The Vampire Jessup: The Vampire Saga
by Julien Gregg

You've read the tales of Eric Maxwell, Darias and Ren now hear from the 700 year old Vampire Jessup. This is not the tale of how he was turned, though that tale may come later. This is the tale of what came after the events of Neverland: I Vampire 2. Told from Jessup's perspective, follow him on a journey of protection and love. This story contains scenes depicting murder, violence, bloodletting, homosexual sex, rape and has a strong adult theme. If you are offended by this type of material or it is not legal for you to read this type of material in your place of residence, please leave the site now.

This story is a work of fiction its characters do not exist outside the story. Any resemblance to living people or places is strictly coincidence. This story is Copyright © 2015 Julien Gregg. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This story contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.


The rain had stopped, but the entire street, service alley and all surroundings were saturated. I could hear his footsteps squelching in the puddles of the darkened alley. The sound almost drowned out his heartbeat that wondrous sound that meant his life's blood was pumping through all of his veins. The scent of his blood was thick and heady, muddled by alcohol and whatever else he'd ingested, injected or absorbed during the night. Drinking the blood of an intoxicated or otherwise chemically tainted mortal was known as Spiking. The young ones had come up with the term, and it had sort of stuck with the older generation.

I caught the slightest scent of death as I followed my mortal prey but I ignored it. Though the others had all run off to the Gods knew where I wasn't one to delude myself into believing that I was the only immortal in the city. Besides, I told myself, it was probably Miguel or one of his cemetery brood. I held no ill will toward Miguel or any of his folken, but it seemed that I should, that we all should, for he was a rogue that had never taken the blood of Eric Maxwell. Yet Eric had chosen to let them all live. Far be it from me to take the law into my own hands. The Gods know I've caused enough trouble in my long and illustrious un-death.

Anyway, back to my mortal. Oh his glorious blond hair! It hung loose over his shoulders, cascading in a river of molten gold. It was dirty, and I could smell the sweat, oil and grime but it didn't matter. It was his hair in part that had attracted my dangerous attention. Oh how much he reminded me of Matthias, the Matthias of old, the fearless and courageous Vampire Matthias and his schemes to run off with Tyron Par to live a life of hunting and blood lust. I nearly laughed out loud at the memory and spoiled my stealthy pursuit of my mortal.

I'd been following him for weeks. I knew each and every one of his crimes. He'd killed, raped, stolen, cheated and decimated. Oh he was ripe for plucking, and I so loved them evil. It was one of the rules actually. Before Eric had put himself in his glass coffin he'd told us all to multiply at will and never to drink innocent blood. Of course he'd had more words for his fledglings, Brendan especially. I have never figured out why he left Brendan in charge, and I'm sure that Perrin and his brothers wonder the same thing. Brendan is in charge, however, and there was no changing that fact short of murdering him. That wasn't going to happen. For one thing I happened to love Brendan very much. For another I didn't want Holden to track me down and annihilate me.

But then Brendan was untouchable already. He'd had so much of Eric's blood that nothing short of dismembering him and burning the pieces to ash and then scattering the ash would actually kill him. Not that I wanted him dead, no, quite the opposite. Brendan had a very hard birth to darkness. He'd opened his vampire eyes in an underground prison with no blood to complete the transformation and he slowly starved. I knew what it meant to starve. I'd spent so many centuries in a catatonic shell inflicted by Sloan after he'd killed my fledgling. Until Matthias figured out that he could feed me I starved, however I didn't have the luxury of crying out from the pain as Brendan had. For long nights after Eric returned with Brendan in his arms the young fledgling had a haunted look to his pale face. His brown hair had turned nearly flaxen blond and his beautiful eyes were shadowed.

He'd made a fledgling of one of the livestock shortly after he'd been returned to House Maxwell. That had been a major rule break, but Eric couldn't deny him his fledgling. Bashir had killed Paul, and Brendan vowed never to make another no matter what the rules were. All of this was further reason to be baffled over Eric leaving him in charge. In truth the logical choice of fledglings to leave in charge would have been Holden, but then he couldn't go out in public much these days. Perhaps Eric had foreseen what was coming for Holden.

