Dark Legacy Part Seven: The Villa
by Chanaur Majere

Authors note: So the last part may have been a little melodramatic. I thought it needed to be said, the darkness does bring people together. (In some instances, anyway.) Carrie and Chanaur had both confided in Raziel, that much was true, along with the fact that he had constantly been trying to help them reach out to one another. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men......

Chanaur awakened. He wasn't quite sure what woke him up, but he knew he couldn't get back to sleep anytime soon. He stretched slightly, arching his back, hearing and feeling his spine pop.

It was right about then that he realized Carrie was missing.

He opened his eyes slowly, looking into the sky. The dawn was coming, slowly lighting up the sky.

The morning air was crisp, awakening him slightly more.

Then a droplet of water hit him in the face, startling him. That's strange. There are no clouds....

Another one splashed onto his face.

Oh, the fountain. Chanaur sat up, craning his neck, making it pop too. Yawning widely, he looked to the fountain, preparing to take a dink, but then he found Carrie.

She was in the fountain, washing herself. She began to slowly turn to him.

Chanaur's breath caught in his throat. He slipped back inside his bed, closing his eyes tight. She hadn't seen him, her back had been turned.....

...Did she see him?

She must have, because he heard the water just above his head churn. She was getting out.

There was no way she could have seen me. Besides, I haven't done anything wrong. He pretended to stir slightly, trying to seem barely concious.

After a brief moment of silence, he heard soft footfalls coming towards him.

He tried to relax. He hadn't done anything. He had only caught a glimpse of her when he was half-awake. And what a glimpse it had been....

He forced himself to stop thinking about it. Tried not to visualize the beuatiful woman who stood over him now, garbed in little more than a towel, if that....

Think! ....A bad dream! That should work....

Carrie looked down at him, frowning slightly. He was in what seemed to be a troubled sleep. He had been having nightmares the last few days, and she had helped him through them. Now she couldn't. He was too close to consciousness, and she....

He stirred again, moaning one word. "Carrie..."

That was another thing that bothered her. She was always in his nightmares, and she wanted to know what they were about, and what it had to do with her.

But everytime she would ask him, he would say that dreams are just dreams. All she knew about these dreams was that she was in them. She wished she could help him get rid of them.

She kneeled down beside him, stroking his shoulder length hair out of his eyes. She tucked it behind his ears, tracing her fingers down the side of his head. She smiled as he calmed down slightly.

Droplets of water sparkled on his face where they had dripped off of her arms. She kissed him on the lips, lingering there for a moment. His eyelids seemed to flutter for a moment, but they didn't open.

Did she want them to open? What would she have done had he woken up and seen her like this?

Well, he had seen it last night. Her upper half, anyway....

But what would she have done? What would he have done?

Was she ready to tell him? Was she ready to take that risky step?

No. She sighed. If I don't time this right, I'll scare him off. Last night was that right time. Carrie smiled ruefully. And I hadn't done anything.

She put a hand on his cheek. "If I ever lost you...." She felt a tear come to her eyes. "...I don't know what I'd do...." She kissed him again, then stood up and walked away to get dressed.

Chanaur was confused. Did this mean things were really changing between them? Or was it just the shock from last night?

He decided to not worry about it. He just had to take his time, and hope for the best.

He stayed down for the time being. Chanaur opened his eyes, and looked over at her, not knowing that she was watching him.

She smiled down at him. She was fully clothed this time, in her blue robes. "Good morning, Chanaur. Sleep well?" Her eyes twinkled strangely.

Chanaur played the groggy card. "Fine, I guess." He sat up, water running into his eyes. He wiped a hand accross his face. "Why is there water on my face?"

He smiled as she scrambled for an excuse. "I took a bath, and apparently I accidently splashed you." She shook her hair out, seeming happy with what she had said.

Chanaur chuckled. He sat up, rubbing his head. "Was it the same nightmare?" She asked slightly nervously.

He looked at her. "So you were watching me sleep?" Chanaur smiled. "Yes, it was the same one. I wish I could get rid of it..."

He remembered the dream, quite against his will. He had been captured, put in manacles in a dark dungeon somewhere he didn't know. All he knew was that Carrie was chained to the middle of the floor, bathed in a shaft of light.

