I Vampire
by Julien regg

Chapter Nine

"You mean he actually used Mind Control on Jessup?" gasped Stephen when Matthias and I told him about the specifics of Jessup's catatonia. I'd also told him about catching Sloan probing my mind. "Eric put some kind of mind trap on Sloan," said Jessup. "If he can do that, then surely he can undo a mind trap, right?"

"So you're both telling me that Jessup is the victim of a mind trap set upon him by Sloan?" he asked. "We're talking about the Vampire High Seat!"

"Stephan, will you and the others believe us if I bring Jessup out of the mind trap?" I asked.

All of the members of the High Council were seated in the great room of House Doran. They'd been discussing Bashire's turning and my altered bloodline. Tallan had pardoned both me and Bashire, so that was out of the way. Stephen was trying to get me to prove that I was a new Father Of The Blood, and Matthias excitedly took that as an opening to talk about the mind trap imposed upon Jessup.

"So you claim to possess this unknown talent?" asked Kennedy. "Mind Control?"

"I do," I said. "I can read the minds of any living beings on the planet. I can even bend and shape their thoughts to whatever design I choose."

"He also foretold many things that have recently transpired," said Tallan. "Remember, as my first act as Vampire High Seat, I pardoned him."

"And I immediately agreed," added Brock. "Believe me, Stephan, Eric is the Father of a new bloodline."

"It seems he's also a prophet," said Kennedy.

"You're going to lift this mind trap from Jessup?" asked Stephan. "In front of us?"

"Of course," I replied.

"That will prove his mind gift," said Kennedy.

"But it won't prove that he is a Father," replied Stephan not even bothering to hide his contempt for the issue.

"Stephan, don't be daft," cried Tallan. "Look at Bashire! Never before has any vampire been able to turn a drone. Look at him."

"Yes, I see that Bashire is now a vampire," Stephan replied in irritation. "It is most likely a fluke, Tallan. Frankly, I can't believe that you are so easily convinced that this fledgling is so gifted."

"I've seen what he can do, Stephan," said Tallan. "I've seen him burn his victims to a cinder with only his thoughts. I've seen him levitate from the ground floor to the second, and I've actually drank his blood!"

"Is that what you expect us all to do?" demanded Stephan. "You want us to drink from this fledgling?"

"Stop calling him that," snapped Matthias. "Eric is not a fledgling anymore. I'm telling you, he is a Father!"

"I won't allow any of you to drink my blood," I said quickly. "It would cause more problems than it would solve at this point."

"What are you talking about?" demanded Stephan.

"I'm talking about the fact that my blood is different than any other vampire's," I said coldly. "If any of you drink from me, you will be changed, and I don't want it to begin with you."

"You don't want what to begin with us?" asked Kennedy.

"You've read the prophecies," said Tallan. "You know what he's talking about."

"Now you expect us to believe that he is The One?" gasped Stephan.

This wasn't going well, and I had known that it wouldn't be easy. Bringing Jessup out of the mind trap wasn't going to be enough to convince them, but I hadn't seen that it would be, either. I knew what I had to do, but I didn't like it. There was really only one thing that I could do that would make them all believe that I was not only The One but also a Father.

"This is tiresome," I said, getting to my feet. Bashire looked at me, but I ignored him for the time being. "Sedrick, we'll need two of the livestock."

"Yes, Master Eric," he said. Stephan and Kennedy watched as Sedrick left to carry out my orders.

"He's ordering the drones around now?" muttered Stephan.

"Matthias, if you and Kennedy would bring Jessup in here..."

"Now you just wait a minute," said Stephan, standing up to face me. "What do you think you're going to do now?"

"I'm going to lift the mind trap from Jessup," I said, leaving out the rest of what I had planned.

"Kennedy," said Matthias as he stood up to go and get Jessup.

Stephan glared at me as they left the room. His mind was so easy to read. Stephan wanted so badly to have my head. Without even knowing me, he hated me. I could tell that life with him in the council was going to be tricky. I'd have to watch my back very hard for a long time. I had to think of a way to make Stephan believe that I was who I claimed to be. I couldn't use any of my mind control abilities. The others would know it immediately. Besides, even under mind control, the subject still retained his real emotions and beliefs. Mind control was out of the question.

"What are you planning to do to Jessup?" he demanded. "What witchery are you planning?"

"Stephan, stop," cried Tallan. "I am High Seat, and I won't stand for you treating Eric in this manner."

"I am Second, Tallan," he said. "Do I have to remind you what happens to vampires who play at being a Father?"

"Eric isn't pretending," said Andelynne who had been silent until that moment. "Think about it, Stephan. Bashire was a drone, Eric's blood turned him, and now he is a vampire. He is a vampire with a gift unknown to vampires. Eric possesses several gifts unknown to vampires. He can foretell, but that is not unique. His gift of mind control was possessed by Tyron Par, and by violent means, Sloan acquired a version of it. His gift of combustion was only known to one other vampire in history."

"None of this proves that he is a Father Of The Blood, slayer," he replied coldly.

"Take caution in your town, vampire," said Derrick, getting to his feet.

"You dare to threaten me?" spat Stephan. "I'm no rogue vampire, watcher. You'd do good to watch who you direct that anger of yours at."

"Enough of this," cried Tallan. "Stephan, I don't know what to do to make you understand. Eric is the father of a fifth bloodline. Only he can prove it to you."

"Both high seats of this council support him, Stephan," said Brock. "We don't need you to accept him. We can submit to the Keeper on our own."

"We still have Sloan to deal with," said Doran.

"Wasn't he supposed to be the first order of business?" demanded Tallan.

At that very moment, Matthias and Kennedy brought Jessup into the room. They sat him in a chair, and as his body sagged, I caught him. I knelt down in front of him and used every ounce of my consciousness to probe into his mind. Everyone went silent as they watched the two of us. To them, it must have looked like I was merely peering into his eyes as I knelt there before him. He wasn't even focusing on me, and the mind trap wouldn't allow him to focus on anything if he wanted to.

How do I describe what I saw inside his mind? It was as if there were nylon cords the color of blood running through his brain. Of course they weren't really there. I could read one single thought in his mind. It was looping over and over again, and I was appalled at the crudity of the trap itself. Sloan had trapped Jessup's mind on one event in history. Jessup had been forced to relive the moment of Tyron's death for more than seven hundred years.

I concentrated all of my consciousness on the trap itself. I could almost envision a steel door locked in his head, and all I had to do was mentally force the lock. It sounds simple enough, but I assure you that it was quite difficult. There was so much to undo. I had to pry his thoughts apart and almost force them to reshape themselves. I could hear him breathing. It was slow and steady, but as I probed deeper into the trap in his mind, the pace of his breathing began to quicken.

Then I heard a humming, and at first I thought it was just some sort of audio effect in his mind, but as it grew louder, I knew that it was issuing from Jessup himself. As if that was the final key, I felt the trap in his mind snap open, and Jessup rose to his feet. He threw his arms up and wailed so loud that the Forsaken in the room had to cover their ears.

"Jessup!" cried Matthias. "You're free!"

"Free to what?" demanded his haggard voice. "Free to think for myself and rot in this body?"

"Jessup," Matthias moaned as he stepped closer to his former lover.

"This agony," cried Jessup, whirling around and nearly knocking me off balance as I tried to stand in front of him. "I have had to live with this agony for centuries! Where is Sloan? Where is the vampire that did this to me?"

"So it's true then?" mumbled Stephan. "Sloan imposed this mind trap on you?"