Oh yes, my mortal! He'd crossed the street into another alley where more mortals were waiting. I was amused by the way he thought he was such an important thug. I leapt to the rooftops of the buildings that lined the alley and looked down on them as they made their drug sale. I could hear them down there perfectly. My vampire hearing was sharp. They were discussing human cargo now. It may have been centuries since I could count myself as one of the masses of humans in the world, but the very thought of selling innocent mortals into slavery to more sinister mortals offended me. Oh yes, another mortal victim would feel the sting of my fangs soon enough. It was easy enough to imprint his face in my mind. I inhaled his personal scent and touched his mind lightly. Yes, I'd be able to track him anywhere. Nothing short of death could break the connection.

I knew beyond doubt that the mortals who flocked to him would disperse when he disappeared. I would just have to track him to his lair so that I could rescue the human cargo. It could be done quickly, they'd not even know who, or what had set them free. They'd only know that the hell they'd been expecting would never reach them.

"You really are a sentimental old fool," said the voice of Perrin Roark from behind me, startling me right and proper. Oh that he could sneak up on me! Curse Eric for making such strong fledglings!

"What are you doing here?" I demanded as I turned to face him, taking in his shaved head and piercing blue eyes, so unnatural in our kind his shade of blue was. My own eyes had turned blue after Eric's infusion of life restoring blood, but not as light as Perrin's. I found myself wondering why he was shaving his head every night. Could it be so that he didn't look so much like his siblings?

"Following you, of course," he said as if my question was ridiculous. "I told you I wanted to see you hunt."

"So you did," I breathed before turning my attention to my mortal. No I wouldn't take him tonight. Not while he was under so many chemical influences. Perhaps the other, the dealer of human cargo.

"Which is it to be?" he asked. "Surely you aren't after the chemical whore."

"Of course I am," I spat, turning to face him again and letting him feel the heat of my anger at being interrupted during my hunt. What dangerous creatures we all are.

"Spiking is for newborns," he said dismissively. "I still can't believe we feel the effect."

"Eric's being asleep for so long is no doubt causing many changes among us all," I replied, for I'd given the matter a great deal of thought over the years of his slumber.

When last he'd gone to sleep none of his coven had been awake. He'd ordered us all to sleep, and we had. We'd all been aged when we returned to consciousness. What a horror that had been. I was just happy to know that being awake and feeding long enough restored our youthful images. What immortal wants to age?

"I miss him," Perrin said softly, and I was suddenly overcome by the total depth of his sadness. He truly mourned the loss of his maker even though Eric wasn't gone from the world in reality but merely sleeping. He suffered for it. It touched me.

"He'll quicken again one day," I said soothingly.

"Comfort from the Vampire Jessup?" he asked, smiling at me and showing his fangs.

"Wonders never cease, as they say," I said with a shrug. "Now be silent and let me hunt."

He fell silent and I let my senses branch out so that my mind could touch the mind of my new prey just slightly to mark him. He'd be simple to track now. Oh how I loved these new vampire gifts. Eric's blood had given me so many new gifts, and it seemed new ones continued to develop. Of course none of us were near as powerful as Eric himself, but we were no slouches either.

Perrin followed me effortlessly as I leapt from one rooftop to the other as my prey climbed into his automobile to drive away. We went from roof top to roof top, following the black land yacht as it crept through the alley way and into the street. Finally we had to jump down to the ground to follow, but I never lost sight of the automobile. I could almost taste his wretched blood as I followed him.

Blood wasn't an absolute necessity for one as old as me. We could survive for months between feedings, and I'd fed only two nights ago. I wasn't suffering the effects of the thirst, but I craved the blood so much that I indulged frequently. It was a fact that Gabriel loved to needle me about. That thought brought with it the inevitable sadness I felt whenever I thought of Gabriel. He was now so far away that I couldn't cast my senses far enough to find him. I missed him even more than my own fledglings who'd all scattered not long after Eric had gone to sleep again. Gabriel was special to me for reasons I still hadn't figured out, but he was gone now and I'd likely never see him again.

Perrin, Brendan and I were the only ones still in San Juan. Holden came and went from time to time and Blake would pop in from time to time as well. Blake loved to bring his latest fledglings to see the sleeping Father. They would always seem so excited until they realized that he was an unmoving statue in a glass box. Then they were bored. It was the same every time.

