Their numbers were now dwindling. After proving to be so strong and powerful after a thousand years of existence, the vampires were dealt a degrading blow of humility. They had all been trained warriors, with reflexes that could beat any predator that walked the earth. Until now.
Leisha drew in a deep breath and ignored the smells of carnage, death, and smoke that filled her lungs. She shared a glance with Ellery, and knew they shared the same thought. The vampires had been too conceited and self-absorbed to see the reality. That reality was that the immortals could be just as fast, just as well-trained, and just as determined as the vampires had been.
The only consolation the vampires had was that the immortals had suffered just as severely as they. Ptah repeated it every time he saw one of his vampires show a look of defeat. They walked together through the night to a nearby cave. They would sleep and recover there during the day and then return home to their lair the following evening. Their group being less than half of when they had arrived to battle.
Leisha could not keep the image from her mind as she walked with the others. The image that scorched her brain while she was decapitating her opponent during the battle. She had just taken his head and was seeking another to fight with when she had spotted Tafari. He had looked more the part of a feirce warrior than anyone she had ever seen. The black immortal’s stature was large, his presence dominating as he sliced his way through his foes as if they were merely human with no powers. It had been a beautiful sight.
Leisha was unable to contemplate what it had been like seeing him for the first time in a thousand years and had continued with the battle. She had not seen him again, and was certain he had never caught a glimpse of her. She sighed as she walked, unsure of what she was feeling. Perhaps a bit wistful, wishing that the past had been different. She would fantasize every so often about her and Tafari living out their lives together with a dozen children around them and dying together in their old age.
But it was not meant to be, so Leisha just allowed the fantasy every once in a while, but never told anyone about them, not even Ellery. Ellery did not even know about Liesha’s life as a human, and it was just as well. While her past did have an affect her attitude towards killing humans, she was a vampire and did not want to pull anyone else into the unrealistic desires of her heart that would never be. Of course, she was certain that Ptah probably knew what Leisha felt. He even used that knowledge to manipulate her. That was another sound reason for her to keep her personal thoughts to herself. She certainly did not need anyone else trying to mold her to their will.
Victor walked alongside her just as they were reaching the caves. “You fought very well,” he said.
Leisha smiled. “Coming from a great warrior such as yourself, that is a great compliment indeed.”
He nodded and smiled back. He looked like he was about to say more when Ptah began to speak to them all.
“We encountered many losses this night, but we are not defeated,” he said in his usual silky steel voice. “It will take some time to rebuild our army of vampires, but we will prevail. I will teach Victor the ways of converting humans into vampires, and he will help in selecting an elite group to join us.” The vampires murmured in surprise. Ptah had never shared his secret with anyone else. It was a great honor to Victor. “We will be great and strong again. When we are, we will seek out the immortals and study them. We will discover their weaknesses. Once we have, we will annihilate them completely. We will never concern ourselves with them hunting us down again!”
Everyone cheered at the proclamation and settled themselves for the day. Once darkness settled again, they would all scatter in different directions to feed. Leisha lay awake in the cave for a while, then rose and stealthily wound her way towards the entrance. She was the only vampire who could venture into the sunlight without getting burned, and she enjoyed that time. It almost made her feel human again.
She walked for a while around the frigid countryside, not noticing the biting chill in the air. She had come so far in her long life. She had fought off a debilitating depression and found a sense of purpose among the vampires. Yet still, she felt…. incomplete. She realized that day that she would always feel like that. The only time she had ever felt complete was when she had been with Tafari, and he was forever lost to her.