The next morning Laurissa woke before Dunkan and quietly left the room. She sat in the sitting room watching the females hurriedly make preparations. She would offer to help, but they would reject her. She felt it best to stay out of the way.
As if Keres heard her thought, she called for her. “Laurissa, come help me.”
Keres is in the kitchen, gathering goblets and making sure they are clean. Laurissa connected tendrils with Keres and gathered a cotton cloth.
“Are you excited about the contract and the other masters coming?” Laurissa projected.
“It makes Lord Dunkan happy. When he is happy, the rest of us are safe.”
“Has he touched you recently?”
“Not since that day you battled Thana.”
It made Laurissa glad Keres did not condemn her for killing Thana. It was a battle she won. “Do you want to continue serving Dunkan?”
Keres stopped with surprise. “Why would you ask such a thing? Is he releasing us?”
“No Keres, he is not. I am simply curious.”
“I am investigating who his loyal vampires are.”
Keres stopped what she was doing and took Laurissa’s face into her hands. “My Queen, I am loyal to your mate. He is a father to me. Whatever he wishes will be done.” She said verbally
“You have no desire to leave him?”
“Not at all, my Queen. I owe him my life, just as you do.”
“I see.” Laurissa said. Dunkan has brought her to the brink of death on several occasions. She owed him nothing.
“You do not seem happy about this.”
“I am only in deep thought.”
“Well, push it aside and help me with these goblets. We will be hunting for humans soon.”
“Yes, Keres.” It felt good to be working with Keres. She has always been there as far as Laurissa’s memory could go. She was always the one Laurissa liked and trusted. It seems that trust is unwarranted.
As the day wore on, the other masters of the east arrived. Laurissa was cleaning the sitting room when Master Kissar entered the manor. Laurissa turned to greet the master who came in. When their eyes met, the whole room seemed to go icy cold. Anger and resentment poured from Kissar. Laurissa stood defiant and would not allow him the pleasure of bulling her. He had his fun. If he touched her, he would die. She did not care who watched.
“Submit to me, my dear, and I will arrange a meeting with him so you may take your vengeance.”
“I do not need your help, Dunkan. I am still considering your proposal. You do not need to protect me.”
“Yes, I am sure you can defend yourself. I await your answer.”
Kissar rushed past Laurissa and down the hall to Dunkan’s chambers. Laurissa heard him pound on the door through her own ears and the tendril.
“Kissar, please come in.” Lord Dunkan said cheerfully.
“What is the meaning of this Dunkan! I was assured she was taken care of.”
“Watch your tone Kissar!” Dunkan growled. “You are in my house.”
“Enough of the political bull crap Dunkan! Laurissa is still alive. What are you doing?”
A loud smack and the scent of blood filled the room.
“Remember your place, Kissar. I do not answer to you.”
“I will not stand for this. You have allowed a female to rule you. You are weak! Why should I follow you now? You will be outcast for this, so help me!”
Laurissa pulsed her power and quickly and opened the doors. The doors burst opened as she pulsed into them. They both looked at her in surprise.
“Do not dare…” Lord Dunkan began then stopped. The icy cold Queen looked back at him with a fire that burned hot.
Fear came from Kissar, and he took a step back wide eyed. “By the Gods!” A female with brightly glowing eyes stood in the doorway. The aura every vampire has is clearly seen and hummed with power. The fire in her eyes told him she is a very dangerous vampire. It cannot be! Her gaze kept Master Kissar’s eyes lock onto her. His knees wanted to buckle and force him to kneel before a goddess. A female?
“OUT!” Laurissa shouted loud enough for the whole house to hear her. Her voice demanded Lord Dunkan to submit. He has never heard her in this way before. Lord Dunkan resisted kneeling and quickly left the room, smiling to himself. His Queen is doing what queens do. They protect their domain. He is part of that domain. Kissar will not leave the room alive.
Laurissa darkened her tendril and kept her gaze on Kissar. He still had a wide eyed look, and the pungent scent of fear flowed into the room. Laurissa softened her features and pulled her anger back as she locked the door behind her. She turned and held Kissar’s eyes as she slowly drew her gown over her head and became nude before him. The fear quieted, and his eyes drank in her body.
“Master, will you touch me? Will you give me what I deserve?” She said seductively.
A very large grin crept across his face. Forgetting the power he just witnessed. “Oh darlin, it will be my pleasure.”