The black automobile stopped in front of a massive iron gate. The driver punched a code into a tiny box and the gate opened. We slipped inside using our preternatural speed and I cast my senses out to discover all that there was to discover. I smiled as I sensed the human captives in the basement of the sprawling three story house. It was a stone building grand enough to put the old vampire houses to shame. Every window that faced the front of the long drive was lit up.

The car drove around the building to a parking garage, and I knew that it was there that I would take my mortal criminal. What to do with the driver was another matter. Perrin grunted when I thought of the driver and I smiled. Perhaps having him follow me wasn't such a bad thing after all. I barely registered what he got up to with the driver as I swooped in and snatched my mortal. Then I was rising with him in my arms. Higher and higher we drifted until the house looked like a miniature.

Unintelligible cries escaped my mortal as I smiled at him and let him see my fang teeth. Then I tired of playing with him and savagely bit into his neck. The flow of blood washed over my palate quickly, heating my body and starting the flashes of images that always came with the blood now. He was responsible for the trafficking of young women. He'd raped and killed many of them over the ten years he'd been in the trade, and he tasted so wonderful.

All too soon his heartbeat changed to that terrible rhythm and I had to pull away from him. Then I was floating in the air above the compound with a corpse in my arms. I pushed out with my senses and incinerated the corpse, letting the ash fall from my arms as I drifted lower to the ground. Ah how I loved that gift. It was nowhere as strong as Eric's, thank the dark gods, but it worked very well for disposing of the bodies of our mortal victims. None of us could become the literal man of fire that Eric had become when he'd been hunting Bashir, but then we wouldn't have wanted to.

Several tests had been conducted to see just how dangerous we'd become when it came to the fire. It turned out that even Holden could only burn necrotic tissue, which meant that it was only the dead victims or other vampires that were susceptible to our fire. Flight, telepathy and mind control were all ours, but again nowhere near as strong as Eric. For instance I was floating there above the compound, but I couldn't have flown any great distance before my body would have fallen out of the sky. Also, I could touch the minds of others and get them to do specific things. I could convince a mortal that he or she hadn't seen this or had seen that, and I could bend the mind of a mortal to submission to stop the fight for survival, but I couldn't warp a mind permanently. That was Eric's power, not mine or any of the others.

It was gunfire that snapped me out of my post feeding swoon. I let myself fall to my feet on the ground and looked around me. My mortal had many hired guns it seemed. They'd come to his aid, but they were too late, and of course they had no idea that bullets wouldn't kill us. They'd sting and piss us off, but they wouldn't kill us. I cast my senses out to find Perrin and was surprised when he walked up to stand beside me. There were at least twenty men dressed all in black to better blend with the night. It was just their bad luck that we could see everything in the dark.

"You take the left, and I'll take the right," Perrin said, his blue eyes scanning the house.

"There are innocents held captive in the basement, Perrin," I told him.

"I know that," he snapped. "Go, Jessup."

I went to the right of the parking garage and came upon a black clad man with his gun. I smiled at him and let him see my fangs before I surged forward and ripped the gun from his hands. His dark eyes opened wide as I turned the gun on him and fired a bullet into his brain. I spun around to confront two more black clad men. I wasted no time playing fear games with them. I shot twice, rapidly and downed them both. Vampires are excellent marksmen.

More gunfire drew me out of the parking garage and around the back of the house. Here was the Vampire Perrin, dancing in a hail of bullets fired by six dark clad men. These men had to know they were up against something terrifying as they watched the spectacle that Perrin put on. He moved faster than the human eye could see, and though he took a few hits, he managed to dodge most. Then he surged forward and nearly pulled the first man's head off his shoulders. I fired on the next two, but he sank his fangs into the third man's neck, and I heard the bones snap. I went on shooting until every man was down save the one in Perrin's deadly embrace.

I spun around as the sound of running feet came closer. I threw the gun aside. I could kill without it. As the bullets rained I imitated Perrin, moving closer to the group of men as I dodged. Perrin was right behind me, his victim now a pile of ash on the ground. I cursed the fact that we couldn't burn these men while they were alive as I danced and dodged. I reached them at the same time as Perrin, and it was a bloody business. We tore heads off shoulders, ripped arms off shoulders and punched through chest cavities. Then the night was filled with fire as the dead were burned to ash. I counted seven men still standing.

"Come on!" cried Perrin, stepping forward. He glared at the seven black clad men. "Come and die!"

