Time for War of Nytefall: Rivalry and I went with action. This is a teaser that I’ve never tried before, so I hope it works. Enjoy!
“I wondered what the table was for,” Nadia says as she leaves Gregorio’s lair. Doing her best to bend over in her elegant dress, she picks up a scrap of wood and turns it over in her hands. “Hope you didn’t take out all of your rage on the furniture, Winthrop. From the sound of things, we’re going to need you to stay angry and vicious. Your old enemy must be very talented to keep herself a rumor for so long.”
“Stop talking,” Mab whispers from where she is standing. Claws drawn, she has her eyes closed and sways from side to side. “Jewelz was always good at hiding, but she tended to reveal herself too early. Guess she learned her lesson, which means she’s become even more dangerous than I remember. Now, be quiet and take three steps to your left when I stomp the ground. Don’t hesitate even for a second.”
Confused by the request, Nadia is about to speak when she sees the burglar swiftly raise and lower her foot. The noblewoman does as she has been told and suddenly finds herself standing between two naked Dawn Fangs. Both men have dropped from the branches above and swing their arms, which are edged like swords. Having missed their target, the assassins try to hit her as she awkwardly jumps out of reach. The one on her right manages to deliver a cut across her stomach, but Mab pounces on his back and slices him in half before he can try again. Undeterred by his ally’s death, the second killer sprouts blades from his chest and leaps at the wounded noblewoman. She disperses into a swarm of mosquitos that spread out to avoid getting hit and recombine on the ground. Grabbing part of the dead vampire, Nadia uses it as a club to knock her attacker high into the air. The blow is enough to stun the man, who shatters the branches as if they are twigs. Fixing her crimson hair with one hand, she calmly walks over to a mushroom-covered log and balances it on her palm. She hurls the rotting projectile at the assassin, whose head is taken off and sent flying into the forest.
Leaves rustle and the ground shakes as more enemies flood out of the trees and an emerald barrier appears to prevent the women from reentering the lair. Knowing she needs to have better mobility, Nadia tears the side of her dress and kicks off her shoes. Having to damage a gift from Xavier, she lets some of her anger rise to the surface and gives her wedding ring a kiss. As Mab slashes through her side of the mob, the noblewoman slaps her enemies with enough force to decapitate whoever she strikes. Having avoided battles for over a century, the vampiric orc has trouble remembering the basics of combat and settles for dodging until she sees an opening. Her blows are sloppy and do not always kill her targets, but she is proud to be able to hold her own while heavily outnumbered. Her growing smile fades when another wave of assassins charge out of the forest, several of them abruptly yanked into the shadows by clawed hands. With Mab pulling enemies into the void, Nadia is left to battle alone against the horde that refuses to give her a moment to create a golem or turn into a swarm.
Backed against the cliffside and swinging wildly, the noblewoman bares her fangs and is on the verge of making a desperate charge. She is stopped when she hears a roar from the trees and a full-grown maple is sent crashing into the clearing. The assassins begin to fade away when Lou comes barreling towards them, a screeching Dawn Fang impaled on his horns. With his head down, the ogre does not see what is around him and he tramples everyone in his path. He slams into the gemstone barrier with enough force to shatter it, the shards slicing into his helpless enemy’s back. Wanting to get rid of the vampiric elf that is blocking his view, he violently shakes his head until she slips off his horn and he can catch her leg. Holding the Dawn Fang in front of his face, a slight flick of her pointy ears causes Lou to repeatedly bash the assassin into the trampled earth. He only stops when Nadia whistles and turns around to show that she is unharmed.
“Looks like somebody has a price on her head,” Mab says, her voice coming from the ogre’s shadow. Instead of coming out near Lou, she steps out from behind Nadia, who she pats on the shoulder. “There were only three real assassins. The others were phantoms created by the one your guy just turned into vulture food. I spotted the first two a few minutes before you came out here and thought they were after me. Seems I was wrong because they didn’t move until you showed up. The Vampire Queen wants you dead.”
“But Jewelz hates you,” Nadia states, the thrill of battle having left her feeling weak and numb. Gazing at her dress, she tears off one of her sleeves to turn into a belt that stops the damaged skirt from billowing too much. “What does this mean? If she wanted to kill me then she could have done it at the party. The crystal cloud would have been the perfect cover for an assassination.”
“Change of plan?” Lou asks with a shrug.