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Authors: Nicola Claire

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Blood Life Seeker

BOOK: Blood Life Seeker
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Blood Life Seeker

Book Two in the Kindred Series

 

By Nicola Claire

 

Copyright © 2012, Nicola Claire

All Rights Reserved

 

ISBN: 978-0-473-21528-6

 

nicolaclairebooks.blogspot.com

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organisations is entirely coincidental.

 

All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

 

Cover Art by Nicola Claire & Minette Hanekom

Image credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Image #
10171117

Font credit: Last Soundtrack "EpoXY histoRy"

 

My special thanks to Minette of
Red Cherry Graphic Design
for her expertise, unfailing support and precious time, making the
Kindred Series
look as sexy as it deserves.

 

More books by Nicola Claire:

 

Kindred Series

 

Kindred

Blood Life Seeker

Forbidden Drink

Giver of Light

Dancing Dragon

Shadow's Light

Entwined With The Dark

Kiss Of The Dragon (Late 2013)

 

Mixed Blessing Mystery Series

 

Mixed Blessing

 

Sweet Seduction Series

 

Sweet Seduction Sacrifice

Sweet Seduction Serenade

Sweet Seduction Shadow (Late 2013)

 

Elemental Awakening Series

 

The Tempting Touch Of Fire (Late 2013)

For my boys:

Thanks for sharing mummy with

her vampires.

(And you can't read this until

you're a lot older!)

Definitions

Accord

A blood binding agreement, often between two parties of equal power; cannot be broken.

Alliance

A word of honour agreement; has varying degrees of binding, some alliances cannot be broken.

Blood Bond

A binding connection between master and servant, requiring the exchange of blood to seal. It can only be broken by someone more powerful than the master who created it. A blood bond establishes a close relationship between the blood bonded. The master provides safety and protection, the servant offers obedience and loyalty.

Bond

The connection between joined kindred Nosferatu and Nosferatin; reflects the emotional and psychological relationship. Enables both parties to find each other over distance; to perform whatever is required to get to that person, overcoming any obstacle; to direct thoughts to each other; to feed off the life force of each other. It is always an equal exchange.

Command

A directive given by a Master Vampire to one of his line. It requires
Sanguis Vitam
in order to enforce obedience. It cannot be ignored.

Dream Walk

A Nosferatin power, enabling the Nosferatin to appear in a different location. The Dream Walker is invisible, cannot be sensed or smelled, and only heard if they talk when in this realm. They can, however, interact and be harmed. The only exception to a Dream Walker's invisibility is another Nosferatin. Two Dream Walks in a 24 hour period results in prolonged unconsciousness once the Dream Walker returns to their body. A very rare power.

Final death

The true death of a Nosferatu. There can be no survival from the final death.

Glaze

The ability to influence another. It requires direct eye contact and
Sanguis Vitam
to insert the influence. Usually a Nosferatu skill, allowing a vampire to influence a human.

Hapū
– (Maori) Tribe; sub-tribe – e.g. the Westside Hapū of Taniwha is the local Auckland sub-tribe of New Zealand Taniwha.

Herald

The Nosferatin who recognises the Prophesy. It is the Herald's responsibility to acknowledge the
Sanguis Vitam Cupitor
and thereby initiate the Prophesy.

Iunctio

(Latin). The Nosferatu connection and governing power. All vampires are connected to one another via this supernatural information exchange highway; enabling sharing of rules, locations of safe havens and hot spots to avoid. It is powered by both Nosferatu and Nosferatin
Sanguis Vitam
, but is operated by the Nosferatu in Paris. There are twelve members of the
Iunctio
council, headed by the Champion. The
Iunctio
is tasked with policing all supernaturals throughout the world.

Joining

The marriage of a kindred Nosferatu with a kindred Nosferatin. Upon joining the Nosferatu will double their
Sanguis Vitam
and the Nosferatin will come into their powers, but for the Nosferatin, their powers will only manifest  after reaching maturity; the age of 25. The joining will also make the Nosferatin immortal. A symbiotic relationship, should one member of the joining die, the other will too. Without a joining, the Nosferatin would die one month past their 25
th
birthday. The joining also increases the power of the
Iunctio
and Nosferatu as a whole.

Kaitiaki

(Maori) New Zealand shape shifter (Taniwha) name for Nosferatin. Meaning protective guardian of people and places.

Kindred

A Nosferatu or Nosferatin sacred match, a suitable partner for a joining. To be a kindred there must exist a connection between the Nosferatu and Nosferatin; only those suitably compatible will be kindred to the other.

Line

The family of a Master Vampire, all members of which have been turned by the master, or accepted via blood bond into the fold.

