanted to tease Vlad about his language, but he just ended up coughing again.

“Five inches—Abraham, do not claim it’s longer or I swear I will stab you.”

Bram’s laugh turned into an alarming gurgle.

Vlad met Jurriaan’s eyes then gave a slight nod. This was the stupidest thing he’d ever done.

Jurriaan gripped the knife’s hilt, causing nervous glances at Vlad from Devon. But his smaller guardian had freaking closed his eyes.

“One, two, three!” On three, Jurriaan drew the knife out in one swift motion. Bram yelled in pain, and Devon immediately leaned on the wound. He looked over at Vlad, who was bowed over Bram and had his eyebrows drawn together in concentration.

“What is he doing?”

Jurriaan shrugged. “If he ever tells you his familial magic is simple, he’s lying. But my guess is he’s working in concert with your mage.” He nodded to May, whose concentration face was adorable.

Vlad sat back, panting like he had just run around his castle multiple times. Best as Devon could tell, the bleeding had stopped and the wound had closed. Devon decided he had seen enough blood to last him a lifetime.

“Thank you, May, you can focus on Win now.” Vlad brushed his hair from his eyes, leaving a streak of Bram’s blood across his forehead. What would he have done without May there? Killed himself trying to give everyone his own life-force, probably.

“Dad,” Bram said, looking pointedly at blade still in his father’s hand.

Jurriaan considered it for a second. He would be lying if he hadn’t had been tempted to shove it between Vlad’s ribs the second he leaned back from Bram. But he turned the knife so that he was holding the blade and the hilt was extended to Vlad. “If I had wanted to kill your vampire, I would have done it.”

Vlad took the knife and laid it out of Jurriaan’s reach. The castle dropped a stone on top of it.

“M’fine,” Bram repeated. “Win.”

After a moment’s hesitation, Vlad turned and joined the group dealing with Winona’s wound. Of course, he hadn’t abandoned her when he had redirected his magic from her to Bram. He glanced at May, but he would have to leave the mage to achieve it on his lonesome. He was not as in tune with Winona as he was with Bram.

What am I going to do with you? Vlad mused, his mental hum decidedly softer than the screaming it had been when Bram had been in danger. He could have pointed out that this wouldn’t have happened if she had just stayed in bed or scolded her for thinking she could take matters into her own hands. But even if he couldn’t sense her frustrated thoughts, he knew none of those courses of thought were helpful. Instead, he took the hand that Scarlet had been unsuccessful at coaxing her knife from in his. Can I have the knife, please?
 

Mikotsuhime

Junior Member
May’s face was screwed up in a look of intense concentration, and it was a good thing that he had overloaded his magic circuits earlier or he would be running on empty by now; Bram’s wound was deep and he wasn’t a dedicated healer. But Vlad had helped, and then the wound was closing, and he let out a deep breath that he had been holding in nervously.

Turning to Win, he bit his lip to try and keep his composure as he grabbed his stones and then moved to her side to arrange them properly. Except he really wasn’t keeping his composure very well, and there were tears building up in his eyes as he looked at her wounds. He wasn’t even /thinking/ about Jurriaan or the threat he posed as he sniffled and tried to keep from crying openly as he worked.

“I just wanna know why,” he mumbled, rubbing his eyes with his sleeve. “We had finished this, we fixed the situation, why go and make it worse? Did we do something wrong?” He asked, then bit his lip and shook his head. “Nevermind. Just give Vlad the knife, please? I’m gonna fix you up real quick and then we can go upstairs and pretend none of this ever happened.”
 

jones573

Junior Member
Winona snarled angrily when Jurriaan was freed from his makeshift cage, and attempted to lunge forward. Unfortunately, Alex has already been leaning his weight down on her chest and with Scarlet's help, they prevented her from doing anything more than straining against them, which she gave up after a few seconds and the realization that they were stronger than her and she was only wasting energy.

"What the hell-" she spat, but Alex interrupted.

"Stay," he ordered, far more authoritative than he felt. In his gut, he agreed with Winona- Jurriaan should stay far away from his son. But Vlad was allowing it.

