Here There be Dragonseekers 2

River circled Antony like a predator would analyze their prey, looking for the best way to strike "you know....I thought you looked familiar... and so did you Erik.." She said looking at him, he eyes then looked to Grigore "Its nice to finally put a face to the one who ruined one of my plans...it does not happen often" she said with a smirk "I knew I knew your sent..you were the one who sent Erik to his lifemate" she said in almost a disappointed tone "you couldn't believe the beating I got for failing that mission.... Erik was never supposed to find her, cutting off the strongest bloodlines were a top priority for me...you cant imagine how many lifemates I have killed....." she said with a shrug. She stopped in front of Antony and closed her eyes and took a deep breath "2365....give or take a few...the female psychics are the easiest to find....funny thing about souls is they all are unique...they have their own little signature...you males led me straight to the lifemates you didn't even know you had with just a glance" she said meeting his gaze "you know...you didnt make it easy.... you just had to be at that hospital that night didn't you" she said with such evil in her eyes. Anya growled and Rivers head snapped to look at her "whats wrong? am I not disgusting enough for you? well here let me see if I can change that.....for the last hundred years I have probably created more then half the vampires you have killed and do you want to know how? by very slowly killing that precious light from their lifemate they would never find" she said coming to stand right in front of her "but im not without a little kindness I connected their souls just before their lifemate took their last breath" she said in a vile tone, one so laced with evil it was haunting

Grigore went to take a step forward, but Erik stopped him. He glared at River. It was like the woman he had connected with had never existed. He wanted to hold Meghan close, happy he had found her before River's plan had come to fruition. Grigore knew his mate was safe in the healing cave, but that unnamed feeling filled him once more.

"It's sad what you had to do to survive," said Antony, shocking everyone. "However, I also know that it killed you to do that. You never wanted to do those things. You need to stop trying to push us away. Look at your lifemate and son. They are your treasures and Xayvion is trying to get you to destroy them. You have a chance to change your future by using your ability to create and destroy vampires by doing so with Xayvion." He smiled kindly at her. "After all, your mother's spell book is at my home, safe. That's what he truly wants. Could you imagine the power you would have over him if you had that book? I mean, it holds the very spell that destroyed Xavier's parasites. Who knows what other forms of white magic it holds."

"Antony," Erik warned, seeing River's eyes change slightly.

"It's her right to have the spell book," Antony said, not looking at Erik or Anya. "I wonder, is her ability with magic as strong as her mother's, the sister of the dreaded Malinov brothers? I mean, her father was the grandson and former puppet to Xavier. White and dark magic runs in her veins. But just like Ivory, River has a choice: destroy a monster or leave him be. As a potential Daughter of Earth, I know she will do the right thing. It may take some time, but I trust her to fight a demon that should be long dead. I know River is the embodiment of hope right now because no one else can even get close enough to Xayvion to kill him. But, if you refuse my aid, you will have a hard time finding Ivory's spell book." He chuckled. "Truth is, my father never told me where it is, so I can't tell you." Then, he became serious, reminding Anya of her grandfather. "However, I do know Xayvion wants that book destroyed. He had to torture you to twist your gift to his own evil design, then he programmed you to be half Carpathian, even though nature intended for you to be a pure Carpathian. But he also let you escape with a purpose, didn't he? He put a compulsion on you to find Ivory's book, the one thing that would truly free you. That's what all this is, his plan, and you are a puppet to him. He knew you would do everything you did throughout those hundred years, and when the time came to put the plan in motion, you had to believe you escaped him. He didn't count on you finding your lifemate or have a child. Now, he is moving his plan forward earlier than expected, because once you trust us, once you let love and happiness fill you, he has lost his hold on you. If you get that book, you are going to be compelled to take it to him, and if you get caught, you are to destroy it. Isn't that right, River? Either way, the only weapon we have against him would be lost, and the only one who can use it is you."

