It was silent in the library on the seventh-floor landing of the Healonic Hotel. The candlelight lit up the room, setting the ivory marble floors a glow. Eris’s leg continued twitching, and he saw his sisters’ irritation grow, but he didn’t care. It was her fault he was this anxious.
He bit down on his finger, almost drawing blood.
“Can you stop, Eris? You’re being irritating.”
“It’s your fault.”
Laughing, Selene said, “hardly, you’re a pig.”
Her blunt honesty made him smile and look at his sister with fondness. “You adore me.”
“Unconditionally. But remember, I’m your sister. So I kinda have to.” She laughed some more, causing his own smile to widen. He missed hearing her laugh, missing how her smile brought life to her eyes and made her glow.
“Let’s hope we have more of these moments,” he muttered.
“Yes, let’s hope.” Selene got up from her seat and sat on the ground next to his legs, placing her head against his legs the way she did with their parents. “We’ll be all right, won’t we?” she asked.
Eris stopped and looked at the sunless sky. “We’ll be all right,” his voice conveying more conviction than he felt. He didn’t know anymore. Eris could feel his confidence slowly slipping away. More than anything, he wanted to go home, curl up in bed with Jeanette, and lay there forever. But maybe he should have stayed.
“Eris,” began Selene after a moment of silence, “do you ever wonder why?”
“Why the Gods chose us?”
Half-heartedly, she laughed again. “Good point.” She paused thoughtfully. “Both, I guess.”
“Not really. I highly doubt wondering why would help anything anyway.”
“No, maybe not, but at least it keeps the mind occupied.”
Eris thought that over. “Is that why you’ve been so unfocused?”
He sighed, recognizing that tone. “Blake or Pietro?”
“Selene, please don’t,” he complained, “something is wrong about him. I can’t explain it. I just have a bad feeling about him.”
“You don’t even know him.”
“Neither do you.”
“You can’t chastise me.”
“That won’t stop me.” Ruffling her hair, Eris laughed. Selene laughed and shoved his hand away, scampering away.
“Let’s hope,” she said, standing, “that we have more moments such as these.”
“Don’t be so dismal. We’ll always have each other.”
“That’s true.” Selene grabbed his hand and pulled him along as she left the library.
“The spell will be ready in a matter of minutes,” said Kyra. “Larkin is upstairs preparing the spell and runes as we speak.” Kyra bowed and left the library where they waited, returning to the larger ballroom on the twelfth floor. Selene smiled gracefully alongside the others. Eris smiled at Kyra as well, to appease her but more so as an attempt to quell the foreboding feeling growing within him. Something was wrong, and the look The Crone had given him was unnerving.
“You should eat,” said Uriel. “Long-distance transportation spells can be quite exhausting.”
Eris nodded, grabbing his sisters’ arm urgently. The look on her face told him all he needed to know.
“They’re going to betray us again,” she muttered once they were outside the room and near the staircase banister, her purple eyes wide and set to the ground.
“When do you think?”
Selene shrugged. “Probably once the spell is done. I highly doubt that they trust the Shadowlings any more than we do. No offense Negal, if you’re there.” Eris smiled slightly, nodding in agreement.
“We need weapons.”
“I lost my best dagger in the woods.”
“The blade on mine got chipped a bit.”
Selene stared at the wall, biting the bottom of her lip thoughtfully. “Do you think we’ll be able to sneak away and buy some weapons?”
Eris shook his head. “I doubt it.”
“At least this time, it’ll just be Shadowlings and not a horde of hungry Vampyres.”
“Selene, I don’t think this situation is better than the forest.”
Selene hung her head and moved her hand through her silky black hair. “It’s not, but at least we’ve got Negal and Void.”
Selene stared at him curiously, a little smile on her lips. “You really like her, don’t you.”
Eris nodded. “I can’t explain it. I feel something when I look at her. It’s why I trust her. But, I—I also feel something to Negal and Void. It’s different with them, though, more like a kinship than anything else. There’s something familiar about them both.”
He stopped and looked at her. He didn’t know how to explain what he was feeling to her. Their whole life, they have been so close, too connected, knowing the other inside and out. But, when her hand touched his and her eyes caught his, he knew, once again, that no matter how he explained it, Selene would understand.
“When I saw Senid, I felt like I knew him, as though we were friends once. I have this dream that I’m sitting under a tree with him, and we’re laughing together. I just can’t explain it, and when I want to hate him, I feel like I should pity him instead. And there’s more. I feel incomplete. As if I’m waiting for something that will make me feel like I belong. It’s almost as if someone is waiting for me, and I’m keeping them waiting.”
He looked at his sister, whose eyes were as gentle as ever. She understood what he was trying to express and saw something he did not. He saw her mind working, putting pieces of a puzzle together.
“Eris, I think these feelings are why Senid is after you.”
As always, her brain saw the puzzle and saw where the pieces fit in. “But how—?” A scream cut through the air, cutting him off. His body stiffened, and his hand searched for a dagger that wasn’t there. Eris swore.
