The next morning, Laurissa woke with excitement. She wanted to meet the new vampire. Lord Dunkan is in Madwell, making assessments and counting the humans he lost.
“It will only be harder, my Lord.” Laurissa giggled through the tendril. Lord Dunkan ignored Laurissa’s taunt and continued what he was doing. Laurissa quickly went to the training room and knocked on the door. A weak voice answered, and Laurissa opened the door.
“Good morning Edna. Did you sleep well?”
“Not really, no. I have a splitting headache, and my skin feels feverish.”
“It is to be expected. The blood needed time to work. You are now an immortal vampire.”
“So what now?”
Edna’s eyes told her of her hunger. They matched Zillah’s when she woke from her sleep. Her book said nothing about training a new vampire. Why would it? Vampires do not care about humans. They were not concerned about a hungry vampire killing hundreds of humans to satisfy its hunger. Laurissa sat on the bed. “Now I begin teaching you what it means to be a vampire and how to defend yourself.”
“Who should I be worried about?”
“Other vampire. Our world is much different than that of the humans. You may be immortal, but you can still be killed. You must feed every three days, although we prefer every evening. If you do not feed, your body will die. You must show respect to other vampires.
“This is critical. Males view females as less than themselves. Females are only made to please the male’s desires. This is, of course, untrue.”
“So what do we do?”
“Let us begin by discovering your abilities. Come with me.” Laurissa led Edna outside. She could not reach her woods because Dunkan was in the village. She led Edna to the gravel roadway then stopped.
“Use your eyes. What do you see?”
“I can see many things clearly.”
“You are able to see up to a mile in the distance and see the details. What do you hear?”
Edna is quite as she closes her eyes then smiled. “I can almost hear the people in Madwell.”
“Our hearing is better than a dog’s. Be mindful when you speak. You do not know who is listening.” Edna looked around. Laurissa smile and said, “You are safe here, I assure you. Our sense of smell is also magnified. We each have a different scent.”
Edna came closer to Laurissa and smelled her. “You smell like flowers.” She giggled.
“What else do you smell?” Edna closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Humans deserve to be eradicated.” Laurissa said. Edna wrinkled her nose and looked at Laurissa. “You can smell when someone is deceiving you. It smells of dung or death. You can also smell fear, which also reeks. Know the difference. It will help you determine what your actions should be. Finally, of all the scents we have, our emotions are also magnified. We will love deeper, hate stronger, laugh harder and mourn fuller than we did as humans. Vampires have been known to die of a broken heart. Be mindful of your emotions as well. They can betray you and cause you to be a victim.”
“Have you been a victim?”
“Yes. I almost lost my life to grief.”
“How did you overcome it?”
“I made a promise to myself, and I always keep my promises.”
“What was the promise?”
“That is not for you to know.”
“I’m sorry. So, what do I call you? Are you my teacher or some sort of Lady? I don’t even know your name.”
“My name is Laurissa. You may call me by my name.”
“That’s a pretty name.”
Edna became very quiet as her eyes began to glow and slowly turned to Madwell.
“Do not give in to the hunger. You will not perish. We will feed tonight as is our custom.”
“But the smell is so sweet. Like newly fresh bread. My mouth is watering at the thought.”
“That is the monster in us. We are hunters, Edna, and the humans are our prey. Remember who you were yesterday? You were human with a husband and friends.”
“I didn’t have friends, and my husband hated me. I could go in there and drink my husband’s blood.”
“You made a promise to never return to Madwell. That life is over now, Edna. You have a new life. You must begin again and discover who you truly are.”
“But I’m so hungry, Laurissa. Can’t I go and eat at least one?”
“If you give in to your hunger, you will be lost to me. It will blind you. You will not be satisfied until all the humans in Madwell are gone. Do you wish to be a murder?”
Edna’s eyes returned to Laurissa reluctantly. The glow dimmed, and part of her natural eye color returned. Laurissa smiled to encourage her.
“You are doing well.”
“So what do we do for fun?” Edna asked as she struggled to keep her gaze on Laurissa.
