Gina: Queen of The Forest

Some would argue that there is no such thing as a hero. Scratch the surface of any great, inspiring figures life story and you will find the sordid, unsavoury details they’d rather you not know about. From world leaders, to vampire killers, to great artists. All of them are better known for the artificial image built up by their admirers than who they really were. Nobody wants to admit that someone can be both a nasty piece of work and a great writer, that a great war hero also carried out atrocities, or that a champion for the oppressed can still support the other kinds of prejudices of their time.

Perhaps the one exception to this however is Gina, the legendary warrior from the age of Tairos. A woman who became just as notorious as both an ally and enemy to the vile vampire horde. Whose dark past always stayed with her, but who was still able to do great things and prove vital in humanity’s triumph over their vampiric adversaries.

This is the story of how she became ensnared by the undead and how she later not only broke away from them, but became their worst nightmare.

The age of Tairos was both an Eden and a nightmare for humanity. It began 100 years after the earth had been invaded and its surface destroyed by a hostile race of alien monsters known as the Hylexans. These Octopoid like creatures relied on magic rather than science to travel the universe and invade planets. They bombarded our own world with the darkest magics they had gathered on their travels across space. Almost all life on our planet was destroyed or twisted beyond recognition, except for one small island in the most remote place on earth. Point Nemo.

Protected by magics that had been built up over the centuries, the people of Point Nemo would 100 years after the Hylexans bombardment create a spell so powerful it was able to regenerate the entire earth from the Hylexans attack, covering all of the lands in a large beautiful, magical forest. The magic would also restore the oceans that had been reduced to sludge by the Hylexans, turning them into golden waters, teeming with life.

This new magical world would be christened Tairos and it would be populated by the survivors of Point Nemo, though the magic that had brought the world back, would also bring back many of those who were killed in the Hylexan attack, as well as several animals, including even those from before the invasion. Dinosaurs for instance would once again walk the earth, or Tairos as it was now known. (Though not all of them were brought back as they once were, leading to an even greater variety of Dinosaurs than before.)

Unfortunately however the vampire, mankind’s greatest and most relentless predator would soon infest this new paradise too. Only one vampire had survived the destruction of the earth and it had been horrifically mutated by the Hylexans magics to the point where it was more than just a regular vampire. For 100 years it stalked the barren wastelands of the earth alone, and insane with rage and bloodlust, until the forests covered the land once more. Using the restorative powers in the magics that had brought life to the planet, along with the book of Khastran (from which’s pages all vampire races had been created) the last remaining vampire was able to bring other members of his kind back. More than that however, he was also able to control them mentally to some extent too thanks to his mutation from the Hylexan magic. The vampire race would become unified like never before as a result, with the vampire who had made all of this possible coming to be known simply as the Emperor. His real name and identity would remain a mystery for many centuries to come.

Despite their power and ferocity, the vampires had never been able to form to form a truly united society throughout human history before the Hylexans attack. They had only ever managed to form small settlements and groups, disconnected from each other, due to the fact that they were such selfish, greedy and amoral creatures.

The Emperor however whilst still allowing his followers to think for themselves and control their own actions, could sense whenever one of them would betray him and could stop or even kill them before they tried anything. He couldn’t read their thoughts however. It was more an advanced form of empath reading.

This new vampire army, who became known as the vampire horde, would also bring back and recruit many allies of the vampire race from before the attack, such as werewolves, ghouls, and the Turok Han to create the strongest army of demons ever seen in our planets history.

These unholy creatures were sadly more unified than even humanity themselves at this point in its history. After venturing out into the new world they had created, it didn’t take the survivors of Point Nemo long to start the usual infighting over petty differences. It’s sad that the only time we were all truly unified was during our darkest period on Point Nemo.

The survivors of Point Nemo would later scatter across the world, as would the humans who had been revived by the magic, All forming into different communities.

The vampire horde at first struck at the smaller, more isolated towns and villages to rebuild their forces, though they soon became strong enough to attack the larger cities too.

As always the goal of the vampire race was to exterminate humanity, in order to complete their father and creator, the most evil and powerful of all demons, Khastran’s curse which stated that when his children. The vampires, outnumber humanity, he would live again to take his vengeance on the rest of creation.

Gina was born during a period of Tairos’ history when the larger cities had begun to form alliances with each other. Having finally woken up to the threat the vampire horde represented. Sadly however the alliances were still loose, and many of the larger cities, in an effort to dominate their rivals would keep new weapons and spells to themselves.

Gina and her family came from the city of Drasgaria. Her father, whose name was Gragian, was part of an elite group of witches and warlocks, whose goal was to create the ultimate weapon against the vampire horde using small samples of the Hylexans dark magics that had remained buried deep in the earth.

Their base of operations, or lab, was actually the ruins of an old castle, just outside the city. Gragian, was a very accomplished warlock, who had already been part of the war against the vampires for over 100 years before Gina’s birth. (Thanks to the planets new magical nature, the life expectancy of people on Tairos was extended to over 200 years.)

According to the stories he used to tell Gina, Gragian first learned about magic when he was captured by the vampires themselves and placed in one of their death camps. His use of magic ultimately allowed he and his fellow prisoners to escape. Whilst there is no denying that Gragian did free his fellow inmates using magic, it was not where he learned it. In actual fact he had shown both an interest and a talent for the black arts since he was a very young boy. Still this story made his natural talents and skills seem all the more unbelievable and the young Gina (as well as the people of Drasgaria) were happy to buy into it.

Gina’s mother whose name was Taskina meanwhile would have a more significant impact on her, for better and for worse. Taskina, was a great and noble warrior who took part in many prominent battles against the undead. Ironically even though Gragian had played a bigger role in repelling the vampires through the invention of several weapons, Taskina’s exploits always fascinated their daughter more. In all fairness Taskina was actually out there facing the monsters in direct combat, whilst Gragian, other than his time in the camp had been spared the undead’s company up close throughout most of his life.

Whilst they may have competed in trying to impress their daughter, Gragian and Taskina were a genuinely loving couple, and the first five years of their daughters life, despite the ever present threat of the vampires were happy.

Sadly however their peaceful family life would fall apart when Taskina was killed by a pack of vicious Turok Han who had overrun a small settlement. Drasgaria made a point of protecting the smaller settlements, not out of any kind of altruism, but because it felt that by gathering all of the smaller villages together, it could build a bigger army.

This village meanwhile had held out from their help, wanting to remain independent, until the vampires brought in the largest group of Turok Han yet against them. The Turok Han were considerably rarer than regular vampires, so much that Taskina had never encountered one of them before. Tragically as a result of this, she and the rest of the soldiers were hopelessly unprepared, overpowered and torn to pieces by the super demons.

Gragian would throw himself into his work after Taskina’s death, becoming more determined than ever to wipe the horde from the face of Tairos. Sadly however this just led to him becoming more distant and at times somewhat colder to his daughter. He didn’t mean too. He genuinely thought that he was doing the best for Gina, by not only avenging her mothers death, but helping to create a world where she wouldn’t have to live in constant fear of the threat of the vampires. At the same time however Gina also came down hard on her father, accusing him of being a coward for not going out there and fighting the vampires himself like Taskina. She also came to idolise her mother to a far greater extent than when she was ever alive. The dead do make for better heroes after all as they can’t remind you that they are just people.

Gina became determined to follow in her mothers footsteps and become a warrior in the army, though her father was against it after what had happened to his wife. Sadly however this just led to further clashes between them, and by the time she was 17, Gina and her father were no longer on speaking terms.

Gina arguably got ahead in her military career, more because of who her mother had been than anything else. Whilst she did show some potential, everyone was desperate to work with the daughter of the legendary heroine Taskina. It wasn’t just Gina that had built her mother up into a mythical figure. Taskina along with others killed in the Turok Han attack were held up by Drasgaria as martyrs for the war. It was about the only thing the city could salvage from that crushing defeat.

Sadly however out on the field, Gina’s lack of experience would soon catch up with her. Her first few hunts were successful, as they were targeting small vampire outposts along with a team of professionals.

However on her fifth hunt Gina’s team would be completely overwhelmed by a pack of vampires riding on the backs of Allosaurus’. Vampires had an affinity for Dinosaurs as their creator, Khastran had created their race when he was possessing the body of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Khastran crashed onto our planet at the end of the age of the Dinosaurs, after his first body had been destroyed. He then possessed the dead body of a Tyrannosaurus (the largest and most ferocious creature on earth) and devastated the surface of our planet, killing off the Dinosaurs, before taking to the stars again.

66 million years later he would return to our world whilst still possessing the Tyrannosaurus and create the vampire race, before his second and final death.

Dinosaurs were among the few creatures vampires didn’t treat with cruelty. In fact some vampire cults even revered Dinosaurs as holy beasts. That said however, they were still not above using the larger and stronger meat eaters such as Tyrannosaurus, Spinosaurus, Giganotosaurus, and Allosaurus as mounts, and using magic to make them even stronger as well as more bloodthirsty.

Gina’s team weren’t prepared for Dinosaurs, having been led to believe the vampire faction were low on resources, and almost all of them were torn apart by the great reptiles.

Gina only survived because she tried to flee rather than fight. It’s always a mistake to show any kind of weakness to vampires. If they think they can make you beg and plead for your life, they will extend your suffering for as long as they can. Gina however, who had never been in such a vulnerable position before wasn’t thinking straight and ran as fast as she could.

Unfortunately however, whilst they may have been over 30 feet long, Allosaurus’ were fast and agile and one of the beasts soon scooped Gina up in its jaws and brought her back to its vampire masters. The leader of this vampire faction, Clasia, who also commanded over the nearest vampire death camp wanted to keep Gina alive so she could have some fun with her. At the same time however she also thought Gina might have potential. Vampires preferred to turn those who were already broken, twisted, and bitter people as they always made the most effective members of their kind.

Having already seen her greater anger at the vampires due to her mothers death, and her greater cowardice, coupled with her age and strength. Clasia believed that Gina would make an excellent vampire, but she would have to be groomed first.

Gina was taken back to the camp, where she spent a few weeks doing menial labour with the other prisoners. Those the vampires didn’t either feed on or turn, were put to work in the mines, to harness more magic and resources from the earth to aid the war effort.

Within her first week there Gina was already part of an escape plan. It was actually orchestrated by a double agent of the vampires in the mine, who had been promised death by the bloodsuckers if did this for them. Clasia wanted to test Gina’s reaction to something to see if she was fit to be one of them.

During her time in the camp Gina had met and befriended a young boy named Clareska, whose village had been the one Gina’s mother had died defending. An obvious manipulation tactic by the vampires, but one that neither Gina nor Clareska were aware of.

Clareska’s entire family had been killed by the Turok Han too, but he had managed to escape into the wilderness, where he lived the life of a nomad for many years until two years ago when the vampires captured him.

In spite of the torture he had been through, he remained hopeful that the vampires would fail, having seen up close how much more desperate they had become.

Clareska was also able to give Gina some comfort by telling her how her mother really died, in a blaze of glory against a bloodthirsty Turok Han. Granted Gina always felt deep down that he was lying, but it was enough to get her through those long and hard nights.

Eventually after a month or so, Gina and her new band of allies. (Some of whom had even bought into the hype of her being Taskina’s daughter.) Put their escape plan into action, but they got as far as the small patch of forest outside the mine, before one of the vampires pet Dinosaurs, a Triceratops stopped them in their tracks.