Her body had been broken, then healed, again and again. The pain never stopped, but it was only given brief intervals to go from bad, to worse.

She wasn't gagged, so her screams could reverberate through the hollow chamber, and Chanaur's mind.

Chanaur would demand the hooded figure the same question everytime he would approach Carrie. Her eyes would widen, shrinking away as much as she could. She would wimper, "Please, no more...." But the bastard would not listen.

He would take the scythe in his hand, and draw it accross Carrie's nude body, ripping the skin from her body and the screams from her throat.

Chanaur would scream again and again, "What do want from us?!"

The specter would then turn to him, the very marrow of his bones freezing. A hand reached up to pull the cowl back....

And then he would awaken.

Chanaur looked up at her, hoping he never had to see her that way. To see her very soul cry out in agony, her eyes reflecting it.

He wanted to tell her about the dream, but he was afraid to. His dreams were usually prophetic, especially when they were recurring. He didn't want to scare her, especially that way.


He snapped back to reality. "Yes?"

Carrie stepped toward him, her eyes full of concern. "You were frowning pretty badly. Is something wrong?"

She knew it was about the dream. She wanted to know why it bothered him so much, and how she could help.

Chanaur shook his head. "Nothing. It's nothing..." He looked away.

Carrie stepped closer, putting a hand on his arm. "Is it the dream?" He nodded. "What is it about? Please tell me."

"No." He didn't move. "It's not important."

"Please?" Carrie brought him around to look at her. She knew he couldn't resist her eyes.

Chanaur looked at her, his eyes softened. "I wish you would tell me how you do that." He sighed heavily, and swallowed hard. "The dream is we're both imprisoned. I'm bound to the wall by manacles, you to the floor by chains, in the center of a ray of light. You were being tortured."

Carrie's grip on his arm tightened. His dreams... No it can't be....

Could it?

Chanaur continued. "The hooded man would break you, then heal you, never stopping the cycle.

Everything he did to you, happened to me, but not in the same way. It would rip through my mind, not my body. I would ask of him again and again what he wanted from us. He would stop whatever he was doing to you, leaving you to lay on the floor. He would reach up to pull his hood back, and then the dream ends." Chanaur looked down at her, waiting for her reaction.

Carrie looked into his eyes. There seemed to be a storm raging inside his mind. "Do you...." Carrie carefully asked, "...think it means anything?"

"I hope not...." He gently took her into his arms. "Nobody should have to undergo that kind of pain."

Carrie nodded. "Don't worry about it. You've got enough on your mind already...."

"Yeah." Chanaur ran a hand through her wet hair. It smelled strangely sweet, for just fountain water....

Suddenly, he wanted to kiss her, and never stop. He loved her, and wanted dearly for her to know.... but at the same time knew she couldn't. Not yet. Not until he was sure.....

Carrie suddenly felt very strange. She wanted to spend all of her life where she was right now. She felt as if she belonged here, in some sense a part of him. She wanted to belong to him, and him alone. If only she knew....

It's strange....

We've been so close, for so long....

But it's only been as friends.....

Will there ever be anything more?

Could that dream mean anything?

There are too many questions....

Will I lose her....?

Will I lose him....?

They just stood there, staring into each other's eyes, each of them attempting to unravel the mind of the other. Reinhardt sighed. Raziel, Rosa and him had all tried to bring them together, using subtle means.

He was just about ready to come right out and say it. But he knew that wouldn't be right. Love must take it's own course...

But sometimes it needed a little prod in the right direction.

They had tried everything, including stranding them deep in forest with no one else around.

Carrie and Chanaur had grown slightly closer, but not close enough.

Then they tried sending them off on a false business trip, and get them lost somewhere off and away. Wrong again. They ended up meeting Taolin, and they became fast friends.

Reinhardt shook his head. That had been a rough time for both of them. They no longer flirted, and that was what really scared them both. They felt as though they were drifting apart, but Carrie never said anything, because she didn't want to interfere. Then Taolin left Chanaur, and he had never said anything about what had happened.

Reinhardts thoughts stopped dead. Carrie and Chanaur where leaning into each other, for a kiss.

This one, however, would be different then all the rest of them. This one would open the door.

