Category Archives: Dwellers — A New Kind of Vampire
Sable “Starchaser” Schmidt followed wherever her twin Zander and older stepbrother Theo led. Usually. When her parents, Aaron “Unicorn” and Sierra “Airmed” renewed their Bonding in front of the Dweller kin-Clan leader Ramon Martiya, she and her brothers tagged along for the ride.
She bored quickly and wandered off on her own. She found a peaceful little nook where a waterfall met the river. On a whim, and seeing no one was around, she used her Watcher-kin powers to melt her clothes away, jumping into the river for a quick skinny-dip.
She knew it was dangerous to go anywhere without one of her brothers to guide her, especially in a place neither of them knew very well. Like all grown girls, she was defiant, and wanted to have fun. Besides, she often thought to herself, she had her powers to guide her. She’d be fine.
Sable swam in the warm water, reveling in her own independence when she heard someone trying to hide in the trees. She sensed it was another Dweller-kin, but she had never met this one before. Wading in the water, she looked to where she sensed the Dweller-kin.
“Come out, whoever you are.” She said aloud.
“I would rather watch from a distance, if you don’t mind.” The voice was male, echoing off the rocks by the river’s edge.
“Well, I do mind.” Sable stood, quickly drying and dressing herself using her powers. “I don’t like peeping Tom’s, so you might as well give up and come on out.”
Whoever the Dweller-kin was came out of the trees to greet her. She made the mistake of meeting his eyes and was hooked. Something happened inside her, like an ache beginning to heal.
He took her hand, kissing it. “Madam, I do apologize for my rudeness. I am Ashton, Mystic Dweller-kin son of Apprentice-kin Daniel and Mystic Dweller-kin Simone.”
She was stunned by his dark eyes and warm hand. “I am –.”
“Ah, let me guess.” Ashton grinned, searching her eyes. “A different kind of Mystic, I see.” Sable’s eyes narrowed, but he wasn’t finished. “Your parents wouldn’t happen to be the Unicorn and Airmed, would they? Brother Theodore, better known as the Young Unicorn, and twin brother Zander?”
Slowly, she nodded her head. “How did you know?”
He winked. “Zander squealed.” He said. “Actually, he sent me after you.”
Sable groaned, finding the strength to turn away from Ashton. “I should have known my twin had something to do with it.” She huffed. “I can’t go anywhere without my brothers hanging around, or asking strangers to keep an eye on me. They know very well I can take care of myself.”
Sable turned on him. “Just what is so funny?”
“He didn’t send me to keep an eye on you.” Ashton laughed. “He sent me to find you. The festivities are to begin soon. Zander just didn’t want you to miss them, that’s all.”
Sable frowned. “Yeah, right.”
Ashton held his hand out. “Come with me, Sable. Please.”
Sable knew as soon as her hand was in his, something was up. He pulled her in his arms and quickly kissed her lips. She wanted to fight it, but couldn’t. He was too strong, and handsome. She could only relax, and kiss him back.
From in their minds, each heard three words.
Earthly Protector and Bondmate.
Sable was startled out of the kiss, pulling away and staring at him. “Did you–?”
“Hear that, yes.” Ashton was shocked as well. “Say it, no.”
“If those words ring true, than –” Sable began, staring at his eyes this time. So dark and mysterious.
“We are meant to be together, I guess.” Ashton supplied with a shrug. “Come, let us tell your brothers.”
Sable was still struck by his handsome eyes. She nodded, and Ashton laughed.
When they returned, Zander and Theodore were there waiting.
Theodore smiled at them, nodding his greeting while Zander frowned, folding his arms.
“I told you to retrieve her, not romance her.” Zander growled.
“Oh, relax, Zander.” Theodore supplied. “Can’t you see, they are in love!”
Sable blushed. “You knew didn’t you?”
Theodore grinned. “Don’t I always? Come, sita, our perat awaits.”
Zander continued to growl under his breath, glaring and watching Ashton with disdain.
Theodore nudged him. Knock it off, brother.
He seeks to harm her and I will not let that happen. Zander sent back on their mind-path.
Neither will I. Theodore announced.
Stop bickering, you two. Came Sable’s voice to them both. I can take care of myself, thank you. I don’t need you two constantly on my back.
We only seek to watch out for you, sister. Zander supplied simply.
Sable stopped in her tracks and turned to glare at her twin. “Stop it, Zander. I’m not a child any longer so butt out!”
With that, she misted and rushed away. Zander growled and misted himself, racing after her. This left Theodore and Ashton together.
“What was that all about?” Ashton asked.
“It is complicated.” Theodore replied softly. “You know they are twins, so naturally Alexander is protective over Sable.” He shook his head. “I am afraid it will take a lot of work on both your parts to convince him you are Bondmates.”
“He thinks I’ll do something against her will?” Ashton asked. “That is an impossibility, Theodore.”
“I know it is; and so does she, to a certain extent, but he does not believe so.” Theodore supplied, holding his head. “I am afraid I must return to the Dragon Nations. Matere is Calling to me in my mind. I wish you a fond fare-thee-well, Ashton.”
“I will never understand you, Theodore.” Ashton shook his head and laughed.
Before using Stealth to return to the Dragon Nations through the portal, Theodore grinned. “It is best for you not to try. Kaetaa, my friend.”
Ashton continued to the festivities, finding Sable speaking with her Watcher-kin Sun-dancer mother, Airmed Starchaser. Airmed noticed him and smiled, nodding. Once her mother pointed him out, Sable turned to him and smiled as well. Airmed left them alone.
The Beast Emerges
From the shadows, she watched her Stalker brother destroyed by Ramon. Turning to mist, she flew the air until she landed near a secret spot. She waited until a couple passed her by in the darkness before returning to mortal form. Quickly, she opened the heavy wooden door and slipped inside the building.
