Life in the Venatori is different than most realize, except for other Venatori of course. It’s like living in a story book world where the monsters and the heros all exist. As a kid growing up before really knowing what life as Venatori meant I idolized the stories I was told. But not the ones every other kid grows up with. To me swinging from a spider web was impossible but yet I knew of men who could swing from buildings with ease. Super strong like Superman, sure. I could just watch the men and women in the gym pound each other with fists of steal and life refrigerators without sweating. Run fast like the Flash? No problem at least for Venatori.

I wasn’t Venatori, well not completely. My mother was human. I was improbable. My father was Venatori. Turns out in the grand scheme of things the very same man whom I’d idolized as a child was my father. Ironic really. A man I looked up to. He was the pinacle of what it meant to be a Venatori hunter. He was strong, and agile. He had the gift of foresight. He had more monster kills than nearly every other man in the Venatori. But as a child I didn’t know he was my father, my hero could have been so much more.

Now that I know. Everything I ever idolized as a child is gone. How could a man who had a family not love another son? What had I done to deserve his lack of caring? It was a hard thing to handle when I found out my father was this man I idolized. He fell from that place on high when I found out I was nothing to him. I hated him for not knowing me. For not caring enough to get to know me. I wanted nothing to do with him or his kin.

I’m sure being sent away jaded my experience as well. I knew that coming back home would create tension and issues. But what I hadn’t counted on was the fact that my father hadn’t known about me anymore than I had known about him. I had ignored that fact. Ignored the truth out of blind hatred, out of self loathing and pitying my own self. It was a fault of mine. We are our own worst critics they say, and I’m no different. But a life time of being different made me hate my very existance. It had taken years of therapy to get over most of my delusions. But those moments of self hatred still filtered through the ruins of my life, and when confronted with a man I didn’t know I chose to fall back into old patterns.

For four years I wallowed in that self-pity. Pushed away everything and everyone around me. It wasn’t important to me then. All my friends and those I called family weren’t around. I was alone. And it was how I usually prefered to be. Except I didn’t want that.

I knew better. I should have rejected the idea of going it solo, but that was exactly who I thought I was. Who I thought I needed to be. Turns out – I needed people. Home came calling, and I had no choice but to go. It was my job, my duty. I went without hesitation.

I had a second chance. And this time I took it upon myself to change. I met my hero again. The road was bumpy, but the man whom I’d idolized as a child while less than the man I dreamed of turned out to be another kind of hero. One I hoped my children would look up to as much as I had as a kid. I met a man again. I gave everyone a second chance. I fell in love. I found the truth of my own existance – at least one that mattered. I won’t ever be the man I should be, but I will strive to be him. I will live up to the expectations of myself. I will make myself my own hero only so that my kids look up to me too. I won’t hide from my problems. I am not afraid of what I will become. I have the support I need, the people I need to survive. And I will survive.

My Parents

My parents were never around for me. My mother left me to the Venatori at the tender age of 5 and I didn’t know who my father was until I was 18 years old. But here’s the horrid tale of my parentage.

My father is the renowned Venatori hunter, Kai Viddens. He is the oldest living Viddens in that family’s ruling line. He holds a seat on the Imperordo and is one of the so-called law makers of our community. He took the job when his father passed – yet another tale of horror to regale at a later date.

My father traveled as a hunter, he went around the world when he was younger, now he chooses to stay in New York City, but he once traveled to Boulder, Colorado where he met the lovely hunter Leanna Sétanta.

Kai was a man of inhibition. He did what he wanted and who he wanted. Leanna was nothing more than a mark on his headboard, so when she became pregnant it was nothing to him, and she never even thought about telling him about it. She didn’t know the consequences of his actions because little did Kai know that Leanna was human. He had assumed she was Venatori and there was no issues. His assumption could have cost her life, but in our case, it did not. Both myself and my mother survived gestation and labor. Something the female human body is not likely to do except for in special circumstances.

My mother raised me as would be expected of any venatori hunter – under the tutelage of a nanny while she was out hunting. I won’t get into the details of my abandonment. Instead, let’s focus on the retelling of the first time my parents meet me at the same time, in the same room, nineteen years and several months after they conceived me.

It was May of 2012, four months before I turned nineteen when I found out who my father was. I was forced to have dinner with both my parents. I will admit forced is a strong word, nothing would have happened except extreme disappoint of the only two people I cared about impressing in my life – Dae’lin Rivera, my mentor, and Dorian Vega, my guidance counselor of sorts. Dae’lin handled my actual teaching, Dorian the direction of my studies and the success of those studies. He was the one who gave me my proficiency tests among many other students.

