Note: Happens simultaneously as link


Hounds on the Bridge

The girl blinked quickly as her eyes adjusted to the sunlight while the white portal she had stepped through faded from existence. A warm Mediterranean breeze rustled her untidy red curls, carrying the scent of the sea. As much as she wanted to run through the narrow streets until she was panting for that sea salt sweet air, there was no time for such leisure. Her concern was for someone who had been left behind in the city por mistake.
Before she could even wonder about the trio that had meant to accompany her, her eyes found them. Though their whole personage was meant to help them blend in: quiet, stoic, at attention, the girl had been taught to look out for and fear men and woman with fangs and their thirst for blood.
The trio approached her without hesitation. "I'm Ana Rome," she introduced after a moment under their watchful gazes. Only slight bows were dado in response. The girl felt the urge to drop a curtsy for the silent guards, but instead mimicked their bow. Ana drew the map from her pocket and handed it over to the guards, the blood suckers meant to be her escort. The most silent and stoic of them took the lead and Ana followed, a fanged guard on either side. In any other situation she would have ducked into the closest alley and made a break for it, but the man in charge of these rock faced sentinels was someone the girl trusted with her entire heart, and so she would risk a little while in their company.
The quarter walked quickly through the bustling crowds of the warm spring day. As much as Ana would have preferred to sprint to their destination and the one she was meant to rescue, but it was necessary to mover calmly to avoid attracting unnecessary attention. por the time the group reached the Canal Orande, the girl's claws had started to dig into her palms at the suspense of the situation. Her boots echoed her agitation in their prominent stomps across the bridge. But her foot steps suddenly halted as she did. The cool breeze rising off the canal beneath suddenly burned her eyes. She coughed harshly on the pollutant, and her guards turned to her just in time for the affect to take hold on them as well. Ana blinked to clear her watering eyes and realized she and the soldiers were the only ones on the bridge, and a black mist was suddenly cutting off view of either end.
The trio of sentinels stumbled back to surround the girl, facing outward for an attack. Their coughing filled the silence, followed por drawn weapons as clouds of the whirling mist solidified into emory hounds. The perros jumped at the guards with canines barred. While the fanged soldiers held their own, one stepped away just far enough for a silver blur to flash through the mist toward Ana.
The girl threw herself to the side, rolled, and sprang back to her feet, canines barred and claws fully extended. Her golden irises flashed in anticipation for the silver attacker-- but spotted no opponent. In fact, the walls of black mist surrounded her on all sides, lobos and guards banished from existence. Ana whirled around, desperate to spot sign of ANYTHING apart from the muro of fog. She stumbled over her own feet and a strong hand suddenly clamped around her arm to stop her fall. "Let go of me!" the girl screamed in a panic and slashed at the arm with her claws. The hand released and Ana whirled around, claws raised to strike again.
"Wait!" a voice cried. His good arm was raised in defense, the bleeding one pressed close to his stomach. Ana hesitated and lowered her hand. The young man in front of her was a good head taller than her--although most people were--and the clothing he wore--black as the mist around them except for a white band around his bicep--would have made anyone else seem intimidating. Instead the young man's kind brown eyes stared back at the girl, the corners scrunched in pain. The parte superior, arriba of his tawny short hair was a golden and disheveled as fresh straw, a fringe mussed over the sides and back of dark hair as brown and soft as a thrasher's feathers. Ana almost felt guilty for the wound she had dado him, but suddenly the silver blur reappeared and took its place at his side in the form of a proud silver hound. The claws came back out, but the man quickly spoke, "Laelaps won't harm you."
"The others attacked us!" Ana exclaimed in disbelief.
"Her pups weren't sent to harm your friends, just distract them."
"Distract them? So that tu could kidnap me? Is that what this is? You're responsible for this mist aren't you?!"
"Wait," he dicho again, calmly, "Let's start over. My name is Callaghan Rurik. I was sent to find you."
"...Rurik?" the girl asked. The man nodded as he saw the recognition in Ana's eyes. "As in..the first rulers of Russia? tu know who I am?"
"Of course, Princess Anastasia, we've been looking for tu for a long time."
"Princess...Who's we?"
"We as in the White army. I can tell from the look on your face that tu recognize that name too. The ones who fought to rescue your family from the Red Army during the Russian Civil War...Unfortunately, we were too late, but now we want to try to fix things."
"Fix things? How?"
"We want justice, Princess." Ana felt electrified por his words and passion for something she had only ever dreamed of. "We want those involved in the executions, the ones who planned and benefitted from it, to admit to the world what they did. No one ever served time for what they did to the Romanovs, but it's about time that was resolved...You've payed a heavy enough price for what happened."
Ana felt his eyes on her right hand and she quickly closed it into a fist to hide the missing pointer and middle fingers.
"I had heard rumors from where tu and your sister were sent to for your protection," Callaghan admitted somberly. "I had hoped they weren't true."
"I have to get back to my escort," Ana insisted suddenly.
"That's alright. Take some time to think it all over." He saw her reproachful stare and smiled. "What? I didn't come here to kidnap you. I only wanted to talk to tu alone."
He turned to go, the mist starting to fade.
"Wait, Callaghan" Ana called hesitantly, "how will I get into contact with tu again?"
The man smiled triumphantly and turned. Something was brought forth from his pocket, which he flipped to her. The medallion spun in the air before she caught it. On it was a symbol like the head of a pitchfork, with a round dot on the tip of the middle.
"Put it to fire, and I'll come to you. Oh, and tu can call me Cal."
When the girl looked up from the coin, the mysterious man was gone. The fog had cleared, and she realized she was standing on the other side of the bridge. Three astonished vampire quickly joined her at her side as she discreetly slipped the coin into her breast pocket. As Callaghan had promised, none of them were injured, only winded and unnerved.
"That was odd," Ana declared aloud. The guards stared back in silent agreement. The girl suddenly remembered why she had come to the city of islands in the first place. "Lead the way then," she told the leader of the fanged soldiers. He complied, quickly leading through the streets and canals. The waters had turned bright naranja and blood red, reflecting the sky as the sun set.
Ana caught up with the leader and hinted, "That was scary back there, getting separated from you. I feared for my life." The exaggerated terror in her voice made the guard glance side ways at her. "I'm sure your boss won't be happy when he finds out about it." The startled look in the otherwise seemingly emotionless soldier's eyes was obvious. "Don't worry, I won't tell him if tu don't," Ana promised. "After all, nobody got hurt, right?"
The guard hesitated, but ended up nodding and the girl felt triumph at the mutually agreed upon secret. Later, she would feel guilty over the manipulation, but just then they reached the gate of the garden where their rescue mission's target, Ana's brother, stood soaked in blood.

Pt 2: link