Over the next few weeks, Laurissa spent her mornings in the woods watching the world and studying Lord Dunkan. He stayed quiet, watching her as he waited for his guests to arrive.
On occasion, Laurissa stayed in Madwell, enjoying the company of the humans. She casually spoke to the vendors and learned of their families and way of life. The traders that came from other parts of the region were the most interesting. They willingly told her of the town they came from and loved telling stories on how they got their wares. She never saw the Egyptian vendor again. Nothing came from that land. Laurissa loved the idea of visiting each town and hearing stories of the travelers and traders.
The only time Laurissa felt uncomfortable in the village was near the church. Many children played there, and their blood called to her. The young human’s scent made her very hungry. She tried to avoid them by walking in a different direction when one approached her. She did not want the desire to feed to overcome her.
One morning Lord Dunkan stopped her from leaving the manor and told her to follow him to the stone building. He did not say why and Laurissa did not care to know his reason. Lord Dunkan went to Madwell and collected a human to follow him, then led them to the stone building.
Zillah had been left lying on the stone floor. Dunkan knelt down beside her and examined her body. She looked extremely old and frail. She seemed dead without the scent of decay. Her chest would rise every few moments to bring air to her lungs.
Laurissa stood behind him, watching as he examined Zillah’s body and mind. She somehow knew what must be done. Instinct? No. Zillah told her she would sleep until fresh blood was given to her. It appears Lord Dunkan knows this as well. Why else would he bring a human?
Laurissa brought the human to Lord Dunkan’s side and said, “My Lord, she must feed. Open a vain.” She could feel his disgust. “Allow me?”
Lord Dunkan reluctantly allowed Laurissa access to the human. She started to use her fangs. And his hand cupped her chin, lifting her eyes to meet his. His eyes glowed with anger.
“Use the dagger instead. Your fangs are for me alone.”
Laurissa’s glare gave Lord Dunkan a delicious chill. Her hatred is beautiful. The masters in this region will not challenge her. Males will dominate any female found without a master. Her prowess will attract males from all over the region; however, the power she displays will cause them to hesitate or perhaps decide to destroy her. Laurissa is not without a master. They will have no choice but to defer to him or fight him for ownership. Lord Dunkan is the strongest vampire in the region. The masters would not dare challenge him.
Laurissa opened a vein in the wrist and held it upside down over Zillah’s face. Her eyes popped open and were yellow and red. It frightened Laurissa. She has never seen such a thing, and there was no information in the book about hibernating vampires. Zillah grabbed the human and fed off it, quickly draining it. The human fell with a solid thump.
“No!” Laurissa cried. She did not mean for it to die. Fear of Lord Dunkan’s anger and sadden by the loss, she knelt down and cradled the human in her arms. Zillah screamed and lounged at Laurissa, then fell to the floor, screaming death’s scream. Lord Dunkan’s eyes glowed menacingly. She could see the film of the power of the sword in his eyes. Zillah stopped screaming and fell unconscious. It only lasted a short moment. Laurissa did not have time to react to Zillah’s outburst. Laurissa quickly went to Zillah and probed her mind.
“Zillah? Can you hear me?”
“I am starving.”
Lord Dunkan heard the conversation.“Bring another human, Laurissa.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Laurissa quickly went to Madwell and selected the first human she could find. “Do not make a sound.” Laurissa picked the human up and ran back to the building. The human felt, surprisingly, light in her arms. Laurissa ignored Lord Dunkan and sliced the wrist of the human with the dagger, then put the wrist near Zillah’s mouth. She woke again in a rage and drained the human quickly. It died as well. Zillah looked at the both of them with a wild rage.
“Leave me!” She howled and backed away.
“Zillah, it is Laurissa.”
Zillah lounged at Laurissa. “I will have your blood!” she screamed and fell to the ground.
“My Lord stop, please.” Laurissa begged. This caught Lord Dunkan off guard, and the power stopped. Zillah’s screams stopped, and she fell unconscious. Laurissa quickly went to her body and put her head in her lap.
“You show more compassion to this vampire who would kill you than to one who provides for you?”
“You did this, my Lord. She attacks because you starved her. She is not at fault.”
“No, Laurissa. It is you who has caused this. You went against my command and spoke to her.”
“You were going to do this regardless. If not her, then me. You have a need to study the female vampire. This is not my doing.”
Lord Dunkan chuckled. She is right. He planned on testing his females. Laurissa only made it possible.