They came, and they died slowly and painfully. Perrin was angry and I knew that angering him was always a painful experience. This time the men lived when he was done hurting them. It seemed he wanted them to live a bit longer to experience the suffering of their injuries. I sank my fangs into the neck of the closest black clad man to me and drank him dry. He was ash at my feet before I moved to the next. I couldn't drain each of these men. Perrin had to help. When we were standing in a sea of ash I looked into his bright eyes.

"We have to free the captives," I said quickly.

"Are we saviors now, Jessup?" he laughed. "Who is the man or woman who would want to be saved by a demon?"

"We're not demons," I said simply. "You'll either help me or you won't. I don't have time to stand here and converse with you about what we are. I intend to free these people. They're innocent, Perrin. I would take their deaths as personal insults."

He was young, but he wasn't stupid. He knew that I meant that in more than one way, and one of which was a reminder to him that they were not to be taken for their blood. They were innocent and in all of my countless years as a vampire I'd been the hunter of evil blood and only evil blood. Innocents had nothing to fear from me. I knew that Perrin had been schooled in this as well by Eric, but with Eric asleep all bets were off with his fledglings, and I had no idea where Perrin's mind was on this issue. He was far too good at closing his mind to the rest of us.

"Let's be on with it then," he said, turning to head toward the three story building.

I followed him inside only slightly put at ease. I would be on my guard with him until we were safely away from these mortals. The layout of the house was easy enough to figure out. The double front doors opened to a hallway with a staircase that went up one wall with doors and archways in the other wall for the rooms. I bypassed the first archway and headed to the back of the house where the entrance to the basement was likely to be located. I could hear music coming from somewhere in the house. It was at such a level that a mortal would never have heard it, and I knew instantly that it was a headset.

The kitchen was the last room we came to. It was large with egg shell walls and a white and gray marble floor. The countertops matched the floor. The cabinetry was all dark wood and matched the woodwork around the archway and the windows. To the left, out of the way of the cooking station was a dark wood round table with six chairs. Behind this table was the door that I was sure would lead to the basement. Perrin was right behind me as I opened it, finding the stairs I expected and began to descend.

I wasn't prepared for what I found in the basement. Sure I expected the stone walls and floor, but there were cages set up along the far wall with two people in each, rather like prison cells. It reminded me of the livestock pens of the old vampire houses. I looked at Perrin and saw the look of confusion on his face as well. We moved cautiously into the basement. The women in the cells noticed us and I could feel their fear. I purposefully ignored them as I looked around the basement. I was looking for a secret door or anything that would indicate that a vampire slept here. I couldn't smell one, so I was reasonably sure that there were no other vampires in the area. But it was night, so if there was a vampire living in this residence he wasn't there.

The basement was large, and I could tell that what we were looking at was the total space of the house above it. Still I searched the walls and saw that Perrin was doing the same thing. If there was a secret chamber the trigger could be anywhere. We found none, but we hadn't gone close enough to the pens to search. I'd never heard of any secret chamber triggers near the livestock pens in any vampire house, but then we'd always slept in bedrooms in the main house.

"Anything?" Perrin asked behind me.

"Nothing," I replied as he went to the small wooden desk and began to look through the contents.

"He sells them to a vampire calling himself Silas," said Perrin. "No house name attached, so it has to be a rogue."

"It must be if this vampire drinks innocent blood," I said. "We can free these people and search the house."

"Then let's do it," he said. "It's clear that this Silas doesn't reside here."

I crossed to the cells and turned the levers on each door to open the glass doors. The people watched us with fear as we released them. I quickly told them to come out of the cells and go up the stairs. I used a little mind control, what little I could actually do to get most of them to do as I had told them. We followed the last of them up the stairs and into the kitchen. I could still hear the faint music, and I knew there was another mortal in the house. So far whoever it was hadn't come down the stairs, and with the headset on his or her head probably hadn't heard the gunfire.

"You take them out to the garage and find a vehicle large enough for them all," I said to Perrin. "Hot wire it if you can't find keys and let them take it out of here."

"What are you gonna do?" he asked as he began to herd the innocents out the back door.

"There's another mortal in this house," I replied, knowing full well that he knew it as well. "I'm going to find that mortal and either rescue or execute them."

