"My hair which had been raven --black the day before, was as white as you see it now. They say too that the whole expression of my countenance had changed. I told them my story -- they did not believe it. I now tell it to you --and I can scarcely expect you to put more faith in it than did the merry fishermen of Lofoden." The woman closed the book and looked at her child. He was peacefully sleeping now. A warm feeling filled her chest.
She stroke his wild hair and gently kissed his temple. Then left the room as silently as she could. She leaned her back against the door for a second, a smile spreading across her face. She was so happy she couldn't even describe it with words. Life had been tough lately because of the rebels that were threatening the status quo
, but she had everything she had ever dreamed of.
They lived in Europe, but they had their own government and rules. They had the territory divided into fiefdoms and they had an Emperor that was supposed to rule over everyone, but he was more like a spiritual guide. His military and political power rested within his warlords.
In the fiefdoms, people were poor and literally starving to death due to the huge taxes they had to pay in order to hunt in their lands. And the Emperor couldn't do anything as he had become a puppet.
Thomas Ackermann, who was one of the most powerful warlords, supported by his retainers Mark Jansen and Alexander Wolff, attempted to unify the continent under one strong ruler. They were brutal eliminating those who by principle refused to cooperate or yield to Ackermann's demands. They couldn't keep living like that. It was an untenable situation.
It was a long war what brought the peace for them, ironically. And finally, after the Winter Battle
they did succeed, but no without losing people along the way, Jansen being one of them.
Ackermann, who was widely noted for his innovative military tactics and his charismatic and diplomatic leadership, became the de facto
ruler, the new Emperor. And Wolff, who was very loyal to his lord and known as the most savage warrior ever, became his right hand and commander.
After a long seven hundred years period, it was finally committed that they would coexist with humanity. They would feed on them as that's the only thing they could eat, but they wouldn't ensalve, torture or kill for pleasure -that way they would avoid warring all the time for territory and food. It was also committed that they would walk in the shadows forever. They wanted to live in peace, just like every other living being, and showing their real form turned them into hunting trophies for humankind.
No one ever dared to defy neither of the families, and whoever tried ended up in prison or dead. Both titles became inheritance rights in the end. But now again, after almost three hundred years, the peace and economic stability was endangered.
There was a faction that had separated from the central government. Their leader claimed that they were better than other living creatures and should be ruling over them. It was a small group at the beginning, but they had gained supporters as the human forces against vulturis
Petra decided to get something to eat before going to bed. She was very tired and weak lately, things had been crazy with all the threats of a civil war. In her way to the kitchen she heard her husband arguing with someone in his meeting room. It was Frank Wolff, his commander and beloved friend. What is he doing here so late?
She asked herself. She was curious and stayed there, peeking through the slightly opened door.
"With all due respect... YOU'RE FUCKING NUTS!" Frank shouted as he hit the table with his fists getting up from his chair.
"I don't care what you think, you do as I say!" Jörg yelled back getting up from his chair so fast it fell with a big thud to the ground. "You just said that they're planning to burn everything to ashes, for fuck sake! He's a vicious bastard that would kill just anyone, I need you to protect my family!" He was perfectly aware of their strength and help for them wouldn't come fast enough.
"You can't just ask me to turn my back on you and run away!" Frank looked down, frowning. He was the commander of his army, part of a legendary family of warriors and he couldn't do anything. It was frustrating. "That's just not the way the Wolffs act!"
"I'm not asking you to run away." He paused for a second. The situation was painful and hard to deal with, but it was his fate and he would accept whatever was about to happen. "I'm asking you to take my family and your own kid out of here. I'm trusting you with the most important part of my life. I need them to survive... If you stay, we'll all die! They have to survive, to follow in our footsteps. Don't you understand?"
Petra wanted to scream, but her voice just drowned in her throat. She knew the situation wasn't the best, but she didn't know they were at the edge. She couldn't breath, fear and anguish took control of her body. It can't be true...
She fell to the ground on her knees. She was about to lose everything.
Frank and Jörg ran to the door when they heard the noise, they couldn't allow any more information leaks. "Tell me is not true, my love..." She whispered when she saw them, tears running down her face.
They helped her walk into the room and after explaining her the whole situation they all went silent. They only thing that could be heard was the loud crackling of fire and the storm outside.
A few days passed and they had everything organized. Frank had finally given in and had accepted what Jörg was asking from him, even though he didn't like running away from battlefield.
It was late at night but the starry sky was illuminating everything. The kids, Gabriel and Sebastian, were already in the car, completely unaware of what was going on as they were too young.
The freezing wind of the night was blowing very hard. Frank was smoking one last cigar, leaning on the car, lost in his own thoughts. Jörg was his friend, but also his lord. He'd do whatever he needed him to do. Honor and loyalty were burned in his DNA, but he hated leaving him behind. He would be with all the army, yes, but they wouldn't be fighting together until the very end.
"You could come with us, my love..." Petra begged with watery-eyes. Knowing that her beloved one was going to die was painful beyond imagination.
"I'd love to..." He said caressing her face wiping her tears away. "But I'm the Emperor, I can't run away and leave our people behind. I'm going to fight and face whatever comes my way. But you..." He looked to the car, where his 4 year old son was sleeping. "You need to live... And one day avenge my death and take back the throne. I know it's not easy, but you're strong—"
Petra didn't let him finish talking. Even though she hated it, she knew what she had to do. She kissed her husband with all she had, her tears falling down. He kissed her back, hugging her tight. It was their last kiss, their last hug, their last goodbye.
Suddenly a big explosion burst behind them. Fire didn't take long to rise among the buildings. Jörg took his wife's face between his hands. "Go!" He said. Right after he started to run towards the city spreading his black wings in the dark of the night.
"Jörg! Please! I'm begging you!" Petra screamed, her face distorted with despair.
Frank hold her against her will while she kept crying and calling for her husband. He had to drag her and put her inside the car. There was no time to waste. He got in the driver's side as fast as he could, started the engine and put the pedal to the metal. Not looking back. He had just one mission, and he wasn't going to fail his lord.