But.... were they ready?

No. Reinhardt stepped forward, mentally projecting his thoughts to Chanaur. You don't want to do that. You'll scare her. Then out loud, he said, "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"

Chanaur looked at him, as if asking him if he was sure. Then he carefully stepped away from Carrie, and said, "Not really. We were just discussing dreams."

Carrie seemed a little hurt. She stood up, her eyes still fixed on the ground. "Yeah." She said simply. Her voice sounded a bit tight.

Chanaur's eyes softened immediately. He stood up, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. Her demeanor seemed to improve almost instantly. "I'm sure it doesn't mean anything Carrie. And if it does..." He put a hand on her cheek. "...I'll protect you to the best of my abilities."

Carrie smiled. "So, in other words, I'm doomed, huh?" She nudged him with her elbow.

"Yep." He smiled back. "That's about the size of it." He winked at her, and they both started to pack up there stuff.

As Reinhardt set to his own pack, he smiled. For once, I actually helped the situation.

Raziel awakened. He had no idea where he was, appart from the fact that something heavy was tied to his foot. And his neck, for that matter. All around him was darkness, save a smalle spot of light at the height of vaulted ceiling. He was in an oubliette. He groaned, attempting to move his arms.

Then he realized that he had been chained to the wall, his body being pulled in four different directions.

His head hurt, feeling as if it was split down the middle. Raziel tasted blood, but his leg had been healed. Why would they do that? After all, an oubliette was a place where you left things to forget about them. Either that or torture them. The only place in the Castle of Hell where there was such a place was in the Castle Center.

There was a glint of metal from the back of the room. "Who's there?" Raziel called out.

A whistle was heard, and four more glints joined the first. A creak of wood, a twang of sinew, and Raziel had a barbed steal arrowhead imbeded in his hands and feet, and one in his right eye.

He cried out, flexing his arms against the chains that bound him. If he could escape....

A sixth arrow speared through his other eye. Through the haze in his mind, he heard a slight laugh. Heavy footsteps approached him, and he felt the tip of a fire sword touch his chest.

A voice that he remembered in his dreams came back to haunt him. "I've waited years to do this."

The blade passed slowly through his sternum, twisting as it was pushed deeper. The fire from the sword expanded, engulfing Raziel in flames.

A scream welled in his throat, but his lungs were burning, his vocal cords scorched. It came out as a strangled groan, seeming to delight his captor.

Raziel felt the tip of the blade touch the wall behind him. It was wrenched from his body, the flames dying, and he was dying with them.

After one final drawn out moment, he lost conciousness.

Chanaur looked around the entry hall to the Villa. A red carpet led up a set of stairs that led up to second level. Overhead swung a large chandelier, the candles lighting up the room; no light entered through the windows. There was a locked door to their right, and up the stairs and to the left was another door.

Carrie was glancing around nervously, the dragon axe clutched in a white-knuckled grip. Chanaur sensed something too, but he didn't know quite what.

Reinhardt's head swiveled from left to right, and back again. He set foot on the first step, then stopped short.

He turned around, his whip flashing from his hand and snapping just over Chanaur's head. An angry snarl and a thud came from behind.

Chanaur turned around hurriedly, his sword ringing from it's scabbard. A vampire lay there on the ground, a gash in the middle of it's chest. It stood up slowly, using only it's feet. It stared Chanaur in the face. It's gaunt face pulled back to reveal the large fangs, still red from a recent feeding.

It stopped when it saw Chanaur, however. It stared at him, then lept over him to attack Reinhardt.

What the Hell?

Reinhardt caught it accross the face with his daggar, forcing it to take a step back. He cast the whip again, doubling the depth of the first wound where it had scored.

It howled in pain and turned to Carrie, still ignoring Chanaur. She swung the axe around her, showing just how skilled she was with it. The vampire stalked her, feinting several times, looking for a weakness.

Carrie moved with it, never taking her eyes from it. She slipped on the carpet, and the thing took her into it's deadly embrace. It's mouth parted, and it started for her neck.

Chanaur's sword was what it bit down upon, however. Chanaur delivered an open hand punch to the vampires chin, and a kick to it's chest.

