As Laurissa opened her eyes, she noticed the day had long come. It will soon be dusk. Dunkan’s lemon scent filled the room. Her heart and mind seemed in conflict and tormented her. This room is comfortable and inviting. Dunkan is a good lover, as far as she could tell. He made changes and kept his vow to not make any commands of her. He has allowed her disrespect and gave respect to her.
None of that could justify his actions toward humans or his plans to use her in the future. Dunkan may not be cruel to her, but he is the same as he has always been. And his cruelty will resurface when he has need of her. His new charge will be beaten into submission, and his vision of vampire domination will still be brought to fruition. She began to feel comfortable in her cage. Yet, she desperately wanted to be released.
“Good afternoon, my dear. Did you sleep well?” Dunkan asked after he noticed Laurissa’s eyes were opened.
“Why are you surprised?”
“I have not slept this soundly on my own in some time.”
“You are home, my dear. Your body and mind recognize this.”
Laurissa dressed and began to leave the room.
“Where are you going?”
“Out for a walk, then I will continue to meditate.”
“What of your studies of the queen and the Saharan language?”
Laurissa looked down at the scroll then into Lord Dunkan’s blue eyes. The evil within is hidden well. He looked back with longing. He wanted to spend time with her. He lost that privilege long ago.
“Another time.” She said quietly as she lowered her gaze and left.
Laurissa traveled purposefully to Madwell and to the building she last saw Vass and Edna. It is a beautiful day. The world is blanketed by snow, making everything appear crisp and clean. The roads in town are shoveled and made muddy by traffic. She could hear the market alive with activity.
Laurissa opened the home to find it empty. She stood in the middle of the room and projected her hearing looking for Edna or Vass’s voices. She could not hear them. She pushed her hearing out as far as she could and walked the parameter of her leash. She found she could hear faint noises almost two miles away. Edna and Vass were nowhere to be found. Laurissa could not blame them. She treated them terribly. Perhaps someday she will see them again.
Laurissa sat in her favored spot in the woods and brought Lord Dunkan’s home into vision. She placed the masters and Dunkan’s males at the table. The females and their charges behind the males and Lord Dunkan’s newest near him. She summoned all of her sorrow, pain, and anger and used it to fuel her power. She kept only a little back and sent several tendril daggers out quickly, killing all of the vampires. It left her weak, but they were all dead. She is ready for her battle.
Laurissa must wait until the masters arrive. It should be a matter of days. She will rest and stay fed until then.
Laurissa walked along her boundary once again, taking in the sights and the beauty the world looks under the snow. She made an appearance in the market. Several vendors asked how she faired and wondered what ailed her. She explained she became lost in the woods, and Vass brought her here to heal. This was a variation of the truth. She was indeed lost in her mind, and her body would no longer move to her command. Laurissa assured the vendors she is well and continued her walk.
As dusk approached, Laurissa went to the rooftops to watch the vampires emerge for dinner. Lord Dunkan and his vampires emerged from the manor. She projected her hearing, hoping to find Vass and Edna return to feed. Familiar brown eyes appeared in the distance and met her gaze. How does he know where she is? None of the other vampires ever look at her as they pass. Laurissa sent a tendril to Boros requesting a connection. He allowed it. Laurissa could feel the calm stillness. He has mastered his movements and emotions. Laurissa could feel how certain he is about his surroundings and his warm feelings toward her.
“Greetings Laurissa.” His voice matched his mood.
“Do you by chance know where Vass and Edna are?”
“They traveled north to Norstromn as you instructed.”
“I gave no such order.”
Boros pulsed power and stood behind Laurissa within a single moment. His calculating brown eyes seemed to bore into her as he studied her. It was not his haunted look that sent chills down Laurissa’s spine. She stood and truly looked at him as if seeing him for the first time. Boros has a void around him. She could feel no anger, no lust, no joy. His body language only told her he is in complete control. And his words were always spoken with intent and never repeated. The warm feeling she received from Boros’s connection was only one of familiarity. He frightened her because she could not read him as she could other vampires or even humans. His story is all that she has to base her perception of him.
