Friday, December 30, 2016


Hunted is a Shadow Sprawl Historical story written by Terri Pray, and continues the current story line begun with Adriana. 

Artwork by Samuel Pray, created using Daz3D, Photoshop and Filter Forge.


Marcius glanced back over his shoulder, eyes wide, nostrils flared as he ran, ears pressed back against his skull, tail even with his body, paws near silent as he moved. They would be looking for him by now, searching through their home and then the surrounding streets. Before long the alert would sound and the guards, when that happened the hunt would begin and they would find him unless the gods were on his side.

The gods. He snorted at the thought. As if they would ever come to his aid. No, he was on his own in this and his family would call out the pack, setting them on his trail until he was dragged back and thrown at his parents feet. Then what? His scant chance at freedom would be stripped away from him, public disgrace would be heaped upon him and he would be the laughing stock of the city.

Am I not one already?

No, he didn’t want to think about that.

They smirk when I walk past them, laugh behind my back and they know - know that I have no choice.

He couldn’t turn back, wouldn’t turn back, not when it meant he’d have to pair off with the woman his family had picked out for him. It didn’t matter that the woman was willing - at least he assumed she was, she hadn’t spoken of it. No, when the announcement had been made, she had lowered  her gaze and kept silent. Meek, submissive and in no way appealing to him, despite the fact that she was a physically attractive young woman.

What good is a mate who is too afraid to stand up and show her teeth?

He shuddered at the thought. No, she wasn’t the one for him. She would find a better mate, one more suited to her temperament perhaps an omega within the pack? As for him, his life wouldn’t be one that was ruled by his family, no, he’d make his own path, find his own way in life even if that meant he could never return to his home, to Rome and to the pack.

I might be able to return one day, when I have a mate of mine own, and children who will strengthen the pack as a whole.

What if that didn’t help, if he still couldn’t return to his home even when he found the female he was meant to be with. His family, could he truly leave them behind for the rest of his life? He turned, looking back at the walls. Even from here he could see the movement of the guards along the wall. No sign of alert yet, no calls, shouts of alarm, but it would come. Soon enough it would come and a patrol would be sent out to find him. At least, it would if his parents had anything to do with it.

Damn them. Why couldn’t they let him choose his own mate? He’d done everything else they’d ever asked him to do. Been a good son, a loyal member of the pack, but picking out his mate was one step too far. Something he couldn’t accept even if they claimed it was for the best.

His top lip lifted in a snarl.

For the best? Did they think him a fool that he didn’t know what was going on? That he had no idea that this was about wealth and position? A means of bonding two families together. A bartering piece, that’s all he’d become to them, all he would ever be. If they dragged him back to Rome, it would be into an unwanted mating with a woman, a female shifter, who wasn’t his true mate.

Marcius snarled and turned as he ran, seeking out one of the smaller trails, one less used than the main trails. They’d assume he’d take the easy path and unless the pack was turned out, these would be humans sent after him, not fellow shifters with their all too sharp noses.

He could shift, use the wolf form to increase his speed but changing so close to the city wasn’t wise. Instead he focused on putting one foot in front of the other, running in human form, his hands clenched into fists, pumping with each new step as he ran, his gaze scanning the path, watching for trip hazards, loose stones, a damaged pathway, anything that might bring him to his knees and eat into the limited time he had.

How long he ran he didn’t know, he had no way of tracking the time save through the passage of the moon across the sky. He ran, following the path he had picked out several days before, ducking under the low hanging branches as he entered the woods. Streams, bodies of water, anything of that nature would help to cover his tracks, something he had to do because sooner or later the pack would be set on his trail.

Branches tugged at his clothing, stones moved under foot and he flinched every time his passage into the trees triggered a loud noise that carried through the crisp night air. If one man, just one, heard it, he’d be caught before he even had a chance to breathe.

Not going to happen. I’m not going to be a part of their games. Not anymore.

His heart raced, lungs ached and burned as he reached a sharp rise and leaned against one of the trees, trying to catch his breath. Was he far enough away to make a difference when they came for him? He frowned, peering through the trees.


No sounds, no movement, nothing but the play of the wind through the trees.

He inhaled deeply, tasting the air, nostrils flaring. Something tugged on his senses and he turned, walking at first, running a moment later, following the scent. Sweet and spicy,  honey and fire rolled into one, mingled with the unmistakable scent of a female.

