Content Warning

Greetings and Salutations.
Because my stories have bite, they can contain content that isn't suitable for work or children. Not a lot of truly graphic sex or violence, but there are some questionable or heated posts. F-bombs are not uncommon, so watch your footing.

Friday, November 4, 2011

#FridayFlash - Dark and Twisty Road

The woods were foreboding beneath the incipient thunderstorm, yet Philippe forged ahead, Isabella beside him. "We'll make the castle before moonrise," he assured his daughter.

She rode her palfrey with practiced ease, though this was the longest trip she'd ever undertaken. "Father is certain it is safe?" There was mild trepidation in her words, but also absolute trust and excitement.

"Of course." He lied easily.

Philippe knew better than to travel these woods, but an early snow storm had closed the mountain passes. A man such as he, with no title and only the tiniest of lands, was lucky to have managed any type of decent marriage for his only daughter. Getting Isabella to her betrothed on time meant taking risks. The dowry had been sent ahead, and he couldn't afford to not marry his child off.

She needed the protection of a landed knight who asked nothing of her family background.

Thunder boomed as they entered the treeline. Isabella pressed her palfrey closer, but showed no other signs of fear. Philippe kept his body relaxed, though every sense was on alert for danger. Wolves and boggins and worse waited for the unwary.

He had once been one of those worse things.

The storm was keeping the wildlife subdued. Tension filled the air, raising Philippe's hackles. Impending rain didn't cause this kind of foreboding. He needed to find the lurking danger before it found them.

Isabella kicked her horse to a canter, darting ahead. "Wait!" Philippe's heart lodged in his throat as he kicked his horse hard to follow her. What was in the girl's head of a sudden?

His daughter rounded a bend before he caught up to her. Adrenaline filled his veins, sharpening his senses to a battle clarity he hadn't needed since before Isabella's birth.

Coming around the bend, Philippe was glad his body still knew what to do. His little girl was off her horse and in the arms of a man all in black, but currently unharmed. The ex-highwayman would be able to cut her attacker down in a heartbeat with only the barest use of his supernatural strength.

Isabella's assailant lifted his face, and Philippe's heart froze. "She tastes delightful," spoke his former partner. Blood stained the vampire's lower lip, and Philippe's shock turned to rage.

Then Isabella looked over her shoulder, grinning wickedly. "He looks more surprised than you said, Markel." She kissed the vampire.

Philippe's heart broke, his thoughts incoherent. Even as Markel's wolves surrounded him, he couldn't find the will to live.

Everything he'd done to protect Isabella from darkness had been for naught.