The Tale of a Mage (part 28)

Drucilla pushed vines aside and ducked under low hanging branches as she made her way across the island. The last two hours had been spent trekking deeper and deeper into a thick jungle. Now, however, the flora was beginning to thin. She had discovered a variety of fruit trees and a small stream. She would go back to them later. At present, she was intent on scouting the island for potential threats. Much to Drucilla’s relief she had yet to encounter any, not even hostile wildlife.

As she explored she entertained herself contemplating potential embellishments which could turn this into a better story. Fought off a lion with her bare hands? No, she needed to go bigger. Single-handedly defeated a reclusive death cult. Yes, that would make for a tremendous story.

It was not long before the jungle opened into a small cove. Drucilla’s face lit up as her eyes fell on a small boat sitting in the middle of the tranquil water. It was bigger than her previous one but still small enough that a large crew would not be required.

Solution to every problem.” Drucilla grinned. Now hopefully there was some rum on that boat. Wading into the water Drucilla swam to the boat at record speed. Gripping the side she pulled herself up and clambered onto the deck. She paused for a moment admiring her surroundings. The woodwork was exquisite. She drew her sword and began to search for any pesky former owners who might prove an obstacle to her enjoying her new acquisition. The deck was suspiciously empty. She did a sweep checking potential hiding places before pulling up the hatch and venturing below. She descended down a ladder into darkness. When she felt wooden floorboards beneath her feet she paused, blinking, waiting for her vision to adjust. The lack of lanterns indicated that this section of the boat was also empty. It seemed strange to Drucilla that such a marvelous sea craft would be left abandoned but she wasn’t about to question good fortune.

Floorboards creaked behind her. She spun around eyes falling on a shadowy figure. Suddenly she felt herself propelled backward at inhuman speed. Shackles snapped closed around her wrists and ankles. The figure paced around her eyes running over her body with an intense hunger. Smooth raven hair framed ivory skin. Ruby eyes emitted a faint glow. The woman’s lips curled up in a predatory grin revealing a pair of pearly razor-sharp fangs.

Now, where did you come from?” The woman came to a stop in front of her, reached for her. Obsidian nails scraped softly down her cheek in a gesture that almost mimicked affection.

Well…” Drucilla began “Many years ago, roughly nine months before I was born to be more specific, my mother was visiting a tavern…” The woman before her emitted a low growl an expression of impatience flickering across her face.

As I’m certain you understood I was inquiring as to how you and your little friends came to be on this island.” The woman’s eyes remained fixed on Drucilla in expectation. Drucilla noted the woman’s mention of her friends with a measure of relief. The reference had to mean the others where alive. Her relief was short-lived as the woman’s intense stare reminded her of her current predicament.

Ah” Drucilla smirked “Now, that is an excellent story. My companions and I are demon hunters, you see. We were hired to track down a particularly duplicitous fiend who possessed the body of a sea serpent and used it bring down the ship of High Priestess Vestra. We managed to slay the beast, however, we lost our ship during the fight.”

Demon hunter?” The woman chuckled “And here I thought you were a common pirate trying to steal my vessel. Let me guess, you need to borrow this boat for important demon hunting business but you’ll bring it straight back as soon as you’re finished? Or perhaps you’re here to hunt me? Your capture was all part of the plan? Your friends are closing in on me as we speak?”

Yes!” Drucilla nodded with feigned sincerity. The woman shook her head tapping her palm against Drucilla’s cheek softly, a warning. Drucilla inhaled a sharp breath as a heat began to rise within her. She cursed her body’s inopportune reaction. This was not the time, she needed her wits about her. The woman was, unfortunately, rather attractive.

It matters not.” The woman shrugged “I was merely curious. Your arrival is quite fortuitous. I am in need of a crew who are able to venture above deck during the day. My last one fell victim to… an unfortunate accident. My possession of you shall serve as motivation to ensure your friends are cooperative.”

You should be prepared for disappointment.” Drucilla chuckled “I’m not certain all of my ‘friends’ as you call them are overly fond of me.”

For your sake, I hope that’s not true.” The woman began to circle her once more. “You are only useful to me if you facilitate their compliance. If you fail to prove useful… well… I have been stuck on this island alone for many weeks. I am hungry.”

Drucilla groaned, ending up stuck in the clutches of a hungry vampire had not been part of the plan. She needed to find a way out of here. At present, however, no viable plan presented itself. She sighed in resignation. She would have to bide her time, wait for an opening.

May I ask your name?” She addressed the woman. The woman paused in front of her.

You may if you will tell me yours.” Eyes fell on her in expectation.

Drucilla” There was no harm in the woman knowing her name.

My name is Adrielle.” Adrielle purred.

You wouldn’t happen to have any rum would you, Adrielle?” If she was going to be trapped here she might as well make the most of the situation.

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