Two high-ranked Witches stood before the Sintas siblings in the main reading room on the third floor, both focused on Selene, scrutinizing her. They would be here for three days, Naavah said, three days before the two Witches could perform the teleportation spell.
Eris could sense his sisters’ discomfort as she sat stone-faced across from them. Her jaw and muscles clenched tightly. There was a spark of fear behind her purple eyes and something else. Suspicion? He stood behind her, hand on her shoulder, staring down the Witches who dared to intimidate his sister.
But Selene could not let her fear show. She had too many runes, violating the number one rule of magic. Two was one too many, and she had four now, including the fire rune Ranita had placed on her back the night before. As a result, they would imprison her, and strip her of her magic, a torturous and painful process, if they discovered it.
It also didn’t help that the Witches quickly disliked her.
“You do not appear to be much of a prize,” said the bitter old crone with a crooked nose. Her beady eyes looked dark to the core and far too tiny to be so close on her face. Eris saw Selene’s anger flare in the little twitch of her eyebrow.
“Hmm, why Her Majesty even bothers is a mystery,” continued the man who could have been attractive if not for the vile that radiated from him. They were both appalling to look at. Why Naavah had these two appointed as the High Council Witches baffled him, they had to be utterly loyal and incredibly powerful. He looked at the plain wooden door, wishing Naavah would hurry.
“Would you like to see?” asked Selene slyly. Her lip curled up, and her irises seemed to grow. Eris had to admit his sister was frightening. Unfortunately, the crone was not scared. The only movement the statue made was the rise of her brow.
“See what?” asked the crone, her condescension stinking the air.
“Why, her majesty wastes her time with us.” Eris smiled, drawing back enough shadows for his ‘little’ trick.
“Very well, entertain us.” Both the crone and the snake laughed.
“All right.” Selene snapped her fingers, and fire encircled them. Eris shook his head when they appeared unimpressed. She wasn’t done.
“Sriahc evanescet.” Their chairs vanished, but still, they remained unimpressed. His sister’s smile widened as she stood, her head held high.
“Ut sensus suos. Ligabis eos stricta.” Ah, how brilliant she is, thought Eris as he wrapped up the shadows. Both Witches stared, paralyzed with fear, their senses stripped from them. Eris stepped up next to his sister, wrapping the shadows around the paralyzed pair. It sounded like they wanted to scream, but they wouldn’t be able to do anything unless Selene released them.
“Oh my,” came a voice. Selene and Eris spun around to see Naavah, Ranita, and Uriel. Naavah had her usual indescribable smile while Ranita cupped a hand over her face to stifle her laughter. He watched Uriel smile at Selene, a warmth behind his eyes.
“Selene, please release them.”
“Oh Naavah, those two do need a lesson in manners,” quipped Ranita. “Can’t we leave them there until after lunch?”
“Although I agree they need a lesson in manners, I am against the timing. Selene, if you wouldn’t mind.”
“Very well, Naavah. Et immittan.” Eris followed his sisters’ example, releasing his hold on the shadows. Each one popped back to its proper place like curtains falling. Selene innocently twirled a strand of hair, letting the crone douse the flames to glare at her.
“Your majesty! Did you see what these two insolent children did?!”
“I did, Kyra.”
“You should leave these little brats here to rot!”
“How dare you suggest such a thing!” exclaimed Ranita. “You should learn your place!”
“Oh, I know my place, Ranita. It would be best if you learned yours. You only want them along so that your Touched Born bastard has a friend—” Selene cringed when she heard the slap Ranita offered Kyra. Ranita’s fury was boundless.
“Don’t you ever—”
“Be calm, Ranita,” soothed Naavah. “Kyra, you will learn your place. I have tolerated your insolence and ill-mannered attitude, but it is wearing me thin. If you step out of line again, I will cast you out of the Palace, remove your rank and send you back home.”
“No,” said Kyra, aghast, disgust contorting her face. “Not that hovel, I beg of you.”
“Behave then.” Naavah looked at the man. “The same goes for you, Larkin.” Then, turning on her heel, lifting her dress with her dainty fingers, the Queen walked along, her head held high, the embodiment of regality. Both Selene and Eris saw the hurt in Ranita’s eyes. Stepping behind Ranita, he watched Selene reach out to hold her hand, giving Ranita a reassuring squeeze. Uriel stepped up to his side, and together they trailed them.
Two days, thought Eris, sitting alone in his room. Two days before, he would be hundreds of miles away from home. Then, a click in the air distracted him, shattering his thoughts. Looking around, he saw something hit his window again, sending another click through the air. Cautiously, he went over to it, relieved to see only Nivette. Eris smiled down at her and welcomed her in, watching her slender legs cross over the window sill.
“Nice room,” she said as she looked around.
“Thank you. I was afraid you wouldn’t come around.”
Nivette stared at him, confused. “Why?”
“You ripped your friends’ heart out.”
Nivette shrugged, sitting on the edge of his bed. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Who was she?”
Nivette sighed. “More questions?”
“Nivette, please tell me, who was she?”
Nivette looked at him, her azure eyes darkened with sadness. “My brother’s love, a childhood friend.”
“She came looking for us when we didn’t return home. My brother turned her after he gave her a chance to say goodbye to her old life. We were three of a kind, birds of a feather.” She laughed, and a tear fell down her cheek. “I gave her a choice. Follow Negal or die. She chose the latter.” Eris stood up to wipe away her tear.
“Don’t be. This is Senid’s fault. He brainwashed them. Death seems to be the only thing that will wake them from his mind tricks.”
“This is all my fault.”
“Oh, stop being so hard on yourself. The only thing you did wrong was being born. He’s obsessed with you.” Nivette returned to the window, standing in the darkness so no one would see her, and stared out. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a city. How I wish I could hunt.”
“What about those that stray? Or animals?”
“Not enough to go around, and we hardly drink animal thoughts and memories. They aren’t that sustainable.” She paused for a second. “You know, we don’t mean to kill you mortals when we feed. It just happens.”
“Why do you?”
“Hunger. All we desire is a bite, a little taste, nothing more, but we can’t stop once we taste. And it gets harder to stop the longer we go without blood, until finally we snap and kill, kill, kill.”
Eris swallowed as he looked down at his wrist to see the little blue veins underneath his skin. “Are you hungry now?”
“A little.” She eyed him warily, the red ring around her blue irises growing. “Why?”
“You’ll need the energy.” Quickly, he slit his wrist and watched her head jerk. Her azure eyes widened, the red taking over her eyes.
“Are you insane or just stupid?”
“A little of both. The day in the cave, I noticed that you looked tired, and you still do. So you need a taste, a pint at least.”
“Fool.” Her eyes lingered on his wrist, and subconsciously—he hoped—she licked her lips. Finally, Eris could see the self-control she was exuding.
“Nivette, please, you need to be safe as well, and in this state, you’re no good to anyone.” He reached for her hand to pull her close. Her eyes no longer held any trace of the deep blue.
“Why do you care?”
Eris shrugged. “Well, quite simply, I find you attractive.” Taking her face in his hands, intentionally putting his wrist closer to her face, he kissed her. It was confusing how natural it felt, how familiar, making him realize that he had wanted to kiss her since the day he saw her dangling from the tree. Pulling back, keeping his hands where they were, he looked at her, surprised to see the red had faded some. It was quite the ego boost knowing his kiss could temper her.
“You, Eris, are one very intriguing man,” she said just before she bit into his wrist with her piercing white fangs. Eris was taken aback by the pain and prayed that this wouldn’t cost him his life.
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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