"You four! Go, reinforce Malwrich! The rest of you, encircle the carriage, protect the young lord!" The good inquisitor barked his orders as the cadre of young, but professional knights stood to attention, dismounting their horses and moving into formation within the blink of an eye, the only indication to their joint movement being the beating of plate boots on rough ground.
The crowds in front of us dispersed within moments, as effeminate screams and guttural yells filled the air from all sides, with the knights acting as a pseudo-wall of flesh, protecting my carriage from being knocked over by the rabid peasant hordes. Unfortunately, not all of those gathered around managed to escape in time; with some being run over by their fellows, crushed beneath the falling marble rubble of the balcony, or simply being unlucky enough to end up too confused to move out of the combat zone before being torn apart by the now-raging vampire lady.
Said lady quickly leaped to the nearest shade and collected herself with stunning speed, before making some sort of makeshift-rune symbols in thin air. "[Physical Refashioning]!" A shrill tone echoed from her half-burned flesh as immense, black mana gathered around her, suffusing itself unto her flesh, changing it within moments. Her muscles visibly strained, her long hair falling off and bones reshaping themselves into what was clearly a far more combat-effective physical form than the beautiful facade she was using earlier. In fact, the only thing left indicating that this was still the same woman was the torn up-dress she was wearing, along with her face, although the latter looked far less adorable and far more infernally furious now.
Oh, and also, much to the dismay of everyone present, her boobs shrunk till she was flat. I know, I know, combat efficiency and all, but damn if it doesn't feel like a slight shame seeing that.
Malwrich was quick to take advantage of his foe's seeming momentary defenselessness and leaped into action. "Light, guide my blade!" His own exclamation echoed throughout the street as his blade seemed to glow with golden light, magic flowing through its edges even though I'm certain no spell had been cast. In any case and in spite of rushing the vampire with clear zeal, the knight was easily repelled as the newly-refashioned vampire sent a gale of wind powerful enough to stall the charging knight by what seemed to be virtue of her strength alone. For his part, Malwrich merely shielded his eyes from the blast before regaining his footing.
For the vampire lady however, this was more than enough bought time to cast another spell, as she, biting through the obvious pain of being struck by stray rays of sunlight, seemed to force blood to explode from her hands, with every inch of that beatific fluid being filled to the brim with magic. "[Blood Shawl]!" Another exclamation escaped her as her wounds firmly shut themselves and a thin layer of see-through blood began to coat her entire body, eternally flowing in an unnatural manner. Seemingly satisfied with herself, the vampire leapt fearlessly into the light of the sun, causing my eyes to widen as whatever magic she just used seemingly made her immune to the aforementioned light.
Within an instant, their roles were reversed, with the baroness firmly pressing the attack on our errant knight, sending blow after blow of her jagged, bladed nails, striking against his still-blessed sword. She would have quickly overwhelmed him had it not been for the Inquisitors quick command, as four of the captains squad members rushed to his aid in reinforcement, their blows demanding noticeably less of the vampires attention, though they served well with buying Malwrich the time he needs to continue the fight without dying.
Protecting Malwrich however, meant that the knights could not protect the fleeing civilians, which allowed the vampire an opportunity to refuel herself, dragging an unfortunate woman out of the crowd, biting deeply into her neck and draining her into a hollow, blackened corpse, the husk of a formerly living thing, within the fraction of a second. Truly, in spite of being what she is, I can't help but appreciate her, as a fellow predator, that is.
"You seem to be enjoying the show, your highness." A droll tone, much calmer than it'd been a mere few moments prior, echoed from within the carriage and I turned my head to find the inquisitor staring at me rather... well, inquisitively. I merely nodded towards him in response and sat back in, drawing my head from the window in the process, barely having noticed when exactly I glued my face to it beforehand.
"I am. Its an impressive fight." Harkon quirked an eyebrow at me before sighing. "You see a monster performing terrible dark magic, as well as heinous blood magic and all you can think of is how impressive the resulting combat is...?"
He sighed and shook his head. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised by anything from you at this point. Pray tell, how did you know that the countess was a vampire?"
I tilted my head in confusion and blinked. "Uh, I told you, her heart isn't beating."