"Be fast, Jessup," he said. "We need to get out of here."

"We will," I said as I headed back down the hall to the stairway. I could feel the night changing around me. Dawn was approaching, and since Eric had gone to sleep our special protection from the sun had been lost. I needed to move fast.

There were a series of doors on the second floor. I could sense that no one was in any of these until I got to the last one in the back of the house. There was someone in this room. Innocent blood scent filled my senses and I sighed. Was this another prisoner? If so why wasn't he or she in the pens or outside with the others? I opened the door and stopped in my tracks.

This was a child's bedroom. I could tell by the racecar bed, the lamp that stood on what looked like a stack of small tires beside the bed was shaped like a can of oil with a soft white bulb sticking out the top. There were posters of sports stars all over the walls, and in the back of the room, sitting at the small desk in front of a computer was a boy no older than seven or eight. I watched him for a second as he sat with his back to me. The headset was over his ears, pumping music into his ears, so he likely didn't even know I was in the room. I was about to speak when he turned to face me.

He had a cherub's face with soft sandy hair that was a little long in the back, but rounded around his sweet face. His gray eyes held no fear as he looked at me, but he was curious. He was dressed in blue pajamas with red and yellow race cars all over them. His feet were covered with blue socks. An overwhelming desire to protect him filled me and confused me. I knew nothing of this mortal, but I did know that he was in a house that had been filled with evil mortals.

"Who are you?" he asked in the musical voice only a mortal child possesses.

"I'm Jessup," I replied. "Who are you?"

"I'm Noah," he said. "If you're looking for my dad he should be back soon." Then his cherub face clouded. "How did you get up here?"

"Your dad is dead, Noah," I said softly.

"Did the vampire kill him?" he asked, shocking me.

"What do you know of vampires?" I asked as I stepped further into his bedroom.

"I know they exist," he said, looking at me intently. "My daddy says they don't, but I know they do. I saw one."

"You saw Silas?" I asked, sitting on the edge of his bed. I was still keenly aware that the sun was on its way into the sky.

"Was that its name?" he asked, smiling. "I snuck downstairs and watched it feed."

"You watched the vampire feed?" I asked appalled.

"My daddy sells people to it for food," he said. "Did you kill my daddy?"

"I did," I said softly. "Your daddy was a very bad man."

"I know that," he snapped. "Are you a vampire?"

"How old are you?" I asked instead of answering.

"Eight," he said. "Tell me if you're a vampire."

"I am," I said as I stood.

"So you're going to kill me," he said, looking down.

"No, I'm not going to kill you," I said quickly. "I'm going to save you."

"Save me?" he said, looking up at me again.

"Yes, save you," I said. "I don't drink innocent blood."

"Is that why you killed my daddy?"

"I killed your daddy because he was selling innocents to a vampire," I said although I hadn't known a vampire was involved until I'd gotten into the basement.

"So I'm safe with you?" he asked.

"I don't drink innocent blood," I repeated.

"You don't look very old," said Noah, confusing me with his erratic conversation.

"I was fifteen years old when I was turned," I said. "We stop aging unless we sleep without blood for long periods of time. Then when we wake and feed for a few years we revert to the age we were when we were turned."

"So I'm going to be this age forever?" he asked, and I gasped.

"I'm not going to turn you," I said quickly. "You're far too young to be a vampire."

"So how are you going to save me?" he asked.

"I'm going to take you away from here," I said. "We'll come back tonight to get the things you want from this room, or we'll just buy you new things. You must come now though. I don't have much time."

"Because the sun is coming up?" he asked as he got up from his chair and walked over to stand in front of me.

"Yes," I said. "Now come with me."

I took him by the hand and went to see what Perrin had found for us. We were fast on our feet, but the sun was coming and I wasn't sure we could travel fast enough to escape its rays. Perrin took one look at Noah and shook his head. Then he walked around the huge black van and got in the driver's seat. I quickly got Noah in the back seat and climbed in beside him.

"A boy?" Perrin groaned. "Jessup, what are you thinking?"

"I'm going to protect him," I said. "Now drive before we burn."