Master

A Nosferatu with the highest level of
Sanguis Vitam.
There are five levels of Master, from level five – the lowest on the
Sanguis Vitam
scale, to level one – the highest on the
Sanguis Vitam
scale. Only level one Masters can head a line of their own. Some Nosferatu may never become Masters.

Master of the City

A level one Master in control of a territory; a city.

Norm

A human unaware of the supernaturals who walk the Earth. They also do not have any supernatural abilities themselves.

Nosferatin

  (
Nosferat–een)
-
A vampire hunter by birth. Nosferatin were once of the same ilk as Nosferatu, descendants from the same ancestors, or a God. The Nosferatin broke off and turned towards the Light. Their sole purpose is to bring the Nosferatu back from the Dark, this can include dispatching them, bringing them the final death, when they cannot be saved. They are now a mix of human and Nosferatin genetics.

Nosferatu

A vampire. The Nosferatu turned towards the Dark, when their kin, the Nosferatin turned towards the Light. They require blood to survive and can be harmed by UV exposure and silver. They do not need to breathe or have a heartbeat. They are considered the undead.

Pull

The Nosferatin sense of evil. Guides a hunter to a Dark vampire; sometimes, but not always a rogue, who is about to feed off an innocent.

Rākaunui

(Maori) Full Moon.

Rogue

A vampire no longer controlled by a master, full of evil and Darkness, feeding indiscriminately and uncontrolled.

Sanguis Vitam

(Latin) The Blood Life or life force of a Nosferatu. It represents the power they possess. There are varying degrees of
Sanguis Vitam
.

Sanguis Vitam Cupitor

(Latin) The Blood Life Seeker. The first part of the Prophesy. The
Sanguis Vitam Cupitor
can sense and find all Dark vampires throughout the world.

Sigillum

(Latin) A permanent mark of possession.

Taniwha

(Maori) New Zealand shape shifter. Dangerous, predatory beings. The Taniwha have an alliance with the Nosferatins.

Turned

The action of changing a human into a vampire.

Vampyre

Old term for vampire; used rarely in modern language.

 

I am the Light to the Dark.

You call to me as I call to you.

I will always hold you dear.

Prophesy Mantra

Chapter 1
Rome

I could hear the lambs bleating in the fields even before I saw them. Michel knew I liked to hear them. Even if we weren't sharing a bed, he had lately taken great lengths to make sure my dreams were as realistic as possible. Usually, if I was alone in my apartment in my own bed and he was elsewhere when he entered my dreams, the sounds and colours wouldn't have been as bright. But since we joined two weeks ago and then Bonded not long after, it's been easier for him to go for technicolour, surround sound, excellence.

I didn't mind. I loved being back on my parents' farm.

Of course, I hadn't always accepted Michel's presence in my dreams quite so easily. I had resented his hold over me, rebelled against it even. But it's not always easy to fight a Master Vampire and especially the Master of the City. And Michel Durand had been nothing if not persistent in his pursuit of me.

Sometimes, I wonder if what I feel for him is actually real. It feels real, but so much has happened in the past five weeks, I just can't be sure any more.

The breeze was playing with the long pale lilac skirt of my dress, making it flap delicately around my bare ankles, tickling the sensitive skin in the groove below the bone. Another thing Michel liked in my dreams was long dresses, something I don't normally go for. My usual attire is more black mini skirt, tight fitting black Tee and matching black denim jacket to hide the stakes. But Michel for some reason, liked me to appear a little more dainty, I suppose. Not so Gothic. It was an on-going argument, but I wasn't budging. It's hard to stake the evil undead if you're battling wads of material at your feet.

I could feel the soft grass of the paddock I always stood in, in these dreams, beneath my bare feet. I wriggled my toes into the soft earth, getting them dirty, but I didn't care. If I couldn't actually get through to see my folks as often as I would have liked these days and recharge my batteries on the farm like I used to, then these dreams had to suffice. Dirt in my toes just felt like home. Home is where I charged my batteries.

Michel hadn't yet appeared, probably giving me a few moments to soak it all up before he stole my attention. He knew what sort of effect he had on me in these dreams. When he turned up I practically forgot about everything else and would fall into his arms. I'm sure he found it amusing as hell, but he hid it well.

I sat myself down on the grass, smoothing the skirt under me to avoid creases. Habit, it's a dream, the dress is not real, my upbringing however is. The sun felt good against my bare arms and my face and neck. The dress had a low scooped neckline, baring my shoulders and neck to the heat from the sky. I'm sure that was entirely intentional too. Michel loved to smell the sun on my skin. I guess if you have to avoid it as much as possible like he does, you'd tend to miss it too. Often I felt he was living vicariously through me, but I could hardly blame him. Five hundred years of being undead allowed you a few privileges.

