Adela looked on in horror, unable to bear the sight below. She winced as crimson blood spilled down the pale cheek of the one she loved. Another hand swept in with killing intent, shattering the bone it connected with. Adela looked away from the carnage and turned towards her father, tears streaming down her face. The man next to her didn't even bother to reciprocate the gaze that begged him to intervene. Instead of saving her secret lover, Adela's father watched the execution. His expression was cold and emotionless, just as it always was.
Cassius ducked, dodging another strike from his opponent Master Kres. He aimed a slash of his own but caught a knee to his chin instead. Adela's hands shot over her mouth. The sound of bone splintering was nearly audible from where she sat up in the VIP seats of Crichton's high arena. Cassius lay sprawled out on his back yellow eyes with black slits glaring down at him. A cruel and crooked smile was smeared across Kres's face, his teeth and fangs stained red from the one solid hit Cassius had managed to land on him earlier. That victory was short-lived, however. Kres's superior healing factor was already causing his molars and fangs to shift back into place.
"Father, please!" Adela begged.
Aquilo made to silence her with a raised hand, a gesture that normally worked. However, she was persistent and desperate. She had always been stubborn but she abhorred the thought of losing the one she loved. Adela blinked hard. She couldn't recall how long she had been seeing Cassius. It could have been months, years, or centuries. She thought about leaping down into the stadium herself but knew her father would strike her down as soon as she tensed her muscles to jump. She looked at him, with rage and despair in her eyes.
"You have to do something! He's going to die! Cassius is one of us! An Augustan!”
Aquilo blinked slowly before turning his paralyzing blue gaze on his daughter. He looked at her from the corner of his eye, his expression stern. "He is no such thing." He said flatly. "He is an outcast sentenced to exile. This was the fool's own doing, I'm afraid he'll have to face the consequences of his choices."
Aquilo's neck snapped, giving her his full attention for the first time since they had arrived in the neighboring country of Crichton. Adela fell silent, there was nothing left she could do. Arguing with her father would only anger him further. She knew he was already disgusted with her for crying, she'd have to dry her tears before she left the private spectators booth. It wasn't acceptable for a High Noble such as herself, or even a plain Noble to be seen in such a manner. All she could do now was pray to Solange that Cassius could find a way to turn this battle around.
Kres grabbed his prey by the silvery-white hair of his scalp, pulling him to his feet. Cassius swung once more but the king of Crichton swatted his hand to the side with little effort. He thrust a fist into his abdomen and Cassius's ribs gave way collapsing under the blow. His body flew several feet before hitting the ground where he rolled in a cloud of dust. Master Kres, was well known for toying with his victims and playing with his food, as was the rest of his vampiric house.
Cassius coughed, blood leaking into places it shouldn't be. His body would heal and correct itself but not before he sustained another injury. He gritted his teeth, choking as he tried to form the words- "Finish it already." He managed.
"Begging are we?" The arrogant voice of Master Kres filled the air. He waved a flamboyant hand as he spoke, "This is my favorite part. Where I listen to you plead about why I should spare your pathetic little life. You came to me. YOU CHALLENGED ME! And you've lost." A smile crept across his face once more. "What did you think would happen against the House of Kres, and the Lord of Crichton? You're a worthless excuse for a vampire. Oh, your right. For the dignity of our kind, you must be exterminated." Kres chuckled.
Cassius struggled to his feet taking advantage of Kres's soliloquy to draw power from the human blood he'd previously consumed. He could feel the last of his bones shift into place as his broken leg mended. He wouldn't have enough energy or blood in his system to heal again, this would likely be his last round.
Adela looked down into the pit of an arena, Cassius's face was hard to make out from such a distance, but she could tell he'd reached his limit. If there was ever a time she wished her father was wrong it was now more than ever, but even she knew he couldn't win this one, and her father was never wrong. She shut her eyes tight and tried to remember a better time, to picture Cassius's face happier and unbloodied but oddly nothing came. Adela couldn't remember his facial features at all. It came as a shock to her that she was crying over a lover whose face she couldn't even picture. Surely he hadn't been in exile that long. Guilt gripped her hard as Cassius looked up from the arena. Hundreds of vampiric eyes and even some human ones looked down on him, but he locked eyes with only one person. Her. Cassius had no doubt remembered Adela's face after all this time. Even in a crowd, and at a distance he was able to identify her.
Kres was close now to the spot Cassius had landed earlier. He opted for a more dramatic walk rather than using his vampiric speed to finish him off. Whether he had exhausted his blood stores or was just toying with Cassius was impossible to tell while he wore that smug look. Adela wanted to smack it right off his face but wasn't sure she could even if she tried. Cassius touched a hand to his heart and then tore his gaze away from Adela. It was time, he was going to make his final stand.