We Meet Again | v

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The cracking of twigs stopped. The air went deceptively still. Nerina could feel eyes in the darkness piercing through her. She was antsy, shifting her weight from one foot to the next waiting. Why wouldn't they come? Down her back a bead of sweat ran making her uncomfortable.

One by one they emerged as if answering her impatient question. They looked like rotten pieces of meat slapped together in a hurry with no thought to appearance. Their fetid breaths came out in a sickly yellow cloud. A yellow to match the color of their eyes; a pin tip of black settling in the middle. The images before her were the most grotesque she had ever seen. Their scent was horrid, floating to her though there was no wind to blow it in any direction. Nerina found herself covering her nose with the crook of her arm as their scent launched the first wave of their attack. She could barely breathe, the scent stabbing into her nostrils. It even burned her eyes.

"What are these things?" Harbingers yes but what were they?

"Just don't let their blood touch you."

Her inner darkness and initial rush had gone deathly still. This wasn't the fight she had been burning for. "Why don't we just run?" To her reasoning, vampires were fast. Only a handful of the things surrounded them and though they were ugly, they didn't look all that – harmful? Nerina wasn't sure. It wouldn't be cowardly to humbly avoid a fight at this point. Save their energies.

They made clicking sounds Nerina assumed was them communicating with each other. Their mouths were in constant toothy grins that disturbed her. Teeth oddly perfect.

"Would you like to know why you never run from a harbinger?"

Steele was gone by the time he asked the question. Nerina stammered for a few seconds before she went after him. She pulled up short almost toppling over onto her face beside him. They were still surrounded. The clicking rose.

"You don't run because you can't."

A point well made.

At the end of the fight, Nerina was covered in angry burns. It was hard to not have blood flying all over the place when she was hacking and chopping. One harbinger actually scooped up a handful of its sticky yellow blood and threw it at her. Not expecting the move she had not moved fast enough to avoid it. The mess had landed on her chest burning through a layer of her skin. Steel was looking better for wear. She looked worse than she had when she had initially come through the portal.

"We need to get you some clothes."

Nerina snared at him. She needed to be underground sleeping. Avoiding trouble. Skipping a few years in her eternity. Instead, she had dived blind into a different world. Out of what? Boredom? She had stepped into hell for what? Entertainment? Nerina was now sure there had to have been a better way. A less dangerous way. A more scenic route maybe. Less I'm going to kill you and more thanks for coming. They had barely made it out of the woods that seemed to have gone on for miles.

Closer to the outskirts of the city Nerina recognized the scars of war. She had been among so many enjoying the spoils that came with it. On the border of the city, they stopped. The perimeter was entirely flanked by werewolves. There was no way they were getting through unnoticed. If they were spotted by even one and he howled every werewolf for miles would hear and come running. Now the darkness stretched eager at the thought of a fight. Nerina rolled her eyes. The goal was to make it out alive not go down fighting. She wasn't there to become a martyr. Especially not for people she didn't know.

"What do we do now?" Nerina asked.

This was unfamiliar terrain in every way it could be. She looked up when she heard a faint screaming in a distance. Her body reacted thinking it was someone who needed her help. An automatic reaction she never thought she still had. Steele rested a hand on her shoulder. Where they were was close enough that the slightest shift in the wrong direction would give them away. As it was, the air was still and their scent wouldn't be picked up so easily.

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