“So, you spoke to a goddess,” said Eris eating a vine of grapes while he sat on his bed. His feet were bare and hung over the edge of the bed. The vines were those he picked from the walls of the house. Selene kicked his leg with the heel of her boot. Eris winced.
“It was an observation!” he exclaimed indignantly.
“Sure it was.” Selene tossed him the marble and took his grapevine. “Don’t eat it.”
“But it looks so delicious, Selene.” He smiled at her scowl as he held the marble to the light. “This is truly mesmerizing. To think, you were in the presence of the goddess of the night and moon, Queen of the light.”
“It was unnerving, Eris. She kept going on and on about my destiny and how great it was. She sounded a bit mad, to be quite honest. It was frightening.”
“Never question a god Selene.”
Rolling her eyes, Selene said, “tell her that.”
“Was Jeanette pleased?” Selene shook her head. Eris laughed and tossed the marble high above his head. “So like Jeanette. I’m surprised she bothered to help you at all.”
“Yes, I told her it was for your protection.” She avoided his gaze.
“You preyed on her love Selene? Shame on you.”
“I didn’t have a choice. We need this if – when – we leave.”
“Second thoughts already? Would it have anything to do with Blake?”
“No.” Her response was too quick, forcing her to look away. Silence hung in the air for a moment before she spoke again. “This is home, Eris. We’ve only ever been two towns North. That’s not that far. We don’t know what else is out there. This is our home, and I want to come back alive.”
Sitting up, Eris tossed the marble at Selene, who caught it quickly with her fast reflexes. Eris looked out the window. Looking out of his window, he found himself having the same second thoughts. His whole life was here, all his memories. There used to be days when he would sit here, restless, as he stared at the trees dancing in the wind by the horizon, eager to escape, to find anything that would make him feel whole.
“How long until the Queen arrives?” asked Eris looking at her.
“A few days. Maybe a week. I don’t know if they are flying or coming by carriage. Who knows which is safer for them.”
“Let’s hope she’s coming by carriage,” he said, laying down on his bed, outstretching his arms. Selene gripped his hands tightly in hers, taking a seat next to him, biting her lower lip in unease. “All will be well in the end. I’m sure.”
Eris stared at the rune burned into the ground, brightened by the sunlight. He could take a step out if he wanted to, but he knew better, especially after the other day. Looking up, he stared at the bright blue cloudless sky with his bright green eyes. A twig broke, jerking his attention forward. In the shadows of a tree stood his hunter. Her mahogany brown hair was braided down her back tightly, and bangs fell down the front of her face. It made her look nice. It also helped that her deep blue eyes lacked maliciousness. Staring at her now, he would think she were human if only it weren’t for her pale lackluster skin.
“You are a pathetic mortal.”
“You don’t have to try to kill me,” he said calmly, despite his racing pulse. Her azure eyes sparkled, the irises darkening slowly as her lips curled into a wicked smile.
“Oh, but I do. A deal was struck, and your death is my order. I do not disobey orders. How unfortunate for you, Witch.” She turned her back to him, but he called her back. The Vampyre glared at him, her eyes still darkening.
“What’s your name?”
“My name? What does it matter to you, Witch?”
“Well, I would like to know the name of my would-be killer. I mean, you tried to suck my blood. I think an exchange is apt at this point.” He was trying to get a laugh, maybe a smile, but instead, she responded with a snarl and a look of pure confusion.
“My name is Nivette, Niv for short.”
“All right, now we’re getting somewhere. Nivette, did you have any family?”
“I had a brother, but the Shadowling did away with him, and a twin sister who died many years ago as a mortal being.” Deep within his head, he swore. Maybe pleading to leave his sister out of this wouldn’t work.
“How did you and your brother become Vampyres?”
“Why do you want to know? Why are you so keen on understanding me?”
“I’m hoping that if given the opportunity, you’ll see me as more than food and will decide not to kill me or harm my sister.”
“How optimistic of you. But all right, I’ll play this little game and indulge you.” Nivette climbed into the tree, taking a seat in the thick thicket of the branches. She smiled down at him with a frighteningly familiar smile. Eris’s skin crawled.
“So, how were you turned?”
Nivette sighed, her eyes turning back to their deep blue. “It was a little over five hundred years ago. My brother and I were out during the twilight hours. We always went out at twilight. It was how things were for us. We were foolish, reckless, and caught by our stupidity. There were no boundaries then. Our memories and thoughts were left alone, our blood being their only desire.
“They sought to drink us dry and would have had the Vampyre King not spoken up. To this day, I do not understand why he was so close and watchful. My memories of that moment are hazy. But I remember one thing he said about protecting his father: we were collateral damage. He saved my brother and me by turning us. In moments we were no longer Witches. We were Vampyres, hunters.” She smiled slightly and twirled, hanging herself from the tree, her face in the sun.
Nivette laughed and submerged herself back into shadows, her laughter still echoing. “Oh yes, the sun. The older we get, the stronger we can withstand the sun. Of course, it can still kill us, but you Witches are not as safe as you would think Eris.”
Eris looked at her, contemplating his options. “If the barrier falls again, what will happen?”
“I will come for you and your sister.”
“And your coven?”
“They will turn this town to rubble and kill everyone you hold dear. They care not for the games of Shadowlings and even less for our Laws. The Blood Hunger is getting too thick. It’s clouding the mind, removing whatever moral scruples we once had.”
“So then, why strike a deal with the Shadowlings? You make it seem like nothing matters, and you’ll do whatever you want.”
“Food. We are Vampyres, and you are Witches. You are food to us, darling.” Nivette jumped from the tree and walked away, skipping from shadow to shadow. Eris watched her stop and look back at him somewhat fondly. “You are quite intriguing, like someone I once knew so long ago. Perhaps I will speak to Negal, even though she killed my brother. I think she will give me what Senid will not.” She ran off, and Eris stared after her, enthralled. Something stirred within him as he watched her.
Eris wrapped his arms around Jeanette’s bare waist as he kissed her neck. Jeanette moved her hands through his pitch-black hair. He pulled away and looked down at her glistening face. A part of him couldn’t stand looking at her love-filled eyes. Guilt bubbled within him.
“Eris,” she said, stroking this side of his face, “what are you thinking?”
“It doesn’t matter,” he said, kissing her lips, hoping to make her shut up. It didn’t work.
“Of course, love matters with all that’s been going on. But, oh, Eris, I wish you didn’t have to leave.” Jeanette wrapped her bare arms around his neck and engulfed him in a kiss. Eris pulled away slowly and laid back on her bed. Jeanette didn’t utter a word as she nestled close to him, letting her head rest on his chest.
“Eris, I love you.”
“I know,” he muttered, holding her close while he stared at the ceiling. All he could think about was the two new women in this life: Negal and Nivette. Something stirred within him, memories that he sought out. Memories that were out of reach but so very close. A bell ran, then another and another. It was the announcement. So soon, he thought as he jumped out of Jeanette’s bed, quickly grabbing his pants from the floor.
“Eris,” came Jeanette’s soft voice, “the Queen has arrived.”
Blood Hunger (Eclipsing Trilogy, #1)
Eris and Selene Sintas thought their menial Witching lives were simple. That was until the magical barrier protecting their small town vanished in the night, attracting not just the Vampyre’s that go bump in the night. Suddenly, the two siblings discover that they have been dragged into a war between the sisters of light and darkness.
Now, hunted by creatures stronger than Vampyre’s and far more evil, the Sintas Siblings must find refuge before they lose their souls to the Goddess of Darkness.