“You met a fellow Touched,” said Naavah matter-of-factly, seated across from them in the carriage. Selene nodded as Eris sat there scowling, his arms crossed over his chest.
“His name is Pietro. He’s a mind reader.”
Naavah closed her eyes thoughtfully, lips pursed slightly. “Interesting,” she said after a moment, eyes opening. “Have you made further plans with him?”
“He plans on visiting her at the palace,” commented Eris, scowl firmly set in place. Selene tried not to roll her eyes at his obvious eavesdropping.
“Hmm, I wonder.” Naavah looked at Selene. “You understand that until it’s safe, you cannot leave the palace.”
Her tone was short, scolding almost, making Selene think she had done something wrong. “Understood,” she answered as calmly as she could manage. “How long until we reach the city?”
“A few days.” Letting out a breath, she peeked over at her brother. Eris stared out the carriage window, arms still crossed, scowl firmly set on his face. There was something about her brother and the Queen. If only she could figure it out.
Eris had seen the Shadowling and could feel him watching. Luckily, he felt Negal near and knew the beautiful Nivette was close. She was not alone, though. Whoever wanted Selene was close on their trail. Could it really be the Vampyre King or someone just as powerful, just as old?
He watched the scenery fade and grow as forests gave way to meadows every few miles. Then he felt a nudge in the shadows. Touching it, he felt Negal and the warning she carried. Eris looked up at the setting sun and rising of the first moon above the horizon.
The sound of shattering glass filled the air, and the carriage jerked. The horses neighed loudly in fear. Vampyres could still use magic; Nivette had told him so. Eris dug into his boot, pulling out the small dagger he had hidden before leaving home. He motioned for Selene to do the same, but she was already one step ahead of him – as always – holding her short blade tightly in her hand.
“Wh-what’s going on?” stammered Naavah.
“Vampyres,” Eris said simply. The carriage began again, faster.
“The shield is gone,” pointed out Selene, leaning forward in the jolting carriage, poised for battle.
“We aren’t safe,” finished Eris.
“Uriel can defend us,” said Naavah.
“Not alone,” answered Eris.
“At least not for what’s to come,” finished Selene. The carriage continued to go faster and faster. Then, something hit the carriage, sending it careening. Eris’s blade flew against the wall as the carriage rolled down a hill. In all the madness, he saw the lock of the carriage door unlock when Selene’s body was thrown against it.
When the carriage finally stopped, he lifted himself up, despite the pain echoing through his body. He saw Selene near the door and began to crawl over to her. Suddenly, the door opposite them swung open, torn off its hinges. A female Vampyre with hair as red as her eyes licked her lips.
“I’ll kill you first before I turn her.” She eyed the Queen, her red eyes widening in delight and hunger. “Then I’ll drink all her thoughts and memories before I hand her over to the Shadowlings.”
“Not in this lifetime,” muttered Selene heaving herself to her feet. “Ignis!” Flames sprung from Selene’s fingertips and engulfed the Vampyre. She flew back, her screams filling the air.
“You never cease to amaze me, Selene,” said Eris crawling out of the carriage.
“Good,” said Selene jumping out of the carriage. Then, standing on the upturned carriage, she surveyed their surroundings. “Where are Ranita and Uriel?”
“I don’t know.” Eris looked at the Queen. “It might be best if you stayed here while we distract them.”
Naavah smiled at him with just the tiniest bit of arrogance. “All Reborns are trained to fight, and every carriage has a sword underneath a seat. I am a Queen who fights her own battles, Eris.”
Impressed, Eris smiled at her. “Brilliant.” Naavah dug under the seat, pulling out a long bright blade with a visibly sharp edge. Selene stared at it, awed, mouth open in the form of a silent “oo,” while Eris helped her majesty out of the carriage. Eris was pleased to see that her handle on it was firm.
Once out, Naavah tore off the bottom of her dress from her waist, revealing her bare legs and a pair of white cotton pantalets cuffed with delicate lace just above the knee. Eris couldn’t suppress his smile. She was an admirable woman with a firm, strong grip on her blade.
“Concentrate on the task at hand Eris,” he heard Selene scold.
“You fools should hide,” came a voice. Eris jerked his head and stared at Nivette. She smiled and bowed mockingly at the Queen. “Hello, your Majesty, you look different in, what is it, your tenth reign?”
“Nivette, we haven’t the time for your charm,” said Eris walking to her. “How many Vampyres are hunting us?”
“Three.” She looked over their shoulders at the unconscious and half-burned Vampyre impressed. “Make that two. Three are trailing the other two carriages. You should hide before the others come.”
“How many more are coming?” asked Selene twirling the dagger in her hand.
“The whole coven.”
“We have to run to the next town,” said Naavah.