"Stephan, where is Sloan?" demanded Jessup just before he staggered and fell back into the chair he'd vacated once the mind trap was removed.

"Jessup, what is it?" cried Matthias, rushing to kneel before Jessup.

"What good is living if I am this...thing?" moaned Jessup. "To be cursed to this existence is cruelty. Is this my penance for turning Tyron and starting a war?"

"Eric..." whined Matthias. I could see the despair in his eyes. I'd warned him that this could happen, but he'd refused to listen.

I knew how to make things better for Jessup, though. He would never be the vampire he used to be, but I could make things better for him. What I was about to do would change Jessup in a way that nothing else could. If I went through with it, Jessup would become the second fledgling in my bloodline. I thought hard about it as Sedrick returned with two men from the pen on the third floor.

"Jessup, listen to me," I said, taking Matthias's place in front of him. "I need you to calm down and listen to what I have to say. Can you do that?"

"Who in Hell are you?" he demanded, glaring hatefully at me.

"My name is Eric Maxwell," I said calmly. "I was turned by Doran, and I turned Bashire. I'm a direct blood descendant of Tyron Par."

"Tyron..." he wailed.

"Jessup, I need you to listen," I said louder. "I can end your suffering, Jessup. I can make it go away. You have to understand, though, if I do this, you won't be like you were before. Things will get better, but they won't be the same. What I need from you is to know if you want this."

"I can see him in your eyes," he whispered as tears slid down his face. His voice, like the rest of him sounded old and drawn. Everything about him whispered lethargy, and it was actually painful to see. "I can see Tyron in your eyes, looking back at me after seven hundred years."

"Jessup, do you understand what I'm saying?" I asked carefully.

"You're The One," he whispered as his fragile hands found the top of my head. "You're Tyron's son."

"No, Jessup," I replied. "Tyron wasn't my father. Tyron was my grandfather many times removed. I can help you, Jessup. If you'll let me, I can make you almost like Tyron."

"Make me like Tryon," he said as if he didn't believe it. "This child of Tyron wants to make me one of his own. The One wants to quicken me with his blood."

"You do understand," I said quickly. "I need to know if this is what you want, Jessup. Do you want to be a remade vampire?"

"Heal me," he said as tears fell from his eyes again.

That was all I needed to hear. I took his fragile body into my arms and sank my fangs into his neck. Seven hundred years of misery hit me with the force of an earth quake. I felt the horror and misery that Jessup was imprisoned in by Sloan, and I felt the sorrow that he felt for his fallen fledgling. Jessup had loved Tyron with every ounce of himself, and he'd been forced to watch as Sloan murdered him. All of that rushed into me as our hearts both began to beat. I let go of him at the last possible moment, and he was rocked by the disconnection.

"Drink," I invited him as I tilted my head and bared my neck to him.

His bite, like the rest of him, was timid and weak. As soon as my blood hit his pallet, his strength was found. He drew my blood like a newborn fledgling, and I could feel his body harden against me as my blood began its dark magic on him. Faster than I'd thought he would, Jessup broke his dark embrace with me and fell out of his chair in convulsions as my virus worked him over.

Stephan and Kennedy gasped, and Andelynne and Derrick watched with interest, but Tallan and Doran knew what to expect having seen Bashire's turning. I wasn't so sure of what to expect from this union. Bashire had been Forsaken, but Jessup was a vampire before I'd turned him. What would he be when the turning was complete?

He wailed as the pain of my blood conversion took him over. I wondered if he would sleep as a newborn fledgling would sleep. I had no idea what to expect. This was new to me just as it was new to the others. I wondered exactly what he was feeling. What would it feel like to go from one bloodline to another? It was unknown. No other bloodline could do that things that mine could. Mine was a completely new bloodline with new gifts and curses that were exclusive.

"He's dying," cried Matthias as he watched in horror.

"He's not dying," I muttered as I watched his body begin to change.

His arms, legs and abdomen bulged, and his loose fitting clothes tightened and then began to rip as the muscles in his body expanded and grew just as mine had after drinking from Bashire. As I watched, Jessup changed from the broken vampire that he'd become under the mind trap forced on him by Sloan into something new.

No longer would he need Jessup's help to dress, to bathe, to feed. No longer would he suffer long hours of a recurring memory. His suffering was far from over, but it was no longer enforced by the confines of a cruel mind trap. Jessup was finally free. I'd done it. I hadn't been sure that my blood would be strong enough to change him, but I'd done it.

I heard several gasps as Jessup sat up. His clothing fell in tatters around him as he stood up. When I looked into his eyes, I saw the tell tale rings of color that would be the biggest visual mark of my bloodline. My own eyes were ringed with gold. Bashire's eyes were encircled with black, and Jessup's eyes were ringed with blood.

"Thank you," he whispered as he embraced me, and I felt his lips on my cheek as he kissed me.

"You have to feed," I said, remembering the humans in the room. I could hear their horrified thoughts as they beheld the naked Vampire Jessup.

I took the first of the men before he even had a chance to know what was actually happening. My fangs were in his neck in a flash, and he actually became erect. I could feel it against my thigh. The euphoria of the vampire bite hadn't even had time to take effect, and just after it was too late, I thought of toying with this victim as I had with Bill. His heartbeat was too slow, however, and I let him fall to his death at my feet. I incinerated him without so much as a second thought.

There were more gasps as I turned to face Jessup with his victim. I was astonished to find the corpse in ashes at his feet. He stood back and looked at the carnage at his feet in wonder. For a moment, I wasn't sure that my eyes were showing me truthful events. Jessup had burned his victim.

"Eric," said Bashire, "how did you..."

"I didn't," I said, staring at Jessup.

"He didn't," whispered Tallan.

"Yes, he did," I replied in a whisper of my own.

"You've done it!" cried Matthias, making all of us jump. "Eric, you've done it. You've brought Jessup back!"

"Forgive me, Father Eric," said Stephan from behind me.

"You believe now?" I heard Brock ask.

"How can I deny it?" was Stephan's reply. "Jessup is proof. No vampire's blood could have brought him back from where he was. Eric is a Father."

"Where is Sloan?" asked Jessup in a voice that was so unlike the voice he'd used to speak before drinking my blood.

"You can't kill Sloan," I heard myself utter. "Jessup, you can't kill him."

"Have I not the right to face the vampire who killed my fledgling and cursed me to an existence of Hell?" he demanded.

"You can't kill him," I said.

"Of course I can't kill him," he spat. "I want to see his face when he learns that he's stripped as High Seat. I want to hear his thoughts when he realizes that I am the very vampire he thought he'd taken care of all those years ago. I..."

"Wait a minute," I said, turning to him again. "You're a seer?"

"Eric, I was a seer before I drank your blood," he said. "Did you think that turning Tyron did nothing for me?"

"Combustion," I said slowly. "You possessed that gift before, too?"

"No," he sighed. "That one is new. It scared the Hell out of me."

"We need to get this meeting underway," said Stephan, clearing his throat. "Our first order of business is Sloan."

It was almost miraculous. Stephan's very thoughts had changed after he'd witnessed what I'd done for Jessup. He was positively reeling over Jessup possessing the gift of combustion. He was trying so hard to keep his wits about him, and he was sure that he would fail if Jessup and I continued our discussion.

"Eric," said Brock, reaching for my arm. "The mind trap?"

"It will hold until I remove it," I said.

"How do we go about stripping him of his gifts?" asked Kennedy.

