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Ember

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After losing the love of her life, Kelanar is arrested for attempted murder and ends up having to serve her punishment at the guard tower. Elsewhere, Kelanar's lost love Hector becomes a vampire against his will. Now, he must learn to be a vampire and work for the very man who ruined his life. Time is running out for Lord Skorn, King of Ember City, as he searches for a cure to the blood curse laid upon him by his late brother with his dying breath. A war is coming and to win, he will need the loyalty of his strongest vampires to build an unstoppable army. Join the citizens of Ember City as they navigate through unexpected trials, fighting their inner demons and falling for the enemy. The Kingdom of Ember is about to change and it's anyone's guess who will emerge the victor.

Chapter one: Hector

A young hunter stalks his prey. The forest is eerily quiet when his prey comes into sight. He takes aim and the shot rings out.

The hunter goes to his prey and kneels. His short black hair blows in the wind and his green eyes shine in the fading light of the day. He smiles at the deer at his side.

“Thank you for your sacrifice so that my family and I may have another meal,” he declares.

He picks up the buck and swings it over his broad shoulders. They gleam with sweat from the heat of the day. The deer's weight doesn't bother him, because he is well built. He heads back towards town, when he hears crying.

“Hello, is someone there?” he calls.

The crying gets louder. He walks towards the sound and sees a girl on the ground. Her blond hair covers her face. There is blood on her left leg. He sees a tear streak down her cheeks. Not wanting to scare her, he sits the buck on the ground, leans his musket against a tree and slowly approaches her.

“It’s okay, don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. What happened?” he asks her slowly, approaching her like he would an injured animal.

The girl hears him and slowly turns towards him. He is not sure if she can walk. He bends down in front of her.

“What happened to you? It is okay, I am going to stop the bleeding, then we will get you to town and to a doctor to be safe,” he tells her as he rips the fabric off his shirt and ties it around her leg to stop the bleeding.

The girl smiles at the man and suddenly, three figures jump down from the trees and surround the man and the girl.

“Who are you and what do you want?” he calls to the figures.

“Are you Hector?” one man asks.

Hector is surprised that this person knows his name, but he needs to protect the girl.

“Yes, I am Hector. You seem to have me at a disadvantage. You know my name, but I don’t know yours and your friends here.”

One of the men steps into the light. He is tall and has short blonde hair. His skin is pale and his eyes are black. “Excuse my manners, I am Rex. To my left, this big guy is Mike.” Hector looks to Rex's left. He sees a brawny man with red hair and green eyes. “To my right is Jesse.” Hector sees a smaller man with brown hair and red eyes.

“What do you want from me?”

Hector slowly scans the area, looking for a way to get him and the girl back to town safely.

“Well, you have two options. Come with us quietly or forcefully. Either way, you are coming with us,” declares Rex.

Hector stares at the figure with wide eyes. His heart races with fear.

“I am going with you."

The group closes in on them.

“We have our orders and we will not fail them.”

Hector sees his gun not far. He thinks if I can get to my musket, I will have a chance, but what about the girl?

Suddenly, the girl gets off the ground with no trouble and smiles at Hector.

“Sorry doll, I had my orders,” she says as she goes to Rex.

“This was all a trap boy, so come on, come quietly and we can all have a good night.”

No longer having to worry about the girl, Hector makes a run for his musket.

“Boys, stop him,” yelled Rex.

Jesse and Mike charge at Hector.

Hector knows his only chance is the musket.

He aims for the tree when Mike blocks his path and charges at him, knocking him to the ground. Jesse jumps on Hector’s back, trying to pin him to the earth. Hector swings his arms up, trying to fight. His fist, meeting a solid chest, feels like it is hitting a brick wall. Hector hears bone cracking and then a sharp pain radiates down his arm.

“Are you done fighting?“asks Rex. Hector sees him coming towards him.

Before Hector can answer, Jesse jumps off, picks Hector up like he weighs nothing and sets him down on his feet. Hector sees all three of them, and for the first time, notices they are not human.Their fangs glimmer in the dim light of dusk.

“You're vampires,” says Hector. Fear fills his chest and his face goes pale.

They laugh.

“Yes, we are. Now, are you done fighting?” Rex asks again.

With Hector being in shock, Jesse uses it to his advantage and pins Hector’s arms behind his back. Hector can’t move an inch; they trapped him.

Rex steps close to Hector. He is face to face with him.

“I have a feeling you’re going to be a challenge.”

“What is that you want with me?” asks Hector, trying not to show him any fear, but his heart is racing.

“No need to pretend boy, I can smell your fear. As for what we want, tonight will be the last night you will be a human. You are joining the brotherhood,” Rex declares.

Hector fights, but he knows it is no use. His mind travels to his love. He will never see her again. Sadness replaces the fear in his chest.

Rex leans in as Mike turns Hector’s head and bares his neck to Rex. His fangs grow long and pierce Hector’s neck.

Hector screams. The feeling of fire travels through his body. Hector feels his heart slow as Rex drinks his blood. Hector sees red, then nothing as his body dies. Once Rex is finished draining Hector of his life force, he seals the wound. Hector is lifeless.

“Cuff his hands and let’s get back before someone comes looking for him,” orders Rex.

The other two obey. Jesse cuffs Hector's hands and Mike slings Hector’s lifeless body over his shoulder.

The five of them head away from Hector’s home and back towards their Master’s castle.