Gina however, again thanks to the vampires manipulation was able to flee, as the Triceratops turned its attention towards her allies. Clareska was wounded in the process by the reptiles horns. Rather than try and flee like the last time however, Gina did her best to try and distract the Triceratops and at one point she even tried to drag Clareska to safety. The difference was that she had actually had time to bond with Clareska, unlike her fellow soldiers, who she had a strictly professional relationship with. As a result she saw him as a human, rather than just a tool to use against the vampires and found she couldn’t leave him.

It was disappointing to say the least for the vampires. They had become thrilled with the idea of the legendary Taskina’s daughter becoming one of their own and had therefore put greater effort into testing her than they had done with most of the others.

Clasia however didn’t give up and she would orchestrate a few more direct tests. First she tried to lock Gina in a room with a Raptor and unarmed, promising her that she would let Gina go if she gave her a signal to murder another prisoner, she had there. A young man. Gina however did not call the vampires bluff, knowing that Clasia was going to a lot of effort to try and break her and therefore would most likely not just let her be devoured. After a few minutes she stopped trying to evade the Raptor, forcing the vampire to intervene. Sadly the male prisoner was killed by Clasia anyway.

Clasia would next try to break Gina by showing her that nobody back home cared that she was missing. Even Gina’s own father who seemingly hadn’t insisted on mounting a rescue mission. Gina had simply been presumed dead and the city had moved on. Gina’s father was of course in truth overwhelmed with grief. In fact so much he didn’t return to his work, the only thing that had kept him going during his wife’s death, for three years afterwards. He had genuinely tried to pressure the city into looking for her and even tried to go out himself, but sadly the city didn’t let him, as he was considered too important.

Clasia however kept this detail hidden, which was easy to do as the city didn’t want the knowledge that they had failed the daughter of Taskina to be known. Sadly as the weeks turned into months and Gina was left to rot, Clasia’s lies seemed more real to Gina and slowly began to break her will.

The vampire however grew impatient and soon resorted to more direct, brutal methods. Specifically a form of dark magic, that could keep its victims alive in the most unspeakable agony which she placed inside Gina’s skin through a device. Even the other superiors in her camp were against it, as they felt this form of magic was too unpredictable, and worse if Gina died during the torture, (when most believed she would given her previous resistance.) It would send an even stronger message against the vampires, that the daughter of Taskina had been able to resist their most advanced torture methods and died a hero.

Still Clasia kept on, and Gina managed to hold out for only one day after which she broke. The pain was unlike anything she had ever experienced before. It cut its way deep into her soul. After the session was over, Gina swore she would do anything she could to resist another bout of torture.

Clasia would first use Gina to infiltrate and destroy a soldiers camp. The device under Gina’s skin which could allow her to activate the black magics whenever she wished, to effectively keep Gina on a leash. Pretending she was an escaped prisoner who was being chased by the vampires, the soldiers took Gina back to their camp, which had been hidden by magics. Unfortunately however Gina was able using a device known as a sencos given to her by the vampires to break the magic defences down and allow the bloodsuckers in. All of the soldiers were butchered in the attack. Gina would be used in as bait in a few more traps for soldiers and even small settlements in the coming months. The vampires would always make sure that there were no survivors from any attack involving Gina so that no one could identify her. They did intend to reveal her eventually to break their enemies, but for now she was in some ways, one of their most useful weapons.

Gina tried to resist a few more times, but she would always be broken by Clasia reactivating the magic inside her.

After one year of betraying her own people, Gina was given her final test by Clasia. It was one thing to set people up for slaughter, but now Gina had to prove that she actually had the stomach for direct murder.

The vampires brought Clareska to her. Along with all of the others who had taken part in Gina’s botched escape attempt (including even their own double agent,) Clareska had been subject to torture at the vampires hands for the last year. Even though the vampires themselves orchestrated the escape attempt as a test, they still wanted to send a message to the rest of their prisoners that none of them should even try. The others had eventually been tortured to death, but Clareska had been kept alive just a bit longer on orders of Clasia herself, for this sick game.

Clasia gave Gina a sword and told her that she would be tortured unless she cut the helpless Clareska open. Gina of course refused and Clasia activated the dark magic within her body. For the first time however, Gina actually fought through the pain. She lifted her sword up and tried to strike Clasia, but the magics were too overwhelming and she soon collapsed before she could even bring her sword down.

“Why put yourself through this suffering?” Clasia taunted.

“This pathetic creature will die no matter what? Look at him? He is already dead. Everything he was, has been broken in our dungeons? Put him out of his misery.”

Indeed Clareska didn’t even seem to react that much to the threat, though when he first saw Gina a small smile came over his lips that had quickly been beaten out of him by Clasia.

Unable to cope with the pain anymore, in desperation Gina plunged the sword straight into Clareska’s stomach and sliced him open.

Clasia, who normally tried to maintain a poised, and dignified stance couldn’t help but burst out laughing, stating.

“Now you are truly fit to be one of us.” She taunted.

This final act of torture broke Gina mentally. After this she would willingly take part in more traps, and even slaughter some of the human soldiers themselves. In the subsequent five years she worked for the vampire horde, Gina would be responsible for the deaths of over 500 people, directly and indirectly.

She never expressed any joy in her killings, and certainly not any remorse either. In fact she didn’t express emotions of any kind during the entire time she worked with the vampires. The murder of Clareska had made Gina pretty much dead to everything.

Clasia however continued to take a special interest in Gina. She could have turned her at any point, but she saw Gina as a special project and felt that having her serve them as a human would send a better message. Most disturbingly however Clasia began to see herself as a mother figure to Gina. She would regularly try to convince Gina that unlike her father or mother, she would never abandon her and always put Gina above her work. Sadly after several years, Gina began to see Clasia that way too. Strangely enough the only moments of any kind of emotion Gina would ever show would be the odd bit of affection for her “mummy”. Clasia would also fill Gina’s head with her own twisted philosophy that the vampires were the true heroes. She argued that both vampires and humanity were capable of great evil (hence why neither could form a cohesive society) but that the vampires were honest and could therefore see what their evil was, and that by exploring it to its full potential now, they would understand and be able to control it one day. Humanity meanwhile by denying their true nature would never understand the darkness inside them and would eventually be consumed by it.

Clasia’s “philosophy” was nothing more than a pathetic attempt to try and justify her own sadism. Even before becoming a vampire Clasia had been a cruel and depraved individual. She had been part of a small, but vicious group of petty criminals prior to the Hylexan invasion. After being brought back in the creation of Tairos, she would willingly offer herself up to become a vampire simply to survive. Just as in life, she was nothing more than a lackey at first, but becoming a vampire would unleash Clasia’s more ambitious side, and gradually over the centuries she had risen through the ranks to become one of their most prominent generals, who ran one of their most prominent death camps. The fact that she was allowed to indulge in this sadistic side project with Gina alone, showed how much pull she had in the vampires ranks. Still the vampire queen’s cruel ideology had an effect on the young Gina and helped her sleep at night for the time being.

The only good thing to come from Gina’s time with Clasia was that she was able to learn and master far more advanced fighting techniques from Clasia and the other vampires. Ironically Gina finally became a truly great warrior like she had always wanted, though definitely not in a way she could have imagined. Clasia would also feed Gina magics, which whilst not making her a magical creature, still gave her higher than normal healing capabilities and a greater resistance to magic.

After five years of being groomed by them, the vampires would send Gina to deal with the person she now blamed for all of her misfortune. Her own father.

Gragian had finally returned to work, with his and the other scientists decades of research in harnessing the Hylexans magic having seemingly paid off to some extent.

The bomb they had created with the Hylexans magic was still unstable, and there were fears that this much concentrated Hylexan magic unleashed could have the same affect as before. The vampires however had an advantage through Gina who could be used as a spy, due to her connection with Gragian.

Gina agreed, not just to escape the torture they would have inflicted on her, but because she wanted to make the city of Drasgaria suffer for abandoning her.

Using knowledge her father had given her when she was a little girl, and she had come to visit him at his place of work. Gina was able to infiltrate the castle and tried to steal plans for the weapon. Unfortunately however she was spotted on her way out by none other than her own father. (Though some think she did this on purpose, wanting to make her father suffer by knowing how much he had failed his child.)

Gragian instantly recognised her and was so overcome with emotion that he burst into tears. Unfortunately however Gina, thinking it was a trick attacked him and tried to flee. Not wanting to lose his daughter a second time. Gragian summoned the security. With no other choice, Gina was forced to flee back to the main room where she had stolen the plans, where she threatened to set the bomb off. In the tense shootout that followed, the bomb was hit by a stray gun. Gina was still able to escape, though not without losing the plans first. Unfortunately however despite their best attempts the scientists were not able to stop the bomb from going off. Not only was the lab consumed, but a good chunk of Drasgaria was too. Thousands of innocent people were slaughtered in the blast, including Gina’s own father, who stayed behind until the last second to try and shut down the bomb. Only one scientist named Mastia escaped from the destruction. Ironically he had been a friend of Gina’s family and had known her growing up. She even considered him to be something of an uncle. He was in many ways just as heartbroken as her father, but that despair soon turned to anger and rage at Gina for betraying her father and he made sure that all of Drasgaria knew who the traitor was.

Gina soon became the most wanted woman in not only Drasgaria, but all the major cities in Tairos that had formed a loose alliance with it. The leaders of Drasgaria had hoped that the Hylexan weapon could better unite the cities and smaller communities by providing them with a weapon that could make a real dent in the vampire war machine.

Now however not only was the weapon gone, but all of the research it had taken decades to build up had vanished with it. A truly devastating loss for the alliance and humanity in general.

Gina’s reputation would soon overshadow that of both her parents. In fact tragically some of the leaders of the alliance would even attempt to denounce her parents, so as to save face. Her mother was rebranded a coward whose successes were all down to other soldiers, whilst her father was even smeared as a traitor who helped Gina sneak her way into the laboratory, much to the protest of Mastia.

Gina had destroyed everything she had ever believed in and was now nothing more than a pawn of the monsters that had in turn destroyed her. Sadly however by this stage she either couldn’t see it, or even cared. In fact the only person she thought had her back was the very same demon that had turned her into this.

Gina would continue to help the vampires in direct battles for the next five or so years. Clasia still didn’t turn her, despite facing pressure from above to do so. She was too fascinated in seeing how far she could push Gina.

Unfortunately for Clasia however, a little over ten years after she had first abducted Gina, her “daughter” would finally find a way to be free of the vampire queen’s demonic grasp.

Following the destruction of its weapon and laboratory, Drasgaria had fallen in terms of power and influence. Many of the smaller settlements soon came to other cities, which had finally caught onto Drasgaria’s idea. Without anything else to offer, it soon took a backseat in the alliance. Frequent attacks from Clasia’s death camp further weakened Drasgaria and now the time was right for the bloodsuckers to launch a final attack to destroy the city once and for all.

Surprisingly however the other big cities and civilisations of Tairos would come to Drasgaria’s aid. Not so much out of altruism, but more because they didn’t want the vampires to gain access to the unique samples of the Hylexans magic under the city.

An army was soon assembled to face the vampires. It was made up of people and beasts and even demons who all saw the vampires as a mutual threat. Gina naturally was on the side of her captors, riding on the back of a Triceratops. She proved to be a formidable enemy for the alliance, but on the second day of the battle she was overwhelmed by a horde of soldiers from Drasgaria who were all desperate to make the traitor pay, even more than the vampires.