“We need—” Glass shattered, and the candles blew out. His heart quickened, and he reached for his sisters’ hand, sensing all around him. He felt Void at his side.
“Now is not a time for pleasantries,” said Void calmly. “You have no weapon, do you?”
“That’s unfortunate,” he said in his cold deadpan voice.
“Eris! Selene!” Uriel’s voice cut through the air. His sword was drawn, that much they could see in the darkness. He felt Void pull him along toward Uriel. Eris dragged Selene along after him, pulling her close. Eris knew her well enough to know that despite her calm exterior, she was terrified.
“Eris,” she whispered, “should I use a light spell?”
Shaking his head, Eris felt foolish. “No. You might give us away.”
“Use a Light spell,” he heard Void say. “Senid already knows your position. Unfortunately, he thinks he already has you at this point, so he has decided to toy with you.” Eris’s heart fell.
Selene snapped her fingers with her free hand. “Lucerna.” A brilliant light came from her hand. Uriel jerked towards it, glancing at Void with a look Eris could not decipher.
“You have no weapons,” Uriel stated matter-of-factly.
“Negal has gone to fetch them some,” said a voice from above. They all looked up. Nivette smiled, unlatching herself from her position on the wall to land gracefully on the ground beside Void.
“She’s taking too long,” said Void.
“This place is crawling with at least five deadly Shadowlings; give her a break.”
“Negal is the First Born female. The only one she needs to fear is Senid and his hatred. She should not be taking so long.” Void pulled out a sword from behind his back. Nivette flexed her hand and looked around, her predator eyes seeing everything in the dark. Eris saw her sly smile in the dim light and followed her gaze. Hope rose within him.
Void turned his head. “The prodigal daughter at last arrives.”
Negal ignored him, handing out swords to Eris, Selene, and Nivette respectfully. “Put out the light, Selene. You’ll need both hands to fight.”
“I can’t fight in the dark.”
Negal looked at her, disappointed. “Don’t you have a little ball filled with a gods embrace?”
Eris looked at his sister, who had never been fond of looking stupid or incompetent. She waved out her hand and pulled out the marble from her hand. He watched as she closed her eyes and began muttering incoherently. He watched the tiny marble float up, it’s light flickering out before it suddenly burst with blinding light giving them enough light to fight.
“Brilliant,” he muttered.
“Uriel, how much longer until the portal is open?” asked Selene, testing the sword’s weight.
“Should be ready shortly.”
“Shortly isn’t fast enough,” Selene muttered under her breath. Laughter echoed along the hall. A female sound, dark and sultry, and above all, frightening.
“Oh, this will be fun,” remarked Negal. “He brought her along.”
“Who’s her?” asked Eris.
“Shira, his sister,” answered Void. A wicked female sound echoed down the hall, closer this time. “She is not alone.”
“She never is, always with those two little saplings,” muttered Void
“Hardly saplings.” A woman appeared from the darkness in the hall to the left. She looked very similar to Negal in every way. She wore black like all the Shadowling, hair short like Negal’s, cut to her shoulder. Her skin was pale, like porcelain marble, and her eyes were a dark red. She looked like death incarnate, complete with a face devoid of emotion.
“You and your brother follow Shira and Senid everywhere like children, Evida,” countered Negal. “You are saplings.”
“Not anymore.” A scream beside Eris filled the air. Spinning around, time slowed as he watched Selene flung over the railing. Crying out, Eris tried to catch her before the darkness swallowed her, vanishing as quickly as it came, taking his sister with it.
Void swore. Negal glowered.
“Oh yes, hardly saplings.” She vanished, but her voice remained, going “tick tock, tick tock,” echoing in the darkness. Eris wanted to kill her after he found his sister. The marble light faded and fell to the floor. Eris swept it up and tucked it safely in his pocket.”
“Void, find out who else is here, now.” Void vanished, with no need to be told twice. Negal sighed and stared at Eris gravely. “Well, this just became more complicated.”
“We need to find Selene.”
“Don’t be cold, Negal,” scolded Nivette.
“Now he chooses to have a sister,” he heard Negal mutter loudly. “Where is the ballroom?”
“Three floors up,” muttered Uriel.
“Void will take care of Selene; he’ll seek her out. It won’t take long to see if Senid brought others. Don’t worry, Eris, I won’t abandon her.”
“Enough!” Her voice rang loudly in the dark and quiet hall, authoritative, majestic. “You are my main concern Eris.” Pulling him along, he looked over his shoulder at Nivette, who trailed behind. She nodded, agreeing with Negal. Behind her, Uriel didn’t move, just stood there staring over the railing into the black abyss. Then, looking up, he smiled at Eris.
“I will search for Selene,” stated Uriel.
Negal stopped walking, turning slowly. “Uriel, they’ll kill you.” Admittedly, Eris was surprised at the concern in her voice. They almost seemed like friends.
“So be it.” A small smile played on his lips. “I’m a Reborn, and I made my peace with death long ago.” Eris watched Uriel fly over the railing and sail downward. Nivette grabbed his arm and pulled him along.
“Reborn fool,” muttered Nivette. Even in her eyes, there was sadness.