The undead man realed back, glaring at him. It snarled, then dissolved into a puff of smoke. It changed into a bat, and flew through the east wall, on the upper level.

Carrie heaved a sigh. "That's three times I owe you my life."

Chanaur smiled at her. "So, we're counting now?"

Carrie nodded, then grinned back. She stopped. "Do you hear what I hear?"

Chanaur listened carefully. "Now that you mention it, yes." He strained his ears. "It sounds.... like a child, crying."

Reinhardt agreed, and indicated the east part of the balcony. All three of them started up the stairs, and rounded the corner.

Indeed, there was a child. She wore a white dress, and black boots. A staff lay next to her, the head in the form of an hourglass. Her hair was black. Her arms were wrapped around her knees, her legs brought up to her chest. Her face was hidden in her arms.

Chanaur was the first to approach her. "What is a child doing here?" He asked quietly.

The little girls head snapped up, her blue eyes shining with tears. She cringed, her small voice crying out, "Get away from me!" She clasped a hand around her neck.

"It's alright, honey." Chanaur said, taking another step toward her. She shrank away farther. "I'm not gonna hurt you."

"But you're..." She stopped, and looked puzzledly up at him. "How is that possible...?"

Carrie moved to stand next to him. The girl wasn't afraid of her. "What's your name?"

She looked sidelong at Chanaur again, and whispered, "Milenia. I was brought here by the devil in the black cloak."

Chanaur kneeled down beside her. "How long have you been here, Milenia?"

Milenia leaned toward him, studying his face. "A few days, now."

Carrie sat down next to her. "You poor thing...." She put an arm around Milenia's shoulders. "We'll get you out of here."

Milenia shook her head, reaching for her staff. "I can't leave yet. I have to get my mother's soul crystal back." She put a hand on the inset where something was missing.

"Someone stole your mother's soul?" Reinhardt asked, stepping forward.

"Yes. And now I have to find it." Milenia lowered her head. "But what can a child like me do...?" Then she looked up. "You... you are here to vanquish the Dark One?"

Reinhardt nodded. "I am Reinhardt Schneider, decendent of the Belmont clan of Vampire Hunters. This is Carrie Fernandez, and Chanaur Majere."

Milenia giggled as Chanaur bowed stupidly. "A vampire killer, a sorceress, and a white mage." She stood up. "I'm in good hands."

Carrie and Chanaur stood up beside her. "Did you see who stole you're mother's soul crystal?"

"It was that vampire who just went through that wall." She pointed in front of her. "He has it."

Chanaur patted her on the shoulder. "We'll get it back."

Milenia walked just behind Chanaur, watching him closely. Maybe she had been wrong, but she could have sworn....

One thing she knew was her intuition was rarely wrong. She had been reading people's auras since she was old enough to understand them, and she was eight now.

But, a white mage with his blood? I wonder if he's aware of what he is....

Oh, I am. Milenia jumped. Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. Please don't tell Carrie about my affliction.

Why not? Milenia was a little awkward about communicating this way, but played along.

Chanaur sighed. Her and I have been best of freinds since before we were your age. We've both lost our whole families- well, except for Carrie's aunt, anyway. In all essence, she's all I've got left. I don't want to scare her off.

Oh. Milenia came up beside him. From whose side did you get it?

My father. He said his father was a pure blood, and a nobleman at that. Chanaur sighed again. That's all I know about my heritage. I'm just glad I can control the hunger....

Except for that time with the other girl? Milenia looked up at him. Her name was Taolin, right?

Chanaur looked down at her. So, you read minds too?

In some cases. She looked ahead of her.

Chanaur nodded. That was a mistake. I don't want to talk about it, but I've learned to nullify it completely, so don't worry about it.

Ok. They all stood before the door on the west side of entry hall. I'm sorry I didn't trust you at first. Chanaur laughed slightly. Hey, I don't blame you. If a strange man came up to me with traces of vampirism on his soul in a place like this, I wouldn't trust him either.

Milenia hugged his leg. "You're a nice man. I like you."

Chanaur hesitated, then awkwardly patted her on the head. Carrie laughed. Reinhardt shook his head, smiling.

Milenia let go, looking at the others. She opened the door, and went on. Reinhardt thumped Chanaur on the shoulder and went on.

