Ravyn's Nights - Book 2

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Chapter 55

When Karin left her room a little before dawn to go and feed on her one remaining servant, her expression immediately darkened as Theo was once again exiting the room “and where are you hiding my little playmate?” he greeted her.

“The servant who you raped who knows how many times?” she glared back.

“That’s what I said” he stated plainly.

“I got rid of her” Karin returned just as emotionlessly as he spoke.

“Got rid of her?” he raised a brow at that “and what makes you think that I was done with her?”

“I don’t care. I’m not bound to you” she returned bitterly.

“Baron will not be happy with this attitude you know” he warned her as his eyes moved over her body.

“Baron doesn’t give a shit about how many girls you can find to rape from one night to the next. You’re nothing but a tool to him, to be used as he needs. Just like the rest of us” Karin added the last bit with a slightly decreased volume.

Theo just let out a derisive laugh and shook his head at her defiance, despite how accurate her words most likely were “and what are you now doing to serve your purpose better than you have in the last four decades?”

Narrowing her eyes at the fact that she seemed to have won that argument, thankless as it was, Karin answered “I’m in the process of convincing Haven’s current heir to come back home.”

Theo scoffed at that “and how exactly does that help Baron get the throne?”

“Haven already told me that he will never make me heir until Baron is dead” she informed bluntly.

Theo only paused a moment “and how long ago did he tell you this?”

“Thirty years or so” Karin returned coolly.

“You little…” he then just shook his head “so again, how does bringing the real heir back here help?”

“The only way I can get Haven to make me heir before that is by getting him bound to me; and Haven will never be stupid enough to drink another Kindred’s blood, ever” she explained flatly.

“I could try bending him over to convince him, too. He’s just as pretty as you. And he may actually enjoy it. Didn’t he fuck ‘Karin’s’ sire anyway?” he smirked.

Karin just shook her head at that “but Haven’s heir is stupid enough to drink another Kindred’s blood” she informed “we get him to come home, make me look like her, and voila; the heir is bound to me and we can get rid of Haven” she stated simply.

“Oh so now you are willing to kill your sire-slash-lover?” Theo returned.

“If that’s what it takes” she stated simply.

“Baron’s blood suits you well” Theo smiled after what almost could pass for a compliment, twisted as it was “just make sure you don’t fuck this up and you do get them back here, and soon” he warned before moving to one of the guest rooms to wait out the coming daylight.

After waking for the evening in their personal chambers at the Denbourough home, Claire went about trying to relay her strange telepathic conversation with Karin to Sean. Sean quietly listened to the recount before moving to retrieve his nearby shirt from the sofa that he had dropped it onto before dawn.

“So, Karin wants us to go home again?” he repeated Claire’s words as he took a seat at the edge of the bed again and begun buttoning his recently retrieved shirt.

“Apparently” Claire confirmed with a sad sigh.

“Because Haven told her he’d make her heir once Baron was no longer a threat?” he repeated another part of the story in a cautious tone.

“Apparently” Claire repeated once more.

“And why hasn’t Haven made this request to us on his own?” Sean asked as he finished with the buttons and slowly turned back toward Claire.

“I do not know” Claire stated plainly. On second thought, she added “maybe Haven doesn’t want to make such a request, considering he does know about the part of the prophecy after he dies” she added more quietly, her eyes cast down.

Sean shared his own shaky sigh at that reminder before moving close to Claire and taking a seat against the headboard with her, wrapping an arm around her in an attempt at comforting her “and how exactly are we supposed to help ensure Baron’s downfall now? Has something changed since we were last there trying to make some attempt at doing just that before?” he asked, verbally attempting to find any logic to Karin’s request.

“I do not know” Claire repeated once more, though with another sigh.

Sean was quiet again for a long moment, pondering the situation “I can only assume that you’re not particularly thrilled with the idea of us returning to America either?”

