Authors: Andrea Wölk
Warriors of Faith
Translated from the German by
, born in Essen, Germany, has loved to lose herself in books ever since she was a child. Her first novel “Was immer dir bleibt” was introduced at the Frankfurt Book Fair and later published under the title “ Der den Regen schenkt” by Oldigor Publishing in 2011. She lives in northern Germany with her husband and six children.
More information under…
First published in
Originally published in German as
Infinitas – Krieger des Glaubens
by Oldigor Verlag, Drostallee 25, 46414 Rhede, Germany.
© 2011 Oldigor Verlag
English translation Copyright
© 2012 by Cate Ryan
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental
For Katherina, Michael, Rouven, Elias, Pauline
You are my true warriors!
He knows his limits
And still he goes too far.
There is no distant fortune
That he would not fight for.
His faith is his power,
There nothing he fights for more.
Again and again
That’s why he is a warrior.
Warriors of Light
Waves splashed over her head and it was bitter cold. The heavy clothes pulled her deeper and deeper into the black depths.
Her beautiful green eyes were full of fear, as she stared in his direction, and although her mouth was moving, she wasn’t able to make a sound.
Her long red hair fanned out under the water and encircled her face like tender fingers. She stretched her arms towards the surface and her legs were twisted in a pirouette, as if she were dancing.
All the while, the sea sucked her ever deeper into it’s domain.
Small, circular bubbles of air escaped from her mouth as she formed the words, but they disappeared into the endless ocean without being heard.
He called out to her, but his words were also muted in the chaos of the water, unable to be understood. He tried to grab her, but his hands only reached into emptiness.
Her dark green eyes pleaded with him as he desperately reached for her, but she continued to slip deeper towards the darkness of the bottom. They looked at each other and for a second, he felt that he could see inside her soul.
His lungs were on fire and felt like bursting if he didn’t reach the surface for air. He was forced to give in to his body and as his head broke the surface of the turbulent sea, he gasped for breath. The ocean waves washed over his face, blinding him for an instant.
All he could see was her stare, full of pleading desperation, burned into his memory, and at that moment of deepest despair, he screamed out her name.
He landed silently on the windowsill and within seconds was in the room surrounded by complete darkness. The powerful vampire stood there for a moment beside the hospital bed looking down at the patient. His skin had recovered well and the other wounds on his body were healing.
The patient had been there for two weeks now and everyday the vampire had come by hoping that he’d come out of the coma. It seemed though, that his body wasn’t yet ready to do so.
Without making a sound, the vampire lifted his own wrist to his mouth and bit into it with his razor-edged teeth and held the open vein out towards the patient, who took in the liquid with his tongue and readily opened his mouth for more.
As the nurse came closer to check the patient-monitoring screen, the vampire disappeared the same way he had come, leaping eight stories from the bathroom window. He landed weightlessly on the asphalt street and disappeared unseen into the thick, ascending fog.
The sound reached him from a distance; a steady rhythm, almost like a heartbeat, yet somehow mechanical.
He listened for a second and then fell back to sleep, sliding to the other side where there was neither sound nor pain.
It took a full day for Channing to regain consciousness, but things were different when he did. There were different sounds; soft, almost whispering voices, as if they were coming from somewhere far away.
His eyelids fluttered slightly, but he didn’t have the energy to open his eyes. Maybe he would later after he had slept more.
He hadn’t done anything over the past 14 days except sleep and let his battered body heal.
He was trying to listen to his body and as far as he could tell, there was no longer any pain. He began to concentrate on the whispering and tried to understand what was being said.
Breathing quietly and not having to exert himself, he heard muted voices, but each word was crystal clear as if they had originated in his own head.
Channing heard footsteps coming closer and tried to open his eyes again. His long thick eyelashes blinked slowly, but as the light from the ceiling caught his irises, he pulled his eyes shut, blinking away from the light, trying to adjust.
Slowly his eyes began to get used to the brightness of the room as he stared blankly at the ceiling. He was becoming more and more aware of his senses as the minutes progressed.
He carefully touched the blanket and breathed in a sterile scent, reminding him that he was in a hospital.