“What did I say to them?” Laurissa could only muster a whisper.
Boros closed the gap between them and only gazed at her, then shifted his gaze behind her toward the manor. He turned suddenly and jumped off the building.
“Boros. I owe you an apology.” She said quietly. She knew his vampire ears would hear her.
“Yes. You do.” He replied, then began his hunt.
It is time to return to her cage and rest. Laurissa fed then returned to Lord Dunkan’s manor. It is quiet and empty as everyone is out hunting. Laurissa opened her mind and quieted her torment, then opened the Saharan scroll to study it. She could feel Lord Dunkan’s discomfort as he fed. The thought is still amusing. If one is repulsed by humans, then why feed at all or try something different. Lord Dunkan heard Laurissa’s thought and ignored her.
She looked at the various lines and pictures. The shaman wrote with a shaky hand. A woman by the name of Malika lived in a small settlement a few miles from his village. They lived near the Niger river. Malika was fiercely protective of the inhabitants of the settlement. The shaman noted that she was not the only vampire in her group. Warriors from other villages thought to conquer her settlement, and she defeated each army with ease. The shaman asked her to teach him about her abilities. She only said she wanted to remain in the shadows. There were those who would kill her. This surprised the shaman, and he asked who could kill her. Malika made him swear on his life he would never tell anyone who she is or what she is. The shaman agreed to never tell a living soul about her. Instead, he would write his experience down so others may know.
Malika explained she is a vampire and was named queen by another female vampire of a home she once called her own. Female vampires remain quiet and reserved, only showing their true potential when their life or the lives of the souls under her care were threatened. The male vampire is intoxicated by power, and they kill and torture the protected to grieve the queen. Once the queen is grieving, she becomes animal like and enters into a blind rage. She becomes extremely powerful and chaotic.
The male vampire will try to tame the demon and ultimately enslave the queen to do their bidding. The shaman asked Malika what a male vampire wanted a queen to do. She told him males are extremely territorial and zealous for power. Having a queen would make him unstoppable. The shaman inquired further; however, Malika did not go into detail about how the males could make a queen conquer other houses.
This frightened Laurissa. She still does not believe she is a queen; however, Lord Dunkan does. He wanted to gain control over the houses in this region. Now, it is possible for him to do so. She will not allow it to happen.
“Do you hear me, Lord Dunkan?” Laurissa projected. She knew he could hear her thoughts. Her tendril is opened for him to study. He is always astute and listening. He is sitting in his favored spot near the fireplace, silently studying her. The last time he interrupted her, she attacked him and left the building.
“I understand, my Queen. Do not forget you are under my care. You will do as I command.”
Laurissa quieted her mind once again. The cage door slammed shut, and the walls began closing in around her.
Laurissa fought the urge to run and sought comfort in Dunkan’s bed instead. She reached deep within herself to calm the storm. She closed her eyes and concentrated on silencing the impulse to argue with Lord Dunkan.
As she began to relax, Lord Dunkan entered the room quietly, undressed, then curled up to Laurissa. He breathed in her scent, feeling comforted that she chose to remain in the manor to sleep. He longed for her to accept him. Laurissa resisted the surge of anger, sorrow, and revolution that threatened to consume her once again. She stayed her emotions and relaxed her mind to sleep.
Laurissa woke to Lord Dunkan still wrapped around her holding her to him as if to keep her from escaping. She wiggled beneath his arm, waking him.
“Good morning, my dear.”
“Good morning, my Lord.” She said cheerfully.
Lord Dunkan rolled Laurissa toward him to face him. His blue eyes gazed into hers. His desire flowed into her tendril as he pulled her to him for a kiss. His lemon scent flowed through her as his tongue met hers.
Laurissa embraced Lord Dunkan and caressed his featureless back down to his waist, then to his stiffened passion. A soft moan escaped Lord Dunkan as he moved in Laurissa’s hand. Lord Dunkan pulled on their tendril and sent power of desire. It covered Laurissa in a warmth she is unfamiliar with. Lord Dunkan escaped from Laurissa’s lips, nibbled along her jawline down toward her neck, and then slowly bit into the vein there. Her honeysuckle taste invited him to take as much as he wanted. A gasp in his ear made him want more.