"I can do that," I said quickly. I didn't really know that I could, but something inside of me told me I spoke the truth.

"Very well," said Tallan. "Sedrick, bring Sloan into the great room immediately."

"Yes, Master Tallan," said Sedrick, giving Tallan a slight bow before leaving the room.

The members of the council sat in the chairs that Sedrick and the other drones had brought down from the third floor with the Forsaken on one side and vampires on the other. Tallan motioned for me to take the seat between them at the head of the line. From his mind, I caught the fact that at any meeting of the council where a Father Of The Blood was in residence, this was his customary seat.

Things happened very fast once everyone was seated. Andelynne and Derrick sat with Bashire and the other fledglings at the other end of the long room. I took my seat with the fireplace at my back, and I basked in its warmth. I'd foreseen nothing about this meeting, so I was eager to witness it. There were so many things that were going to happen, but they all had to wait for the conclusion of this meeting.

"Eric, do your thing," said Tallan as Sloan was led into the room by Sedrick.

My thing was something even I didn't know about. I stood up and crossed the room to stand in front of Sloan. As he stood there, looking at nothing, I probed into his mind tentatively at first. As I found part of what I was looking for, I probed deeper. Sloan issued a pitiful whimper as I severed the connections inside his brain that made it possible for him to control the thoughts of others. I stifled his seer ability and his foretelling ability at the same time. Only then did I remove the mind trap that I'd imposed upon him just forty-eight hours earlier.

"What have you done?" he demanded in a weak voice as he staggered away from me.

"Sloan Farr," said Tallan, rising from his seat. "You have been found guilty of treason by the council upon which you formerly sat as Vampire High Seat. You are stripped of your title and banished from the council from this night forth."


"Furthermore, your house is revoked, and you are declared rogue," Tallan cut him off. "All protections and help you formerly enjoyed at the hands of Vampire Slayers and their Watchers will now cease. Let it be written into the book that Sloan Farr of house Farr - Duku is rogue, and any help given to him from a valid member of The Book Of Vampire Records will cause said vampire to forfeit any and all titles and privileges and become rogue."

"Leave us," said Brock.

"You can not do this to me!" cried Sloan. "You dare to side with this unlawful fledgling against me?"

"Sloan Farr, you are no longer received by this council," said Tallan in a tone full of finality. "You are invisible."

Derrick and Sedrick stepped forward to escort Sloan from the house. I wondered just how long he would last before the rogues found him and killed him. They didn't know he was no longer a member of the council, so they would be looking for him. Slayers might still aid him in escaping the rogues, but that wouldn't last long once Andelynne called in her report.

He left with no scuffle or resistance. He merely glared at me before he allowed the watcher and the drone to escort him to the gates of the estate. The meeting went on as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. I sat through remedial motions as Tallan, Doran, Brock and Damon were written into the book, taking the empty seats on the council. Then there was the official pardon of myself and Bashire. It was written into the book that no vampire or slayer had the right to harm either of us.

As the hour of dawn rapidly approached, the council members broke for the coming morning. Stephan and Kennedy rode with their drones to the hotel as Loran, Ari, Rafael and Damon left for their own hotel. The vampires in House Doran went to their bedrooms while Bashire and I sat with Andelynne and Derrick for a little while longer.

I'd expected to feel drained after such a trying night, but instead I felt invigorated and more awake than I'd been since becoming a vampire. I talked with Derrick about getting the sunglasses that I'd seen in my visions made. Jessup would require a pair as well, and I would have to know which dealer he went through to get them for future fledglings.

"So you do plan to sire more fledglings?" asked Andelynne as she sipped her coffee.

"Three more," I replied before I even thought about what I was saying.

"Three?" said Derrick. "But with Jessup..."

"Jessup isn't my fledgling, though he is now a part of my bloodline," I corrected him. "Bashire is my only fledgling."

"Have you foreseen your fledglings?" asked Andelynne.

"No," I replied honestly, for I had not foreseen who my fledglings would be.

"But you know there will be three?" she asked.

"I know that like all other legitimate vampires, I'm allowed four," I replied. "I didn't have to foresee this."

"And you know nothing about what is going to happen tomorrow?" asked Derrick.

"I know what Bashire has told me is likely to happen, but other than that, no," I replied. "My gift doesn't work that way. At least it doesn't yet."

"But it will?" asked Bashire, turning to face me.

"I'm working on it," I replied.

"Is it even possible to induce the visions?" he asked, taking my hand.

"I'm not sure," I admitted. "As far as I know, no seer has ever been able to manipulate the visions in any way. I'm going to try, though."

When we finally went upstairs to bed, we talked more about my seer ability. I explained to him that I hoped, since I was so different than any of the other vampires, that I could learn to control and even induce my visions. It would be very good if I could just have a vision any time I wanted. Then I could just look ahead into the future to see what would happen in any given situation.

He warned, and I was well aware that knowing too much about the future could be a bad thing. After all, I'd told him basically the same thing when he'd asked about his own future after I'd told him about my foretelling dream of our house. I still wanted to try. It could prove very helpful to learn all I could about what was going to happen to us in the future, and after a little more discussion, we snuggled together and drifted off to sleep. For me, the sleep was dreamless and peaceful.

Chapter Ten

When we came downstairs the next afternoon, all of the Forsaken members of the council were waiting for us in the great room along with Andelynne and Derrick. They were all chatting comfortably when Bashire and I stepped into the room. We took our usual seats, and Brock brought us up to date on the Forsaken discussions.

"We're certain that you will be written into the Book as the Father of your own bloodline now, Eric," he said. "I've discussed this with the others, and I'm going to add to our own book of records that each member of your bloodline will take a Forsaken for his first drone."

"Will the others agree to this?" I asked, although I sensed that they would agree.

"We're sure of it," said Rafael.

"Eric, I would like to be your first," said Brock quickly.

I'd known that this was going to happen, and I was ready for it. I had to remind myself to wait, though. My first instinct was to bond him then and there, but for one thing, I had to think of how I would do it. I was ready to get everything done. Something was wrong, and I couldn't quite figure out what it was. I didn't sense anything or smell anything, but something was definitely wrong.

"What's wrong?" asked Bashire beside me.

"I'm not sure," I said, looking at each of them. "Maybe nothing."

"No," said Derrick, looking at me closely. "I feel it, too."

"I don't sense anything, though," I said slowly.

"Nor do I," he said. "Yet something is in the air."

"Could it be all of the rogues in the city?" asked Brock.

"I don't think so," I replied. "Something is wrong, though."

"Have you checked on Jessup?" asked Andelynne. "Is he all right?"

"I'm fine," said Jessup as he stepped into the room. "I've been trying to figure out why I'm awake when the sun is still in the sky."

"A Maxwell Bloodline trait," said Andelynne as she looked from Jessup to me and back.

"The others," said Bashire quickly.

"Sedrick assures me that the others are sleeping soundly," said Jessup as he came all the way into the room and sat next to Andelynne.

"How do you feel?" I asked him only partly because of his change.

"Strange," he replied. "I can see into the minds of everyone here, except you. Yet even that isn't what makes my skin want to crawl as if I were human. Something in the air doesn't seem right. I don't know how to use my new senses properly, so I can't say for sure what it is I'm feeling."

"Bashire?" I asked, turning to him.

"I feel it, too," he said. "I'm afraid that I'm not exactly used to my new senses, either."

"Eric, tell me exactly what you're feeling," said Derrick, leaning closer to me.

"I'm not sure how to describe it," I admitted. "It's probably just nerves about the rest of the council meetings."

