Laurissa laid awake until Lord Dunkan slept. She hated the way her body responded to him. He was indeed a wonderful lover, but his insanity and cruelty must be stopped. She did not want to wake Lord Dunkan. If she left the bed, he would know.
She brought her tendril to her mind. She must continue to protect her tendril and give her the best chance to survive her attack. Laurissa will fight to live and fight for those the vampire wishes to destroy. She cannot stop with the masters. Her journey will take her across the region. She must not allow another male to gain control over her mind.
The druids of the highlands controlled electricity. Dunkan was familiar with its sting. It was very uncomfortable to him. This would be a good deterrent for other vampires who wish to control her.
Laurissa imagined her tendril to be electric like the storm cloud, then imagined a black dagger and sent it toward her tendril. She allowed it to reach the blue vine. It cut a strand free, and the tendril electrocuted the black dagger destroying it. The pain was so sharp and quick she cried out.
Lord Dunkan jumped with red glowing eyes looking for the threat. Laurissa pushed away her tears and began laughing. Lord Dunkan took Laurissa’s chin and forced her eyes to his. “Why did you scream?”
“I was studying my tendril and accidentally broke a strand. The pain is like touching the white of your tendril.”
Lord Dunkan’s face softened to a concern. “How did you break a strand?”
He looked within and saw Laurissa’s tendril had grown significantly. He could plainly see the copper strands woven in with her tendril, and thousands of copper daggers orbited the tendril, protecting it from intrusion.
“I was merely practicing, my Lord.” Laurissa giggled. The look on Lord Dunkan’s face is delightful and worth doing again. He heard her thought and gave a reproachful glare. “Where did you learn to create these defenses?”
“From your scrolls.”
Lord Dunkan frowned at Laurissa in thought. “My scrolls have no mention of putting daggers around your tendril.”
“I have been attacked mentally. I wish to prevent that from happening again. Your scroll described different tools used by humans for defense. The Gods granted life but also punish humans with disease. Druids used elements to fight or defend against one another. The vampire is immune to diseases. I created the daggers, and they are effective. I am studying the elements in their defensive properties. I may be able to apply it to my tendril.” Lord Dunkan only looked at her, speechless and concerned. “Sleep. I will be here in the morning.” She commanded him as she reached out and pulled Dunkan to her.
Lord Dunkan’s heart pounded in his chest. Laurissa is preparing for battle. No vampire that he knows of has ever created such defenses around their tendril. It makes sense to create defenses. Laurissa is truly amazing. She has experienced events that angered her, hurt her physically, and grieved her. She finds a way to prevent future pain. It did not matter what she did to protect her tendril. Adrestia has tasted her blood. He can easily take her life through the sword’s magic. Adrestia will render Laurissa unconscious allowing him to take her life. He would not need to touch her mind.
He draped an arm around her nude body and rested his head on her chest. Laurissa softly caressed his back with the tips of her fingers. The rhythm of her heart and her scent comforted him to fall back to sleep.
Laurissa looked to her tendril and saw the tiny fractured strand. It slowly began to reattach itself. She sent another black dagger to her tendril and sent an electric bolt to destroy the dagger. As the electric bolt was sent out, her copper strands reacted to it. It seemed to attract the electricity. This is something she would need to experiment with. The bolt destroyed the dagger leaving her tendril untouched.
A Tan Tendril requested a connection. Laurissa opened her mind and sent her tendril to Edna.
“Yes, Edna. It is not safe. You must leave.”
“I found a male who is as young as me. He was recently released from Master Gareth’s house. He wishes to speak with you.”
“I cannot talk tonight. Lord Dunkan believes I will kill you. If he sees you, I will have no choice.”
“I understand, sister. I will visit you at night if I can. Meet us at the woods tomorrow night after he sleeps.”
“I will try. Now leave, sister.”
The tan tendril disconnected from her. Laurissa relaxed her mind and slept. There is still much work to be done. The blood she received from Dunkan gave her energy, but her body is exhausted from not sleeping the last couple nights. Unfortunately, she requires sleep as well.
It was late in the day when Laurissa woke. Lord Dunkan laid on his side, watching her.
“Why are you still here?” Laurissa casually asked.
“You intrigue me, my dear. I wish to know more. You feel I do not know more about what surrounds me. You piqued my curiosity. I wish to learn.”
“Do not turn my words against me. You brought me here to study from the very beginning. You have not killed me because I still show growth and have secrets to unlock.”
“This is true. However, I no longer desire to end your life. I see such potential in you, my dear.”