A pet Tyrannosaurus of the alliance (that had been provided by the city of Dynamos) took care of Gina’s Triceratops, whilst several Drasgarian solders overpowered and captured her. They’d torture Gina for the next day back at their camp, whilst the battle raged on. That night however when more of the vampires were able to come out including Clasia herself. (Not all vampire breeds were vulnerable to the sun, but Clasia’s was.) An attack from vampires allowed Gina to escape her torturers. The bloodsuckers had arrived there specifically to rescue her on Clasia’s orders. It was the first time the vampires had ever been known to try and rescue a human. Clasia herself led the rescue attempt and even cut Gina down from where she had been chained. In the resulting fight however Gina was shot with an arrow by one of her former torturers which caused her to fall off the edge of a cliff and into the river below. Clasia actually responded with grief and took Gina’s torturer and apparent killer back to her camp to make his death last for as long as she possibly could.

In the river below meanwhile Gina wasn’t dead, but she was swept away by the current to several miles away from her former home city. She did her best to try and fight against it, but the current and the wounds from both the arrow and the day of brutal torture overwhelmed Gina.

As she was carried further down the stream, she soon came into contact with a young woman named Shelly who was riding on the back of a Dinosaur. Shelly, much like Gina was an outlaw, albeit for more noble reasons. Still she kept out of the battle up ahead, knowing that the humans would turn on her just as quickly as the vampires. Instead Shelly waited by the side of the battle in case there was anyone who needed help, either a soldier or a civilian if the vampires had triumphed. As soon as she heard Gina screaming she rushed to aid her, but unfortunately Shelly’s attempts to pull Gina free with the help of her Dinosaur (that was still only a child) actually distracted Gina and caused her to hit her head on a rock, knocking her out.

Gina’s unconscious body fell face down into the water, and in the time it took Shelly to find and pull her up, she drowned.

Shelly was only able to pull Gina out of the water thanks to tying a rope around her Dinosaur friend who then pulled both of them out. The Dinosaurs advanced speed also allowed it to just keep ahead of the rapids that were pulling Gina down. Shelly would subsequently revive Gina with CPR, though Gina almost immediately fainted again after everything she had been through.

Shelly would then take Gina to some woods nearby. It was too far and too dangerous for Shelly to try and make her way home, so she took refuge in a small patch of forest and dressed Gina’s wounds, whilst the Dinosaur kept a watch out. The Dinosaur was a creature known as a Tyrannosaurus Al, a hybrid made from two species of therapod Dinosaur merged together with magic. A Tyrannosaurus Rex and an Allosaurus. These creatures had been created by a city known as Dynamos, one of the largest and strongest in Tairos. Dynamos specialised in the breeding and creation of Dinosaurs, which it sold to other cities for all kinds of reasons. Defence, food, pets etc. The city also made its Dinosaurs stronger with magic and in some cases even created new types of Dinosaur, with the Al being the strongest and most notable.

Not only did it the Tyrannosaurus Al embody the speed, and agility of an Allosaurus, with the greater strength, durability, intelligence and biting power of a Tyrannosaurus, but the magics that had fused it together also allowed the beast to develop a number of other unique and powerful magical abilities too.

This Al had been stolen by bandits who had attempted to sell it to the witch king Tyresian. Shelly who had worked in Dynamos biggest Dinosaur breeding farm was kidnapped in trying to defend it and taken to the witch king’s domain, the black woods. She managed to escape, but unfortunately during her time in the woods the Tyrannosaurus Al hatched. Al’s would instantly imprint on the first life form they came across, believing them to be their mothers. The leaders of Dynamos always made sure to be the first to witness an Al hatching for this very reason. However when they were in the woods, it first saw Shelly and came to view her as its mother.

Unfortunately when Shelly returned to Dynamos with the Al, it was viewed as defective by the city’s leaders. An Al can not have a loyalty to anyone but the leaders of the city under Dynamos law. Sadly there was no way to undo the Al’s loyalty to its “mother” and so the leaders not only ordered it destroyed. They also had Shelly arrested for taking control of an Al, who were seen as the pride of Dynamos. Fortunately however as soon as the guards tried to take Shelly away, the Dinosaur intervened and attacked the guards, picked Shelly up and fled from the city. Tyrannosaurus Als were larger due to the magic that created them, and despite being an infant, the Al was already the size of a horse.

Shelly and the Al would be forced to go on the run for many years from their own city and make a new life out in the forest of Tairos. Despite her own people turning on her however. Shelly never became bitter and hateful like Gina. Instead she came to view it as a gift, that she had been blessed by the loyalty of one of the most ferocious and powerful beasts of Tairos that she could use to offer help to the smaller settlements that were either left out on their own or had become dependent on the larger cities.

Sadly however whilst Shelly’s heart as always was in the right place, she wasn’t the most effective fighter. She had by and large been a spoiled rich girl from one of the most prosperous cities in Tairos and whilst her experience in the black woods had helped bring her out of her comfort bubble to some extent. She was still hopelessly out of her depth when dealing with the vampires and other monsters of Tairos.

Her reputation, other than for stealing the Tyrannosaurus Al was non existent. Still she pressed on, trying to be a hero as she felt she had too, but there were times where she wished she could just go home, where she’d be overwhelmed by the loneliness of it all and there were times she honestly felt like giving up.

Despite the beauty of its woods and oceans, Tairos had a bad habit of crushing the joy and optimism out of even the most pure souls.

When Gina came too the next morning, she initially thought she was being held prisoner again when she saw the Al sleeping by the camp. The traitor slowly prepared to get up, but was still weak and stumbled, waking the Al up. The Dinosaur however simply looked at Gina with curiosity more than anything else before Shelly came back.

“Oh good, glad you’re awake. I was scared you weren’t going to make it last night. What do you remember.” Shelly asked, gently.

Gina felt it had to be a trick. The people from her home city must have captured her again and were trying to get her to betray the vampires.

“I don’t care what you do to me.” Gina snapped back at Shelly.

“I will not betray them. They showed me what this world really is. Vampires, vandals, demons, monsters, beasts, humans none of it matters. They’re all the same. All want to be number 1. You just pick a side. I chose them because they were honest about what they were. They didn’t pretend to be good and virtuous and then abandon me. Let your pet eat me,”

Shelly had absolutely no idea what Gina was talking about. She was never one to keep up with the news, even before she was forced to go on the run, and she actually had never even heard of Gina, despite her status as the most despised woman in Tairos.

“Please I only want to help you. Don’t you remember last night? You were being washed down the river and you hit your head? I pulled you out with the aid of my friend here.” Shelly said as she patted the head of the Al.

Gradually it all started to come back to Gina, the arrow, the fall, the river and the girl shouting to her before she was knocked out. Still Gina had her suspicions, simply because… why on earth would anyone want to help her? It had to be a trick.

As Shelly went to try and help Gina up, the more experienced warrior tripped Shelly and got her in a neck lock, which caused the Al to roar in warning. Shelly however called on the beast to stop.

“Please believe me I am trying to help you.” Shelly said in a more frustrated than scared voice.

“And I should believe you why?” Gina asked.

“My Dinosaur could have torn your guts out by now for one thing if I wanted it.”

Realising she wasn’t getting anywhere, Gina let Shelly go.

“Trust me” Gina said.

“If you were stupid enough to actually rescue me, you better get going. There are a lot of people that want to kill me, and quite frankly you don’t want to meet the people that want to help me either.” Gina said as she struggled to lean against a tree.

“I know you were involved in the battle up there, but don’t worry. My Al has taken down more than a few vampires in his time. If any of them come looking to finish what they started. I’ll protect you.” Shelly said only to be met with a cruel, mocking laughter from Gina.

“First of all, you don’t look like you could defend yourself from a vampire bat, never mind my mother. Second of all the vampires would be here to save me. They’re my family.”

Shelly was taken aback by this. In fact she thought she must have misheard it at first until Gina confirmed it. She had certainly heard stories about vampire wannabes and traitors, but to actually come across one was a different matter. She couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to serve them. She started to walk away slowly from Gina, almost disgusted with herself that she had gone to such lengths to rescue Gina now. However as Shelly slowly made her get away, the trees close by collapsed.

A small pack of four centaurs, three males and one female soon emerged from the broken woods. These creatures were relatives of the cyclops family of beasts. Centaurs were just as the myths had depicted in some ways. Their upper half was humanoid, whilst below the torso resembled a horse. Their skin from the upper half however was purple and scaly, whilst their teeth were long and sharp and overlapped. The monsters also like most cyclop’s had no speech and simply roared. Much like the Turok Han however, despite their savageness, the beasts were still capable of at least some intelligence and all of them wielded crude weapons. Finally in spite of their somewhat reptillian nature, they did still have hair at the tops of their heads and horse like lower bodies.

Shelly instantly jumped on the back of her Al, and despite her disgust at Gina, she offered to let her come too. She had seen what the centaurs did to people and as far as she was concerned nobody deserved that. Not even a traitor.

Again Gina thought this must be a trick, but the approaching beasts soon convinced her to hop on the Dinosaurs back.

The centaurs chased the Al and the two humans riding on its back for miles deep into the forest and away from the battle. The centaurs had actually fought on the side of Drasgaria against the vampires, but ultimately the bloodsuckers had managed to overwhelm the alliance and finally claim what was left of this city for themselves.

The centaurs had actually been fleeing from the battle up ahead, but after spotting Gina, they were determined to make her pay. Ironically had Shelly and the Al not left with her, the beasts most likely would have happily let them escape. Shelly knew this however, but she still couldn’t leave Gina alone. She also didn’t want to risk a fight given how weak Gina was. Little did she know however Gina was already recovering thanks to Clasia’s magics.

Eventually however whilst fleeing from the centaurs, the Al ran head first into a pack of eleven vampires who were searching the woods for survivors.

“Gina? You’re still alive.” The leader said mockingly before turning its attention to the Al.

“It’ll make a useful mount. The others kill them, except for the girl” It said whilst looking at Shelly.

“She might be useful in other ways.”

The vampires and the centaurs engaged in an absolutely brutal fight. The centaurs kicked the vampires in the face and chest with their hooves and trampled on several of them, whilst the vampires jumped onto the centaurs backs and started to bite into their throats from behind.

The centaurs put up a good fight and even managed to slay four of the vampires, but unfortunately they were outnumbered and in a few minutes the vampires managed to seemingly kill all of the horse like beasts.

Shelly meanwhile tried to get the Al to safety during the middle of the fight, but a few of the vampires followed her. The Al did its best to swipe them away with its tail, but the vamps were too crafty and one of them knocked Shelly off of the Dinosaurs back by scaling a nearby tree and then jumping on her from behind, whilst the Dinosaur was distracted. When the Al ran to try and save her, the seven remaining vampires swarmed the Dinosaur causing Gina to fall off it.

The leader of the vampires meanwhile started to toy with Shelly who screamed to Gina for help.

“Please I saved you! Twice! You can’t just leave me.” Shelly screamed.

Sadly that is just exactly what Gina was planning on doing, but as the vampire started to “play” with Shelly, it became too much, even for the caricature of a person Gina had become.