"Maybe," agreed Bashire.

"We'd better all remain on guard," said Brock. "I don't know what it could be that they're feeling, but I don't like the sounds of it or the look in their eyes."

"Agreed," said Derrick.

We sat there quietly for a few minutes. Each of us looked around the room for the source of the bad vibe that, by now, all of us were feeling. I was sure that the others were simply empathizing with me, but there was something palpable in the air that didn't sit right with me. As the sun went down, the feeling dissipated somewhat, however.

"Master Waylon Foxmore, Keeper Of The Watchers has arrived, Master Eric," said Sedrick from the door way of the great room, making me jump.

"Show him in, Sedrick, thank you," I said, glancing at Derrick to see if he knew that Mr. Foxmore would be coming to the meeting.

"It's customary for the Keeper to be here when anything is written into the Book," he quickly explained as Sedrick stood aside to let the Keeper into the great room.

Waylon Foxmore was at least sixty years old. He was an even six feet tall with broad shoulders and a fit body. His steel grey hair was thinning, and he kept it parted to the left. His hazel eyes were framed by gold rimmed glasses that somehow matched his tweed overcoat perfectly. He walked with a confidence that commanded respect, and he took us each in with a measured gaze.

"Young Derrick," he said as he came into the room. "I hadn't been informed that you and Andelynne were here at House Doran."

"Master Foxmore," said Derrick, standing to shake Waylon's hand. "Andelynne and I came to guard the council members."

"I understand that Tashi and Piper are also in the city," said Waylon as he took a seat next to Derrick.

"As are Dansick and Roland," nodded Derrick. "There is an usual number of rogue vampires in this city."

"No doubt they've learned the entire council is present here in House Doran," replied Waylon as his eyes fell on me.

"I'm sure they have, Master," said Derrick.

"You are Eric Maxwell?" Waylon asked me directly after waving his hand for Derrick to be silent.

"I am," I replied. I wasn't sure what was going to happen between this Keeper and myself, but I sensed that it was important. His thoughts told me that he was most impressed with what he'd been told about me.

"I see the bands around your eyes and those around Bashire's and Jessup's as well," he said, glancing at Bashire. "Jessup, of course, is the proof that Stephan was babbling about on the telephone this morning."

"Proof that Eric is a father of a new bloodline," said Brock quickly.

"Oh, I didn't come to argue," said Waylon. "I'm here, because he is to be written into the book."

"It's that simple?" I asked. I had thought there would be more proof needed before the Keeper would allow me to be written into the book.

"It's that simple," he said. "I'm the Keeper Of The Watchers, Eric. I don't have much say in what vampires believe. You have the endorsement of both High Seats on the council, and I'm sure that every other member of the council will back your claim. My signature is merely a formality in these matters."

"We'll be having a formal dinner," said Brock when Waylon finished speaking. "After that, all of the new entries into the books will be made, and you will be awarded House status, Eric."

"Has he a drone?" asked Waylon. "He must have at least one fledgling and one drone before he can be considered for House status."

"Bashire is his fledgling, and I will be his first drone," said Brock.

"Breaking your own laws, I see," chuckled Waylon. "I see you really do believe he is a father."

"Oh, we have no doubt," said Brock. "The sun is still in the sky, Waylon, and Eric, Bashire and Jessup are all awake."

"I've noticed that, Brock," said Waylon in a tone a mother would use on an unruly child who had spoken out of turn.

"It took some convincing to get everyone to believe in Eric," said Bashire.

"Yes," replied Waylon. "I've heard all about, and I see, Jessup."

I wasn't sure what to make of Waylon Foxmore. I could sense from his thoughts that he was less than impressed with me, and he wasn't sure what to think about Bashire's turning. He thought that it was a direct violation, and he would have had us both killed. What stopped him, in his mind, was that the other council members thought that I was a father, and Bashire was the first fledgling of a new bloodline. His thoughts chilled me almost. For I knew that I would always have to worry about what he was going to do next.

While I sat there, watching him, the conversation went on around me. He pretended not to notice that my eyes were fixed on him, but his mind told me he was completely aware of it. After a few minutes, I no longer saw him sitting in front of me. What I saw was the grounds of the compound just as the sun was starting to come up. Waylon was lying on the ground with a gash in his throat. No blood ran from the wound, and he was completely lifeless.

It was a vision, and I was completely aware of it. I tried to hold on to it, but it was already starting to fade. I did get the feeling that more had died, and I was frantically searching for someone, but I didn't know who it was. Just as it faded completely, Andelynne was standing at my side, telling me that someone was dead and rogues were responsible. Then the vision was gone, and I was staring at Waylon Foxmore again.

I didn't let anyone know that I'd had the vision, and I was completely surprised that I hadn't reacted physically to it this time. Bashire was still involved in the conversation, so I knew that my body must have remained relaxed the entire time. Otherwise, he would have instantly known that I was having a vision.

I knew what the vision meant. House Doran would be attacked. The attack would happen soon, but something told me that it wasn't going to be that very night. I wasn't really sure why I knew that, but I knew that it would be the next night or the night after. Now all I had to decide was that if I should warn everyone about what was coming or not. I'd only seen the end of the event, so I couldn't tell them how it started or when. I tried everything I could think of to induce the vision again, but it was no use. I was stuck with the knowledge that Waylon and others were going to die, and there wasn't anything that I could do to stop it.

After that, I was almost a zombie as the sun went down and the others woke up. The vampire council members arrived, and Bashire and I went back upstairs to dress for dinner. Sedrick and the other drones were running about the house, getting everything ready, and I briefly saw my father before I was ushered up the stairs to my room.

"What's wrong?" asked Bashire as soon as the door to our room was closed. He was looking at me intently, and I knew that I couldn't lie to him.

"I had a vision while I stared at Waylon Foxmore," I said. "He's going to die, Bashire. Right here on the grounds of House Doran."

"When?" he asked, and I was surprised that he didn't seem surprised or excited.

"I'm not sure, but I know it isn't tonight," I replied. "What bothers me is that I can't warn him, because I don't know who kills him or when. I do know that he won't be the only one to die."

"Is it going to be a bloodline thing?" he asked.

"I don't know," I said honestly. The thought that the attack could be about me and my blood hadn't occurred to me.

"Well, just in case it is, we should warn Jessup," he said. "We can't tell the others until you know more, if you have another vision. Jessup should be made aware of it though. The three of us can keep our eyes open."

"I don't like this," I sighed.

"I don't either, but what choice do we have?" he asked.

He was right about that. We had no choices. I hated that I couldn't induce the visions any time I wanted. If I could just figure out how to do that, then maybe I could foresee what was going to happen from the beginning of the attack to the end of it. Then I would know what it was I should look out for; what I should stop.

The dinner turned out to be exactly what I suspected it would be. Each vampire was served a very small portion of some kind of cooked meat with an equally small portion of potatoes. The humans had full plates with meat, potatoes and asparagus. I watched as each of the vampires ate their food. When I started to eat my own food, I was shocked that there was no taste to it at all. It was hot, but there was absolutely no taste to it.

"Don't worry," whispered Matthias from beside me. "It won't hurt you if you don't eat much of it. Your body will consume it just as it does blood, but it can't consume any large amount of this stuff."

"I'll remember that," I replied.

Even the Forsaken were eating the cooked food. I'd thought that they could only eat raw meat, but Bashire quietly explained that they could eat anything they liked. They just had to have the meat of a living animal at least once a month to sustain them. It was strange to think of how different the viruses that made us what we were reacted in our bodies.

