The fucker had ripped her jacket.

He was going to pay for that.

The seam where the close-fit rise of the arm met with the hard line of the shoulder had buckled and torn when the Lord's Agent had tried to throw her, settling for a grip on one brocaded cuff rather than her actual wrist. She'd twisted free before he could get much weight into the move, but the strain had been too much on the sleeve. The two edges of worn velvet were gaping like a wound, and it was a wound that caused Zoja far more pain than it's flesh-equivalent would have done.

Her assailant was completely disarmed now. The Lord's Agents had proved to make lousy fighters when they were without their bags of tricks, and this one was all out. The tip of her blade was pressing into the soft flesh of his throat, just above his dog-collar, and he was lying very still beneath her foot. His only movement was the jack-hammering rise and fall of his chest as he sucked in breath after breath, and the angry twitching of his mouth.

Zoja sucked in one cheek as she observed the damage to the seam. It was probably fixable, but it was going to look damn ugly now. She'd spent eight whole weeks searching for a jacket with the right gravitas, and not only had this looked right, it had fitted her like a glove. It was so rare to find something so good.

Now, he had spoilt it.

"I'm going to enjoy killing you," she said, increasing the pressure slightly on her sword. The Lord's Agent made a choking sound, and involuntarily stirred against the concrete beneath him, his survival-instinct probing for any possible escape, even though his mind knew it was game over.

"I suppose I should ask you the usual questions first," Zoja muttered, more to herself than to him. She glanced down at him, and wrinkled her nose. "Although you don't really look like the type to talk."

"You're right there, you bitch of hell," the Agent snarled. There was a lilt to his voice that Zoja found quite pleasing. Something rough and grainy, most likely a Scottish accent worn down by years of living in the South, and pretending to be refined. His face had a rough look to it as well – hard-fleshed and heavy-boned, with a broad, somewhat squashed nose running down the centre. Not her type at all. It was probably a good thing. All Lord's Agents were on the list of people she wasn't allowed to keep – not under any circumstances.

Zoja leaned down, bringing her face closer to his. She grinned, making a pointed effort to bare her teeth. The sight made him grimace.

"So the rumours are true," he said, trying and failing to shrink away. "The demons are recruiting the vilest of unholies to lead them."

"You're giving me rather too much credit there, sweetheart," Zoja said, running one finger of her free hand down the bumpy bridge of his nose. "I'm not exactly a leader, just a soldier." When she reached the end, she gouged her nail into the fleshy tip, right between the nostrils. His scream made her shiver.

"Who sent you?" she asked, pressing harder on the hilt of her rapier when he made to move his hands over his face.

The Agent glared up at her with the blind hatred of a zealot, one who knew no better.

Zoja knew how to distinguish several different kinds of hatred. It came with the territory.

"Look at you," he spat, "a sick, decrepit creature, all dressed up and playing soldier. You're pitiful."

Zoja's smile was snuffed out in an instant, and her hand shot into the Agent's hair, clamping it at the roots tight between her fingers and digging her short, hard nails into the soft, flaking scalp. He arched at the neck, his eyes screwing up, as he failed to hold in a cry of agony.

"These are your last moments, darling," she hissed into one ear, "so use them wisely. Be a good boy for me, and you might still die pretty. Who sent you?"

She felt something press against her skin, something cold, spindly and metallic, that pressed grooves into each corner of her cheek. A cross.

That bastard had coaxed her close so that she couldn't see what he did with his hands, and yet he'd wasted the opportunity.

"Go back to hell where you belong, vampire," the Agent sneered, before he realised the cross was having no effect on her at all. Then the bloody, hateful glee on his face dissolved into confusion. Zoja sighed, long and deep, and decided this one was not good enough for death by the sword. She straightened to standing, and pulled him up with her. He was a big man, but she could lift his weight easily, suspending him so that his face hung just above hers. He tried to struggle, his free hand coming up to try and prize hers out of his hair and scalp, but his attempts were fruitless. His confusion was turning into fear, and this was something Zoja liked very much.

"Silly boy," she said, dropping her sword and grasping the hand that held the silver cross to her face with her own. She clenched until she heard bones crunch and tendons snap. He seemed to be biting his tongue to hold in the scream. How selfish of him. "There's only one God who listens to this world now," she said, bringing her face to the curve of his neck, right above the carotid. "And its mine."

It served him right – biting off his own tongue. Zoja knew others like her who liked to take away the pain of the bite, lessen it to little more than a slight sting, remove it completely, or even convert it into something pleasurable, but not her. Where was the fun in that? What predator didn't crave the suffering of its prey? The taste of blood upon her tongue was not the only reward to be gained from a hunt – everything that came with brutal death, the fear, the agony, the panic, were just as worthy prizes. Seeing her actions provoke those feelings in another sent her as high as a kite, and if she had it her way, she would never come down.

She was careful not to spill a drop. Her jacket was already torn, she didn't want to have it stained as well.

It just wouldn't do.

AN: Eurgh. So I've sort of beaten writers block. This is more of a character developing one-shot than a productive piece/chapter, but the block seems to be coming from general uncertainty of style and approach to story-telling, so any feedback on offer would be greatly appreciated. This basically an attempt to get to grips with the feel and character of my vampiric villain, Zoja. I always had her marked as a sadist, but this got surprisingly creepy very quickly o_o"

I should also note this is a first draft, so don't feel nit-picky pointing out grammer/syntax errors. I never notice them unless I put something down for a week or so and then come back to proof-read, and I'm not patient enough to wait that long :P