Chapter 2 – Strategists (part 1)

They were sitting around a table full of papers. There were maps, charts, photos, even book sized reports. They were over and over it again and again and it seemed it wasn’t enough since they had a go at it a few more times in the last couple of days. It shouldn’t have been their task. They weren’t strategists but somebody had to do it and without one, they did it the old-fashioned way – trying to find anyone with half a brain to form an opinion and come up with a decent plan.

He was feeling a headache coming that couldn’t be eased even by temple rubbing. He needed something stronger like that bottle of whisky on the small table at the wall. That had to do the trick. He stood and made a beeline for the drink. No one even noticed his absence so he leisurely drank a big gulp from the bottle, put a cigarette in his mouth and got his lighter out of his pocket. He was about to light up and get considerably calmer when he felt it. Somebody did notice him taking a break.

He couldn’t actually feel people staring at his back but Alex always had her eyes on him and it was a little bit creepy. She hated that he called her Alex. That made him snort with amusement. A man’s name suited her even though everyone else called her Lexie. She was no Lexie just as she wasn’t a delicate being but a warrior. She just didn’t see the compliment in him accepting her as an equal. She had a lot of growing up to do.

As he raised his lighter to finally light that cig he saw her eyes narrow in his head. She hated smokers with rare passion. She said they had stinkma – a stinking stigma they couldn’t wash away even if they wanted to. There were some health issues, too, but as the first vampire that walked this earth Kain wasn’t sure he should be bothered by that. He couldn’t get lung cancer. And these humans? Most of them were going to die in the near future anyway so they didn’t have to worry about it either.

There was no reason for him not to indulge himself and still he hesitated for a moment. He hated himself for that moment of delay. He was too old to care about anything – important or not. Why would he care about the opinion of one puny human girl? A warrior girl but still… just a girl. Barely old enough to be called an adult these days.

Finally, he lit up. The smoke hit his lungs and he felt like a drowning man taking the first deep breath. He chased it with another sip of liquor and another long drag for the road. He heard her clearing her throat. She was watching him all right. She always did. There was something soothing in the certainty of it. However, it was still creepier than it was anything else.


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