Laurissa woke with a start. It is mid morning already! She became angry with herself. She lost valuable time. With a sigh of frustration, Laurissa decided to run her parameter and practice her attacks on the move. Her freedom is so close she can taste it. She will never be a slave again. Anyone who even looks at her in such a manner will die.
Boros’s eyes flashed before her mind. He made no indication he wanted to harm her. His story told her he knew of her situation and desired to release her but could not. Still, those haunted eyes bore into her. It is as if he could see her very essence. Laurissa decided she would kill him if he made any advances.
Laurissa continued running, pulsing power and sending her dagger tendril out. Her anger burned and fueled her speed the longer she thought about her lack of freedom. She jumped up rooftops in Madwell. Her stealth and her speed prevented humans from seeing her. The fall harvest is ending as people gathered to sell their crops and heavy clothing. The humans are busy preparing for a cold winter. The nights are already freezing, and the mornings reveal fields of tall grass that has frozen dew drops on them, making them look like diamonds adorn the tips. The mixture of frost and frozen droplets make the land look magical.
A scent caught her nose as she leaped the buildings in the eastern part of town. This is where the wealthy live. There is a vampire walking among them. Laurissa slowed down and walked calmly along the dirt path that passes the buildings. Two females she recognized are walking the parameter of a particular home. Laurissa silently approached them and waited to be noticed. She follows them around the building as they walk.
“This house is much too small. I would rather live in the manor with you.”
“You cannot live there. All of the young vampires must live in the village. Chelsea is to remain in the manor. She will be replacing Thana.”
“I barely remember her. You speak so kindly about her. I wish I had the chance to meet Thana.”
“Yes. It was a very frightening and grievous day for us. Lord Dunkan had come home in a foul mood and beat us. Thana’s charge was killed. It enraged her, and she vowed to kill Laurissa. None of us has ever angered Lord Dunkan in such a way. Thana did not understand why Lord Dunkan did not beat Laurissa. He granted Thana her vengeance. Laurissa proved she is stronger.”
“I suggest you heed my warning.” Laurissa interrupted. Both females jumped and turned to see Laurissa standing behind them. “I have never had the pleasure of meeting you. You know who I am. What are you called?”
One female moved the other behind her to shield her from Laurissa. She wore the white dress they were all required to wear. Her complexion is pale as all vampires are. She is taller than Laurissa, with blond hair and hazel eyes. Her charge is younger in appearance with the same features. They could have been sisters if they were human.
“I apologize. I did not mean to frighten you. I noticed you walking around this building and decided to properly introduce myself.”
“I am called Astris, this is my charge Frieda.”
“It is nice to finally meet you. Are you releasing Frieda today?”
“Yes. We are selecting a house in which she will live.”
“May I make a suggestion?” Laurissa asked.
Astrid eyed Laurissa suspiciously while still trying to protect Frieda. The stench of fear pleased Laurissa. She did not like making them afraid of her; however, their fear is her gain. It will mean they will not challenge her. Astrid will die with her lord. Will Frieda follow Astrid?
“Lord Dunkan plans to use these buildings to create new houses. I am surprised to see Boros is not in one. Frieda will become part of another master’s house. I assume the next male Dunkan turns will become master. I suggest taking one of the smaller homes until a house is established. The new master will want a bigger building. The move will be made easier this way.”
“Why not just move into one of the bigger homes now?” Frieda said. Trying to move around Astrid.
“Will you allow a male into your home and begin making demands?”
Frieda only looked back. “I did not think so. It makes a more gentle transition if you move in with the male. You will not feel violated this way.”
“We will take it under advisement, Laurissa.” Astrid said in a threatening tone. She will protect Frieda with her life, just as Laurissa would protect Edna. Laurissa closed the gap between them and took their hands. She sent a tendril to them both requesting a connection. They both denied her and stiffened at her touch. This saddened Laurissa. They were both lost. She did not want them to know it. One last chance.
