Castle Roland

From Trick to Treat

by Jeikor

In Progress

Chapter 24

Posted: 20 Jun 16

From Trick To Treat
Copyright © 2015, 2016 by Jeikor

Zane was only slightly startled by the thud that sounded between him and Zander. He'd had the feeling someone had been watching them which was why he had used such a strong guard spell. Zane opened his eyes to see the back of a vampire of medium height and thin build. He then switched visions and was nearly bowled over by the evilness roiling off this vampire; the aura was so dark as to be nearly black.

As Zane watched, the Rogue muttered a spell too low for him to catch the word used but the vampire's fingernails grew into four inch claws. The Rogue was facing Zander who was still deep into his meditation and hadn't stirred. Zane needed to act quickly before the evil vamp reached his unsuspecting boyfriend.

Carefully leaning forward Zane lifted himself on his hands and whipped his legs around in a gymnastics move usually performed on the pommel horse. As his legs came back to the front Zane twisted his body sideways, struck out with one foot in a roundhouse kick, and connected with the Rogue's left hip.

The kick pitched Kronid to his right. He turned his back to the direction he was traveling and dug one clawed hand into the ground to stop his momentum. Stopped, he raised his head with a loud hiss like an angry tomcat alerting Zander to his presence.

Kronid snarled as he faced the two alert, trained vampires. He muttered an incantation again but this time Zane caught the word, 'alan,' grow. Afterwards Zane noticed the claws grew another two inches so that the menacing vampire facing them sported six-inch, razor-sharp nails.

Zander dodged and barely blocked Kronid's lunge and swipe as he tried to carry out his plan to take Zander out first. Zane took that opportunity to attack from Kronid's blind side. He managed a couple of hits but got too close and paid for it with three slices down his left arm. Zander too had made contact with the attacking vampire and between the two Kronid had a limp and a sore shoulder.

The three combatants paused to assess the situation and for two of them to let their bodies heal a bit.

"How do you like my little gift to you, young vampire?" growled the clawed vamp with a sneer at Zane.

The smaller, younger teenage vampire smiled sweetly while using a mini-spell technique he was taught by Master Kwon that required no words. Turning his arm to the Rogue, Zane allowed him to watch the cuts visibly heal to faint scars.

Then Zane raised his right arm above his head with his hand open and palm up. "Hrugga!" After a moment an enormous crack could be heard in the trees and seconds later a six foot staff landed in Zane's open palm. He now had a weapon to help keep the nasty talons at bay.

"Impressive, boy!" Kronid said still with a sneer. He then turned slightly toward Zander. "What about you?"

Zander grinned, held his arm in front of him bent at the elbow as if holding a shield and spoke, "Skildus." As they watched vines and small tree branches came, wrapped around Zander's arm then began coiling and weaving themselves into a three foot circular shield. Having stopped over his backpack Zander reached into one of the compartments and drew out a hunting knife with a five inch blade.

Kronid held onto the sneer but it was more a front now than how he truly felt. It was two on one and not only had he lost the element of surprise but these vampires were well trained.

Kronid feinted at Zane then lunged for Zander hoping to catch him unprepared. He nearly got the claws of his right hand caught in Zander's shield and before he could slip free received a three inch slice along his left forearm. In his rush to get away from Zander, Kronid lost track of Zane until the pain from Zane's staff striking the side of his left knee reminded him there were two to worry about.

Kronid limpd to where he had both teens in front of him. Trying to separate them wasn't working since they seemed to function almost as a single unit. Realization hit Kronid then: the woman used the part of the prophecy she knew to call herself Rinaldo's Bane. What she didn't know was that Kronid had once heard the entire prophecy and he now knew why she wanted rid of this young vampire. She also apparently didn't know that Rinaldo's Child had already met Samhain's Son and they were becoming one.

Kronid quickly figured that his best chance lay in making them block one another so he only had to contend with one of them at a time. The little one should be the easiest to take first as he was smaller, a younger, less powerful vampire and his weapon would cause his partner to leave a larger safety zone between them.

The older vampire began to move around the clearing changing directions and his stance to keep the blonde vampire between him and the dark headed one. Every once in a while Kronid would advance on his opponent trying to find an opening but backed away again as Zane spun the staff in anticipation.

On one of his quick little jumps forward Kronid actually leapt far enough to come in contact but as he tried to rake the teen's body with his talons Kronid received a shove from the end of the staff. Besides the now bruised sternum Kronid also felt a shock like an electrical jolt come from the staff. The boy was better than he thought for the staff still held some of the defensive magic of the tree it was taken from. He would have to be even more careful now.

After several more feints and jabs and one time of nearly being whacked again with the staff Kronid decided to try a different approach. He jumped forward at Zane again and pretended to stumble as he backed away. Zane fell for the fake and followed Kronid creating a wider gap between him and Zander.

Kronid somersaulted over Zane with a twist planning to attack from the rear. Zander was not fooled and started closing the gap. The elder vampire soon learned that Zane hadn't really been hoodwinked either as he jabbed backwards with the staff catching Kronid in the shoulder.

It turned him just enough for him to attempt to dodge Zander's lunge with his knife. Kronid only succeeded in jerking the knife from Zander's hand as he plunged it into the same shoulder Zane had just struck.

Continuing his turn Kronid struck out with both sets of claws catching Zane across the chest as he raised the staff over his head. The other claw Zander blocked with his shield but Kronid had created such power that the nails embedded themselves in the branches of the shield and became stuck.

Zander grabbed the edge of his shield with his free hand and slid the other out and held onto the opposite edge. He then took the shield and spun it with enough force that he broke Kronid's elongated nails. Kronid howled with pain.