For the first time since before she had stabbed what could have been her only true friend to death. Gina fought back. She pulled the vampire off Shelly and punched him several times in the stomach and then in the face. She expected to be overwhelmed with pain for the next hour. The magical device implanted into her by Clasia would normally torture her for hours if she even attempted to defend herself from a vampire. Now however for the first time in a decade it wasn’t working. The reason for that as Gina would later discover was because for just a few seconds she was technically dead when she drowned before Shelly revived her. The magic was only designed to work on the living and once her body stopped functioning, its power permanently vanished. Gina was finally free, and a decades worth of repressed rage was soon unleashed on the undead in that moment. Though the vampire leader had only been overpowered at first because it was caught unawares. Gina’s subsequent attacks were so relentless and brutal, she managed to beat the vampire to a bloody heap on the floor, with the bloodsucker even pathetically curling itself up into a tiny ball to avoid further blows.

The other vampires soon turned their attention towards Gina, who fought back viciously, even scratching one of the vampires eyes. Thanks to their superior strength however the vampires soon overpowered her. Still her distraction gave the Al enough time to swat all six of the vampires with its tail. It then jumped on top of one and completely mauled him with the claws on its feet. As another vampire tried to intervene however the Al caught it in its tail and then proceeded to smash the vampire through a nearby thin tree with it, after which it then impaled the vampire on the broken half of the tree, straight through its heart. The Al then used its tail to wrap it around another vampires throat and squeezed it hard enough to sever the vampires head from its shoulders. It dealt with its final vampire meanwhile by pinning it to the ground with one foot and then wrapped the other around the vamps head, which it squeezed until the vampires head was crushed to pieces. Whilst the Als jaws were its greatest strength, it did not like eating vampires due to their toxic nature. Instinctively Als would always prefer to use other weapons against them.

Gina meanwhile grabbed one of the fallen centaurs clubs and attacked the three remaining vampires. Despite the centaurs superior strength, Gina was more deadly to the vamps as she knew their tricks and skills. She beat all three of them and used the wooden club to stake them, before finally finishing off the vampire she had initially attacked, who had pathetically tried to crawl away from the fight.

With all the bloodsuckers dead, Gina checked on Shelly who was in shock at what this supposed traitor had done.

“Are you some kind of double agent or something?” Shelly asked enthusiastically only for Gina to burst out laughing.

“No, I really am as bad as I said. Worse in fact, but you saved me and I just found out that, well it’s complicated. Come on let’s get out of here before any more of them come looking.”

Suddenly Gina was interrupted by the sound of one of the centaurs groaning. The beast had a massive cut in its torso, but other than that it was okay. When it tried to stand up however it collapsed again and couldn’t even must the strength to lift one of its clubs.

Whilst Gina was all too ready to abandon it, Shelly actually approached the centaur.

“You have got to be kidding me?” Gina asked.

“I helped you didn’t I? If what you said is true, I’d wager he has a lot less blood on his hands.” Shelly responded as she tried to help the animal up.

Shelly wasn’t helping the centaur for entirely altruistic reasons however. According to lore, centaurs despite their utterly savage nature, still had a certain nobility, and would always return favours to those who helped them. Considering how badly Shelly had handled her previous attempts to be a hero, having another supernatural beast in her corner couldn’t help.

Sadly however she didn’t quite have the strength to help the brute up and so Gina intervened.

For the next few hours the foursome marched through the woods. The Al carrying Shelly on its back as always, whilst Gina helped the centaur limp its way through the forest.

Along the way they encountered another pack of vampires, but Gina dealt with them all herself. Getting the others to hide, she lured the vampires away with some calls and then dusted all four of them with her club. She wanted to make sure that no vampire who saw she was still alive and not under their control could return to tell her “mother”. Finally after almost a day of walking, the unlikely companions made their way to Shelly’s home. A small cottage, shielded by magic.

It had been given to her by a witch girl that she, or rather the Al had rescued from a pack of vandals.

Said witch had come from a long and powerful line of wiccas and warlocks who had operated independently from the big cities. They hoped to provide everyone with knowledge and power to repel the vampire horde. Tragically however they were later wiped out by the bloodsuckers (though many suspected that it was actually an unholy alliance of the vampires and some of the leaders of the big cities, who didn’t want the witches and warlocks magics to break the small communities dependence on them.)

Either way their last survivor had been targeted by the vandals, but thanks to Shelly’s actions she had escaped with her life and this house was the witches way of paying Shelly back. The witch was confident that it would keep Shelly hidden from most of the horrors of Tairos, but still warned Shelly to always be on her guard. After all her coven also thought they were safe.

Gina, Shelly, and the centaur would recover at the cottage for the next few weeks. The two women however hardly spoke to one another. Gina wasn’t used to being in debt to anyone, whilst Shelly didn’t really want to know the full details to Gina’s life. She still kept hoping that Gina was a double agent of some kind.

Gina spent most of her time training with the centaur. Ironically the beast developed quite a bit of affection for Gina. It even let her ride on its back a few times.

Shelly meanwhile would go out with the Al on a few rescue missions, mostly to help survivors from the war and nearby villages which were being raided by the victorious vampires. As the weeks rolled on Gina would slowly begin to rediscover aspects of her personality that she had completely supressed or even forgotten about thanks to Clasia. Even just small pleasures like her love of reading which she rediscovered through Shelly’s own extensive collection, as well as aspects that she thought or rather hoped were gone for good, such as shame and guilt.

The people of Tairos communicated with each other across vast distances through a special kind of magic that could conjure up a large virtual image, similar to a television or the internet. The image would be conjured up in a small pot which if the right enchantments were said, could allow anyone access to the magical hub. However the pot had to be made of the correct substance and you had to have the correct form of enchantment and ingredients to access each cities hub, with many of the smaller villages cut off.

Fortunately however Shelly did have access to all the right ingredients and so Gina was able to keep in contact with the outside world to some extent whilst hiding away in Shelly’s cottage. She ironically watched the pot as it was known, far more than Shelly ever did.

What Gina saw however would have the greatest affect on her. First she saw the reports of her death. Her former torturer who had shot her over the edge of a cliff was hailed as a hero by the media. Reports came in from some small villages of people dancing in the streets and even parties celebrating her death. Gina had never seen such glee over someone’s death, even from the vampires. Naturally at first she was furious and even tempted to go back to her “mother” to show her enemies that she was still alive. However as time went on and the numerous reports covering her death began to focus on the atrocities she helped carry out. It all finally began to sink in.

She saw the relatives of those who had perished in the numerous raids and battles she had aided the vampires in talk about their pain and loss. She saw the images of the people of her home city that she had killed when she set off her fathers weapon, on the news for the first time. She learned their names when she searched through the pot. She knew she shouldn’t for her own sake, but soon couldn’t help herself. Among the most affecting however was an interview she found with Mastia describing how Gina was a greater evil than even the vampires for turning on her own father. She also finally heard from Mastia, how much her father missed her every day, how he tried to find her and finally how if he could see what she had become it would devastate him more than even his wife’s death.

Gina did her best to try and put it out of her mind like she had done so many times before, but now being faced with the reality of her crimes, it began to reach the human side of Gina that the vampires had done their best to destroy. Hatred soon began to burn inside of her for her vile “mother” who had lied to her about her father. The fact that Gina hadn’t instantly gone back to her mother alone was telling, but she kept telling herself it was because she didn’t want to disappoint Clasia at first, but thankfully that poor excuse didn’t last.

Still in spite of this Gina never left the cottage for the entire three weeks. At first it was out of fear, but it soon became more out of shame.

All of that would change however, when Shelly brought home a young man named Aleskia who was bloodied and cut. She and the Al had stumbled upon him being viciously tortured by two vampires. The Al killed both of the bloodsuckers, but once the man came too he soon revealed that he and his family, made up of his wife and two children had been fleeing the city, before they were cornered by a pack of vampires. He had bravely tried to fight the bloodsuckers, and had managed to stab the leader of their platoon in the eye before he was overpowered. The leader decided to torture him personally, whilst his family were carted off to Clasia’s vampire camp. Shelly took Aleskia back to her cottage simply to help treat his wounds and give him a place to recover, but sadly there was nothing she could do to help his family. Even she wasn’t fool hardy enough to try and break into a vampire camp. No one had ever managed to escape them baring Gina’s father, but most people would rather forget about him at this stage. Aleskia however wouldn’t accept it and begged Shelly to let him use her Al to break into the camps.

Eventually Gina had to intervene, much to Shelly’s shock and horror. Shelly had told Gina to stay out of sight whenever she brought someone back for obvious reasons. Still this time Gina felt compelled to say something. Maybe it was out of genuine remorse for what she had done? Maybe it was out of anger towards the vampires for turning her into this monster, or maybe it was her own ego, not wanting to be seen as the traitor she had become? Or perhaps it was a combination of all those reasons? Whatever the case Gina decided that she would help free this man’s family and all of the other prisoners from the camp that had created her.

Aleskia however wasn’t happy. In fact he thought it was a trick and tried to attack Gina who easily disarmed him. Gina tried to convince him that she was a victim of the vampires as much, and explained the way they had tortured her into murdering her friend. For the first time in over ten years she actually admitted to Clareska’s murder. Incredibly enough that wasn’t even close to being the worst atrocity she had carried out, but it was in her mind the point of no return. Aleskia however didn’t care. His sister had been among those slaughtered when Gina had destroyed her fathers castle and released the Hylexans magic.

There was nothing Gina could say to defend herself to this man. She simply promised that she would free his family and do all she could to help destroy the evil that she had helped to grow stronger over the past ten years.

Shelly meanwhile in contrast to Aleskia had actually felt some sympathy for Gina. Hearing about how she had been dragged from her people and broken by the vampires. Whilst she was still disgusted by Gina’s actions. Unlike almost everyone else in Tairos, she did not hate her and genuinely believed that Gina wanted to change.

Sadly Shelly also didn’t want to take part in Gina’s crusade. Whilst she wasn’t a coward, the vampire camps genuinely terrified her, not just for her sake, but the Al. It was all she had left and she couldn’t bare the thought of it being hurt. A couple of vampires or beasts of vandals were nothing to the Al, but the camp?

Gina however assured Shelly that this wouldn’t be any old attack. She knew the vampires, had access to their magics, knew how they worked, how they functioned. Never had there ever been a traitor in the vampires ranks before. The vampires couldn’t betray each other thanks to the Emperors will and their other human servants were never taken in as deep as Gina had been, thanks to her special relationship with Clasia.

The secrets she could let loose could help set the vampire horde back by centuries. However no city in Tairos would trust her, but by freeing the people of the camp she could perhaps convince them that she was genuine.

For the first time Shelly was forced to face the reality of what her life was, and it was almost too much for her. Aleskia’s grief however finally convinced Shelly to be part of the battle, even if ironically Aleskia himself didn’t trust Gina.

Aleskia was prevented from going on the mission meanwhile by Gina, as he would just end up getting in the way due to his lack of training. He didn’t want to be left out of course, but he soon realised that it would be better for his loved ones if he were.

Allies for Gina and Shelly were in short supply. No one would trust Gina, except for possibly one organisation. The Hooded Claw.

This guild of assassins was founded by the vampires sworn enemies, the vandals. The vampires and the vandals had been at war with one another since long before the creation of Tairos. Long before recorded history began in fact. The vandals were created by the sworn arch rival of the father of the vampires, Khastran, which is what started their never ending feud. Despite this however the vandals were ironically among the closest relatives to vampires, with their creator being of the same race of demons as Khastran. The vandals actually shared many weaknesses and powers with their vampire enemies, but a key difference between them was that vandals fed on their victims souls with their claws, rather than their blood.

