The sleep. It was the only escape from what was happening in the world. All that had happened since the government declared war on immortals was left behind as we went into hiding in Mexico. House Maxwell had been burned to the ground. Many vampires and drones had lost their lives. Rogues were now a thing of the past. There were so few of our kind left that hiding was the only answer. The entire coven, or what was left of it, made a caravan of vans and trucks filled with coffins and human livestock for the trip. The glass windshields and windows had been tinted and treated to keep the hateful sun from blinding us. No other precautions were needed, for the sun could not kill any member of my bloodline.

In the van with me were my two brothers, Franklin and Daniel. We were all three once mortal and fathered by the same man. Now we were the undead and all that was left of our immediate family. My beloved Bashire was dead, and my blood boiled with rage over his death. I thought of little else as we drove on through the States toward our goal. The rules of our blood were now broken beyond repair. It would be up to me to rebuild the rules of the immortals once I came out of my sleep. I'd have a hundred years to think about those rules.

We arrived in Mexico as the sun went down. We took no time to get to know our surroundings. Each of the vampires that had survived the siege on House Maxwell was ready for the hundred years of sleep that I had imposed on all vampires. My drones would live in the house above us and stand guard over their sleeping vampire masters. Blood would be given weekly in a special way. It had been discovered that the drones of my bloodline were stronger, lived longer and didn't require a daily dose of blood to survive. That was of little comfort to me as I lay myself in the coffin and closed my eyes.

What was left of the ranks of Forsaken would live in our little Mexican city and hunt humans for the first time in over a century. There were so few of them left now, and almost all of them were drones to a member of my bloodline. With the Forsaken inhabiting the city, no one dared to even attempt to seek out the vampires who lay sleeping under its streets. My only regret was that Brock was among the hunting Forsaken. Even in my slumber I could feel his heart burning for me. He'd been the only one to voice a protest against the hundred-year sleep, and I'd nearly given in when he'd stood before me on the night we left the ruins of House Maxwell. He'd been crying and demanding that I stay awake, not leave the world to drones and Forsaken. Bashire had died only two nights before and Brock was sad to learn that I didn't plan to retaliate against the humans. The war was still going on, but we were actually losing.

Even as I slept, I could hear the thoughts of my drones. Brock had found a companion just twenty years into my sleep. The man was tall and broad with shining black hair and dark eyes. His muscled body was almost a match for Brock's physique even with its vampire blood enhancements. His name was Juan and he was a gorgeous specimen. They argued constantly about staying in the city. Brock knew that he had to honor my final decree and stay on in the city to guard the sleeping vampires, but Juan wanted to leave Mexico and go to America. It was a silly yearning. He had to know that the American government had put a bounty on all of the Forsaken just as it had on vampires. Any immortals found were to be put to death immediately. They had cruel ways to execute us, too. Bashire's grizzly death had been the proof of that.

For nearly fifty years, Juan and Brock argued over leaving Mexico. Finally, Brock came home from his hunt to find that Juan had left for America. That was the last time Brock ever saw his companion and he set out to look for another. So much was changing in the world as I slept. I could see it all through the minds of Brock and my super drone, Derrick. Derrick was fairing far better than Brock. He'd moved into the house that I slept below with my two brothers. Davian, a new Forsaken, had moved in with him. The two fell in love after a while, and they lived in the house above us happily. Derrick continued to try to be there for Brock, but as the years passed Brock became more and more broken-hearted and restless. His dreams were of the night that our hundred-year sleep would come to an end and he would be reunited with the vampires once again.

David Roark was finally getting used to the idea that his three sons were now vampires. He missed them terribly and he spent many hours under the house that he lived in just sitting in the chamber to stare at the coffins that his sons slept in. He cried from time to time as he thought about the fact that Bashire was dead and I was in slumber along with his beloved sons. He also waited in agony for the night that would end our slumber.

It wasn't just agony and despair that I got from my drones. I saw the world begin to change as the years went on. Wars were waged in Iraq and China. I watched as my drones witnessed terrorist attacks on America and the near revolution of the southern states for a second time as Canada became known as the Canadian States of America. More wars were fought as Mexico was invaded by Spain. Human blood was spilled, but not by vampires or Forsaken. This time it was other humans with hate in their hearts that brought destruction.

Mexico was so thankful for America's help during the war that they happily became the Mexican States of America. The entire North American continent was one nation now. I saw condominiums erected through the eyes of drones. Properties were changed in Mexico and the American nation took on two more native tongues: Spanish and French. Now America truly was the most powerful nation in the world.

Computers began to become more and more valuable and necessary as time went on. I watched as each and every house became computerized. Each house now had at least two and sometimes three computers. The house I slept under became completely computerized as House Maxwell had been. Cars changed as well. They were fundamentally the same as before though now they required less oil. Almost all of the new automobiles were electric.

New laws were formed to govern the gigantic nation. Violence was not tolerated in the streets. Gun laws were changed and I was shocked to learn that Texas had been the leader in the campaign to change the gun laws of every one of the States in America. Now it was only legal for a household to own one gun. Strange days had come to the world as I slept, and I feared that I would not understand my new role in the world when I woke up. Would I be able to function in this new world?

Changes in the immortal world occurred as well. All Vampire Slayers were now deployed from the same Mexican city that I slept in. The name of the city had changed as the city grew around us. We were now living in the valley of San Juan, South Texas. It was one of the largest cities in the country now with more citizens than even Los Angeles and New York City. What those citizens didn't know was that they were joined by what was left of the vampire population of the world and most of the Forsaken population.

I was happy to sense that the houses under which we slept began to grow as well. The one I slept under became even larger than the original House Maxwell. I saw through the minds of the drones that similar houses had sprung up all over San Juan until there were five huge houses with coats of arms on their doors, marking them as Vampire Houses. Five was such a small number when compared to the sixteen thousand legitimate Vampire Houses all over the world before the hateful war with humans began.

With a population that more than tripled in the United States, the population of criminals also grew. Six months before the night of our awakening the drones began to stock the holding cells of each of the newly formed Vampire Houses with livestock. Brock became excited as the night came closer and closer. In his mind he began to form ideas about new laws for the Forsaken that he so desperately wanted to discuss with me. What he didn't know was that I could read those thoughts even in my sleep. I knew what he wanted, and similar laws were forming in my own head that would govern the Vampire Society as well.

I was ready for my awakening. On New Year's Eve I would open my eyes and step out of my coffin to take my place as the King of the Vampires once again. It would be so much simpler now. There were no rogues to deal with. The government wasn't ready for an entire population of Maxwell Vampires. Sure there would be new rogues but I was positive I could deal with them as they were born. This time things would be very different.

Pain. It was everywhere in my body. My eyes burned when I opened them. My head throbbed and my chest felt crushed. I needed blood, and I needed it fast. Brock and Derrick stood before my coffin watching excitedly as my eyes opened. My stomach felt hollow and I was shaking with hunger. I needed to feed. I looked around at all I had already seen through their eyes, but never before beheld with my own, as the pain of hunger rushed through me.

"Blood," I croaked in a sandpaper voice. Brock was fast as he moved to the cage that I hadn't seen in my mind. It was in the corner of the room behind me. Inside was a man no older than twenty. He was shaking with fear, and from his mind I received the fact that he knew what I was and what was happening to him.

Brock had to drag him to me. I was too weak to even reach out to this human with my mind. Brock held him as I reached out painfully slowly to touch the side of his face. I could smell the blood in his veins and my stomach lurched with the hunger it caused. I bared my fangs and sank them into his neck as quickly as I could, but I knew that my movements were slow. All of that changed as the sweet nectar coursed from his veins and down my eager throat. I could feel it burning within me, waking my organs. My entire internal system came to life as I fed from him. I ignored the visions that came from his blood. This wasn't the time to savor the kill. I was hungry and his blood would almost quench me.

"More," I said softly as I let the lifeless corpse fall from my grip. "Bring me more."

It seemed like an agonizing eternity before Brock returned with two more young men. I smiled at them, and for some reason that just elevated their terror. From the mind of the first of the two I saw myself. I was a shriveled thing with long wild hair and glowing eyes. My face had changed slightly and even through the gray, wrinkled skin I could see the changes. I was no longer the sixteen year old boy that I'd been. Now I looked like a tired old man. Had I truly aged? I had facial hair now. It was impossible, but I had a flowing black beard and moustache.

"Take him," said Brock. I snapped out of his mind and leaped at the young man.

My fangs sank into his soft neck and I heard him begin to wail in horror. I knew I should have snapped into his mind and calmed him, but I couldn't think. The blood was even sweeter than the last victim's and I wanted it all. I drank until his heart began to beat in that terrible death rhythm. He fell from my grip slowly, and I had the second young man before he even hit the floor. The pain began to subside as I drank from my third victim. I drank slowly. I savoured every drop of his blood and when he hit the floor I embraced the fire inside my heart and all three of the lifeless corpses became ash.

I moved through the chamber and listened to the quickening hearts of my brothers. I knew that the walls had been built around us as we slept and that now the Roark brothers were also in this gigantic basement somewhere on the other side of the dungeon. I wanted to see Franklin and Daniel with my own eyes. I had to know if they had aged as I had. I let their beating hearts guide me to them.

Franklin was in the middle of his third feeding when I came into his room. He was still dressed in the same black robe that I was wearing, and I could see from his long jet black hair that he had aged as well. When he let the victim fall from his grasp and incinerated all three he turned to me. His beard and moustache had grown just as mine had. I could see the confusion in his eyes as he beheld me.

"We're older," he said, astonished. "How?"

"It's been a hundred years, Franklin," I said slowly. "My blood is different. We knew that. So how is it that we can't understand that my blood is more than likely responsible for our present condition?"

"Where's Daniel?" he asked, looking behind me.

"In his chamber," I replied. I could feel him with my mind. He wasn't at all confused. He instantly accepted his appearance for what it was: unchangeable.

"Eric, I saw so many things in my sleep," Franklin said with wide eyes. I was still trying to get used to his appearance. He looked to be at least thirty with the same long black hair and facial hair that I had. His eyes were still the same. They looked young in his older face.

"We all did," I replied. "The world has changed, Franklin. It has changed in ways that we never imagined it would."