Follow it. Hunt it down.

The thought flashed through his mind and he’d taken a dozen steps before he had a chance to acknowledge the movement. He paused, frowning, listening to the sounds around him. The soft noise of forest, rodents, deer and small predators. None of them a threat to Marcius nor the cause of his impulse to move toward the scent.

He scowled, forcing himself to stop. The scent, yes it belonged to a female, but not one of his kind, nor a human, but something else.


He shuddered at the thought. They were rare this close to the city, but that didn’t prevent the bolder ones from attempting to seduce some of his people in an attempt to gain a food source. Why would anyone from his pack give themselves willingly to a vampire, a blood sucker who would use them as nothing more than food? His skin crawled at the thought and he shuddered, cold sweat forming and dissipating in the cool air of the late spring evening.

A soft breeze caressed his face, bringing with it the strong aroma of the female, tempting, a mix of spice and sweetness that drew him closer, and he took a dozen steps before he realized what he was doing.

Come to me.

A low growl formed in the back of his throat, hands clenching at his sides, nostrils flaring as he took in the scent again.

You need me. I need you. We can both be free, but only if you come to me.

Siren’s song, strong and beautiful as tempting as the scent that carried on the breeze. Whatever she was, she offered only danger.

Not true, I offer so much more if you have but the strength to answer me, to come to me and listen.

Marcius cursed under his breath. Did he have a choice? Of course he did. He’d had a plan when he left the city, it hadn’t been a mad dash into the hills, but a planned escape. Just as the route he’d taken was one he’d traced out in the days before, paying a handful of people to leave items in arranged locations. The first package, wrapped and buried, wasn’t far. All he had to do was make it to the rocks he’d picked out and dig beneath the north most rock, one with a lightning strike pattern of minerals on the east side of it, and he would have money and a belt belt knife. The money would be enough to purchase a horse from the farm that would be his next stop. It was all so very simple.

So why did his steps now falter?

Why did the voice tug on his senses?

You know why.

He shook his head, trying to throw off the power that the voice held over him.

Come to me. Do not let fear rule you.

He bristled, jaw clenched, teeth bared as he bit back the growl that threatened to slip from his lips. He wasn’t afraid, could not be afraid of a strange female voice. What harm could a woman do to him? Even a vampire female would lack the strength to harm him.

Tempting me, tormenting in a hope I’ll come to her. That I will hunt her down only to give myself to her.

It wasn’t going to happen.

Then I’ll come to you.

The breeze rose again, colder than before, striking a chill into his marrow. He hissed, taking a step back, his hands curled into claws. All it would take was a moment of concentration and the shift would be upon him. “Come then, if you seek prey come and take me if you can, woman.” Did the creature really believe she could defeat a full blood shifter? One trained to fight from the day he could hold a sword? “Do you dare hunt me down?”

Is that what you think? That your handful of years in battle could defeat me if I wanted to kill you? I have no desire to treat you as prey, sweet one.

No, it wasn't that simple. He slammed mental walls into place as realization struck. She could hear his thoughts.

He tensed, if this was a vampire female then perhaps the stories about them were true and they preferred to play with their prey. His top lip curled in disgust. He wasn't prey, would never be prey, and the female would have a fight on her hands if she thought he would bend to her warped desires.

A soft, sensual laugh teased his senses.

“Would you run from me or run to me?” A warm, playful tone touched her words, her voice an erotic melody that tightened his loins. “Perhaps you believe the stories, that my kind forces yours into service. That I would force you to bare your throat to me and drink you unto death?”

“Vampire,” the word a curse.

“A daughter of Lilith,” she corrected.

“A blood beast, one who drains the life from those foolish enough to give themselves to you.”

She sighed and stepped into the shards of moonlight that pierced the canopy of leaf heavy branches. “Only a fool would kill that which they need.” Waist length pale hair brushed over her shoulders and down the length of her back. That, combined with a knee length man’s tunic, barely served to conceal the lush curves of her body from his gaze. “No, that is not why I have come, why I have tracked you down.”

