Durand's Story Pt. 02bymadam_noe©
"I have been summoned by the king."
Durand looked up from his parchment to see Malaya standing in the door. His longtime lover had been hunting her prey, and snow dusted her wild black hair.
"Will you travel alone, or do you need me?"
She snorted. "You know as well as I do that a woman traveling alone sparks much speculation, even in these modern times."
He nodded."even in these far lands, culture is much the same. Funny, isn't it? I have been alive now for almost two hundred years, and so much has changed, so much is the same."
She stripped off her cloak and sat across from him with a warm smile. "I am only newly risen so I will have to wait and see what happens. It will take us months if we travel as humans, days if we fly. But to fly we will have to take enough blood to reveal ourselves, or kill a handful of humans."
Durand closed the book and pushed back the inkwell. "No. No more deaths."
She flashed fang from her beautiful face. "For an older vampire, you are very sensitive about our food."
"Malaya! Your family lives, in your nieces and nephews. Are they food? The lovers you take, are they food?"
"My lovers are my food, as well you know, and if I were starving, I would not hesitate to sip from my darling nieces and nephews."
He turned from her then, disappointed yet again. In his travels he had met other vampires. They tended not to crowd together, except the sycophants after the new power system the king of vampires had set up. For one, their blood would not be enough subsentence for each other, humans were all that kept them alive, and the act of sex was intimately tied to bloodletting. What's more, many felt the way he did about humans, many felt the way Malaya did, and each abhorred the feelings of the other type.
"We will travel as humans now that our work here is done."
"You have been cranky lately. Do you still care about human empires?"
"A great dynasty has fallen at last to the Mongols, many people have died. Do you care nothing for that?"
She smiled. "As long as humans keep mating and making more of themselves, my food is safe. What do I care for their borders, their leaders? I am loyal only to my king. Now come, ask me why I have been summoned."
He didn't want to, but they had an eternity to kill together and he had long ago learned the silent treatment did not discourage other vampires. "Why have you been summoned?"
"The king has announced we may be at war with the Binders. I am to become a warrior."
Durand frowned at this. "I am already a warrior, why haven't I been summoned?"
She stood and crossed to him, dropping into his lap. "You do little to curry his favor. You sided with the old king when Braeden challenged him. He hates you."
That at least made him smile. "Oh, is that all?"
"It's enough." She kissed him, long and deep, and he tasted the human's blood in her mouth. He groaned, and rubbed his growing erection on her hip. She cuddled against him, arms around his neck.
Pulling back, she sighed. "I am spent, but if you wish to drink some of my blood, I would be happy to give myself to you."
"No, that is all right. I am working on my journals."
She released his neck and turned, picking up the book. "This is dangerous. The world remembers historians; look at Herodotus. Vampires must never be known."
"This are my private journals. When you age, like me, you will see the wonders of history. It marches on endlessly, and the names of great heroes fall to the wayside all too often. You will want to remember your travels, too."
She licked his cheek like a hungry cat. "Why bother, when you record it for me?"
"We may not always be together, Malaya. Remember that."
"I love you, Durand."
He nuzzled her hair, unable to respond. "Let's leave tonight then. How soon must you be there?"
"I felt my sire's call, the pull towards Scotland. As soon as possible."
He nodded, and wondered again that he had not been summoned. Had his sire, Layla, died? Would he feel it? She never called him, never spoke to him, sentencing him to an eternity alone. Or it had been until Malaya came into his afterlife.
He bit her neck suddenly, and she jumped, gasping.
He pulled her weakened blood, savoring the taste of Malaya and the vintage of the man she'd taken her meal from. She shivered in his arms, orgasming from his bite, and he held her down, pinning her to him.
He savored control, and the novelty that Malaya provided by fighting him, but in his mind, he wished she would truly submit to him and his dark desires.
Turning her in his lap he lifted her skirts, parted his pants, and found her pussy warm, wet, and waiting for him. She was still slick with the seed from her past lover, and he wanted to wipe any trace of the man from her.
"Now, Durand," she breathed against him as she licked his ear.
He slammed into her and she gasped, satisfyingly, and he steeled himself against the welcoming depths of her pussy. She becked against him, but he clamped his hands on her hips. She would not move; he would. He wanted control of her, and he knew he'd bruise her in his quest, but that only fueled his desire.