Laurissa could feel her skin rise in chills as his fangs moved within Dunkan’s bite. She sent the feeling to Dunkan with her desire. A louder moan escaped from him as he mounted her. Lord Dunkan’s gentleness and willingness to share the moment confused Laurissa. There is almost a beautiful picture of two lovers embracing and loving each other. It masked the horror of a monster rapping an innocent woman.
Lord Dunkan’s movements were slow and graceful instead of demanding. There is no malice or lust found in his tendril. He is completely devoted to her and gave himself to her. His longing of truly being mated to her threatened to suffocate her. Laurissa moved with Dunkan paying attention to his desire. He held her tightly to him pouring his heart out into her through the tendril and in every thrust.
A burning warmth crawled up Laurissa’s legs as she thrust into Dunkan with a loud moan. The vibrations of her body caused Lord Dunkan to lose control and released his desire in one final thrust.
“Oh my dear, you are magnificent. None can compare to you.”
“I am pleased you are satisfied.”
Lord Dunkan gazed into Laurissa’s deep blue eyes. They are filled with passion and longing. It masked the storm within. “Are you mine?”
“I belong to no one, my Lord.”
Disappointed, Lord Dunkan rolled over to dress. Laurissa quietly dressed as well and followed him to the sitting room. Before they turned the corner of the hall, Dunkan projected. “You are my mate and should dress as such. Please put your silk gown on.”
“Yes, my Lord.” Laurissa replied and went to the washroom to retrieve her clothing. When she returned to the sitting-room she saw Dunkan’s females, including Chelsey and a young male. He is very tall for this region, with short sandy blond hair and soft hazel eyes. He stood before Dunkan.
“Follow us, Laurissa.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Lord Dunkan began walking toward the small stone building with the young vampire in tow. A flicker of panic escaped her before she could control it.
“Fear not, my dear. You do not need to participate.”
This frustrated her. She does not have absolute control of her thoughts and emotions. She must be more careful. “What is it you plan to do?”
“It is time to release Simon.”
Laurissa guessed what that entails. The young vampire will be introduced to Lord Dunkan’s blade. Lord Dunkan reached for the door and held it open to allow Laurissa and the male to enter. Laurissa went to the back of the room and stood still watching Dunkan. The male looked around, seeing the shackles and blood stains.
“Simon, I would like to introduce some to you.”
Dunkan held a hand out to Laurissa. She gently accepted it, and he pulled her to him, wrapping an arm around her waist. “This is my mate and your queen.” Lord Dunkan released her, then casually walked around Laurissa brushing her shoulders with his hand and allowing her hair to cascade over his arm. “She protects the humans in Madwell and insures vampires behave themselves.” He took a handful of hair and breathed Laurissa’s scent in. “You will respect her as you would a male.”
“Yes, my Lord.” Simon met Laurissa’s eyes for the first time and dipped his head toward her.
“What do you think of Simon, my Queen.”
Laurissa looked deep into Simon’s eyes. He stood tall and strong before her at first, then very slowly began to look away, feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable under her gaze.
“He will make a fine master one day.”
“He is wise enough to know when to be humble. I feel he will learn to master his house fairly.”
“That is good news. Simon, your queen feels you are able to master a home. Is this your desire?”
“It does not matter my desire. I will do as you ask.” Laurissa caught a flicker of his hazel eyes. He seemed to struggle to keep his attention on Lord Dunkan.
His announcement pleased Lord Dunkan very much. “If I place you in charge of a house, how do you intend on ruling?”
Simon glanced at Laurissa, then back to Dunkan. “I hope to be fair in my judgment; however, you will have control over the house.”