Laurissa lowered her gaze in submission. “Will you close your mind? Let it be just us in this room? We can finish our last conversation.”
Kissar sent a dagger tendril to Laurissa. She allowed the dagger in and let the pain wash over her. It continued to her tendril then her defenses stopped it.
“You have grown, darlin. Ask me again to touch you.”
Laurissa approached him meekly and gently took his hand, then placed it over a breast. A wave of lust came from him as his eyes widened. His heart quickened with the thought of dominating Laurissa and teaching her how to properly submit to a male.
His hand gripped her painfully as his other hand struggled to release his passion from its bondage.
While he was distracted, Laurissa quickly sent her dagger tendril and pulsed power, forcing it into his mind and to the base of his tendril. It easily went through the bottom of the bulb, disconnecting it from his body. Before he knew what happened, Kissar’s body fell to the floor, lifeless.
Laurissa bent down and took his wrist. She found the power that bled from his connection to the earth and will it to her. His power is much stronger than hers and filled her mind brightly. She felt more powerful from his blood than she has felt from any other feeding. The body became hallow within minutes as she fed greedily on Kissar’s power.
She felt confident she could accomplish her goal. If she is unsuccessful, she will die knowing she fulfilled a promise. She swore to fight to live and destroy Dunkan. She will make sure he is the first to fall tonight. She opened the door to find Lord Dunkan leaning on the opposite wall with a large grin.
“My Queen.” He greeted.
“Dunkan.” Laurissa responded and returned to her duties.
Lord Dunkan’s voice echoed in her mind.’ The queens become very protective of the house they serve…you feel Madwell, and all who live in my manor are under your protection…you will protect this land with your life naturally.’ No, she simply did not want Kissar to disrupt her plans for the evening. She only kept Dunkan safe for her desire. Laurissa opened her mind and began humming a tune as she worked. I am no queen. She thought
“What did you do?”
“I rectified a situation, my Lord.”
“How, is not important.”
“It most certainly is! Kissar was over seven hundred years old. He looks completely drained.”
“I will tell you my secret if I agree to remain yours. If you will excuse me, I have work to do.”
“Yes, my Queen.” He emphasized the ownership of her.
As dusk approached, Laurissa left the now full manor and went to Madwell to feed. She needed peace and quiet. Laurissa jumped onto one of the houses that sheltered the men and watched the sun set. As night took its turn, the newly fallen snow twinkled and glittered like millions of stars. Vampires from all over began their hunt. She watched to make sure none of them abused their right to feed, then hunted for her meal. Laurissa did not want to return to the manor. She found a spot with the breeding females and rested there.
The next morning Laurissa woke with her emotions screaming to be let loose. Anger, fear, joy, anxiety. A mixture of doubt and hope demanded attention. She willed her mind to quiet down, and tucked her emotions into a vault then locked it. These vampires are hundreds of years older than her. She would need the element of surprise.
Laurissa opened her tendril and began to walk among the humans, visiting them and leaving Dunkan to his business. He seemed very anxious as well. This day is a big day for him. The contract will be signed, and Laurissa’s decision will be made. By mid day, Laurissa had finished visiting the vendors and continued walking her parameter. She found herself looking south east toward the African continent. So many wonders waited to be discovered. She hoped to one day unlock its secrets.
“My Queen, will you please return to the manor.” Dunkan’s voice pleasantly rolled through the tendril.
The sitting room is filled with vampires. Simon and his house are here. The ten masters, which include two of Dunkan’s males, were also lounging around the room. Dunkan’s five females flirted with the males. They all noticed her then returned to their conversations. Emerick and Boros sat near the fireplace, talking to Lord Dunkan.
Laurissa walked through the room and stopped behind Lord Dunkan. She quietly slipped a hand down Dunkan’s chest to let him know she is near. The touch is welcomed, and he sent a warm greeting through the tendril. His hand brushed her wrist absently as he kept his gaze on the two males seated across from him. Boros ignored Laurissa and Emerick became nervous.
“My mate, Boros has told me a male called Vass fits the description of the rogue in Norstrom. Vass has been spending time in the stone building. Are you aware of this?”
“Yes, my Lord. Vass came to me to warn me of his capture by Kissar. I feared for his life and told him he could seek temporary shelter there.”
“Did you tell him to steal from Emerick?”