He began to buck his hips, thrusting into her as she clutched at him. Aroused by his bite she needed little encouragement, but when he saw she was lost to the please he let go of her hips and pressed one thumb against her clitoris.
She came, mewling like a hungry kitten, far too quiet. On that thought he let his jaded mind receded, and his body peaked, the orgasm straining every muscle, surging from his aching balls and ending deep inside her.
When she came down he went lax, dropping his hands and leaning back against the chair. "Come, it is time to leave the land of Chin."
She ignored the regret in his voice and grinned like a child. "At last! I long to see pale skin like ours, tall men like you."
"Malaya, the Chin and the Mongols are noble people. And we have witnessed the greatest naval battle in history. Over a thousand warships! Think of the wonder, and in one hundred years, you and I will be all who remember it."
She rolled her eyes and gracelessly dismounted. "Come on, we have our own war to attend to, with the Binder humans."
"I thought they were at war with the witches?"
She smiled. "At last, something I know you do not. The won that war, barely, and Binders number far less than a thousand, less than us vampires. I don't know the reason for it, but we will be victorious."
He stood and fastened his trousers. "Humans who can possess souls fighting the undead, who unlike the witches, cannot escape to a place humans cannot go? This bodes well for our kind."
Again the eye roll, and neither one spoke as they prepared for the journey.
They had made the journey in leaps and bounds. Through Asia and into Europe they had taken whole groups of bandits and warlords bent on destruction, taking lives when Durand deemed it morally responsible. The power from those kills enabled them to fly, though as he was older, Durand was stronger than Malaya and needed less.
There wasn't enough blood in the world to prepare him for seeing France.
So much had changed. The architecture was vastly different than he remembered, much more embellished, the buildings supported by beams outside the walls. He wanted to stop, gape, look, but Malaya dragged him through towns impatiently.
They had taken a boat to England, the style of it so different to his eyes. He had been in the east for so long it all seemed like a fairy tale.
England was a marvel. War between the Britons had been waging for some time, and they did what they could to avoid battle, feeding off the dying soldiers as they went. Durand had long grown tired of his body's rejection of men sexually, knowing his bite could bring a peaceful death to those who suffered.
Scotland was amazing. The people had dark hair for the most part, many of them as tall as the Norsemen he had once known. They spoke a lyrical language he had never heard, similar to the Breton of his youth, but yet different. They lived in towns or in the country, and many he learned lived in small clans around families of ancient lines.
The King of Vampires had taken over Dirleton castle, leaving the human owner quite intact, if a puppet. Vampires could charm money and holdings from humans by seduction, or Braeden MacInnish's preferred method; dangling immortality in front of them.
Direlton was a high tower and house, the moat crossed by a narrow bridge that lowered to a steep incline. Durand followed Malaya up the walk to the guards posted there. They were brawny, wore the plaids of the Scots, matching tartans, and they were vampires.
"Malaya of Chinchilla de Monte Aragón, this is my companion, Durand..."
She looked at him as if realizing he had never given her more of his name.
"Durand of Toulouse, the bastard chevalier to the the king."
They nodded and parted, allowing them inside the keep through the open doors. It was a great hall, styled in a very French manner Durand was comfortable with. Tables filled the hall for knights to have repast, a higher table for the nobles of the room.
Vampires stood everywhere, and for a moment Durand was shocked. They lived on the known continents, they were nearly two thousand in number, yet he had never seen so many in one gathering.
A lone human sat in a chair at the center of the dais, De Vaux, the bespelled owner of the castle.
Scottish warriors paced the room, watching the other vampires warily, and Durand understood why. Vampires all had magnetism, designed to aid in the sheer beauty and perfecting to seduce humans, but the magnetism worked on other vampires. Some of the vampires in the room were the most powerful he'd ever seen.
"Mon Diuex," he whispered.
He turned to look down at Malaya. "You are still too young to sense the age of a vampire, but some of these in the room...they may have witnessed the birth of Christ."
Her eyes widened and like the young woman she was, she began to swivel her head, staring. "Where, where?" He shook his head. "Perhaps we should find your master? The bastard that Turned you and abandoned you to fate?"
