Laurissa stood utterly speechless as she watched Dunkan return to the manor. Being mated to someone was not enslavement. It was a mutual contract to live and honor one another. Her contract was forced upon her; however, the law does not care. One of them must die if she truly wanted to be free.
Laurissa did not know what to do next. Lord Dunkan blocked his mind from her. She is free to do what she wants to do without him knowing or interfering.
Should she do as he suggested and warn the humans to flee? Laurissa turned to enter the village to release the males that Emrick brought. Triston would not be able to kill one hundred angry human males before they took him. Then she stopped.
The other houses would come and see Dunkan had failed to full fill his obligations. They would kill him and her. She is not strong enough to defend herself against ten other males.
Laurissa turned to the manor and began walking. She could kill Lord Dunkan this instant then go to each house to kill the masters. The humans would be saved. Then she stopped.
If Laurissa did that, the young and innocent vampires would die as well. They are victims in this war. Time seems to move too quickly. There is so much that needs to be done correctly to be able to have the desired result.
A scent woke Laurissa from her thoughts. A vampire is near. She looked around until she saw a male hiding behind a tree a mile away. She barely recognized him as the same male who tried to help her. She walked toward him and sent a tendril to him. He sent one to her, connecting them.
“Yes, who are you?”
“I am called Vass. I came from Master Garrath’s house.”
“Why are you here?”
“Edna told me her queen needed help. I was told female vampires were weak. How are you a queen?”
“I am not a queen. As far as I know, queens do not exist. Edna is mine. I sent her looking for vampires who do not share Lord Dunkan’s beliefs.” Laurissa sat at Vass’s feet and waited for him to sit next to her. “What did Master Garrath teach you before he released you?”
“He taught me how to connect with another vampire. Older male vampires are superior to me, and females are for my pleasure. He taught me how to hunt and feed. He said I should never kill a human, and I am to follow in his footsteps. I am currently seeking a human to turn.”
“Is that all?”
“It is. I have only been a vampire for four days.”
“Do you still remember your human life?”
“How do you feel about turning humans into vampires?”
“I have no desire to turn them. They are my food source, nothing more.”
“You view them as cattle?”
Vass thought a moment and gazed at Madwell, then back to Laurissa. “The humans are not necessarily cattle. Although I view them as less than me.”
“Your master and Lord Dunkan both agree the humans are cattle and wish to wipe them from existence. It has already begun here, and in the village you come from. It is why you are a vampire now and have been instructed to turn a human.”
“If the humans are killed, how will we eat?”
“They will not all be killed. Each house will own one hundred humans and will breed them like cattle to sell as food to other vampires.”
“Will that not create war?”
“It already has. I wish to stop this madness. Humans are living, intelligent beings. It is where we come from. They deserve to live as any living thing should. This world is big enough to co-exist with them.”
“That makes sense. If vampires co-existed with humans, there would be enough food for everyone, and there would be no need to create territories.”
Laurissa was pleased to hear him say this. It means he is not fully committed to his master’s teachings. “May I see your tendril?”
Vass blinked with surprise at Laurissa’s request, then his eyes narrowed as his tendril vibrated with apprehension.
“I wish to assess your intentions, nothing more. You are a young vampire. The connection may be painful, but it will not kill you.”
“You do not need to see my tendril. I can tell you my intentions. I wanted to meet a female powerful enough to be called a queen. I was curious what kind of trouble would require a queen to ask help from a young vampire.”
Laurissa immediately disconnected from Vass and stood to leave. He is not ready to commit to her. Females are for his satisfaction, and a powerful female is attractive to males. Would he be foolish enough to try to dominate her? Did he hurt Edna? The masters will be leaving their homes any day to come to Lord Dunkan’s manor. How is she supposed to defeat thousand-year-old vampires if her training keeps getting interrupted!
The first thing she must do is find Edna and ensure she is safe. Laurissa will deal with Vass another day.
“My queen, where are you going?”
Laurissa whipped around with red glowing eyes, and her fangs bared, “Silence! Do you wish to get me killed?”
Vass stopped his advance, and his mouth hung open as he attempted to gain control of his racing heart. Laurissa’s glare was frightening and commanding, as if he stared into the eyes of a goddess.
“Forgive me.” Vass finally said and bowed his head.
He showed submission. Perhaps he is not truly lost. “I am no queen, Vass. This is a male vampire’s world. Females are viewed as nothing more than an object to please the male. Calling me a queen in the open will get me killed. Even you were attracted to the idea of a female strong enough to be queen. Think how a master would be attracted to such a rumor.”
“I did not understand this. My apologies.”