The Hooded Claw despite its name was not just made up of vandals. It also included beasts, monsters, demons of all kind and even human assassins too. Furthermore the Hooded Claw would offer its services to anyone provided they could pay highly enough, though for obvious reasons it did not provide any services to, or employ any vampires.

The money raised from the Hooded Claw’s activities was used to help fund the vandals ever growing empire throughout Tairos, though it was still neither as large or as evil the vampires.

Shelly didn’t think that the Hooded Claw would give Gina the time of day any more than the larger cities would, but fortunately the vandals had a way of knowing if someone was telling the truth, that admittedly caused tremendous pain for the person enduring it, but Gina was used to pain by now.

Sure enough as soon as Gina arrived at the guild of the hooded claw alone, she was captured. The head of the guild, the oldest vandal on the planet, had the power to read someone’s soul. Again it wasn’t quite mind reading, but it was an extremely advanced form or soul reading that could tell if someone was lying.

Vandals fed on their victims by stabbing their claws into the victims stomach where they would pull their souls out and consume them in their hands. However if they were careful then a vandal could simply use their claws to read a persons soul. Very few vandals had mastered the power however as it was an extremely delicate process.

It was still the worst agony for the people it was inflicted on, as the vandal was not only cutting into their flesh, but their souls too. Gina luckily survived it more due to the experience of the vandal elder (though she had a feeling that the head of the guild kept it going for longer than necessary just to torment her.)

The vandal agreed to help Gina sneak her way into the camp, though there was much disagreement on how. The vandals wanted to launch a full scale attack against the vampires and even threatened to torture Gina into giving them all the information they needed.

However Gina who had come alone, said that she had left all of the secrets with Shelly and that if anything happened to her, then they would be revealed to all of the cities.

Gina did not want a massive full scale attack as she was afraid it would endanger the prisoners who the vampires would all instantly slaughter if they were overpowered. She also felt that a sneak attack would be more successful as the vampires would never see it coming.

Reluctantly, the vandals leader, not wanting to let a golden opportunity to bring down the vampires go, agreed to send five of the guilds best assassins to help Gina and the others.

They included a monster assassin named Krelgarax, who resembled a humanoid with six arms, a snake like lower body instead of legs, a bald head and a single red eye which looked more like a long strip across its face. His teeth meanwhile were large and overlapping and unlike most monsters who had green skin, his was black, with a red stripe down his back and stomach.

Among his powers aside from advanced strength and near indestructability included the ability to fire acid from his mouth.

Another of the assassins was a Venusian named Trialex, who was one of the most prominent and long lived assassins in the guild. Unlike many of the others however, he had a code of honour and would never take the lives of those he deemed to be innocent.

The third assassin was a witch named Loressa who was famous for casting some particularly vicious curses and punishments to those who she was chosen to assassinate. She was by far the most despicable and loathsome member of the guild, but Gina wasn’t throwing any stones at that point.

The fourth assassin was a vandal named Fastian, who had more spectral powers than other breeds. Just as with vampires there were many different breeds of vandal. Fastian’s breed could form into mist, walk through walls and make their bodies transcendent, though they couldn’t do so indefinitely, and doing so for too long could leave them weak afterwards.

The fifth and final assassin was a Caradon named Makos. A magical creature that was the combination of a Shark and a human being, with extraordinary powers. He was by far the most violent and unpredictable of the assassins.

Needless to say Shelly was somewhat uncomfortable with the team Gina had assembled and Loressa in particular would have fun tormenting Shelly by letting her know of some of the most gruesome curses she had inflicted on her victims over the years.

Makos also quickly got rowdy with the Al, with Gina herself having to separate them.

Perhaps not surprisingly Trialex was the most friendly and understanding towards Gina and her new friends. He knew of Gina’s exploits and even told her that at one point he would have happily collected her head, but much like Shelly he believed that she wanted to and was capable of change.

Whilst the assassins may not have been happy with it, Gina was still the leader of the team due to her greater knowledge of the vampires. Gina knew the exact weak points of the camp and where would be the best place to strike. Ironically in much the same way as she had done to the very first allied camp that she had helped Clasia take down, Gina would use magics to counteract the vampires forcefield from within, though she would not bring it all down at once. Not only were the vampires spells too powerful for that, but if that ever happened the vampires first policy would be to slaughter their prisoners to make sure that none of their secrets would get out. Gina instead would weaken the forcefield at certain points from inside to allow the assassins to sneak in.

When Gina arrived at the vampires camp, it was among the few times she saw the vampire queen smile. Gina tried not to let the feelings of genuine affection she had built up towards her phoney “mother” return. It would be so easy for her to fall back into the old habits once she was in the Clasia’s care again, but Gina just kept the memory of people dancing in the streets at the news of her being tortured to death in her head.

Clasia questioned Gina on what had happened to her, but Gina lied stating that she was washed up in the woods and forced to flee from a pack of Raptors for a few days.

Clasia seemingly bought it, only because she had no idea her magical shock collar didn’t work on Gina anymore.

Clasia took Gina to see the man who had tortured her and gave her “daughter” a chance at revenge. Gina instantly started to beat him viciously. Hurting someone now sadly coming as naturally to Gina as anything else. After a few minutes however she managed to control herself and stopped, much to Clasia’s surprise and disappointment.

“What is wrong?” Clasia asked sincerely.

“I just eh, I’m a bit tired and he went down too easy. Can I have a minute or two to rest and get more creative with how I’m going to hurt him?” Gina said.

Clasia wasn’t buying it. She hadn’t seen that kind of look on Gina’s face for a long while. It almost looked like remorse.

“Just what did happen to you out there Gina? I hope when they had you prisoner they didn’t help you reconnect with your roots?” Clasia asked.

Gina laughed in response.

“The people who tortured me you mean? Who danced in the streets when they thought I was dead?”

“How did you know they celebrated your death if you were out in the woods for all that time?” Clasia asked.

“I heard it from a soldier I ran into who was angry that I wasn’t dead.”

Clasia still wasn’t buying it however.

“Oh Gina. I want to believe you I really do, but if you weren’t lying, you’d be on the floor by now.” Clasia said as she raised the device she has used to activate Gina’s “collar” many times before. Gina still tried to keep up the bluff, but it was no use.

“Don’t insult my intelligence Gina. I don’t know how they did it, but rest assured. I’ll have another one in you in no time.” Clasia said as she lifted up another glowing sphere.

Gina was terrified of being under Clasia control again. So much so she even lifted a knife out and held it to her own stomach.

“I mean it. I’d rather die than go back to being your slave.” Gina said.

“If that were true you would have killed yourself years ago. You don’t expect me to believe that you would ever put someone else above yourself? I suspect that this little display is more down to your wounded pride than anything else. You can’t stand the fact that I’ve always beaten you. Always broken you and now that you think are free, you’re undoubtedly willing to risk goodness knows how many fools who tried to help you get here’s lives with this suicide mission?” Clasia taunted.

With no other options, Gina fled, but Clasia was too fast and soon caught up to and overpowered her former student. Still in the ensuing struggle, Gina was able to land a lucky blow with her knife straight into Clasia’s eye. The vampire doubled back in pain, and Gina then grabbed the glowing orb from her hand which she threw at a nearby wall behind Clasia, breaking it.

The dark magic however created a massive explosion that blew both her and Clasia dozens of feet across the room and soon buried them under masses of rubble. Neither were killed, but both were knocked out and the alarms were soon raised.

Thinking that the vampires had discovered Gina’s ruse, the assassins abandoned her more subtle approach and began to attack the vampires, or rather Makos did.

He made his presence known by bursting out of the ground he had been crawling under, fin first before two vampire guards, who he then dispatched by biting both of their heads off at the same time. Fastian, and Loressa soon came to Makos aid, though not because they wanted to actually help him, just because it gave them a chance to fight.

They made short work of the dozens of vampires that attacked. Loressa turned several of the vampires into bugs and squashed them, though she also turned one vampire into a statue and then another into a hammer which she used to smash the statue before breaking the hammer to pieces. She then turned another vampire into a crucifex which caused his entire body to burn up, though just before it did she used the burning cross to impale three more vampires, causing them to burn up too. Probably her most creative attack however was turning one vampire into a mouse and then another into a hawk that ate him, and then yet another vampire into a Tiger to eat the Hawk, and then another into an Alligator to eat the Tiger, and then another into Grizzly bear who disembowled the Alligator and then finally another into Ceratosaurus who killed the Grizzly and several more vampire soldiers.

Krelegrax and Trialex meanwhile wisely continued a more stealthy approach and made their way towards the mine in the hopes of freeing the prisoners. Krelegrax didn’t actually care one bit about the prisoners, but he was under orders from Gina.

Shelly, the Al and the centaur all searched for Gina. Unlike the others Shelly even if she wouldn’t admit it, was worried about Gina and she used the Al’s keen sense of smell to try and locate the former traitor. Ordinary Tyrannosaurus Rex’s had among the keenest sense of smell of any animal ever to live on the planet.

The Al led them Clasia’s quarters, which were guarded by two white wolvrons. These creatures were the children of two werewolves, born in wolf form. They possessed no humanity and were far stronger than regular werewolves or indeed most species of earthly demon or beast.

There was absolutely no way anyone could hope to sneak past them as their senses were every bit as refined as the Als.

The hybrid Dinosaur shook Shelly off its back and made its presence known to the two wolves with a roar. Both wolvrons then started to circle the little Dinosaur who still stood its ground. Soon the wolves attacked the Dinosaur at the same time, with one going for its neck and the other its tail.

The Al dodged the wolf that went for its neck, though the other wolvron managed to grab its tail. Reacting quickly, the Al delivered a deep bite onto the wolf facing its head’s arm, drawing blood. Its scream briefly distracted the other wolvron to the point where the Al was able to pull its tail free and wrap it around the demonic wolf’s throat. Though even the Al’s tail didn’t have enough strength to break the wolvron’s neck it was still able to choke its enemy to the point where it was knocked out.

The other wolvron meanwhile sunk its fangs into the Als back. With any normal creature, that would have been enough to severe its spinal column in half, but the A’s magical constitution allowed it to persevere, albeit in tremendous agony. Indeed the Dinosaur had never quite felt a force like it, but it continued to bite onto the wolf’s arm and as its bite was so much more powerful than several wolvron’s combined, eventually the white wolf relented and howled in pain, waking up its partner.

The wolvron then used the claws on its other arm to slash at the Dinosaurs face and this time was actually able to make the Dinosaur release its arm, as the reptile was scared of being stabbed in the eye.

The wolvron then tried to further attack the Dinosaur with more scratches to the face, but the Al used its tail (releasing the other wolvron in the process) to trip the wolvron and then deliver a flurry of quick, but powerful bites to the wolf’s stomach, disemboweling it in no time.

The other wolvron then charged at the Dinosaur, managing to knock it off balance and pin it to the ground, before delivering a series of furious slashes. The Al however though overwhelmed at first by the barrage of attacks soon pushed through them and used its body weight to knock the wolvon on its back, after which it then latched its jaws around the wolf’s head. The wolvron fought as hard as it could, but the pressure of the Al’s jaws was just too great and in seconds it punctured through the wolvrons skull, its brain and eventually it crushed the demonic white wolf’s head completely.

