Night had fallen an hour ago, and it had been fifteen minutes since Freya had put Skyler to sleep for the rest of the night. I walked down one of the many halls branching off the common area of the residential floor and followed the mournful sound of a violin to the double doors at the end. Pushing them opened, I stepped into what looked like a living room in a regular home. The doors swung shut behind me with a hiss, and I stood there in the cold, taking in the music. After about five minutes, the music ended, and I blinked as the bitch that was reality slowly returned. “Did you enjoy that?” Freya asked quietly, her eyes closed.
“I did,” I said and walked over.
“It is one of my many sorrowful pieces,” she said as I sat down beside her.
“How long have you been playing?”
“Since the sixteenth century when this instrument was made.”
“You’re very good at it.”
“Thank you,” she said and opened her eyes, and I inwardly cringed at the hunger I saw within them. It was a hunger I knew too well, because I have seen it in Tristan, Elijah, and Allia, but mostly Tristan. At the moment, her beast was clawing at her insides, screaming for blood. Freya set her violin and bow back in the case and slowly snapped it shut. “Why have you come here?” she asked, scooting away from me and setting the case on the floor.
“To talk,” I said simply.
She turned to look at me, and I wanted to cry as I saw how much effort it took for her not to reach out for me. There were also tears in her eyes, and I wanted to so badly help her, but there wasn’t a thing I could do—for her, for Tristan, for the rest of the Tronis—apart from allowing her to kill me, and even after that, it still wouldn’t help. “Really?” she asked. “I am not that interesting, you know.”
I hesitated. “Well, I like to get to know new hunters when they come to town.”
“And have you spoken to every hunter here?”
“No,” I said slowly. “You’re the first I find interesting.”
“I see.” Her hands twitched, and I prayed she wasn’t going to lunge for my throat. “What would you like to know?”
“When were you turned?” I asked, hoping she wouldn’t slap me.
She smiled, and it was creepy. “I am fifty years younger than Sven.”
“Vampire age?” She nodded. “If I’m not mistaken, you’re also a witch?”
“I am. When did you figure it out?”
I smirked. “The cup of blood you gave Skyler.”
“Ah,” she said and chuckled. “Why did you not stop me? I saw the suspicious look you threw my way.”
I shrugged. “If you were planning to hurt Skyler, my senses would’ve screamed at me.”
“That is true enough.”
“So, what magic do you practice in?”
“I am practiced in all forms of magic except necromancy. I have much knowledge in the art of death magic, though I do not practice it.”
“Did you learn from Jailyn?”
“Indeed, I did. She is very gifted, that one.”
I nodded in complete agreement with her. “What is your primary?”
“Blood magic,” she said, and I inwardly shivered at the growl in her voice. “Now these days, I create potions, mix herbs and chemicals…” She shrugged.
“Yes,” she said and inhaled deeply. “But I still do spells and runes and whatnot.”
I nodded, scooting a little farther away from her. “Did you come to California to visit?”
“No, Ari,” she said and chills skittered down my spine. “I came here to stay.” She took in a deep breath and grimaced. I nodded, looking around the room. Apart from the black stuffed couch Freya and I were sitting on, there was a coffee table, and a small kitchen with a sink and a bar-sized refrigerator. The walls were painted dark blue, and the hard floor was black with a plush red rug in the center. I could feel Freya’s eyes on me as I thought of what to say next. “I hear Kira approaching,” she said a minute later. “I must go,” she finished with a strangled sound.
I blinked in confusion. “You don’t like her?”
Freya sucked in a sharp breath, her breathing becoming ragged and harsh. “It is not that I do not like her,” she growled, and I stiffened. “That poor child’s blood is thick with sugar, and I love sweets,” she finished with a hiss that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
“Oh, right,” I said and got up slowly. Freya was a blur as one of the double doors opened. Kira let out a strangled scream, and I flashed to Freya, slamming her into the wall.
“What the hell?” Kira yelped in surprise.
“Meet your big sister,” I said, grunting as I struggled to hold Freya back. “Only, she wants to drain you dry.” I glared at Kira, cursing as Freya elbowed me hard in the side. “We did warn you that one day your damn chocolate addiction was going to get you killed.”
“Uh,” Kira squeaked and disappeared out the way she came. With a snarl, Freya turned on me. Her fangs snapped at my neck, and I put up my arm, letting out a loud curse as she clamped her mouth on my forearm. Then she suddenly let out a gasp, choking as she reeled back. She let out a scream, cursing as she writhed.
“Freya,” I spluttered and crouched over her. “What’s wrong?” I jerked back as her hand flashed toward me. Her eyes flickered back and forth between black and white, and I shuddered. Everything suddenly went dark, and I blinked to find that we were teleported into an empty dark room where Tristan was waiting. “You’re causing her the pain,” I said to him and scowled. He nodded and glanced around the room. “Are you using the sire-to-child bond thing?” He grunted as he spotted the chains along one wall. “Where are we?”