"I can't wait to become a part of this world," he said excitedly.

"Don't be too anxious, Brother," I cautioned, thinking that with the changes in the world we didn't know how the world would react to us. Did they have a way to kill us now? Surely they didn't, but the possibility was not one that I wanted to cast off. "I'm calling a meeting of the entire vampire world before anyone goes out into the new world."

"Yes," he replied, bowing his head slightly.

"Spread the word," I said to Brock who nodded as well and then was gone.

"Eric," said Daniel's voice as he came into Franklin's chamber. "Look at me."

I turned to look at my younger brother and wasn't surprised to see that he had aged as well. Unlike myself and Franklin, Daniel looked to be in his mid to late twenties. His hair was as long as ours was as were his moustache and beard. His eyes still looked young like Franklin's. I needed to find out how this had happened. I knew from Brock's mind that there were now no more than fifteen legitimate vampires in the world. So many that had traveled with us into Mexico had perished. How this had happened was a mystery to me. There were only five vampire houses in the city. House Maxwell was the largest of the five with House Kahn and House Kull coming close to its size. House Duku was the smallest of the houses with House Doran being almost as large as it's namesake.

We went upstairs to the main floor of the house and I was happy with what had been built while I slept. The main hall had ivory marble panelled walls with a blood red marble floor. The chandelier was actually lit with forty-eight candles. There were gas torches on the walls on either side of painted portraits of each of the surviving legitimate vampires. Mahogany tables lined the walls. The table under my portrait was graced with two glass cases that held the Book of Vampire Law and the Book of Vampire Records. I was happy to see that both books had survived the attack on the first House Maxwell. I would be altering the laws soon. The number of our kind had dwindled to an unacceptable fifteen and one law that had been held by vampires for centuries would have to be altered completely.

The grand staircase was massive and beautiful. Polished marble in the same hue as the floor in the hall was used and I resisted the urge to levitate to the second floor and took the stairs one at a time with Franklin and Daniel close behind me. Brock was at my side as we reached the top of the stairs. I was happy to see David's mousy brown hair and steel grey eyes as I got to the top of the stairs. He smiled widely at me.

"Master Eric," he said, giving me a slight bow. "I'll show you to your room."

"That won't be necessary, David," said Brock. "I'll show him."

"Gentlemen," I said, suppressing my laughter. "No need to argue. David, if you would show my brothers to their rooms I'm sure Brock and I will be just fine. How are your sons?"

"They are being attended by their own drones, Sire," he replied. "I was hoping..."

"You'll have your chance, David," I said, reading his mind for the rest of what he'd wanted to say. He was jealous of Brock, but he had to understand that as my first drone, Brock would always be the one I leaned on when I needed a drone.

"Yes, Sir," he said, turning his attention to my brothers.

"Where are Marco and Blaze?" Daniel asked him, though I was sure he could see the answer in his mind just as I could. Daniel was the only vampire in existence that was almost exactly like me. Little brother, yes, but a powerful vampire in his own right.

"They await the two of you in your rooms," David said softly. "If you'll both follow me... "

"Eric, this way," said Brock, turning in and walking down the hallway to the left of the staircase.

"David is troubled by something, Brock," I said after we'd gone far enough from my drone so that he couldn't hear my words. "I sense it, yet he conceals from me what it is that worries him."

"David is worried that you will be upset over the loss of so many vampires during your sleep," explained Brock.

"And you are not?" I asked as we reached the rooms that were to be mine.

The main room was furnished with a plush sofa and two recliners. A mahogany coffee table sat in front of the sofa. Large brass lamps with blood red shades sat on the two mahogany end tables that separated the recliners from the sofa. A rug with my very own coat of arms woven into the black thread in the same color as the hallway floor rested just in front of the furniture.

The windows were covered with blood red velvet drapes. The woodwork in the room was the same mahogany wood as the tables. There was a mantle and fireplace across from the sofa, and I smiled as I looked at it. Yes, this room was to my liking. I'd seen it through Brock's eyes countless times yet it was truly breathtaking to behold with my own eyes.

On the left there was a huge bathroom that gleamed with it's white marble tiles. A huge claw foot porcelain tub rested on one side of the room. More modern facilities were on the other side. A double sink with a mirror that covered nearly the entire wall. A large shower stall sat in the corner. The toilet was located in a small cubicle, giving complete privacy.

On the right side was the bedroom. I noticed on sight that the drapes covered only more marble. There were no windows in this room. The bed was a four poster mahogany king-sized frame with red velvet covering the mattress. I noticed again that the coat of arms was the pattern for the center of the bedspread.

A huge walk-in closet filled with all of the modern style clothing was where Brock led me. I chose a double-breasted black suit and smiled at the thin black tie that he handed me. The blood red satin shirt would look amazing shrouded by the black jacket. I turned to him and smiled, thinking that my first drone knew everything about what I liked.

In the bathroom again I stripped out of my black robe as Brock quickly stripped out of his clothes. We stepped into the shower and I let my Forsaken drone wash my body and my hair. He lovingly lathered my body with his hands, being careful not to excite me. There was no time for a sexual reunion. There was much to do. I'd called for a meeting after all.

Fresh out of the shower, Brock began to cut my long wet hair. I instructed him to cut it to shoulder length. I used a black band to tie it back tight against my head when he was finished. Next he trimmed my beard to a short length. Then I shaved my own face, leaving a prominent goatee and moustache. I dressed in the black suit and red satin shirt and stepped into the patent leather shoes that Brock placed in front of my feet. I caught my reflection in the mirror and really had to stop and look at myself. It was remarkable how much my appearance had changed while I slept. I was happy with the changes but they were still so shocking.

I remembered the grooming I'd been subjected to the night I became a vampire. It had been done in the belief that I would always look the way I did the night that I was turned. What would Doran have thought if he had known that my bloodline would age with long periods of sleep? It all seemed silly now that I was looking at my face in the mirror.

I walked out of my room and down the hall to the stairs. Brock was no more than a few paces behind me the whole time, but I made it clear that I wanted to move about without instruction or direction. I knew where I was going. What I couldn't seem to make him understand was that there was nothing about the house that I didn't know. Anything and everything my drones knew while I slept I was privy to. For instance, I knew that the first room that I would come to in the great hall once I descended the staircase was my study.

The room was very large with a deep redwood floor that was polished to a shine so great that I could almost see my reflection. A long redwood desk sat in front of two floor to ceiling windows. The curtains on the window were velvet in a burgundy hue. The high backed chair behind the desk had a plush burgundy upholstery. There was a computer on the desk, and I knew from Brock's mind that it was state of the art.

I walked over and sat behind the desk in that high backed comfortable chair. With just one touch to the keyboard the computer came to life. On the screen was all I needed to know about the other Vampire Houses in the city. Brock and Derrick had done a great job with the details they'd seen to as I slept. I scanned the computer's hard drive and found many programs that I would find use for as the plan that was forming in my mind was implemented.

Rules. I had to create new rules. Our species had dwindled so much that we were in need of replenishment. New ranks had to be formed and fledglings had to be turned. We had to get started soon. The small number of my kind was completely unacceptable.

My senses alerted me to the arrival of the rest of the Vampire race. My plans were about to be known and there was much to do.


I sat behind my desk as the vampires entered the room. Each of them bowed to me before sitting in the chairs that Brock and David had arranged for them. As soon as they were seated the Forsaken began to file into the room to stand behind them. It was a curious arrangement, and Brock's mind informed me that it had been his idea that the vampires sit while the Forsaken stood. I'd have to talk with him about what he had in his mind about the positioning of our species.

Each of the vampires had aged just like we had. I also noticed that almost all of them had chosen hairstyles similar to my own. Their facial hair was like mine as well. Kennedy was the only one who had a clean shaven face. His long blond hair was plated in a braid down his back. He hadn't cut any of its length. It seemed he was content to at least try to hold on to a fraction of his appearance before the sleep.

"I called this meeting to discuss the state of our race," I said when everyone was finally in the room. "Our numbers are disgraceful."

"We cannot be held responsible for the number of vampires that were killed in the war," Kennedy said quickly, but I raised a hand to cut him off.

"I'm not blaming anyone for what has happened, Kennedy," I said. "What happened was not the fault of vampires. We all know that. It's time to start talking about the laws that have governed our kind for centuries."

"So you are going to form a new council," Darren breathed softly.

"There will be no council," I said, watching all of them closely. "The time has come for me to take my rightful place as King."

"So the prophecies were true?" Rafiki asked evenly.

"I believe they were proven," I replied. "There is no point in running from the truth, Rafiki."

"So, as King, what are you planning to do about our numbers?" asked Charles Kahn.

"I'm going to rewrite the laws," I said. "One law in particular will be completely rewritten."

"The law of fledglings?" asked Perrin Roark.

"The law says that four fledglings are all that is allowed to any vampire," I said. "If each of you had four fledglings the number of our kind would still be too low. That law will be rewritten before the end of this meeting. So many of the laws will be rewritten tonight."

"How many fledglings will we be allowed under the new rules?" asked Charles.

"That is what we're gathered to discuss," I replied. "You already have four, as do I. I think that it is important that we try to double that number. I also think that it is time for our fledglings to sire their own. There is no time for allowing the future fledglings to mature from a drone. That was arranged to create a specific type of vampire. That's already happened. There is no need to go backward. We must learn from the past and do things differently this time."

"Eight fledglings?" Franklin asked. "Are you sure that's wise?"

"Franklin, what choice is there?" I asked. "Our current population is in jeopardy. There aren't enough of us to mount a successful attack on anyone much less defend our race. We need more."

"How long will this rule be in place?" asked Kennedy.

"As long as it takes," I replied. "I want no less than one thousand of our kind before I will change that rule again."

"What of the Vampire Houses?" asked Jessup.

"There will be no more Vampire Houses than we have now," I announced. This would be the most shocking of my changes to the rules. I knew that some of them would probably have something to say about it, but the rules of legitimate bloodlines were now unnecessary. There would now be no rogue vampires that would hunt me for my blood.

"What about rogues?" Charles asked, looking at me hard.

"There are no rogues," I replied. "As of now the only vampires in the world will be of my bloodline. What would any of you want with more of my blood? You all know what my blood will and will not do."