“Lord Crucis,” she huffed once finding him. The leader of the Stalkers was dining on another hapless victim of his fame.
He looked up from his dinner, wiping the blood from his lips before shouting. “What is it, Francesca?”
Francesca stepped back, cowering away from him. “Bad news, my Lord.”
Crucis dropped his victim to the cold floor. Rolling his head on his shoulders, he stepped over the now-decaying body before facing her. “You know how I hate bad news.”
“It’s about Dram.” She sputtered. “He’s – he’s…”
Francesca relaxed, but only a little. “Yes.”
“Who ordered it?”
“The Dark Son.” Francesca supplied. “Dram attacked the wolf-man, but Ramon sensed it. Being the two are blood-bound, Ramon could do no less than to answer to the elder’s cries for help.”
“What of the wolf-man?”
“He disappeared after Ramon healed him.” Francesca said.
“How is it you live while your brother is destroyed?” Crucis asked. “Have you a heart after so long?”
“No, Lord.” Francesca replied. “I only hid in shadows, hoping to be the one to bring the Dark Son to justice.”
Crucis smiled. “Very well. What else have you to report?”
“He has sent the males of every Dweller race in finding us.” She supplied.
“Were you followed?”
“Not to my knowledge, sire.”
Crucis turned his back on her, secretly seething. “Go hunt, Francesca. Let me deal with the boy.”
“It would seem the boy is a man, and more than ready to take your challenge.”
“It would seem so, yes.” Crucis turned back to her. “Go, before I lose my temper, and you your blackened heart.”
With a nod, Francesca disappeared in a cloud of mist.
(~I now take you back to the Story already in progress~)
The Night Life
It was daytime, usually a time Dwellers would rest. The one they called the Dark Son needed no rest, and he was uneasy. Ramon Martiya, leader to his clan of Dwellers, kept watch over his kin while the sun was high in the sky.
He paced the floor of the house, unable to think straight. Something was out there, something even he couldn’t destroy.
Calm yourself, Ramon. He heard the mind-voice of his blood-brother Daniel reaching to him.
Resting usually means shutting your mind down as well. Ramon reasoned sarcastically.
You are sending anxious thoughts to us. I am the only one awake to hear.
Rest at once Daniel. You need the energy for the hunt at sunset.
If you would stop being so nervous over nothing, I would gladly return to my rest.
I am your leader and you will obey me, with or without my help.
Relax, Ramon. Daniel laughed. Do not forget who is older, blood-brother.
When Ramon didn’t respond Daniel sent him another message.
Take a walk to ease your mind.
I cannot leave my kin alone!
We are not alone. Besides, your spells have us safely trapped inside. Should anything happen, you would feel it. Now, go, before I rise and push you out the door myself.
That bit of humor made Ramon smile. Only, it did not reach his eyes.
“Ramon?” He heard a voice whisper his name. He looked toward the doorway to find a man he’d known for years.
“Chase?” Ramon asked. The man nodded. “What are you doing here?”
“Something has happened, blood-brother.” Chase Moondancer announced. “May I come inside?”
“Certainly.” Ramon nodded. “What happened?”
“The Wars for Power are over.”
“No, Ramon. Not wonderful.” Chase supplied. “Celeste and I are trapped in what Braken Joel calls the Underground. He says it is for our own safety.”
“And the boy?”
“Chikité has been stolen from us, only he was not the only one.” Chase said. “Other babes have been stolen by the Maiden for her Army. Celeste and I barely made it out alive.”
“I am sorry for your loss.”
“Had you any true empathy, I would believe you.” Chase replied. “I have come to say goodbye.”
“We will see each other again.” Ramon responded. “We are blood-bonded. You cannot be gone for eternity.”
“Ramon, we are not safe in our own world!” Chase told him. “Celeste pleaded with Lord Guardian to be able to do as I had raising you these years. We are well protected in the Underground, I assure you.”
“How do you know?”
“The Goddess Dana told us herself.”
“Good.” Ramon thought it over in his mind. “You know of the hunger, yes?”
“Yours or my own?”
“You hunger like no other wolf I have known, Chase Moondancer.” Ramon said. “You will need blood from one of us often to stay alive.”
“Celeste will be there.”
“What of the times she is not, and you hunger?” Ramon spat.
“I can take care of myself, Ramon Martiya!” Chase yelled back. “Just as you take care of yourself and your kin.”
“The hunger cannot be curved.”
“I know this. Perhaps Celeste…”
“Celeste is Dweller kin first, understand that.”
“Understand this, Ramon.” Chase replied. “Celeste and I are Bond-mates, and have been for years now. Each of us may have a responsibility to our kinds, but only second to each other.”
Ramon was silent, staring at his mentor blood-brother. To think, Chase Moondancer had been there since he was a small child. The Mountain Wolf taught Ramon how to hunt and use his keen senses to kill his prey.
“My apologies, blood-brother.” Ramon said quietly. “I am sorry.”
“Again with the false empathy.” Chase said, smiling. “I came here for a reason, and not only to say goodbye.”
He pulled a package out of his bag, handing it to Ramon. “This is a Dream Locket. Anytime you wish to visit my world, call the spell with it on and you will be transported.”
Ramon took it from Chase’s hands. Chase caught him in a hug. “I will miss you, Dark Son.”
“And I you.” Ramon whispered, pulling back.
Chase turned on his heel and was gone.
He placed the Dream Locket around his neck as soon as Chase left. Right away, he was urged to use his seeking sensors. There was something out there, something down-right dangerous, and it was searching for blood. Chase was walking out there in his cloak, unsuspecting. In the Cavern, the Dwellers were resting for the night’s hunt. He had a choice to make. Either protect his blood-brother Chase or his own kin.
He had to somehow do both.
Use the Dweller gifts blood-brother. Feel the danger you are in.
I am fine, Ramon. You just worry for me because I am so old.
Your age has nothing to do with the Stalker hunting you.
