A prequel to the upcoming New Adult Paranormal Novel ‘Moonlight Shadows’ by Rita Ames
“You’re meant for better things” my Father said as the love of my life was escorted away by his henchmen. I stood in shock, wondering exactly what he meant. I realised I should be chasing after Elise, after all she was ‘the one’ wasn’t she?
I looked at my Brother Eirnen and caught a malicious smirk on his face just before he masked his expression. Damn him! He knew about this and didn’t tell me. I could have protected Elise if I had only had some warning. I looked at my Father and gulped. He was not happy and this never boded well.
“Where are they taking her?” I asked my heart in my mouth.
“She is leaving Ireland for America and once there she is to be married to a cousin of mine.” He smiled smugly.
“No!!!” I shouted and rushed to follow my love. Big hands grabbed me and held me back. “Why?” I cried as I fell to my knees.
My Father looked down on me. “You are my first born and therefore you will inherit our family legacy.”
I frowned. “What legacy?” I knew we were from a long line of Vampire Leprechauns and the only Vampire Clan not gifted with Eternal life, something which was complained about on a daily basis by all and sundry.
“You, my Son, have the chance to gain your Eternal Life. I failed at mine and lost my Witch Bride.”
“I don’t get it. What about Mother?”
“She came along afterwards. You, however, will not fail as I did.”
I was torn between chasing after my true love and staying to find out what this big secret was. The idea of obtaining Eternal Life was intriguing.
“I still don’t understand why you had to send Elise away” I bemoaned.
“Because she will just distract you. You cannot set your sights on anyone other than the Tannyre heiress.” He stated.
“Who is she?” I asked, curious now to find out more.
“She is but a child at present but if you are to win her heart and soul you must begin your quest now. You will be attending lessons with Maester Griffin to learn your magic so that you can connect with the girl.” My Father paced up and down, his left leg dragging slightly from an old injury. “You cannot afford to leave anything to chance. I waited too long and this is the result.” He kicked out his left leg in disgust.
“So what is it about this girl that makes her so special?” It better be good, I thought, if she was still a child. I could be waiting years before I could claim her.
“When she ascends to her full powers at the age of 21 years, her blood will gift powers to whomever she mates. If she mates with you then that gift will be Eternal life.”
“How do you know about this?”
“One of our ancestors discovered it in a stolen book and our family line has been trying to bond with their line ever since.”
“So our bloodlines are connected in some way?” I asked, wondering why it was just our family that had this chance.
“Any Vampire that mates with her will be endowed with some kind of gift. Ours however is the only mortal clan and therefore it is Eternal life that we gain. Any other Vampire that drinks her blood will become human and mortal again instantly. So you see we have two advantages with this girl, long life and an instant weapon against all other Vampires!” He stamped his foot as if to underline his statement. “Failure is not an option my Son.”
I tried to comprehend all that he was saying. My life as I knew it had changed irrevocably in the space of ten minutes. The girl that I had only recently proposed to had been wrenched from my arms and now I was the heir to some strange quest for Eternal life. I needed a drink.
I’d like to say that I ignored my Father and set off to rescue my fair maiden but that is not the case. Instead I began my lessons with Maester Griffin, learning how to dream walk and connect with others as they slept. At the end of two weeks I could enter the dreams of many in my clan but travelling any distance was still impossible for me.
My Brother took great pleasure in flaunting the fact that he could date any girl he wanted and made a big show of ensuring I could see exactly what I was missing. I decided eventually to have some fun of my own, taking my pleasure with any girl that looked my way. I made it quite clear that there was no future to be had with me but they still flung themselves at me believing they had a chance at a future. Memories of Elise and her sweet rosebud kisses soon faded away as I discovered a liking for debauchery.
My Father actually seemed to approve of my actions and so I packed away any moral concerns I had, hardening myself to any further hurt. One broken heart was more than enough for me. After all, there was so much I could do with an eternity at my feet.
It was a couple of months later that I had my first breakthrough. I had sent my spirit soaring across the sea to England and at last I lighted upon my prey. I opened my dreaming eyes to see a cute young girl lying on her bed. So this was Kora Tanner or ‘Tannyre’ in the old spelling, a Witch in the making. I moved close to observe her as she slept.