Carrie smiled at him. "What was that all about?"

Chanaur laughed a little nervously. "I'm not sure, myself." He smiled cockily. "It's just one of my many charming abilities I exert over women." He nudged her in the stomach.

"Not all women. You haven't managed to get me yet."

"Ah, the important word there, is yet."

Carrie shook her head. "C'mon." She tugged on his arm playfully, dragging him along with her.

They were in a corridor, with a ceiling made of glass. It led to a sweet smelling room, the door labeled 'rose garden.'

Reinhardt opened the door carefully. He was expecting to see someone; friend or foe, he wasn't quite sure wich.

"Rosa?" He whispered to the woman in the red dress. She turned around, a watering can in her hands. He stepped forward, but Milenia caught his hand.

"You know she's a vampire, right?" She asked, looking up at him.

"Yes. She was stolen from me two days ago. I'm here to get her back." Milenia let go of his hand.

Reinhardt approached her carefully. She didn't seem to recognize him. "Rosa, it's me. Reinhardt..."

"How do you know my name?" She stepped forward. "You do look familiar, though."

"I should." He reached into his chest pocket, and pulled out the black rose, stained red. "Do you remember this?"

Rosa took it gently from him, obviously remembering it. Chanaur and Carrie stood beside Milenia. Rosa looked up at them. "....Yes. I remember now...." Her eyes hardened. "I remember how you let me die!"

Reinhardt's eyes widened. "I tried to-"

"You did not!" She screamed at him. "You let that bastard take me! You let him make me like this, damned to exist forever as a parasite to the living!" She stepped forward, slapping him smartly accross the face, his head turning. "I hate you!"

Blood dribbled out of Reinhardts mouth. He spat it out, glaring at her. "You're not Rosa..."

"I'm not, am I?" She flung herself at him, clawing for his face.

But before she could reach her target, she started choking. She grasped her throat, falling to her knees. Chanaur stepped forward, holding a hand out. "Reveal yourself."

Rosa glared up at him, then morphed into a lizardman. Reinhardt stepped back, taking out his whip. "Foolsssss." The lizardman hissed. "My massster will deal with you. You can be ssssure of that. Assss for Rosssssa, you'll ssssee her shortly." Reinhardt finished the motion, the whip wrapping around the creature's neck, before it was jerked violently, detaching from the rest of its body.

Milenia gasped. The dead body dissapeared, as like all of the rest. In it's place, was Rosa, blinking bemusedly. "What...?"

"Rosa, is that you?" Reinhardt asked carefully.

She looked up, seeing him. Her eyes filled with releif, throwing her arms around him. "Reinhardt.... I'm so glad to see you....." Rosa squeezed him tight for a moment, then released him. "Chanaur... Carrie...." Her eyes fell on Milenia. "Who is this?"

Reinhardt kissed her on the lips. "It's a long story...." He whispered. "I'm just glad you're alright..."

"As much as could be expected...." Rosa's eyes filled with tears. "I'll be fine. Don't worry."

"I won't." He smiled. He pulled away, keeping her hands. "You will live again." He squeezed her hands.

"I know you'll succeed." She started to fade away. Reinhardt frowned as her eyes widened suddenly, seeing something the others couldn't. "Reinhardt... if at all possible, please hurry. I have no idea what he has in store for me, but..." The pupils of her eyes glazed over, becoming completely white. "I love you Reinhardt...." Rosa was gone now, the black rose falling to the floor.

Reinhardt stood unmoving, staring down at the flower. He knealed down, cradling it gently in his palms. His hands shook a little, and placed it delicately back in his chest pocket. He clenched his right hand into a fist, muttering an oath under his breath.

"Remember Dracula.... I will kill you, if you touch her...."

He stood up, his eyes wandering around the garden. "Well." His voice sounded slightly strained. "Let's get going." He stepped through the second door, and closed it behind him.

Chanaur shook his head solemly. He felt a tugging on his arm. He looked down at Milenia. "Is he aware that there's no shame in crying when you have a reason to?"

Carrie sighed heavily. "No, I suppose not." She stood before the door, her hand on the doorknob. "It's a lesson he'll have to learn on his own. God, he is hardheaded."