I am looking, but do not see or even sense.
Stalkers block themselves from their prey. That is how they attack.
Worry for your kin, and I will worry for myself.
You are stubborn, but you are not strong enough to battle this one alone. I will come to you.
Stay with your kin, Ramon Martiya. Chase gave the sharp order. I will be able to –
Chase’s sentence was cut off and Ramon could feel him in danger. The blood-bond they had did that. With the new necklace, he could feel it even stronger. It grew hot around his neck. He grabbed it, only to release it, pulling his charred hand away in pain.
It took two whole seconds for Ramon to heal the wound. Making sure the spells on the building were up and strong, he left to see Chase.
Ramon shifted to a cheetah, the fastest animal on four legs. His Dweller sensors combined with that of the cat were able to pinpoint where his blood-brother was in danger. He followed them to a dark alley, shifting back to human form.
“Come out, Stalker. I know you are here.” Ramon called into the night air.
He looked, but Chase was nowhere to be found.
“Who dares call me out?” A hissing voice questioned. A man came out of the shadows, pale white face and blood running down his chin. Once he saw who it was, he laughed. “I should have known it would be you, Youngling.”
“I am no longer a Youngling, for I lead the Dwellers.” Ramon told him. “Who have you been feasting on this night?”
“Only a harmless old man.” The man hissed. “His blood had your taint in it Ramon.”
“Where is he, Dram?” Ramon asked. “You did not drain him, did you?”
“How could I with such powerful fluid coursing his veins?” Dram asked. “Tell me, have you heard from your father lately? It is said he now searches for you.”
“Do not try the brotherly act with me, for it will not work.” Ramon said. “You are charged for being Stalker and must be destroyed. Either we do this the hard way or the easy way.”
“How about if I just kill you and take over?”
“I am afraid not, Stalker.” Ramon’s eyes turned harsh. “You are weakened now, while I stay strong.”
The Stalker Dram could say nothing, knowing in his empty heart Ramon was right.
“Kill me now if you wish, but know this. Crucis will destroy you for the act.”
Ramon ignored him, engulfing the lightening in the air to his very system. Using it, he aimed directly at Dram’s heart, destroying it. In seconds, the Stalker was reduced to ashes and no evidence of his existence remained.
One less mess to clean up.
He used the power over the wind to blow the ashes into an existing garbage fire.
Now to find Chase.
I am here, blood-brother. Chase’s mind voice was soft. I am not hurt bad, but I cannot go home to Celeste.
Ramon found his mentor behind a garbage bin, nursing the wounds on his neck and arm.
“I should have followed you.” Ramon said, rolling up his sleeves and tearing a scratch into his wrist with a nail. “Here, drink and I will heal you.”
Chase’s fangs shot out at the scent of Ramon’s blood, and he bent his head to drink.
With the free hand, Ramon grabbed a clump of dirt from the ground, chanting over it. He packed it onto Chase’s wounds before feeling dizzy.
“Enough. Do not drain me, for I will not feed for hours, yet.” Ramon said.
Chase licked the wound and looked up. “My apologies, brother. I could not contain myself.”
“Accepted. Did I not tell you the Hunger would be fierce without one of us near?”
“Do not be cocky, Dark Son.” Chase teased. “I will do the same for you, gladly.”
“No. Save your strength for the journey home.” Ramon told him.
“I must take care of you.” Chase whispered.
“I will replenish myself on some unsuspecting alley rat.” Ramon said. “Call the Chant and return to Celeste. She needs you more than I do right now. I can feel her probing your mind, worried.”
Chase sighed. “As usual, you are right. Once again, blood-brother, goodbye.”
He grasped the Dream Locket around his neck and disappeared, leaving Ramon staring at the spot in wonder.
After finding a couple of rats to feed on, he returned to the Cavern. By that time, the sun had gone down and it was time for his kin to rise for the hunt. The males waited for him to return before disappearing into the night and the females stayed behind, eager to feed Ramon’s hunger.
“Be careful, brothers, there are Stalkers about.” Ramon warned them.
The one called Calcite nodded. “Always.”
“Worry not for us, brother.” Daniel supplied. “We hunt for ourselves, our women and our turned kinsmen.”
Ramon stared after them.
“Ramon, come to me.” A female named Emerald called. “You are weakened from the battle. Let me heal you.”
“I will be fine, Emerald.” Ramon told her sharply.
“Rest and you will be even better.”
“I cannot. Not now.” He said. “Not until Crucis is destroyed.”
At the name, Emerald gasped.
“What is it? Do you know this Crucis Dram spoke of?”
“Dram still lives?”
“Not anymore. I destroyed him today.” Ramon replied. “He threatened Chase’s life and I felt it.”
“As you have since you blood-bonded with him.” Emerald supplied. “Crucis has been around since long before your birth. He was involved in a love triangle with two Watcher sisters. One was his Bonded but the other wanted him to be hers. She wove a powerful love spell, hoping to win his love from his Bonded.”
“Why does he want me destroyed?”
“You are a threat, for you are both Dweller and Watcher, able to do many things neither of us can.” Emerald explained. “First and foremost, you can go out during the day, where he can not. Understand?”
Ramon nodded. “I must destroy him first.”
“Of course, but you must always be careful.” Emerald told him. “Not even you can fight every Stalker in the world alone. They are our kin, turned, and play many tricks to deceive.”
“I have noticed.” Ramon said. “Dram tried to be my brother, but I was not fooled.”
“What did he say?”
“Crucis will kill me for destroying him. I sense he has waited long enough. He will come after me soon, and I must be prepared.”
“As you will be.” Emerald said. “When the time is right, you will be well prepared.”
From that day forward, until Ramon turned into a man, Chase would look after him. They grew as friends, which was good.
A few stories branch from this meeting of Dwellers and Mystics.