River watched him with an emotionless expression and was silent for a moment, her eyes drifted to each of them, Antony could tell she was planning, the look on her face was just like her mothers as she did so "Nicholas" she said in a demanding tone. Suddenly and large crow swooped down and landed in front of her, it shifted before it hit the ground, there stood the master vampire that had attacked her earlier, he was bent on one knee, bowing in front of her. Her blood still stained his clothes, the smell of it filled the air "rise" she said without looking at him. He did so without hesitation, his gaze met Anya's and Anthony's with a smirk "May I introduce you to Nicholas Dragonseeker one of my most prized success" she said like it was a formal introduction "you amuse me Anthony...you were right about my target but it was only the half of it" she said touching Nicholas and a flash of light went through him, killing the sliver Xayvion placed there "that is your reward for returning what was mine" she said in a plain tone. Nicholas bowed his head respectfully and River started to walk over to Erik and Greigore "do you hear that?" she said closing her eyes like she was listening to something "the screaming....the tearing of flesh..thats the sound that fills my night...thats the symphony I have created" she said opening her eyes back up and meeting Eril's gaze "how ashamed you must be to have help the woman who created half of the vampires that tore into your lifemates flesh" she said with a low tone "they loved it you know...her screams....being that her gift lies with emotions you cant imagine what it was like for them" she said like she was remembering something fondly "and as for yours....I know whats happening to her and its only going to get worse which I find a fitting punishment for you ruining my plans..you know I went after her but when I found her all alone in that little cottage and felt what her power would be I knew that would be more painful then losing her...she is going to suffer hunter and there is nothing you can do.....but dont think I let you off the hook so easily, I couldn't just leave things at that...no I went there looking to kill someone and since I was letting her off the hook I settled on her poor pathetic grandmother" she said with a smirk as Nicholas came up behind her and joined her.

Erik and Grigore both launched themselves at River. Antony saw the smirk and jumped at the last second. Not to get away, but to protect River. Two fists were lodged in his chest, dangerously close to his heart. Yet, he stood there as if there was no pain.

"Is it really necessary to play these games?" Antony asked. "What about the pain you are causing your lifemate at this very moment? The only danger here is from your fear." He looked at Anastasia's pale face and smiled. "I know what fear does, River. As you know, I turned my own lifemate into a puppet because of it. I..." he took a breath, facing the truth for the first time, "I abandoned my people in their darkest hour because of fear. By letting fear rule, we are the ones hurting those closest to us, not those around us." His hand swept over everyone. "Take a good look. Everyone has given your lifemate and son a wide berth. We are, in fact, closer to you than we are to them. My lifemate is in danger, yet I know there is no danger to her, not really. In this moment, the focus has been entirely on you. Why must chaos rule when there is no threat?"

Grigore and Erik removed their hands and Erik caught Antony, who had to shut down his heart to conserve blood. Erik glared at River.

"Is this what you wanted?" he asked. "To be the reason your lifemate and son die? Because he isn't letting me heal him. In fact, I think as he was talking to you, he was trying siphon the dark magic that's inside of you. Antony's sister, Suziana, was conceived with dark magic, and because of residue left behind, Antony was conceived. Darkness calls to him, and others like him, louder than to most. He is also a Dragonseeker and has endured, but he is also Dubrinsky and prone to mistakes. In fact, he is still taking the dark magic from you and keeping it within his body! If I can't heal him, he is going to die and take all of us with him!" Marks began to form on Antony's body, signs of dark magic filling him. "This isn't his ability, yet he is trying to save you, even when you place Anastasia in danger and pose a threat to our people!"

"I can't get it out," said Grigore, "and I am able to easily call dark magic to me, even be able to use it if necessary. This is my ability, but the prince should be able to use it at all."

"He can't!" Erik said, panicking. "I don't even know how he learned about this." He looked at River. "Unless he got it from your mind. Fix this now!"

River smiled "it was so easy to get you to attack him, I knew his guilt would blind him and yours as well, its almost to easy it gets boring" She said looking bored and moving away from them back and over to Ana "so its come to this at last" She said with a smile. Ana growled and tried to get to her but it was no use, the vampires hold was to strong and she was too weak "take it back" Ana growled. River smiled and got real close "I will.....once you do me a tiny little favor" she said in a low tone. Ana glared at her. River leaned down and whispered something in her ear, Erik could see her face pale in horror, something that he had never seen from her. River pulled back and looked at her with an evil grin "well?" she asked. Ana looked at her in shock and then at Anthony and then back at her "ok....ill do it ...just please take it back and don't hurt anyone else" River smiled "pleasure doing business with you Ana" she said and went over to Anthony, she ignored Erik and Grigores gazes, she lifted his face by his chin to make him look at her, she leaned down and whispered something in his ear "find the thing that binds you.." she whispered so no one else could hear. The darkness slowly left his body, going back into River, when he was fully clear of it she dropped his head and stepped back. The vampire shoved Ana down onto the ground next to Antony and joined up with river who was now in front of Anya "your job his done you may leave" she said in a bored tone, Anya nodded and suddenly her form started to change until a large male stood where she did "what ? you honestly didn't think I would let your mother join this party did you? she never got the call, you should really freshen up on your skills Grigore, its pathetic you could not see past this illusion, then again I was counting on you being emotionally unstable" she said with a smile. All the vampires disappeared and so did river
"That wasn't River," Draiden said. "I know her. She must be..."