He drove and said no more. I had no idea what he was thinking because his mind was closed, but I could hear Noah's thoughts. He still thought I was going to turn him. He was afraid of Perrin and trying not to show it. He thought that if he acted brave we'd be nice to him. Oh how wrong he was. I would never let anyone hurt him, but he didn't have to pretend to be brave in front of me. I knew that going off into the night with a creature of the dark would be scary for a young mortal. As we drove I started to wonder just how I was going to take care of him during the day while I slept.

We pulled into the driveway of the small house I'd been living in and I was shocked to realize that Perrin had known all along where my lair was located. Since Eric had gone to sleep we'd all become a bit secretive with our daytime dwelling spaces. I had no idea where Perrin's was. I decided not to demand how he knew where mine was as we got out of the van and hurried into the house.

I took Noah to the back of the house where there was a bed that he could sleep in. The house had belonged to a family of mortals who had been killed by drug dealers. I'd tracked the dealers down and dispatched them later that night. Then I removed the bodies from the house and moved in. Crude, I know, but I needed a place to live.

I was surprised when Noah crawled into the bed and went to sleep. I stood there, looking at him as the first purple rays began to filter through the window. I was standing far enough back that they didn't touch me, but I wasn't taking any more chances. I touched Noah's mind with my own so I'd be able to find him when I woke and then headed back out of the room and into the very back bedroom where the windows were covered with boards to block out the sun. Perrin was standing in the center of the room.

"I can't go back to my place," he said.

"Of course not," I said.

We crawled onto the bed and let sleep take us as soon as our limbs were arranged. My mind instantly filled with images from Noah's mind. The link worked better than I had anticipated. He was sleeping and dreaming, and through his dreams I saw that he was safe.

"You know you can't keep him," Perrin said when the sun went down and his eyes opened.

We hadn't gotten out of the bed. It was the first thing he said when his eyes opened, so I knew that he'd been thinking about it even while he'd slept. Now it was time for him to try and change my mind it seemed. The knowledge he lacked was that changing my mind was impossible. Noah was mine now and that was all there was to it. I'd adopted children before. Of course I'd turned all of those children and they'd fled when Eric went to sleep. I had no intentions of turning Noah at any point in his life. This time it would be different.

"And what is there to stop me?" I asked as I sat up and cast my senses through the house to find out where Noah was and what he was doing. I was surprised to learn that the television in the house worked. I'd never attempted to find out before. Noah was sitting in the living room and watching something on the television. The child was bored and hungry.

"You're a vampire," he said. "He's human and eventually he's going to need another human."

"That's easy enough to take care of," I replied, thinking of taking on a drone. It would need to be a married one. The child would need a woman around perhaps.

"This is crazy," Perrin sighed as he sat up. "There are so many reasons why this is wrong. You'll be exposing him to a world he shouldn't even know about."

"He already knew about vampires," I revealed. "He watched Silas feed on one of the women from the pens beneath his house."

"That's an even bigger reason to turn that child over to the authorities," Perrin argued.

"Perrin, I'm not turning that child over to anyone," I said, looking into his blue eyes. "Silas will probably come looking for him and I will not leave him unprotected when that happens. It's safer for him to stay with me."

"You know we're going to have to kill this Silas," Perrin replied.

"Of course we are," I said. "We can't let a vampire live who drinks innocent blood."

"That's why the child can't stay with you, Jessup," he said. "You can't protect him and hunt for this vampire."

We were interrupted by the child. He came to the doorway of the master bedroom and stood there for a minute. He looked so out of place in his race car pajamas. His blond hair was tousled and his blue eyes were clear. He looked up at me and sighed.

"We're on television right now," he said and turned and walked out of the room.

We being vampires were there before he was. He looked startled but recovered quickly enough. I had my eyes glued to the television as a reporter talked about hiding so that no one could see her. There we were, dancing in the hail of bullets. They even had shots of us feeding! Oh this was a disaster. There we were on Channel 9 News! It flashed across the bottom of the screen. VAMPIRES IN SAN JUAN.

Perrin looked at me and then back at the screen where a blond haired female was telling us that she'd suspected that vampires weren't really a thing of the past and now she had her proof. She said that the man who owned that house, Cooper Dansik, was wanted on charges of kidnapping, murder and drug running. Then she said that unknown vampires had killed the suspect. Then the boy's picture was on the screen.

"Eight year old Noah Dansik could not be found at the scene, though evidence that he was in residence was plain," said the woman on television. Oh how I hated television! "Anyone with information about Noah's whereabouts should contact the San Juan Police Department."