The other wolvron meanwhile despite its injuries was not dead. It literally held its guts in place with the arm the Al had torn into. The wolf almost couldn’t figure out what was happening to it. Normally a wound like this, unless it was made of silver, wouldn’t even register for a wolvron as its healing factor would have repaired it. The jaws of the Al however, aside from being tremendously strong also contained dark magic which could affect the majority of supernatural creatures and ensure that the animals jaws could harm them as easily as it could an ordinary animal.

The wolvron’s loyalty to its vampire mother however overrode everything else and the animal made a last, foolish charge at the Al which responded with another whack of its tail, which sent the Wolvron crashing to the ground, with its arm falling away from its guts which fell out of its stomach in the process.

As it lay there in a pool of its own blood and intestines, the Al finished the Wolvron off by wrapping its tail around its throat and choked the life out of the white beast, before letting out a roar of triumph.

Meanwhile Shelly and the Centaur made their way into Clasia’s room, only to see half a dozen or so vampires desperately pulling several pieces of rubble away from her.

Careful not to alert them Shelly and the centaur headed to where Gina, who they could see poking out from under more rubble a few feet away was and tried to help her out.

Gina came too with Shelly’s help. She was burned down one side of her body, but her constitution allowed her to overcome it. Meanwhile Clasia after coming too, soon pushed all o the rubble off herself and instantly headed for Shelly and the centaur, which raised its club in defence

Clasia however easily knocked the beasts club out of his hand and sent the cyclops crashing to the ground with one strike, before turning her attention to Shelly who she grabbed by the throat.

“What did you do to her? How dare you think you can steal her away from me! Do you have any idea how long I worked on her?” Clasia said, whilst Gina meanwhile picked up the centaurs club and used it to stake two of Clasia’s vampire lackeys from behind whilst they were distracted laughing at Shelly’s plight.

The other vampires turned to face Gina, but fortunately the cyclops jumped on two of them from behind, and gave the other a slash to the face with its claws which sent him tumbling back onto the the club Gina held out.

Gina then staked the other two while they were pinned under the centaurs legs, before going to face Clasia.

Whilst she was still stronger than Gina, Shelly or the centaur, the blast had weakened Clasia to a greater extent as she had been closer to it.

She held her talons to Shelly’s throat telling Gina to let her go or she would kill her.

For a second Gina attempted to call Clasia’s bluff, but as soon as the vampire Queen drew Shelly’s blood with a shallow cut, Gina put her club down.

“How disappointing. I don’t know what they did to you but.” Before Clasia could finish, the Al suddenly came bursting into the room.

As the Dinosaur closed in on the vampire queen she drew more blood from Shelly, only to be interrupted again by more vampire guards coming up from behind the Al, who instantly went for the Dinosaur.

Seizing her chance, Clasia threw Shelly into Gina and ran out of the room as fast as she could, leaving her guards to be slain by both the Al and the centaur.

Gina instantly ran after her, but soon saw the vampire Queen had fled completely when she got outside.

Sadly Gina didn’t have time to chase her. Her first priority was helping the prisoners escape, including even her former torturer. As he lay there curled up, whimpering and helpless, Gina was still tempted to stick a knife in him, but thankfully she didn’t want to give her mother the satisfaction.

Instead she along with Shelly helped him over the Al’s back as they rode away to help the others.

Down in the mines Kreleg and Trialex had succeeded, after easily disposing of a few vampire guards to shut down the force field that was surrounding the mine where the prisoners were trapped.

Unfortunately however dozens more vampire guards soon arrived to detain them. Armed with magical whips that could cut through their victims bones, the vampires tried to push the mob of already cowed and terrified prisoners back. Kreleg and Trialex did their best to fight the vampires off, but they were soon outnumbered and surrounded.

Gina however soon came to their rescue. Riding on the back of the Al, along with Shelly, and wielding a silver sword. (A weakness of many breeds of vampire.) Gina rode past the vampires with the Als incredible speed and sliced several of their heads off. The Al’s lightening fast reflexes also allowed her to dodge the vampires whips, whilst Shelly sprayed holy water on the vampires who weren’t decapitated, causing them to go up in flames.

Whilst the vampires turned their attention towards Gina, Kreleg and Trialex led the prisoners down the passage way Gina had told them about, though not before she gave them her former torturer and told the two assassins to get him to safety with the others. Trialex would carry him down the tunnel until they reached the end, which was a giant underground lake. Unfortunately it was the home of a Spinosaurus that guarded the lair, but Gina still felt that was the safest way out.

The Spinosaurs that was almost 60 feet long soon rose out of the lake, roaring at the top of its lungs. The vampires regularly fed it people they captured in the forest, but sadly the great reptile was seemingly always hungry, due to the dark magics the vampires infected it with.

Kreleg was the first to attack the Spinosaurus, spitting acid in the giant Dinosaurs face as it leaned in to bite at them. He managed to hit it in its tongue and near its eye. For the first time in its life, the Spinosaurus actually retreated somewhat, but as Kreleg moved hit the Dinosaur several more times, it began to panic and lunged forward out of the lake. Trialex told Kreleg to stop, but the monster was as arrogant as he was bloodthirsty and kept attacking the Spinosaurus.

The sailbacked Dinosaur fought through the barrage of acid and swiped Kreleg away with one of its claws. Such a blow from the Spinosaurus’ massive claws would have sliced an ordinary human in two, but Kreleg whilst cut was simply thrown across the room.

Unfortunately however Trialex was not quite as durable and was forced to flee from the Spinosaurus. He desperately tried to hurry the prisoners back the way, (with another one of the prisoners carrying Gina’s former torturer) but sadly the Spinosaurus caught up to several at the back. It picked one up in its jaws and swallowed him whole, whilst it sliced a further two in half with its claws and speared another through the torso with its left claw like a fish.

Trialex stabbed the beast in the leg with one of his swords, but its skin was so thick he was only able to make a shallow cut. Still at the very least it distracted the Spinosaurus long enough for the last of the prisoners to make their way back up the tunnel. The Spinosaurus however responded with a kick to Trialex knocking him several feet backwards and breaking his arm in the process.

The Spinosaurus then walked slowly towards it cornered prey. In the three hundred years he had faced demons, vampires, monsters and werewolves, Trialex had never been so terrified as when the 60 foot long reptile stood right in front of him and slowly opened its jaws. Before it could swallow him whole, Kreleg bombarded the beast with another round of acid, this time hitting it in the tail. The Dinosaur spun round screaming and waving its tail frantically in the air. Kreleg whose claw wound had already healed then jumped through the air and landed on the Spinosaurus’ face. It tried to use its claws to pull him off, but Kreleg was too quick for the Dinosaur and slithered on top of its head, after which he wrapped his tail around its throat and used his six arms to pull the Dinosaurs jaws open. He then started to spit his acid down its throat and onto its tongue. Kreleg’s vicious attacks however didn’t last long as the Spinosaurus used one of its claws to slice his tail off, after which it shut its jaws, cutting off all six of his hands in the process, before he slid off its neck and onto the floor. The Spinosaurus then impaled Kreleg through the stomach with one hand and prepared to slice his head off with the other.

Trialex however intervened, throwing a dagger at the Dinosaurs massive sail, which he realised was its only weak point. Sure enough the dagger cut through the sail and seemed to hurt the Dinosaur more so than even the acid had. Still it didn’t appear to do it any lasting harm. Once again however the Dinosaurs attention was diverted and it pursued Trialex, who wisely didn’t attempt to fight back like Kreleg had.

Kreleg meanwhile limped over to the small lake the Spinosaurus had come from and puked the acidic substance from his stomach into it, until eventually the lake started to boil.

He then waited a few moments for his hands and his tail to grow back, whilst Trialex constantly attempted to dodge the angry Spinosaurus. At one point the beast managed to corner him against a wall, but he was able to escape by bringing his sword down on one of the acid burns on its snout when it moved forward to bite him.

Once Kreleg had recovered, he fired another round of acid at the Spinosaurus’ tail and made sure to hit the already existing burn marks. The animal charged at him in response, but as it got near the now bubbling lake it stopped. Clearly it was smarter than he thought.

Both Trialex and Kreleg surrounded the Dinosaur from both sides, with the animal ready to strike in case either of them came near. Trialex responded by throwing another one of his daggers at the Dinosaurs sail again, and whilst it was briefly distracted by the pain, Kreleg jumped onto the Dinosaur and wrapped his tail around its throat again, though this time he spat his acid onto its neck, and jumped down before it could reach him with its claws. The animal then tumbled backwards towards the lake, though it still didn’t fall in. A few blasts of acid towards its stomach which was now exposed as it was leaning upright in order to clutch its throat followed by a few more towards its feet, finally sent it tumbling backwards into the lake of acid.

Kreleg quickly slithered backwards towards Trialex and pushed him to safety out of the way of the acid that splashed when the Spinosaurus fell back into it. Fortunately he managed to get the assassin to safety in time, much to Trialex’s surprise

“Well I owed you one.” The monster said, almost hating having to admit that.

Trialex however still thanked his six armed ally and went to fetch the prisoners from down the tunnel.

Unfortunately however the Spinosaurus wasn’t dead yet. It rose out of the boiling water, its sail having completely melted off, its body covered in burns and one of its eyes having melted out of its skull.

The Dinosaur reached out with its single claw which it impaled through Kreleg’s tail, pining him like a worm on a hook. Before Trialex could even respond it then pulled Kreleg back towards it and bit his torso whilst stabbing its other claw into his chest. The Dinosaur then pulled with both of its claws and ripped Kreleg into three pieces, before spitting out his mid section and scooping up his top half in its jaws which it crunched to pieces in its mighty jaws before finally spitting the mangled remains into the acid bath below.

Much like how the Al felt about the vampires, the Spinosaurus evidently regarded monsters as too toxic to actually eat, but it was still not above using those powerful jaws to crush them to paste!

The giant reptile then lurched awkwardly out of the pool of acid, stepping on the remains of Kreleg’s torso which it crushed into powder. However the Dinosaur only managed to walk a few feet towards Trialex before it collapsed onto the ground.

Trialex had heard about the tremendous power of the Spinosaurus but how the creature could even be alive after a bath in that acid was incredible. He’d seen Kreleg’s acid eat through reinforced steel!

Still it was obvious that even the mighty sail backed predator was finished as it still desperately tried to crawl along the floor. Trialex put the Dinosaur out of its misery with a sword straight between the eyes. It had to stab it in one of Kreleg’s acid burns as that was easier to puncture, but at least within a few seconds the Dinosaur was dead at last.

Trialex then led the prisoners past its corpse and the still twitching remains of Kreleg’s tail which was all that remained of him.

Incredibly and disturbingly enough, Kreleg’s tail was still trying to repair itself and grow into something else. It wouldn’t be able to bring him back however. His people’s healing capabilities were beyond most other creatures to the point where even after death their bodies would still attempt to repair themselves for days afterwards. However once they had actually died that was it.

Trialex didn’t know how to feel. He certainly couldn’t mourn Kreleg. He was a sadistic killer, who had slaughtered scores of innocent people both for profit and his own pleasure. Still he had saved Trialex’s life and so the Venusian gave a simple bow of his head to the acid pool that contained his fellow assassins remains and moved on. The prisoners were out of the mine, but they still had a long way to go.