"It makes sense," said Jessup. "Without rogues there will be no need for a council."

"You said there would be more rules," said Mark Flemming.

"The rules are simple," I said, sitting back in my chair. "There will be no killing of innocent blood. That will remain the way it has been. I don't know how those without a house such as this will go about collecting their food, but I will not have innocent blood spilled by any vampire with my blood in his veins.

"Killing any vampire is punishable by death," I continued. "I won't put up with squabbles of any kind. If you have a problem with any other vampire I suggest you deal with it and move on. There will be no wars within our ranks.

"All fledglings will of course be aged sixteen mortal years before they are turned as always," I said. "The only exceptions to that rule are already among us. I want no child vampires, and I don't have to remind you what disaster it would be to make an elderly vampire."

"And how do we find our prospective fledglings?" Darren asked.

"I've thought about this," I replied. "We can't go around plucking sixteen year old boys out of their homes and leave behind parents who will look for their sons. We'll have to put together some kind of system that will make sure that any fledgling made will never be looked for by any human with sentimental attachment."

We talked about that for a while. I let them each voice their suggestions on how to make sure that the young men we found wouldn't be missed. The suggestions ranged from runaways to orphans. We decided on orphans in the end. I decided that Jessup and I would put together some kind of fiction that would give us orphaned sixteen year old males that would never be looked for again.

Next we talked about the rules of hunting. I was well aware that there were certain members of our race that still yearned to hunt for their prey. My only rule was that the hunting never take place in the city we lived in. I asked that they never hunt the same city for more than a week. The last thing we needed were vast numbers of missing persons in the neighboring cities. Humans weren't stupid. They'd catch on to that too quickly. I also demanded that those of us who wanted to hunt but couldn't use combustion to dispatch the bodies would never hunt without a vampire who could. I didn't want pathology to discover us either.

The meeting broke after we'd decided that Jessup and I would take care of finding new prospective fledglings for the group. Rafiki and Darren wanted to hunt and there wasn't much of the night left for them to do so. I wanted to explore my new surroundings a bit better. I'd seen it all in Brock and David's minds but I still wanted to see it for myself.

"We're alone," Brock said once the front doors to the house closed for the final time and everyone was gone.

"We are," I said. "Even David has gone out to hunt with his sons."

"That still hasn't changed from the day the youngest was turned," said Brock. "David is a strange man."

"He's not strange," I replied. "He's protective. There was a reason that Bashire chose him."

"You miss Bashire," he said. It wasn't a question.

"Of course I miss Bashire," I replied. "Just as you miss Juan."

"I don't miss Juan," he said. "I'm angry with him. That's different."

I looked at my drone for a few moments and thought about what it would be like for me if Bashire had merely left me. I almost wished that he had just left instead of following me into the battle and dying. My heart was in turmoil where Bashire was concerned, but I knew that I had no time for mourning. I hadn't had time for it before the sleep and now that it was over there was even less time.

"I wish I could read your mind like you can read mine," said Brock, bringing me out of my thoughts of Bashire.

"Believe me, it isn't always a blessing to be able to look into the minds of those around you," I replied. "Sometimes you don't like what you see."

"Of course," he said, clearing his throat. "Eric, I'm happy that the slumber is over. I've missed you."

"As I have missed you, Brock," I said allowing him to take me into his arms.

How strange all of this had to be for him. I was a sixteen year old boy when I put myself in that coffin a hundred years ago. Now I looked closer to his age. My appearance had almost completely changed. I hadn't changed so much that I was unrecognizable, but the changes were severe. I resisted the urge to probe his mind for what he thought about those changes.

"I know that your heart still belongs to Bashire, Eric," he said softly as he held me. "But if you can find room to love me too..."

"Brock," I said, silencing him as I held him tighter, "I do love you. You were my first drone and that's special. Believe me the bond that we share is unlike any I share with the others."

"I know that you love me as your drone, Eric," he said. "I want you to love me as a partner."

"Being in love is too painful, Brock," I said, letting go of him. "I loved Bashire with my entire being. Now he's gone and I can't get him back. You have no idea what that's like. I don't think I could survive it again."

What I'd left unspoken was the fact that though Brock was a drone and a Forsaken, he would one day die. Bashire was kept alive for all of those years because of the vampire blood he lived on. Brock would live that long, probably longer. Yet he would still die one day. Vampire blood couldn't stop reality. I knew that if I let myself love him the way that I loved Bashire it would be madness for me the day that fate finally stopped the effects of the vampire blood for Brock.

"So I'm supposed to go on and ignore how I feel about you?" he asked, looking at me with those sad eyes.


"Master Eric!" cried Blake as he came rushing into the house, carrying his eldest brother in his arms. There was blood all over both of them.

"What is this?" I demanded, quickly scanning his mind to find confusion and fear.

"There were so many of them," he said, letting Perrin slide onto the sofa. "We fought them for as long as we could, but they're faster than Forsaken."

"Blake, who did this?" I asked as I looked at the now healing slashes across Perrin's chest.

"The women," he said before he fell over. It was then that I noticed that he was also bleeding.

Things began to happen very fast as Marcus and Rafiki came rushing into the house. They both looked like they'd been through a war. I got bits and pieces of what had happened from their minds, and I at first thought the vampire slayers were responsible. That was a silly thought because there were no slayers now. Piper had been the last and she had died ninety years ago.

"They insisted that we deliver a message," said Franklin as he came into the room and gently lay Guy on the floor at my feet.

He was covered in blood. I watched as his wounds tried to mend themselves but stopped every time. I was confused by this. Our blood should have healed any wound that wasn't fatal. Yet his wounds began to reopen as fast as they healed. I was afraid that he was dying.

"Charles is dead," Franklin said flatly. "We were told that they were sparing the rest of us to tell our Master that we are unwelcome in San Juan."

"Who declared this?" I demanded. All I got from his mind was fear and confusion.

"She said her name was Ilianna," he replied. "She's a vampire, Eric."

"A female?" I gasped. There were no female vampires in existence. Our blood was fatal to females.

"Not like us," said Blake. "They change."

None of this made any sense to me at all. There just weren't female vampires let alone those who changed, whatever that meant. This was madness. If females had adapted to the virus in our blood then why hadn't Brock learned about it in over a hundred years?

"It was like nothing I've ever seen before, Eric," said Franklin. "They grew wings, and their faces changed. They were hideous and vicious. They killed Charles so quickly that I'm convinced they could have killed all of us without much effort. There were just so many of them."

"Females, you say?" I asked again.

"Yes, Eric," said Blake. "We don't know how, but they're vampires."

"I wouldn't go so far to call them vampires," said Franklin. "We don't look like that."

"Look like what?" I demanded.

"Eric, their faces change," said Franklin. "They look like demons when they change. They have red eyes and long fangs. They look nothing like us."

"We don't change," said Blake. "We don't change at all."

"You mean they're metamorphs like Forsaken?" I asked. That caused Brock to stiffen and make me sorry I said it.

"No," said Franklin. "They're different. Eric, they grow wings."

"More like their arms and legs become connected by webbing," said Blake. "They can fly that way, though. That's how they got there."

"Come," I said to Franklin as I opened my arms.

He gave no protest but came straight into my arms. As soon as I sank my fangs into his neck I saw Illianna and what she and her minions had done. She was a beautiful red haired woman with creamy skin and bright green eyes. Her white dress was beautiful if not outdated by two centuries. Then she changed before their eyes. It was as if she pushed her head forward. Her forehead bulged, and I could hear the bones breaking and reforming as it happened. Her green eyes turned blood red, and fangs extended from her mouth. They were curved and long, sticking out of her mouth over her lips.

Her white gauzy dress became ivory skin as it reshaped itself to form the wings that Blake had talked about. From her wrists to her ankles there was webbed skin, and she jumped into the air and soared into the sky. I could hear her laughter as she flew. It was enough to make me withdraw my fangs from my brother's throat in shock.


* * *


It took all morning and a lot of blood to heal Guy. Then we had to try and calm Dalyn and Mark. Both of them wanted to hunt the females in the daylight and kill them while they slumbered. That couldn't be allowed until we knew more about them. For all we knew they were as impervious to the sun as we were. That would make things a bit more difficult.

With Guy lying in a vat of both human and vampire blood there was nothing more that any of us could do for him. I really needed to find out how they could injure a vampire of my bloodline this way so that I could prevent it from happening again. Our number was already so small. I couldn't have the females killing off members of my bloodline now.

"The only explanation I can give is that they must be masters in hiding," said Brock when I asked why he hadn't noticed this species of vampires while we slept. "I've never so much as heard a whisper of their kind, Eric."

"How could they have remained hidden all this time?" I asked. "If they're that good at hiding, what's to say they haven't existed just as long as we have or longer?"

"I can't answer that," said Brock with a sigh. He was tired, and so was I. The sun was riding high in the sky and it was long past my time to slumber. "All I can say is that we will find out."

"Oh we'll find out," I vowed. "I won't rest until every last drop of their cursed blood is scourged by fire."

There was nothing left but to find them and eradicate their numbers. No immortal would be allowed to live if all they existed for was to destroy us. I hadn't plunged my vampires into a hundred years of sleep to escape one war only to wake up in the middle of another. Yet if it was war this Ilianna wanted, I'd give it to her. I would make her weep for the moonlit night that her blood was changed. I thought of nothing else as my eyes closed and I entered my slumber.

The strange thing was that we heard nothing more from the females as the weeks went on. January became February, and we were cautiously ready to start the search for fledglings. Jessup had continued to work on the ideas that he'd come up with during the meeting after our sleep. He'd found four different orphanages that he thought could suit our purpose. Drawing on the money in our vast accounts he said that we could start a foundation, set up false credentials that would make each of the vampires legal citizens of this new world.

"Our appearance has changed so much that no one would recognize us if they were still alive to see us," he said when he arrived for our private meeting.

"So you're suggesting that we set each of the vampires up as rich philanthropists and have them legally adopt charges from these orphanages?" I asked.

"In my research I've seen that seven men in the greater San Juan area are already adopting two to three of these young people," he said. "Most of those children are under the age that we're looking for. They're also almost exclusively female. I think the child authorities would be pleased if the trend was changed and males were looked upon as favorable again."

