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Chapter 24

Laurissa opened her eyes to sunlight streaming in the window. She broke into sobs as the memories of what happened came to her. Lord Dunkan stayed perfectly still and listened to Laurissa. He wanted to see if she would continue on or if he would have to destroy her. He hoped he did not have to destroy her, there is still much to do.

Laurissa’s heart feels like it is broken into millions of pieces. She was forced to take an innocent life. It is such a waste. Zillah’s body is still in the building. She must go to Zillah and bury her. It is only the right thing to do.

Laurissa pulsed power and ran out of the manor and toward the stone building. Her tendril snapped, and she fell to her knees. She stood and pulled until a stranded broke. The pain is welcomed. She deserved more for what she did, but she had to get to Zillah. “Master, please! Help me!” she cried out through the tendril and pushed until another strand snapped. Her anguish felt like it consumed her. She felt she would die if she did not get to Zillah’s body.

Another strand snapped, blinding her. She fell to her knees again and continued pulling with tears running down freely. She used her hands to dig into the earth and pull her body forward. The pain is excruciating. Another strand threatened to snap as Lord Dunkan began slowly coming toward her. As he did, Laurissa continued keeping the tendril taught. It is tormenting and well deserved. She should have fought harder. She should have found a way to kill the monster who enslaved her before Zillah lost her life.

Tears are abundant as she threatened to tear free from Dunkan to get to Zillah. Laurissa knew tearing the tendril would only result in her becoming unconscious. She did not care. The pain she felt in her heart would be silenced for a time if she did go unconscious.

Laurissa finally reached the building with blinding pain in her mind. The room swam and seemed out of focus. Zillah lay on the floor, looking at the ceiling. Laurissa quickly went to her and cradled her ice-cold body against her.

“Oh please, Zillah, forgive me. I am so sorry. Please forgive me. So sorry.” She could barely breathe.

Laurissa buried her head into Zillah’s neck and screamed with her pain. It is too much! Her sorrow claimed her. It feels as though she is being consumed by a fire that raged at her sin. If not for her vow, she would welcome death. Laurissa’s body desired to end her suffering and struggled to embrace to peace the darkness of death brings.

Lord Dunkan came near the stone building. She did not want him to witness her agony. This is not the time to be studied by a monster. She needed to do this herself.

Laurissa took Zillah’s body and pulsed power running from the building as quickly and as far as she could. She did not want Zillah to rest near her cage. Her tendril snapped, and she tripped with Zillah in her arms. Laurissa darkened her tendril and began tearing at the ground with her hands. She must dig a grave for poor Zillah. The earth seeped into her mind and sung its song. It is mournful and yet calming. Laurissa connected to the earth and began humming the tune allowing it to comfort her while she dug the grave.

Lord Dunkan kept his distance and studied her. She truly grieved over someone she barely knew. Why? Was it because Zillah was also female? Was there a special bond between them? Grief, he knew, was something only time could heal. He would allow one more day, then they must return to his task with her by his side. She will grieve over Zillah for longer than he could afford. He must continue breaking her until she fully submits to him.

“Lord Dunkan? The other masters have arrived.” Rowland projected.

“Give them my apologies. A matter has come up that requires my attention. Allow them rest and inform them we will continue tomorrow at dusk.”

“Yes, my Lord.”

The world seemed eerie quiet. There is not a breeze. He could not hear any of the normal noises one would hear outside. It is as if time stopped, and then a low hum grew out of the silence like a horn announcing an invasion. It made his hair stand on end. It vibrated deep inside and touched his heart in a way that made him want to cry out in anguish. Laurissa’s voice twisted with the hum and echoed all around him. Is it as a siren’s call to come and avenge Zillah. To mourn her death.

Lord Dunkan ignored the song and concentrated on watching her. The need to go to Laurissa lifted. She tore at the earth with a madness he has never seen before. Her nails raked at the dirt, and her hands scooped earth and threw it over her shoulder. She looked like a maddened beast digging to get at its prey.

