In the death-hour of the morn, a wind bringing gray awareness swept through the scrub oak forest of Anastasia Island. It came from the place where dark meets light, a plane of wisdom unknown to mankind, uncharted, not spoken of save by gods and giants—these speaking in shallow tones, colorless and vague.
Across River Matanzas, a breeze now, and now a cool fog, and now shapes of horror … grim-faced and long in form, blood from every aperture, a rusty aura that misted the land they strode. Like willows, they walked, and as they bled, they sang:
fought Love within.
Sin with kin,
deadly south wind,
“There she lay, Loki,” said Thin, but Loki remained silent and went to Califa, and he rested his arm about the shoulders of the maroon called Seti and wept.
“What tore her so?” asked Lank. “What ate her so?”
“Súmaire,” said Thin, her silken hair sodden with blood. “Blood-suck.”
Seti turned, choked on terror. “W-what are you?” he asked as he gripped the sleeve of Loki.
“We Who Bleed, come to heal the girl,” replied Dank.
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