Authors: Erika Bradshaw
Rising to the South
The Beynok Vampire Series
Erika Renee Bradshaw
Copyright © 2015 Erika Renee Bradshaw
All rights reserved.
I dedicate this story to the people that took the time to give me supportive words. It’s intimidating to take the chance and write what is in your head and give it to others to read. Without you, the encouraging people in my life, I most likely wouldn’t have followed this dream.
1 Not My First Dream
2 Wolves in the Dark
3 The Open Field
4 I Found Her
5 New Death
6 Open Your Eyes
7 The Challenges Begin
8 Sense of Intrusion
9 Battle One
11 New Beginnings
12 A New Day
14 Your Scroll
16 With a Slip of the Sword
17 Hello Again
18 Bond to Me
19 Show and Tell
Stories, tales, nightmares, dreams, impossible visions—all have been denied for thousands of years by the human race. Hidden in the shadows of lives, buried deep beneath the dead, and tucked away in forgotten memories, lies the truth. Humans blindly walk this earth every day in denial. In denial of what they refuse to see, refuse to accept. I feel sorry for them, yet I can’t help but love them. My name is Anya. I look like a human female, but I am of a different species. I am a fighter … a warrior … a leader … a protector of the human race.
Since the beginning, humans have unknowingly depended on my kind to protect and maintain the vulnerable secret balance between themselves and the supernatural world. We are the Beynoks, and I am one of the elite fighters. Our elders say it is written that I will be the Beynok leader someday. They say all of my kind are to follow me to secure the balance in this unwinding world of ours.
In the sharp eyes of the Beynoks, all other beings and strands of life are evil except ourselves and pure humans. Battles have raged secretly here on earth for hundreds of thousands of years. Our hidden clans throughout the world fight when needed without question. A turn in events has offset the balance of secrets, and we are struggling to keep the supernatural world hidden from the humans. We fear the unknown will soon become the known.
Humans experience birth and death. Beynoks rise and fall in the four directions, receiving a quarter of our spirit every time we begin a new rise. On our fourth rise, we become extremely powerful and almost impossible to kill. All Beynoks have a partner to help keep the spirit balanced until we reach our fourth rise and become full-spirited.
The male partner rises opposite from their female partner. While the male partner rises to the west, the female partner rises to the east and so on … north-south … east-west … south-north. Their spirits are deeply connected to one another. If one spirit falls, the spirit in the connecting partner falls shortly after. Until a spirit has become whole, it cannot stay on earth long after the fall of its partnered spirit.
Beynoks share a powerful love with their partner because of this spirit bond. When we rise to a new direction, we start a fresh journey of battles. Beynoks contain no memories of the past or knowledge of who our partner was, but we know our partner the instant we see them again.
Beynoks train hard and have abilities greater than human abilities. Our strength, speed, sight, and hearing are far beyond that of a human. If fortunate enough, upon a new rise, some of us are gifted a unique power or strength.
The writers of the Beynoks determine these gifts and who receives them. They also decide which spirits are partnered together through the long journey of rising and falling. They oversee us as they choose and write the paths we are to take, in hopes to maintain the balance needed on earth. For Beynoks, the fight against evil is never ending and, we will die to keep it’s secrecy from humanity. We are eternal protectors.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A DREAM SO VIVID IT WAS UNDIENABLY REAL? I HAVE. I dreamt of
again last night. I am certain the mysterious dark silhouette was haunting me in my dreams. Not knowing who he was or what he was, was becoming painfully disturbing and awkwardly comfortable. Sensing he was neither human or Beynok was certain, but yet his presence was familiar, leaving me with an unwillingly desperate need to kill him and I asked myself why.
The dream felt so real. The stern grip I had on my swords stripped me of any fear possible and launched a wave of desire to kill. The erupting emotions rumbling within, filled me with rage and blood lust for the storm rushing towards me. I watched as the parallel force of dark and hungry demons ravaged their way through one another to get to me. My feet melted firmly into the ground, as I crouched in my fighting position and waited for the attack of about fifty demons.
The tornado of teeth and claws surrounded me, fighting one another to get to their prey first. The battle enveloped me and with the first swing of my swords, the demons vanished before my eyes as my weapons sliced through vacant air.