"Is yours here?" she replied, surly.
He scanned the room for a wisp of a gypsy with dark eyes and an evil heart. "No."
"Your attention, please!" A voice cried in Latin.
Everyone turned to the dais where a vampire in noble robes and a strange, short hairstyle stood. "His Majesty, King of all Vampyre, our lord Braeden MacInnish!"
The king emerged in purple robes to rival any human king. He was tall, like his brethren, porcelain pale, his hair long and wavy, shining like a jewel in the high torch light. He had the unusual beauty of the vampires, and on his arm was, to everyone's shock, a human woman.
Her skin was as dark ebony as the king's was ivory. Her head was nearly bald, her hair was cut so short. Her neck was long and graceful as a swan's, her bearing so regal Durand wondered if the king had taken a human bride.
"Thank you, Leviticus," the king said and sat on a makeshift throne by the human scion.
Once he was seated, the rest of the throng sat, and Durand and Malaya hurried to a table.
"I have called you all here," the king continued in Latin, "because we are at the dawn of a new age. Long have we feared the Binder, for of all our groups who dwell in the shadows of humanity, only Binders can rule us all. Only Binders, masters of souls, can control vampires against our will.
"They have won their war against the witches, and both sides have lost a a great deal. Binders are now fewer than a thousand, their queen slain, their organization in shambles. A new dawn is arising, for we will absorb them into our ranks!"
Gasps, all around, from creatures who did not need to draw breath. Durand knew little of their history, even less since Braeden had seized power. All he knew was that lines had been drawn between them, and Binders and vampires kept to them.
In all his travels he had only met one such person, a human girl, no more than 17, who had been stoned to death in her village for witchcraft. He could not interfere, tell the people that ghosts did in fact exist and that the girl could truly speak to them, and watching her die had been painful. He could never rid himself of his very Christian upbringing, though God had long ago deserted him.
"The lands of the humans will be divided, ruled over by a vampire of my choosing, how is loyal to me. In each land we will adopt a practice I have observed in our British cousins. A sheriff shall be appointed, a person of my choosing. It will be their job to find Binders, capture them, and bring them to their leader. This leader will Turn them."
A female vampire wearing precious little clothes, her face painted in gold and black rose. Her appearance seemed to stun the king's consort, but her words enraged the king. "You fool! You will damn us all! They will be immortal, unstoppable!"
"Silence!" The king roared when other voices joined hers. His subjects felt it as a call in their minds as well, a flinching pain that made them cradle their heads.
"Guards, seize Kemisi. Tomorrow she greets the dawn."
The slowest, most savage death amongst them. The crowd stilled, tried to control their thoughts, lest they join her. Braeden surveyed the room slowly. "Kemisi is an elder, but remember, no one is higher than the king. I may be young, but you will respect me!"
Durand looked around, wondering who would challenge him, if anyone. No one moved.
"From now on, as the human population grows, we cannot remain as we have. You will change your names as necessary. No one may live in the same village or town for more than ten years unless they are in hiding with the leader and sheriff. Amongst us, no longer will you take the name of your choosing. You will be given names, by me or my representative."
Durand felt a hand on his arm and turned to see a vampire so old, he radiated more power and magnetism than any Durand had ever seen. He was dusky pale, his hair long and dark, his eyes the radiant hazel that fell in with the unnatural color scheme of vampires, and they were bottomless.
"I must speak with you, in private. Tonight I will come to your room. Be alone." He looked at Malaya pointedly and Durand started to argue, but the vampire held up his hand. "We mean to kill the king." And with that, the ancient one disappeared by magic.
The king had held a ball, which Durand had found in poor taste. Humans were brought in, sheep kept by some vampires, passed around in orgiastic delight to the throng. Durand had declined, instead indulging in a country lass. He smiled, thinking of her willowy limbs, her fire-red hair, they way she had surrendered to him.
If only he could combine her sexual submission with Malaya's fiery passion and some other woman's intelligence, perhaps Durand could find peace.
But such was not for him.
He made Malaya sleep with a group in the next chamber, and paced the cold stone floor, waiting. The knock came at noon, the deadliest hour when no vampire in his or her right mind would move about a drafty castle.