Claire just scoffed as she lay her head upon his shoulder “we’ve had a really good life here for twenty-five years now. Things have actually been peaceful. And I have no idea what exactly we can do to help defeat Baron anyway. Not to mention…” instead of finishing that statement, she just sadly sighed again.

Another long quiet moment before Sean responded “of course I do still feel guilty about leaving Haven behind like I did; especially with Awsha still missing and presumably with the serpent, still” he admitted “but, like you, I just don’t know what Karin’s actually expecting us to be able to do” he agreed.

“Strength in numbers maybe?” Claire offered as her only feeble guess.

“But we had numbers before” Sean reminded “and that still didn’t stop my wonderful sister from getting corrupted and then escaping back to him again.”

“We could perhaps bring Daniel and Anastasia with us. We’d have more numbers then. And it’s not like they have anything keeping them here” she added sarcastically as she pointedly looked around the huge, elegant home, proving that her suggestion was mainly made in jest, mainly.

“I can just imagine their opinion of our little house there in the middle of what almost passes as a town” Sean agreed with his own wry smirk.

“Oh I’m sure they’d love it” Claire replied, as she did allow a tiny smirk as well.

“Oh, what would we love?” Anastasia interrupted their conversation with a grin as she and Daniel had found their way to Sean’s and Claire’s quarters upon waking that night, and had only caught the last bit of the conversation.

“I was being sarcastic” Claire admitted, attempting a smile as the two moved to take seats on the bed “trust me, it’s nothing you would actually enjoy at all, I’m sure.”

“I don’t know. There are a lot of things we enjoy” Daniel argued with a pointed smile as his eyes moved over the other couple with the familiarity of one who had been their lover for a quarter of a century already.

Sean smiled for only a brief moment at Daniel’s words before his thoughts returned to the previous conversation “we’ve just been contacted by the Toreador who replaced me as Primogen to my sire” Sean began as Claire looked up at him worriedly.

“Is that who was in your head last night while I was… in the rest of you” Daniel asked Claire mischievously, which did cause a small grin from Anastasia at that visual.

“Yes” Claire admitted, looking down as though to blush again.

“And what dire news did this person bring, judging by the worry creasing both your faces when we entered the room?” Daniel pressed gently.

“It seems Haven’s territory is still in a bit of peril from a powerful and quite elusive enemy” Sean gave the abbreviated version.

“That sounds less than ideal” Daniel agreed, his nearly permanent smile only then making way for a slightly more serious expression.

“Yes, and this is the territory I’m to inherit if anything actually were to happen to my sire” Sean added more quietly.

“Also rather less than ideal” Daniel agreed in thought.

“And I wasn’t really all that interested in ever being Prince at all, let alone…” Sean just shook his head before moving on “and the current Primogen, Karin; she says that Haven will name her heir instead, but only if they succeed at ridding his territory of this threat first” he finished somberly.

“So, if you help them to get rid of this threat, then you are helping your sire and getting free of an unwanted position in the future?” Anastasia rephrased to clarify.

“But if it was that simple…” Sean just shook his head again.

“Well, nothing worth doing is ever all that simple, is it?” Daniel stated quietly, beginning to prove how he had managed to make his very substantial income by serving as an advisor to the current human regent of Britain, King George III.

“So you think we should go back there?” Claire asked with a bit of worry.

“Maybe my input from the post I now hold in the mortal world may actually prove helpful with your Prince’s current predicament” Daniel offered helpfully. Though he couldn’t help adding “as talented as I am as a lover; that’s not exactly how I achieved all of this” he smirked as he gestured to their surroundings.

Sean couldn’t help a slight smile at that statement before adding “maybe you should be Haven’s Primogen. Though I’m sure it doesn’t pay quite as well as King George III” he finished wryly.

