The Hunter Chronicles - Honor Bound

by Talon God Child

Chapter Two - The Day After



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Daniel awoke the next day and came down the stairs to find Samael limping inside, blood spattered across his armor and cloak. He wasn't happy in the least bit, and Daniel knew it was better not to speak to him.

Darius came in a few minutes later, an angry expression on his face as he slammed the door. Samael jumped and wheeled about, locking eyes with Darius.

"A fine job you've done!" Darius spat. "Another villager killed - "

"I tried to stop it."

"And you failed miserably! I doubt you're as good as you claim!" Darius raged, and Daniel felt a twinge of pity for Samael, who looked tired and drained.

"The vampire caught me off guard, apparently he has some minions after all." Samael was about to start up the stairs, but Darius crossed the room and took him by the shoulder.

"Is that all you have to say! A man is dead because of your failure!"

"..." Samael shook his head and shrugged. "I cannot save everyone."

"You arrogant - "

"Father, he's been traveling for a long time," Daniel soothed. "I think he needs a day to rest before he'll be running at peak performance." Darius shouted in anger, then whirled away and slammed out.

"Thank you, Daniel," Samael muttered as he continued up the stairs and to his room. Daniel simply smiled and shook his head. This was going to be an interesting life... but school came before hunters, and Daniel was going to be late.


Samael made it up to the room designated for him and slammed the door angrily as well. He loosed his cloak and threw it aside furiously, but allowed himself no more admissions of anger.

Clear the mind, rid yourself of rage, he ordered himself, angrily forcing himself to kneel on the floor and close his eyes. Rid the thoughts of anger and the human society; instead think of the hunter code. He managed to follow his own guidelines and soon felt his body relaxing, his pain fading, and a shell of peace forming around him. It was refreshing and warm, pure and healing. Nothing could harm him now -

- But a sudden thought of his opponent shattered that shell of peace, causing him to open his eyes and jump to his feet abruptly. He felt his own rage, could nearly taste it, and hated when he wasn't fully in control of himself.

"Think, you bastard!" he snarled aloud, clenching his fists carefully, to avoid cutting his hands. "Where is the vampire residing? Where does he go to avoid sunlight?" He thought for a moment or so, eyes narrowed then shook his head.

"Rack those brains, kid!" he continued to talk to himself. "Damn... Time to ask around, isn't it. Fine then, get in a new uniform, and then it's time to go."


Samael rode through the streets, causing many heads to turn and look at the hunter, a rare sight. He rode with as much honor as he could muster, due to several jeers and catcalls that followed his wake.

He dismounted in the town square and led Despin to the fountain, allowing Despin to drink his fill as he sat down, crossed one leg over the other, and tugged his hood down over his eyes. Several youths playing hooky for the day sauntered over to him. Exactly what he'd been hoping for, as some of the best information came from the most unlikely sources.

"Good day, gentlemen." Samael didn't look up, simply continued his relaxed manner. "Nice weather, neh?"

"Pretty nice," one replied coolly.

"So, what do you know about rumors?" Samael crossed his arms over his chest as though he were simply reclining in the warm sun. "Or rather, how informed are you?" He heard a superior snigger and smiled slightly, a gesture invisible to them. "I take it you're well informed," Samael continued. "So, may I ask a few things?"

"Sure, you just happen to be talking to one of the most informed guys in town." The youth's body language was cocky. "And if I don't know it, chances are these guys do."

"I'm looking for information about the vampire." Samael's abruptness startled them. "Any rumors regarding where he's hiding?"

"Plenty of those," the youth replied, and Samael moved his hood back slightly, barely revealing his eyes. "This place had a lord about sixty years ago, and his castle is still standing but it's pretty old, y'know? It's falling apart. Then there are plenty caves and stuff around here, Grey's Cavern being the biggest and deepest." The youth paused a moment. "There are some caves deep in there, big enough to hold a mansion. Other than that, there are the catacombs beneath the - "

"What?" Samael sat up sharply.

"Oh yeah, you wouldn't know." The young man grinned. "Beneath the city, there are these huge catacombs, with bodies dating back to... Pre-Catachysm 1600's I think. Creepy places down there. I've heard of idiots going down there on Halloween and stuff, and they've all come out screaming in terror and never went back or spoke of what they saw."

"So, it's pretty known around here?" Samael's tone was thoughtful. "You're afraid of it?"