"We couldn't adopt from within San Juan," I said after thinking about it for a few minutes. "That would leave too many dangers of those same authorities coming to check on the young men. What would we do then? By the time they came all of these young men would likely be vampires."

"Of course we can't adopt from within the city," he said quickly. "The orphanages that I've found are not in San Juan. They're actually in the Canadian States, and three of these are on the verge of closing down. It seems that the conditions in these are not what they should be."

"What of our enemies in the city?" I asked. "How are we to travel without being ambushed?"

"I thought that would be obvious, Eric," he said. "They sleep during the day. We've proven that by sending three at a time out into the city during the day. No one has found us."

"Very well," I sighed. "Set this up, Jessup."

And so he did. While the sun was high in the sky Jessup and a few others went into the city to set up new accounts at the banks. Money was diverted from our vast accounts to these new accounts. Credentials were bought from very skilled men. The accounts were sound and solid, and soon Jessup was ready to begin the real plan. He purchased a jet for the fictitious company, Maxwell Enterprises. This he said would be used to fly back and forth to the Canadian States when the time came. He knew that I was impatient at the dismal number of our species.

I was shocked to learn as February became March and then April that the company was not fictitious. Jessup had seen to it that very qualified men and women were found to run the company which he said would become the leader in medical equipment and supplies. Already part of the money that had been diverted was paying for high tech medical scanning devices to be manufactured in another building bought for the company. I toured the building shortly after everything was up and running. It pleased me to see it happening, though I'd never thought about this before. Vampires behind a legitimate business had not occurred to me even once.

We didn't stop there. Maxwell Enterprises also developed computer software for many different types of business. By the end of Spring, our company was a leader in several fields of business. Money began to flow into the company as success washed over each department. I was both pleased and shocked at this. It seemed that Jessup had a real talent for making money.

Brand new suits were tailored and paid for in June. Franklin, Dalyn, Jessup and I were going to Montreal to meet with these four orphanages to begin the adoption procedures. Forms had been sent to each of us, and I'd been shocked at the new laws regarding child welfare. In some areas it was more strict, but in most it was lax. It also seemed that money talked. When the authorities involved with these orphanages learned who we were, the way was virtually paved for us.

My first glimpse of the Pavel Center For Youth shocked me. It was a six storey brick building that looked drab and unadorned in the Canadian sun. There were shrubs in front of the building, but they'd been trimmed into such geometrical shapes that even they looked severe. The inside of the building reminded me of a hospital. The sterile environment was punctuated by the same medicinal smell of a hospital. It assaulted my vampire senses as soon as the front door opened.

I was ushered to the establishment's main office by a short, bald man who reminded me of one of the teachers at the school I'd attended over a century ago. His nose was long and crooked, and he used it when he spoke. That nasal voice seemed familiar for some reason, but then being a vampire makes everything remind you of something else. His name was Mr. Sweeney. I saw that on his name badge. He gave me a stack of paperwork to fill out and told me that Mrs. Standich would be with me shortly.

The office itself looked like so many others I'd seen in the past. There were badly scratched metal file cabinets all across the back wall. The desk that sat in front of them was dented and scratched as well. It was metal also, but instead of the creamed corn color of the cabinets the desk had a grassy green hue. There were photographs on the walls of various children at different ages. A closer inspection of the photos told me that these were pictures of three children at different stages of their lives. One picture on the desk revealed that these children were not up for adoption. They belonged to Mrs. Standich and her husband.

The two of them looked perfect for each other in the photograph. She had a harried look on her time worn face. Her dark hair was pulled severely back, showcasing her crows feet and dull brown eyes. He was thinning on the top. His salt and pepper colored hair was parted severely to one side. It was the kind of part that suggested something more than thinning was happening and he was attempting to cover it. His gray eyes looked hard and a bit cruel. They were both dressed in black business suits. At least the children looked happy, two boys and a younger girl.

The boys looked to be the exact same age though not identical. They both shared the dark hair and brown eyes of their mother's, though their eyes looked a lot brighter. Their smiles weren't painted on their faces as they were with their parents. They looked genuinely happy. The were both well dressed as well. The little girl's hair was in braids on either side of her head. Her dark hair was shiny, and her gray eyes looked alight with mischief. This was the kind of child that was probably called a "handful". I had no more time to investigate the contents of the office as Mrs. Standich entered.

"I apologize for your wait, Mr. Maxwell," she said as she came through the door. "I'm afraid that we're a little short staffed at the moment."

"There was no problem," I replied, scanning the paperwork in my lap. I'd filled it out quickly so that there would be one less hurdle to surpass.

"I've read through the report on your business and private life," she said, indicating a thick file folder on her desk with her eyes. "I must say that I'm impressed. Let me offer you my condolences on the loss of your wife and son."

The loss of my wife and son were, of course, a fabrication. We had set it up so that any investigation into my private life would find tragedy, but nothing criminal or unsavory. Supposedly my wife and son had died three years ago, and that was the reason for moving to San Juan from Hope Springs, Montana. I nodded my head at this plastic offering of condolence.

"Thank you," I said, trying to make my voice sound humble. "I miss them, of course, but I'm eager to share my life with a child again."

"On your questionnaire, you checked that you were only interested in sixteen to seventeen-year-olds," she said, glancing at the opened file in front of her. "Might I ask why?"

"I believe the reason for that is also on the form," I replied. "I want to help better their lives. I decided on that age because my son would have been sixteen years old this year."

"Of course," she said with a smile that conveyed no emotion at all. "I must say that I was a little shocked at how fast your application was approved. It is quite unusual when someone applies and is accepted and given free choice."

"I'm sure," I said, smiling slightly. "I'm not really sure how that happened for me, but I must admit that I'm happy about it."

She asked many more questions, but finally presented me with another file folder. This one had twenty sheets of paper inside. Little photographs of young men were paper-clipped to each page. I felt as if this was like searching through a catalogue, but I said nothing. My papers stated that I would be choosing four young men that day. I was also assured that the young men would leave with me for San Juan that very evening.

I looked the young men over carefully, reading about their various interests and paying special attention to the amount of trouble each had both caused and been caused. The third young man instantly became my first choice. Gabriel was sixteen years old with light brown hair and dark eyes. His features were almost like chiseled stone. The hard look in his eyes was the deciding factor. Reading further into his background I saw that he had been the victim of violent abuse as a young child before being removed from the family home. There was no contact allowed with his family. He was perfect.

I quickly found my second choice was quickly found in Andrew. He was also sixteen with shoulder-length sandy-colored hair and bright blue eyes. He looked completely at ease in his picture, and in his background I found that he'd been working as a male prostitute when he was arrested and placed in the care of this facility. No family had come forward to welcome him back into the fold, so he was now eligible for adoption.

My third choice was a seventeen year old boy named Holden. He was quite muscular and very good looking. His dark hair was cut short, and his green eyes stood out. His background told me that he was very good with computers and was very well mannered but stayed to himself most of the time. I thought it would be fun to pull him out of his shell as the time went on.

Finally I found my fourth choice. Brendan was just sixteen by a week when the photo was taken. He was a thin boy with dark blond hair and cobalt eyes. His file informed me that he was a shy boy with very few friends in the orphanage. He wasn't interested in computers, but he loved puzzles. There was something about the shadows in his eyes that made me choose him. I wondered if the vampire kiss could take those shadows away.

I handed the four sheets of paper to Mrs. Standich and silently degraded the system for reducing children to sheets of paper. She looked at each for a long moment before putting them on the desk and picking up her telephone extension. She spoke to someone for a few moments, but I tuned out the sound of her voice. There was nothing for me to worry about. Jessup had done his job well. By the time I left there would be four brand new prospective fledglings at my side.

Fifteen minutes later I met my four future fledglings for the first time. Gabriel was the tallest of the four, and the look on his face was pure scrutiny as he looked at me. Brendan looked at everything but me. He didn't exactly look at the other boys either. He just stood there looking nervous and withdrawn. Andrew smiled at me, and his mind told me that he was happy to be leaving the orphanage. He was wondering just what his life would be like when we left. Holden looked me in the eye, and I could almost hear the defiance in his voice. He wanted nothing more than to live on his own and be left to his own devices. I smiled at him, causing him to smirk.

Mrs. Standich spoke to each of them in private before we were allowed to leave. I considered killing her there on the spot when she turned those cold eyes on me and wished us luck and happiness. Fortunately for her I never left witnesses. We left her alive and unharmed.

We wasted no time getting back to the jet. We waited for only an hour before Jessup and the others returned and I met twelve more young men. I was a little shocked by Jessup's choices. The oldest of his new "charges" was eighteen with dread locked dark hair and ebony skin. He had tattoos up and down his arms and looked at everyone as if they were beneath him. His name was Javiar. The youngest was barely sixteen with just a little extra weight. His dark hair was extremely straight and his dark eyes looked angry. His name was Michael.

All of the boys wondered just what was going on. We each had papers for each of them that made them our sons. It was strange for me to think of any of them as sons, but that didn't really matter. Within the next few days each of them would be in their death sleep. Soon they would be vampires.


The human teens sat in the front of the seating section of the jet while the vampires sat in the back. It was easier to watch them that way. Sure they thought it was strange, because each of them had secretly rejoiced when they had learned that they were being adopted. After seeing that there were more than the four of them, each group began to wonder what was going on. We offered them no explanations. They would all learn the truth quickly enough. Once they were on the estate they would realize that something was wrong. For one thing there wasn't a single woman to be found in any of the Vampire Houses. That would raise their suspicions. I knew that mind control would have to be used, but I didn't like it.

The flight back to San Juan was uneventful for the most part. The young men had many questions, but of course we couldn't answer them truthfully. I didn't want to have to compel them until much later. I wanted to get to know their personalities before they became vampires. If there was a problem with one of them I wanted to know it before he was turned. If there was a problem, the source would have to be killed instead of turned. I wasn't happy about that either.

"So what do you think about this?" I heard Holden ask Gabriel. "What's with all the other kids?"

"I don't know," replied Gabriel. "I thought we'd won the jackpot when I saw Mr. Maxwell."

"But why the other kids?" asked Holden. "Didn't he get enough with the four of us?"

