Carpathian 04 - Dark Magic
certain she had succeeded with the tourists. The entire thing was too bizarre to comprehend, and the memories of Gregori had been eradicated, so the gunfight and dogs were their reality. It was only the tour guide who looked up at the sky with a faint frown and examined the scorch marks some distance Generated by ABC Amber LIT Conv erter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html
from them. Several times Gary caught him staring at Savannah in bewilderment, but the man was far too experienced on the streets to tell such a wild tale when no one else seemed to have seen what he had.
Savannah worked at keeping focused on the monumental task on hand. Her mind was really with Gregori, a part of her merged deep, a haunting shadow in the corner of his mind.
Gregori could feel her presence, her worry for his injury, the loss of blood. He sent her reassurance even as he approached the heart of the swamp. From La Rue's description, he recognized the area. Insects swarmed to do the master vampire's bidding, rising in black clouds to sting and bite anything that came within his boundaries to disturb him. Gregori threw a protection barrier up and continued downward toward the bogs and the black, murky pool. The putrid smell was in his nostrils, the decay and death of centuries seeping insidiously into the surrounding air.
There was no wind to carry away the stench. Sinkholes gurgled and lay waiting for one wrong step.
Patches of vivid emerald-green grass beckoned the unwary into their deadly trap. Wildlife and human alike would be attracted to the spots of brilliant, life-affirming color, lured to a slow death as they sank, trapped in the sucking mud the tufts of green hid so successfully.
Gregori hovered in the air above the murky pool. Layers of rock formed a shelf beneath the surface of the water where the grotesque beast anchored its victims to rot the meat. The water itself was thick with sludge, completely unlike the waterways leading to it. There was no sign of the alligator or the vampire.
Gregori scanned the area carefully, cautiously. This vampire was cunning and vicious. This was his home ground, his lair. It would not be an easy thing to trap him here. Gregori felt the presence of evil, knew the vampire was close. He chose the most solid-looking ground he could find as far from the dark, dead waters as he could get.
He used his powerful voice. Soft. Insistent. Impossible to ignore. "You must come to me. You have waited long to face me, and I have come for you. Come to me." Each word was pure and musical, sifting through the air to reach any and all within hearing and draw them out Each note was mesmerizing, hypnotic, a sorcerer's spell. Gregori stood with a lazy casualness, his solid frame masculine and invincible despite the blood staining his shirt high on his shoulder.
He began to murmur softly in the ancient tongue, repeating his command for the vampire to show himself. Reeds swayed along the embankment, then bent like a rolling wave. There was no wind to cause the movement. Out of the comer of his eye, Gregori could see a second wave start, and from a third point, another wave. They came at him so that he was surrounded, the unseen enemy converging from all sides. He waited. As patient as the mountains. As still as granite. Merciless. Relentless. Gregori. The Dark On . The hunter.
The assault came from above. The sky filled with so many birds, the air groaned at the unexpected migration. Talons extended and razor-sharp beaks ready, the birds came in fast, raking at his face and body. Gregori melted into mist, but droplets of red marring the green reeds gave evidence that the vampire had scored a second hit.
Gregori had no choice but to materialize to stop the blood flow weakening his body. There was a soft hiss of satisfaction, a grating, rumbling bellow of challenge. The ground beneath Gregori's feet was spongy, sucking at his shoes with a greedy sound. While he searched the moving reeds, the enemy attacked from beneath him, erupting out of the ooze with gaping jaws and jagged teeth. The vicious snap grazed his leg as he jumped backward to sink knee-deep into the muck. He slammed a flimsy block between himself and the alligator, the best he could do as he struggled to free himself. A small reptile Generated by ABC Amber LIT Conv erter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html
lunged at him from behind, another from the left. The smallest one ripped his leg open with a vicious slash of teeth.
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