Of course, the vampires were all done before everyone else, and we all sat in front of empty plates, talking with everyone while they continued to eat. No council matters were discussed during dinner. I heard many things about the various houses that each of the vampire members of the council came from, and I heard bits and pieces of what went on in a Forsaken house as well.

After everyone was finished eating, the vampires all went off to various rooms of the house to feed. Bashire and I took Jessup with us to our room where we drained three middle aged men. Jessup and I burned the victims when we were all finished with them, and Bashire didn't even seem upset about it.

"I'm getting used to it," he explained when he caught me looking at him.

We took that opportunity to fill Jessup in on my vision. He agreed that without knowing more, we couldn't tell the others. We discussed how we would go about watching out for everyone, and how to keep what we were doing a secret. If any of them learned that we were watching, they would all become nervous.

Back in the dining room, all of the plates and glasses had been removed from the table. In their places were packets of papers for me, Bashire, Jessup and Waylon to look through. They were all about House status and fledglings. The rules of the houses were stated in the papers, and I knew that it was required that I take a drone before my name could be entered into the book at House status.

"I'm entering into my notes that Eric Maxwell of House Doran, soon to be of House Maxwell, is the father of the fifth bloodline," said Waylon. "Lord Eric Maxwell will be given all of the rights and privileges of a Father Of The Blood."

"What are the rights and privileges of a Father?" I asked.

"There hasn't been a living Father Of The Blood in a hundred years," said Waylon. "Lord Doran stepped into the sun almost exactly one hundred years ago, Eric. For him, the laws of the vampires were more flexible in some cases. They shall be for you as well. Those laws are that you can't turn a Forsaken, you can't kill your own kind, and you can't sire super drones. As a Father, you can do all of those things."

"Why would I kill my own kind?" I asked.

"Rogues," said Andelynne. "No vampire is allowed to hunt Rogues, but as a Father, you are."

"I don't think I would want to sire any super drones, either," I said. "As for turning a Forsaken, Bashire will be the only Forsaken fledgling I ever create."

"There is still the matter of a drone," said Waylon. "You have to have at least one bonded drone before I can enter your name at House status, Eric."

"Brock will be my first drone," I replied.

"That's right," he said. "Brock told me that he and the other Forsaken council members are adding to their book that each member of your bloodline shall take a Forsaken as his first drone."

"We've already added that amendment," said Rafael. "We're just not sure how he's going to bond any of us without turning us completely."

"What are you talking about?" asked Waylon. "Bashire was bonded. It can be done. Once you've drank the blood of a Forsaken, his saliva won't kill you."

"That's not what he means," I said. "Bonding requires a blood exchange. A simple blood exchange is what turned Bashire."

"I see," he replied slowly. "How do you plan to get past that?"

"Well, I know that it can be done," I said. "I saw in a foretelling dream that Brock was one of my drones."

"You never told me that," said Brock, leaning forward across the table from me.

"That's because you had to come to the decision on your own," I replied. "I didn't want you to do it just because I said you would."

"Free will," he said with a slight smile on his face as he gave me an approving nod. "If I wasn't sure about it before, I am now."

I sat there for a minute, looking at him. Then another vision swept over me. I saw it happening as I stared at Brock. I saw how to bond him. It wouldn't turn him if I didn't draw as much blood from him as I had from Bashire. With Bashire, I'd been drawing blood to know him. With Brock, I would only be drawing blood to bond him. I could draw back before I took too much.

What bothered me about the vision was the fact that Brock and I were having sex while he was being bonded. I knew nothing about bonding other than the fact that a blood exchange had to take place, but I didn't think that sex was part of it. Or maybe it was. Out of everything I'd learned from drinking the blood of the others, I hadn't seen how drones were bonded. I'd been too wrapped up in the taste of Bashire's blood and seeing Tryon in his thoughts that I didn't see how it was that he was bonded, so I didn't really know.

"First of all, I need to know exactly how a drone is bonded," I said slowly not taking my eyes off of Brock.

"You have to have sex with him, Eric," said Bashire, and I swung my head in his direction. "It's all right. I told you, as long as it is a fledgling or a drone, I won't kill your sex partners."

The others chuckled at that, and Brock mumbled a thank you which made everyone laugh a little harder. I was glad that they were laughing, but I wasn't exactly comfortable with taking Brock upstairs and having sex with him. That also meant that I would soon have to have sex with Derrick, too. Did he know about this part of the bonding when he'd told me that he wanted to be one of my drones?

"Well, it's getting very late for the mortals among us," said Tallan. "Why don't we break for the night and meet up again tomorrow night to solidify Eric's standing?"

"That sounds good," said Waylon, getting up from the table. "I trust that someone can drive me to my hotel?"

"You're staying in the same hotel as we are," said Rafael. "You can ride with us."

We each said goodbye to the rest of the council and Waylon before going to the great room to sit and discuss what was going to happen the following night. The night was getting away from us, and I wondered when I was going to bond Brock. I didn't know if I was expected to spend my sleeping hours with him or not.

"When will Waylon be leaving us?" asked Jessup once we were all seated in the great room.

"Well, he usually stays for a few days after the meetings are all over," said Tallan. "Why?"

"I was just curious," he replied. "He gives me an odd feeling."

"That's because he doesn't truly believe that I am a father," I said before I could stop myself.

"What are you talking about?" asked Bashire. "He entered your name as the father of the fifth bloodline."

"Yes, but that's because the entire council believes it," I said. "He doesn't believe it, but he can't do anything about it, because he is neither a vampire or a Forsaken."

"He doesn't like any of us," said Jessup. "I could hear it in his thoughts. He despises Bashire, and he would love nothing more than to have both of you killed, but he thinks he can't because the others believe nonsense about you."

"He also knows that I won't let him kill Eric or Bashire," said Derrick. "He knows I'd die to protect Eric."

"We told him that we plan to move to House Maxwell with Eric," said Andelynne. "He wasn't happy about it, but there wasn't anything he could do about it. Officially, it will mean that I am no longer a slayer, but I don't really care about that anymore."

"You are willing to give up being a slayer to live on Eric's estate?" asked Franklin in wonder.

"To guard a Father Of The Blood?" she asked, smiling at him. "Of course."

"I told him that I want to be your second drone," said Derrick. "He was really upset about that. He doesn't believe it can be done."

"It can be done," I assured him. "In my foretelling dream, you were also one of my drones. I didn't tell you, because you had to come to that decision on your own just like Brock. I didn't bond you when you asked, because I knew that Brock was supposed to be my first drone."

Chapter Eleven

Closing my eyes did nothing to convince me that it was really Bashire in the bed beside me. Brock was completely different than Bashire and it wasn't all because of Bashire's vampiricy. Brock's muscles were harder than Bashire's had been before his turning, and his body hair was silkier. I could smell his scent, and it was so different than any of the other Forsaken. I'd already learned that none of them smelled completely the same. On top of the animal smell of a Forsaken, each of them had their very own unique scent.

I would be lying completely if I said that I didn't find Brock sexually attractive and enticing. Brock was a gorgeous man. His scent, though heavily overlaid by the strong scent of Forsaken, was intoxicating. It seemed to ooze from every pore in his body, and it got more potent as his excitement level rose. I learned from him, later, that all Forsaken men secrete a pheromone through their pores when they are sexually aroused. This was a fact that I planned to keep in mind for the future. It certainly made it easier for me to bond him, because it trampled my inhibitions, and almost all thoughts of Bashire left my mind.