Chanaur averted his gaze skyward, whispering, "Like somebody else I know....." Milenia giggled.

Carrie gave him a sharp look, but couldn't help but smile. She knew she was stubborn, and she didn't care. "Let's go." She said.

Carrie led the way, into a green carpeted hall, a small stair set led up to a second level, where Reinhardt stood waiting for them.

Chanaur closed the door behind Milenia. They all stood at the top of the stairs, looking around. There were four doors in the main part of the hall, and another one further on down the line. Chanaur sighed. "Well, I guess we spread out. Milenia and I will take this door," He gestured to the first. "Carrie, Reinhardt, pick one." He took her small hand in his and opened the door, as the others walked off to theirs.

Chanaur found himself in a small room, a four-poster bed in one corner, a bunch of chairs and a desk against one wall. There was an open closet, filled with clothes, and to the right of it was another door.

Well, there was nothing of use in this room, so he walked to the door, and opened it slowly.

Behind it was a man in a red trenchcoat, with an enormous cross strapped to his back, and smaller one in his right hand. In his left hand, he held a blue satchel, packed to bursting with all kinds of vials and ampoules. His face was stern, with graying brown hair, and a white beard.

Chanaur's eyes darted to the crosses, again and again, wondering if he had the intuition that Milenia had.

Obviously, he had, because his eyes narrowed. He brandished the cross, and stepped menacingly toward him. Milenia squeezed his hand as Chanaur backed away a little. He took several steps back, befor he circled around him. "Don't move!" He cried out suddenly. "Not even a finger!" The old mans eyes moved from Chanaur's eyes to the silver cross pendant on his necklace.

"All right!" He shouted. "You appear to be a normal human." His voice lowered. He spotted Milenia, and then his face assumed a quizical expression. He shook his head, and proffered his hand. "I'm Charles Vincent. Mightiest of vampire killers."

Chanaur shook his hand, and Milenia stepped carefully forward. "I am Chanaur Majere, White Mage of Wallachia. This is Milenia." He kneeled down, and wrapped an arm around her small shoulders. "She's lost, searching for her mother's soul. It was stolen from her by a resident demon." Milenia waved shyly.

Vincent bent down to kiss her tiny hand, smiling. "Is she related to you?"

"No." Milenia giggled. "Uncle Chanaur here is just the one who found me. Him and Carrie and Reinhardt."

Chanaur blushed a little. So, now it's uncle Chanaur, is it? He asked her. She only smiled.

Vincent found it just as amusing as he did. "And why are you all here?"

"To vanquish the Count."

Vincent literally doubled over laughing. "Don't talk nonesense! Unless Carrie is your mother, and Reinhardt is your father, there is no chance...." His laughter strengthened, and he was unable to talk for a moment.

Chanaur's hands balled into fists. "I fail to see what's so funny."

The door behind him opened, and Carrie came in quietly, looking around. "Chanaur? We've found a locked door, did you see a key in here?"

Vincent fell to the floor, his breath coming out in weezes. "This.... This child is going to....." He stopped suddenly, hovering inches from the floor, suspended by Carrie's magic. If there was one thing she hated, it was being called a child.

Her hand was held out to him, her arm straight out. "Child indeed. I could crush you before you had the chance to blink." Then she stopped, and he fell to the floor with a thud.. "Your Charlie Vincent, aren't you?"

He rubbed his neck. "Yes. I meant no offense, but you should really leave Dracula to me. You have little or no experience, and will surely fall."

"Hey." Chanaur said. "We've gotten this far. It's too late to turn back now."

Vincent smiled wryly, and opened his mouth to say something, but before he could, a splintering crash errupted through the other wall. Milenia screamed, backing away hastily.

A nine-foot tall lizardman stood in the hole, a mace in one hand, and an axe in the other. It snorted, and stomped toward Chanaur.

Vincent stepped back, and pulled a vial of something from the satchel he carried. He threw it at the reptilian, and it exploded in blue flames.

Holy water..... Chanaur drew his sword. Should have thought of that.... He changed it into a chain whip, and hurled the mace head at his right eye.

The Lizardmaster muddled through the fire, but was caught in the eye. It thrashed around, horribly, jerking the flial from Chanaur's hands. His tail whipped around, striking Vincent in the chest. He flew back, hitting the wall. Chanaur heard the vials and ampoules all shatter in his satchel.