His gaze only became ever more suspicious. "And how could you possibly have realized that from here? Do you perhaps wish to say that you have some sort of supernatural hearing?"
It does not take a genius to realize that my next words are a deciding factor of my life or death. Regardless, I could not help myself and gave out a massive sigh towards the inquisitor. "I do not. I used blood magic on myself and in the process, felt the blood flowing through everyone around me, except hers."
A merest twitch of the body was what I saw before the inquisitors sword was firmly placed against my throat. "So you ARE a heretic! A child whom has made a pact with a devil for power! Oh, Light, damned is the Lumenhart bloodline to possess one such as thee!"
I didn't even move, merely looking the inquisitor directly in the eye. "... a pact with a devil? What are you talking about?"
"Don't play coy with me, boy! I know not how your patron managed to sneak into the mansion, what with all of its protective warding and-" He went silent as I took out the bottle of highly concentrated alco- I mean, holy water out of my pocket. His eyes seemed to flash over it, before some sort of realization struck him and his shoulders slumped, sword dropping onto the ground and the old man himself, practically smashing back into his own chair within the carriage.
He didn't say anything and honestly, I didn't know how to respond. Harkon just seemed so... defeated.
I turned my attention back to the fight. "Show me." A demand threw my attention back towards Harkon, with the man seemingly having regained some of his spirit.
"What?..." I questioned him, with more than a little of my attention being drawn away to the fight instead. "Your 'blood magic'. Show it to me."
A few moments of uncomfortable staring ensued, before Harkon busted out laughing like a madman. "What's this?! You're fine with telling an inquisitor that you practice heretical magic, but when it comes to showing it off, you are cowed?!"
"No, its just..." Clicking my tongue in quickly-forming frustration, I sat firmly back onto my seat. "I have no clue how to show it to you?"
Now, for some reason, that made Harkon blink and seemingly recollect himself. "You cannot show it to me? And yet, here I was expecting you'd slit your wrist and move a ball of blood around in an almost, taunting, manner."
My head tilted even further to the side. "Is that how people normally use blood magic?"
Harkon offered me an exasperated sigh. "'People', do not use blood magic. Monsters, daemons and vampires, as well as those filthy heretics to whom these vile fiends grant such powers to, use blood magic!... but to answer your question, a blood mage is any heretical magus whom spills and therefore sacrifices their blood to create dark mana, which they then use in all manner of vile, heretical spells."
Then he looked at me, and sighed again. "Though from your stupefied gaze, I can tell that you have absolutely zero clue what I'm on about at all."
I merely shrugged in response. "Well, I don't know how to or why someone would even do that. I just use my mana to influence my own blood. Y'know, empower my heart, control blood flow, stimulate muscle growth-"
"All of which are incredibly dangerous things to do and yet, here you are, a child telling me that they do all of these potential-suicidal things, on their own, without any prior knowledge or understanding." Harkon pointed out, still staring right at me.
Feeling somewhat sheepish, I shrugged and rubbed the back of my head as I thought to myself. "Well, I can't exactly tell you that all of my medical knowledge and body understanding comes from a past life I suddenly remembered, can I?..."
"Uh, I guess? Anyways, what I was trying to say was that while I was regulating my own blood flow, I sort of, uhm, 'noticed' the blood flow of others, right? And the baroness just didn't have any so..." Harkon's intense gaze simmered for a bit, before he let out another sigh.
Then he himself turned his attention towards the fight, muttering just loud for me to hear. "You act like a child in only the most disturbing of ways, your highness. In any case, your magic is not blood magic and I suggest you start calling it something else in the future."
Call it something else? I guess that's a fair point, but what?...
Hemomancy! Yes, that's what fantasy novels often called blood magic back on Earth. Might as well copy the name.
Anyways, onto more interesting views...
"Rhaaargh!" A man grunted out in pain as I saw a knights body fly into a nearby tree, bleeding and bruised, with another knight being firmly knocked to the ground, and into it, to some degree. Both men seemed to still be alive, although terribly wounded nonetheless. The Inquisitor practically leapt out of the carriage at the sight, the mans former paranoia seemingly forgotten in the face of the vampire.