He was about to open the door when they appeared.
The man, two women, and the king's human consort. Durand was stunned.
"These are my friends, Appia of Byzantium, and Emi of Kyoto. The human is a seer, Hagos Seyon, of Gondar in Ethiopia. I am Avestan, of Mumbai."
Durand felt his heart drop. "They said you were a demon, one who poisons dead bodies."
The ancient one smiled. "I taught the first of my people the ways of the dead. To keep them healthy, I built the Towers of Silence. In the ways of the old kings, I was guardian of the dead, ever watchful of fellow vampires who would rise. Our numbers were few in those days. Time has corrupted my name."
Durand nodded. "You spoke of...a great act. Can we trust all that are here?"
It was the seer, Hagos who stepped forward. "I come from a long line. The woman of my family have always been the pawns of kings. We truly see the future, and often this changes kingdoms. It was I who revealed the end of the war to the king, and a prophecy."
"Let us sit," Appia said nervously.
Durand sat on the rope bed, the other son chairs, and he watched them warily. "You three are ancients, true elders. You are a seer. I am young, I am nothing in this world we inhabit."
Emi nodded, to his consternation. The Asian woman had painted herself true white over her pale skin, her hair styled up and wide, held by sticks. She reminded him somewhat of his recent time in the east, and he felt a pang of a strange homesickness. "It is the seers tale to tell."
"I saw a prophecy in a trance. I saw that Binders and vampires would meerge, and that one day, the most powerful Binder would rise and lead vampires into an era of eternal power. The king heard this, but when I said I did not see he would be the one, he panicked.
"He sent for a Binder, captured one, and tortured his secrets from him. Binders can steal not only souls, but power. They can steal magic from witches, and power from other Binders. He plans to steal the power of all Binders, and this would make him unstoppable."
Durand let it sink in. Braeden was Draconian, ruthless, not the right direction for a race of beings with unique power over humans. "We have to stop him. But how? You saw the future, can it be changed?"
"What will be will be. I can no longer stay, the king will expect me back from the garderobe, but sir, I leave you with this. There will arise a new calendar in more than two centuries, and by that, near the year two thousand, you will meet your destiny in all this. A woman with golden hair is the key to saving vampires and Binders alike. Guard her with your life."
He watched her go, leaving him with the ancients. "I still do not understand. Why must I know this now? Why not wait and let things happen in the centuries to come?"
Appia stood and the others followed. "Because tonight you will be given a choice, our fate hangs on your decision. You must choose wisely."
Durand stood as well, politely for the women. "What? Am I not guaranteed to live to meet this golden haired woman?"
Avestan shook his head. "You may meet her as a ghost or as a man. That is your choice."
Emi placed her small hand on his arm as she passed. "Tonight you must choose between death or banishment. The seer could not know, or would not tell, what you choose. All we know is that we will not be able to help you choose."
Another ball was held. Malaya's cloths, like his, were rags of wanderers, and they looked very much out of place. No fine colors or fabrics for them, their rags were worn with age.
"Malaya, do you think you could survive without me?"
She faltered in the dance, but quickly regained her step to the music of the vampire musicians. He waited for her to circle another man in the group, and when she came back, a smile was pasted on her face. "Durand, surely you jest."
He grabbed her, breaking from the group, drawing stares as he backed her to the crowd. "Would you survive without me?"
"You're scaring me."
"Answer me!" He said sibilantly.
"Durand, I am to be a sheriff in Spain. I want you to come with me, we won't be far from France. We need not part."
He couldn't answer her, instead he grabbed her hand and led her through the crowd to a hall that led back deeper into the castle. Pushing her against the wall Durand bent down and kissed her, taking advantage of her shock to slip his tongue between her lips and taste the blood she'd recently taken.
It had been a woman, and the thought of Malaya's compact frame entwining with another womans was powerfully arousing. He growled and ground his erection into her soft belly, delighting in the feminine whimpers she responded with.
He lifted her skirts, rags though they were there were far too many, and his fingers found her soft, wet, and swollen. "Durand!" she gasped into his mouth as he sank three fingers into her. She gripped him tightly, bucking her hips as he thrust his hand into her repeatedly.