I took a deep breath in, trying to smell all the freshness, the farmland around me. I could smell the trees and the paddocks and the sweet smell of silage from further fields. It's an acquired taste, but you get used to it. I think I could almost smell the sun, like Michel does, but I'm not sure. I could however smell the sea. There is no sea where my parents' farm is, it's just south of Hamilton, inland in a small farming community called Cambridge. No sea for miles. So, I knew what or who it was. I turned my head and looked over my shoulder to where the fresh salt sea spray was coming from.

Michel stood a few feet away with his hands in his tight black casual trousers. I didn't know how long he had been standing there, probably a few minutes, just watching. He could have easily hidden his fresh and clean smell from me and only allowed it to enter my mind when he was ready. He controlled these dreams, they were all him.

The sun sparkled against his bare arms, where his black shirt had been rolled up to reveal well toned forearms. The golden cream of his skin glowing under the rays. He's tall, 6'2” and all long lithe legs and beautiful sculptured muscles.  Broad in the shoulders, something I have to admit I love, with his dark brown, almost black hair lying free around his handsome and strong lined face, just scraping the tops of his shoulders. He usually wore it clipped back at the base of his neck, but he knew I liked it free, so it was always loose here.

I'd taken my time looking him over, it was always a feast for the eyes when he appeared in my dreams. It's not that he was different as such here, just more. More brilliant. More beautiful. More captivating. More him. He kept his persona well contained in the real world, wore a mask, behaved a certain way. Only those closest to him knew the real Michel. I was just lucky enough to be one of them and even then, sometimes, I think he acted with me. Call me a sceptic, but years of hunting evil undead vampires has not entirely been wiped out by the enthralling presence of Michel in my life.

He gave me one of his most dazzling smiles, his eyes lighting up with their hypnotic blue-with-violet flecks that seemed to pull me in to the deepest part of him. Trapping me, wrapping me up in warmth and light. It's been a long time since Michel could glaze me, I mean really hold me with a vampire glaze, but his eyes still pulled me in, just in a different way now.

“Are you going to join me?” I'd long learned that offence was the best defence as far as vampires were concerned. Never let them see fear, even if it's just fear of falling in love.

“It would be my pleasure,
ma douce
.”

Ma douce
is his pet name for me, French of course, that's where he's originally from. Although aside from his name, you'd never know it normally, he sounds very English. But here in the dreams I hear it, that slight French lilt, that wonderfully seductive curve to his words.

He sat down next to me in a fluid movement that only the supernatural can perfect, all grace and elegance and something entirely otherworldly. It used to unsettle me, until I found out I'm a little otherworldly too. It kind of changes your perception of the bad guys when you realise you're part of their team.

His hand felt warm when he picked mine up, stroking the back of it in gentle swirls, sending tingles up my arm and down my spine. I sighed, I couldn't help it. Michel just has this effect over me, one that I have little control over and I'm sure one he attempts to manipulate at every opportunity. He raised my hand to his lips and kissed the back lingeringly, his eyes locked with mine. The deep blues fighting for light amongst the mauves and violets creeping in.

We looked at each other for a moment and I swear I could see right inside his soul. A topic I have long been debating, do vampires even have souls? But when I'm with him, it seems so natural that they do, or at least Michel sometimes does to me any way.

He smiled and opened his mouth to say something, but I never heard what delightful thing it might have been, because suddenly I felt my body lurch sideways and then up and away through blackness and the dark nothingness of my mind. I floated for a moment, suspended in that void and then felt my stomach leave me, like on a particularly aggressive roller coaster and then plummeted down towards the unseen ground below.

I opened my eyes to a night time scene. Paved cobblestones at my feet, old stone buildings lit up with strategically placed artificial lighting to show off the striking architecture in a courtyard. The sound of trickling water in amongst murmurs and the laughter of many people. It was warm, but the warmth only made me more aware of what I was, or better said, was
not
, wearing. I was dressed in my slinky deep red satin night dress, a gift from Michel and the one I had been wearing to bed tonight. I had a sudden sinking feeling and it had nothing to do with the roller coaster ride to get here. I was Dream Walking and I hadn't even realised I was doing it.

Dream Walking was a relatively new Nosferatin power I had come into, but since acquiring it four weeks ago I had been in complete control. Sure, the first time I Dream Walked I hadn't realised what I was doing, but since then I had been firmly in the driver's seat. But not tonight it would seem.