And was then caught in the stomach with the creatures tail.

Chanaur flew just over Carrie's head. He felt several ribs crack as he hit the wall. He ground his teeth together. It felt like he had been hit with a barbed tree trunk. He felt the small holes start to drip blood.

Vincent was getting back to his feet, and Carrie was getting ready to destroy the Lizardmaster. The monster looked down at Vincent, snorted, then started towards Carrie.

Chanaur stood up, calling his sword back to his hand. It morphed into a bow, and he drew back a fire arrow.

The left eye exploded in a ball of fire. Reinhardt erupted through the door, just as Chanaur came to stand between the creture and Carrie. He pulled back another arrow.

But before he could spear it through the throat, the creature spewed a stream of acid at Chanaur. He took it in the chest, screaming and falling to the floor yet again. He felt the skin start to melt away, followed by his flesh....

Carrie opened her eyes, hearing Chanaur's scream. She looked down to see him, laying on the floor, ripping his shirt open. She saw his breast, the skin bubbling. Reinhardt kept the giant at bay, and Carrie fell beside Chanaur.

"Good God, are you alright?" She looked at his chest, and her face turned white. She could see the bones of his rib cage.

"I'm fine..." He groaned, his voice strained against the pain. "Teach it some manners, damn it!"

Carrie's mind was ablaze. He had protected her, and he had paid for it. That thing would pay, and dearly. She harnessed that rage, transforming it into energy that she could turn against it.

She raised her arms to the sky, cupping a blue fireball in her hands. It grew several times, until it was as big as Carrie was. She hurled it at the Lizardmaster.

It engulfed the monster, causing it to shriek in twice the pain Chanaur was experiencing. The ear shattering roar ceased as the Lizardmaster was incased in a block of ice. The ice melted, slowly, along with the creature.

The threat gone, the room repaired itself. Yet another illusion.

Although, Chanaur's injury wasn't an illusion.

Milenia was standing over him, her staff clutched in her hand. She touched the small rod to the growing hole in Chanaur's chest, and the damaged slowly repaired itself.

After the hole was closed, he continued to writhe, though.

"What the....?" Carrie said. "What's wrong with him?"

Reinhardt stepped forward, a look of concern on his face. "Poison."

Vincent joined the circle, looking down at Chanaur. "I have a cure ampoule in my satchel...."

"But all the vials were smashed...." Chanaur groaned. Then his back arched, and a scream errupted from his throat.

Carrie bent down and picked him up. She hurried him over to the bed, covering him up in the blanket. He was already turning cold.

Vincent stepped forward with a half broken vial. "Here, this should slow the effects of the venom." He dug around in the closet for a towel.

Carrie stilled his gyrations, to poor the liquid down his throat. He settled down a little, still twitching violently.

Reinhardt and Vincent said they were going to look for another ampoule, rushing off. Carrie produced some ice, and wrapped it in the towel, placing it on his forehead. His face was burning, though the rest of his body was cold.

Milenia stepped carefully forward, peering up at him. "Is.... Is he gonna die?"

Carrie crossed her arms, placing one hand on her cheek. "No, he'll be fine." Milenia looked up at her again, noticing just how worried she was. "I hope....." She muttered.

Milenia then addressed Chanaur. "Uncle Chanaur, are you gonna live?"

Chanaur shook his head. "Honey, don't worry. I'll be alright." He took in a sharp breath. "I hope...."

Carrie drummed her fingers on her face. What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?

Chanaur put a shaking hand on her arm. "Calm down, Carrie. I'll be fine-" He coughed, blood coming to his lips.

Carrie pulled a small cloth from the closet, and used it to dab up the blood.

Chanaur groaned, and sank into the bed. His breathing became shallow, labored.

Carrie sighed. She pulled a chair accross the room, and placed it beside the bed. She stroked his hair, hoping that Vincent would return soon. Milenia sat on her lap, hugging her. Carrie still hadn't taken her eyes from him.

"He'll be okay, right?" Milenia asked quietly.

Carrie squeezed her gently. "He's in God's hand, now."

End Part Seven.

Part 8