“We’re in a room where she locks herself up,” he said as he walked over to Freya and picked her up, carrying her to the chains. The moment the silver chain touched her, there was a blue flash before they wrapped itself around her, dragging her kicking and screaming to the wall.
“Damn,” I said and let out a whistle. “You need to ask her to make you one of those,” I said as Freya went limp, panting on the floor. Tristan shuddered and shook his head. I shrugged. “How does she get blood then?”
“The blue flash alerts me,” a hissing female voice said from behind me. “And I bring her food.” I let out a startled yelp and turned to find an imp standing in the doorway. “I am called Rozalia,” she continued and walked to Freya, who leapt off the floor and lunge for the imp. The imp squealed and blurred across the room. She would’ve caught the imp if the chains hadn’t stopped her. “Not food, I am not food. My blood will kill you.” Freya snarled, either not caring or not hearing. Rozalia looked at us and shrugged. “Since you’re here, I’ll let you get her food,” she said and disappeared out the door.
“Okay,” I said slowly. “Who was that?”
“Jailyn’s imp,” Tristan said with a sigh.
“Oh,” I said, and then winced as Rozalia let out a shrilling shriek that nearly burst my eardrums. “What’s wrong now?” I asked and grumbled.
“I don’t give a flying fart!” Rozalia shrilled. “Jailyn!” The imp reappeared in the doorway. “Take me to Jailyn! Now-now-now!”
“Can’t you find her and go to her yourself?” I asked. “I don’t have time to look for her! Take me!” she all but squealed.
“Okay okay,” I said and teleported her. “I’ll… be back with a human for Freya,” I said and walked out the door.FREYA
"I have to say," Tristan said from beside me. "It's a nice change." My stomach clenched in pain, and I grunted, shifting slightly. The sound of chains met my ears, and I looked down, tears filling my eyes. Tristan moved, taking me into his arms as I tried very hard not to cry. A single tear ran down my cheek anyways, and his cool finger caught it, gently wiping it away. That only made me want to cry even more, and I took in a deep shuddering breath.
"How do you do it?" I asked as the hunger pain continues to stab at my gut. "Living like this?"
He remained silent as he held me, chains and all. "I won't say that it gets easier to control, because it doesn't. But I will say that it gets easier to deal with, if not control."
"I have isolated myself for over two thousand years and now that I am back with civilization, it is like fighting against a brick wall. And the witches, do not get me started on the witches," I said and groaned, hissing as the memory of the witches’ sweet blood got my saliva surging forward to fill my mouth.
"Why did you come back?" he asked softly, stroking my arm in a soothing manner.
The chains rattled as I shrugged. "Maybe I got tired of Alaska. The only things I will miss are the long nights during the winter." All I could think about was blood. The smell of it filled my nostrils, and the sound of Tristan's heart beating was loud in my ears.
"I had wish you'd come back sooner, but you are here now, and you are welcomed to stay as long as you like. Sven will be happy to have you around."
I smiled, though it was more of a grimaced as I struggled with the urge not to turn in Tristan's arms and burying my fangs into his neck. "He comes to see me every month. Him and Liana. They have been keeping me updated as I delved deeper into my magic."
He chuckled. "That I can tell," he said dryly. "You're aura is smothered in magic."
"You say that like it is a bad thing."
"Oh, it is not. It's just that Davina will throw a tantrum when she finds out."
"Because she is the most powerful witch in California until I came to town?" I asked dryly and swallowed before I could drool all over myself.
"Yes," he said as the door opened and Ari stepped into the room, the arm where I had bitten her freed of blood and completely healed. I jerked out of Tristan's arms and lunged across the room, grunting and cursing as the chains pulled me to a stop halfway to the door. She had a male human with her, and I silently screamed as I snarled, continuing to jerk against the chains.
"Is this the female version of you?" Ari asked and smirked, directing her question at Tristan. He let out a growl and glared at her. Shaking her head, Ari looked at me, hesitating. I snapped my fangs at her. She slowly stepped toward me, and the closer she got, the human's and her blood filled my every senses. Tristan was suddenly beside Ari, taking the human from her and gently pushing her away from me. I wanted a vampire, but at the moment, I didn't care what kind of blood I was drinking. Hell, at this point, I'll even have a cat as a late night snack. I let out an anguished scream. Sadness flickered in Ari's eyes and she winced, taking another step back. The moment the human was in reach, I strained against my chains and grabbed him, yanking him to me. With another snarled, I was on him, his back slamming to the floor as I tore into his neck, practically crying inside as I gulped down the hot rushing blood. I didn't know how long I was at his throat, but the next thing I knew, my head exploded in pain, and I screamed, jerking back. I snarled as the human was quickly pulled from under me, but the pain kept me on the floor, writhing. "Shit," Ari muttered and disappeared into thin air, taking the human with her. Jailyn appeared beside Tristan, and she winced. Just as sudden as the pain came on, it was gone, and I was a trembling mess on the floor. Jailyn nodded to Tristan before coming over to me and pulling me into her arms.