Her hair was of spun silver, long down her back. Her lips were pale pink and full and there was a slight blush to her cheeks. Her eyes were closed and so I could not see the colour. I studied her closely and decided that I liked what I saw. She must have been about thirteen years of age and showed the promise of great beauty. I was 19 and would have many years to wait. I smiled thinking of all the girls back at home and decided that it would not be such a hardship.
When I returned to my body Maester Griffin was laughing. “You did it, didn’t you?” he said.
“I did. I saw the girl.”
“Now you must learn to reach into her dreams so that she is aware of you. That way you will seem familiar to her when you eventually meet.” He chuffed his satisfaction with me.
I sat up with a start sensing the dark presence in my room. It had been plaguing me for some months now. At first there had just been a slight awareness in my dream world. Now it was still there in the corner of my room when I woke in the dead of night. I peered into the corner from whence the sensation came and could see nothing but a black void.
“I know you’re there.” I said as boldly as I could muster. I refused to show it how terrified I was. I am not sure what it was that scared me. The presence had never harmed me or even come too close. It just seemed to stay there, unmoving, as if waiting for something. I shivered in apprehension.
I had almost gotten used to it appearing without warning in the midst of a lovely dream. The dream always changed direction as soon as he arrived within it; I felt that it was a him, although I had nothing concrete to base this feeling on. The dream meadow I was running in suddenly lost its colour and the flowers faded away to grey ominous storm clouds. It was this change that terrified me more than its presence.
What worried me the most was that I was getting used to him being there. My fear was beginning to wane and as my sense of him grew so did my vision. I could see an outline of a man, always at the edge of my sight. He was not tall, maybe 5”8’, but his eyes pierced the darkness as if they could see right through me. Bright emerald green jewels of eyes. I tried to see his face more clearly but it always eluded me.
A visitor came to our home today. My Father called me from my room.
“Kora!” I hurried to see what the fuss was about. My Father rarely raised his voice, especially in the last couple of years since my Mother died.
A strange looking woman was standing in our lounge holding a large woollen bag and wearing a multi-coloured shawl. She looked a little eccentric.
“Hi” I said.
“Kora, this is Moira, a friend of your Mother.” My Father looked a little uncomfortable.
“Hello Kora. I am very pleased to meet you at last” the lady said holding out her hand towards me.
I took it warily and we shook hands.
I looked at my Father and raised my eyebrows at him “How come I have never met you before?” they both looked at each other and Father indicated that we all sit down.
“Your Mother and I chose to live away from our friends when you were born. Now that you are thirteen there are some things that you need to know.” He sighed.
They then went on to tell me about my family history. My normal childhood began its decent into my very abnormal young adulthood and the promise of magical abilities beyond my wildest dreams. The only snag with this was that I would not come into them until I reached the age of 21.
My new Aunt Moira would become my new beacon of knowledge and learning as I began my studies into the many herbs, flowers and medicinal compounds that would one day make up the basis of many spells. Eight long years of impatience was ahead of me as I was not to be taught the actual spells until my ascension.
“A lot of it will come to you automatically when you ascend” my Aunt Moira explained “A powerful spell is more of an instinct than a recipe.”
And so I waited, learning what I could and keeping my dark dream man a secret from the two most important people in my life.
One day the keeping of that secret would turn out to be the biggest mistake I ever made.
The End – For now…….read on for a sneak at the beginning of Moon Shadows – A New Adult Paranormal Romance.
Book 1 – Moonlight and Magic Series
by Rita Ames
Copyright CraftyAboutArt 2015
The Great Archives determine that I have gone by the vampire identity:
Known in some parts of the world as: Cat of The Damned
Of this vampire the Great Archives record: Thirsty, unstoppable and vicious.
I live in shadow, she is heaven sent
Glowing as gold in sunlight
Our souls are matched, I cannot repent
For pulling her into my night
We were only passing through, or so I thought, until I spotted an Angel walking in the moonlight. Her waist length hair, even in the shadows of night, glimmered with a soft golden glow.