The first and foremost is of Ramon’s childhood. Ramon was very smart for a Youngling. Chase looked after him during the day, trying to answer any questions the boy may have had. At sundown, Ramon would run with his kin, hunting the night like a true Dweller, asking questions of life to his aunt Emerald and uncle Diamond. Each of the Dwellers taught him a different art so he could take care of them once they were resting. For he had a special destiny. He would be the leader of their kind, able to do anything and everything his heart desired. If anything should get in his way, he would take care of it then and there.
Another story is of Chase Moondancer. While the Dwellers hunted at night, Chase would return to the Dream Realm to continue his duties for Lord Guardian’s army. It went on for a half-century, until the Master Orthos decided to want his brother’s throne. As a Companion loyal to Lord Guardian and the Mistresses, he was urged to stay. He was needed at home more than with the Dwellers. By then, Ramon was seventeen years-old, almost ready for the Bonding ceremony. Unlike the other Dweller Males, he wouldn’t have a Chosen to bond with. Between Chase and Ramon, they kept an eye on other kinds threatening their very existence. The two of them became blood-bonded, like brothers, and Chase had to tell Ramon what was going on.
Ramon rounded his kin together and asked the Ancient Mystics for advice. His heart told him to go to the Dream Realm and save it from the Master’s plans. His mind thought of a plan to gather all Dwellers to help. Their bodies would rest, he told them as Chase explained, but their minds and powers would be at full strength. It would be as if it were the middle of the night, so they would be at their best. Both Chase and Ramon found out just what Orthos had in mind.
He made a pact with the Stalkers. All the power they wanted as long as they killed – no, destroyed Lord O’Dell and his followers. So, along with the Dominionite Warriors, the Stalkers did what they were told.
As for Chase, he guided the Dwellers in the Dream Realm, even Emerald and Calcite, who’d been there before. Pretty soon, the war was raging against the Warriors and the Stalkers. The Dwellers and the Mystics fought long and hard, many on either side killed, lost to all. Chase helped a Dweller named Celeste heal the wounded. In the process, they fell in love.
When the War was over, Chase couldn’t go back to the Outer-Realm with the Dwellers. Ramon was already grown and living his destiny. Time had passed and Chase’s duties to them were over. The Dwellers would miss Chase Moondancer. None more than Celeste, sister to Daniel and blood-sister Princess of the Dwellers.
Celeste pleaded with the Elders and her blood-brother Ramon. Unbeknownst to her kin, she went to the Dream Realm’s Mystic Palace to speak with Lord Guardian and Mistress Enchantra.
“I plea with you. Let Chase stay with us.”
O’Dell and Enchantra exchanged looks. “I will handle this, my Lord.”
O’Dell got her message and left.
Once he was gone, Celeste looked at Enchantra.
“Why should he stay with you?” Enchantra asked. “Is Ramon not fully grown, able to lead the Dwellers?”
Celeste nodded. “Yes.”
“And is he not fully into all of his powers, Dweller and Watcher?”
Celeste nodded again. “Yes, but.”
“You see, Mistress. I love him.” She explained. “We healed the wounded and sick during and after the War was over. Chase showed me things here I’d never seen before. In our world, he showed me things I usually take for granted in the night. Does this make any sense to you?”
Enchantra grinned. “Perfect sense. Love is surely a reason to let him be with you.”
“Then you’ll let him stay?”
Enchantra shook her head. “He is needed here.” She paused. “There is one thing I can think of to keep you together.” She looked to the air and called. “Lord Guardian, here my call.”
He appeared beside her. “Aye? What do you wish, Enchantra?”
“It would seem she and our Chase Moondancer have fallen in love.”
“Wonderful.” O’Dell replied.
“She has wished him to stay with her in the Outer-Realm.”
“You have told her that is no longer possible?”
“Aye, but I have an idea.” Enchantra announced. O’Dell and Celeste waited patiently, watching the smile rise on her face. “What if Celeste does as he did for so many years?”
“When the Dwellers rest, she comes here?” O’Dell asked. “When they rise, she returns home?”
“I will do it, gladly Mistress. Please, let us be together.” Celeste announced, excited.
“Answer a question first.” O’Dell said. “Will you be able to handle doing this?”
“I am a strong Dweller, able to do things most cannot.” Celeste replied. “Did I not return on the rise to help with the Wars?”
“I recall you and your kind being weakened here toward the end.”
“We were here for too long at one time. Suffice to say, we lost track of it. We were weak only because we were supposed to go back, but didn’t.”
“What about you?”
“I am a powerful Healer.” Celeste remarked. “Garnet, Hematite and Jasper taught me. You do know our Elders, do you not?”
O’Dell nodded. “I grant your staying. You will do so until further notice, and you must every rise, understand me, Dweller?”
“Aye, my Lord. I will not let you down.”
At that, she left to find Chase and tell him the good news.
From Boy to Man
“Do not fidget so much, Ramon.” Chase Moondancer supplied. “It’s the middle of winter, and you have to dress for it.”
“I feel nothing, Chase, honest.” Five year old Ramon Martiya insisted. “I am not cold.”
Chase stopped buttoning the coat to look at the boy. “Fine. Freeze. No one will hear your cries for help should you need it, remember that.”
“I know.” Ramon said. “My kin are below, resting for the Hunt.” The boy thought for a moment, and his face showed it.
“What is on your mind?”
Ramon looked at his mentor. “Why do I not rest like they do?”
Chase found that question a hard one to answer. “Emerald would know best.”
“I want you to tell me.”
“You are not like your kin, Ramon.” Chase said. “You are both a Watcher and a Dweller. Your Watcher-kin mother was bitten by your Dweller-kin father.”
“Do they still live?”
Chase shook his head. “Your mother died giving birth to you. Your father has since been Exiled for his crimes.” He cleared his throat, not wanting to be the one to tell the boy his father killed his mother. “Now, are you going to play with the other children or not?”