“You haven’t the time. It’s at least a day’s journey for you mortals.” She stopped and looked Naavah up and down. “But I have an idea. Run. When I tell you to stop running, your majesty, grab Selene and fly. I will grab Eris and run him to a nearby cave. Can you fly her to the village?”
“Good.” Her head jerked, and her ears twitched. “Run!”
Eris grabbed his sister’s hand and watched Nivette run off ahead at lightning speed, coupled with the startling grace of a Vampyre.
Through the forest, he could hear the Vampyres chasing after him. Could hear the leaves beneath, their shouts and grunts of hunger. He ran over fallen tree branches and logs, tripped over rocks and twigs. Then suddenly, something hit him, knocking him to the ground. It was a male growling at him.
“Keep running!” He shot his sister a look, one of love and fear. He didn’t know if he would survive to live another day. Selene gave him a tearful glance before running off, half dragged by Naavah. The Vampyre lunged, and Eris did his best to dodge him, diving along the ground. Stumbling along the ground on his hands and knees, he searched for his dagger, cursing his clumsiness. He needed a better handle on that thing.
“Kill him!” he heard a voice cry. It was the female his sister burned, leaning against a tree. Her left arm and half of her face were red and blistered. Hatefully, she stared at him.
“With pleasure.” He lunged just as Eris grabbed his dagger, but a shadow appeared before him. Negal snapped his neck with ease and looked at Eris coolly.
Not needing to be told twice, Eris snatched up his dagger and bolted with such speed that it made him feel like he was flying. He jumped over streams, fallen trees, and dirt mounds, his breathing becoming more and more labored as his arms pumped at his side. Sneaking a quick look up at the moon, catching the starry lights, Eris prayed to the gods. A sound towards his left pushed him harder, faster. Another stream was ahead, and Eris jumped over it, only to slip and trip on his landing. A rock pierced his knees, drawing a flow of blood. Eris swore, dragging himself up.
“So much trouble for a mere mortal.” Eris looked up at another female. Her blonde hair was shirt and pale while her eyes were a cold and piercing blue. Time slowed as she bent down and cupped his face with sharp nails that dug into his flesh the more he struggled. With a feral sneer, she licked her lips, her fangs long and sharp in the dim moonlight. “I will enjoy the taste of your blood, Witch.” Her eyes flickered, and hope rose up within him.
“Sorry to disappoint Melantha.” Blood seeped through her lips and sprinkled onto his face when Nivette’s hand tore out Melantha’s heart. To stunned to even crawl away from the body, Eris sat back and stared at the lifeless blue eyes.
“No time to dawdle. Negal and Void cannot keep them preoccupied for long.” Nivette grabbed his shirt and pulled him up, her brows furrowed as they caught sight of his bloodied knee. “Can you run?” He nodded. “Good.” She ran off, and Eris took off after her.
“Selene is fine. Naavah as well.” She looked back at him. “Now isn’t the time to fret about them.”
“Eris, shut up.”
“No, look. Uriel is coming.” Nivette stopped running, and Uriel landed before them, his sword pointed at Nivette. She barred her teeth and growled.
“No! Uriel, she’s an ally.”
“Naavah said as much.” He turned around. “Naavah said you could take him someplace safe?”
Nivette nodded, somewhat relaxed, as she peered over her shoulder. “A cave. When I was mortal, I would go there. It keeps out Vampyres. Thank the Vampyre King.”
Eris’ first thought went to his pocket, where he pulled out her bracelet. Then, quickly, he wrapped it around her wrist. “Lead us.” She nodded and moved past Uriel.
A shadow appeared, menacingly rising from the ground. Luckily, it was friend, not foe. Void stood, arms crossed, face impassive. “You need to hurry.” A curious look crossed his face when he saw Uriel. But he was gone before Eris or Uriel could make something of it.
Uriel looked at Eris with a look of slight amusement. “Help from unusual and dangerous places.”
“Enough of this,” began Nivette, “we need to hurry.” Nivette ran off, and Eris followed closely, forgetting the pain in his leg. Uriel followed close behind, his sword in hand. Their feet pounded against the ground, and Eris looked behind him. He caught blurs of movement from behind trees. Eris flew into the cave and could feel the barrier’s magic fortify. He slumped against the wall in the far back.
Uriel followed and bent down. “You have an injury.”
“Melantha should have stayed out of this,” muttered Nivette kneeling down to him. She cupped his face in examination while Uriel swabbed some sticky light brown liquid on his knee, healing his wound. The moment Eris caught Nivette’s gaze, she pulled away instantly. He wanted to thank her and say something to her, but something bashed against the barrier before he could. A rock fell onto the cave floor.
“We’ll have to wait until high noon,” said Uriel. He leaned back and closed his eyes. Eris looked up at Nivette, whose hand and wristband was still covered in blood. Not once did she look back at him.
Purchase Blood Hunger here. Happy reading!
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.
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