Roxy was suffering in unbelievable agony. Even though her legs were sure to grow back in a day or so, it didn’t make the wounds any less painful. She wanted to stop flying to examine the severity of her wounds but she was in a race to get back to the clan before the sun rose in the sky behind her.
She had been in similar situations many times before. Fifty years ago, when attacks on the scale of the battle at Hartley House were commonplace, she had found herself leading a squad on a mission to infiltrate a building supposedly vacated by The Brotherhood. They had realised too late that it was a trap and Roxy found herself pinned in a corner with a filing cabinet crushing her right arm. Without even thinking about it, Roxy sliced off her arm and made her escape.
On that day, most of the vampires had managed to make their getaway. Now, Roxy was airborne, making her way back to her clan.
Her squad had caused significant damage to The Brotherhood and they had displayed their new capabilities but the mission hadn’t been a success. After the fight with Captain Stein, Roxy knew she wouldn’t be much use as a leader without her legs so all she felt she could do was hide in a tree and watch the battle unfold.
The Brotherhood had managed to retain the doctor and now they were on their way to their regional headquarters. Long-term security of the future of the vampire race had been within their grasp and they had failed. Roxy already had a backup plan in place but she was worried about how Salazar would react to the outcome of the mission.
When the Deputy Lord Chancellor learned of the failure of their attack, he would feel the need to take action, no matter what the plan was from here on in. He would relish the opportunity to undermine Marcus’ ability to lead his clan and attempt to take over. He would report back to the Lord Chancellor in the least flattering way possible.
Roxy saw her destination: a deep, dark narrow valley ahead of her. The home of her clan rarely saw a speck of sunlight. The ideal place to hide away from the human world and plan their downfall. She flew over the edge of the valley just in time to avoid the day’s first rays of sunlight.
Huge thick wooden doors opened out onto a small ledge at the bottom of the valley. Two of her brothers were standing on the ledge, looking out for any late-comers before the sun rose completely in the sky and the doors were firmly locked until dusk.
Roxy hit the ledge in a heap, screaming in agony as the pain of landing on her bloody stumps shot through her hips and into her body. The two vampires standing guard ran over to her and picked her up. They carried her inside the clan’s lair and locked the doors behind them. Marcus and Salazar were standing in the main hall, eagerly awaiting the arrival of a victorious squad with Doctor Owen in tow.
They were understandably disappointed to discover Roxy wounded and alone.
‘What happened?’ asked Salazar, immediately trying to assert his authority on the situation. Roxy ignored Salazar’s question. Her eyes met with Marcus’s and she could tell from the look on his face that he was only concerned about her well-being.
‘What happened to you? Are you okay?’ he asked.
Roxy decided to answer her immediate boss. ‘We killed almost all of the soldiers. I got in a fight with the squad captain and was forced to do this to myself to stay alive.’
‘You did this to yourself?’ Salazar exclaimed. His face was filled with disgust and disbelief. Roxy and Marcus shared a look that told each other they both knew that he had never fought in a battle for his race or put his life on the line for one of his brothers.
‘I was cut with a silver sword,’ she said, ‘I had to remove my legs before the burning spread all over my body.’
Salazar didn’t take long to get to the point. He had obviously spent far too long pretending to care about Roxy. ‘What about the doctor?’
‘There were two helicopters. One was taken out by our brother on the inside but they managed to get the doctor out in the other one.’
‘I thought you said you killed all of the soldiers?’
‘She said almost all of them,’ said Marcus. Salazar immediately turned round and squared up to him.
‘What are you doing here, Marcus? I thought you were the leader of this clan?’
‘I am the leader of this clan,’ Marcus protested, ‘Don’t worry, we have this under control.’
Salazar pointed at the mutilated body of Roxy. ‘You call that under control? Look at the state of her, there’s only half of her body left and she’s the only one that survived.’
‘You don’t understand,’ said Roxy, doing little to disguise her frustration at Salazar’s methods, ‘We have a backup plan.’
‘I don’t care about your backup plan. This clan is not being managed effectively so I am assuming control, effective immediately. Get her bandaged up and meet me in the dining hall. I am going to report back to the Lord Chancellor.’
Marcus was fuming and started to pace backwards and forwards, struggling to contain his anger. ‘Luca, wait. There’s no need for this,’ he pleaded, ‘Trust me, we will have the doctor back by the end of the day.’
Salazar stared straight into Marcus’ eyes. ‘Damn right you will, Marcus. I’m going to make sure of that. Excuse me,’ he said and turned to leave, taking his mobile phone out of his jacket pocket.
Marcus leaned down to examine Roxy’s body. Blood was still dripping from the wounds, just like Marcus’s power over his clan was ebbing away.
‘You can’t let him do this,’ she said, ‘He’s going to ruin everything. I know what you’re thinking of doing. I can’t see any other course of action.’
‘How will we explain it?’ he asked.
‘We’ll think of something but we can’t let him get away with this,’ she said as she lifted her pistol and handed it to Marcus, ‘Do it. It’s loaded with silver bullets. You and I are finished anyway; just don’t let this bastard screw everything up that we’ve worked for.’
He got to his feet and followed Salazar into the dining hall, where his six protectors were standing to attention. Roxy heard a succession of loud bangs and bright flashes lighted up the darkness in the lair. Marcus quickly emerged from the dining hall.
‘He wasn’t expecting it, was he?’ she said.
‘Not at all,’ Marcus said, ‘As I suspected, he wasn’t even trying to read our thoughts and his squad was weak.’
‘We’re all better off without him,’ said Roxy, ‘you’ve just got to convince the Lord Chancellor of that.’
‘That’ll be easier if plan B is a success,’ he said as he lifted Roxy to carry her to the medical room.
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