“This is a hunt,” instincts told him to move, but they were torn, between the need to run from this woman and the need to run to her. His cock hardened, balls ached, and the desire to taste her threatened to control him. “And I am no weak thing to be turned into prey for you or anyone else.” Hadn’t he left his home to escape being used as such? “I will choose my own path in life and not you, nor anyone else will prevent me.” Yet his body had other ideas, he took a step and then another before he realized what he was doing, the pull between them far stronger than he would have ever expected.

“I need you.”

“As food,” he snapped.

“No… yes… more than just that though. I need you here.” She pressed the tips of long, elegant fingers over her breast. “I feel it, the pull, it’s more than just you, it’s me.” She ran the tip of her tongue over her bottom lip. “My family will disown me for this, if I let this feeling claim me, yet… I can’t…” she ducked her head, eyes half lidded as she turned a half step away. “I must go.”

He moved, letting the wolf claim him, shifting shape within the first step. Cloth fell away, paws hitting the ground as he launched himself at the woman. He struck, claws kept away from her skin as he let his weight carry her to the ground. She grunted, twisting beneath him, eyes wide as she looked up into his eyes, her long pale hair splayed out against the damp earth, lips parted as her breath came in rapid gulps as a single word claimed his thoughts.


To Be Continued. 

Friday, December 23, 2016


Adriana the first episode in a new Historical Shadow Sprawl Story by Terri Pray.

Artwork by Samuel Pray, created using Daz3D, Photoshop and Filter Forge.

Water dripped from her form, clinging to the curves of her breasts as Adriana rose from the center of the pool. A light breeze played across the surface of the water, lifting small ripples into points as she moved toward the shore. Goose flesh rose across her skin as the breeze touched her wet and naked form, yet she did nothing to ease the chill that seeped into her form.

“I don’t understand how you can do that to yourself.” The words filtered out from behind the thick trunk of a tree as the woman who laid claim to it stepped into line of sight. “The cold must be enough to steal your breath away, yet you spend every chance you get neck deep in a pool or river.”

Adriana smiled as she moved through the water, lingering in the reeds for a moment. The sand moved beneath her feet, burying itself between her toes as she shifted her weight, trailing one hand over the surface of the pool. “Bathing is relaxing, you should try it sometime, for something other than getting clean.” Was she the only one among her sisters who found that soaking cleared her mind?

No, she couldn’t be. Her mother enjoyed it as well, though she seldom wandered far from their home and preferred the bathing chamber if for no other reason than to silence wagging tongues.

“In hot water, maybe.” The other female snorted, her top lip curled in disgust. “Where we have attendants who will provide clean linen, in a room warmed by fire or brazier, but out here?” She shook her head, her long dark curls brushing over her shoulders with the movement. “This is foolish. You will become chilled to the bone and then what? Will you become sick as well?”

“No.” She rarely felt the cold.

“I don’t understand why you do this, why the cold doesn’t bother you the same as it does everyone else.”

“Perhaps it’s the nymph blood?” Adriana teased as she stepped out of the water. Did they all think her strange? Of course they did, she wasn’t the same as they were, though many carried magic from other sources, their family lines mingled with human and magic touched races alike. Yet her differences were closer to the surface, despite the fact that she had been born into the line of Lilith.

And that is why they watch me.

“Please don’t say that, there are enough in the family who already think you tainted by your mother’s blood.”

A flicker of a frown creased Adriana’s brow but she forced her features back into the calm smile she habitually wore. “She has never denied the stories, that her family line held a touch of the nymph before she was changed.” Odd how others in her family had a problem with her blood line when that magic infused blood was the very reason her mother had survived the turn and then had been able to give birth to a vampire daughter. “We all have something within our family line that isn’t quite vampire. Yet that is forgiven or forgotten when we are turned, or that is how it is supposed to be.” Even as she spoke she knew life wasn’t like that, her people, the daughters of Lilith, were proud of their background, their ties to Lilith.

“No, but it would have made your life a lot easier if she had denied it, or at least not engaged others when they spoke of her birth. Yes, she is one of us now, just as you are, born and reborn into the line of Lilith, but she will not forget where she comes from, what she was before she was turned. She revels in her ability to use water, to spin it to her whims, use it as a weapon against others. She even uses it against those who are members of her family. She is foolish and because of that she will never rise within the family. Never become more than a daughter of low rank.” The woman at the edge of the pool sighed and held out a large piece of linen. “Please, it’s time you stepped out of the pool. You’re making me feel cold.”