“Please. I am begging you, Astrid. Take your charge and leave Madwell. Leave this region. Lord Dunkan will kill you or cause you to be killed. He has forced my hand twice. He does not care for you. I fear he will force my hand again.”
“Then stop your disrespect! Submit to him and do as he commands. If you do this, none of what you fear will happen.” Astrid said. Her anger flared, giving her courage. She yanked her hand away from Laurissa.
“I cannot submit to a slaver. I have too much to live for than to be tied down to one who would use me as a whore and executioner. That is why I resist him. Thana was innocent. She fell in love with Dunkan, and still, he forced me to kill her. I had won the fight. She was under my control. She was no threat to Lord Dunkan, and yet he commanded me to kill Thana for his own gain. It does not matter if you submit to him fully or not. If he wishes your death, he will have it. The both of you are fools if you stay any longer.”
“It is you who should have died, not Thana! She was your superior, and you attacked her.”
“I defended myself. She meant to kill me.” Laurissa said sadly.
“That was her right! Your disobedience caused Lord Dunkan to kill Thana’s charge.”
There is no point arguing any further. Astrid is loyal to Dunkan and will see to it Frieda is too. Laurissa bowed her head then calmly walked away. She heard and saw all she needed to justify killing them. Lord Dunkan’s taint is too strong.
Laurissa continued walking until she arrived at the manor. She quietly entered and listen to its sounds. Lord Dunkan is training Chelsea. She has to be ready to entertain the males that would come. It sickened her. She heard a scream and a loud smack. Laurissa pulsed power and threw open the door to Lord Dunkan’s chambers.
Dunkan stood before Chelsea nude, and Chelsea is lying on her back, rubbing her jaw on the floor. Lord Dunkan’s rage could clearly be seen. Laurissa looked at Chelsea. “Out!” She commanded.
Chelsea looked at Lord Dunkan, then stood and remained in the room, casting her gaze to the floor.
Lord Dunkan laughed. “Leave us, young one. I will call for your return.”
Chelsea gathered her clothing then left quickly. Once the door closed, Lord Dunkan opened his mind to Laurissa. “My mate. Did you come to fill your desire?”
“No. I met Astrid and overheard her saying you took Chelsea to replace Thana.”
“This is true.” He said as he closed the gap between them. The passion in his eyes sickened her. Laurissa stood stone still. What was it she truly thought to accomplish? Her rage took over without her knowing it. “I will leave you to finish your training.”
“Oh, no, my dear. You will remain here. Your anger was not about Chelsea taking Thana’s place. You saw your mate betray you. That is what angered you.”
“I care not who you bed, Dunkan. I did not want Chelsea to experience what I had experienced.”
“Yes. You like my bed, and you have claimed me.” He grinned and walked toward Laurissa, forcing Laurissa to back away from him.
“You are delusional. You are brainwashing that poor female into thinking she is only here for one purpose.” The passion in his eyes threatened to drown her. She knows where this is leading. She does not want it.
“That has already been done, my dear.” He said in his smooth voice. “Triston has had the pleasure of breaking her while you were in the woods training.”
Laurissa’s back hit the door, and Lord Dunkan place a hand on the door above her. She could feel the warmth of his body. Lord Dunkan’s free hand gripped her hair as he brought a lock to his nose and breathed in her scent. His eyes glowed brightly as he locked her gaze to his. Laurissa looked into Lord Dunkan’s tendril. She could feel his rage and fear.
“You know what it is I have been doing?”
“Oh yes. I know everything, my dear.” Lord Dunkan kissed Laurissa’s lips. She did not respond to him and pushed on his chest to stop him. His passion filled, glowing blue eyes met hers once again.
“Please, educate me on what you think you know.”
“I know you found a young male who will join you in your quest, and you still speak to Edna. You met with Boros two nights ago and shared stories. Astrid knew you followed her. I told her to talk about Chelsea and Thana. I knew it would bring you to me.”
“Why not simply come to me? Why the charade?”
“Two reasons, my dear. It is time to fulfill your duties, and you need to know how much I mean to you.”
His mate must understand trapping him in his manor will not keep him away from her.