The perimeter around me grew dark, the ground beneath me became soft, the air grew heavy, and a mist started to fall. I was no longer on the battlefield. My hands felt weightless with no swords in sight. It was not the demons who vanished, it was I. The view was graciously familiar, reminding me of a delicate oil painting. In the surrounding distance were tall thin trees. The bark curled back on the base and leaves only at the very top.
My senses peaked telling me I was not alone but I could see no one except the trees that fenced me. The mist turned to a light tingling drizzle as an abrasive pain shot through me like a lightning bolt, taking me to the ground. My palms began to clam up and my inner core was on fire. My body filled with the emotions of another. Fear, envy, lust, and anger glued me to the ground with pain. Another being’s emotions had never taken over my body like this before. With all my strength, I pulled myself back to my feet, turned, and found a massive male figure before me, his features masked in shadows, hidden so I couldn’t fully see him.
I was scared, a foreign emotion for me. He closed the space between us with one long stride. He stood so close I felt his breath brush over my face. Then I noticed the atmosphere around us change as the drizzle turned into large raindrops. Each time a drop hit his face, it erased the hovering shadows, revealing what was underneath. His skin on his cheek was creamy and looked as smooth as satin.
Raindrops hit my eyes, but before I could wipe them away, I felt his tender fingertip caress them dry. His hand rested gently on my face and I caught myself wanting to nestle into it. My body eased, I was no longer frightened by him or his touch, just saddened, but he was a mystery to me and that in itself was confusing, something I could not allow.
I awakened in a haze, and with a longing for his touch that was so overpowering, I started to cry. When I finally opened my eyes, I was horizontal and still crying. I lay there in my bed with a surge of emotions coming out of me. The heat emanating from my body forced me to rip off the covers. My heart was pounding so hard I had to place a hand over my chest and push in to slow it down. Crying was an act so unfamiliar to me. I felt the shakes coming on quickly. I told myself,
Breathe, Anya … breathe.
Finally, after ten minutes, I regained some self-control.
What was that?
My dreams were becoming so realistic, and this was not the first time I had dreamt of
. The touch of his fingertips on my face was so vivid I could still feel them there when I scarcely closed my eyes. They were soft to the touch, yet firm, and cool, but not cold. I turned to look at the clock on my nightstand, and it said 7:37 p.m., and we were leaving for a mission at eight. I had only been trying to get a nap in after a long day of training. Even though I had overslept, I so needed a shower to shake off my unwanted dream.
I grabbed my swords off the nightstand and headed to my bathroom. As I walked by my tall mirror in the corner, it captured my silhouette, and I couldn’t help but stop to look at myself. I wondered how I looked to others, I wasn’t sure. No one had ever told me if I was plain or beautiful.
At 5’5”, I’m a little short for the average female hunter. My hair is dark brown, almost black falling straight to the middle of my back. My skin is pale. I have a curvy figure, and I’m never quite able to lose my feminine hips, no matter how many miles I run each day. I have dark green eyes, sometimes even yellow green, like a cat, depending on my mood. Earlier today, my eyes were yellowish green, which meant I was tired so I desperately needed a nap.
For a girl, I do a good job earning respect from both male and female hunters, and I could surely hold my own in a fight. I definitely had an air about me that said, “I’ll kick your face in if you piss me off.”
A vision of the figure from my dream suddenly appeared in my head. Well, really only his structure. I had never seen his hidden face. I broke out in a hot uncontrollable sweat again. Before I knew it, I was lost. I fell deep into the reflection of my eyes staring out at me from the mirror and then deeper. Who was I? I couldn’t see the person I wanted to be or the person I was supposed to be. What I did see was a collage of facts, told truths, imbedded details, copied stories and most of all unwilling counterparts. I have been given unbelievable strength, never ending powers and great responsibility but still I felt no fulfillment…no real personal purpose in this rise. Thoughts of who I am and what I should be are just totally different. This is me…I am looking at me and all the questions I had came alive…Who are you? What are you? Are you ever going to find your partner or love? Is this all you get?
I shouldn’t be able to remember my first rise to the east, but I’ve experienced flashes during my dreams, not enough to know what happened, only enough to feel great sadness and loss. I feel the instinct to keep these dreams a secret from the others, and for some reason, I think my survival depends on it.