Adriana arched an eyebrow. How could she feel cold when she was doing nothing but standing there, holding a piece of cloth out? No, that wasn’t a conversation she was about to get into, not when it would be a waste of time. The words were, no doubt, another way of trying to convince Adriana that she was being foolish by openly admitting the nymph blood that tainted her being. Silently she stepped out of the last of the water and into the waiting drying linen, closing her eyes as the cloth was draped around her damp form.

“We need to hunt.” Liliana announced, her words clipped.

“You need to hunt but I know where my prey waits for me.” Adriana opened her eyes, smiled and reached for the cloth, holding it against her body. “It is you that has no source easily to hand.” She glanced over at the other woman. Was it wrong to want to lord it over Liliana? Perhaps, yet Liliana had done it to her time and again. “His pack will not come to you, but this one will come for me soon. I can feel it, the pull between us, Liliana.”

Liliana scowled and stepped back away from the water, her shoulders stiff, arms folded beneath her breasts. “You’re mistaken, they will come to me, all I have to do is send out the call and one or more of his pack will willingly give me their veins. They are, after all, but males and sex is something that will tempt them.” The woman looked back at her. “Not that they will be allowed to touch me. I would not waste the chance of a daughter on sex with a beast.”

“A beast?” Adriana arched an eyebrow.

“Shifters are one step away from animals and if their blood did not carry the magic that feeds us, I would have nothing to do with the filthy creatures.” Liliana scowled, her voice cold. “Nor would you if you had any sense.”

“They shift their shape, so they’re animals to you?”

“Yes, what else could they be? Male beasts fit only for food or work.”

Is that what Liliana truly thought about the males they fed from? Not that they fed only from males, but Liliana preferred that as her choice of meal. Females, after all, deserved better after the way they were treated by their own kind or the sons of Caine. At least, that was the excuse Liliana, and those like her, used.  It wasn’t something Adriana could understand. Just as she found fault with the idea that males were foolish. Yes, there were issues, and those of their own species who were sworn to the service of Caine were a true problem, but not all males were like that.

Just as not all daughters of Lilith felt that males were nothing more than a food source, or brute labor.

“Your male will need some taming if you would use him more than once.” Liliana shrugged as she stepped back, casting her gaze over the trees. “Shifters are a dangerous, brutal lot who seldom listen. It would be better for all of us if they were under the control of our kind instead of allowed to run free, ruling lands of their own. Perhaps, in time, the elders will see sense and allow us to tame these creatures.”

“Even the women?” Adriana tugged her tunic from a nearby branch and pulled it over her head.

“They’re little more than animals.”

Adriana caught her bottom lip between her teeth, taking a moment to put her thoughts into order. Was it worth the energy to fight with Liliana? She glanced over at the other woman and shook her head. No, it wouldn’t matter what she told Liliana, the woman’s beliefs wouldn’t change. She, like so many others, saw the other magic users as nothing more than a source of food and brute labor. That was a mistake, but women like Liliana would never believe that, no matter how often they were told otherwise. Instead they clung, willingly, to the ideas passed down by those who would happily reduce all magical creatures except vampires, to nothing more than slaves.

The inclusion of the female shifters in all of this was new. What had happened to Liliana?

Even as she tried to find the right words, ones that would allow her to find out what had changed her companion, Liliana lashed out with another verbal attack.

“You’re weak, Adriana. Weak and foolish if you think they could ever be our equals. We drink from them, we use them, how could they be equal to us?”

Fury rose, tightening her skin as she smoothed down the tunic and took a step toward the other woman. “I am not weak.”

“Yes, you are, and one day you’ll realize that, hopefully before you make a mistake that will cost you your life.”

Adriana closed her eyes and counted under her breath. Anger wouldn’t help her, rage would lead to mistakes and there was a man who would be waiting for her before the moon set and the sun crept its way into the sky. “And you continue to try and change my behavior. One would almost think that you’ve been told to do this, that someone else has set you at my side as my teacher.” She paused long enough to put her thoughts and words into order, taking care to keep her tone calm. Liliana was powerful, most of the daughters of Lilith were, but her magic, the energy she tapped and used, was stronger than almost anyone else Adriana had ever known. Yet she lacked discipline, at least discipline she could claim as her own instead of the structures set in place through her own discoveries.

Blind. Obedient.