It was much more than a mere sexual act, and there was much more involved than pheromone enhanced sexual attraction. Since the moment that I'd first laid eyes on Brock in my dream I'd wanted him sexually. There was something about him that was so much more than a man. It was more than his Forsaken genetic make up. Brock had a naturally erotic effect that was as much a part of him as his piercing blue eyes.

To have him next to me in a bed was almost enough to consume me with desire. The fact that he was completely nude beside me nearly drove me to the brink of my sanity. Every part of his body was perfectly proportioned. He was erect, and I could hear the excitement in his rapidly cycling thoughts. He wanted this, and as much as I didn't want to hurt Bashire, so did I.

"Have you figured out how this is going to work?" he asked, and for the first time, I sensed fear in his thoughts. He was afraid that I would turn on him, and he absolutely did not want to be a vampire.

"I know how it will work," I assured him. "You don't have to worry. You will be my drone, Brock. Nothing more."

"You're sure?" While looking at me hard.

"If you fear this that much, then we could just not do it, Brock."

"I want to be your first drone, Eric. I want that more than anything I've ever wanted."

"Why?" I asked. "Why do you want to be a drone when you so clearly distrust vampires?"

"You are more than a vampire," he replied. "I believe in you, Eric."

"What have I done that sets me so far apart from other vampires?"

"It's in your eyes," he said. "I can hear it in your words when you speak. You are truly a Father, Eric."

"But that still makes me one of them," I reminded him.

"Yes, but you have a purity that none of them have. Bashire has it, too, and I suspect that he has it because he was Forsaken."

"I'm not pure, Brock," I warned him. "I am a killer. I kill humans for their blood. That's the very definition of a vampire."

"Yes, but you said it yourself," he countered. "You will only feed from the wicked in society."

"Brock, that's my personal choice. I do plan to make it a law for my bloodline, but that doesn't make me pure. I'm not a god. What right do I have to punish the wicked?"

"You have the right, because a god gave you that right," he replied. "Why do you think that vampires and Forsaken exist, Eric? God made us what we are. There's a purpose for our species. We serve God's plan just like every other creature created by him."

"I don't know God," I admitted. "Even as a mortal, I never knew him."

"You don't have to personally know God to serve him," he said. "You do it, because your soul requires it."

"And Bill Glass?" I asked. "Was it divine of me to use him the way that I did?"

"Who is Bill Glass?" he asked.

"While Bashire slept through his Forsaken death, I took on a pet from the livestock," I said slowly. "His name was Bill Glass. He was a rapist of the worst kind, and in my mind, what I did to him was far better than any punishment the mortal law could impose on him. I used a weaker version of the mind trap to bend his mind into compliance, and I used him sexually until the day that Bashire opened his eyes."

"Eric, to you they are nothing more than food," he said quickly. "What he'd done was probably far worse than what you did to him."

"That's just it, Brock," I argued. "They are much more than food to me. I hope to respect them for what they are. I know that I can't survive without feeding from their numbers, but I don't want to become the scourge of humanity."

"And you won't," he said. "That's what I was talking about. That's your purity. Your respect for life. Eric, you kill because you must. It isn't a perverse thrill with you. Believe me, with some vampires it is."

"Rogues," I sighed.

"There are legitimate vampires that kill for the sport of it," he said.

"Not in my bloodline," I said quickly. "I won't allow it."

"Bond me, Eric," he said.

He turned onto his side, and I wrapped my arms around his body. Everything happened naturally after that. His lips found mine, and we shared a kiss that movies would be proud of. I let my hands run over his strong back as he ground himself against my thigh. That smell was getting stronger again, and I let it permeate me as he slid his body across mine.

This was to be much more than a sexual encounter, and I knew that there wasn't much time for foreplay. I was bonding him, so things had to happen in a certain way. I guided him into position, and as soon as I felt him enter my ass, I sank my fangs into his neck. The sweet nectar that is Forsaken blood filled my mouth, and I had to fight my own senses to keep from draining him dry.

I drank from him slowly, taking very small amounts of his sweet blood as his hips humped, sending his dick all the way inside of me over and over again. I could feel his heartbeat racing in his chest, but I was shocked to discover that I could also feel it pulsing in his dick as he fucked into me. His blood told me everything there was to know about him. He loved me completely. It wasn't a romantic love as much as it was a pure love.

As I felt his Forsaken seed rush into me, I pulled back from his neck, biting my tongue to stop the flow of blood from his wound. His arms were still wrapped around my body as his spent dick slid out of me, and a smile swept over his face as he looked me in the eye. I could feel the beginning of that tiny little ball in my head that was Brock's bond forming, and I knew that he had to drink from me to complete it, but there was something more that had to be done.

As I puzzled out what was missing from the bond in my own head, I turned us around so that we were in the opposite positions. I heard him take in a sharp breath as my dick slid inside of him, but he put his mouth the gash in my neck that I made at virtually the same time that I mounted him. I didn't have to move at all after that. Brock rode me as he sucked the blood from my neck, and instantly I knew what I had to do for completion.

I began the weave in my head as I savored the feeling of being inside of him, and I carefully pushed into his mind so gently that I hoped he didn't even feel it. He moaned into my neck, so I wasn't sure if he felt it or not. However, the bond was sealing as I worried over the invasion of his mind. I could feel him more clearly in my own head, and I knew that he was mine.

In that moment, I knew that for my bloodline, sex wasn't completely necessary. For those of us with the gift of mind control, sex was absolutely unnecessary. I'd really bonded him with a special form of the mind trap. It was crude, but it would be effective. Brock was bonded to me stronger than any drone was bonded to his vampire.

"I can feel it," he said once we were both lying beside each other again. "I can feel you in my head."

"It's the bond," I said quietly. "I can feel you in my head, too."

Those were my last words before the sleep of the dead took me over. I felt Brock stir beside me briefly, and then I was alone in the bed. I didn't know where he went, and I was too tired to use my mind to track him.

When the sleep let go of me, I was shocked to see the sun so high in the sky. A glance at the clock on the bedside table told me that it was just past noon, and I was fully awake and invigorated for some reason. I got out of the bed, bathed and slipped into the room I shared with Bashire and dressed. He was sleeping peacefully, and I thought again about why I was awake so early.

Upon entering the great room a few minutes later, Andelynne said, "Master Eric, you're awake very early today."

"Yes," I replied. "I'm trying to figure out why."

"Is something wrong?" she asked as Sedrick walked into the room.

"Master Eric," he said.

"Sedrick, I'll need one of the livestock. I'm hungry," I told him quickly before he could say more. As soon as I said it, I realized that I was more than hungry. I felt as if I was starving. "Bring three, Sedrick."

"Three? Are you feeling all right?" asked Andelynne as I sat down beside her.

"Not exactly," I admitted. "I'm starving, for one thing. I'm awake far too early, and that nagging feeling is getting stronger."

"Derrick and Brock were talking about that before they left," she said, sipping her coffee.

"Where are they?" I asked, knowing I could sense Brock through the bond. They were looking at estates that were on the market. "Never mind. I know where Brock is."

"The bond," she said, and I could hear in her thoughts that she knew more about the bond than I did.

"His bond is stronger than any other drone's," I sighed. "I don't know exactly why, though."

"Well, one thing about him that's different than any other drone I've encountered before is that you can see that he is now a part of your bloodline," she said.

"See?" I asked, turning to face her.