"Turn that off," I said as I looked at Perrin.

"You have to leave here," he said. "Take Noah and leave here. That woman just put his picture on the screen. If Silas was watching he knows vampires took him. He'll scent him soon enough."

"We're going to need numbers," I said as I looked at him. I had no idea what Silas was like, if he had fledglings, drones or a Forsaken. I only knew that I would protect Noah at all costs.

"We have to get that shit off the airwaves," Perrin said. "Tonight."

I had no idea what he planned to do to get all of that off the airwaves, but he pulled out a tiny black cell phone and began to speak in rapid Spanish to a mortal. I could hear the mortal but my mind was already moving from one thing to another. Now a vampire's mind is nothing like a mortal's. A mortal can think of a few things at the same time. Vampires can think of everything at the same time. We can be thinking about the current crisis, mentally tracking a mortal victim and solving the ever rising national debt crisis and so many more things.

I was thinking of Brendan, of Holden and even of Miguel. Sure I didn't think he deserved to live, but I would accept his help if I had to. Brendan would never leave Eric. That was a certainty. Miguel had no loyalties to Eric or any of them. Asking for his help was a risk, but Holden couldn't be found. There was no way to get word to him. We had to act that very night. I knew there was no time to even think of contacting Holden. He had a way of finding all of us when he wanted to but we had no way to find him.

Perrin was gone. I hadn't even noticed that he'd left. It was Noah who told me that the bald vampire had gone out the front door. I knew where he was going. I had to get Noah away from San Juan, but I wasn't sure how to do it. What I needed was a drone. My drones were all dead. The only vampire in San Juan that I knew for certain had a drone was Brendan.

Brendan had a Forsaken drone, and not just any Forsaken. He had a Forsaken that had been born Forsaken. This man was not bitten. I had met the man a few times. He was all muscles and dark hair. He had a hard looking face with dark eyes. He was everything I thought a Forsaken should be. He was tall, well over six feet, massively muscular with a menacing look. He also had a twin brother, but the last I'd heard about him he was getting married.

I called Brendan to tell him what was going on. Of course he already knew what was going on and called me out on being on the news. I told him that Perrin was taking care of them but Brendan didn't want to hear it. Then he asked about the human child and made me swear I wasn't going to kill him or turn him. When I finally got around to asking about a drone he told me to come to the house to meet Blaze.

I got Noah ready to go, the boy was still in pajamas. There was no stopping to get him clothes now. I was about to leave when Perrin returned with a bag of clothes and things from the house. I was livid over this! He'd gone back to the house to get clothes and toys for the kid after we'd been seen there and put on the news!

"Relax," he said when I had started to say something. "I took care of it. The news reporter won't be a problem, because her footage is gone. The network can't rerun it because it's just gone. There are no tapes, no copies and no way for her or her cameraman to find the story again. I provided a plausible cover story for what really happened. She and her cameraman are being tested for drugs now."

"But were they on drugs?" I asked.

"Well it'll show that they were," he said. "That's all that matters. She's been obsessed with vampires since her teen years and her station manager is ready to be done with her. Now this has happened and he thinks she set it up."

"The clothes?" I asked, pointing at the bag.

"I went there to get things for the boy," he said, looking angry. "You haven't done anything for him. No one saw me I assure you. The vampire hadn't been there either."

"Well I suppose he should get dressed," I sighed. "We're going to Brendan as soon as he's ready."

I was just going to have to trust that Perrin had done nothing that would draw attention to us. Perrin wasn't the most trustworthy vampire when it came to secrecy though. He was bold and adventurous and that sometimes led to very dangerous situations. We'd had to intervene on his behalf twice in the last five years. He'd even waltzed into Walden Prison to pluck victims off death row. It had taken a lot of mind tampering, vampire blood and careful talking to get him out of that one.

Noah dressed in his own clothes and then we set out to see Brendan and meet the man who might become my drone. I had no idea what Noah thought about being taken to more vampires. Was he afraid? There was no reason to be. None of us drank innocent blood. He didn't know that though. I supposed I'd have to tamper with the kid's mind if he was too scared. That would require vampire blood though. Oh how I wished I could just do to him what Eric would have been able to do to him. Perhaps Brendan could do it.