Ramon bounded off, running out the door with Chase staring after him.
Three years ago, he took on the boy as a charge. During the daytime, when Ramon needed an adult, Chase would be there for him. At night, he would return to his world, the Dream Realm, and help Lord Guardian. There was something amiss in this almost-perfect underground life. Chase had yet to see the moon in the Outer-Realm, and that had been his dream since he was a young pup. To shift into his full Wolf Companion form and howl at the full moon would be wonderful. Even in the middle of winter, when the hunt for food was scarce Chase wished to see the moon, just one time.
He sighed. Alas, that is never to be. He was here on a mission, to watch over the young Ramon and raise him to adulthood. Thirteen more years and Ramon would be old enough to fulfill his destiny as the Leader of the Dwellers. Those before him, Shem and Shiva were gone, powerful and dangerous people the Dwellers called Drifters.
Chase watched as Ramon played with the children outside. He seemed happy, and even laughed with them. That was not an easy task for a quiet child like Ramon.
Chase went his day watching Ramon play, laughing and having fun. The sun was going down quickly, but no one noticed.
The laughter turned from happy to sinister and Chase immediately sensed danger. He sprung out of the house, shifting to a wolf. Bounding over to the children, he knocked Ramon down to the ground, seeing the boy’s eyes bright red, fangs out and ready.
“Now is not the time, Ramon.” Chase growled under his breath, just loud enough for the boy to hear. “You will not feed on them.”
“Who are you to tell me what to do?” Ramon hissed, picking himself up and looking around. “Look, you have scared them away. Now who will I play with?”
“By yourself or with me until we can get the hunger in control.” Chase shifted back to a human male when he was sure no one was watching. “Come along, time to eat.”
“What is the difference between eat and feed?”
“I am told the difference is easy. To eat is to eat normal, healthy foods like nuts, berries, fruits, grains, that sort of thing.” Chase explained, escorting the boy back to the house. He cleared his throat before going on. “To feed is to drink someone’s blood, preferably one of your own kin. That is what the hunger does to you.”
“Is the hunger bad?”
“I do not know. I hunger in different ways because I am a wolf.”
“A wolf that can change his form.” Ramon replied. “Can I do that?”
“Perhaps in time, but now is definitely not it.” Chase supplied. He wrapped an arm around the boy.
At the door, Chase sensed something else.
“Something’s out there, isn’t it, Chase?” Ramon asked.
“Go in the house and be safe, boy.” Chase demanded. “I will check it out.”
He shifted once again to a wolf, where his instincts for danger were peaked. It was the early evening and Ramon’s Watcher powers were at their highest. That made him a pawn to any psychic vampires out there, for he didn’t know how to control them yet.
His instincts led him to an alley, where four cats hid in the shadows. He sniffed the air. Whatever it was he sensed was close by, but he couldn’t get a fix on it.
Why are they hiding? What scared them?
He padded along, following where his nose led him. It led him to the back of the alley, where he heard voices.
“The child needs to be stopped.” A male voice complained. “He is a menace to our kind.”
“He needs to be destroyed before he can do any more damage.” Came a female voice.
“What would Shiva think of the way you speak, Dram?” Came a second female voice.
“What, am I mistaken when I say this?” The male complained.
“Besides, Shem and Shiva are Drifters, no longer leading our kin.” The first female voice supplied.
“Francesca, how dare you?”
“You cannot speak of them that way!” Dram announced.
“Listen to your selfish dribble.” A second male voice announced almost quietly. The voice was calm. “My children, the boy is my problem. Let Ramon learn what he has to and use it to kill me.”
“You would let him, Crucis?”
“I am a fair man in war, if not in heart.” Crucis announced. He paused, stepping closer to where Chase was hiding. “Silence, all of you. I believe we have a visitor.”
Chase wanted to disappear, but the man found him first.
“What do we have here?” Crucis reached his hand out for Chase to sniff.
Chase growled, snapping his jaws.
“Feisty hound, aren’t you?” Crucis supplied. “Come, children. Lunch.”
Chase decided enough was enough. Before the Stalkers could advance, he shifted form.
“What in the hell?” Dram asked, awed.
“I will not let you hurt the boy.” Chase declared.
Crucis laughed. “And who are you to stop me, wolf-man?”
“Chase Moondancer, Provincian Warrior for my Lord Guardian and the Mystics in the Dream Realm.” Chase announced. “I am also Ramon’s caretaker in the daylight hours. If you want him, you will have to get through me.”
Dram and Francesca laughed. The second woman watched from the shadows. Chase could sense she meant no harm.
“Anytime, wolf-man.” Crucis licked his lips, his fangs growing.
“No, Crucis.” The second woman stopped him. “There will be time later. The hunt is among us, and we must feed.”
Crucis growled, turning away from Chase, who was shaking in his form. “Perhaps soon, wolf-man.”
“Perhaps.” Chase growled back.
He watched Crucis, Dram and Francesca leave. The second woman stayed behind.
“Ignore them, Chase Moondancer.” She said. “They are just bullies.”
“Out to kill Ramon.” Chase supplied. “I will not have it, and neither will the Elders.”
“The Jewels are still around? Imagine that.”
“Who are you to save me like that?”
“They call me Celeste. My blood brother Daniel is Ramon’s teacher in the arts of the night.” She said. “I’m not one of them, you know.”
“A Stalker.” Celeste replied. She came down from her wall and walked up to him. “That is what they are. Daniel sent me here to spy on them, and find out what makes a Dweller turn.”
“Have you found the answers you seek?”
Celeste sadly nodded. “Greed. Lust. Power. The high they get when they kill a mortal for their blood alone.”
“Indeed.” Celeste said. “Shall we tell the Elders what we have learned?”
Chase didn’t want to tell her he had to leave, and go back to the Dream Realm. He just nodded, following behind her. He could feel the darkness rising around him and the Locket pulsed with energy only he could see. He grasped it, closing his eyes.