"Maybe the others are with those other guys," said Gabriel. "But what I don't get is why there aren't any women with the guys. I mean, aren't they married? I thought you had to be married to adopt."

"The adoption laws were changed years ago, man," said Holden. "They'll let anyone adopt as long as they can prove that they can provide a stable and fitting environment for the child or children."

"Where do you get all of your information?" Gabriel laughed. "I mean, you have an answer for just about everything, and most of the time it seems like you know what you're talking about."

"Computers, man," said Holden. "The Net will tell you anything you want to know as long as you know how to work it."

"Too bad we didn't have enough time for you to research Eric Maxwell," said Gabriel. "I'm not sure that I trust him."

"Of course you don't trust him," said Holden. "You don't trust anyone. I still can't believe that you and I got to be so close. You were scared shitless when you got to the home, and nothing anyone said would make you feel better."

"Maybe I was sweet on you from the very beginning," laughed Gabriel.

"Now stop that gay shit with me," protested Holden. "You know I'm not wired that way. I don't care about you, but I still think you're probably letting what you father did to you warp your mind. You just need a sex crazed girl to change your prospective."

"Whatever," laughed Gabriel. "Believe me, I know what I am."

I listened to them for a few more minutes, waiting for more revelations from the pair. Nothing more was said about Gabriel's sexuality, but it didn't matter. Holden would change his mind as soon as my blood was running through his veins. Even if he didn't there would be no female in his future. I wasn't going to allow the breeding of Super Drones. Derrick would be the last of his kind if I had anything to say about it.

"They're taking this better than I expected," Jessup said as he leaned closer to me.

"Holden is the only one I'm thinking there may be a problem with so far," I said. "He's hung up on his sexuality."

"We'll take care of that for him," said Jessup. "What of your other two 'sons'?"

"Andrew and Brendan haven't said a single word since we left the orphanage," I replied. "I don't expect Brendan to say anything. His file says that he is shy to a fault. Andrew's mind tells me that he believes they are about to become sex slaves."

"Wait until they find out what's really going on," said Jessup. "Do you think they'll be terribly frightened?"

"Of course they will," I replied. "We'll take care of that, though."

There was no more talking as the jet began its descent into San Juan. All of the young men experienced a bit of apprehension as we began to land. The reality of the situation began to sink in and each of them began to wonder what was happening when we landed. Their imaginations came up with everything from a prostitution ring to out and out slavery. I would have chuckled at their thoughts if it weren't for the fact that our bloodline was so desperately close to extinction.

"Gentlemen," I said once the jet had come to a stop. "There will be four cars waiting for us just off the tarmac. Stick with your new brothers and follow your fathers to your family's car. We'll be heading into the city to our homes."

I used just a touch of mind control to ease their collective fears. The only one of them that took more than a gentle tug was Brendan. He looked at me with open suspicion in his cobalt eyes. I decided to let him stew in his suspicions a bit longer. I didn't want to compel him completely so soon. I wanted them each to believe that they were going to be a normal family for at least a little while. Once the sun went down completely, there would be time for stanching fears.

"Follow me, men," I said as they lined up on the tarmac in front of me.

I led them to a stretched limousine and tried not to chuckle out loud when I got the images in their heads. Brock got out of the driver's seat and opened the back door for the boys and myself. I smiled at him as best I could with the pain in my head from the sun assaulting my eyes. My sunglasses weren't doing their job as well as they used to. That was something I'd have to discuss with Derrick later.

"Welcome home, Mr. Maxwell," Brock said with a smirk that the boys, thankfully, couldn't see. I could hear him laughing in his head about these little charades we were playing to keep the boys placid.

"Thank you, Mr. Roberts," I said with a little smirk of my own as I got into the back seat and sat opposite my "sons".

"You have a driver and everything!" exclaimed Andrew as he looked around the inside of the car, his blue eyes bulging as he saw each of the features that I was seeing for the first time as well.

"Yes," I replied. "We'll be heading for clothing stores before we retire to House Maxwell."

"So are you loaded or what?" Holden, eyeing me openly.

"I have money, yes," I said, amused by his blunt attitude. "I will spend money on each of you today, and I must ask that you try not to embarrass me while I'm doing it."

"Sorry," he muttered, looking down at his hands in his lap.

"I must explain before we get to the stores that you will be buying clothing at least a size or two larger than what you currently wear," I said slowly. "I cannot explain why at this time, but I assure you all of your questions will be answered soon."

"What kind of clothes are we buying?" asked Gabriel. "I mean, if it's all going to be too big for us it would make sense that we not buy certain things that should fit properly."

"Not to worry, Gabriel," I replied. "We'll be buying things that won't easily fall off."

Nothing more was said until we arrived at the first of the clothing stores. It had been set up ahead of time that each of us would arrive at the five stores we'd chosen at different times. That way we could keep the boys from interacting too much until after they were turned.

We pulled up to the first store and Brock opened the door of the car for us once again. That smirk was still on his face, but his mind told me that he was enjoying himself. I decided to ignore the smirk as I made my way inside the store to buy clothing for my "sons."

Twelve designer suits later, we left the store. The salesman didn't understand why we wanted everything at least a size bigger than his measurements, but the fact that I was spending an obscene amount of money stopped his questions from being voiced. I was thankful.

We went to all five stores to get clothing for the boys. When we finally got back into the car to head back to House Maxwell, the sun was just beginning to set, and my "sons" had full wardrobes that would fit them after their turning. We were ready.

Each of them gasped as they got their first glimpse at House Maxwell. They were in awe of the three story palace-style house. I was very pleased with their reactions. I didn't invade their minds as we got out of the car and made our way inside the house. They followed me to the lounge before I instructed a drone to show them to their rooms. Luckily my brothers and other fledglings weren't around to confuse them just yet.

I let Nathan, Marcus Roark's drone, show the boys to their rooms to put their things away. I used that time to discuss my plans with Brock. I was sure he'd have something to say about my plan to turn these four boys. He'd held his tongue the whole time we were setting the initial plan in motion, and I'd refrained from reading his mind out of both respect for him and not wanting to know at that time.

"They're attractive young men," he said once they were all out of hearing.

"They are," I agreed. "You can say it now, Brock."

"Say what?" he asked with a genuine look of confusion on his face.

"What you really think about my plan," I said, sitting on the sofa to watch his reaction.

"I think it's a great plan, Eric," he said, sitting beside me. "I don't know what you thought I would think, but I know that you have to rebuild the bloodline. One fledgling at a time won't do that. What I don't understand is why only the four of you are turning new fledglings."

"We decided to do it this way so that we could see how well things go," I explained. "If all goes well then we'll send out another four to collect four new fledglings a piece."

"That sounds wise," he said after a moment of silence. "We don't want to raise suspicion."

"Exactly," I said. "And you won't have to play driver for each of them."

"Promise?" he asked with a genuine smile on his face.

"I'm wondering how Franklin is faring in his new house," I said.

Franklin's house had finally been finished. He had drones. Now he would have fledglings. It wasn't going to be a huge Vampire House like House Maxwell, but it would house all of them and had room for a small pen as well. I thought it was time for him to live on his own. He seemed happy enough to learn that he was getting a house.

"I'm sure he's doing fine with Devin there to help him," replied Brock.

"Yes," I replied, knowing that Devin was very capable of advising Franklin.

Devin Moore was Franklin's second Drone. He'd lost his first in the battle with the humans. He currently had three with the latest being added only weeks before we left to collect the new fledglings. With Devin being elevated to First Drone, he was more than happy to fill his role and help Franklin with day to day decisions.

"So how are we going to go about this?" Brock asked. "Will you turn one a night?"

"I'll choose one tonight," I said. "The others will have to come to know about us first."

"What purpose will that serve?" he asked. "They'll be frightened of all of us if you let them discover the truth before they're turned."

"I'm quite sure they will be," I replied. "But for some reason I'm sure that it has to be this way."

"Why?" he asked, and for a brief moment I could almost imagine that he was Bashire. My dead heart actually beat twice as I thought of Bashire and how I missed his arguing with me.

"I'm not sure," I admitted. "It's just a feeling I have."

"You're missing Bashire again," he said softly, looking away from me.

I was so tempted to read his mind and find out why he always seemed upset whenever I started to feel down about Bashire. I had made it a point to stay out of his head lately, because I felt that if I was going to listen to his council I should hear it from his mouth instead of his mind. However I really wanted to know what was going on in this instance. I'd have thought he would be just as upset about Bashire's death as I was.

"I always miss Bashire," I said. "From the moment my eyes open until they close again each day. I miss him terribly."

"Eric, are you ever going to see me as more than your drone?" he asked, turning to face me again with his fierce black rimmed blue eyes.


"Just listen for a moment," he said. "I love you, Eric. I love you with all of my heart. Just the way that you love Bashire. I know that you love me, too, but will you ever love me the way that I have loved you since the night you bonded me?"

I thought carefully about what I wanted to say. I didn't understand it. What about Juan? Sure, I knew that Juan had walked out and disappeared, but didn't he love the man? I didn't know what to think about being the object of his desire. The pain in my heart was still too hot over the loss of my beloved Bashire. How could I even think of loving another?

"Brock, listen to me," I said carefully. "I do love you. I love you as more than just a drone. I love you for the man you are and all of the ways that you show me that you care about me. My heart still belongs to Bashire. You have to know that. I can't just turn it off."

"Eric it's been more than a hundred years," he said with pleading eyes. It was something I never expected to see from my Forsaken drone. I almost told him I'd do anything to make him stop looking like that.

"But to me it was only yesterday," I replied instead. "Brock, you have to understand. I can't."

"I understand that you miss Bashire, Eric," he said. "I also understand that you were asleep for a hundred years, but I was awake through all of that, waiting for you to wake up and hoping that you would love me the way that I love you."

Before I could say anything Nathan returned with the boys. I wondered if they'd heard anything that we'd said but then decided that it didn't matter if they had. They would know the truth about everything soon enough. I just had to decide how much longer I could keep from trying to break down Brendan's walls and make him trust me enough to turn him.

"This is a great house, Mr. Maxwell," said Andrew. "We've only seen a little of it, but what we have seen is great."