"Let's put it this way," the young man leaned close to the hunter. "I ain't going down there."

"Point taken." Samael nodded thoughtfully. "Are there any entrances to these Catacombs?"

"Yeah, go downtown, to Canal Street. There's what's left of an old canal there, a little water here and there. But there's a tunnel down there, and it leads to the Catacomb entrance."

"Any other things I should know about?"

"Umm... Not really." The young man made a motion with his thumb and forefinger, and received a few credits from Samael. The hunter rose and nodded to them.

"That's all I needed to know, thanks." Samael mounted Despin gracefully and clicked his tongue to urge the horse to walk.


Locating the Canal was easy; the lower regions of the city were old and rather seedy. People defiantly stared at him and a few spat in his wake, those that had been taught that hunters were evil and beneath human society, those who had been raised in the precepts of the old First Hunter War. But he paid it no mind and made it to the Canal.

After tying Despin to a post in an elaborate hunter's knot, and checking the complicated buckles of the bridle to prevent people from stealing him, Samael walked over to the edge of the near-empty canal and was treated to a glimpse of filthy water. He sighed in exasperation and lowered himself into the canal. He sank up to his shins in the murky water, silently thanking the hunter masters for making knee-high boots a part of the standard issue uniform. He grimaced at the smells that wafted towards him, but tugged his mask tighter over his face. Sweeping his cloak over one arm and unslinging his sword from his back, he trudged through the waters, eyes scanning for the entrance.

He located the entrance, and sunk up to his thighs in the filth. Wrinkling his nose in distaste, he approached the entrance and had to duck his head to go through it. He then yelped as his feet slid on something and he had to catch himself on the side of the entrance as he sank up to his abdomen.

"This is demeaning!" he shouted, holding his sword over his head and tucking his cloak over his shoulder. He withdrew a dagger from his cloak, tugged down his mask, and held the blade between his teeth as he walked. With his free hand, he tugged a pendant out from under his shirt and slid a finger along the back, causing the blue stone on the front to flare with light. Good thing too, as he waded away from the entrance, the light faded and he was left in darkness, save for his light.

Spying a dry ledge ahead, he hurried over and hauled himself out of the water, then returned his sword to its usual place across his back and the dagger to a sheath hidden within his cloak.

"Oh yeah, I'm having the time of my life," he muttered, removing the pendant by the chain and moving it about to scan his location. He spotted what was left of a rotting door, bound with heavily corroded iron and a few shreds of wood. He walked over, tested it and found it locked. He sighed and, muttering an apology to whom ever had built the door, managed to break through what was left.

Balancing along a narrow ledge, he walked along it with ease and skill. He glanced to the side, noting the depth of the water and grimacing.

"Not a good time to fa - " He cut off as he spied something on the ledge before him, heard a hissing, and trained his light on it.

"SNAAAAAAKE!" he yelped, losing his balance and tumbling headfirst into the deep, rank waters. He surfaced a moment later, gagging at the stench as he ripped off his wet mask and held his sword out of the water as he treaded in place. The water was cold from years spent in darkness, and he realized with dismay he couldn't feel the bottom. He glared at the water snake furiously.

"Go on, shoo!" he shouted, waving a hand in its direction. The snake hissed once, and he felt its beady eyes upon him. "Get, go on!" He waved a hand closer to it, shying away when it coiled. "Get the hell off of that ledge right now!" he shouted, then yelped when it slid into the water -

- Near him.

"SHIT!" he yelped, leaping out of the water and onto the ledge faster than he'd ever made it out of water in his life.

"I told you, didn't I," he called back mockingly as he reached the end of the ledge, but whirled to look back just in case it was there again.


Daniel sat boredly in his class, watching the teacher demonstrating some tiresome math problem. He glanced outside and wondered exactly what Samael was doing right now. There were three people missing from school today, but the teachers said they'd probably played hooky. But then again, in the past few months, a lot of people had gone missing.

Something a lot more interesting than Geometry, he thought bitterly, staring out the window. He's probably halfway done killing a vampire or a demon, while I'm stuck he -

"Mister Xavier, if you wouldn't mind coming back to the real world now?" He grimaced when he heard his teacher. "I've been trying to get your attention for the past five minutes. If you wouldn't mind demonstrating the problem?"

He gulped and meekly approached the board.


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The Hunter Chronicles ©2003 by Talon God Child

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