She walked along the water’s edge, skirting the lake, her shoes dangling from her fingers. Every so often she would stop and dip her toes into the water, looking out across the lake and then up into the sky. I wondered at what thoughts filled her mind as she stared up at the stars. At one point two fireflies flitted about her head as if drawn to her brightness, even as I was.
The moon was full and bright, casting its shadows in a pale imitation of the sun. I stayed hidden in the shadow of the moon, set back beneath the trees as I followed, parallel to her route. My senses were heightened and I could hear every breath she took as she savoured the night air. I sniffed at the air taking in the light fragrance of female sweat. She smelled faintly of honey, a particular favourite of mine. It was clear to see that my beautiful Angel loved the night-time. I wondered how she would feel if the night were her only world and the sun a mere memory.
Painful memories lanced my dreaming thoughts and I shook them off, refusing to let such darkness ruin the beauty of the moment. It was rare that I had the luxury to enjoy and appreciate such a simple thing as a beautiful girl. I sighed, knowing that there could be no future in following her, no chance at love from that direction. I cursed inwardly at the hell of my existence.
I laughed then to myself at how ridiculous it was that I was held captive by such an obvious innocent. If she had the slightest idea of me at all then she would likely run, screaming into the hills. If I had a heart, it might just have broken at that moment at the loss of something that I never possessed in the first place.
Unable to break away, I continued to trail her at a distance, knowing that I must leave her soon. My clan waited for me on the other side of the town and I was never late.
To call the small group that I regarded as family a clan was stretching the point a little. However, that is what more than two Vampires were regarded as. There were so few truly safe places for those of our kind. It was necessary to keep the numbers small and thereby the risk. Feeding a large clan was always a problem and often led to discovery and altercation.
My clan as it stood right now consisted of five members. We had been together now for some sixty years. Others had come and gone in that time but the five of us had remained solid. I protected them with every sinew of my being and would not hesitate to lay down my life for them. My family, as I viewed them consisted of Morgan and Sasha, they were relatively young vampires of only 70 years or so. They were a couple and had been together for the past 24 years. It was sometimes difficult for the rest of us to watch them together as we Vampires were often lone travellers. Relationships for the likes of us were something rare, and intimacy was often only fleeting and usually during a meal, never real or lasting.
Our bloodlust was a constant battle of will for those of us who refused to kill. I took a glance at Deirdre, I still had a bad feeling that she was hiding secrets from us and that maybe her high moral act was just that, an act. There was something almost insidious about her that I couldn’t put my finger on. My instincts however were screaming at me and therefore I kept her at a distance as much as I could. She made frequent overtures towards me for sex, casual or otherwise and her persistence in this was grating. That was definitely something I would be avoiding. The mere thought gave me the chills.
I was tired of the falseness of that fleeting connection felt when feeding from a human, caused only by the effects of my venom as it soothed my victim during feeding. It was easier for us to attract the opposite sex and I had no wish to excite another man, although there were those of us who swung both ways. However, to bring a woman to orgasm simply with my bite felt wrong. I wanted to work for it, to pleasure her the way any man should please his woman. I yearned for sincere affection, real passion, something that I had known only once in my lifetime. I changed the direction of my thoughts, not wanting to think of Amelia and all we had lost. The pain was still too much for me to deal with, even after more than 200 years.
These thoughts of intimacy brought my attention back to the lithe creature currently skimming stones across the water’s surface, a small smile playing on her lips. I had an urge to kiss those lips and drown in that smile. I looked again at my watch and knew that I couldn’t wait much longer before heading out of town.
Other than Morgan and Sasha my other companions consisted of, Jordan, a cavalier joker, only 30 years a vampire, who never seemed to stop smiling, and of course, the aforementioned Deirdre, a vampire much closer to my age than the others. We were both heading towards our 300th birthday.
