Kain and Maya rode Shadow into the hills following a trade route that Maya had escaped on when she had first fled her home town of Sarachel. Maya couldn't help but feel she was slowly riding towards her doom. She could feel the raw terror she had felt when fleeing coming back ten fold with each step Shadow made.
Kain was indifferent to her discomfort, concentrating only on his task to get that sword of his unforged. Maya felt even more uneasy having to hold onto Kain's waist to balance herself on Shadow's back with the two blue-white glowing eyes of the vampiric skull that was part of the hilt of his sword glaring at her.
Eventually, as the sun began to rise, Kain pulled Shadow off to a side path and into the woods that ran parallel to the woods. Shadow slowed to a walk, and eventually stopped as the pathway disappeared. Maya jumped down from Shadow's back, stretching from the long ride.
Kain tied Shadow's reins to a low hanging branch, and turned to Maya, "We rest here until dusk, and then we will continue to your village." With that, Kain disappeared into the forest.
Maya was personally happy he was gone; he wasn't the best company. Pulling her pack off her back, Maya pulled out some dried fruit and a leather pouch of water, eating and drinking only a little. She had no idea how long Kain planned to keep her at his side, but Maya knew there would be very few times that she would be able to buy more rations with the little money she had.
She sustained herself on a normal basis purely through the abundance of nature. She could use a bow to hunt and gathered and dried many fruits and vegetables that grew around her home. At the moment, she was regretting bringing her bow with her, but she knew it was logical not to. Her pack was heavy enough as it was without adding the weight of her bow and quiver filled with arrows.
Instead, for weapons, she had brought two long, thin daggers her mother had given to her shortly before the townsfolk had turned on them. The hilts were carved of a dark, almost black wood and inlayed with violet, Amethyst gems. The blades were made of a tough silver alloy that would never bend or tarnish; Maya had a feeling there was some sort of magic or spell that assisted in those qualities, but never found out for sure. Her mother had simply said they belonged to her father. That was one of the very rare times her father was ever mentioned. Maya guessed he was dead.
Taking another sip of water, Maya leaned against the broad trunk of a tree and slept.
Maya woke at a rustling noise of something struggling in the brush. She had slept a lot longer than she had meant to; by the position of the sun, it would be only an hour or so before dusk.
Hearing a strangled cry issue from the direction of the rustling noise, Maya leapt to her feet, the hazy mist of sleep evaporating instantly. Her hands dove into her bag and grabbed her daggers. She glanced at Shadow who seemed oblivious to the noise, simply grazing at the bits of grass that managed to grow in the patched sunlight of the forest.
Maya crept into out of the clearing and into the thicker part of the woods, prepared to defend should something rush at her. As she continued the noise grew somewhat louder. Eventually she came to a small area cleared of trees. There she saw Kain holding a struggling man in his grasp.
"What in the name of hell are you doing?" Maya asked incredulously stepping out of the brush.
Kain glanced at her shrugged nonchalantly, "Feeding." With that and a quick jerk of his arms, followed by a sickening snap, Kain twisted the man's head breaking his neck. The man spasmed for a moment then fell limp in Kain's arms.
Maya felt like she was going to be sick, "Why are you doing that here?"
Kain looked at her as if she was a moron, "You expect me to feed in the middle of a road?"
"Where did he come from?"
"A merchant caravan passed us a few minutes ago; he was a scout. They won't notice he's gone until well after sunset. One flaw of humans; it takes them incredibly long to notice potential warnings. It makes hunting them a child's game." With that Kain pulled the man up and drove his fangs into his neck.
Not able to watch any longer, Maya turned and ran back to where Shadow was tethered.
Kain entered the clearing moving to untie Shadow's tether. He glanced at Maya who was packing her things. The half breed caught his gaze and gave him a look of disgust.
"For being half vampire I'd expect you'd be more mature about a vampire feeding," Kain said in reply to the look.
Maya visibly shuddered, "I don't think I'd ever get used to that." There was a dull thud as Kain tossed a large object to Maya and it landed at her feet. Maya picked it up. It was a short sword resting in a leather scabbard. She looked up at Kain, "What's this for?"
"You'll need a weapon; I don't intend on having to defend myself and you."
Maya looked suspiciously at Kain, "You expect that we will be attacked; besides bandits and thieves?"
Kain chuckled darkly, "The creatures I anticipate meeting, and fighting, are worse than the monsters that haunt your worst nightmares."
Maya gulped; she didn't like the sound of that.
Strapping the scabbard to her belt, Maya muttered, "Thanks, I think." As a second thought, Maya took her daggers out of her bag and set them on the ground. Strapping on bag to Shadow's saddle, Maya turned to find Kain scrutinizing her daggers.
"Hey!" Maya moved to take them. Kain simply twitched his hand and Maya felt as if some force knocked her back a foot. "Telekinetics," Maya thought miserably. She had heard some vampires had that particular power; Kain just seemed to be full of surprises.
Kain carefully examined the daggers. They were well crafted indeed, the weight well proportioned and the blades seemed to have a sort of magic laced in them. These were no cheap thug weapons that one bought in a back alley. Where ever Maya got these, their owner must have been rich.
"You are more resourceful than you seem," Kain said tossing them to Maya.
Maya's tone was defensive, "I didn't steal them. My mother gave them to me."
