She brought the images of her enemies to her mind and summoned all of her anger and pain, and practiced throwing her tendril out like a whip until she could hardly stand. Four vampires fell to her feet. It is working. Every night she will work her power to the point of exhaustion.
She looked into the earth and listened to the song for a moment. She needed comfort, and she needed to quench the burning anger within. She saw the earth’s veins. It pulsed a bright light and flowed like a river. This is the power of the earth. This is what allows the food to grow and nourishes the humans, which nourishes the vampire. It is not the human blood they eat. It is the earth’s power. She felt it call to her. She did not have the luxury of spending time with the vein of power. She has already wasted valuable time.
She disconnected from the earth and saw the sun had risen to mid-morning. Lord Dunkan is training his charge. Laurissa went to Lord Dunkan’s manor and into his chambers. The bed never looked so inviting. ‘Not yet’. There is no more time to rest. The scroll is still lying on the desk untouched. Between the Egyptian beliefs and the highlander beliefs, Laurissa thought she could come up with something.
Ra was the creator god and sun god. He allowed the sun to warm the earth while Net fed the plant life. Nut is the Goddess who chases Ra to the Underworld and consumes the sun. She is also the mother who protects the people. Horace, along with Set, creates anarchy. If they became angered, the people would be struck down with disease or allow a rival country to defeat Egypt in battle. The gods Osiris and Anubis governed the dead in the Underworld. They were gentle gods who guided your soul to the afterlife.
Laurissa knew she could learn nothing from Osiris and Anubis. She did not plan to die. If she did, it would no longer matter what happened to her. The Sunday god demanded faithful followers to follow his rules or be cast to a place called hell. Egyptians believed the gods of the Underworld would place your soul to rest and give your heart’s desire or completely destroy your soul. No matter where her soul went she would go a free vampire.
A knock on the door brought her out of her concentration.
“Leave me, Edna. I will see you tonight.”
“Please let me in.” The need to be near her and the fear she exuded worried Laurissa. Edna did not want to be in Lord Dunkan’s presence without Laurissa to protect her.
Laurissa’s anger boiled at the interruption. She folded the scroll and carried it to the door. Edna flinched and bowed. Laurissa was shocked to see her do such a thing. “Why are you bowing? I am not in a place of authority.”
“It is plain to see you are.”
“You call me friend, do you not?”
Laurissa lifted her chin. “Never bow to me. I am no different than you. Our age is only a month different. You may follow me if you stay quiet.”
“Yes, sister. Thank you.”
Laurissa felt weakened from the energy she used. Still, there is much to learn, and it is apparent she could not study in the manor. She pulsed power and ran to the place in the woods. Everything seemed at peace. The quiet is lulling. She took a deep breath of the fresh air and sat beneath a tree.
Edna sat quietly near her but gave Laurissa her space. Every fiber of being warned her not to anger Laurissa. The ground seemed to shake at her anger. She wondered if Laurissa felt it too. Her heart raced at the anticipation of a battle.
There is no battle to be seen. The only conflict she knew of was the one Laurissa felt about being trapped with Lord Dunkan. There must be something more that is hidden. Edna would remain within a hands distance to help her in whatever trial Laurissa was going through. She desperately wanted to help her.
Laurissa opened the scroll and began where she left off. The god’s Horace and Seth were gods she could learn from. They created disease, famine, and war. Perhaps she would create a force of disease to her intruder. No, that would not work. Vampires are immune to diseases. War was physical with the Egyptians. They used copper spears and shields. Laurissa knew the elements of cooper. Perhaps she could braid a strand of copper into her tendril.
“My Lord.” A female’s voice entered Laurissa’s mind. “Emrick asked me to report two of his women gave birth last night. One is male, and the other is female.”
“Excellent. My orders are the same. The female who bore the girl must give her child to another mother and come here. Place her in the homes in the far northern part of Madwell. She will breed again in a few months.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Joy came to her as Dunkan saw his plan coming to fruition. Laurissa darkened her tendril and concentrated on it. She brought her tendril’s image and the image of copper in its raw form. She wanted to braid it into her strands only, leaving Dunkan venerable. She studied the rock. It needed to become fibrous like string to the thinness of the tendril strands. The copper began to stretch and thin. Laurissa watched and imagined what the end result needed to be.”