I have been told our kind is to have a great love throughout our journey. We may not remember our past, but we rise knowing our partner is out there. We can feel them, and the second our eyes meet, we know each other. However, I’m twenty-two years into my rise to the south and feel nothing but an eager heart. I’m not even sure I sense my partner out there. I mean my body feels something, but it’s all so confusing. Our elders tell me I will be the Beynok leader someday, but am I to do it alone? No. My spirit and heart tell me I have a destiny that will not follow what they have written for me. All they think I know is what they tell me and who I am supposed to be, but they know nothing of who I’m becoming…Who I’m going to choose to be and how I write my story…
Average, ugly or good looking, who cares? The swords in my hand reminded me of my main obligation in life, along with the direction in which I was headed for… to the shower. During missions, I wear a black long-sleeved shirt that comes up tight around my neck, with black fitted pants, and black mid-calf length boots that lace up the front. Our clothes are woven with special materials, giving us slight body armor.
“Anya,” my closest friend, Yuri, called from outside my bedroom door. “Are you in there? We’re almost ready for departure. Anya, say something if you’re in there.” I heard the urgency in his voice.
“I’m here. Tell Vladimir not to start the briefing without me, please. I’m almost ready.”
Placing my daggers that I use as a last resort in the outside pockets of both boots, and my Berettas in my side holsters paired with extra clips, I prepared for battle. My weapons of choice were two swords Vladimir gave me when I first arrived in Yachts, Oregon, under his command, five years ago. He schooled me for over a year to master them, and I felt armless in battle without them. Vladimir told me the swords would bring me confidence and unseen ability during a fight, and he was right. I have some kind of weird connection to them. They are never further than an arm’s reach away from me.
When Vladimir first gave the swords to me, I thought nothing so beautiful could be used in something as unsightly as a fight. They harbor a meaning opposite death to me. When I hold their grips, I feel like they were molded to fit in my hands, and I have all the power I need to make it out of a fight alive. The pommel and guard are inset with smooth stones full of opaque purple colors. From the pommel to the guard, the stones get richer in color, reaching the darkest purple possible before turning into black. The deadly blade is solid black all the way to the point, a fitting color for all the killing it has done.
Vladimir said he didn’t remember where they came from because he’s collected so many things during his many years. At least I have them now, and he has assured me they will remain with me throughout all my risings.
I slid my two protective companions down my back into their sheaths and ran down the corridor to meet the others on the roof helicopter platform.
“Anya, are you feeling okay?” Vladimir asked, as he watched me walk through the door onto the roof. He can sense our emotions and practically knows what we’re thinking by the way that we’re feeling. I received the same gift during my first rise to the east, so I quickly blocked myself from him. He didn’t need to read my emotions right then.
“I’m fine. I just lost track of time. Sorry to hold you up.”
I continued in the direction to join my team and stand next to Yuri. Vladimir was trying hard to get inside my head, and I was trying equally hard to keep him out, and he knew it. His face went blank, then his steel gaze caught mine, and I could not look away. He snapped an order to the others, “You four get in the helicopter. Enough time has been lost. Anya, come here.”
His last command was not given like an order to a dog but as a request given to someone he loved. I thought,
Just keep your guard up, Anya, and everything will be okay.
When I finally reached Vladimir, I only stood about a foot away from him. He never unlocked the hold he had on my eyes. His enormous hands wrapped around my shoulders, and he pulled me toward him.
Everything about Vladimir screams cold hard power. His dark, brown hair is long enough to pull into a ponytail but always left down. The overpowering muscles he works so hard to keep are carried on a 6’2” frame. He has a tattoo of old Beynok scriptures running from his bottom left shoulder to the left side of his neck and up into his hairline. His tattoo only adds to his rawness. He is handsome and fearless. Looking at him any other way than as a leader was wrong.
“Anya, I know something is wrong. You’re blocking me out, so I can’t feel your emotions. What’s upsetting you so?” He looked puzzled and very much concerned about me.
