Isolde: Blood-Rose Guardians (a supplementary novella)

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Blood-Bound

My heart betrayed me to the son of my enemy this time. It was an act I had initiated and an act that would cause me to live condemned to darkness for years to come. I could no longer imagine a life without Tristan in it. My heart beat in time with his and the moments when he left me I ached for his speedy return. I had not known that such an action would bind me to my mate. In sharing blood while making love as we had that fateful afternoon I had blood-bound myself to Tristan – forever or until one of us died or severed the bond. He was and would always be my heart. In the beginning, though I loathed and feared his father, it seemed not to matter because our interludes were ours alone. He would come to Ireland purely with the intent of loving me and for a while I was a secret from his family, but all too soon his mother discovered me. When he came with his mother, I had trembled for fear that she would recognise me – of course we had never met, and there was no reason for her to recognise me, but I feared it anyway. Tristan had introduced me by the name I had told him: Jordan Isölde, daughter of Nechtan. It was a name inconsequential now – centuries after my father had disappeared from this Earth. Morgan, however, recognised it immediately and I cowered under her gaze.

“King Nechtan?”

I nodded, daring not to lie to this obviously powerful woman.

“You are Isölde – the princess who disappeared?”

Again I nodded, but curious now, because I had not known that I had a history. I had not expected to be remembered now, centuries after my life should have ended. She too was a vampire, but one that complemented so well her husband, the savage Roman who had been the ultimate cause of my disappearance in the first place, that although I feared her, I also respected her. Tristan held me firmly in his arms and I was reassured by the single beat of our hearts. I had no idea that soon our blood-bond would matter not. The moment Marcus met me I was sure he would know me – my name would be enough, that and my so obviously well known history. He would know me as the woman who had bewitched and slain his lover. He would not be so happy to meet me as Morgan appeared to genuinely be. Tristan stayed on with me after Morgan left and was still with me weeks later when Morgan returned, Marcus by her side.

As I feared, he knew me the instant his eyes were laid on me.

“You!”

I know I turned ghostly pale. I also think I fainted or else was hit with a stunning spell of some kind for I woke up hours later bound to my bed. The consequences of my actions were to be severe – they would have been far worse had Tristan not been blood-bonded to me. I am certain he would have tortured me, had Tristan not claimed me as his mate and lover. There was naught that Marcus could do without inflicting pain on his own son – and he at least seemed unwilling to do that at the moment.

I watched as Marcus paced the length of the room eyeing me with disdain.

“I will take everything from you wench!” He eventually declared.

I stared squarely at him.

“You already did Marcus, centuries ago – there is naught that you can take that had not already been ripped from my clutches by you or your Tristan.”

“We shall see,” he seethed at me and departed, slamming the door in his wake.

I was certain I was right. There was one thing I had not counted on though – he could take the light. Marcus gave Tristan an ultimatum he could keep me as long as I was trapped within the depths of the earth or Marcus would himself kill me. At first I thought he meant with a blade across the throat, but later I realised he meant with mercury. Morgan came in mixing the paste – it was a bright red from the minium – a mercury-based pigment.

“Do you know what this is?” She asked as she circled me.

“Of course – I invented it!” I said at to the woman, no small touch of hostility in my voice.

“You? When?”

“I didn’t record the date but I dare say nigh on a century ago…perhaps a little over.”

“So you know what it will do to a vampire?”

“Of course – but it only works on some vampires – you already know this,” I told her. I was sure she did because she had tattooed Tristan with it.

“Does it work on you?”

I hadn’t tested it and I had no intention of testing it either. I would have to bluff my way out of this one, for I feared the toxic pigment would do to me exactly what it was designed to do to vampires – kill me.

“Hell no! Do you think I would invent a substance that would be toxic to myself? Are you mentally inept?”

She seemed to process my statement a short time before she left the room. My next visitor was Tristan. I had not seen him at all since Marcus’ had arrived and I was attacked and bound.

Tristan swept into the room silently and released me of my bonds. He took me in his arms and carried me from the room. I knew not if he was friend or foe at this point. He carried me so tenderly that he felt like a friend but I had no idea of where he was carrying me and so I leant against him and hoped it was somewhere warm and safe.


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