Laurissa ignored Edna. The copper began turning into a thin vine like her tendril…
“Laurissa!” Edna’s panicked voice broke her concentration.
The image of the copper vanished as Laurissa gazed up at Edna and saw Lord Dunkan standing behind her.
“What is it, my Lord? I am busy.” She growled.
“Yes, I see you are. You closed yourself off from me.” Laurissa looked spent. Dark circles ringed her brilliant blue eyes. The fire behind them grew stronger than he has ever seen it. He could sense her exhaustion.
As Laurissa stood, her eyes darted to Edna’s arm and then back to Dunkan’s eyes with a fury that made him hesitate.
“Release her. You are not to touch her.” Laurissa said calmly. Lord Dunkan looked at Edna with glowing blue eyes. They burned with anger. Laurissa knew it was a disguise. She felt the flicker of fear as she stood.
“It is time to feed, young vampire. I suggest you leave.” His voice was soft with the danger Laurissa knew so well. He took a deep breath in Edna’s ear and released her arm. Edna looked at Laurissa with questioning eyes.
“Go feed, Edna. I will see you tomorrow.” Edna took a step back then hesitated. “You are free tonight, Edna.” She assured her. Edna turned and pulsed power to run into the night.
“You are my mate, my dear. You are to stay open to me.”
“I have a right to privacy.”
Lord Dunkan knelt down to pick up the scroll. “Not when you conspire to kill me.”
“You have known this from the beginning, Dunkan.”
Lord Dunkan struck her, making her land on her back. “I have had enough of your insolence, my mate. As my mate, you are to respect me and my rules. I have honored our agreement and not commanded anything of you. You are still my mate, and you are bound to those laws. Keep your tendril open!” He growled.
Laurissa stood and opened her mind. Lord Dunkan walked around her a couple times, brushing her shoulders and allowing her hair to caress his arm. Laurissa watched his movements very carefully.
“What is it you find in my scroll that angers you? Last night it was left open near my findings on the elemental magic the druids use, and now I find it opened to the Egyptian gods. The rage within you is delightful, my dear. What is it?”
“Nothing in your scroll angers me. What angers me is the constant interruptions from you.”
“My interruptions have never caused you grief in the past. What is different?” He took Laurissa’s jaw and looked into her eyes. She remained quiet. “I see.” He said smoothly. “You have found a way to free yourself, and now you make preparations which require a great deal of concentration. So much so you do not sleep and barely feed.” He paused and released her. “What have you found, my dear? What is the connection to the gods of Egypt and the druids of the highlands?” Laurissa remained quiet. She will not give him the satisfaction. “Answer me.” he warned.
“They have nothing in common. They live in two different worlds.”
She spoke the truth. The subtle vibration in her tendril told him she is hiding something. “You found a connection otherwise, you would not have meditated an entire day. If the next words you utter are not what I want to hear, you will regret it, my dear.” He said smoothly.
Chills ran through Laurissa’s spine as she gauged his emotions. His posture and voice told her Lord Dunkan is not to be trifled with. She would do well to heed his warning.
This is not anger. He is truly afraid. This amused Laurissa. “Magic, my Lord. The gods control elements that affect human lives. Druids have the same magic.”
“Why are you interested in magic?” He must know her secret. He must keep her and survive it.
“You will know my secret the day you die, my Lord. I will not remain yours.” She responded to his thoughts. Lord Dunkan’s brows rose, and his eyes glowed with a red hue. His anger came at her like a hot poker.
“I hope to use the magic in my defense since you will not train me in the use of your sword or any weapon.” She relented. She could not afford his wrath. There is not time.
Lord Dunkan clasped his hands behind his back as he walked around her a moment. Laurissa did not let him leave her sight. “We do not have the ability to harness magic. Druids are connected to this world differently than we are. Egyptian gods are a myth. The people are foolish and believe plant growth is magical. They have an electric eel that lives in the river. It shocks any who touch it, and they believe these eels to be gods protecting the fish.
“Nothing in this world can be used to defend you. You have everything you need within, my dear. You are vampire. We are the closest thing to a God you will ever see. One day, we will be gods. You can be a part of that journey.” Lord Dunkan stopped and looked at her. In both his voice and through the tendril, he said, “You have until the masters come with their humans to decide to call me your own and truly live as my mate. At that time, we will battle to the death. You either submit to me or die. Is that clear?”