In the meantime, Zane recovered from the slashes across his chest ripping the useless remnants of his shirt off. Before Kronis had time to recover from the breaking of his talons Zane slammed the staff full force into the elbow on the side where he still had claws causing it to go numb.

Zander took this opportunity to retrieve his knife from Kronid's shoulder. Zane pirouetted smashing the staff into Kronid's chest so hard he went flying into the magical barrier around them. Zander approached with his knife while Kronis struggled helplessly as he was held fast by the spell.

"Hairus," boomed Zane pointing at Zander's knife.

Kronid watched with horror as the knife became a long, thin, razor-sharp sword. He then locked eyes with Zane and in his heightened state at facing death recognized something familiar about the boy.

"Except for your blonde hair and pale, vampire skin you look like her; eyes and all," whispered Kronid in shock.

"Who? Who do I look like?" demanded Zane but it was too late. Zander had already started his swing and couldn't stop.

Kronid's head fell and rolled away unanswering.

Zander dropped the sword and hurried over to Zane who had dropped to his knees. "I'm sorry, Zane. I couldn't get stopped. Please forgive me?" Zander pleaded wrapping Zane in his arms.

"There's nothing to forgive. I don't think he could have said it anyway." Zane said with a sad sigh. "There was a block on the image he tried to project. All I managed to see was the same shadowy silhouette as before. Just hold me, please."

Zander took his boyfriend by the shoulders, guided him back to their blanket and held him until dawn's first light.

Zane was himself again as they stirred to life. He rose from the blanket, pulled his partner to his feet and kissed and caressed Zander's smooth cheek. Together they folded the blanket and repacked it. Zander examined the slashes across Zane's upper chest; they were starting to heal so Zane pulled a fresh shirt from his backpack.

"What do we do about him?" Zander asked looking at the body and head of the Rogue they had fought during the night.

Zane looked where the pieces lay, stretched out his hands and intoned, "Fon in-tandjan."

The deceased vampire burst into flames and was quickly consumed by the magical fire. Zane and Zander stomped out the small flames around where the body had been and scattered the ashes with their feet so there was no trace of what had occurred.

With a wave of his hand and a small bit of concentration Zane then removed the barrier spell and they were on their way again. They made it to their destination without anymore attacks probably because the Bane was waiting for this last Rogue to report back.

The small town in Utah with its even smaller college turned out to be a bust. The book was mostly speculations about magic, vampires, werewolves and other such creatures of the night and two thirds of it was laughably mistaken.

Zane complained about the wasted time and effort to check out the ridiculous volume. Zander calmly reminded him that if he hadn't made sure he would have obsessed over it later. After a moments more venting Zane reluctantly agreed and put it aside.

"What now?" asked Zander patiently.

"We head back east again; only slightly north of where we were," answered Zane finally getting himself in a calmer state of mind. "Then we head to the northeast."

"Well, then, let's get on our way. You know it'll take your mind off this disappointment to be on the road again."

"You're right! Let's go!"

They left the small college and town to go back eastward but took a different route than the one they arrived by. Having kept themselves well-rested the Z's traveled through the rest of the day and into the night. An hour or so before sunup they found a quiet, hidden spot, set their defenses and settled in to rest and meditate during the daytime.

This was the routine for next several days until they reached the Mississippi River. Zane and Zander had a decision to make here. They had reached the river at a point where there wasn't a bridge or a ferry boat.

"Should we follow the river north or south to find a way across?" Zane asked looking in each direction as he spoke. "Which way has a bridge the closest?"

"There is another option, you know," answered Zander grinning widely.

"What's that?" Zane wanted to know. "We really don't have the money to spare for a ferry ride."

"Wasn't talking about a ferry ride and my way is totally free and fun," Zander replied laughing. "How strong are your swimming skills?"

'Swimming skills?" a puzzled Zane queried. Then his jaw dropped in understanding and finally a grin matching Zander's spread across his face. "Can we, really?"

"I don't see why not, " said Zander looking about. "Let's find a place to rest and meditate until nightfall. The moon should be full tonight giving us plenty of light."

"What will we wear while we swim? What about our backpacks? Everything will be soaked." All of this came from Zane non-stop until Zander held up his hand causing Zane to finally take a breath.

"First, we can swim in our underwear. Although the moon will make it bright enough for us if anyone does see us it will be dark enough that they won't know we're not in swim trunks." Zander held up his hand again so he could answer the second question. "I checked out our backpacks and as long as we close them really good they are waterproof. Everything in them will stay dry."

"Okay, let's do it," agreed Zane turning toward a row of derelict buildings. "This shack is deserted and will provide cover for our rest."

Zander quickly caught up with his boyfriend and hand in hand they snuck into the rundown hovel and prepared a place for their rest and relaxation.

As soon as it was dark the Z's rose from the blanket, packed it away, stripped down to their boxer briefs and after putting away their clothes they made sure the packs were securely closed. They slipped from the shack quietly and listened to the night to ensure they were alone.

Satisfied, the two quietly hurried to the water's edge and began to wade out. Soon they were slowly swimming in the muddy waters of the mighty Mississippi. After a few yards they hit the main current and had to adjust their direction and the strength of their strokes to prevent being swept downstream.

A little over halfway across Zane realized he had plenty of energy left and increased his speed daring Zander to keep up. Zander had no trouble matching his lover stroke for stroke and in no time they had made it across. With their vampire enhanced strength and the fact that both were good swimmers they had only slipped about ten yards downstream from where they had started.

The two teens started to climb the bank to find a place to dry off and rest when they heard the sound of hard slaps, a grunt of pain and a voice.

"You'll do what we say or we'll toss you in the river and see if you can make shore before you go under."

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