Selene came crashing through the darkness, landing on her side painfully on the polished wood floors somewhere near the lower floors. Swearing, she rubbed her arm, knowing that a bruise would be there in the morning. Looking around, Selene tried to catch her bearings. She jerked when she heard footsteps along the corridor. Standing, holding her arm close, Selene watched the shadows converge while the sound of footsteps got louder, and closer. Finally, a male appeared, not Senid but another Shadowling, looking at her with a pitiful expression.
“I’d rather not kill you,” he said.
“I’d rather not be killed.”
“Then don’t force my hand.”
“Don’t force mine.”
Her comment made him smile. “Interesting. You know, I’m like Void. I would have preferred not to get involved in this drama.”
Selene crouched, gripping the handle of her sword. “So why are you?”
“You don’t know Senid or his sister. They were born first, next to Negal and her brother. The rest of us were born long after. Besides, I must stand by my sisters’ side as you do with your brother. It’s tiresome, I admit, but it’s how things are, however unfortunate that may be.” He walked to her, his hands tucked in his black trousers. Selene let him come but held out her sword when he was just a few feet away.
“You don’t always have to follow your sister,” she muttered.
“Perhaps, but getting between the lovers is dangerous territory. I’ve already put one foot in; why shouldn’t I put the other?”
This made his grin wider. “Oh, how little you know. It’s cute.”
“Oh, will you shut up, brother.” Selene spun around and saw the woman from before. Her empty red eyes looked at her briefly. “Why isn’t she dead, Ettore?”
“Why am I going to kill her? Her life is of little value. No offense.” Selene shrugged and looked between the dark siblings, inching her way away from them toward the stairs.
“Senid gave us orders.”
“See, there’s the problem; I don’t really like Senid.”
“Fine.” Evida charged. Selene stood, frightened, before someone yanked her out of the way, tossing her to the ground. As grateful as she was, she grew tired of being flung around like a rag doll. Void helped her up. She looked around and saw that she was in a different hallway. He must have thrown her through another dark portal.
“Can you use a spell to scare off Evida?”
“Yes, but it will scare you off too.”
“Very well.” Selene swung the blade along the wall and floor causing sparks to fly. “Ernovsa!” Briefly shutting her eyes to block out most of the blinding light, she ran for the stairs. Something wrapped around her ankle as she ran, just as she approached, causing her chin to hit the stairs, slamming her teeth together. Her head rang while blood filled her mouth. Holding her mouth, she crawled backward up the stairs as another Shadowling crawled out of the darkness like a living nightmare making her look more menacing than the others. Her hair was long and braided, her irises pitch black. Selene could only assume that it was Shira.
“Tsk, tsk.” Selene barred her teeth and slid her sword deep into the shadows, flicking it against the stone.
“Ernovsa bitch.” Light flared, and the shadows parted. Selene ran until a dagger was placed on her throat near the third-floor landing. It was Shira again.
“Silly girl, I’m stronger than Evida. I don’t scare easily.”
“Ervo—” The blade pressed to her throat. The woman’s eyes were filled with rage and amusement.
“Sorry darling, but you won’t be casting that spell again.”
“What do you want?”
“Peace and quiet. A little retribution would be nice.”
“We’ve done nothing to you,” said Selene as she shuffled her hand in her pocket, uncapping the bottles of silver and gold dust.
“Oh my darling, you may be the only innocent here, but your brother, no, no, no!” Her eyes turned blood red, and her touch was deadly cold. Selene shivered when the ice-cold blade traced across her cheek. “Your brother will die. I will make sure of it.”
“I won’t let you.”
“You’re not really in a position to do anything.”
“I’m not as defenseless as you think.” She threw the gold and silver dust into the air and unleashed the power of the fire rune on her lower back. Light burst alive, and the Shadowling staggered back. Selene swung her sword, knocking the dagger from Shira’s hand. Running off, she let the bottle of silver and gold trail behind her, setting aflame the passageway. Shadows licked the walls on her sides and behind her. Still, she did not stop running.
As Selene neared the fifth-floor landing, she looked behind briefly and slammed into something.
“Uriel!” Selene embraced him tightly and felt his breath on her neck.
“Oh, Selene,” he said, pulling away, cupping her face to make sure she was okay in a way that made her blush. “We need to go; the portal’s open.” Selene nodded and cast another blinding spell. Uriel swept her off her feet before he leaped over the railing and flew up the remaining levels quickly, taking advantage of the magic she cast. When her feet touched the ground again, she barely had a moment to compose herself before arms wrapped around her. Joyfully she hugged her brother back for dear life.
“Where are Naavah and Ranita?” she asked, pulling away from him.
“Already through.” Selene and Eris followed Uriel to the portal rune. Kyra was waiting as though nothing was happening.
“Come, children.” Her lips curled into a tight smile, and Selene gripped her brothers’ hand tightly.
Everything moved slowly as she approached the portal catching the sight of metal in the magical light. She saw it before Uriel, before Eris. Selene shoved her brother out of the way, stepping into his place, letting the freezing cold blade embed itself between her lower ribs.
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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