“It is, my Lord.”
Lord Dunkan began walking away. He noticed she did not follow him. “Are you coming?”
“As you wish. Tomorrow night we will meet as mates do.”
“Is that a command?”
“Oh yes, my dear. You are mated to me. You will fulfill your obligations.”
Laurissa sat on the ground and quieted her mind. As she watched Lord Dunkan leave, anger and resentment boiled for release. She fought against the thoughts that demanded attention. Thoughts of anger at Lord Dunkan forcing her to his bed screamed to be let out. She must remain calm. Any such thought will only anger Lord Dunkan or cause him to be crueler.
Laurissa relaxed her body but kept her consciousness awake. She resisted the temptation to sleep. She waited until Lord Dunkan’s tendril relaxed and hummed in a natural rhythm, then sat up to continue her work in defending her mind.
“Laurissa?” a whisper from behind her came.
“You may sit with me. Please do not speak to me.” A rustling of leaves came, and the warmth of Edna’s body could be felt behind her.
Laurissa bought the image of the copper once again and imagined it stretching into string. She carefully wove the copper in between each fiber of her tendril and braided them together. She could feel sweat roll down her back, and she labored for breath as she worked. She will not give up. Laurissa pushed onward until it was finished.
The cooper is braided tightly within each stand of her tendril. It appeared she mated with copper, and Lord Dunkan’s tendril raced the copper strands in hopes to win Laurissa as a mate.
The base is still exposed. It is the most important piece to protect. Severing strands of the tendril is not lethal. It will make the vampire incapacitated, allowing the enemy to ultimately kill the vampire. Severing the base kills the vampire. There will be no healing. It will paralyze the vampire, and the power from the earth will flow like blood flows from a vein. Like a flower being plucked from the earth, the vampire will slowly die. She can only imagine what kind of pain that would inflict. A simple touch caused her to go unconscious.
Laurissa imagined a copper dagger, then increased the image to thousands of them flowing and circling her tendril from the base to the top, never touching it but protecting it from any attacker. She tested it by sending a black dagger to harm her tendril. The copper daggers all raced and defended the tendril successfully. It worked! The exhaustion is almost more than she could handle. She felt very hungry, and her power feels very weak. Still, she needs to push through. Laurissa wanted a second defense. It is a good idea to have a second option in case your opponent survives.
As she summoned the last of her strength, a soft hand rested on Laurissa’s hand. She opened her eyes to see it is nearing dawn. “Have you been awake all night?”
“Yes, sister. I overheard your conversation with Lord Dunkan. I am not as powerful as you, but I wish to help protect you.”
Laurissa felt grateful for the gesture. Laurissa sent a probe to Edna requesting a connection. She accepted and sent one to her, connecting them both. “Look into my tendril Edna.”
Edna was shocked. “Is this what you have been creating?”
“Yes. You must also do this. This is how you will defend yourself from other males. The masters of the other houses will be here in a matter of a week or two to sign Lord Dunkan’s contract. They are creating houses of young vampires to govern and control farms of humans. You have until that time to find and free those that do not follow Dunkan. Look for me in secret and bring the vampire to me. I will test him or her. “
“The other villages are too far for me to accomplish this. I will do what I can, but we do not have the time to find all of them.”
“I understand this. We may need to search for more later. For now, do what you can until the houses come. Be careful in your journey Edna. The Masters will soon leave to travel here. If they find you, they will do unspeakable things to you.” Laurissa checked her tendril and saw Lord Dunkan still slept. “Edna, I am going to attack you. Defend yourself.”
Laurissa sent a small dagger to Edna. She barely blocked it. Laurissa sent another, and Edna blocked it. “Do this to yourself and strengthen. Attack and defend. Make a game of it. You will need it to protect yourself from other vampires. Now, summon your pain and anger.” Laurissa watched Edna as she summoned it. “Throw it out like a knife.” Edna’s power went through her without damaging her. Laurissa stood and pulsed power into the tree. Thousands of cut marks appeared. Edna was impressed.
“This is weak compared to what the masters and Dunkan can do. This you must practice also. We have a couple weeks to prepare. I must go.” She said as exhaustion gripped her.
“Go, sister. I will contact you when I have news.”