Much to her credit and in spite of being surrounded, the undead lady seemed to be doing rather well for herself, with the knights all appearing terribly exhausted, albeit not much worse for wear, some scratched and minor bleeding wounds on all of them. Malwrich looked to be the least hurt, despite having the most blood splashed onto his armor, all of which, I assume, was unwillingly donated by either a stray peasant, or the vampire herself.
The mana around her body seemed to flicker, indicating that the vampire was losing focus, the extended battle seemingly taking its toll on the otherwise inexhaustible, undead creature, inevitably causing the knights to drive her ever more closely into a corner. Thing is, that 'corner' was my carriage. Being decidedly unwilling to suddenly end up as the vampire's involuntary hostage, I promptly closed my window and leaned back into my seat once again, making an effort to hide myself as much as possible.
"Great Lord Treston, [bless] us with thyne grace and power, that we may yet smite this unholy foe!" Harkon's gruff voice echoed from the outside, though I could not see what exactly was going on anymore. Still, the threads of holy magic which I could feel gathering as the inquisitor uttered his spellwork gave me a curious idea...
Focusing unto myself, I heightened my senses as much as possible, rushing blood and beating hearts quickly finding their way into my sensations. Within moments, I smiled to myself as I began to feel 'them'. The others, other living beings, as well as the freshly spilled blood covering each and everyone around.
The vampire herself, included. The weakening cloak of blood she'd made for herself made her an obvious target for my newfound power. "Hmm..." I found myself lost in thought. Everyone here seems to have named their magic, so I should too, right? Its somewhat embarrassing, though.
"[Vital Sonar]." I muttered out the name of the magic to myself, finding it suddenly much easier to gather the mana both from within and without, forming the magic I intended to cast within an instant. Seems like its much easier to cast something when you physical speak the name of the spell. Maybe because its easier to visualize it? Or perhaps this is due to some dumb rule made by a magic god somewhere out there...
In any case, I could now fairly easily follow the fight outside. However, it seems to be nearing its end, as the vampire lady was almost firmly cornered against the carriage, her back practically planted against my own door. "Enough of this! [Holy Chains]!" Harkon exclaimed angrily towards the vampire, as metallic chains of golden light burst out of the ground and stacked themselves against the vampire.
"Argh! Mortal fools, such weak magic will nev-!" Her voice was cut off as the knights approached and extended their hands towards the inquisitor, feeding their own mana into his spell and temporarily overpowering the vampire. "Malwrich! We can't keep this up forever, take her down, NOW!" Harkon barked at the top of his lungs as the man in question took a few much-needed breaths to steel himself and began to channel his own magic into his glowing sword, seemingly intent on killing the vampire in one, heroic slash.
"REEAARRGH!" The vampire lady began to rip the chains off of herself with impressive speed, heavily overpowering the amount of chains that the spell seemed to be able to create. Malwrich's attack, heroic or otherwise, would not make it in time.
I let out a sigh as I felt my carriage be rocked back and forth as the violent vampire kicked everything it could as she attempted to free herself from the chains. "A scythe wouldn't work..." I muttered to myself as I reopened my eyes and got off my seat, somehow maintaining my balance within the carriage despite the unstable footing. I looked around for a moment, trying to think of a good weapon, when it suddenly dawned on me!
"Knights!; they use lances, right?" A dark smile etched itself upon my expression as the mana I was gathering finally began to take shape. Positioning myself right behind the vampire lady, I drew back my arm and envisioned the lance forming around my right hand... then, as the mana reached its zenith, I shouted, with clear pride and in spite of my hidden embarrassment. "[HEARTJOUST]!"
Within moments, my lance of pure, glowing crimson ruptured through the wood of the carriage and straight through the chill heart of the Baroness, her expression twisting in fear, horror, pain and surprise as she turned and twisted her neck in an unnatural manner, deciding in her final moments to look at the face of her killer.
"W-... wh-o..." She managed to mutter out, weakly, as her focus faded and therefore her spell dispersed, causing one final shrill scream to echo outwards as the vampire melted alive, the burning rays of the sun turning her to dust in mere moment on my lance.
And once the ashes were gone, the stunned expressions of the inquisitor, the knights, as well as a very confused Malwrich, came into view. Oh boy!; it seems more explanations are in order...