“Do not lie to me, Dunkan.” She said as she got up to dress.
“I speak the truth.”
Laurissa’s frustration and anger boiled her blood. She sent a memory to Dunkan of him telling her she has to submit to him by the time the houses began to bring their humans or he would kill her.
“This does not mean I wish to end your life. It only means I will have no choice. I must do what is best for my house. If you will not call me your own and work with me, then you are my enemy, and you are too dangerous for me to simply let loose.”
Laurissa’s anger exploded. She did not have control over it. “Wake up, Dunkan! When will you realize I am not your mate, and I never will be! I am not your whore! I am your slave, and believe me, master, your enemy!” Laurissa stormed out of the manor. Lord Dunkan’s anger matched hers and went through her tendril like a hot poker. Fire erupted in her mind blinding her and brought her to her knees on the gravel road. Cold fingers of death raced through her as she screamed out. Soft hands held her and tried to move her. Laurissa is paralyzed and can not resist it.
“You still feel enslaved by me? I have given you a home, Laurissa. I shared my bed and fed you. I vowed to protect you from other males, and you still feel enslaved to me?”
“Read. Your. Scrolls.” She gritted. The pain lessened, and she saw a male vampire standing over her. He is a few years older than her by appearance. Short red hair and a shadow of a red beard outlined his face. Sparkling green eyes looked into her eyes with worry.
“Read the definition of slave, Master. ’The state of a person who is a chattel of another. A submission to a dominating influence. A person held in servitude. I am bound to you, not by choice. You forced me into submission and do work for you. I have tortured and killed in your name. I have chosen humans for your enslavement by your command. I feed off you and share your bed by your command. These are not my choices. They are yours. No matter how you try to make me appear to the outside world, I am nothing more than property and a female you can control!” She projected.
Lord Dunkan stopped the sword’s power. Laurissa managed to push the male away and stand, putting herself between the manor and the vampire. She could feel Edna nearby. There is nothing she could do. Edna was warned of the danger, and now the young vampire may also die. He suddenly ran away from her as the door to the manor opened.
Lord Dunkan is furious. His eyes are glowing with a red hue. Laurissa stood unafraid. Lord Dunkan approached her and took her neck, bringing her face to inches from his.
“I have asked nothing from you, my dear. You enjoy my bed.” His other hand went under Laurissa’s gown and gripped her groin. Fingers entered her as his palm cupped her and massaged her.
Laurissa ignored his violation. “Masters will do as they please to their slaves.”
Lord Dunkan pulsed power and dragged Laurissa to Madwell’s entrance, then forced her to gaze into town. A line of people who are roped together stood near a vendor. Some were in wooden cages.
“Those are slaves. They are not literate. They are not clothed. They will sweat and bleed in their masters’ farms. They will starve and freeze during the winter. Humans live three or four decades. Why do you suppose it is such a large market? Slaves die within a year, my dear. They sleep on the ground or in the animal pens. They will occasionally satisfy their masters, I am sure. Slaves are worth less than a dog and have to beg for food. Do I treat you this way?”
Lord Dunkan tugged on her neck to make her face him. “I am your mate. You will refer to me as mate or Lord.” Laurissa’s glare made him release her.
“As you command, my Lord. The definition of ‘slave’ does not state the slaver or owner of the slave is cruel. It does not define a slave’s way of life. That is up to the owner to decide. You wish to show me kindness in the face of politics. You cloth me to make a statement of ownership. You share your bed because it pleases you. You insist on feeding me from your veins because it pleases you. You hope I will see you as my mate and use me to gain power. It does not matter where I sleep or what task I am given. I am no different than them.” Laurissa pointed to the filthy humans. She could feel pity come from Lord Dunkan. It is an emotion she is not used to feeling from him. She did not expect it.
“You are a vampire, my dear. You are far greater than the human slaves. What will it take to make you see you are not my slave?”
“Release me, Dunkan. Free me to do as I please. I wish to live and explore the world. There is so much to see and learn. Stop trying to control my actions.”
The fire in Lord Dunkan’s eyes burned out, and his passion returned. He stared at her a moment with a darkened tendril. Laurissa can see a decision being made. His hands cupped Laurissa’s cheek gently as he kissed her soft lips.
“You are free, my dear. Feed on any human you desire, bed whom you wish. Fight against me to save your precious humans. I will not stop you. You are still mated to me. By our laws, you must honor that. When I call you to my bed, you will come as my mate should. You are free.” His voice lost its edge. She heard his natural voice. Lord Dunkan kissed her once again, darkened his tendril, and left her.