I had this posted on the old forums. I recently ran across it again and added a new chapter. I'll repost it all in individual threads, and post more as I write it. Please let me know what you think. Feedback is good and so is critique/criticism.


Acheron Beltaine wearily dropped to his berth in the Black Ark Perdition's Cost . The battle had been long and hard, but at last the Vampire which had been frustrating his family for so long was dead. The enchanted trinket he wore around his neck had truly
saved his life. Never before had he fought against such a skilled and ferocious opponent. Just then, Acheron's twin brother Arkhath, entered his cabin.

"So, brother... you've returned triumphant," he sneered

"Yes, Arkhath," Acheron replied. "As any fool can see, I am alive, therefore triumphant." He paused for a moment. "But wait, you've come back alive before..." he continued, smiling. "But the vampire yet lived."

"Still your tongue, brother! Lest I have it ripped out! Need I remind you that this is MY vessel, and I am the head of our family!?" Arkhath spit venomously. "I will tolerate NO insults from you!"

"Need I remind YOU, brother, that I have defeated a foe who has sent you running countless times?!"

"Oh, is that so? Well then, WHERE IS MY ARMY!?!?"

"Brothers Beltaine... calm yourselves," came a sultry voice from the passageway. It was Seiza, the sorceress who had accompanied Acheron to Albion. It was she who informed Acheron of the power within the curious gauntlet-like weapon, and the innocuous little pendant they had found there. She and Arkhath's chief sorceress, Zhakhara had gone to battle with Acheron. Unfortunately, the Winds of Magic had slipped from Zhakhara's control and she now lay comatose in her sanctum, struggling to remain alive as she fought daemons for the possesion of her soul. No one had any possible reason to suspect Seiza was responsible for the "accident."

"Is your constant fighting a family trait?" she cooed. "Or is it unique to the two of you?" Seiza sauntered into the cabin, the tails of her black-and-lilac robes trailing behind her. Arkhath trained his eyes on her and scowled. His eyes seemed to bore deep into her and her heart fluttered with worry for a moment. "That look..." she thought "does he suspect? No! How could he possibly know our plans?"

"If you'll both excuse me," Arkhath spat. "I have the business of commanding a Black Ark to attend to." With that, he swept out of the room, his scaly cloak whipping around as he left. One of the claws still connected to the Sea Dragon's hide lashed out and caught Seiza, slashing across her thigh.

"He's suspicious," Acheron stated as he drew a finger along the shallow gash on her thigh.

"He suspects nothing," she replied. "By the time we return to Clar Karond, you will be the commander of this vessel, and he will be dead." She took Acheron's hand in her own, and guided it to her mouth. She slipped his bloody finger into her mouth and sucked her blood from it.

"Let us hope so. The rest of my brothers side with Arkhath, so it must be subtle."

Seiza laughed, a long and rich chuckle. "And when have we ever failed to do anything subtly, my love?"

Acheron only smiled.