“Very good, Simon.” Lord Dunkan stood beside Laurissa. “I will give you a house if you make a blood sacrifice to me. You will become completely mine.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Lord Dunkan took his sword from his sheath and motion Simon to approach. The familiar sound of the metal brought painful memories. It reminded her why she must fight. Laurissa could see the nervousness in the young vampire.
“Grip my blade.” Lord Dunkan commanded in his smooth cold voice. Simon did as he was told. Lord Dunkan glanced at Laurissa to see if she would interfere. She only watched with clear calculating eyes. She is completely quiet. She has mastered her emotions and is able to keep her thoughts quiet.
It unnerved Lord Dunkan. This is something Laurissa should not be able to do for several decades. She has been a vampire for less than a year. The thought of how much more power she could gain made him hesitate.
Lord Dunkan shook the notion from his mind and swiftly grabbed Simon’s hand to prevent him from moving, then ripped the sword back. Simon cried out and held his hand. The sword’s power enveloped Lord Dunkan. It demanded more blood. Lord Dunkan waited until Simon gained his composure then said. “Punishment for disobeying me or disrespecting Laurissa will be death, Simon. I will not need to be near you to take your life.”
The scream of death escaped Simon as he fell to the floor. His screams quickly quieted as his body prepared to die. Dunkan looked at Laurissa, waiting for her pleas. She simply looked back with indifference. This frustrated Dunkan. He released Simon from the sword’s magic then rolled him onto his back with his foot.
“Do you understand, Simon?”
“Yes, my Lord.” He choked as he gasped for air.
Laurissa could tell Lord Dunkan was satisfied with the outcome, but his curiosity and frustration with her mounted.
“Get up and follow me.” Lord Dunkan warned Simon as he left the building. Simon had to hurry to catch up. Laurissa followed Lord Dunkan through the thick snow toward Madwell.
The small village looked peaceful, nestled in the mounds of snow. Small stacks of smoke rose in the air as the humans warmed their homes. Laurissa had a love for the people she allowed to present itself. She was willing to sacrifice herself like queen Malika to ensure their safety.
Lord Dunkan felt joy and pride for Laurissa. His curiosity and frustration withered away. The Laurissa he came to know is still there. Her love of the humans seemed to be constant even though she makes changes. She has grown from a curious child who questioned everything, to a young vampire who defied him with every breath, to a quiet Queen who watches everything and gaines control of her emotions and thoughts. It amazed him to watch the transformations she has made.
“So, you still study me, my Lord?”
“Oh yes, my Queen. Every chance I have, I will learn of your ways. It seems we are like minded.”
“Why do you wish to learn of my ways?”
“Is it not clear to you, my dear? You are a mystery to me. You have a power I have never seen. The Saharan shaman wrote that vampire queens can be made to conquer male vampires. Now I will know if this is true.”
Laurissa did not respond or defy him.
Lord Dunkan began to chuckle to himself. “I have missed your inquisitive mind and your fighting spirit, my dear. However, I could get used to the quiet, submissive version.”
Laurissa remained quiet and in control of her emotions. She knew what it was he wanted. She no longer cared why Dunkan did the things he did. The shadow of a question of why he did not pursue Malika seemed so far away, it no longer seemed important. She will not give Lord Dunkan the satisfaction of her canter or outburst of anger.
Lord Dunkan sighed with disappointment and continued across the open farm field toward the male district of the southern edge of Madwell. He stopped in front of a large house that once sheltered a wealthy family.
“This will be your new home, Simon. You will be master here. My rules in my house will still apply. You will not kill a human or cause it to die. You will not form a relationship or bed any of my females without consent.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Good. There are three female vampires who live in the house two blocks away. Take them and the charges in my home. This will be your family. You must establish your way quickly and make your authority known, or the females will not respect you.”
“Yes, my Lord, thank you.” Simon cast a glance at Laurissa then left to go collect the three females.
“He will be busy for the next couple days. I suggest you watch this house closely, my Queen.”
“You do not need to tell me, my Lord. He has your taint and will train his females accordingly.”
Lord Dunkan chuckled. “Yes I suppose he will.” He wordlessly turned and went back to the manor.