Coffee Break Read – The Duel

‘Enough’ the hulking Gregorius howled. ‘I have seen enough.’
The Sharing stopped and I became aware of the vampire before me trying to bring his will to bear on my mind. I kept my voice level and even.
‘Do you accept that I did not kill your brother?’
‘I do’ he said. I could feel the lie but said nothing.
The voice from the platform spoke again. ‘We find this female innocent of any wrongdoing. She did not kill your brother. Although she would have been within her rights so to do.’
The vampire howled again.
I pitched my voice with care. ‘He doesn’t believe. And he never will. I will never know a moment of peace while he is convinced I killed his twin.’
‘Perchance not’ the voice was measured. ‘What will you, Huntress?’
‘I will fight him.’
‘Fight him?’
‘Yes Great One. Fight him. To the death.’
‘Is this truly your will?’
‘It is.’
The vampire was delighted, and I could feel him beginning to gloat. Be over confident, I thought, therein lies your downfall my friend.
‘And does your Mate permit that you meet this vampire in single combat?’ Lucifer was polite.
Aascko spoke from behind my left shoulder. ‘It is not for me to permit or forbid. My Mate is free and equal. All I will say is that she has my love and support.’
‘Very well’ Gabriel’s discordant tones reverberated in my head. ‘It is agreed. You will begin on my count. Ready yourselves.’
Even as he spoke, the vampire brought the full weight of his mind to bear on me and leapt forward with his fangs exposed. I stood still for a second, as if pinned by his glamour. Then I made my move jumping towards the foul creature and butting his perfect nose with the bony ridge under my crest. Done properly, and believe me this was done extremely properly, such a move drives the bone in the nose right up into the opponent’s brain. As Gregorius fell like a huge rotten tree I reached into my weapon belt for a yew wood stake. I drove the stake into his heart and he crumbled into dust. There came a wind from behind me and the pile of dust was blown out of the vaulted space into eternity.
The disembodied voice from the platform spoke with deep contempt. ‘The vampire deserved to die. Probably more slowly than he did. He attacked foully, and was killed in fairness. Who is his Master?’
‘Raziel’ Lucifer bowed.
‘Summon him then.’
There came a sound like clashing cymbals and rattling drums, and a Dark Archangel walked carefully into the place. He bowed to the throne.
‘Almighty. What would you of me?’
‘Two vampires. One killed hell-hounds and almost killed a Helper. Then one Gregorius accused this female of killing his child. She agreed to fight him and he attacked before time. However the Huntress triumphed. I will have your word that this is where it ends.’
The Archangel bowed. ‘May I speak to the Huntress?’
‘You may. Politely.’

Excerpt from Aaspa’s Eyes by Jane Jago.

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