Picking up a pencil, Claudette scraped it along the desktop, gouging a trail the length of the desk, again and again until the pencil snapped in half. She threw it to the floor, admiring her work on the antique desk. This was Luke’s sanctuary, a place where he contemplated, relaxed, plotted and studied. He allowed no one in unless invited. Invitations were rare. Once behind the large oak doors, Luke shut out the world he had created, the world where the metallic taste of blood hung thick in the air, where the constant groans from slaves murmured throughout the walls, their wails and screams echoing through his bones, where his family laughed, argued, fought and feasted.
It wasn’t a lifestyle choice, being a vampire. He was taken. Murdered. Only to be given life by the vampire who stalked him, wore him down before brutally feeding from his pulsating neck. Life had been good. Luke, an original Knight of the Garter, knighted by The Black Prince himself, the age where chivalry was standard, where knights jousted and fought for honour, love and bravery. Luke loved his life. But Francois set his sights on him, desired him, and hungered for the pure blood that ran through his veins. But Luke didn’t give up easily which only endeared Francois more to his quarry, respecting Luke’s fortitude, his desire to live, his spirit to fight.
Luke still carried these traits now, over eight hundred years later; the spirit of the fight, loving his prey to run, defend, fight to the last which was pointless against a vampire but addictive to his soul. Yes, vampires had souls. Luke’s soul was like any other soul belonging to a vampire; dark, mysterious, black and predatory. He savoured the hunt. He relished each victim on their own merit. But he had only ever taken one into his world; Claudette.
He remembered the evening he first saw her, at the opening of the Louvre in 1793. He followed her in as she admired the limited works on display. He read her thoughts on every painting and sculpture, learnt much, hungered for her more. She chatted politely, curtsied when royalty approached. Her spirit captivated him and he spent the next three nights following her until he could bare it no more. Arm in arm they walked to a quiet spot by the Seine where he revealed his true self. She ran, screaming which only aroused Luke more causing his fangs to extend.
Giving Claudette a head start he strolled along the river bank, her scent in his nostrils; the thick smell of fear, the metallic scent of her blood mingling with sweetness of her sweat. He caught her, mid flight, whisking her off her feet, burying his face in her neck, an insatiable thirst. But he couldn’t finish. He needed a companion since Francois had died. Wanted Claudette. She would forgive him in good time just like he had done with Francois.
Claudette stared down at the desk, at her handy work. Luke would know it was her. Luke would now know what it was like to be betrayed. The etched W in the desk meant one thing to both of them; witch. Luke’s dalliances with the young witch had brought shame on the clan, his own clan. How could he hide the witch from them and keep her powers to himself? It was treachery. And Luke was about to find out how traitors were dealt with in the vampire world. No mercy would be given. it didn’t matter that he was their leader, the head of the family or the most powerful. It just made Claudette more determined for with Luke out of the way, she would have the witch to herself and become head of the family. With Kian by her side, they would be unstoppable.