"His eyes," she said. "They're ringed like yours and Bashire's."

"Ringed?" I asked still not understanding.

"He has black rings around the irises of his eyes, Eric," she said. "Like Bashire."

"It has to be an effect of my blood running through is veins," I said dismissively. I wasn't trying to be evasive, but something was still very wrong in the house. Waylon wasn't in residence, so I wasn't sure if it had to do with his death or not.

"I suspect that your early waking is a result of his blood running through your veins," she said.

"Don't you see, Matthias?" I heard Jessup's voice in my mind. "The sun can't harm us. It's Tryon's blood that does this!"

"That's exactly what it is," I replied. "The Forsaken blood makes the sun less harmful to any vampire. To
me, it makes sleep less needed."

"So now you can go without sleep entirely?" she asked.

"Not entirely," I replied. "I'll still have to sleep, but apparently not as much."

"You have no idea what is wrong?" she asked.

"I know that something is going to happen," I admitted. "But I don't know how to stop it or what to look for. It's frustrating, because I wish I could use my gifts to just look into the future at will and see whatever I want."

"I'm not sure that it isn't possible for you to do that with your gift, but would you really want to?" she asked. "Knowing the future could be disastrous to you at times, Eric. What would happen if you couldn't stop every bad thing you saw?"

"I want to stop this one," I said firmly.

"Did you ever stop to think that maybe you aren't supposed to stop whatever is about to happen?" she asked, taking my hand. "Fate is a very powerful thing, Eric. Sometimes you just can't change it."

"If I don't stop this, Andelynne there may not be a House Maxwell," I said.

"What is going to happen that you're so scared of?" she asked.

"There's going to be an attack on House Doran," I said. "Rogues will be involved, but I'm not sure that it is about me specifically. I'm sure it has to be, but Waylon will die in that attack as will many others. I don't know when it will happen, but I've been sensing something wrong in the house since just before Waylon arrived. Bashire and Jessup feels it, too. Even Derrick said that he felt something."

"This attack," she said slowly, "is probably more about you than you realize."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, you have a very powerful enemy out there right now, Eric," she said. "Sloan hates you more than I've ever known anyone to hate."

"But I left him powerless and barely able to walk."

"Did you really? I know that you stripped his mental abilities from him, but was he really barely able to walk? Are you sure he wasn't just dazed from what you did to him?"

"That's very possible," I admitted. "If that's the truth, then he could be behind the attack."

"Vampire Slayers Tashi Moore and Piper Hall with their watchers, Roland Deer and Dansick Marshall to see Master Eric Maxwell," said Sedrick from the doorway. He had three human males with him, and I motioned for him to bring them in.

"Tell them I'll be with them in a moment," I told him as I used my mind to completely destroy any resistance in the humans.

As soon as I'd fed and burned the corpses to a cinder, Sedrick came into the great room to clean up the ashes of
my meal. I followed Andelynne of the room to great the other slayers and their watchers. I could instantly sense that the slayers had come to tell us something very important. I felt the fire gift swelling inside of me as I waited for whatever hell they were about to unleash.

"Tashi, Piper," said Andelynne as we walked up to them.

"Andelynne," said the dark headed slayer. "I'm surprised to find you here."

"I'm leaving the council," she replied. "I've sworn fealty to Father Eric."

"That's what Waylon was screaming about last night," said the blond slayer.

"Eric, this is Tashi Moore," said Andelynne motioning toward the blond slayer. She had long blond hair like Andelynne's red locks with chocolate brown eyes. Her clothes were singed, and she looked like she'd been through a battle.

"Nice to meet you, Father Eric," said Tashi, taking my hand lightly. "I'm Tashi Moore: Vampire Slayer."

"My name is Piper Hall, and I'm also a slayer," said the brunette. "We've come to tell you about rogues in the city."

"We know there are rogues in the city," said Andelynne. "There are always bands of rogues in any city where the council meets all at the same time."

"But there are far more in this city than usual," said Tashi. "The numbers virtually tripled just last night."

"This could be what you and the others are sensing," said Andelynne, turning to me. "Could this be the attack you're vision warned of?"

"I'm not sure," I replied. "I don't like this, though. How did they get so many rogues in the city in one night?"

"We don't know how or when they got here," said Piper. "We just know that everywhere we went last night, there were rogue vampires all over the place. This is bad, because there are only two of us here in the city, three if you count Andelynne."

"I won't hunt them," she said. "I will kill them if they come on the grounds of House Doran though."

"What attack are you talking about?" asked Tashi. "I wasn't aware of any attack anywhere in this city."

"The attack hasn't happened yet," said Andelynne. "We don't know when it will happen, either."

"It will be soon," I said quickly. "Within the next few nights."

"You're foretelling this?" asked Piper. She studied me with her dark eyes, and for a moment, I thought she was going to rush at me.

"I had a vision of the aftermath of this attack, yes," I affirmed.

"Wait," said Tashi. "It's only two in the afternoon. The sun is high in the sky. Why are you awake?"

"My blood is a bit different from the vampires that you know," I said. "There are many differences in me."

We led the slayers into the great room, and I wondered where their watchers were. I hadn't seen them yet. I was about to ask about them when Sedrick told us that Brock and Derrick had returned bringing with them Rafael and Damon. I could sense that something was wrong when they came into the great room.

"I think it's started," said Bashire. He was wearing a pair of dark sunglasses, and I recognized them from my foretelling dream.

"What's started?" asked Andelynne. "What are you talking about?"

"First of all, Ari is missing," said Brock. "We didn't think anything of it at first. Ari is always running off. But after what happened downtown, we started to wonder."

"What happened downtown?" asked Andelynne, and I saw it in his thoughts. They'd been attacked by a human, but he was dead now. The fact that they had been attacked rather spooked me.

"Who was he?" I asked before any of them said a word.

"His name was Frank Sparks," said Brock. "We checked his wallet. He's dead, Eric."

"Yes, I know that, Brock," I said. "What I don't know is why he attacked you."

"He said that we were an abomination to God," said Derrick. "It was all so strange. He didn't even try very hard to kill us."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, it was more like he was trying to distract us from something," said Brock. "Neither of us knew what was really going on. He was dead before things got any further."

While Andelynne and the others listened, I sat down with Brock as he told the tale of the would be assassin. The story was that this man came out of a church downtown and started screaming at them. Brock said that he threw holy water at him and started screaming that he had to die. Then he took out a gun and shot himself in the head.

For the rest of the afternoon it was all anyone could talk about. They called it the assassination attempt, but I couldn't help thinking that it was all staged. If this Frank Sparks had truly wanted to kill Brock and Derrick, then he could have done it. Sure, Brock was now a drone and very hard to kill, but it wasn't impossible. Derrick was a super drone, so he wasn't exactly easy to kill either. Still, this man hadn't done anything to really try to kill either of them.

Bashire and Jessup were quickly filled in on the assassination attempt when they joined us at five o'clock. Jessup agreed with me that it all seemed staged. He was more interested in Ari's disappearance than anything else. The two of us went up to the pen together so that he could feed. We talked about what it would mean to Sloan to have a Forsaken in his possession. It would mean that he could walk in the sun. That would make us even more vulnerable to attack.

"The attack in my vision happened at night, Jessup," I said as we were coming back down the stairs.

"That doesn't mean that it started at night, Eric," he said. "I wish that you could grab that vision again and look around more."

"I told you, it doesn't work that way."

"Earlier you said that you had the sense that the attack would happen within the next few nights. Right?"