“Luckily, money is not one of my current needs” Daniel chuckled “but dearest, you are older than me. You would obviously have to be the one to retain that title if we were to go back to your homeland with you. I’ll just have to offer you my very valuable advice… in exchange for services rendered of course” he purred as he moved to place a long kiss over Sean’s lips to accentuate his words.

All of those present then let out a slight chuckle at Daniel’s words before the two men broke off that kiss once more. But Claire had to speak up “we wouldn’t want to force our own problems on the two of you though. You have such perfect lives here and all. And going back to that hell with us…” she shook her head.

“Claire darling, have you learned nothing in the last twenty-five years?” Daniel interrupted her, though gently.

“Pardon?” she asked, looking up quickly at those words.

Daniel just smiled as he then moved to place a gentle kiss over her lips as well before answering her “we’ve spent a quarter of a century as lovers to you and your beautiful husband both. Do you not think that we have developed quite the affection for both of you by now?” he smiled again “if help is what you need, you’ve more than earned ours; right along with our love” he added with another gentle kiss.

She and Sean looked to each other at the sound of his offer and his sweet words before she had to make one last attempt at providing them a chance to change their minds “but you don’t understand what you actually may be getting into back in America with us” she stated, though her words were barely above a whisper.

“Believe me, I’ve been dealing with the political strife of the mortal world for a lot longer than any of the human rulers that I’ve actually been trying to keep safe and enthroned. It may be a nice change to actually use my brain to help one of our own Kindred rulers for once” Daniel smiled his reassurance.

“If I didn’t know better, I might guess that you were a Ventrue” Sean teased in response to that last statement.

“Oh, blasphemy!” Daniel shot back in a playful growl as he moved to punish Sean with another kiss “you do know you’ll be paying dearly for that statement tonight” he threatened in the same playful manner. To which all four of them allowed another amused chuckle, despite other worries they now held anew.

When the next meeting of Haven’s council ended, Haven caught Karin’s wrist in his just as she was about to rise to follow the other Primogen from the meeting “yes?” she responded quietly to his touch, her brown eyes not moving to his face yet.

“You’ve been rather quiet the last few weeks” he stated softly, not yet relinquishing her wrist.

“Baron wants results. He’s become quite impatient” she allowed that much truth as Haven was still under the impression that she was merely pretending to do Baron’s bidding while remaining loyal to her actual Prince instead.

“Did he hurt you?” Haven asked worriedly.

She attempted to hide the flinch at the memory of what Theo very nearly had done to her. But if she shared that story with Haven, it would also lead to him finding out that she was once again painfully bound to the serpent “I’m still standing, aren’t I?” Karin allowed as her only response.

Haven watched her closely, silently cursing the fact that her guise of Karin hid her aura and thoughts from him as well. He then paused another moment before glancing toward the door where the last member of the council had since left them alone in the room.

“I must ask you, Awsha” he began, causing another slight flinch in her as he referred to her by her true name “why is it that you’ve asked Sean to return?”

Karin was more than a bit thrown by that question, but quickly tried to hide it from her sire’s searching blue eyes “like I said, Baron has gotten impatient” was the only response she allowed.

Haven narrowed those blue eyes beneath the long blonde locks “I’m not sure what exactly that has to do with my actual heir returning” he stated warily, attempting to watch her body language as her aura and thoughts were infuriatingly out of his reach still.

“Baron doesn’t think I can convince you to give me the throne after all” she stated in the same quiet tone.

Haven was quiet another moment as he mulled over her statement “so he thinks you’ll have better luck with Sean?” he asked with a raised brow.

“That’s what he hopes anyway” Karin responded, still attempting to dance upon that line between betraying her master and convincing her sire that she had no such master at all.

“So we’ve moved on from the plan of making me fall in love with you, to simply murdering me instead?”

Though Karin did not need to respond with words, as she simply closed her eyes tightly against his words, feeling her very soul being torn in two between her own desires and that of her serpent’s, whom she could never hope to betray again. It was too late for that now; and too late for her now as well.

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