They both insisted I see my parents, together and pretend we were a family before my Ad Aetatam – my right of passage to become an adult. It was a prelude to the ridiculous ceremony that would happen the next day – the first of my trials. I will say I failed miserably at impressing my parents.

My mother only had eyes for my father. And my father only had a vague disinterest in me. And I think that was only so as my mother would shut her yap. The dinner was supposed to be at some fancy joint, but what my mother considered fancy and what I did were two completely different things. She apparently hadn’t asked anyone to choose the appropriate words or location for her meeting with the two disassociated men in her life.

I wore the only suit I owned and the blood red tie that broke up the black of the outfit. I felt good about my dress, impressive yet not so over the top that I looked outrageously overdressed – a classic look with a bold color. I impressed the waitress and the busboy. Granted I already knew them so it wasn’t hard.

As I said my mother never stopped talking, it was always about the good-ole-days and the reliving them with Kai. But my lack of lightning quick reflexes and the use of my so-called magic brought me into Kai’s immediate curiosity. We talked, got to know each other a little bit. Rather he asked me a lot of questions while I attempted to flirt with both the waitress and the nearby busboy.

My mother caught on to my flirting with the bus boy and scolded me for my flaunting my sexuality in front of her and the world. I hadn’t done anything overt, it only cemented my disdain towards her. Even if I hadn’t been dangerous she’d have disliked my life choices – the way I was wired. She could go f@#k herself.

My father didn’t seem to mind, or care. I knew he had his own opinions about my sexuality and the impression I made on his youngest son. But we won’t go there today. Needless to say, I wasn’t the only one of Kai’s sons who liked the same sex.

Dinner ended and we all went our separate ways. We saw each other again a few hours later when I went through my rite of passage and then we never graced the same room again all three of us together – and we never will as my mother passed shortly thereafter.

My Best Friend

My best friend has been my best friend for nearly as long as I’ve been with the Venatori. I met Jason Hill when I was 5 year old. He was one of my roommates after the orange door. (A special room for firestarters that was fire proof and had special censors.)

Jace and I weren’t always friends though. All of my roomates were Magnus, thusly why we were all stuck together from the age 5 onwards. He was not so much a bully as he went along with the crowd at first. Everyone was bigger than I was at the age of 5 and I got picked on.

My first holiday with the Venatori was going to be a lonely one until Jace’s parents found out I was going to be spending it alone in our dorm room – no family no holiday leave. I was stuck alone. But they took pity on my small self and dragged me home to their little farm down south. The weather was much different and the world was much different.

Jace and I spent a great deal of time that first holiday season getting to know one another outside of the Academy. We struck it off well after the initial rejections of the idea.

We’ve been best friends ever since. We’ve done a great deal of things together most of which got us in trouble or at least made it look like we got in trouble a lot.

Jace is an all around good guy. We are alike is all the ways that matter to us. Our differences lie in things that mean little as friends. Jace is the biggest reason I got through the Academy as well as I did. His friendship kept me sane. He is the only brother I will ever need. He helps stabalize the wrong. He creates an environment that I needed to thrive. He kept me from keeping my nose in the books full time.

I wouldn’t be where I am with out Jace. I would do anything for him. And he me. I could go on and on about things we’ve done. How my life would be different without Jace, but that’s too long and too much and far too personal to tell the lot of you. I will say that my best friend is better than yours!

A Nightmare

Snap! The length of air cracked in the air before it bit into my flesh with another wet slurp as it pulled away from the flayed skin. My hands were spread on the wall I dared not move. I was frozen against the gray concrete wall. I could feel the blood running down my back. I could feel my skin knitting together as the next blow landed.

The pain seared through my body and I could feel the fear rising deep inside. I didn’t want to be afraid anymore. A blast of fire came from behind me and I turned around against my fear. The man who’d once been fear incarnate to me was burning alive. I could smell the burning flesh and hair. I could hear the screams of as the fire licked his skin and and burned away the flesh.

I felt the bile rise up but I didn’t take my eyes from him as I stared in the eyes of a dragon or a demon or some great creature that saved me from the monster. I watched as his body turned to ash and he floated up into the heavens before being pulled back down by gravity and falling into the darkest of pits.