"Right," I said. "I don't know why I believe that, but I do. This so called attack on Brock and Derrick only reinforces that feeling."

"So you've told the slayers then?" he asked.

"All three," I said. "Andelynne is technically no longer a slayer, though."

"That doesn't matter," he said. "Her training is ingrained in her. When there's a threat, she'll fight."

"With the other two slayers on the compound, I feel a little better about our odds," I said as we reached the ground floor.

"Who else is going to die that night, Eric?" he asked.

"I don't know," I admitted. "All I know from the vision is that Waylon will be dead, and I will be filled with rage."

It wasn't until the other vampires woke up that I learned that Derrick and Brock had made some progress in their search for an estate. They handed me three folders to look over as we all sat in the great room talking about what was happening in the house for the next few nights. The first folder was the very estate that would become House Maxwell.

Doran talked with us about what we would need for the house itself, and I tuned out when he started talking about security, that was Derrick's area, so I really didn't need to pay attention.

I did notice that Jessup and Matthias were having a very heated discussion, though. I wondered what they were talking about, but I didn't use my abilities to find out. I knew that eventually everyone would know what their argument was about.

By the time they were all going back upstairs to sleep, Bashire announced that he would be bonding Rafael, and Derrick asked me again to bond him. I thought about it for a moment. He was to be one of my drones, and in the dream, he and Brock were my only drones. Since Bashire was bonding Rafael, that left me alone in our room for the night.

So it was that morning that Derrick Tull became my second drone. The last thought I had before closing my eyes to the day was that my foretelling dream was rapidly becoming reality. I'd seen pictures of the very estate that would become House Maxwell, and Brock and Derrick were now my drones. All that was left was to see the new house.

When Bashire was waking me and Derrick up at noon that day, I knew that the rest of my foretelling dream was about to become reality. After taking a small drink of Rafael's blood and giving both Derrick and Brock a small drink of my own blood, we set out to view the three estates that I'd seen pictures of the night before.

We drove to the first of the estates, and I'd made sure that the first choice was the one that would be House Maxwell. We were on the lookout for anything strange going on in the city along the way, and as we drove slightly out of the city, I started to relax. The feeling that something was wrong faded more and more as we left the city.

We stopped in front of the black iron gate that I'd seen in my foretelling dream of House Maxwell. The large "M" was already on the gate, and when I looked to Bashire to tell me why it was there already, he just smiled at me. He started flipping through keys on a key ring before selecting the right one to open the gate. I heard Brock sigh behind me.

Everything was exactly the way it looked in my dream. The house was three stories tall and constructed of brown and red bricks. I was surprised when I didn't see the family crests on the huge oak double doors of the house, but I suspected that those were another clue to the future in that dream. It had been a very foggy dream.

"The cottage over there," he said pointing to what I knew was to be the guard house for the gate, "is big enough for someone to live in comfortably. And Derrick wants to move into it."

"He will," I replied. "He's going to be head of my security."

"The guest house is really just a smaller version of the main house, and I thought that your drone family could live in it," he said. "Plenty of room for children to grow."

"That will be a long time coming," Bashire said.

"You should really start thinking of your own fledglings."

"What if I don't make any fledglings?" he asked.

"Bashire we've talked about this," I sighed, turning away from the house to face him. "The bloodline has to grow. You are my first, and you have to sire fledglings."

"Will you two argue over children and fledglings later?" moaned Brock. "We need to view the inside of the house. We have three more to look at before the others wake up, and we still haven't discussed what to do about Sloan."

He was right. Sloan was behind the upcoming attack on House Doran knew that he was, but I didn't see what we could do about it. We had no idea where he was hiding, and now that Ari was missing, I couldn't help thinking that Sloan had taken him hostage. If that were true that would mean he and the others could be walking around in the sun just like us, but I didn't want to think about that.

What he was wrong about was that we had three more estates to look at. This was House Maxwell, and there was no point in looking at the others. I already knew that my house would be right here on these grounds. I knew that I probably should have gone to look at the other three houses. I'd promised myself that I would let things happen naturally, but we really needed to discuss Sloan and Ari.

"I'm not looking at any more houses today, Brock," I said. "This is House Maxwell."

"You're sure?" he asked.

"I'm positive. What I don't understand is how I'm going to purchase this estate."

"You haven't been told?" he asked, looking at me with an exasperated look. "I knew they left out too much of what happens when you gain house status."

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

"Bashire, you should have told him all of this," said Brock.

"I was going to, but all of this with Sloan and Ari came up. And we've been watching out for an attack."

"What are you two talking about?" I demanded.

"Eric," said Brock. "On the night that you gained house status, an account was opened in your name. You were awarded one million dollars to start your house. Because you are a father, you were awarded four million dollars to finance your bloodline."

"So you're saying that I have five million dollars in an account that no one told me about?" I asked.

"We don't have time for a drawn out discussion about this, Eric," said Brock. "We really need to look at the house and make decisions about anything that needs to be done."

"We need a thumb print scanner for the gate," said Bashire. "I'll get together with Derrick tonight and talk about that."

"The house will have to be fitted with an alarm system, too," said Brock as he opened the front doors.

The main hall was huge. Everything was white marble, and I began to wonder who had lived here before. The doors to the rooms off of the hall were all white as well. I didn't like all of the white, and I made a note on the clipboard that Brock handed me as he and Bashire went off on their own to look the house over. Brock wanted to see the kitchen, because there were going to be many humans living on the estate that would take meals in the main house. I was sure that Bashire looking at the basement. That was where I'd decided that my livestock cells would be. I didn't want anyone living on the third floor of the house as they did at House Doran in my house, the third floor would be where all of the council meetings would take place.

On the ground floor there were six rooms other than the kitchen and bathroom. Only one room's purpose was immediately apparent. The dining room had the only access to the kitchen. I didn't go into the kitchen, because that was Brock's domain. That left five rooms for me to explore and decide what I wanted done with them. I'd already decided that the dining room would be left to Brock as well.

The first two rooms on the left of the hall shared a fireplace. The first had walls lined with shelves, and it didn't take a genius to figure out that this had been the library. I didn't like the red colors of the room at all, so I wrote up all of the changes that I wanted in the room on the clipboard. I was surprised when I read over what I'd written. I basically wanted the entire room done over.

The same was true of the other four rooms. Each one needed to be completely remodeled and I wondered again who had lived in this house. When I walked into what I thought would be my great room, I nearly freaked out. It could only be described as "the blue room." Everything in it was one shade of blue or another. It reminded me of where a Oompa Loompa would live.

When I walked into the next room, I was sure I'd find Willy Wanka himself. Luckily, sanity ruled in the next room. The floors were hard wood. The walls were rose wood paneled, and the ceiling was high. The windows were floor to ceiling, letting in maximum light. Of course, the windows would all have to be fitted wit the same glass as the sunglasses on my face. That was a minor detail, and I didn't even have to write it down.

"Well, what do you think?" asked Bashire startling me as he came into the room behind me.

"I think that this house needs a lot of work," I said, turning around to face him. "But this is House Maxwell. We'll just have to hire a contractor and everything will fall into place after that. I've seen it."

It was nearly three o'clock when we drove through the gates of House Doran. As soon as we were out of the car, I sensed the wrongness in the air. Something was terribly wrong today, and there was a peculiar smell in the air. We walked into the house and were immediately faced with Sedrick's dead body. He was lying on the floor with his head severed. I embraced the power within me, and I could feel the fire surround me. The attack on House Doran begun.