“Where did you say you were from again, Chase?” Celeste asked, turning.
She saw only the darkness of the night, for Chase Moondancer was already gone.
Before the Dawn
Before the dawn, there were the Dwellers.
Watchers of the night, these mighty hunters and huntresses would seek out those who had turned and kill. Brother against brother, sister against sister.
One particular story of the Dwellers begins with a Youngling named Crucis and his Bonded Margaretta. Of course, neither Youngling, being both of different families of Dwellers, would realize just how much they were tempting the destinies of those to come. They were each less than a half-century when they met, their hungers sufficed by their friendship.
They loved one another dearly, until Margaretta’s elder sister Diana, a very powerful Witch, wove a spell on Crucis. It was not a spell of hate, but one of love. Diana loved Crucis secretly, but wanted his love in return. Diana was never selfish, she wanted what was best for her siblings and parents.
Crucis on the other hand, didn’t like being the pawn of two Witches. Despite his friendship with Margaretta, he saw at once what Diana and her siblings truly were. He decided to play a game of his own. He Bonded at the Choosing with Margaretta, but constantly teased and taunted Diana.
Diana was pure and fair, so she didn’t know what hit her.
Crucis would count on that very fact to return the feelings the sisters’ had shared with him. He cheated on his Chosen before they were officially Bonded. Diana was oblivious and in love with him in no time.
Before either of them knew it, Diana was pregnant and Margaretta was bereaved, hating her with a passion.
The child born was much different than either of their kind. It was a boy, the only child Diana would have before she met the dawn to become a Goddess. The boy they named the Dark Son was what they called a Sun-Chaser. The one of them that could walk in the daylight and need no sleep to heal. He was powerful, knowing no father or mother.
A great war between them all caused lovers and friends to become enemies and Exiles. The great families of the Dwellers split. The Elders rescuing the young Ramon Martiya from peril.
The Elders and the few who still sided with them fled to Romania from their homeland. They knew more would die before the end of the tenth century if the fighting and killing wouldn’t stop. They needed help.
Help from a very different source.
The help came in the form of the Ancient Mystics. A powerful race of magicians, able to use whatever powers their minds came up with, the Mystics could do anything their hearts desired. The Ancients, Gods and Goddesses of the Mystics, found help for the Dwellers in a heartbeat.
The Dwellers sent Emerald and her elder brother Calcite. The Ancients sent their own Chosen Ones, Enchantra and Challandra. Once Earthbound during the late sixth century, these two were Chosen to become Mistresses of a special realm called the Dream Realm. When Emerald and Calcite met them and their two sisters, Jezebel and Mystica, they also met three Wizard brothers, O’Dell, Maxwell and Lord Byron.
Jezebel left the circle to pursue slightly darker things with O’Dell’s twin brother Orthos. Maxwell followed like a puppy dog. Mystica felt she wasn’t supposed to be there with the Dwellers, her sensors were going wild and she was becoming ill being around them. She left to find her new beau Braken Hawk, a male Balinese Companion. Challandra tended to Enchantra’s daughters, Dorianne, Dixilynne, and Saralee, afraid of what hell would happen next.
This left Lord Byron, O’Dell and Enchantra to speak with and listen to Emerald and Calcite. Their main concern was not of the present wars between all of their kind, but of a small boy, barely two years old. Ramon Martiya, the Dark Son, the Sun-Chaser, the very one of their kind who needed no rest or sleep, was coming into his powers and was lonely.
“We are in desperate need of help, for Ramon is unlike his parents.” Emerald tried to explain.
“He is both Watcher and Dweller.” Calcite told them. “He needs no rest to sleep, and doesn’t bruise or bleed when attacked, so he needs no rest to heal.”
“The Young One is an orphan?” Enchantra asked.
“We call him a Youngling, and yes, Mistress.”
“What do you wish from us, Emerald?” O’Dell asked.
“Guidance.” Emerald replied. “While we are resting at dawn, he is alone.”
“Our world is a lonely one, granted, but is more so when there is no one about.” Calcite said.
“How have you been taking care of the boy until now?” Lord Byron asked.
“One of us, either Diamond or myself, stays inside with him.” Emerald replied. “When the sun is at its peak in the sky, it is hardest for us.”
“Only when the sun diminishes do we become strong again.” Calcite supplied. “Surely, even you know of creatures called Vampires?”
“As with any different race of being, they have all been banished by Outer-Realm society.” Lord Byron announced. “To actually have vampires in this day and age is rubbish. I don’t believe a word of it.”
“Believe it.” Emerald said. “We may call ourselves Dwellers, living in the shadows of Romania and Europe, but we are in truth like those vampires.”
“And the boy?” Enchantra replied softly.
“As we said, he is different.” Emerald continued. “He needs to feed like us, on blood, but his body is different. For him to feed is to heal himself. He can eat regular mortal foods, like cakes, apples and such with no ill effects.”
“That is what makes him also a Watcher.” Calcite said.
“What is a Watcher if Dwellers are vampire?” Enchantra asked Emerald.
“Children of the Ancients, these times called Witches.” Emerald replied. “Now do you see why we need your help?”
“We need someone like us, but also like you to watch him during the day while we rest for the hunt.” Calcite supplied. He turned to Lord Byron. “Do you know any creature able to handle such a child?”
“I do know of one.” Enchantra looked to O’Dell.
“Moondancer?” O’Dell inquired.
Enchantra nodded. “The only one able to handle such a difficult case.”
“Yes, Moondancer. Chase always has been interested in my stories of the Outer-Realm. He has made a life of learning all about it, hoping to find a way back someday.” Lord Byron supplied. He stood. “I will send for him.”
“Tell us more about the Dwellers, Emerald.” Enchantra asked. “What powers do you have if you know you are Children of the Ancients? What kind of life do you lead if only at night?”