“We do whatever makes us happy. I like to sit still and listen to the earth. I hear everything, and it sounds like music to me. I study my powers and experiment. As vampires get older, some of them will go into town and create chaos, others will travel and explore, and others still may try to lead a human life. I suggest you go and explore. Learn your body and abilities. Stretch yourself to the limit and return to the manor by dusk. I suggest the wooded area west of here. Do not return to Madwell. You will not be able to control your hunger.”
“Thank you, Laurissa.”
Laurissa dipped her head slightly then followed her connection to Lord Dunkan. He is still in the village. Edna raced off into the distance. Laurissa hoped Edna would be able to find her way. She is unsure what she would do if Edna never comes back.
Laurissa can already feel a bond with Edna that goes deeper into her heart than anything has ever gone. She cannot describe this new feeling. She felt she would protect Edna with her life. She knew if Edna ever betrayed her, it would shatter her, and she would allow the pain to take her.
This feeling is not love. She knows what that feels like. This is something beyond love. It is beyond a simple companionship. If Laurissa had to choose an emotion to describe what she felt, it would be the bond of sisters. She has heard of twins being able to feel what the other felt even when they are not near each other. They are able to hear each other’s thoughts through an invisible bond. That bond does not compare to the bond she feels toward Edna; however, it is the closest thing to what she can describe.
No wonder Lord Dunkan feels his father’s vampires. She does not feel as though she brought life to a new being. This vampire was not conceived or born of her womb. Males have a sense of bonding with their newly turned vampires as well. This is most interesting.
Lord Dunkan does not seem to grieve over a lost life of his son or daughter the way Laurissa does. Perhaps males are incapable of love. Perhaps females are the ones who carry the burden of caring for the members of a house.
No. This is untrue. There were several authors who described love. One even talked about mating with a female. Even Adrian claimed to love Zillah. Lord Dunkan is simply heartless. What of the other masters? Lord Dunkan said the other masters would not have been so kind to her. Kissar is proof of that.
“Nice of you to join me, my dear. How does it go with your charge?”
Laurissa blinked in surprise. She was lost in thought and did not notice she had walked into Madwell and traveled to the far northern part.
“Her name is Edna, and you are already aware how it goes.”
“I only wish to talk, Laurissa, nothing more.”
“I told Edna the basics of her body and released her to explore. We will train on the mind tomorrow.”
“That was not a wise thing to do, my dear. She will follow the scent of blood and have her fill.”
“What do you suggest? Should I beat her and rape her into submission?”
Lord Dunkan chuckled. “That is only one way to teach her to control the hunger. It will take days for her to fully understand what she is.”
“I will not torture her.”
Lord Dunkan nodded and continued his walk around Madwell. He is studying Laurissa and must allow her to make her own mistakes. Her mind is beautiful. He is certain she will find her way.
“Will you teach her to read and write?”
“I would like to. I feel it is important to be literate.”
“Yes, I agree.”
“What of you? You have spent most of the day here.”
“I am putting together plans. I am down a quarter of the human population that once lived here. You did well, my dear. However, losing that many people will not hinder me. This village can be divided into sections and the outlying areas are prime for farming. The goods that are brought here are from farms miles away from here. Once the population declines to one hundred humans, the other houses will bring their villagers. This will stop the trading between the villages and will bring needed farmers here. Madwell will need to be divided for each house as well.”
“Will you include the farmers in your one hundred?”
“Yes, I must. Otherwise, the humans will die, and then we will also.”
“We should command the farmers to relocate and begin now, so the land is already producing. Other villages have other corps they grow for trading. The master’s should bring their farmers here now to begin and give the humans a variety of food.”
“Good thinking. I shall have one of mine make the preparations.”
“What will you do if more vampire settles on this land?”
“For every twenty vampires that are born, one human must also be born. Once we have reached our limit, our reproduction will wait until the human population can sustain it. It should only take a decade or two.”
“What of wars, my Lord?”
“What of it?”
“You told me energy is spent as we use it. It seems vampires are always fighting for control over one another. What if you are attacked? We would need to consume blood more rapidly. Do you not think one hundred humans is too little?”
Dunkan stopped and looked at Laurissa. “I did not think of that. Perhaps I should create a farm of reserved humans and recycle them with time.”
“You cannot do that! It goes against your contract.”