No, it was more than that, she knew what she was doing, wanted to please the other women in their home, and she used those connections she built in order to secure her place within the family.

I could do the same thing. Follow the unwritten rules and work my way through the ranks of my sisters until I stand side by side with women like Liliana.

It would be more than that, she’d become the next lady if she followed their rules, all of those rules. Yet that wasn’t who she was, not in her heart.

“Would it be so wrong to help you see the error of your ways? You wouldn’t be the first daughter of Lilith to be mistaken in their beliefs, nor the first to find out how the world truly works and seek redemption.” Liliana smiled, though it didn’t reach her eyes. “If you can’t adapt, if you can’t accept everything that is a part of how we live, then you will one day find that you are no longer welcome among your sisters and even your mother will be unable to help you.”

Horror chilled Adriana to the bone. Was this what was going on then? Her family wanted rid of her or was it more likely a small number within their family who had banded together to make this threat? Either way, it left Adriana sickened and fighting to keep her reaction from showing. “Perhaps that will happen, or perhaps others within our family will see the error of their ways and realize that those with magic in their blood are far more than mere food.”

Laughter filled the small glade as Liliana took a step toward Adriana, power radiating from Liliana as she spread out her fingers, arms lifted from her sides, energy crackling between her fingers. “If you truly believe that, then you are a fool, sister mine. You will learn, the hard way. Oh, I had hoped you would learn the error of your ways, but you still hold onto your beliefs.”

Adriana closed her eyes for a heartbeat, tapping the power that rolled through her body. The water, it was close enough that she could use it as a weapon, one that she knew Liliana lacked the ability to deflect. Calm and focused she opened her eyes, fixing her gaze on the woman who was a sister in all but blood. “Would you strike me down, Liliana? Is that why you come with me, to see if it was time to attack me?”

Liliana arched an eyebrow, her full lips twisted into a cruel smile. “Why else would I be here?”

To Be Continued. 

Friday, December 16, 2016


Silence is a Tyme setting story by Terri Pray
Artwork by Samuel Pray created using Dax3D, Filter Forge and Photoshop

Her hands clenched, nails digging into her palms, jaw tight as she tried to shut it out. It didn't work, the high-pitched screech of a voice that rose and fell at odd points in time, continued to plague her. Brenda closed her eyes, breathing slowly in through her nose and out through her mouth, counting under her breath to twenty before she gave up. She glanced up, watching the play of clouds across the sky. Large, white, fluffy, they stood out against a brilliant blue sky. Trees rustled behind her, heavy with deep green leaves, the first hint of apples here and there, and bright blue flowers growing beneath their glory.


A place of peace in an otherwise busy world.

Her gaze shifted, for a moment, to the outline of the high temple of Thanatos, a mix of elegant spires and black stone. Like the park it was one of the few places she could relax, away from the stress of it all.

"Are you listening to a damned word I'm saying?"

Brenda flinched.

"What do you think this is? A fucking game?" The woman continued to pace her way through the small park. "This isn't a joke. I've spent the last three days trying to get an answer from you people and all you have to tell me is the results aren't in yet."

She had to remain calm. Losing her temper wouldn't help. The woman wasn't the type to care who she upset or what she did, as long as it got her what she wanted.

"Fuck you! Get me your goddamn supervisor! Now!"

Brenda reached for her sandwich, breaking off a small piece before she tossed it toward the gathering of birds. The largest broke off, lifting into the air before it dived down onto the piece, pinning it to the ground before he attacked. Small beak tearing the bread apart with obvious glee. A dozen other birds followed him, pushing and shoving in an attempt to grab a piece, their calls ringing out, adding a natural background noise she could live with. An hour a day, that's all she ever managed to steal for herself out here. Her lunch, five days a week, a break from the office and the constant jostling for power that took place between the men and women working there. Oh, sure, they'd try it on each other, that was just a part of their nature, whereas she was a welcome distraction.

High heels clicked their way along the path, long legs, an expensive business suit, perfectly coiffed hair and an attitude that made it clear that she didn't care who got in her way, she'd walk over them, through them or on them, as long as she got what she wanted.

Don't look at the woman, it won't help the situation.

Brenda glanced at the birds and then back at the woman, despite her desire to ignore the loud presence, and frowned. She paced, her steps angry and determined, never faltering as she advanced along the path toward the birds. Would she give them a chance to move?