The centaur meanwhile went to help the other assassins, who were being overwhelmed by the vampires. Despite their superior powers, there were just too many of the bloodsuckers for the assassins to deal with. The vampires didn’t care how many of their comrades died. They’d happily sacrifice themselves as they knew that failure was not an option for Clasia. Sadly when the centaur arrived he wasn’t able to provide much help either.

His brief attack however did distract the vampires long enough for the assassins to slip by the vampire horde, though they all soon found themselves running for their lives.

Despite his power Makos had been gravely wounded, with one of the vampires managing to strike him in the leg, by ironically hiding in the hole in the ground the shark man himself had made.

The wound would heal very quickly, but none of the other assassins wanted to wait around, so the centaur picked Makos up and placed him over its back, before riding away.

Unfortunately however the assassins soon found vampires coming down almost every corridor they tried to flee down. Fastian meanwhile couldn’t simply phase through the walls as the vampires had come prepared for that and indeed any form of spectral invasion with powerful magics that ran throughout the entire base. Eventually the assassins came to a dead end. However there was a hole in the floor, at the very end of this corridor.

Fastian was hesitant to go down for obvious reasons. What could possibly be so horrible that the vampires couldn’t keep it up here.?

Still with no choice the assassins all jumped down. Below was a dark, long tunnel, which led out into a massive cave, which they soon saw was filled with the remains of humans, demons, beasts and other creatures that had all been butchered, but not by the vampires. By something far worse.A hideous creature that soon made its presence known when it darted out of the tunnel at the other end of the cave. A Reaper!

These bloodsuckers were members of the vampire family of demons, but they were very different to most breeds. Reapers were the result of when several vampires of the Torro breed bite and infect a single human. Torro’s are among the strongest vampires and infect people via a simple bite which also allowed them to be among the most numerous. Clasia belonged to the Torro breed, and they often occupied positions of authority. When several of them infect a human, most of the time, the multiple strands of demonic energy created in the humans body by the bites, one of which would normally turn the humans soul and body into a vampire. Instead grow into different demons that fight for control over the body, and literally rip the infected human apart from the inside. Not just their body, but soul too. The multiple demons then die shortly afterwards, assuming they haven’t already killed each other.

A very few times however, the demonic energy is able to somehow form together into a vastly powerful demonic spirit. Essentially a super vampire known as a Reaper. The human soul that would be converted normally is either ripped to pieces or worse it is trapped inside its body in a mangled state, in constant, unspeakable agony, yet unable to move.

Reapers have no higher intelligence. They exist only to hunt and kill and will feed on the blood of anything. Humans, beasts, monsters, demons, magical creatures, and even vampires. In fact some reapers are know to specifically go after regular vampires as their blood makes Reapers stronger.

This Reaper was created by Clasia and her cohorts. She had always wanted to have a Reaper as a pet, and sacrificed hundreds of slaves in the mine until she created one. Ultimately however this monster proved to be too wild even for the vampires. Due to the unique nature of their birth, Reapers were the only members of the vampire family that even the Emperor could not control completely. Clasia’s Reaper was therefore used as a mere guard dog below, as there was no way it could actually be used on the field. Still Clasia had carried on trying to create more Reapers ever since, killing hundreds more men and women in the process.

The Reapers did have the power to turn others into members of their own kind. In fact once again they could not only turn humans, but vampires, demons, beasts, and monsters too. This was the main reason Gina wanted the assassins to face the Spinosaurus instead. As dangerous and powerful as the Dinosaur was, the risk of people being infected and more Reapers escaping into Tairos was too great.

In spite of this the assassins foolishly tried to fight the Reaper. It certainly didn’t look imposing. It was relatively short, slight, bald, pale and deathly thin. Its eyes meanwhile were completely white with no pupil or Iris and its head was constantly moving as it ran on all fours towards the assassins.

Makos was the first to make a move, thinking he could easily bite this frail looking creature in half, but when he reached out to pick it up, the Reaper let out a high pitched, deafening roar, as its jaws opened up in a three way leech like pattern. The Reapers tongue then lashed out like a whip against the Caradon, slashing it across the face and knocking it to the floor.

Loressa tried to repel the Reaper with her dark magics, but they had no affect on the Reaper whatsoever. Many species of vampire had a greater immunity to magics than natural creatures and other demons. Even Loressa was forced to use her strongest curses on the lowly vampires above. The Reaper however in another sign of its superiority was almost completely immune.

Fastian tried to phase through the Reaper, hoping he could solidify his hand inside, but he found that he simply bounced off of the demons skin. Worse when it grabbed onto him, he couldn’t phase again.

Before any of the other assassins could do anything to help him, the Reaper, opened its three way leech like jaws and bit Fastian on the neck. Just as a vampire would with a human, it drained him dry in under a minute and tossed his still twitching body to the floor.

Makos soon dived underground, hoping he could attack the Reaper from below, but the super vampire simply reached into the ground and pulled the shark man up with one hand and then used him to swat the centaur away as it tried to attack.

The Reaper then held Makos in place, while it punched out every single one of his giant teeth, after which it picked one of the teeth up and stabbed Makos in the eye with it, bringing the shark creature to its knees. The Reaper then repeatedly stabbed Makos with his own tooth all over before slicing his stomach open with it.

Loressa wisely fled back down the tunnel and used her magic to levitate herself back up. The centaur still tried to help Makos as foolish as that was, but the reaper slashed it across the chest with Makos tooth. Before it could inflict anymore damage to the centaur, Makos made one last strike against the super vampire. He jumped it from behind and wrapped his toothless jaws around its head. He hoped that he could swallow the Reaper alive. Whilst he was able to get its torso into his mouth, the reaper soon used one of its arms to push Makos upper jaw back so far it snapped. It then continued to push until it ripped the entire upper section of Makos head clean off, before ripping the rest of the Caradon’s body to pieces.

Whilst the Reaper was in a frenzy, the centaur wisely galloped down the tunnel. Unfortunately when it reached the end, it couldn’t climb back up the walls that were completely smooth.

In desperation the centaur let out a roar for help, but no one answered. The Reaper soon came crawling down the tunnel on all fours, roaring with its three way jaws open and its long tongue licking Makos blood away from its mouth.

The centaur stood its ground, but before the Reaper could pounce on it, Loressa, surprisingly came to the centaurs defence and lifted it safety above.

Loressa simply didn’t want to face the vampires above alone, though luckily for her however and the centaur, the bloodsuckers attention had been diverted. Gina and Shelly had fought their way through the vampires in the mine with the help of the Al, but eventually as the entire security force descended on them, they too were forced to flee. Gina however knew exactly where to go to. She wanted to leave it long enough until she was sure that the prisoners were out of the mine, and given that no vampires had returned she felt sure that either the prisoners had escaped, or they had been slaughtered. Either way she could now put the next part of her plan into action.

The center of the mine contained the source of the magic that protected the vampires camp from the outside world. The magic however was bound together by a physical object which if shattered would unravel the spell. However it wouldn’t just simply shut the forcefield down. As the magic unravelled it would pull everything in the mine apart. That level of concentrated magic would be enough to destroy even most vampires.

Gina felt it was her and Shelly’s only way of escape ironically as knowing what cowards the vampires were, if the forcefield was destroyed they would instinctively flee, rather than fight. It would take the spell a few minutes to completely unravel and destroy the mine.

When Gina arrived at the mine she saw that not all of the vampires had bought into her plan. Many of them had regrouped and were guarding the forcefield. The vampires were riding on the backs of Raptors and other smaller meat eating Dinosaurs, including the three Allosaurus who had slaughtered Gina’s original platoon and kidnapped her who were at the very back. Gina’s hope that that the assassins could hold them off for long enough had been in vain.

Outside meanwhile Trialex had managed to get the prisoners clear of the camp, but they were soon stopped in their tracks by the vampires pet Triceratops. The same animal that had stopped Gina from escaping all those years ago. It killed several of the prisoners and drove the others back the way. Trialex did his best to try and hold off the animal, but the Dinosaur wasn’t buying into his tricks and charged straight at him, impaling the Venusian on one of its horns before tossing him aside onto the forest floor. The famed assassin had learned the hard way why escape from the vampire camps was damn near impossible.

Back at the camp Gina desperately tried to think of a way past the vampires, but soon she didn’t have too as a distraction came in the form of a gigantic and unexpected rogue Dinosaur. A Gyphosaurus.

These creatures were close relatives of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Almost as large, these beasts however were completely covered in feathers. Ironically even more so than any modern bird. Their feet and even their snouts were completely covered in long, thick, feathers, though other than that they had the appearance of a normal Tyrannosaurus Rex, albeit slightly smaller.

This Gryphosaurus was in fact a former vampire commander that Loressa had transformed into a Dinosaur as a distraction. Even though most of the vampires had been drawn to Gina, a few had foolishly remained behind to see if the assassins could have escaped the Reapers cave. Both the centaur and the witch had easily dealt with them, but Loressa had decided to turn the last into a Dinosaur and sent it to the mines. Not to help Gina however. Loressa now simply wanted to escape. The fact was that she was a miserable coward, who had got in way over her head. She knew the only way of escape was through the secret passage in the mine. (The holes in the forcefield that had been already created would have sealed themselves shut by now.)

The Gryphosaurus first drew the attention of the vampires who had been pursuing Gina, and then when they threatened to overwhelm it, the giant avian predator fled down the same mine she had, drawing the attention of the vampires and dinosaurs guarding the forcefield.

The three Allosaurus were the first to attack. Though they were the same size as the Gryphosaurus, they were not as strong. Tyrannosaurs were famous for having stockier builds than those of other theropods. With one smack of its tail the Gryphosaurus sent the leader of the Allosaurus pack backwards into the other two, sending them all crashing to the ground.

Gina couldn’t help but smile at watching the Dinosaur that had helped condemn her to a life time of suffering at the vampires hands, be tossed aside like a child. It was foolish of her of course. The Dinosaurs really had no say in it, being controlled by magics to do the vampires bidding, with the vampires magics also bringing out their most aggressive and brutal traits compared to normal Dinosaurs. Still in this instance Gina let her own petty emotions cloud her mind.

The vampires riding on the backs of the raptors soon began to circle the Gryphosaurus, and though the Dinosaur managed to knock the lead vampire off its raptor with its tail, and then grab the raptor in its jaws and finally crush the vampire under its foot. The other vampires relentlessly struck their giant adversary with their swords.

Gina and Shelly rode on the back of the Al into the pack of Raptors, knocking over three at the one time with its tail, allowing the Gryphosaurus was to push past the remaining Raptors. It in turn however was soon stopped by the leader of the Allosaurus pack who slashed the Gryphosaurus on the snout with its claws.

Whilst the Allosaurus strength was nowhere near that of a Tyrannosaurus, its speed was several times greater and the Allosaur was able to deliver a number of bites and slashes to the Gryphosaurus before the Tyrannosaur could respond.

Whilst the two Dinosaurs were fighting it out Gina did her best to try and make her way past the vampires, but unfortunately the bloodsuckers were still too numerous. With the three Allosaurus having surrounded the Gryphosaurus, Gina and Shelly commanded the Al to attack one of the Allosaurus. The Al leaped through the air, ironically in a similar way to how Allosaurus themselves often did when hunting sauropods and clamped its jaws around the Allosaurus’ neck. The larger Dinosaur screamed in pain and tried to shake the Al off, but the more it struggled, the deeper the Al’s teeth went into the Allosaurus’ neck. (This gruesome feature came from the Tyrannosaurs side of the family as their jaws were not only stronger, but virtually inescapable.)