"Take her off of the pedestal!" Grigore said. "Go home, take care of your son, and then worry about your traitorous lifemate!"

"There is no time for arguing," said Erik. "These wounds are deep and I need to heal them. Anastasia, Grigore, go feed. I will need you both at full strength. Grigore will provide for me, Anastasia for Antony." He sat down and began mixing soil with his saliva. "I just hope there are no lingering effects."

He waited for them both to leave and return before he began healing. Draiden did not return from the cave. Erik was meticulous in his work, but still, he felt he was missing something, and it was important. When he returned to his body, he swayed. Grigore held out his wrist and Erik accepted it without reservation. Antony opened his eyes with a gasp, but quickly found Anastasia.

"That hurt like hell," he said, sitting up. "Now, River has obviously left. I think it is time to start planning. Our enemy is unlike anything we have had to face. Our grandparents and parents faced foes like Xayvion, but we cannot approach him the same way they did. For now, no hunter should be alone when they go out. That way, if they are ambushed, the risk is less than it would be. At least two hunters patrolling together at one time, preferably ones that have exchanged blood. We should also ward the ground we sleep in. They used parasites in the past, and they aren't above using the same trick twice." He stood up and swayed. "Lastly... any human allies we have need to be protected at all times, as well as any children that can't sleep in the ground. They are vulnerable right now." He sent this out to his people and smiled. "With the past to guide us, I'm sure we can once again secure our future. Until we know more, this is all we can do."

He began walking off. Once he was out of sight of the others, he looked at his hand. In the very center was a black spot. He had to hide it. This little bit could hurt so many. But I won't let Xayvion win. A hand touched his shoulder. He turned fast, prepared to fight, but when he saw Anastasia, he smiled.

"What is it?" he asked. "I'm sorry if you were frightened. Are you hurt? We should get you examined before we go to ground."

She took his hands with hers "dont worry about me.....are you ok? I know you must be hurt about river.....she fooled us all" she said in a angered tone

"I'm fine," he said, making sure to keep her from looking at his hand. "But I don't know if she was fooling us or Xayvion. While I was talking to her, I tried to get a feel for what she was planning, but she was blocking me. The truth is, we know so little about her. First, we need to find Ivory's spell book and put it in a more secure location. No doubt she will start looking for it tomorrow. First though, I need your help with something." He thought about telling her about the spot, but quickly dismissed it. "We need to... figure out what she is planning. We need to analyze everything she said. There has to be another meaning to it."

Something in him clicked and he cupped his head. He always analyzed things, needing to know all the facts. It often got him into trouble with indecision but, in the end, his people knew he was always well informed when push comes to shove. River's words echoed in his head. His need to analyze a situation, to know how each outcome would impact his people connected him to them. His fear of picking wrong pushed that confidence in his choice aside, but he always found a way to get them through. His analytical mind connected him to his people, and he wouldn't stop getting all the facts now. If he was going to give them hope, it was through something that once was his weakness.

"Let's go learn all we can about Razvan and Ivory," he said, a twinkle in his eyes Anastasia had never seen before. "The more we know, the closer we are to stopping our enemy."

She nodded in agreement "I agree lets go and on the way you can tell me about the dot your hiding" she said in a tone that let him no there was no getting out of it and later he would pay for trying to keep it from her.

Antony just looked at her a moment and turned to look at his hand. He hid his horror at seeing the spot had grown. He put a glove over it and said, "I was laying in the dirt, Anastasia. That's all it was. Let's just get to researching!"

He quickly walked past her. He wasn't ready to tell her. He knew what it was, but... it was best to examine it on his own right now.

"Anthony...hiding things from me is not the best way to start fixing us" SHe said not moving

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