Days later, Hector wakes up in a dark room on a hard floor that is smooth and cool against his cheek. He sits up and realizes they cuffed his hands in front of him. The metal is cool against his wrists . He is thirsty. His skin feels like it is on fire. He hears footsteps on the hard floor. A bright light floods the room. The sound of a door closing in the distance.

“It is about time you woke up. Are you hungry?” asks the voice.

“Where am I and who are you?”

The person comes into view and Hector sees it is Rex.

“I am Rex and your Maker. Don’t you remember meeting me? Where is our lord’s castle. ”

Rex steps closer until he is only a few feet from Hector.

Hector thinks he wants to kill this man. Rex stole his life and kidnapped him.

“I see the hate in your eyes, boy. It will do you no good here. Get used to it. This is your life now,” says Rex.“Now, there are three simple rules to follow. If you follow them, it will be a glorious life; if you do not, it’ll be hell. One: forget your old life. It’s dead to you and you’re dead to it. Two: follow all orders you are given. And three: trying to take the easy way, such as trying to kill yourself. We are immortal, but can still die and will not work, so don’t try it.”

“What If I choose not to follow them?"

“You will be punished, and it will get worse each time you break a rule, understand?”

“Yeah. I understand,” says Hector, thinking this isn’t over yet.

“Good, now are you hungry?” Rex asked.

“I guess a little.” Hector prays in his head it is not for blood though.

“Good. Mike, bring in the food,” he calls out.

The door opens, Mike enters and drags a girl in behind him. Hector sees her face. She is naked, pale, and her eyes sunken in. Bruises cover most of her body. Mike takes her to the wall and chains her slim, bruised wrist to the wall. Then he turns to Hector.

“Dig in boy. She is not much of a fighter, but a young vamp like you needs their first meal to be easy,” Mike says with a laugh as he leaves the room.

“That’s not food! That’s a human being,” Hector shouts at Rex.

“Yes, it is Hector, but you’re not human anymore. You’re a vampire. We drink blood. This is our food. Little humans who don’t obey, so enjoy her,” Rex retorts.

Rex goes to the fragile girl.

“Please, I will do better. Rex, don’t do this,” she begs.

“Sorry sweetheart. You disobeyed me too many times,” he says as he cuts her arms and chest with his claws, making her bleed. Hector inhales the scent of blood and it smells heavenly.

Rex leaves the room. Hector knows he has to stay away from her. He doesn’t trust himself.

He sits across the room from her.

“Please don’t do this,” she begs.

“I will do nothing. I won’t hurt you,” says Hector.

“You're a new vampire. You won’t be able to control the hunger,” she whispers.

“I am going to try,” he declares.

Hector sits in the corner of the room away from her. He tries the door, but it is locked.

Hector’s skin is on fire as the smell of blood fills the room. His body is sweating and beginning to shake. As he sits in his corner fighting the urge to attack the girl, his eyes turn black and he screams as his fangs extend.

“Rex, please, he is losing control. I will obey you. Please don’t let him kill me,” she begs.

The girl tries to get the cuff off her bruised wrist. She sees Hector stand up and stalk over to her. Her life flashes before her eyes. She closes her eyes and braces herself for the bite that was sure to come.

Hector is in front of the girl. Before he can stop himself, he grabs her. He can see fear cross her face, but also her giving up and this awakens something inside him. He likes what he sees. It gives him a warm feeling. He bites the girl’s neck and drains her of every drop of blood in her body.

Once his belly is full of blood, his eyes return to normal and he comes to his senses. He looks down at the lifeless body in his hands. He drops her and backs away. Hector vomits up blood as he falls to his knees, holding his clenching stomach.

“I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to,” he cries out.

The door opens. Rex walks in and sees the lifeless body.

“I see you finally gave in to your natural instincts and killed the girl,” says Rex.

“What did you do to me? You made me a monster and a murderer,” shouts Hector.

“I made you a vampire. The sooner you accept that, the better it will be for you.”

“I will never accept this.”

Rex laughs. “I was right. You are going to be a challenge.”

“Learn to accept it, boy. Don’t make this any harder than it has to be. You wouldn’t want anything to happen to your lover now, would you?”

Hector looks at Rex, his face full of fear and anger.

“What do you mean, my lover?” He prays they don’t know about Kelanar.

“We have been watching you for some time. We know about Kelanar,” says Rex with a smile.

“You better leave her alone.”

“Learn the vampire ways and do as you are told. Follow the rules and forget your old life and she will be safe, but if you don’t fall in line and obey our Master, he will see to it that she is brought here and turned. Or worse, becomes a blood bank,”

Hector sighs. He has to protect her at all costs, even if that means never seeing her again.

“Fine, you win. Just leave her alone.”

Chapter Two: Kelanar

In the town of Sung it is silent. Kelanar sits by the windowsill of her living room and shares a tiny house with her mother and twin sister, Eve.

“Kelanar?” She hears a voice call from the kitchen.

She gets up from the windowsill and heads into a little kitchen where her mother is standing in front of a boiling pot, stirring supper.

“Yes, mother?” she asks.

“Is he here yet?” her mother asks.

“No, not yet, but he likes to hunt until dark. He will be here soon, I am sure,” says Kelanar.

Her mother wipes her hands on her blue apron and goes to her daughter.

“Don’t worry, love, he never missed my famous dinners before. He will be here,” Kelanar's mother says with a smile.

Kelanar nods and smiles, too. Her mother places a lock of black hair behind Kelanar's ear like she has done a thousand times before.

“You're right, mother. He'll be here.”

Kelanar returns to the windowsill to wait for Hector, her love.

Heroes

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