Laurissa straightened her back and softened her features. She felt bad about her response toward Vass. She is frustrated and scared. There is much to do and not enough time. “Edna has decided on her own I am her queen. That is her view.” She replied soflty.
Vass looked up at Laurissa and saw she had calm down. The aura she exuded was still painful to witness. He wanted nothing more than to help where he could. A vampire of her caliber should not be in pain. “What does a female of your stature need from young vampires?”
“Nothing.” Laurissa growled, then turned to walk back to the wooded area. Vass grabbed her arm, and Laurissa turned around with a burning rage that made her earlier glare seem docile.
Vass released her arm as if it burned him, then rose his hand up in peace. “Please tell me what troubles you. It is plain to see you do not trust me. It is also plain to see you are in danger. Why?” His voice is very soft with a respectful tone. Vass is telling the truth. He desired to help Laurissa. She wondered why. His posture seemed to shrink beneath her glare as he back away from Laurissa. The stench of fear began to seep out of his pores.
“I do not need help from young vampires, Vass. It is the young vampires that will need my help.”
Vass straightened then began laughing. “A female’s help?”
Laurissa struck him, making him land on the ground, and sent a dagger tendril into his mind. He cried out and tried to fight her. “Do you think me weaker than you? Females are not a plaything! We are to be respected as the human males respect their females. Do you wish to test your strength against me?”
The male looked up into Laurissa’s glowing blue eyes and her bared fangs. Her eyes seemed to bore deep down into his soul. His pride would not allow her to treat him this way, no matter who she was. Laurissa could see the defiance cross his face. She stood up and let him go. “Come to me, Vass. Do your worse.”
Vass balded his fists and took a step toward her. His anger radiated off him. His breathing quickened, making his chest rise and fall rapidly, and his nose flared outward.
Laurissa stood with her feet the width of her shoulders, and her hands stretched out at her sides. “What are you waiting for, Vass. I am simply a female for your pleasure. Show me how you feel.”
Vass slowly gained control over his anger then relaxed his posture. “I do not wish to harm you. I do not desire you in that way.”
“You would submit to a female?” Vass looked away. “You are weak!”
Vass’s eyes snapped to her and glowed with a fury she wanted to see.
“I am not weak! I simply do not want to strike at you.”
“It is wrong.”
Vass struggled with the answer. Then approached Laurissa and took her hands into his hands. “Something to do with the way I was raised as a human. I do not completely remember my life; however, I know I was raised to respect women. You brought that memory to me moments ago when you attacked me. Please Laurissa. Allow me to help you.”
Laurissa wondered why Vass wanted to help her so badly. Vass heard her thought as they were still connected. “I really do not know. I feel the need to protect you with my life. I felt this need with Edna as well.”
“You are for Edna?”
“Yes, like a little sister.”
Laurissa’s shoulders sagged with relief. Edna is safe. “Very well. Follow me.”
Laurissa led him to the wooded area she favored. “Edna!” She called out. “Come to me, Edna!” Laurissa is furious with Edna for spreading rumors of her strength. She will get them both killed. Laurissa knew she was nearby. “Edna!”
“Sister, I am here.” Edna called out as she quickly came to her. Edna fell to her knees in front of Laurissa. Laurissa growled and took Edna’s arm, forcing her to her feet.
“Do not ever kneel or bow to me! Do not refer me as a queen to me or to anyone else. You may refer to me as ‘sister’, ‘the one who turned you’, ‘master,’ or whatever you choose. I have said you may call me by my name. You will cause my death if you continue in this way.”
“Forgive me, sister.”
“The next time I call you, make hast and come. Do not make me ask again.”
Edna’s bowed head and shacky voice pierced Laurissa’s heart. She allowed her fear to take control and lashed out at the one she is meant to protect. Laurissa Took a deep calming breath, then soften her voice. “You did a fine job finding Vass.”
Edna beamed, “Thank you.”
“He is now your responsibility. What have you found out about Boros?”
“He wishes to see you. He frightens me, sister. He said he remembers you and remembers how you felt to him. He wishes to experience it again.”
“Did he touch you?”
“No, sister. He did not. Although, I could smell the lust.”
“Bring him to me here in this spot. What of the other two young females?”
“They were released and told to never speak to you. They warned me to stay away from you. They warned me Lord Dunkan would kill us if he caught any of us speaking to you.”
“That is unfortunate. Where are they?”
“They live in Madwell near the males Emrik brought.”
“Thank you, Edna. You will both leave and find more young vampires. There will be a battle every soon, and I do not want innocent lives lost. Have you been practicing your defense and attacks?”
“Good show Vass what to do. Please go about your day. I wish to be alone.”
“Yes sister.” Edna took Vass’s hand and pulsed power and ran deeper into the wooded area.