Long ago, when the vampire was still new, vampires were described as beasts with an insatiable appetite. Their eyes looked as Zillah had. Yellow with red veins. They glowed brilliantly as they chased their prey. Their face was contorted in anguish as their fangs dripped with saliva. One would think they were demons.

The vampires ravaged the human body until there was no blood remaining. Humans were left unrecognizable from the claw and teeth marks. Organs would sometimes be found five feet from the body. One vampire could kill an entire village in one night and still not be satisfied. It is not documented who first defeated the demon within and conquered their hunger.

Seeing his mate in the throws of madness worried Lord Dunkan that the vampire is still the beast of old. When he fathers a new son, he acts quickly to quench the hunger and teach him how to control it. It can take weeks to fully trust a male once he completes the transformation after the first feeding.

Females will also feel the hunger; however, they seem to manage it better. They are less violent. They conquer the hunger quicker, taking days instead of weeks. Laurissa did not seem to have the hunger after her first feeding. This was something very unusual.

Laurissa returned to the building and gathered the three human bodies without looking at Dunkan, and began to bury them as well. This disgusted and confused Lord Dunkan. Humans do not need to be buried. They are food, nothing more. Even the wolves and birds will eat off their flesh.

It took the rest of the day to accomplish her goal. When Laurissa opened her mind, Lord Dunkan felt the quiet numbness of grief. It is as if her mind could no longer take the pain and receded to the far depths of her mind. The eerie stillness that surrounded Lord Dunkan while Laurissa dug the graves has lifted, and the sounds of the prairie have returned.

Laurissa began walking back toward Lord Dunkan. She needed comfort. What kind of comfort could she get from a heartless beast? So many lives needlessly lost, and for what? There was no gain in killing the humans. Zillah still died. What was accomplished from her death? If Lord Dunkan wanted Laurissa to hate him, he has done a fine job of it. Her hatred grew. He wanted to use her to accomplish his goals. She will make him fight strenuously to control her. She will find a way to kill the monster before another life is lost.

Laurissa’s eyes met Lord Dunkan’s. They had closed up completely, only showing the deep blue. They glowed in anger with an eternal fire that burned hot.

“Thank you, my Lord.” She said with a hollow voice.

Lord Dunkan wordlessly gave her a gown then moved aside to allow her past. Laurissa had not noticed she was nude. She wordlessly took the gown with bloody fingertips. The earth tore at her flesh as she dug. She had welcomed the pain. She felt completely numb inside.

Laurissa continued past Lord Dunkan while slipping on the dress and continued to the manor.

Her silence is unnerving as Lord Dunkan followed her back to the manor. She is usually full of wonder, and her mind is constantly working. Her mind is completely silent, as if her tendril is darkened. As she entered the hallway to the bed chambers, Lord Dunkan took hold of her arm and guided her to the washroom. With the crusted blood and earth all over her, she looked and smelled like a filthy human. Even her wildflower bloom could not mask the death scent she had on her.

Laurissa is in a daze and stared into nothing as she is guided by Lord Dunkan. Nothing seemed to matter. He could guide her into an abyss, and she would willingly go. She seemed to watch Lord Dunkan fill the barrel with water and start a fire to warm the water. She only saw the nightmare of her hand plunging into Zillah’s chest. It happened time and again. Over and over and over. Her scream, death’s scream, echoed in her mind.

A boney firm hand gripped her arm and led her to the bath. The warm water did nothing to help the numbness. The whole world seemed to disappear. Nothing matter anymore. Her existence is a mockery. She could feel death’s embrace. She only needed to accept it.

Lord Dunkan calmly washed her body and hair. He worried about Laurissa’s demeanor. The eerie stillness seemed to hide a battle deep within.

He had seen this quiet once before in a male who he battled. Lord Dunkan had slowly taken everything away from him, leaving only his pride. Lord Dunkan’s goal was to destroy his spirit before releasing him to death. The calmness one has when there is nothing left to lose is the warning to be wary of. It is when the host is at his most dangerous. Lord Dunkan almost lost his battle with the male. Laurissa’s quiet demeanor matched the male’s. He must tread carefully and watch her. If she raged in his manor, he would lose everything.