He had a sweet metallic taste in his mouth as if he had bitten his tongue.
The sound of the footsteps continued to get louder and the shape of the ceiling lamp came into focus.
There was something else though. He could feel a presence. The presence of a person he couldn’t see, and that he knew was not close by. It was more perception than reality and this confused him.
Okay, he was in a hospital, but he didn’t feel sick. His senses were clear and his body felt stronger than it ever had before. Something strange was going on.
The door opened and a nurse quietly entered the room. Only at this moment did Channing mentally register the mechanical noise present the entire time, but which he hadn’t noticed.
»There you are! You’re finally awake!« The nurse leaned in over his face. »How are you feeling?«
She raised her meticulously plucked eyebrows in a worried expression, as Channing looked up at her cautiously. He understood her, but something was annoying him. It was the language; the language was foreign. He tried to respond, but he lost his voice in the process. Only a soft scratchy sound came out of his mouth, followed by a coughing attack.
The nurse gently touched his hand and passed him a glass of water.
»Easy, now. Take a sip – it will help.«
After he had taken a drink, he handed the glass back to her and thanked her,
The nurse looked surprised. »You aren’t from here? Can you understand me?«
J‘ai compris, ça va bien!
Yes, I can understand you. Thank you, I’m okay!« he said in perfect English.
The nurse smiled at him. »Good, I’ll call the doctor immediately,« she said as she floated out of the room like an angel.
He looked around the simple room. Besides the bed, there was only a cabinet on the wall, and the table and chair, which the patient-monitoring system was on.
»So, you won’t need the monitoring system anymore!« He looked up and saw the doctor.
He had entered the room silently and lifted Channing’s hand and wrist to check his pulse, after which he quietly used his stethoscope to listen to his heart and lungs. When he lifted up the hospital gown, the nurse looked perplexed and for a moment, nobody said a word.
»Everything seems to be okay, as far as I can tell. We still have to run a few tests tomorrow to be on the safe side.
How do you feel? Can you remember anything?« The doctor examined Channing’s eyes with a little light to test his response.
Channing squinted and looked away, and in a flash, he knocked the light out of the doctor’s hand and it flew across the room.
»It’s ok. Try not to get upset. I understand that you’re a little confused right now.«
»No. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for that to happen.« Channing looked at the flashlight apologetically. The doctor went over, picked it up off the floor and sat down on the bed.
»Try to calm down. Now, can you remember anything? What about your name? What’s your name?«
»My name is Channing McArthur.«
»Can you remember anything else? Do you know where you live – your address? Do you remember what happened?«
Channing considered this for a moment. His head was completely empty. Only his name appeared again and again, but that was all, nothing more.
His memory was nothing but a black hole.
He shook his head.
»No. Nothing. Right now I can’t remember anything clearly.« Confused, he scowled.
»Ok. That’s not surprising after your accident. We’ll run some more tests tomorrow. We have to do a blood test and a CT and then we’ll know more. Try to relax, Mr. McArthur.«
The doctor tried to get up, but Channing held on to his sleeve with so much force that it even surprised himself.
»Doctor, wait! What happened to me? What accident are you talking about?«
The doctor took his case sheet and paged through it.
»Well, you were admitted here at about 1 a.m. 14 days ago after the taxi you were riding in was involved in a car accident. You were severely injured, but so far your injuries have healed very well.
There were two wounds right next to each other near your jugular vein just above your collarbone, as if you’d been punctured. You lost a lot of blood. It’s a miracle you even survived. Luckily your body was able to recover quickly while you were in the coma.
I’ll be able to tell you more tomorrow, after the tests, okay?«
Channing needed a minute to digest this information the doctor had given him.
»An accident in a taxi?«
»Yes, you were in a taxi. You’re lucky someone had the guts to pull you out of the burning vehicle. The driver wasn’t so lucky.«
Channing didn’t touch his dinner. He didn’t feel hungry or thirsty, only uneasy. He couldn’t really grasp what the doctor had told him and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t remember a thing.
His brain was working in overdrive, but the only thing he could remember was his name.
He was starting to get a headache because although his door was closed, he kept on hearing the murmuring voices.