Deirdre was a little broken, having had some bad experiences both in her human life and soon after being turned. She needed constant monitoring in order to keep her out of trouble. Some of her humanity had been lost during her suffering and she still had a tendency towards the vicious if something or someone got on her wrong side. Babysitting duty fell mostly to Jordan and me, Morgan and Sasha being too self involved to be of much use. I often wondered why Deirdre stayed with us, considering her penchant for killing her food. Killing was something that, as a group, we abhorred. The pointless waste of a life merely for that few extra seconds at the end of a meal had long since lost its attraction. If we gave in to our baser desires then we would lose the last vestige of our humanity, something to which we held on tight with a vengeance.
I glanced at my watch, yet again, as if the constant checking of the time would somehow give me a little longer here to watch my Angel. I was going to be late for our rendezvous and that would cause them some distress. I was never late and they would likely think that something bad had befallen me. Such was our life, living in the shadows, always in fear. You could never under-estimate a vampire hunter. Yes, there were some pretty clueless ones, but there were also those who spent their whole lives researching us and hunting us down.
I had long had a dream of reuniting some of the smaller clans in a remote area where we could live alongside some willing humans. We would share our wealth and protection in return for their voluntary blood donation. Settling down was worth taking some risks for. To never again have to flee in the dead of night, or look over one’s shoulder in case some gung-ho, self-styled vampire hunter was firing off silver bullets. It was nothing more than a dream that I clung to in order to get through the darkness of my life.
I knew I needed to leave as I looked at my watch for the millionth time. It was just so hard to tear myself away from her. I tracked her as she continued walking away from the lake and deeper into the woods, still barefoot, her small feet leaving indents in the grass of the forest floor.
The ground began to rise slightly as it hit the foothills of a small mountain range, the moon a beacon of silver light in the sky. I moved swiftly from tree to tree, my vampire speed keeping me out of sight and halting when a small cottage came into sight. My golden haired Angel stopped at the door and turned, looking out towards the trees. I held my breath; sure that she could see me. Her eyes were mere pinpricks in the moonlight but my sight was especially keen at night and I could see her puzzled expression from my hiding place. She looked at if she was waiting for someone. I held myself completely still, wondering if she sensed me there in the shadow of the moon.
Eventually she opened the door and disappeared into the building. With the click of the door as it closed I moved away, regret already plaguing me.
Covering as much ground as I could I skirted around the outskirts of Daycombe. It looked small and peaceful, almost homely. I laughed at myself for having such a thought. How would I know what homely looked like, I hadn’t had a real home now for about 280 years.
I could hear my comrades before I saw them, picking up their anxiety as they discussed my absence and the possible reasons for it. Before they could get too involved in their conversation I emerged from the trees.
“Thank bloody God for that” Morgan cursed “Where the hell have you been?”
“I was delayed” I replied.
“You don’t say” he responded, the sarcasm dripping from his lips. Sasha gave him a playful punch on the chest.
“He’s here now and he’s fine” she snuggled into Morgans’ chest as she liked to do. They were like a pair of Siamese twins, always joined with some part of their bodies. I knew that Morgan’s ire was due to his very real fear that something could have happened to me.
Jordan slapped me on the back, a bad habit he had. “What kept you? I’ve never known you to be late before” he smirked at me as if he was the keeper of some big secret “was she hot?” he asked.
I felt my face go red and struggled with an answer to his comment.
“Oh my God!” Sasha bleated “It was a girl! Was she just dinner or something a little….more?” she was egging me on and I didn’t know how to respond. I had not really had time to come up with a credible reason for my tardiness.
I pushed a stray hair out of my eyes, I really must get it cut, and tried to play it cool.
“Not a girlfriend as such” I said, unsure of how to explain it “I just saw someone interesting and followed her for a while. I lost track of the time. Sorry.”
“Stalker much.” Deirdre stated impatiently. “Well, now that you have finally remembered who your real friends are, can we go?” Deirdre remarked with sarcasm, hers being real, whereas Morgan’s was just a front of brotherly affection.
“Come on” I said, shaking off the feeling that my feet were weighted with lead “Let’s get going”. We headed out of town using our speed to cover as much ground as possible. There were only a few hours until daylight and we needed to find a safe place to hole up for the day.
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