Dunkan helped her out of the water and gave her a towel to dry off. She calmly took the towel and silently left the room to his bedchambers. Lord Dunkan followed her and closed the door behind them. He watched as she climbed into bed and immediately fell asleep. Lord Dunkan felt exhausted from watching everything.

He took his personal journal and went to his desk to write in detail what he discovered between Zillah and Laurissa. He wondered if Laurissa is stronger than Zillah even though Zillah was one hundred years older. This is also a new phenomenon he will need to experiment with. Perhaps he could use Thana’s jealousy to his gain and test his theory. Yes, that sounds most delightful. Thana is corrupt, no doubt, but Laurissa has been violated and grieved most of her vampire existence. Anger is a powerful tool.

Laurissa woke late in the night as the fire in her veins roared to life. Lord Dunkan slept peacefully next to her. The pieces of her heart were too shattered to fix. New tears come down. She wished the nightmare would end. What evil thing would she be forced to do next? Perhaps it is time to die. If she no longer existed, then other vampire lives will not be destroyed. At least she would not be the cause of it.

Lord Dunkan’s sword laid near him against the wall. She quietly walked over to it and knelt to her knees. The pain is unbearable. Her heartfelt as though it struggled to beat. Her veins felt as though a fiery liquid flowed through them. She needed it to end. ‘You are forgiven’ Laurissa heard Zillah’s voice.

“No. Do not forgive me. I do not deserve it.” She sobbed.

‘Avenge my death, Laurissa. Free yourself.’

“Yes. I will avenge you, Zillah. I will free myself.” Laurissa took the sword. Before she could remove it from the scabbard, Lord Dunkan’s hand covered hers and gently took the sword away. “I do not think that is what she meant, my dear.” His voice is soft and almost gentle. Laurissa ignored him. It is too painful. Her life must end.

She could feel the darkness come for her. She curled up into a ball, pulling her knees to her chin, waiting for death to claim her. Lord Dunkan picked her up, and she screamed as if death gripped her.

“Hush now, child. All will be new in the morning.” He held her tightly against his chest. She struggled to free herself. “Let me go!” She cried. Her chest spasmed on its own. Only death will ease her suffering. Lord Dunkan tightened his embrace and sent understanding and compassion to her. It sickened her.

“Let me go!” she screamed louder and stiffened in his arms, trying to break free. Her breath caught, and she was unable to breathe. She relaxed and willed herself to let go of this life. Her body became limp in Lord Dunkan’s arms. There is nothing left to fight for. There is no meaning in life.

“Your goal is to destroy me, my dear. You cannot die until you free yourself.” He responded to her thought.

That is the truth to the core. Laurissa promised herself she would free herself from his enslavement. She promised to kill the monster who kills creatures for entertainment.

A power pulsed within, and life seemed to renew. She clutched onto Lord Dunkan as if her life depended on it and fought to live. Lord Dunkan held her like a child as new air rushed into her lungs. It felt as though she emerged from underwater. Tears continued rolling down her face as she let the pain out. She could almost believe Lord Dunkan cared for her. ‘physical, emotional and mental pain are all manageable.’ She pushed her emotions aside and began to quiet and relax in Lord Dunkan’s arms. Sleep claimed her as the pain subsided.

This female is truly amazing! Lord Dunkan could see her give up on life. Her body consumed itself and was willing itself to die. He gently laid Laurissa on her side of the pillow and made a note in his journal.

When a female grieves, her body attacks itself, and she can will herself to death. Perhaps the tiny being I saw was the female’s very soul, and its screams were due to the body attacking it like some foreign parasite. I believe once the creature dies, the body will die. This may need experimenting. If given a reason to live, the vicious attack stops abruptly, and the body begins to heal.

A grieving female is very dangerous to be around. Their strength seems to increase a hundredfold. They can dismember a male with their bare hands.’

Very interesting,’ Lord Dunkan thought, then went back to bed.

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