I'm sure Jurriaan has suggestions, she snapped bitterly at her guardian. She had not cut off their private communication, but had slammed shut the flow of energy between them like a sluice gate to stop him from wasting any towards her.

She didn't acknowledge his request for her knife, and Alex had given up hoping she might relinquish it. If she hadn't been willing to do so when Jurriaann was pinned, she certainly wouldn't now.

"I don't think anything crucial was hit," Alex informed May. "I'd say the biggest worry is blood loss- I don't think her immunity to common sense extends to hypovolemic shock."

Winona seemed as unphased by Alex's frustration as she had been to anyone else's, but May was a different matter. She visibly recoiled, not that Scarlet was letting her go anywhere, and looked away from him as if there were something worthy of great focus on the floor next to her.

"It isn't- We didn't- He- /You/ didn't do anything wrong," she told May finally, after stumbling for a while on her own words, but she still didn't look up.

"But it... That doesn't make it done."

After a moment she put her hand on May's wrist and tugged gently, to indicate he could stop.

"You can be done. Bleeding's stopped," she said, though Alex was suspicious. Even if the bleeding had stopped, that certainly didn't mean she was healed- But he supposed she was reluctant to take any more of May's energy than she absolutely needed.
 

Reynarda

Nerdy Vampire
Vlad was honest-to-goodness doing his very best not to let his angry thoughts march across his and Winona’s mental link. Because if Bram had died, he never would have forgiven Winona. After all, would Bram have been down in the crypt if she had not sneaked down here? Even though Bram was still breathing and cracking inappropriate jokes, Vlad’s mind tortured him with what could have happened.

Winona, Vlad began before turning swiftly and slapping Jurriaan’s hands away again.

Devon jerked in surprise. He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to be watching Jurriaan or not.

Vlad briefly considered dragging Bram away from his father and snarling at the elder slayer. But the castle got the hint and shuffled the stones so that Jurriaan was too far away to touch his son. Jurriaan shot Vlad a nasty look, but Vlad just spread his lips to bare his fangs.

“Vlad,” Bram scolded.

The elder vampire ignored his companion and shifted Bram’s head to rest against his thighs rather than the cold stones of the crypt floor.

“Easy, May,” Scarlet said softly, resting her hand on May’s back. The kid was about to start bawling, and Scarlet had no idea how to handle that.

Vlad flicked his eyes to Winona at her insistence it wasn’t done. It is done. You are not to do anything else. Or have you not noticed—

“Vlad,” Bram said, his tone a warning. He couldn’t hear his vampire’s thoughts, but he could read the anger in his eyes, and they were fixed on Winona. He lowered his voice. “This isn’t her fault.”

“No,” Vlad agreed. “It’s mine.”

Bram groaned, causing Vlad to look down with concern. But it was out of frustration, not pain. “I love you, but sometimes I want to strangle you. You are not a god. You can’t control everything.”

“You could have died!”

“I didn’t!”

“He could have killed you!”

“He didn’t!

This was normal Vlad-over-thinking, but Bram noticed the tell-tale warnings. Vlad’s heartrate had skyrocketed, and his breathing was far too fast for a vampire. His eyes were beginning to lose focus.

“Whoa, hey,” he said, snapping his fingers to get Vlad’s attention. “Everyone’s fine. Everyone’s safe.”

Of course, that was the problem. There was no more action or focus required. No one was in danger, Jurriaan was trapped, and the rest of the slayers were unconscious or staying far away. Normally, Vlad could have kept himself together until he was alone, but the past twenty-four hours had been taxing.

Vlad was paling, and Bram knew there was no way for him to sit up and help. He needed a distraction. “Breathe with me, okay?”

The vampire nodded, and Bram took a second to turn his head and shoot his father a dirty look to let him know his best friend’s distress was entirely his fault. But his father’s expression was tight, almost pained. Bram returned his eyes to Vlad and took a slow inhale, held it, exhaled, held it, and repeated.

“I’m with May,” Bram said as Vlad’s skin returned to its normal deep tan. “Let’s just get upstairs and pretend this didn’t happen.”
 

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