“Nothing’s wrong … nothing upsetting enough to talk about. I need no council on my feelings, and I respectfully request some privacy. I don’t use my abilities on others of our kind unless there is no alternative. I’d appreciate it if you’d do the same so I can put my guard down and use my strength for the mission.” I pulled back, hoping I didn’t sound out of line.
“Yes, I’m sorry.” He released my eyes, focused on the ground for a split second, and resumed eye contact. “Anya, you have to understand how deeply I care for you and your wellbeing. If you need anything, please let me know. I’m here for you.” He pulled me in, this time closer, and placed his lips on my forehead. This was unusual contact for Vladimir.
As quickly as he was warm, he went cold and released me to snap the orders of the mission in my ear. We were to travel to Canon City, Colorado, to an abandoned warehouse where a pack of werewolves resided. We were to kill them and burn the building, so no trace of their existence or our intervention would be left.
When I relayed the mission to my team over the headsets in the helicopter, I could see the puzzled look each one of them had when I told them where we were going. It wasn’t the pack of werewolves that disturbed them. It was Canon City, Colorado, that confused them. It confused me, too, because that wasn’t our territory. I gave Nickolai the coordinates, and he took us into flight.
The Colorado territory was normally protected by Misha’s team. We only crossed each other’s territory for battle when other teams needed assistance, and Vladimir had said nothing about meeting up with Misha’s team upon arrival. Something was wrong, very wrong.
Nickolai is one of the greatest fighters I have ever met. He is full of confidence, and it shows in everything he does. He is the epitome, in appearance only, of the boy next door. His hair is short with a cowlick and combed to sit as tight on his head as possible. Of course, there were dimples that came along with a great set of teeth and brown eyes to match his hair. Seriously, he looks like the type that would climb a tree to fetch an old lady’s cat.
He respects me, but his feelings are so strong sometimes it’s hard to not pick up on the fact he thinks he should be field leader and not me. To be honest, every once in a while, I think the same thing. Either way, I know he has my back when we go into a fight. One thing is for sure, I wouldn’t want to fight against him. Nickolai is on his third rise to the east, and the one gift he has received is speed. Not all of us receive a gift on every rise, just some. I am still waiting to see if I am going to receive a second gift since this is my second rise. Sometimes it takes a long time to appear during a rise, and sometimes it doesn’t come at all.
Nadia is Nickolai’s partner, and, of course, she is on her third rise to the west. They found each other for the first time during their second rise. Beynok partners don’t always find one another during every rise. Nadia is precious, almost motherly. Her face is so kind, and so are her actions. She has designated herself our den mother. Her dark hair hangs straight down above her shoulders. She has the typical female Beynok body, 5’9”, slim and fit. Nadia has only been given one gift thus far, which is the ability to make our enemies see things that aren’t there. It comes in handy, but it takes all of her strength, leaving her vulnerable during a battle, so she doesn’t use her gift often. I have been told it could take all four risings to govern a gift and she is having a hard time mastering it.
The ride to Colorado was a long one. Finally, Nickolai pulled me from my musing when he said, “Anya, I see the field where we’re to land, and I believe the scout is there. I see a large SUV.” My body became alive, and I could feel Nickolai’s excitement. He was such an easy read.
Nickolai glanced back at the others and asked, “How many werewolves do you think the scout is going to tell us there are? You guys want to make bets on the kills?”
Yuri and Nadia were getting riled up and joking with one another in the back. I could hear them over the headsets. Nickolai was always the one to turn a serious situation into an elementary school cafeteria competition. Ambrose had a concerned face and stayed out of the joking, for once. He, too, was particularly upset about the mission.
I quickly took my lead role and said, “Everyone, be serious. We all know something’s wrong with this mission. We aren’t even supposed to be in this territory without Misha and his team, and we’re clearly not meeting up with them. So I need all of you to focus and take extra precaution. Do I make myself clear?”
I looked around and made eye contact with each one of them just to make sure we were all on the same page. My team was a well-oiled machine when we were all focused. We’d been fighting together for five years with me as the leader. We all knew one another’s strengths and weaknesses well.