"I'm glad you like it, Andrew," I said, smiling while being careful not to show my fangs.

"Mr. Maxwell," said Nathan, and I could hear in his voice that calling me that felt just as odd to him as it did for me to hear him call me that. "Dinner is served in the dining room. Shall I escort the young men?"

"No, thank you," I said, standing. "I will show them the way."

Brock followed us out of the lounge and down the main hall to the dining room. I heard the boys take sharp breaths as they looked around the room. The room was long with a marble tiled floor the color of wheat. The walls were papered with a sand-colored paper while the heavy full drapes were white. The table that sat in the center of the room, and was long enough to seat at least a hundred people, was the same color as the walls with twenty-five high-backed chairs. Dinner had been placed in the center of the table at the end closest to the kitchen and six plates had been placed around the table. I sat at the head of the table with Brock taking the seat to my left with two boys beside him. The other two boys sat to my right.

Ordinarily the rest of the human and Forsaken household would be at the table instead of the vampires, but this was a strange situation. Normally there would be no pretence about what the young men were there for. This time careful deception was necessary. I just hoped it wouldn't be necessary for long. They'd get their first shock later that night when I chose one of them to turn. I just had to decide which of them it would be.

I could already tell that Holden was like their leader in a way. They all watched him when he spoke more than they watched any other. That was how I chose the first to be turned. If Holden was their leader then it made sense to turn him first. I wanted to use as little of my control over their minds as possible.

As dinner was served they didn't miss the fact that I ate only small portions of each dish. I suppressed a laugh as I watched them worry over how much food they were each eating. There was very little talk while we ate. I, of course, was finished with my "meal" before they were. I was hoping that they would at least attempt to get to know each other. I wasn't blind to the fact that they were nervous in my presence. They'd have been foolish if they hadn't been.

Then I began to hear their thoughts about my eyes. I had taken off my hated sunglasses when we'd entered the house, yet it hadn't been until we'd all sat down at the dining room table that they'd taken the time to look me in the eye at all. What they saw had them all thinking different things. I was well aware of what my eyes looked like. The dark rings around my irises were very noticeable, but no one had ever actually said anything about them. These boys' thoughts ranged from a sickness to vampirism. It was Holden who thought of that, though he didn't believe that I was actually a vampire. He thought I was wearing contacts. He also thought that I was probably one of those "freaks" who thought he was a vampire.

"Have you come across many of these freaks, Holden?" I asked him, startling him. It took only a second for him to figure out that I'd somehow read his mind. He looked back at me with wide eyes.

"Uh..." he stammered, clearing his throat. "I didn't mean... How did you?"

"Because I'm not one of the freaks, Holden," I said, smiling just enough to let my fangs show.

I heard one gasp come from Gabriel, but Andrew and Brendan were simply staring at me. Gabriel hadn't even thought about vampires. He knew that they had once existed, or at least that it was said that they'd once existed. Now he was starting to wonder if what he'd been told was true.

"So you really are a vampire?" Holden asked, tugging my attention away from Gabriel.

"What do you think?" I asked, taking a sip of my blood wine as I stared at him over the brim of the cup.

"I don't know what to think," he mumbled, returning his gaze to his plate.

"Why did you adopt the four of us?" Gabriel asked, being bold and showing off for Holden.

"Why do you think I adopted the four of you?" I asked back. "I can assure you that I have no use for sex slaves, and I have a full staff to take care of the house. Tell me, what do you think?"

"If you're really a vampire then you adopted us to either kill us or turn us," said Holden without looking up at me.

"Well which is it that you think is the reason?" I baited him.

"I'm not sure, but neither idea makes me comfortable," he said, still not looking at me.

I stared at his bowed head for a few moments before turning my attention back to Gabriel. The look of pure confusion on his face made me smile wider. My fangs were in full view now. I glanced at both Andrew and Brendan for a tiny second to make sure that they were, in fact, staring at my fangs.

"You are uncomfortable with the idea of being my fledgling?" I asked. "What of the rest of you?"

The time for kid gloves was over. If they were going to know about us this was the perfect time. Holden didn't seem scared of me at all. His mind told me that he didn't think being scared of me would do him any good. He was right of course, but I didn't want him to feel as if he were doomed.

"Wait," said Brendan. "You're a vampire?"

"Well, Holden seems to think so," I replied playfully, smiling wider still.

"I didn't say I thought you were anything," said Holden.

"But you know that I'm a vampire," I said as I rested my chin on my palm with my elbow on the table.

"Look," he sighed, and I finally sensed fear. "If you're going to kill us why not just do it? Why buy us clothes that are too big and feed us first?"

"Because I don't want to kill any of you," I replied. "You have to know that. Why would I kill any of you?"

"I thought vampires had been destroyed," said Brendan. "I was told that the last living vampire died over a hundred years ago."

"We didn't die," I said, looking at him coldly for a moment. "We went to sleep. We slept through a hundred years of facts and lies about our kind. When I opened my eyes I was satisfied that the only people left who truly believed that vampires existed were members of the American government."

"So you really are a vampire?" Andrew asked, speaking his first words in my presence.

"Yes, Andrew," I replied honestly. "I am a vampire."

"And you're going to kill us?"

"Again," I sighed, "why would I want to kill the four of you?"

"But what if we refuse to be turned?" Gabriel asked. His eyes were so wide, and I could hear his heart beating fast.

"Gabriel," I said slowly, "don't even pretend to believe that there's a choice in the matter. A hundred years ago the four of you would have been fathered by one of my drones. The war with the government forced us to change our ways, however. Now we have come up with another way to sire fledglings."

"What do we have to do to be turned?" Brendan asked, looking down at the table.

"I won't answer that question until your time comes, Brendan," I said, smiling slightly.

"So who are you going to turn first?" Holden asked, looking at me as evenly as his slamming heart would allow.

"I haven't decided yet," I lied. I knew who my first would be and I was looking at him at that moment. Holden would be first.

"How are you going to decide?" Gabriel asked.

"Let's just say I'm close," I replied cryptically. "Now let's go back into the other room and continue our chat."

They followed me, and I could hear their thoughts as some of them thought about running for it. I was about to say something to them when Brock and Nathan arrived to escort us to the lounge. They took seats as my drones stayed by the doors. I wondered if any of the boys were foolish enough to try and get past the drones.

"It's nearly time," I said as the sun began to fully set. In a few more minutes the rest of the vampires in House Maxwell would awaken. The fear in the boys would be elevated when they saw Danial and the Roarks.

"How many vampires are there?" Gabrial asked from across the room.

"Not as many as there once were," I replied. "We'll change that though."

"Starting with us?" Brendan asked.

"That's right," I said, smiling wide and showing my fangs again.

"Good evening, Eric," said Daniel as he came into the room. "I see the children have arrived."

"They have," I said, smiling up at my younger brother. "Soon you will have a house of your own and will be taking on fledglings of your own."

"So they know?" he asked, sitting beside me on the sofa.

"They know," I replied. "We were discussing it when you came in. They're wanting to know who's first."

"I see," he said, smiling at the boys. "Warmed to the idea already?"

"Oh they're scared to death," I said quickly. "Holden believes that he'll get out of this somehow, though."

"I can hear that as well," he said, turning to Holden. "You are either a very brave young man or you're crazy. Either way it works out for us."

"It certainly does," I replied. "Holden will make a fine vampire."

"And what if we don't want to be vampires?" Holden asked. His mind was reeling. He couldn't believe that we'd been reading his mind. He wanted to escape. That much was glaringly true. What he couldn't figure out was how to do it in time.

"There's no time for arguments, Holden," I said, reaching out to his mind and exerting just a light form of control to stop him from wanting to escape. "Soon you and I will go upstairs and your conversion will begin. Tomorrow night I will select another. This will go on until each of you are in your death sleep."

"Death sleep?" Andrew asked.

"It's only your body that dies," I assured him. "Once that happens you will live forever."

"Forever?" asked Holden. "What makes you so sure that we'll want to live forever?"

"Well of course a vampire can end his own life," I said slowly. "You should all know that taking the life of another vampire is punishable by death. Believe me the death won't be pleasant. I have many gifts."

"Gifts?" Gabriel asked.

"He can make fire with his mind," said Brendan. "He can also fly. You all know he can read our minds. If I remember it correctly, he can also see the future."

"You know a lot about me," I said, looking at him hard. His mind told me that he'd learned it all in history books.

"The information is there for anyone to look at if they truly want to know about it," he said. "It doesn't say your name, but you have to be the one the texts talk about."

"Why do you say that?" I asked.

"Well because if any of the vampires were going to survive this long it would have to have been the one that they called the King," he said.

"Yet others did survive," I said flatly, indicating my brother with my left hand. "Daniel and many others are alive and well."

"What I don't understand is if you are so all powerful why did you lose the battle?" Brendan asked, making me want to kill him instead of turn him.

"We didn't lose anything," I snapped, embracing the fire inside of me without even thinking. I heard them all gasp. "We retreated to allow the humans to think they'd won. Do you honestly think that they could have survived if we had unleashed our full power over them?"


Their shocked faces were enough to quell my anger. I decided that a demonstration of my power was needed before I took Holden upstairs to say goodbye to the life he'd lived for seventeen years. There was no other way. They knew too much about us but not enough. Brendan had come very close to being incinerated where he sat. It was time they learned that there was no way out and that angering me could cost them more than just their lives.

"Nathan," I said. "I'll need one from the livestock."

"Yes, Master Eric," he said, shocked. I looked at him evenly as his head told me that he was surprised that I was going to feed in front of the mortals.

"You will not make that mistake again, Brendan," I said slowly, being careful to control the tone of my voice. "What you felt was something that could have completely destroyed you. There would have been nothing left. To show you what almost happened to you, I've decided to go against what I'd told my drones before you arrived."

"You're going to kill me?" Brendan asked, his voice quaking with fear.

"No, silly boy," I said gruffly. "If I wanted you dead you would have been nothing but ash a few minutes ago."

Nathan returned at that moment with a forty-two year old murderer named Lance Alcott. Lance was at least six feet tall if not more with very dark hair and eyes. He glared at me as he was led into the room, and his mind told me that he wanted to slit my throat. I smiled at him to let him see my fangs, but even that didn't scare him.