I ran my hands down the thin material of my outfit self conscientiously, then realised if I was Dream Walking the people around me couldn't even see me. I was a phantom to them. I could move and touch and hear and smell and even talk to them, but they couldn't see me, nor could any vamp sense me either. It was one of my most useful powers, but certainly not the most impressive. Still, I liked it, but I wasn't so sure about it tonight.

Why had I Dream Walked here? Why here? I looked around to try to get my bearings. There was a large fountain off to the side, lit up with lights, displaying the intricate carved stone statues and building façade behind, all in a pale cream stone. It wasn't just large, it was huge. The statues of people all over the carved rock base were larger than life-size, God sized. The building façade behind, two storeys high. People were sitting around the edges, leaning over backwards and throwing coins over their shoulders into the large pool at the base of the fountain.

I still had no idea where I was.

Until I heard someone talking. A group of young teens walked passed, jabbering away in a foreign language. They didn't look like the tourists that dotted this obviously famous landmark. These looked more like locals, unaffected by the gigantic water feature, not even sparing it a glance. I may not speak Italian, but I can understand the odd phrase. Especially as one of the girls in the group, who had her arm draped over the arm of a boy looking lovingly into his eyes, said
mio caro
.
Mio caro
is not a phrase I warm to lightly.

Italy then, so this mammoth water feature must be the
Trevi Fountain
. I'm not a well travelled person, I'm only 25 and live on a bank teller's salary, but I watch the
Discovery Channel
and love the travel shows. So, even if I didn't recognise the landmark immediately, I could fish it out of the depths of my armchair traveller mind.

So I knew where I was, I just didn't know why.

I really had no idea what to do. I looked around for anything familiar, half expecting Alessandra to pop out from behind a statue in some slinky slutty outfit, but nothing, no one. Alessandra is an Italian vampire, a Master Vampire aligned to Michel. More than that, they have an accord, which basically means they will fight for each other and help each other out whenever required. Unfortunately, I think Alessandra made the accord for different reasons than that. Anything she could do to get her claws into Michel, her
mio caro
, she tried. The woman was determined.

That's why she was the first person I thought of when I realised I was in Italy. And yes, I call vampires
people
, I've come a long way since I arrived in the city two years ago.

But, no Alessandra, no one I recognised at all, but there was a vampire signature in the air. As soon as I homed in on the
Sanguis Vitam
, or blood life power of that vampire, I felt it. The pull. I call it the evil-lurks-in-my-city pull, but this wasn't my city. So why was I feeling the pull?

I started heading in the direction of that magnetic force like a fish being reeled in on a line. It was instinct, it was what made me a Nosferatin, or vampire hunter by birth. It was part of who I was and undeniable. I could no further have fought that pull than turned into a bat. It called to me like sweet music on the air. A lover's embrace waiting for my body, but there'd be no loving embrace when I got there tonight, it would all be deathly real.

And that's when I realised I didn't have a stake. Not even a silver knife. I don't sleep fully armed, it's just not safe, you could get a knick or two and besides extremely uncomfortable. When I Dream Walk normally, I lay down in my hunter gear, fully armed and ready to go and that's what I appear as in the Dream Walking state. But tonight, I'd been asleep, in my sexy slinky shortie nightie with nothing but my wits to protect me from harm. Crap.

It didn't stop me from running towards the evil stench of vampire on the hunt though, did it? It wouldn't be able to see me, they can't when I Dream Walk and I'd think of something when I got there. I'm clever, I can do this. Besides, if I was feeling the pull, then an innocent was in trouble and I simply could not ignore that even to protect myself from possible pain.

I ran past the tourists milling around that beautiful fountain and on down the cobbled street, barely recognising the sharp stab of loose pebbles on my bare feet. I rounded a corner and felt the humming of
Sanguis Vitam
in my mind reach a crescendo. This was no baby vamp, maybe 300, maybe older. He was pissed off and not hiding it. I doubled over briefly, trying to catch my breath after the onslaught of that powerful signature, staggered slightly, but managed to stay upright. I took a slow deep breath in and centred myself, concentrating on my frantic heart beat. I didn't try to slow it, I just used it as a focus to centre my mind and calm my nerves. It's what I use when I enter the Dream Walking state usually. Of course tonight, nothing was as usual. Still, the heartbeat meditation worked and I felt I could move against that terrible anger-filled power.

Just
what
was going to appear behind door number three?

I walked steadily towards the pull, the power and the crescendo of noise, all of which were sending little prickles of pain down my skin, like red fire ants on a march. I worked hard on not trying to scratch myself to pieces, but I still failed miserably. I could feel blood under my nails where my skin on my bare arms had been scratched raw, but still I wanted to keep doing it. This vamp meant business and I was unarmed. The first tendrils of fear started to creep in.

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