Thunder tore through the cabin as the walls trembled against the quaking foundation. Damon grabbed a vampyre by the neck and tossed him through the drywall. His deadly sword quickly followed, piercing directly into the heart of the monster. The blood sucker cried out in pain as it clawed desperately at his attacker. The blade exited. Before the vampyre’s feet could hit the floor, edged steel smoothly creased against his throat, flawlessly severing head from body.

            Damon moved quickly through the horde, his weapon swift and true, eliminating numbers of the enemy’s army. One after another, they poured from all crevices of the house, their numbers many, each falling at his feet as they advanced towards him. Decapitated heads rolled at his feet, mouths gaping open, eyes wide with shock. Damon looked around as the whispering movements of the Halflings pressed on. He searched for his wife, hoping for a glimpse of watching her in action. Her movement was intoxicating, and he loved watching her graceful executions.

The sea of heads swarming in the room made it difficult to pick Shannon out. Damon focused, honing his senses as the chaos stilled before him. Using his mind, he slowed the clatter of bodies before him, giving him only a few moments to examine the occupants in the room.

            She was nowhere to be found.

His heart contracted, as if an invisible fist had jammed itself inside his rib cage, crushing his beating organ right where he stood. Something wasn’t right and he could feel it. Panic hit as he released the trance on his mind as the battle before him came rushing back to full speed.

            “Eamon!” he called out to his twin across the room. “I can’t find Shannon!”

            Eamon spun around with his sword, taking out a half circle of vamps out as he did. He pushed through the bodies, scanning and assessing the people around him. Other Halflings made their way through the horde of vamps, each graceful and deadly in their movements, but none being the one he searched for. He could hear Seamus still outside with other warriors, as well as the hellhounds, battling the flocks of minions the queen had stashed about the grounds. He knew she wasn’t out there though. Shannon had come inside with them. He was sure of it. Immediately, his eyes hit the stairs. Muttering under his breath about their plan to “stick together”, he forced his way to the stairway, only to be blocked by another fury of vamps.

            Damon’s eyes followed his brother’s. Seeing the opportunity the blockade had given him, he charged without another second to spare. Leaping over enemies, he struck in mid air, taking out foes with the brunt force of his blade. His foot reached the top of the stairs, as he heard the gargled chokes of one desperate for breath. Damon’s heart sank as he came to the entrance of the room, only to see his worst nightmare playing out before his eyes.

            Soiled boots struggled and kicked above the ground, as a shattered blade lay in scattered pieces across the wooden floor. The girl’s body shook and quivered in midair as frantic hand store at the vice around her throat. Shannon thrashed against the blackness consuming her as Zillah continued squeezing her like a python constricting its prey.

            “Put her down!” Damon ordered as he charged forward.

            The Queen’s face peeked around the Shannon’s limp body. Obsidian spheres glared at him, filled with warning. The edges of her lips curled up into a sinister grin, pleased and eager for another visitor.

“Step any closer and I will snap her neck.” Zillah ordered, as she held Shannon to the side. She raised the girl’s body higher and squeezed harder wanting to make sure her point was made.

            The sound of fragile bones splintering under the pressure echoed in Damon’s ears. He cringed against the sound of twigs snapping as throttled breath begged for him to stop. His movement ceased as fear washed over, locking his feet to the ground in terror.

            “Please!” he begged, surrendering his sword down to the ground. He knew he was going against everything he stood for, everything they had fought for so long, but the thought of losing her…

“Please, let her go. You can have me. Please!” Blood burned under his skin, pulsing violently as it raced with need. The fear of his wife being killed threatened his sanity, as well as his humanity. The demon bitch had found his only weakness. To save her, he would sacrifice his life.

Damon threw his hands up in surrender, his eyes begging in silence for the monster to release his wife. He couldn’t hear the thunderous quaking from downstairs, anymore. The only sound filling his head was that of the labored and shaky breathing of pressing death surrounding him. The seconds ticked by slowly, as an eternity seemed to pass as Damon waited for Zillah to release her clutch.

Shannon’s body fell with a thick thud, lying motionless between them. Weighted misery flooded him, robbing him of his air, and stilling his heart. Dropping to his knees, Damon stared hopelessly at to her unconscious body. Her heartbeat fluttered, barely registering, as her life had already begun slipping away.

Vengeance took hold as rage coursed through him, erupting with murderous intent.  The Halfling unsheathed a jagged stake from his ankle as the voltage in his eyes ignited. A feral growl rippled from his chest as Damon leapt at the vampyre queen.

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