Chapter One

In my world, a daughter is expected to learn housekeeping at a young age, readying herself for marriage when her menstrual cycles begin; a sign of fertility, her right to bare children. She would find a husband, have children, keep house, and live to a ripe age. Of course, not all girls are blessed with such a shallow lifestyle. My name is...well, I do not really have a name. That is, I do not remember it. My customers have taken it upon themselves to simply call me 'Hunter', whether it be spoken with hope or fear. I do not want to sound self-absorbed but I am unlike any girl you have ever met, and probably any girl you ever will meet. I am sixteen years old and I am a vampire hunter. You heard me right, vampires. They do exist. Along with many other creatures that you would consider to be part of mere fairytale mythology. Unfortunately, they are very real, and very dangerous. I have been fighting these creatures since I was nine years old.

Little more than a decade ago - when I was approximately five - a small Transylvanian home was attacked by a pack of vampires and the family viciously slaughtered. Somehow I awoke to the sight of the massacre - blood and other fluids covering every inch of space around the interior, body parts strewn all about, the victims practically unidentifiable. I had very little memory. The only memories I was left with were images of a woman's throat being ripped open by a vampire's fangs, the man and who I assume to be his sons being gnawed upon by the rest of the vicious pack, and the name of the pack's leader being spoken; Drakil. Unfortunately, when I tried to tell someone in the nearby village, I was considered to have either been hallucinating from trauma or have gone crazy; no one cared for the words of a child, they are merely meant to be seen and not heard. But when the family was found, people became frightened.

There were even some rumors that developed soon after stating that Ihad done the killings, or at least had taken some part in it. After all, how would one timid child have survived such a brutal slaughter? Why was I not taken apart, piece by piece, with the rest of them? The people gave way to speculation and I was then cast out of the village and rejected from all society. I was called many things, all curses and not one being a real name. I would have been stone to death had I not fled through the dark forest. But what hurt the most was a conversation I overheard from some of the villagers which affirmed that the family I saw slaughtered was none other than my own. Since then, I have trained myself to do the one thing that all others feared most; confront the unknown...and kill it.

Nowadays, though, people tend to know the truth about what goes bump in the night. Vampires have been killing more often without fear of being discovered. Werewolves now hunt in larger groups and even leave some people alive to tell the tales - some to take on a new form at the next full moon and find their way back to the very creatures that turned them. Witches have been seen flying overhead in broad daylight and casting spells upon villagers, demanding boon lest they turn you into a newt.

Because of this new found boldness within the supernatural world, hunters are needed now more than ever. Villages employ hunters to track down the creatures that have attacked them. Usually, it is to save people of the village who have been taken away for one reason or another, or a town that had become a regular haunting ground for the creatures. I get paid a great amount when I bring the captives back safely and slaughter the beasts. Of course, there are times when I find the captives already dead. Though I still earn some for bringing their bodies back for a proper burial so the village can show their respect. A lot of times, I get a bonus for proof of the kill.

They frequently ask for proof of the kill. I do not blame them, though. There have been people who trick the villagers and swindle them out of most of their savings. That is why I always bring proof back. Even though the people who have heard of me know that they can count on my word, I would never give reason for doubt. Just one rumor of dishonesty or doubt and your credibility is thrown out the window. Especially in these western lands. That is where my story takes place.

I was on my way back to a village that had recently been attacked. They lost two young girls to a pack of werewolves. Over my right shoulder, I held the sleepy younger sister, three-year-old Margarete. When I got to the cave, the wolves were in a rut, tearing at the young girl's clothing.

Over my left shoulder, the lifeless body of her big sister, seven-year-old Cleo. I managed to find clothes in the cave that belonged to the werewolves' human forms and clothed her.

In addition to my recovery, on the strap of my belt was the head of the pack's leader; his half-man, half-wolf face contorted in a frozen snarl.

It is always easy to destroy a werewolf pack so long as you take out their leader. Once that is done, the males will fight amongst themselves for right of leadership, usually ending with the implosion of the clan. Letting them kill each other off is an easy and fun way to solve the problem.

As I entered the tattered village, I was rushed by the inhabitants who were both cheering the victory over the slaughtered beasts and mourning the loss of the precious Cleo. I handed the once rosy Cleo to her father, her silky gold hair swaying in the breeze. She looked as though she was sleeping, was it not for the ragged gashes which opened her stomach and throat. He tried to be strong for his family but he could not hold back the tears for very long. The gruesome remains of his little girl were not something that he could mask emotion from.

As I passed the exhausted young Margarete to her mother - who could not help but cry in relief and sadness - her velvety read hair, which matched her mothers so well, flowed down to show the claw mark on her cheek. The wolves were about to gorge on the young girls while raping them just as I got there.

I released the strap of my belt and held the head up by its oily shag of fur, its blood dripping from the massive opening at the neck. "To ease your minds, I offer the head of the wolf packs leader. They will no longer trouble this village." At the proclamation, the small village busted into a frenzy of cheers. I handed the head to the father of the previously captive children and he handed me a pouch of gold coins.

"For all your troubles, the villagers all decided the pitch in," the western man said with sad eyes. I opened it and counted 20 gold coins.

After removing five coins I handed the pouch back to him. "She gave her life for her younger sister. Bury her like the hero she is," I told him. While tears breached his eyes, I turned and began to walk away. I paused for a moment and spoke over my shoulder. "Do not hesitate to call on me again if need be." With that, I continued to walk and exited the small, dusty village. I walked to the wooden gate fence which barricaded the village front where my horse, Knight, was waiting patiently for me.

Knight was pure black Gidran - a strange birth seeing how Gidran horses are exclusively chestnut - and so deep in color that he had a midnight-blue tent to him. He was a gift from a very special person. Knight was a very intelligent creature that has also saved my life on more than one occasion.

I mounted him and headed out, continuing the battle against the evil creatures of our world and the search for that one pack that took my life away from me.