“Ah, now you begin to understand politics. What they do not know will not hurt them. I am sure the other houses are doing the same. Besides, the contract has not yet been signed.”
“And this is agreeable?”
“No it is not; however, we all expect it and accept it until it is brought to our attention. Then we may act accordingly.”
“If you suspect foul play, why not investigate?”
“There is no proof such a thing is happening, and it is considered rude to cause suspensions.”
Laurissa followed silently, allowing Dunkan to think unhindered. She wanted to learn what he knew. Knowledge is a very powerful thing. It saved her life. Had she not been astute and learned her powers, she would have lost her life to Thana. Lord Dunkan knows vampires are territorial. Each house grows then extends out like greedy fingers. Unless the vampire makes it clear he answers to no one, whatever he gains belongs to the housemaster he came from.
Lord Dunkan killed his master to gain freedom. Something he expects from Laurissa. His sons grew and created houses that he owns. They are much too far away to actually bother with them. If he showed up to claim his territory, he would have to kill the family that lives there. Eventually, there are only some territories he could truly master. Madwell will only be the beginning. Each house that comes will be overrun and he will be in control.
The ten houses stretch throughout the land a thousand to two thousand miles. There are hundreds of villages and single settlements. Millions of lives could potentially be vampire. After Madwell is established, he will focus his attention on another large trading village two hundred miles to the north. It rests between his property and another. If he acted quickly, he can create a house and claim the village.
Madwell must be split into eleven sections. One section will be farmland and will be rotated from house to house. To prevent uncontrolled breeding, he will need to separate the females from the males. There is a small village a couple miles from here he can send humans to.
Lord Dunkan decided it was time his sons created houses of their own. He left Madwell with Laurissa in tow. He really did enjoy her company, even though he could plainly see she hated him and is looking for a way to kill him. It is poetic. The beast captures a princess and begins to admire and respect his prisoner, but sworn by a promise, he must kill her. He will enjoy her company for as long as she is useful then he will end her life. He has enjoyed watching her grow over the last few weeks.
A small farmhouse that housed his sons rested near the small stone building. Lord Dunkan helped himself into the house and closed the door behind Laurissa. Only three of them were there. Rowland had gone to replace Nicholas. Adrian is dead. He needed to begin rebuilding his house. There is too much to do than to worry about training a young vampire. They each took a female to train. This amused him.
“Greetings, my fellow vampire. I have a task for each of you. Emerick, you will go to Norstrumn and send the males to Madwell to live. Claim one of the buildings there and establish your house. You may keep your female; however, I want you to turn male vampires for your house.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Broaden, create a house near Sedona in the east. Follow my example and keep five females and five males within your house. Claim Sedona and report to me every month your successes and failures. That village will become a second farm for me. You and your family will manage the farm.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Triston. You have a very special task.”
He walked around Laurissa with a lustful gaze. “You will manage Madwell alongside Laurissa. You are to make sure she makes the right decisions in managing the village, from rotating house groups to breeding. The females in Madwell will be relocated to Norstrumn. You will also send reports and manage the distribution of our food to the houses.”
“Yes my Lord.”
“Emrick and Braeden, you must begin your journey at once. Make sure to be here when the houses reconvene. You will be required to sign the contract as well. Triston, you may live in the manor until I bring in a new female. The rules still apply. Do not make a relationship or bed any of the females.”
“I understand, thank you, my Lord.”
“And what will you be doing, my Lord?” Laurissa projected.
“I will be constructing a building for resources just as you suggested.”
Laurissa groaned. She should have allowed him his mistake. “I think the woods toward the west would be a perfect place for such a building. What do you think?” he asked sarcastically. He knew she would disagree.
Laurissa felt sick. Lord Dunkan has started expanding his territory, and more humans were at risk. “Your charge will be responsible for making sure the reserve is well taken care of. She will feed them and care for the sick. She will also rotate the elderly and oversee the breeding.”
“Edna is not yours.”
“No, my dear, but you are, and you will do as I say.” Laurissa felt his grip tighten around her. “Collect your charge and meet me at Madwell’s entrance.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Laurissa immediately left his presence. She was glad to get away from him. She will find a way to ruin him, even if it meant her own death.