Lord Dunkan cupped Laurissa’s face in his hands and kissed her, demanding she respond. His body pressed against hers, pinning her to the door.
Laurissa pushed against his chest once again.
“Tonight, my Lord, we will dine, and I will share your bed. I must return to my training.” Laurissa darkened her tendril and ran out off the manor.
She ran hard using her power and continued killing imaginative vampires. Lord Dunkan tricked her and succeeded. He does not have to be connected to know what she is doing.
What is his game?
Laurissa knows what it is he wants. He wants to know her secret and to use her for his gain. She has become too powerful a female for him to let go or kill. Laurissa only hoped she would be quick enough when the time came. She is cautious enough to not reveal what she planned to anyone. She knows Lord Dunkan had ways of learning the truth.
Laurissa is thankful he has not decided to hunt Edna. She will have to warn Edna not to speak to any of Dunkan’s vampires or their charges. Dunkan may try to force her to summon Edna. She will sacrifice her life for Edna. Dunkan will be forced to end her life before she betrays Edna. She will protect Vass as best as she could; however, she is not loyal to him. If Dunkan hunted Vass, she would allow it. Her focus is remaining alive long enough to accomplish her goal.
Laurissa stopped at her spot in the woods. She continued pushing her power harder and attacking faster and stronger until her energy is spent. The rustle of leaves and a heartbeat told her a vampire approached. Laurissa pushed her power out until she broke a sweat. The tree before her began creaking. It suffered too many attacks. She lashed out with her tendril, and the tree fell over. The heartbeat skipped then quickened within its host’s footsteps. The tree almost fell on the vampire. It is nearing dusk. She would only have a few short moments.
Vass appeared before her looking defeated. He showed multiple bruises and healing gashes. His clothing is torn in several places. Dark circles formed under his hazel eyes. Laurissa became concerned and went to him. “What is it, Vass?”
“I spent the last two days in Saulet. Master Kissar is master there. He has successfully turned twenty humans into vampires. All vampires he turns are broken harshly. I barely escaped with my life.”
Laurissa backed away from him and looked around. She projected her hearing and smelled the air.
“What is it?”
Laurissa ignored him and continued looking at her surroundings. She could hear nothing out of place. The hairs on her neck stood on end. She sent a tendril to Vass, and he sent one to her.
“You are in danger here, Vass. You did not escape. They let you go. What did you tell them?”
“I found a group of vampires and asked them what they thought about making an entire village of vampires. They all grew very serious and took me to Master Kissar. Apparently, his rule is to never speak of the plans he made. Kissar did not recognize me and began questioning where I came from. I told him I came from a town south of there and was exploring the area. He could see the deception. He took me to a place where he burned his victims alive. Please forgive me, Laurissa.” Vass fell to his knees. “I failed you.”
“What did you say?” Laurissa growled.
“I told him I followed a female, and she is looking for young vampires to help stop vampire domination. He asked me who the female is. I gave him your name.”
Laurissa bent down and took Vass’s shoulder. “Look at me.”
She projected. Vass looked with glossy eyes. He held back the pain in front of her. She could feel his shame and embarrassment. “You did nothing wrong. This is my battle. I am thankful you are alive. I wish you to remain that way. Did Kissar break you? Are you his?”
“No, my queen. I am forever yours.”
Laurissa released his arms and stood up. “I am no queen, Vass.”
Vass cast his eyes to the ground feeling defeated. “Hide, Vass. There is a stone building east of here. It is stained with the blood of vampires who have fallen victim to Lord Dunkan. You may go there if you wish. Be mindful of the farm near there. It holds Dunkan’s males. Kissar is one of Dunkan’s trusted allies. Dunkan will know of this soon and will hunt for you.”
“I understand. Thank you…” He stopped himself from saying the title.
“Laurissa. My name is Laurissa, Vass.” She hissed.
“Yes Laurissa, thank you.”
Laurissa turned away from him and opened her mind. “My lord, I am going to Madwell to feed. Would you like to join me?”
“I will be there, my dear.”