"Fucking freak," he hissed.

"I won't stand for that kind of talk in my house, Lance," I said, snapping off my feet and putting my hand around his throat in a matter of seconds. The children gasped again, but I was in no mood to read their thoughts. "If you disrespect me again you will know agony like no other man on Earth. Am I clear?"

"What do you want with me?" he asked, looking away from my suddenly red rimmed eyes.

"I want you to die, Lance," I said. "Just not as quickly as you will if you piss me off again."

With that said I lashed out at him with my mind and splayed his wide open. He sagged on his feet as my arm went around his waist to hold him up. His head tilted as I brought my mouth to the throbbing jugular in his throat. I sank my fangs into his throat and let his own heartbeat pulse his blood out of the gash. His blood was sweet, like nectar. It was the blood of a truly evil person. I drew the blood slowly keeping the euphoria from him but not letting him utter a sound. My control over him was complete.

I saw each and every one of his heinous crimes as I drank from him. He'd killed at least fifteen teenage girls around the San Juan area. The police were still looking for him. Nathan had done his job well. He'd gotten a wanted murderer off the streets and brought him to his execution. The boys watched as I drained him dry. As soon as his heartbeat fell into that terrible rhythm I let go of him. He was nothing but ashes at my feet seconds later. The power was stronger than ever now.

"Did you all get a good look?" I asked, not even recognizing my own voice. It was deeper and harder than usual. One look into their eyes showed me what I looked like. They could see the orange nimbus that surrounded my body. My eyes were blood red and my fangs were longer than usual. Blood dripped from my lips as I looked at them. "Now stop your damned plotting and scheming to get away. You will not get away from this. Each of you will be vampires by week's end. If you are not then you will be dead."

"Eric, the Roarks are ready," Daniel said, eyeing me cautiously.

"Thank you, Daniel," I said, forcing the power away from me and letting go. "Holden if you would come with me..."

I trailed off as I turned to walk from the room. I stayed at the door until Holden was only a foot behind me. I could hear his heart slamming around in his chest. His head told me that he was near panic. He was so scared that I was worried he may suffer a cardiac episode. I couldn't have that. I lightly touched his mind with my own to settle him down a bit. It seemed to work. His heartbeat went back to normal and his near panic riddle thoughts turned to wonder and then to acceptance.

The Roarks were keeping the other boys occupied while I took Holden upstairs. We went straight to his room and I stood next to his bed. Holden stood in the doorway. He had an uncertain look on his face and his mind told me that his fear was returning. His mind hadn't touched on what was about to happen exactly, but it would soon. I started to take my clothes off and as my shirt came off he understood. Images of what he thought I was going to do to him ran through his head.

"You don't have to be afraid, Holden," I said softly. "I won't hurt you. Believe me I've done this before."

"Do I have to be naked?" he asked as I stood before him gloriously naked.

"I'm afraid so," I said. "I know that you're not used to being with men, but that will change once you're turned, Holden. Females can't survive the virus in our blood. Sex with a female will always result in pregnancy and the woman will die in childbirth. It is forbidden. The only sexual release you will have from now on will be with a fellow male vampire or a victim."

"But I'm not gay," he said softly, looking down at his feet. "Sexuality has nothing to do with it. This is just the way it is for vampires in my bloodline. I'm sorry if this bothers you. I could compel you if you'd rather."

"You mean mind control?" he asked, looking me in the eye again.

"Yes," I admitted. "That's exactly what compelling means."

"I don't want you to take over my mind," he said quickly. He started to take his shirt off, and I could see in his mind that he was already starting to hate me. All of that would change when he woke up from his death sleep. It always did in the end.

I walked toward him slowly as he took his clothes off. There was no need to frighten him. The euphoria would take care of most of his fears as well as his disgust for the sexual act. As soon as he was completely naked I wrapped my arms around his trembling body and sank my fangs into his neck. I didn't hold back the euphoria. I tried to enhance it. I knew it was working when he sagged against me and I could feel that he was aroused. Disengaging from his neck, I wrapped him in my arms tighter and levitated just an inch or so off the floor. Before I even knew what was happening we floated to the bed. I sat down on the side of the bed, pulling him into my lap.

Deciding to be merciful, I took the lubricant out of the drawer in the stand beside his bed and generously coated by my dick and his ass before I sat him down completely, impaling him. He groaned as my fangs sank into his neck again and I was surprised when he started to ride my dick as I drained him. I could see everything about him as I drank slowly from the fountain of his jugular. He'd been an abused child and suffered so many atrocities. Sex hadn't been one of them, but he had always been teased by his father. I nearly cried as I looked into his soul and found that he didn't believe he was worth anything. His father had done this to him. I could only hope that with my blood he would finally find a purpose.

I sped up the pull from the flow in his throat as I neared my climax. He was shuddering against me as I filled his ass with my tainted seed that would begin the transformation for him and took the last drop of blood that I could take from him and leave him alive. He was weak as he sagged against me. I moved us back in the bed so that I could sit him down and impale myself on his erection. I used my fingernails to slice into my throat and brought his closed lips to the gash. It took only a second for him to start pulling my blood back into himself to replace what was taken. I rode his erection while he drank from me, sealing his transformation with pleasure. I only pulled my head back to disengage his lips from the already healing gash in my throat when I felt his balls expel his cum into my ass. I kissed his bloody lips as I lay him back on the bed.

I dressed slowly, because I was so drained. I was just pulling my shirt over my head when Nathan entered the room with a young man from the livestock. I took him quickly, barely registering the fear in his violet-blue eyes. I drained him quickly and he was ash at my feet before Nathan returned with the second selection. I took this young man slowly and enjoyed the thrill of watching the evil that unfolded in his hateful heart as I drank his life. He'd killed his parents and brothers to collect insurance money from their deaths. I loved his evil almost as much as I loved the sweet nectar of his blood. When he climaxed against me I realized that I had done nothing to hold back the euphoria from him.

Twenty minutes later I was dressed in fresh clothes and back downstairs with my future fledglings. The Roarks had taken good care of them. They looked at me when I walked into the room in different clothes and I could hear the thoughts that swam in their minds. Gabriel thought I had actually killed his friends that my clothes were too bloody so I changed them.

"I assure you, Gabriel, Holden is dying, but he will awaken in three days," I said, sitting down in my seat.

"He'll be a vampire?" Gabriel asked.

"Yes, and when he wakes up you will still be in your death sleep," I said.

It wasn't long after that when the boys were sent to their rooms to sleep. The vampires would check on them periodically throughout the night, but I'd compelled each of them to go upstairs and sleep until morning when the drones would have control of them. Once they were safely out of the room we discussed the females again. Rafiki arrived to tell us that once again there had been no sign of them in the streets. I was beginning to think that they'd left. I knew I couldn't be so lucky though.

"We prowled the streets until just before dawn," he said. "Not even a whisper."

"Well I suppose that's a good thing for now," I said, thinking of my sleeping boys upstairs. Holden was safe in his death sleep for now. Nothing could touch him short of beheading.

"We're all certain they'll make a move again soon," he said.

"So am I," I replied. "I'm ready for that, though."

I started to tell him all about the new security features that had been added to each of the vampire houses by Brock and Derrick. Ultra-violet lights would be turned on in the night when anyone stepped into the yard. It wouldn't hurt the drones or vampires from my bloodline, but we hoped it would kill the females if they came. There were more security measures in place, but Brock had asked that I not reveal them. Rafiki seemed satisfied with the UV light.

"Are you sure that making new fledglings is a good idea at this point?" Rafiki asked me.

"What choice is there?" I asked. "We're endangered, Raf. We have no idea how many of the females there are."

"There could be millions of them," he said. "It's been a hundred years, Eric."

"Yes, and if there are millions of them out there then we need to at least try to match their number," I said. "I know it won't happen instantly. If we can hold them off for the time it takes to sire fledglings we will be able to match them in number."

"How soon are you wanting the rest of us to sire?" he asked.

"If all goes well with this batch of fledglings we'll be sending four of you out to gain four a piece," I informed him. "Then once all of us have four fresh fledglings, we'll let those fledglings begin to make fledglings and so on."

"Eric that's insane!" he gasped. "They won't be anywhere near ready to sire fledglings that soon."

"Rafiki times are different now, and we're outnumbered severely," I reminded him. "If we don't do it this way we may as well fade into the shadows and hide like vermin."

The rising sun stopped our discussion. I'd been awake for far longer than I should have been so I wasn't going to fight the sleep that came with the dawn. I went upstairs and stripped out of my clothes. I was sleeping before I actually put my head on my pillow. There were no dreams to keep me company in my sleep that day.

When I opened my eyes just before sunset, I knew that each of the three boys had checked in on Holden only to be run out of the room by the smell. I chuckled as I got out of bed and went to take my bath. Brock was waiting for me when I got to the bathroom. He was already gloriously nude, and I was struck once again by his beauty.

"Hello, Brock," I said, smiling at him.

"Hello, Eric," he said. "Let's get you bathed and dressed. Your charges are getting worried about their brother."

"Yes, I suppose they are," I said. "I'll have Gabriel next."

"I thought you might," he said. "It would be good for Holden and Gabriel to awake from their death sleeps closer together. Gabriel seems lost without Holden."

"I know," I replied as he began to wash my back. "I'm thinking of trying to get all three of them into their death sleep tonight."

"Do you think you can?" he asked.

"Well it will take a lot of livestock to keep me going, but I'm sure it can be done," I replied. "I want this finished."

"I think I understand that," he said. "It just worries me that you're going to try to do three in one day. To my knowledge that hasn't been done for centuries. In fact, the last to try it was Tyron Par."

"That's fitting," I sighed. "I am his descendant."

"You are," he said, holding me tight. "You're also clean."

"Thank you, Brock," I said, getting out of the tub and grabbing my towel.

When I was dressed and made my way to the first floor I could hear the arguments getting louder. The boys were arguing over Holden. Andrew believed that Holden was just dead and that I'd killed him. He believed that I was going to kill them all. Gabriel was tying to calm him down. So far Brendan hadn't said a word.

"Gentlemen, I can assure you that screaming will not wake Holden up any faster," I said as I came into the room. "He will sleep for three days no matter what any of you think I did to him."