As the Allosaurus shook violently, both Gina and Shelly fell off the back of the Al and to the ground right in between the leader of the Allosaurus pack and the Gryphosaurus, whose attention was soon taken over by the third Allosaurus.

The alpha of the pack meanwhile focused all of its attention on Gina and Shelly, who tried to run, though Gina held herback. Shelly wasn’t thinking straight anyway as she more than anyone else should have known you can never outrun an Allosaurus. To be fair you couldn’t exactly fight one either which is what Gina was seemingly planning to do.

The Dinosaur stared down this small prey for a short while, almost confused as to why it wasn’t running, before letting out a roar. Gina responded by slashing the Dinosaur in the leg and it soon responded with a kick sending Gina crashing to the ground and seemingly knocking her out. Shelly tried to intervene but the Dinosaur with one swing of its head, knocked her back. The Allosaurus then prepared to scoop Gina up with its jaws, but just as they were about to be close around her torso again, Gina sat up and stabbed her sword into the great reptile’s eye. Before it could even react, she pushed the sword straight into its brain, killing it outright.

Unfortunately however almost all of the vampires had now gathered round Gina, but Shelly bought her the time she needed by tackling one of the vampires that was blocking Gina’s way to the power center. With one strike of her sword Gina smashed the device.

Once again the blast threw her across the room, though not with quite as much force as the torture device. A testament to how dark the magics used for that vile spell were.

In a matter of seconds however, magical beams began to fire from the forcefield generator, which vaporised a few of the vampires it struck.

The Al meanwhile was forced to let go of the larger Allosaurus’ neck by a stray beam, which both Dinosaurs narrowly managed to avoid. The Al then ran towards Shelly and Gina and hoisted them both on its back before fleeing along with the rest of the vampires, and the Allosaurus the Al had attacked.

The other Allosaurus and the Gryphosaurus however remained behind. Both were so caught up in fighting one another that they didn’t even notice what was going on around them.

The Allosaurus put up a great fight, delivering a series of brutal slashes to the Gryphosaurus stomach and throat. The Allosaur even tore out the Gryphosaurus’ eye with its claws and bit off one of its arms and even the tip of its tail.

However it only took one lucky bite from the Gryphosaurus on the Allosaurus’ leg, which not only broke it, but allowed the feathered Dinosaur to pull the Allosaurus on its side and deliver a second, lethal bite to the Allosaurus’ stomach.

Sadly for the Gryphosaurus however before it escape, another stray blast of magic from the forcefield hit the ceiling above and buried the feathered Dinosaur under a ton of rubble. The weight of the rocks proved to be too much even for the Dinosaur and as it died, it slowly changed back into the vampire it once was. Transformation spells such as this could still work on some breeds of vampire, but they were never permanent the way they would be on humans. Eventually the curse of Khastran would snap the vampire back to its original form. Still the magic could last for several hours, and the vampire would temporarily lose any supernatural powers it had when it was changed and therefore if it were killed in its new form, it would still die. Ironically in this case, the Dinosaur, which was still a natural creature was killed a lot more easily by the rock fall than the vampire would have been. The bloodsucker regained its memories and persona, mere seconds before it crumbled back to dust. The witch’s curse was as cruel as it was powerful.

Gina and Shelley however were luckier and escaped from the camp just as it was consumed by the magics in a large pit of blinding yellow light, though at the same time so did the majority of the vampires and the Allosaurus itself.

Outside of the camp, the centaur had joined in trying to protect the freeing prisoners from the vampires and had even managed to kill a few vamps with its club. Loressa on the other hand had fled the area completely. Using her magics, Loressa flew hundreds of feet through the air and away from the valley. She wasn’t used to losing and the encounter with the Reaper had shaken her confidence to say the least. The centaur also briefly held off the Triceratops when it tried to finish what it started and trample Trialex who had not died from his previous wound, with the Dinosaur’s horn only narrowly missing his organs. The centaur placed the Venusian assassin on its back and used its club to strike at the Triceratops nose repeatedly any time it got near.

The explosion from the camp however distracted the Triceratops long enough for the centaur to break his club down full force against the Dinosaurs jaw, breaking it.

The animal however was merely enraged and charged at the centaur with greater determination, now not being put off by any of its attacks. The horse like beast was forced to flee, moving so fast it almost dropped Trialex from its back. This allowed Gina a chance, whilst riding on the back of the Al to impale the Triceratops from the side with one of the vampires spears that she had picked up. With the Als greater strength she drove the spear in deep enough to puncture one of the Triceratops organs and slay the beast.

Not long after Gina’s triumph however the ground began to shake. It seems she had underestimated the power of the vampires magics, It wasn’t just their camp that was going to be consumed. The entire nearby area, possibly the entire valley was in danger. The light which had engulfed the camp continued to grow larger and larger, destroying several vampires and unfortunately the prisoners closest to it.

Up ahead meanwhile earthquakes began to rip the valley apart. Gina, the vampires, the prisoners and the Allosaurus all fled as fast as they could, with several of them being swallowed up by unexpected movements in the earth.

Even in this desperate situation however Gina didn’t forget who her enemies were. She used the Al to trip up several of the vampires as they fled and took down over 30 of the bloodsuckers this way, until the Allosaurus soon turned its attention to her on a vampires command.

The Al did its best to keep ahead of the Allosaurus, but the larger Dinosaurs greater size allowed it to take greater strides until it caught up to the Al. The Allosaurus bit into the smaller Dinosaurs tail and threw it back towards the ever approaching light, before speeding off into the distance.

Gina and Shelly both fell off the back of the Al in the process and landed several feet apart. The Al instantly went for Shelly first, and having no time to run back from the ever approaching light, left Gina, despite Shelly pleading with it to stay. Gina was only barely able to keep ahead of the approaching light, and just when all seemed lost the centaur picked her up and carried her on its back along with Trialex.

The centaur and the Tyrannosaurus Al both ran side by side for the next several minutes as the light continued to expand, swallowing up everything in the nearby area. Eventually however the powerful magics began to fade, though not before swallowing up two thirds of the entire valley. When Gina looked back she saw that all that this once thriving jungle teeming with Dinosaurs was now nothing more than a gigantic smoking crater in the ground. Even Gina had never caused such destruction before, but she didn’t regret it as the vampires power in this area needed to be crippled.

The prisoners and the vampires had been scattered in the resulting explosion and earthquakes, and Gina, Shelly and the centaur would spend the next few days searching for the prisoners and slaying any vampires they came across.

On the second day they encountered the Allosaurus which had cornered a small group of prisoners in a nearby cave. The beast was too big to get in itself, so it stuck one of its long, claw like arms in there and pulled two of the prisoners out. One who it throttled to death with its claws whilst the other, it played with like a cat playing with a mouse. Knocking its victim down repeatedly whenever he tried to run away, and sometimes letting him run a small distance only to then easily catch up to and block him off.

Before the Theropod could claim its third victim. Gina and the centaur working together were able to take the giant reptile down.

Riding on the centaurs back, Gina lured the Dinosaur away from the humans and then proceeded to slash the creatures side several times with the help of the centaur, until the Allosaurus knocked her off with its tail. The centaur however landed a lucky strike with its club against the Allosaurus’ ribs when it went to attack him, which knocked it off its feet, and as it went tumbling over Gina held her sword up which went right through the wound on its neck that the Al had made back in the camp. The Dinosaur was killed instantly. Again the beast had no say in serving the vampires, but at the same time there was nothing that could have been done to help it. The black magics that had been injected into the Dinosaur to make it stronger and more vicious could not be reversed. If anything killing it was the more humane option as without a vampire to control it, the Dinosaur would be driven further into madness by the magics in its body. There had been many instances of Dinosaurs such as Spinosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, and Allosaurus that had foolishly been released back into the wild after the vampires who controlled them were slain, only to later become savage monsters killing and hunting anything they came across for no reason at all.

Still again Gina didn’t see it that way and was simply happy to have taken down one of the Dinosaurs that had captured her. In fact she even cut the Allosaurus’ head off afterwards and planned to mount it on the wall in the cottage, but Shelly who was utterly disgusted with the idea refused.

Despite the losses of over 50 people, most of the prisoners in the vampires camps had escaped thanks to Gina and the assassins actions. Among those in the vampires camp that had survived, included Aleskia’s wife and children, who Gina and Shelly brought home.

Aleskia couldn’t believe that Gina had kept her word and genuinely thanked her, though he made it clear he still couldn’t forgive her for her earlier actions. Gina understood. No matter how many lives she could save, it would never bring back those who had died because of her.

Still at the very least she had gained Aleskia’s trust, and Gina would impart to him all the knowledge of the vampires weaknesses, their magics, their plans, their aims that she had gained access to when she was with the bloodsuckers.

Aleskia wasn’t the only person she gave the vampires secrets too however. She supplied them to many of the prisoners, including even her former torturer who had also managed to make it out alive. Gina still wanted to rip his throat out, but she knew that if the information came from the man who had tortured her, and was therefore viewed as a hero, the leaders would be more likely to believe it.

The information would in the long run prove vital to beating back the vampires and cost them many more devastating losses.

As a result of this, Gina’s reputation would improve among many of the major cities of Tairos. Never enough for her not to be among the most wanted people in all of them however. There would be attempts to rescind her wanted status by the people she had rescued, but they never came to much.

Gina herself didn’t think she could be forgiven. She just wanted to set right what she had helped create in the years she had aided the vampire horde in becoming stronger. Still over the course of the next century as Gina would not only continue to battle the vampire horde, but many other threats to Tairos, many would come to view her as a hero. In fact some even viewed her as the greatest hero Tairos had ever produced. She would be christened the queen of the forest by her admirers. Ironically however her own home city would be among those that would condemn Gina the most. Even though her actions in destroying Clasia’s camp is what allowed them to finally rebuild to a greater extent than ever before. They never forgave her for the lives she destroyed and were among the most relentless in trying to capture her. All of the claims that both her defenders and enemies threw at Gina were true. She was a murderer, a victim, a hero, and a traitor. However whether or not any of those cancelled out the other, is something that we still debate thousands of years on from the age of Tairos, but at the very least we can have this discussion about Gina, unlike other heroes.

Gina would continue to live in Shelly’s cottage along with the Al after the destruction of the camp. The two women, though not exactly close friends after their adventure, nevertheless realised what an effective team they had made. From a practical point of view Shelly had the Al’s loyalty, whilst Gina could teach Shelly how to be a better fighter on her missions. Beyond that however Shelly’s greater empathy had also allowed the two women to make allies such as the centaur, whilst Gina’s greater experience in dealing with the vampires helped to counteract Shelly’s naivety.

The centaur itself meanwhile left the two women after the camp’s destruction. Feeling its debt to them had been repaid, it would nevertheless continue to aid Gina now and again on other missions too out of friendship, as would Trialex who made a full recovery at the Hooded Claw.

Finally Clasia had also been among those who had escaped the destruction of the valley, but she was demoted for her failures, to the absolute lowest rank possible in the vampire horde. Had it not been for her years of service, the Emperor would have most surely killed her.

Clasia soon became obsessed with making Gina suffer for what she had done, and became both Shelly and Gina’s greatest ever enemy.

However the former vampire queen’s cruel attempts at revenge and also the further adventures that Gina and Shelly and the Al would have in the forest of Tairos are stories for another time.

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