If he concentrated he could even understand individual words being spoken.
It was making him crazy and he wished he could just turn down the volume. When he tried to sleep, he couldn’t because he wasn’t tired at all and the restlessness, which he couldn’t shake, made it even more impossible.
There must be some sort of clue to his identity – someone who missed him.
He got out of bed, first a bit unstable, but as soon as he regained his balance, he walked over to the window and peered outside.
It was already dark, but it was usually dark in the winter. The streets and houses were covered in light snow, which made them look like they were part of a winter wonderland.
He could see the illuminated silhouette of the Space Needle in the distance.
He was in Seattle!
A smile formed on his shapely lips. There were still some things he could recall.
Motivated by this brief moment of success, he moved away from the window towards the bathroom to find a mirror.
The face in the mirror seemed different. His black hair was hanging in his face – it was longer, too, than he’d expected.
Cold, dark grey eyes with thick dark lashes were staring back at him, detecting an aristocratic nose and a sensuous mouth.
He was a good-looking man with full, dark red lips and pronounced cheekbones.
Only the five o’clock shadow made him a little less than perfect.
He rubbed his hand over his rough chin. He could really use a shower and a shave.
Channing turned on the water and pulled the hospital gown over his head. When he looked at his bare chest in the mirror he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. A massive violet black tattoo was wrapped around his torso from his chest, over his shoulders, all the way down his back to his loins.
It was like an endless river twisting its way across his body. When he examined it more closely, he could see that it wasn’t just some random design, but individual letters; letters which could only be read by taking a second look and which from a distance appeared to be strange symbols.
He approached the mirror and tried to read the letters. It was not in a language he knew – either French or English – at least that’s how it appeared at first. As he looked more closely, Channing could decipher a few words, like
. It was Latin! A dead language, but the words quickly came alive.
Primus inter Pares – First among equals
Momento te hominem esse – Remember that you are but a man!‹
Looking at his reflection in the mirror, Channing was confused. Why could he understand this language?
And more importantly, how the hell did this tattoo get onto his body?
And the muscle definition on his chest and essentially entire body didn’t seem to be what he considered average or normal.
He had no memory of ever working out and he couldn’t imagine ever having spent hours in a tattoo studio. None of these things fit to him, but they were really happening – all strange facts about his new life!
The warm water felt good.
And as he let it flow over his body, he could feel every fiber of himself waking up.
The hotter the water got, the better he felt.
Steam began to fill up the shower and the bathroom so that he could hardly see clearly.
He held out his long arms and pressed his hands against the tiles and let the water flow over his lowered head and body. He felt so good – more alive than ever.
He had totally forgotten that he’d recently survived a horrible traffic accident.
A few minutes later Channing wiped the foggy mirror and soaped up his face to shave. Although it was winter, his body was sun tanned and as he lifted the razor to his face, he noticed his enormous biceps.
The size of them surprised him and at that moment the razor slipped from his grasp leaving a small cut on his cheek.
Blood trickled down his face into the sink and left a light red trace as it disappeared down the drain.
Again Channing noticed the sweet metallic smell, which he had tasted in his mouth earlier. At that very moment a burning sensation began around his eyeteeth and a hissing noise emerged from his throat; softly, like the purr of a cat, it came forth out of his body.
His vision changed significantly, too. He saw shapes of objects behind the doors of the cabinet like an x-ray machine. And when he raised his head and looked into the mirror, he saw the face of an unknown creature.
Dark eyes with glowing silver edges were staring back at him, but even more terrifying were the long fangs, which had grown in place of his eyeteeth, flashing hungrily.
Frozen in fear, he was unable to turn away.
He stared into the mirror stunned, taking a few seconds to realize that he has looking at himself.
He fell back from the mirror terrified, screaming with all the force of his body, but all that came out of his mouth was a bloodcurdling growl – a rumble, which left the walls shaking.
Channing resisted the urge to flee the room in panic, but he needed a few minutes before his pulse had returned to normal.
When he reached the basement, he tried to look at himself again in the mirror.
This time his reflection showed him a face with intense grey eyes and normal eyeteeth, even the little cut on his cheek had disappeared, as if it had never been there.