“Chantie, do not encourage them.” O’Dell teased her, winking at them. “We may need to know this information, but it is not imperative.”
“That is where you are mistaken, Lord Guardian.” Calcite was serious. “As with your brother and yourself, there are differences of opinions among Dwellers.”
“Those who kill for fun and care nothing for others we call Stalkers.” Emerald continued for her brother. “It is unfortunate Ramon’s father had turned so soon after Diana gave birth to Ramon.”
“How did it happen?”
“Crucis made her Dweller when her destiny was to be a Watcher.” Calcite supplied. “Suffice to say, he bit her. That is why Ramon is the way he is. A Half-ling.”
“You wanted to see me, Lord Guardian?” Came a growl from the door. The four of them turned to see a burgundy wolf cub, bowing at O’Dell’s feet.
“Aye, Chase.” O’Dell replied. “Rise, for I have a quest for you.”
Chase Moondancer’s eyes grew wide. “Aye, my Lord? A quest?”
Now Enchantra rose to Chase’s side. “Lord Byron tells us you fancy yourself an expert of the Outer-Realm knowledge.”
“It is only a hobby, Mistress.”
“Well, it has come time to test your knowledge.” O’Dell replied. He turned, ushering to the guests. “May I introduce to you Elders Emerald and Calcite, of the Romanian clan of Dwellers.”
Chase looked confused for a moment. “I thought Dwellers didn’t exist. Any evidence of them to date has been either lost or hidden from those unworthy.”
“He has been doing his research.” Calcite smiled. “How would you like to become one of us?”
Chase shook his head. “I am already a hunter, a wolf, if that is what you mean.”
“Nay, you would be yourself, but you would have a very important task in living with us.” Emerald wrapped an arm around Chase’s shoulders.
“Call me Emerald.” She supplied with a grin. “There is a boy, not quite like us, yet not like other mortals. Now, we rest during the day to heal and prepare for the hunt when we rise. Do you understand what your duties would be?”
Chase shook his head. “Nay.”
“The boy is barely a toddler.” Calcite supplied. “He is going through many changes in his body, mind, and heart. Soon, he will lose all feeling and color like the rest of our males.”
“Think you are up to the challenge of raising such a boy to puberty with us?”
“You would of course be able to return for your duties to us when they rise.” Enchantra supplied. “Would you like that, Chase?”
Chase searched the room, looking at each of the elders’ faces. O’Dell and Lord Byron were waiting for his answer. Enchantra grinned at him an the two strangers stared at him.
“By your leave, my Lord, I will do it.” Chase said with a determined voice.
Emerald clapped her hands.
It all began with three best friends. Each from different backgrounds, each with secret pasts. It was long ago, back where time first began. Hidden in a long-forgotten land in an ever-changing world, there were three different races. The Dwellers, who would later be known as vampire-like hunters that rose with the night. The Ancient Mystics, a breed of magick-workers who would almost be wiped out of existence. The Watchers, known Ancients who, like the Mystics, could work great magick, but, like the Dwellers, were forced into the dark of night.
There were three individuals who, despite their different races, befriended one another, becoming like Kin. From the Dweller kin-Clans came a Jewel-Elder named Diamond. From the Watchers came Shem Starchaser. From the Ancient Mystics came Shiva. (For, at that time, Mystics were mortals with Ancient powers, and not just the four sisters we know today)
Shem Starchaser’s parents were destroyed in a war, Watchers against Dwellers. Since they were Queen and King of all Dweller kin-Clans, Shem was the Prince, and now the new King. But he would not become King until he found a suitable mate. His heart yearned for a mate to share eternity and monarchy. With only Diamond to Hunt with, he found her.
Diamond was fourth in a set of ten Jewel Siblings, the eldest-known Dweller kin-Clan. His friend Shem Starchaser was the last of his Watcher-kin Clan. That is, until the near-brothers Hunted (in that time, Watchers indeed Hunted with the Dweller kin-Clans) past a magickal barrier and met a powerful Ancient Mystic mortal named Shiva. Instantly, the Bond between them was strong. Shem claimed Shiva as his Bondmate before the Beltane’s night was over.
Diamond was jealous of the union. On they went for a year of nights, until Beltane came upon them once again. Diamond went alone this time, past the magickal barrier to find a mate of his own. Two Ancient Mystics, best friends from birth, welcomed him to the celebration. The mortal woman Carlotta Dragonsinger met his eye, and he was in love.
Carlotta was heart-torn. She had met a man the previous year, named Calum Bennington. She wasn’t able to keep the truth hidden from Diamond, and told him about Calum. Not caring who watched, Carlotta kissed Diamond, sending him back where he came from before she could hurt him more. On this note, she sought the advice of her Coven-brother best friend William Catz.
William assured her he would talk to Diamond. William caught the Dweller before he could flee through the barrier and set him a special task. If he still loved her, come back the following Beltane and claim her.
Diamond didn’t know what to think or do as he returned to his land and the kin-Clans. For the next year, he thought of Carlotta’s departing kiss. How much passion she’d put into it! How much love she had for him, scarcely knowing him at all. He spent the rest of the year in the cool Earth, waiting for Beltane to arrive so he could claim his Bondmate as his near-brother had claimed his two years before.
Years flew for the Ancient Mystics, and Carlotta, thinking her dear Diamond was dead, went on with her life. Always the flame in her heart for Diamond, she married Calum Bennington and mothered three sons. Each year, she joined the Beltane celebrations, hoping of all hopes Diamond would return to her. William was the only one who knew the object of her obsessions. Calum was oblivious she was in love with a man she barely knew. She told her sons stories of the Dwellers that Diamond had told her. She called to him in her mind often, hoping he would answer one day.