“My Lord, we have returned.” Thana projected.
“Very well, my dear. Make our guests comfortable. I shall return shortly.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Come, Laurissa, we have guests to entertain. Kill Zillah and return with me.”
“I will not! She has done nothing wrong. This is beyond my disobedience.”
“Do you wish to be strung up as she was?”
“No, my Lord.”
“Take the dagger and end her life. She has eaten two humans. This is against my law.”
“You fed them to her!”
“No, Laurissa, you did and willingly. Would you like to take her place?”
“There is more to learn. How long will it take her to gain consciousness? How long until she is strong once again? Why was she enraged when she woke? Will she remain the demon? What were her thoughts and desires?”
Lord Dunkan burst into laughter. “Oh, my dear, you are resourceful. She can remain alive until your questions are answered. Shackle your toy and let us go.”
Laurissa did as she was told. It hurt her heart to see Zillah this way, and felt speechless that Lord Dunkan does not see this vampire as a living being with a soul. He would just assume throw her out like rubbish. Laurissa quickly closed her mind and sent a tendril into Zillah, and told her she would be back. Dunkan could feel Laurissa’s concern for Zillah and felt a pang of jealousy. Why should he feel jealous? He wanted Laurissa to hate him. Her compassion should sicken him. The love in her eyes should be for him alone, just as her fangs are for him.
When Laurissa returned to the manor, the sitting room was full of vampires. Lord Dunkan’s four females Laurissa recognized, ten males and an extra female Laurissa did not recognize.
“Welcome to my home. Thana, where are the others?”
“They are coming, my Lord. They should arrive tomorrow.”
“Then why are you here?”
“The masters all asked us to be on our way, my Lord. They recognized our clothing and knew we are not to be touched.” This pleased Lord Dunkan.
“We shall wait for their arrival.” Lord Dunkan projected. “Madwell lays less than a mile north from here. Do as you please; however, do not kill any humans.” Lord Dunkan began leaving the home. Laurissa focused on paying attention to her surroundings and Dunkan’s tendril. She sat in a chair and watched the room and Lord Dunkan quietly. This is not a celebration. This is a business meeting.
“Thana, instruct Laurissa on what is expected while we have guests.” He projected.
“Gladly, my Lord.” Came the reply.
A pale female with dark chocolate hair and soft brown eyes approached Laurissa. Laurissa is not sure if they knew she had been mated. She looked away, knowing they were instructed to ignore her. An earthy brown tendril probed her asking to be connected. Laurissa allowed it in and sent her dark blue tendril to her.
“I am called Thana. It is important you understand your role while Lord Dunkan’s guests are here.” She projected. Laurissa only looked at her. Thana sat on the chair opposite her. “You have permission to speak to me, young one.”
“What is it I must know?”
“The males will have our rooms to rest in while we seek shelter in the village. I will show you what to do when we get there. Some of these males have not seen a female vampire in some time and may wish to bed you.”
“We are Lord Dunkan’s.”
“Yes and he treats his guests very kindly. He expects us to make sure they feel welcomed in his home in every way. We will gather three humans tomorrow night for a feast and serve them while the males discuss important matters. You must remember, Laurissa, Lord Dunkan is in complete control. He will not allow the males to do anything without his consent. Be prepared to be violated in every essence, but trust it will only go as far as he allows it. He is master here.”
Laurissa looked at her. “You are in love with him!”
“I respect him as a father.”
The lie is overpowering. It does not matter to her. “What else should I know?”
“Only be present and mindful of our guests. We are here to please them, nothing more.” She felt sick to her stomach. Lord Dunkan has brainwashed this poor vampire into believing she is worthless. No being human or vampire should be subject to such conditions.
“Believe me, my dear, there are males who are much worse. “Lord Dunkan projected.
“I should be grateful?”
“Oh, yes, my dear. As you will see, your time here has been lenient. Hush now.” He commanded as he began listening to the room.
Laurissa looked around the room. The males gathered and chatted in small talk. Some brought news of what was happening in their region. The females, including the one she did not recognize, huddled in a corner watching the males. She wondered why Thana felt so strongly toward Lord Dunkan. She was sure he abused them at one time. They are slaves just as she is, and they could not see it. Zillah did, and now her life is in danger. Laurissa’s life depended on her obedience. She knew Lord Dunkan would never kill her. She showed value to him. Lord Dunkan assured her he would end her life once he discovered all he could. She would find a way before that day.