"An odd gift for a mother to give a daughter," Kain commented.
"They were my father's; my mother said she had no use for them so she gave them to me."
Kain pulled himself up on Shadow and walked over to Maya who promptly jumped up behind him, quickly balancing herself.
"I suppose your mother never gave you the name of your father, though she gave you his weapons." Kain stated; it was more a statement than a question.
Maya sighed and shook her head, "My mother rarely mentioned him, and I never asked for his name. He abandoned her; that was all I needed to know."
Kain gave no reply, simply kicking Shadow into a quick trot out of the woods and back on the main road.
Maya shuddered partly from the cool breeze and partly from fear as she and Kain looked down on Sarachel from on top of Shadow's back. The sky was still black, dawn giving no signs of its approach though it was only an hour away.
Though Maya recognized most of the village, it seemed to have grown. The town square seemed to have gotten bigger and it seemed some new businesses had been built around the outside of the village, making it more of a town now. Eventually, it may even be big enough to be marked down on a map.
As dawn would be arriving soon, they once again would need a place to stay. Kain, not removing his eyes from the village asked, "Does your old residence still stand?"
Maya tried her hardest to keep the quiver out of her voice, "No." She didn't mention the townspeople had burned it down with her mother inside. That was how she escaped; her mother had made the people think they were both in the house while Maya fled.
Luckily, Kain didn't press from more information, "What of the surrounding forest; would we remain unnoticed?"
Maya shook her head, "There are hunters that go out daily in all directions. We would be seen."
Kain sighed, "Is there some sort of inn in the town?"
Maya jumped, "Are you insane? Go into the town?"
"Keep your voice down!" Kain growled turning and glaring at Maya. "Now, is there an inn in the town?"
Maya dropped her gaze and nodded, "There should be at least one, now that the village seems to have grown."
Kain turned away and had Shadow proceed down to the village. Despite it being very early in the morning, Maya could hear men still shouting at each other in the first pub they passed. The townsfolk were not as dangerous as the assassins in the town she had lived by previously, but they could all make an impressive mob.
Kain slowed Shadow in front of a small inn. It was relatively new from the looks of it. Kain and Maya dismounted, and Kain turned to Maya, "Get quarters for us, I'll take care of him." Maya nodded and took the bags off of Shadow as Kain took him around the back of the building though an alley; there would normally be a stable behind the inn for the patrons' steeds.
Maya took a deep breath and walked purposely through the door, pulling up the hood of her cloak and making sure her weapons were hidden from view. A loud bell rang above her head, jerking the sleeping inn keeper awake. Maya breathed a small sigh of relief when she realized that she didn't know him, which meant he didn't know her nor would recognize her. He was a filthy specimen, with most of his hair gone and what was left was gray and matted. His skin was greasy and gray in color, giving him a very dead look. His clothes looked like they hadn't been washed in a week. He watched Maya's approach curiously.
As for the inn, it seemed clean enough, though Maya couldn't tell many details due to only two candles were lit from what she could see; one in a cheap stone holder on the clerk's desk and another at the top of the steps that were to the left of the desk.
"I need a room for two," Maya stated, placing a large silver coin on the counter the man sat behind.
"A bit late to be traveling isn't it missy?" the man asked in a raspy voice, picking up the coin and inspecting it to make sure it was real.
Maya was saved answering his question when Kain entered the inn. He had his cloak on and if Maya didn't know what he looked like, she would have assumed he was just a tall person.
The old man nodded when he saw Kain, guessing that Maya was his wife, or something of the sort. "I'll call the stable boy if you have a horse, sir," the man said.
"It has been taken care of," Kain answer swiftly. Maya kept herself from giving Kain a suspicious look, instead turning back to the inn keeper and taking the brass key out of his hand.
"Third door to the left down the hall upstairs," the inn keeper said, "Enjoy." He punctuated his last word with a gross smile that showed he had at the most three rotten teeth left in his mouth. Maya grimaced at the man's looks and thankfully turned away, Kain behind her.
The room was simple; two beds covered in tan quilts, a small washroom was set off to the side and a decently sized window gave the occupant a view of the streets below. It would do.
Once they were in the room and the door was closed Maya turned on Kain, "Alright, what did you do to him?"
Kain locked the door and pulled off his cloak, "Do what to whom?"
Maya glared, "To the stable boy! What did you have taken care of?"
Kain's brows rose, "I woke the boy and made sure that Shadow would have the best treatment that could be offered."
"And how did you do that? Threaten to eat him?" Maya asked.
Kain reached into a hidden pocket in his cloak, pulling out a handful of large gold coins, "I gave him some encouragement."
Maya barely kept her mouth from dropping. She didn't think she had ever even owned enough money to be worth two of the large gold coins Kain had.
At the shock on her face Kain chuckled dryly, "Gold has little worth to vampires, but I always prefer to keep some in case an there was ever an occurrence that called for it. Now, sleep. We will leave for the ruin when the sun sets."
Glancing out the small window in the room, Maya could see the sun barely peeking over the horizon, "And where will you be going?"
"I am going to scout the village. I want to know this place well should the need to leave quickly arises." Kain was halfway out the door when he paused and said, "Don't try to run off. I will find you, and the consequences will not be pleasant."
Maya sighed and began to prepare for bed.