I was the first to jump out of the helicopter and reach the scout. He was uneasy, but I tried to listen to what he was saying, rather than let his twitching and nervousness consume me. I took in the location of the warehouse and the small details he gave and did what I had to do. I opened myself up to the scout and read his emotions. He was just as scared as his physical behavior indicated. This made no sense. All scouts do is seek and gather information and relay it to the hunters. Scouts are very rarely in confrontation and are never purposely placed in a battle.
We drove the scout’s Suburban away, sitting in our usual positions, with Nickolai driving, me as the front passenger, and the other three in the back. We left the scout to watch over the helicopter.
It was strange to hear of a pack of werewolves choosing an abandoned warehouse for a den. Usually they liked places out of the city. We just needed to get through this mission, and I’d ask Vladimir all the questions I had afterwards.
The navigation system guided us, and we pulled up about a block away from the two-story warehouse. Windows lined the first and second floors, but they were heavily tinted, so we couldn’t see in. Graffiti covered most of the first story bricks and windows. As we got closer, I opened myself up to the entire warehouse, placing the locations of the werewolves. “There are eight in there, four on the first floor near the front door, three on the second floor spread out. The other is in there; I just can’t place its location.”
We reached the large steel slab front door. I knew our presence would be known once we tried to open it, so I placed my hand on the door to make sure my readings were correct and tried to find the eighth werewolf before we entered. I got him. He was on the wall between the first and second floor above the door. It was as if they knew we were coming. Either way, they were going to die. I pointed to Yuri and Ambrose to slide the door back.
I rushed in first, placing the werewolves I could see. The one above the door was mine because I had no time to tell the others where it was once I had placed it. I ran far enough in to turn and have a running distance back toward the front wall in the direction of that werewolf, but I ran back down another path, giving the others room to rush in and start their own battles.
Four or so feet away from the front wall, I threw my body into the air and kicked the werewolf in the face. She had been distracted by my team coming through the door. I could read her so clearly; she was waiting for the first vulnerable-looking one to come through to attack. When my boot connected with her face, it threw her off the wall. During my descent to the ground, I pulled my swords from their sheaths. I landed first, and she was falling with her back to me, so she couldn’t see me. As she fell past me, I sliced her head clean off her body. By rule of thumb, decapitation was the best way to permanently take out most of the creatures we fought.
Nickolai looked as if he had just taken one out himself. Yuri, Ambrose, and Nadia had the remaining three on the first floor, leaving the three on the second floor to Nickolai and me. They were already climbing down the walls from the second floor by the time I was done with my count and placement of my team. Nickolai and I took our fighting positions. I like to crouch since I am only 5’5,” but he takes a more traditional stance with his guns in hand and a look on his face that says, “Come and get me.” It’s kind of funny. He uses a machete for close personal combat.
I took the first one out quickly as it came down the wall. Nickolai took the next one coming down to fight, and I waited for the last one to hit the floor. The loud snarls and gunfire I heard made me scan for the others. Nadia and Yuri had just finished their fight, but it looked like Ambrose was in trouble. He had been slung through the air into the cinder block wall. Lucky for Ambrose, Nadia and Yuri saw this, too, and rushed over to his aid.
A huge paw backhanded me in the face, knocking me into the air and on the ground a few feet away. I had lost my guard during my scan of the others. Before I could regain my strength and push myself back to my feet, the werewolf was on top of me. Its mouth came at me in a fast plunge to my face, and it barely missed. I slid both swords upward into its belly and kicked it off me. I sprang to my feet with force, swords in hand ready for a fight. The werewolf slowly came to its feet, not because of the incisions I caused, but out of anger it barely could control. I opened myself up to it, which can be dangerous during a fight, but I had to know what it was feeling. This one looked like all the other mutts we’d killed. It was about eight feet tall, with a large snout and a huge mouth full of jagged teeth. It had bristled, untamed hair, black eyes like daggers, and gruesome claws on all four paws that could slice through flesh easily. I had never felt a werewolf so full of confidence as this one. Its demeanor was totally different from the others. Its eyes shot through me, giving me a message of death, and then it opened its month and said, “Your kind is coming to an end.” Saliva dripped from its teeth, and bloodstained, matted hair covered its mouth. “We have destroyed one of your clans, and many more of your kind will soon see the same destiny.” It paused with self-satisfaction written all over it and added, “An uprising is upon you.” I could sense my teammates standing behind me.