Authors: A. L. Kessler
Tags: #vampires, #werewolves, #shifters, #Magic, #demons, #dark fantasy
She rolled over and looked at me. “Yes, my love?”
“What was it you needed to tell me?” I put a hand on her stomach to let her know that I had already figured it out.
She put a hand on top of mine. “I am carrying your young.”
My heart skipped a beat. Never had I imagined that I would have a child. Those of my kind who did not have souls were unable to produce children; it had something to do with the curse. I often forgot that I was not one of them.
“Zaaren?” She touched my cheek. “Say something, my love.”
I kissed her, hard and fast. “I am not worthy of such a blessing.”
She smiled and it made her face glow. “Of course you are.” She glanced over my shoulder. “Dusk is falling. You should get back to your sister.”
I didn’t want to leave her side, but I had no choice. “I’ll return to you once I have checked on her and fed.” I kissed her again. My body was growing weak again already. “Please do not hunt while you are carrying this child.”
“I haven’t told my Elders yet, but I will do what I can. Now go.” She kissed my cheek and sent me out into the night.
I took myself back to the house and found Lucius pinning Coran to the wall. The anger was tangible in the room. I opened my mouth to speak and realized there were two people missing in the house.
“Where are the girls?” I snarled and let my power out. Both of them let out a gasp and Lucius threw Coran to the ground.
“They snuck out while I was sleeping.” Coran coughed. “They haven’t returned yet.”
I turned to Lucius. “Can you sense Tegan?”
“No.” He snarled. “I woke and there was no sense of her.”
Someone was blocking their connection. “Do we know where they went?”
“I tracked their scent to the market and then it disappeared on the path home.” Coran swallowed. “Trisha is human, if they were taken she’ll be killed easily.”
“Then you shouldn’t have brought her into this world, Coran, that is a consequence that we all must face with human mates.” I growled and disappeared to the market. Some of the booths were still open; the one Isadora helped run had a man at it tonight.
“Can I help you, sir?”
“There was a woman that came here today, white hair, probably very skittish and interested in a butterfly figure. Do you know if she was alone?”
“She wasn’t, there was another woman with her. They bought the iron butterfly and then left right away.” He said easily. “Headed south out of the market.”
So they had been heading home. My heart pounded. They had to have been taken, but by who? Thoughts of the Circle and the torture they were known for filled my mind. My sister would survive it, but at what cost? I had no right to barge into the Circle’s territory without proof that they had taken the women. If my sister had been stupid and gone out without her blindfold then they had the right to punish her for being out without Lucius and attempting to use her nonexistent ability on them.
“The woman with the white hair, was she blindfolded?”
The man shook his head. “No, she wouldn’t meet my gaze at all, but she wasn’t blindfolded.”
I cursed and walked out of the market place. As soon as I was out of view I took myself back to the house. “They were at the market place.”
“And where from there?” Lucius asked.
“I don’t know. If the Circle has her they can only keep her for so long without breaking laws. She was without you and without her blindfold. That stupid woman.” I snarled. “They most likely have Trisha.”
Coran let out a noise some where between a growl and a howl. “They have no right to her.”
“Once we can figure out that they have her, we can get her out, but we can’t barge in there and accuse them of taking the women.”
“The hell I can’t.” Coran snapped and stormed towards the door. Lucius grabbed him by the throat.
“You go in there now you guarantee her death. Do you want that?”
Coran clawed at the vampire’s hand and I stepped in. “Right now we cannot approach them. Understood?”
“You would rather just let them be tortured or killed?” Coran growled and turned away. “Once I find her, I’m gone. You don’t treat your people like that.”
Even for his age he was naïve. I sighed as I watched him walk out of the house. “Lucius, the moment you sense my sister we go find her. Simple as that.”
Lucius nodded. “I can’t get much from her right now.”
“I know, they don’t want you to.”
Three weeks later we still had nothing. Lucius had gotten no sense of her location and Coran had yet to return with anything. I felt myself growing weary during the day, something that hadn’t happened since I was first created. I lay with Isadora in her bed and closed my eyes. I’d spent most of my days here. Lucius didn’t miss me; he was feeling the strain of my sister still being gone. Occasionally he’d sense her and then she’d be gone. All we knew was that she was in pain.
“What is on your mind?” Isadora smoothed my hair from my face. “You have been so tired. Is it your sister?”
“My powers are fading, I’m always craving sleep and blood.” I turned and pulled her close to me. I took in her scent and listened to the two heartbeats. “Promise me something, Isadora?”
She kissed my head. “Anything my love.”
“If I have to sleep, it could be for centuries. I want you and our family to be my Keepers.” He placed a hand on her stomach. “Lucius plans to go on to his own territory, my body will go with him. I need a family I can trust to watch over me.”
She closed her eyes. “I’m a Hunter, I can’t tie our family to you. The Hunters are planning on expanding to the new world. Is that where Lucius plans to go?”
“I think so.” My heart fell. I wanted a way to find my family when I woke, my child or grandchild.
“I can’t promise you anything, Zaaren, we both know that. But I will stay in best contact with Lucius as I can.”
I nodded. “That’s all I can ask for and hope that he can protect me.” I kissed her. “The sun is sinking, I must return to him.” I stood and pulled on my shirt. “I love you Isadora, I’m sorry that fate must be so cruel.” I disappeared and didn’t look back.
Lucius was standing in the house looking out the window when I appeared.
“She’s not going to just walk back through the field.” I said. “They can’t kill her unless they chop her head off and burn the body.”
“That doesn’t mean that they will return her. If I could just find where she was.” Lucius growled. “I’m a mess without her. How is it you failed to mention how her absence affects us?”
I shook my head. “It’s different for each vampire.”
We both spun around when Nuala appeared. “Zaaren, we have a problem.”
“We’re all fading in power.” I answered without hesitation. “I’m well aware of it. Lucius and my sister are already set up to be my keepers and are aware of what must be done.”
Lucius growled, but he knew better than to say something to Nuala about my sister being gone.
Nuala nodded. “Ayden is mine and the others have set theirs up. We have no choice, Zaaren. We must sleep and trust that the Hunters will keep our kind in their place. The Circle has gone insane.”
That was putting it mildly. “I know. I will see you when we wake.”
She pulled me into a kiss. “Yes, we will.” She disappeared and my heart ached. I’d be leaving behind my sister, my lover, and my unborn child. My sister would never forgive me for abandoning her. I looked at Lucius. He would have to smooth that over with her as well. Assuming the Circle didn’t break her and find out her true nature.
“It’s time, Lucius.” We had set up a tomb for me; he knew what to do when he struck out in the new world. I took myself to the crypt and looked at the empty coffin. It was time to sleep and allow the years to pass me by.
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About the Author
A.L. Kessler is the author of Dark War Chronicles. She dabbles in paranormal romance, steampunk and urban fantasy. Since she was a teenager she's loved weaving stories and spinning tales.
Also by A.L. Kessler
The Touch of Night (DWC #0.5)
In the Light of the Moon (DWC #1)
Dance in the Moonlight (DWC #2)
On Torn Wings (DWC #3)
Of Brass and Magic
DWC Short Story Collection #1
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