The click, click, click sound drew closer and the first of the birds lifted from his place, taking flight, circling once before it found a safer place among the trees.

Tension built across Brenda's brow, crawled down her neck and into her jaw. She shot the woman a look, one the suit wearing, loud voiced, intruder ignored. Just as she ignored the fact that the park was a quiet zone. You had a call, you placed it on pause and moved elsewhere, out of the park.

Not according to this woman. Either she hadn't seen the rules or, more likely, didn't think they applied to her.

"Nasty, dirty things," the woman hissed, kicking at the birds as they scattered, lifting into the air in a cloud of colorful feathers and noise. "Shouldn't be allowed."

Brenda's fingers clenched on the box holding the remains of her lunch.

"No, not you." The intruder hissed at the person on the other end of the call. "Are you a supervisor?"

Brenda looked away from the woman. She wasn't there. No one was there with her. It was just Brenda and the birds, nothing else mattered.

"Then get me a goddamn supervisor!" The woman turned, stalking back down the path. "What the seven hells is wrong with you people?"

Perhaps they were tired of dealing with people like this woman? She looked back down at the path, at the remains of the crumbs. Sooner or later the birds would return, but with the way the woman paced, she'd walk back through the flock, scattering them again.

What had they done to her?

Brenda scowled at the woman, her gaze fixed on the communicator. The rules were clear, the silence code enforced here, but where was an officer when she needed one?

"If you think I'm going to call another number, you're insane. Escalate the call, you know how to do that, don't you? Or do you need written instructions!" The woman's voice rose to a shrill scream.

Brenda pressed her hands against her ears, covering them. Shut up, the woman had to shut up. Didn't she understand why people came to the park?

Pain, pressure and tension warred behind her eyes. Her chest tightened, sweat beaded across her brow and across her breasts.

"If you hang up on me, I'll call back again and again until you deal with this mess!"

Tears burned in Brenda's eyes, pain lanced - sharp needle points - into the back of her eyes and she hissed, trying to breathe through it. She wouldn't lose control, not this time, this woman wouldn't push her to breaking point. She was stronger than this, better, she'd learned to control her temper but the migraines were another matter. God, she needed silence, blessed peace and quiet, just enough time to resettle herself before she returned to work.

"You piece of shit!" The woman pulled the communicator away from her ear and glared at the small piece of plastic. "You hung up on me, you ignorant…oh it's on. It's so on."

"No more," Brenda whispered. "Please, no more."

It wouldn't stop, no matter what, the other woman wouldn't stop. Anger, aggression, frustration, they rolled off the stranger in dark, sullen waves. Pain and nausea mixed, turning Brenda's vision into a kaleidoscope of mud touched colors with flashes of brilliant white.

"This isn't over," the woman growled at the communicator and stabbed a finger at the control. "Hang up on me, will you? Let's see how this works for you."

No, no more, she couldn't handle it. Peace, silence, relaxation, that's what she came here for, not this, not the shrill cries, the angry words, the ignorance and hatred that emanated from the woman and her conversation with the stranger on the end of the line.

Stop it, don't let it happen. Go to the temple, they can help, can bring it under control again.

Vibrations ran through her body, her vision narrowed, pinpoint focused on the communicator. Light blinded her, bright, sharp, needlepoints that pierced through her eyes and into her skull. Pressure exploded through those points, burning a path until she gasped and rocked back on the bench she had claimed as her own. Fire and darkness consumed her, eating her from the inside out only to vanish, die in the moment between one heartbeat and the next.

A scream, high and pain filled, broke through the daze that followed and she blinked, trying to focus on the source.

The woman curled on the floor, one hand stretched out, the melted remains of the communicator smoking in the palm of her burned and blackened hand, the scream fading, easing into hysterical sobs and gulps for air.

Brenda rose, rubbing one hand against her temple as she turned and walked away from the woman, following the path out of the park before she activated her communicator. Her gaze fixed on the Silence ruling at the top of the park regulations and a slight smile tugged at her lips. "Hello, yes… can you sent a medical team to River Park…yes, I'm afraid there's been a small accident… stay, no I'm sorry, I need to be elsewhere…. Where? Oh, the temple. Yes, that's right, I'll be right there if you need me."

Where else could she go now, except to the only place that would grant her the silence she needed…