"I told him you didn't kill him," said Gabriel, raising his hands and turning away from Andrew.

"Andrew, I promise that Holden will wake up," I said. "When he does, you'll be asleep. When you finally wake up all four of you will be together again."

"When are you planning to do me?" he demanded, glaring at me.

"Some time tonight," I replied. "All three of you will be in your sleep before the sun comes up."

"All right," said Gabriel. "Which one of us is first?"

I had to admire his enthusiasm. I wondered what had happened to change his mind. It had to be more than Holden having already been turned. His mind only told me that he was ready. I smiled at him, but my plan had to change a bit. If Andrew was so vocal then he was the logical choice to be next. It wouldn't really matter in the scheme of things. They'd all be asleep by sunrise.

"Andrew, would you come with me, please?" I asked, turning to leave the room again and seeing the surprised look on Brock's face. "Brock, please let Nathan know that I'll be needing two from the livestock in about an hour."

"Of course," he said, leaving the room.

"I'm not going up there," Andrew hissed from behind me. "You can do what you have to do right here in front of everyone so they can see that you're going to kill me."

"I should kill you," I spat, turning around. "You might prove to be just a bit too much trouble, Andrew. Now if you don't come upstairs willingly you know I can compel you."

"Then compel me," he snapped back at me. "I'm not walking to my death. Fuck that."

Without so much as a thought my mind slammed into his, and he was actually knocked off his feet. I worried for a moment that I'd crushed his mind, but one check and I knew that hadn't happened. He staggered to his feet and looked at me blankly. I just walked out of the room and I could hear his footfalls behind me.

Once I got him to his room I ripped his clothes off of him and got naked myself. I threw him on the bed and raised his legs. I wasn't going to be gentle about this one. Andrew had pissed me off too far. I didn't want to destroy his ass before he was turned and have it become permanent though. I lubed up and even made sure to lube him as well. Then with one jerk of my hips, I was inside him to the hilt. Even through the mind trap, pain registered on his features. I smiled when I saw it. I let go of his mind as I sank my fangs into his neck and began to pump my dick in and out of him at the same time.

He was grunting under me and it was then that I realized that there was no euphoria for him. It was too late now. I wasn't withdrawing my fangs until I'd gotten every drop that I could take from him without killing him. I slammed into his ass harder and harder as I pulled the blood from his throat. His mind told me the believed he was dying. I slowed my thrusts into his ass when I felt his heartbeat begin to change though. When my balls let loose, I withdrew my fangs. Before he could register what was happening I flipped us over and sat on his dick as I cut my throat and guided his face to the gash.

He drew my blood like it was his only chance for survival. It was actually. He would have lived for maybe a few days if I didn't replenish his blood supply, but he would die. There was no way around that. He had nothing to worry about though. I rode him just as fast as he pulled my blood. It didn't take long and he was cumming in my ass while I was pushing his head away from my neck. The sleep took him immediately.

"That was intense," said Nathan's voice from behind me.

I turned around to find him standing there with both of the livestock choices. I had them both drained and turned to ash in no time. I didn't bother to dress afterward. I just instructed Nathan to have Gabriel meet me in his room and bring another two from the livestock in another hour. If I was going to do this, I wanted it done.

Gabriel came into the room, took one look at me lying naked on his bed and began to take his clothes off. He was smiling from ear to ear. I smiled right back at him. Just seeing that smile calmed me down. I wanted to take my time with him and enjoy it. Gabriel was a very beautiful boy. He'd make a damned sexy vampire. Holden was going to be the best of the bunch, I knew that, but Gabriel would come in close on his heels.

"You look absolutely delicious," I told him as he climbed into bed with me.

"You don't look so bad yourself," he said. "I have to confess I was hot for you the first time I saw you."

"You were, huh?" I asked, pulling him close so that I could kiss his puffy lips. His tongue played against my bottom lip and I accepted it. He ran it over my fangs and didn't shy away at all.

"You taste good," he said. "But I think that's Andrew's blood I taste in your mouth."

"You'd be right," I said. "But let's not talk about Andrew. Let's talk about you."

"Talk?" he chuckled. "I thought you were going to turn me."

"Oh, I am," I chuckled back. "I'm just taking it slow."

"Well, what would you like to know about me?" he asked.

"I already know the basics of what went on with your birth family," I said. "What I want to know is what you want out of life. What do you want to do once you become a vampire?"

"I want to be able to stand up for myself without getting knocked down," he said quickly. "All my life every time I've even tried to stand up for myself I've gotten my ass kicked for it. I want that to change. I want that to change in a bad way."

"You have to know that as a vampire picking off humans at random is forbidden," I said after careful consideration of what he'd said.

"I wouldn't pick off humans at random," he laughed. "I'm talking about the ones who try to hurt us. I'm sure that once the government learns that you've resurfaced they'll come for us again."

"Well, I'm sure they will," I said slowly. "Believe me, we have bigger problems than humans at the moment."

"What problems?" he asked, his brow furrowing.

"We'll discuss all of that with you after your death sleep," I assured him. I pulled him close for another kiss after that, and he forgot all about the bigger problems that I wouldn't tell him about until he was a vampire.

He scooted even closer to me and I could feel his erection pressing against my own. I wanted this kid more than I'd wanted Holden. I couldn't believe how sexy he was. As a vampire he'd make his victims swoon before they died that was for sure. I was going to enjoy an eternity with Holden and Gabriel. I couldn't wait for it to begin.

I climbed on top of him and reached into his night stand drawer to get the lubricant that had been placed there before he arrived. I was certain he'd found it already, but it was there. When he saw what was in my hand he kissed me harder. I bit into his tongue just enough to make the blood trickle and sweeten the kiss. The euphoria hit him instantly. He moaned into my mouth as I lifted his legs and began to insert my lubed finger in his ass. I purposefully found his prostate and gave it a few pokes, making him jerk on the bed under me. Then I put the head of my dick against his ass and applied a slow but steady pressure until we were one.

Letting go of his mouth, I moved to his neck and found his jugular. I softly inserted my fangs and let the blood trickle over my tongue. He was moaning and thrusting his hips up to meet my thrusts as I slowly pulled the blood from him. Oh how sweet it was! I couldn't get enough of him. It was almost as if he was sending some kind of euphoric pheromone back at me. I set up a steady rhythm and drew his blood in time with my thrusts into his ass. I was bumping his prostate on every other thrust and he was almost humming.

Not wanting him to get off before he was in my ass and drawing my blood, I abandoned his prostate and began to speed up my thrusts. He purred when my tempo changed and slammed his pelvis up to meet me every time. I savored what was left of his blood and timed it just right so that when I was finally coating his ass with my seed I was taking the last available drop of his blood.

He didn't need to be prodded to move one his dick was lubed. We changed positions with as much help as his weakened state would allow him to give me and then he was pulling blood from my neck and fucking my ass with abandon. I could tell that this would be over far too quickly, but I didn't care. He felt so good inside of me that I just couldn't get enough.

When I finally did feel him let loose inside my ass I pulled my neck away from his mouth and gazed at his face. I was so proud of the fact that there was no spilled blood on his lips. He smiled at me as he drifted, but soon he was motionless and the change was beginning inside of him. I couldn't wait for him to open his eyes and see the world the way I did. I couldn't wait for the long discussions I knew would be coming with Gabriel.

Nathan was ready once again with two from the livestock. I took them quickly and registered the fact that I was getting very tired. I had to finish this that night. I couldn't leave Brendan hanging with no one to talk to. The vampires said very little to the mortals and I didn't want him spending his last night as a human alone. Nathan didn't need me to tell him to send Brendan to his room. He was there when I got there.

He looked amazing in the lighting as he stood next to his bed. Tears were glistening on his cheeks as I walked into the room, and one look into his mind told me that he really didn't want to be a vampire. He was afraid to tell me that though. I almost walked back out of the room, but I needed Brendan. I needed him badly. There was no time for him to come around. It had to be tonight.

I walked over to him and took him into my arms. He sobbed openly as I began to unbutton his shirt. When I had it off of him he helped with his pants, but his mind told me that he felt as if he was being violated. I hated that. I wasn't going to use my mind to make him go along with it. There was no other choice for him, but I felt like mind control would be one more violation.

"It'll be all right, Brendan," I told him as I sat him down on the bed. "I won't hurt you, and when you wake up you'll feel completely different."

"I don't want this," he said, finally voicing what was running through his mind.

"I'm so sorry that it has to be this way," I said sincerely. "If there was another option I assure you I would let you alone right now, but there really isn't. There's no way for us to back out now."

I took the lubricant from his night stand and began to coat my dick once more. He watched me with tear filled eyes while I did this. When it was time to lubricate his ass he made no protest. I found his ass to be easily penetrated so I knew that he was no stranger to anal sex. That wasn't what had him in tears though. I decided to do this as quickly as I could. I didn't want him to suffer any more than he had to.

I slowly inserted my dick in his ass and sank my fangs into his neck, letting the euphoria touch him. He moaned, but he never stopped crying. I pulled the blood quickly as I thrusted in and out of him fast. I was surprised when I felt my orgasm building after only a few moments of fucking him. His blood was nearly depleted to the limit as well. When I began to cum I pulled my fangs out of his neck.

"Brendan, if I leave you like this you'll die," I said, wondering why I was telling him this. "Is that what you want?"

"I don't want to die," he said softly. His voice was very weak. "If being like you is my only chance at life then I want it."

That was all I needed to hear. I lubed his dick and sat on it as I opened another wound in my throat and brought his face toward it. He drank quickly; probably just as quickly as I'd drained him. I rode him as fast as he drank. He was already falling into his death sleep as he came in my ass. I sat up and looked at him for a moment. My heart nearly broke over what I'd done to him.

"It's really touching that you feel remorse, Eric," said a terrible familiar voice. I spun around to face Bashire! He was alive, but he looked nothing like what I remembered. His face was completely changed. His glowing eyes were like copper set on fire, and his fangs were extended over his lips.

"You're alive," I mumbled, stunned.

"Oh, I'm alive all right," he said as two female vampires entered the room. He turned to one of them. "Take his pet."

Then my world went black as I lost consciousness from the loss of so much blood.