The ground fell out beneath me and the world spiraled into darkness…I sat upright, my heart racing, my breathe was ragged. I could feel the fire, and the pain from the whip. I could still smell the burning flesh…

First Love

I have never been in love. I’ve never had a relationship last long enough to ever get past lust. I don’t think I have any passions I would consider a love either.

A first love should be something that consumes you to the point of nothing else. I have never felt anything like that in my life – unless of course you consider my ego. But I don’t think I’m a narcissist, at least, I hope I’m not. I may joke about such things, but I honestly don’t think I’m all that.

I will take that back, I did have an all-consuming love at one point in my life. I was very young and naive. This woman was my everything. She gave me life. Gave me everything I could ever need. Not everything I wanted, but everything I needed. She could do no wrong.

But as with all first loves that changed in a moment so swift and sudden, I still reel from it today. The idea that someone’s complete love could be ripped from you so suddenly and without warning rattles my soul.

My mother wasn’t around a lot when I was young, but I knew she loved me, cared for me and that I was worth something to her. I was eager to see her when she’d return. I loved to sit and listen to her stories. But the day I sparked… the day my magic put her life in danger, it all ended.

My mother had a rough start to life as well. Her family was obliterated by a rogue werewolf. The Venatori hunter who saved her took her home and the Venatori gave her a home and helped her through her tragic loss. They gave her life and purpose, and in return, she gave them the best years of her life. She hunted for them.

But in their care and help, they made her afraid of the supernatural. They made her leery of anything and all things unpredictable. And what is more, unpredictable than a 5-year old who can start fires with a mere thought. I was untrained; I didn’t know any better and I had been afraid. My mother had a temper, but she loved me and only got angry when I did things wrong. It was a five-year old’s naivety, but it was my truth.

She ripped that truth from me and left me with a stranger. She packed me up on a plane, drugged me as I kicked and screamed so I would be quiet. Yeah, I have mommy issues. That’s why there has been no first love for me – everyone leaves. There is no security in others, only in myself. But that doesn’t stop the loneliness.

Describe Yourself

Ha! You ask a guy with an ego bigger than himself to talk about himself especially describe yourself and you are going to regret it.

Let’s see. Brown hair and eyes. Yeah, not flashy words but it works. Women have told me they are jealous of my eyelashes – long and thick. Okay. I say thanks but just shrug. Granted I probably think pretty highly of them too if they weren’t my own. Despite my words, I’m just an average ordinary guy who likes to pretend there is more there than there actually is.

I have a pair of cross swords tattooed on my right temple – all Venatori do its part of our cultish rite of passage. And for me being terrified of needles it was a big deal. I have another tattoo I don’t actually get to see daily on the back of my neck. It depicts the four elements. I got it the only time I’ve been drunk. It was the first and last time I drank too much.

I have a scar on my left check running underneath my eye past the corner of my mouth, ending in a neat point in the middle of my chin. The real story there is a girl who was possessed by a ghost tried to kill me, she obviously missed but left the scar as a souvenir.

I work out – a lot. It’s a coping mechanism as well as the means for me to keep up with true Venatori. Since they are super strong, super fast, it was the healthy lifestyle and the gym that kept me top of my game so I wasn’t bottom rung of every fighting competition I had to deal with throughout school. So the tall skinny kid is not so true, I’m not a wiry fellow anymore, but it takes a lot to maintain what muscle I do have.

I have three more scars I’m proud of and one that I don’t let most people see. There is one that I like to say an ex-girlfriend wolverined me – it’s a series of 3 claw marks ripping across my chest from my right shoulder to my lower left side. It’s a ragged scar caused by a werebear attack. The same attack that killed my mother. Thankfully it didn’t kill me.

I have a scar on my right arm where a vampire took a chunk out of me. That one could have killed me and there’s a long explanation as to why it didn’t. It’s round and looks exactly like you’d think a mark like that might look like – the outline of someone’s mouth wrapped around your arm.

The last of the proud marks is the scar running my left leg – from my knee to my ankle. It’s a great burn mark and if my quick thinking and my magical ability hadn’t put the dragons fire out I’d probably be dead right about now. It’s ugly to look at but it’s probably the one I’m most proud of, and also, the one I learned the most from. Human form dragons can still breathe fire.

The last of my scars runs the entirety of my back. I learned early on how to hide it from any prying eyes with my own magic. ti’s a series of overlaying slash marks across my back. I’m sure you can guess what they are, but I don’t want to talk about it. Not yet anyway.