"Oh, Freya," she said in that hypnotic tone that was her's alone. She turned my head until I was looking at her. "Take what you need," she said softly as I stared at the blue vein in her neck. "I offer it freely." When I didn't go for her throat, though I so badly wanted to, she put a hand on the back of my head and forced my mouth to her jugular. My hunger rose sharply, and with a snarl, I sank my fangs in deep. I greedily pulled at her neck, her hot blood cooling like ice as it coursed through me. Was all necromancer blood like this? I thought as I continued to feed. Jailyn ran her fingers through my hair and sighed. "No," she said a second later. "Only my blood has this affect." With a couple more long pulls, I reluctantly and slowly withdrew my fangs. Nuzzling her neck, I licked closed the two holes I've made. I was still hungry, but it was now a dull pang I could manage.
"I am sorry," I said and pulled out of her arms, rubbing the tears from my eyes.
"Do not be," she said gently. Tristan muttered something under his breath, and Jailyn snorted. "Because I don't like you, Tristan. Freya, I like very much. You, I hate."
"Should I be honored that the most powerful necromancer likes me over the most powerful vampire?" I asked, and the chains scraped against the floor as I moved to the wall and put my back to it. They both chuckled as Jailyn rose to her feet. I looked up at Tristan and glared at him.
“What did I do now?” he asked, glancing at Jailyn, who shrugged.
“I,” I said slowly, wrapping my arms around my knees. “I will have Kira for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if you do not wean her from her addiction,” I warned. Tristan inclined his head and studied me curiously. “Or, I will turn that child into a bunny rabbit and give her to Jordana.” I smiled. “I have heard the story about the six poor, precious, little fluffy creatures.” Jailyn grinned, and he glared at her. “Or—” Tristan put up a hand, stopping me from continuing my train of thought.
“All right,” he said and growled at me. I simply growled right back, because I was deadly serious. I was going to turn that hyper, cheery vampire into a squirrel and watch her live off nuts for the rest of her existence. Though I have not interacted with the young fledgling, I’ve had seen her around with others and got a good idea of what she was like—friendly to all, but a fierce, fierce protector of those she love and considered friend. “I will tell her your threats.”
“Do more than just tell,” I said and got up.
He nodded, and then chuckled. “I think I see why Jailyn likes you so.” I narrowed my eyes at him, and he muttered something under his breath.
“Jailyn,” I said and turned to her. “I know you did not just come here to give me blood.” I let out a grunt, as an invisible gale of wind punched me across the room. The only thing stopping my flight to the wall on the other side was the chains. Tristan, however, wasn’t so lucky. His head struck the wall, and he was out cold. As I hit the floor, I turned my head, grunting as pain coursed through my body. The wind continued to buffet me, and it felt like I was being torn apart. Just as suddenly as the wind came, it abruptly died, and I could hear Jailyn’s harsh breathing.
“Forgive me,” she said calmly, but I knew she was far from it. She took in a deep breath just as a groan sounded from Tristan. “Wake up,” she growled, and I bit back a smile as she kicked him. Rubbing his head and glaring at her, Tristan slowly rose and went over to the now closed door and leaned against it. Jailyn took in another deep breath, and I stiffened. “The gate is fully opened,” she growled, and I could see shadows moving behind her. Red clouded my vision, and my hunger that was always with me, rose. “Which means larger demons can now escape,” Jailyn finished as I slowly sat up and moved back to the wall. This time, I ran my hand along the chain, stopping where it met the wall. An inch or so from the connecting point was a rune. It was tiny—the size of a pinhead but slightly bigger. It was in the shape of an arrow in flight, and it pulsed a glowing red, swirling. A tingle ran up my arm as I pressed my finger to it. I could feel Tristan and Jailyn’s eyes on me as I brought my finger to my mouth and pricked it against a fang. As blood welled and began to pool, I quickly brought it to the rune, pressing my bloody finger to it. The moment blood touched rune, it felt like my finger was being sucked into the wall. Showers of red sparks flew from the chains before they unraveled from me and dropped to the floor with a clinking sound of metal against metal. I shrugged the rest of the chains off me and got up. Without a word, I walked to the door. Tristan stepped out of my way but didn’t say anything as I willed open the door and left the room. A wave of calm washed over me, settling like ice in my veins. I was going to get the name of the necromancer from Zaria, even if I have to kill her to get it.