Ten years went by, and Diamond finally rose from his deep rest. It was Beltane once again. When he went through the barrier, he felt the change in the air. Diamond found Carlotta had grown older, but still yearned for him as he did for her. Her Coven-brother best friend William Catz took Diamond aside to tell him a delicate truth. Carlotta was already married, with three sons. Diamond was crushed, but his heart still beat for her.
Alone, away from the Beltane Celebration, he gave her a choice. If she truly cared for him as she said, she would come with him through the barrier and be claimed as his Bondmate. The sunrise was hours away that night when she made her choice. Leaving her sons and husband behind to grieve for her, she went with her loving Bondmate Diamond.
Once Shem claimed Shiva as his Bonded, he brought her past the barrier to introduce her to the kin-Clans. The Watcher-Clans didn’t take too well to the mortal Shiva as the Queen of all Dweller kin-Clans. They treated her with cruelty until Shem spoke up. The Jewel-Elders, Diamond’s siblings, sided with Shem, and protected them from scorn. Before too long, they had children, Princes and Princesses. The Watcher-Clans learned to accept the children of Shem and Shiva as their own, at least until they were grown.
Though Shiva loved Shem dearly, she missed the daylight, and slowly went mad. Once her children were grown, Shiva began a descent for the worse. She went off on her own one night, closing her mind to all. Not realizing what she was doing, she came across and attacked an Apprentice-Dweller male named Neptune, destroying him before she could destroy herself. Her mind was at odds as she slowly realized what she did. She ran to Shem and told him what she had done. He agreed to keep her insanity a secret for as long as it could be kept.
It didn’t take long for the Jewel-Elders to find out what happened. The Apprentice-Dweller sister Celeste tells the oldest Jewel sibling, Amber. Amber gathers the eldest of all kin-Clans, Dweller to Apprentice and beyond, seeking a punishment for such a heinous crime. In the end, both Shem and Shiva are Exiled. They are now Drifters, cast off into the world past the barrier. It would be centuries before they would be heard from again.
As for the Dweller kin-Clans, they now had no King or Queen. The Jewel-Elders had to make a decision. The kin-Clans needed a leader, for times were tough and were about to get tougher. Their kin were turning, and the males were forced to Hunt and destroy those they now called Stalkers. There was hope, however. A new leader had been born from the lustful, bewitched union of Shem and Shiva’s daughter Dana and an orphan Dweller Crucis. This new leader had powers unlike any of his kin-Clan members. Ramon Martiya was the Dark Son, able to live in daylight with no need for rest. He was only a child, however, still too young to lead the kin-Clans against the Stalkers.
….but that is yet another story to tell.
Creation of the Dweller kin-Clans
Those in the Dragon Nations were called Draconians, and were at war. Countess Dracora went to Lord Guardian O’Dell of the Realm of Dreams for advice. He gave her an Earthbound Spell to take her to the Mortallan Realm with a small band of her people. In the Outer Realm, Dracora renamed herself Shylee, the only Draconian known as “Dragon-kin” Earthbound. She is now known as the Queen of the Dweller kin-Clans.
She took four mated pairs with her to the Outer Realm once the Spell was Called. Those mated pairs were known as the “Havens-kin”. The First two Earthbound-Draconian mated pairs were soon known as the “Ancient Watchers”, King Goldenrod and Queen Silver Starchaser. Their clan was known as the “Watcher-kin”. The second pair were the “Ancient Jewels”, Moonstone and Sunstone, whose clan was known as the “Jewel Elder-kin”. The third were Lucius and Marisa. They were Apprentices to those, their children aptly named the “Apprentice-kin”. Sight unseen, a demonic Draconian pair happened to slip through as well when Dracora called the Spell. They would soon be known as “Stalker-kin”, those Turned kin who were as evil as they come. For Stalkers were the main influence for the Realm’s vampire stories and legends.
Dweller – Romanian vampire-hunter of their own kind, turned.
Stalker – a turned Dweller
Drifter – one with no purpose
Shifter – one who can shift to any shape
Sun-Dancer – one who can walk in the sun, such as Ramon Martiya
Moon-Chaser – one who’s powers are at their peak by the light of the moon.
Halfling – half-vampire child, under one-hundred years old.
Youngling – vampire child, less than a century old.
Mystic – a Magical family Bella’s from. Lords and Ladies of the Dream Realm
Earthbound – one who is without Magic, or mortal.
near-Bonded – when Dwellers and their loves exchange blood once. The next step would be sex.
Bondmate – when Dwellers and their mates are Bonded, like two halves of a whole
Feed – to feed is just that – feeding on prey for their blood.
Rest – to sleep unnoticed, to heal.
Shift – shift to any shape
Coercion/Compulsion – use of the mind on another to do one’s bidding.
Heal – just that, a healing with the soul inside and out.
Dark Son – the one known as the Dark Son is Ramon Martiya
Destroy – to use power and reduce one to ash, for Stalkers. Either by sunlight, or by destruction of the heart itself, or beheading, etc.
Mist – separate the body’s molecules to tiny particles in the air, like a mist.
Watcher-kin – The watchers of the night. One set of Dwellers.
Jewel Elder-kin – the first family of Dwellers, the Elders.
Apprentice-kin – the second family of Dwellers
Havens-kin, also known as the “Inner Realms-kin”, according to legend, the four, Jewels Moonstone and her mate Sunstone, along with Silver Starchaser and her bondmate Goldenrod (Both Watcher-kin parents), were so close, they Bound themselves from Ishanar to the Mortal Realm and began their two families: Elder-kin (Moonstone and Sunstone), and Watcher-kin (Silver and Goldenrod). They are Draconians, only Earthbound.
Beast-kin – those named after the animals they can shift their forms to.
Cove-kin — “Sea-Singers”, from Asia.
Essex-kin – From Europe and England, mostly. Another set of jewel-named siblings.
Gypsy-kin – Desert tribe from India, Drifters.
Blood-Sibling – when a Dweller-kin exchanges blood with another being, they become Blood-Siblings.