“I have said I did not. You do not believe me?”
“Boros believes you did.”
“I am uncertain what he saw or heard, my Lord. I have not seen Vass in over two weeks. Prior to that, I told him to hide in the stone building, and before that, I challenged him and made him see humans as living souls.”
“Did you instruct your charge?”
“I do not have a charge. She has vanished.”
“Boros, explain to me one more time what you saw.”
“Your mate sat on the ground to the far north of Madwell. There is a shack just off the path. There she sat for one day and one night. Vass and Edna attempted to break her meditation, and your mate instructed them to continue up the road and help the humans there.”
“I remember going there and meditating. I went into deep meditation, studying the earth. When I woke, I was covered in snow, and you stood behind me.”
“I see. You have done this before. Something seems to possess you. You are forbidden from meditating in such away.”
Laurissa allowed her anger at his command to flow through but remained quiet. It is what he would expect from her.
“Now, I suggest the both of you find a way to work together. I highly recommend showing Laurissa respect. She has my permission to end your lives if she deems it necessary.”
“My Lord!” Emerick sucked in. Lord Dunkan’s gaze told him not to continue.
“Need I remind you that Thana and Triston have both succumbed to Laurissa’s wrath.”
Emerick’s eyes shot to Laurissa. “How did you kill Triston?” Triston was older than Emerick by a decade.
“It does not matter. He died, and I am still alive.”
Laurissa could not tell what Boros thought or why this subject even came up. Emerick stood and approached Laurissa. He came within inches of her face. She stood tall and did not cower before him.
“If you find Vass, you will bring him to me. Is that understood, girl.”
Laurissa’s anger surged. She grasped it and resisted lashing out. If she challenged him, she would disgrace him by her actions. The room is full of masters, now is not the time.
Lord Dunkan began laughing. “Oh my dear boy, you have no idea what you just did. You will be lucky to return home in one piece.” He continued laughing as Laurissa and Emerick both looked at him. Emerick stormed out of the manor. The room quieted to see what took place, then resumed visiting.
“Be easy on him, my Queen. Answering to a female is still new to him.”
Laurissa did not respond. She simply quieted her mind then sat in the newly vacant chair next to Boros.
Moments later, a blue-grey tendril requested a connection to her. She looked around the room. No one paid any attention to her. She wondered who’s tendril was requesting her connection. None of the masters here would dare attempt to capture her mind while in Dunkan’s home.
Out of curiosity, she allowed the connection. A gentle voice flowed through her tendril with the feeling of warm greetings.
“Edna tells me you plan to stop the contract.”
“My house will remain in Madwell in the male district. My females will oversee the males and ensure they are cooperative.” Simon spoke.
She looked for Simon. He is near the far wall leading to the kitchen, speaking to Master Aron of the northeast. His town was one of the smaller ones in this region. Lord Dunkan has a male who lives in that house. Aron is shorter than Simon and looked up into his eyes with displeasure. His body language told Laurissa he would fight Simon and put him in his place were they not in Lord Dunkan’s house.
“You play a very dangerous game, Simon.” Laurissa warned. Deceit can easily be discovered by any vampire. Most of the vampires in the room are older than Laurissa. They would be able to catch Simon in a lie easily. It would mean his death if he was not careful.
“Indeed.” came the soft voice. It seemed Simon whispered to Laurissa low enough she had to strain to hear him. She more felt his words within the tendril than actually heard his voice.
“That is not acceptable. You were not here when we agreed to have one vampire from each house live in Madwell. A house control by Dunkan is a breach of contract.”
“The contract has not yet been signed. I am prepared to welcome five males into my house; however, my females will still govern the male district.”
“I saw great strength in you when Dunkan asked for the blood sacrifice.”
“Hmpt! We shall see what Lord Dunkan has to say about that. You may be a master, but you are young. I suggest you watch your back, young vampire. Leave the farm to us and follow your master. This is your only warning.”
“Understood, Aron.” Simon growled.
Simon turned to Laurissa and casually met her gaze as he leaned on the wall he was near.
“I was not speaking to Dunkan when I vowed my loyalties. You, my Queen have control over my house. I am yours to do as you please.”
He quickly disconnected and continued to quietly rest on the wall watching the crowded room.
Laurissa kept her thoughts of Simon’s statement silent. Now is not the time to lose concentration on her task.