It also didn't matter that Perrin had fixed our exposure problem, if he'd fixed anything at all. I was nearly convinced that he'd made matters worse and we'd be on the national news in no time. I was still getting Noah as far from San Juan as I could. I have to make Brendan see reason on that one. It wasn't that he really cared where any of us went to be honest, but he didn't want me to leave San Juan for some reason.

"We could go to my brothers," Perrin said as we drove across San Juan. "They're somewhere in Alaska. It's dark there for like two months of the year."

"Great," I sighed. "Vampires on ice."

He gave me an annoyed look but we were pulling up to the four story building that served as House Maxwell. I parked the huge car in the circle drive directly in front of the main house and got out. I waited until he and the boy were out of the car before I headed to the front entrance. There were Forsaken on the grounds. I could both hear them and feel the menace of them. I looked down at Noah, but he was looking at everything, trying to take it all in. He looked up at the huge coat of arms on the door and his eyes grew large.

Cain let us in. He was Brendan's Forsaken drone. When last I'd seen him he was massive. Now he was more massive if possible and his arms were literally covered in tattoos. There were symbols and blades and all sorts of colorful images inked into his massive arms. Noah stared at him with his mouth open.

"Jessup, Perrin," Cain said in his deep voice. "Come inside. Brendan is waiting for you."

We followed him through the long dark stone hall to what Brendan called the parlor. He was seated on a blood red sofa with a glass of what looked like wine on the stone table in front of the sofa. I could smell blood so I knew what he was drinking. I just hoped that Noah didn't freak out over it.

"So you've gotten yourself into trouble," Brendan said as he stood.

It was always shocking for me to look at this vampire. He looked so young with his boyish face, his bright blue eyes and his disheveled blond locks. He wore a pair of leather pants with no boots or socks on his feet. His bare chest was chalk white, his nipples like stains on his pecs. His body was fit and toned like a runner's body, but that made the whole effect of the chalk white skin even more pronounced.

"Perrin took care of it," I said as we came fully into the room. There was more dark stone in this room. The walls of the entire house were constructed of the same dark stone. The floors were dark stone as well.

"I'm sure he did," Brendan said, looking from Perrin to Noah. "This must be the child you're protecting."

"Noah," I said, putting a hand on the boy's shoulder. "This is Brendan Maxwell."

"Hello," he said in a timid voice.

"I'm sure this has all been very overwhelming for you," Brendan said. "Don't be afraid, Noah. Nothing here will hurt you."

"We're leaving San Juan," I announced. "I wanted to talk to you about a Forsaken drone."

"Yes," he said, nodding his head. "I've been discussing that with Cain and Blaze. Sit down, all of you."

"Blaze is still here?" I asked as I sat down on the smaller sofa. Noah sat close to me with Perrin in one of the lounge chairs.

"Of course he's still here," Brendan replied. "He just got married."

"No honeymoon for the newlyweds?" I asked, looking into Brendan's blue eyes.

"Well that would hardly be possible," he said. "With full moons and the Forsaken essence it would be folly to be away from familiar settings."

"But Cain and Blaze are far past their first turning," I said, sitting forward. We all knew Forsaken. I'd known them longer than any vampire around.

Forsaken males turned with the first full moon after puberty sets in. It's painful and traumatizing, but once they've turned for at least a year they learn to control it so that they won't turn on every full moon. That had been true for centuries. If Brendan was now telling me that it was no longer true then I wasn't so sure I wanted a Forsaken drone.

"Jessup," he said. "You know the Forsaken better than any vampire. You know that even though they learn to control the change and put it off, change at will they are still more hostile just before, during and after a full moon. That they cannot control."

I hadn't thought of that. Brendan was right about the Forsaken during the time of a full moon. He wouldn't call them more hostile. He'd say it was more hormonal and easier to anger. They were prone to fits of fury during the time of a full moon. They spoke in deeper voices, had more energy and were generally more lethal. Forsaken females didn't turn at all, but they too were a violent species. I didn't understand at first but then realization dawned on me. I sat forward again.

"His wife is not Forsaken," I said, my eyes wide.

"No, Jessup," he said, smiling wide enough to show his fangs. "She is not a Forsaken. She was an ordinary human that he just couldn't live without. It was the source of conflict between Blaze and his brothers. Finally he won out and married the woman. They're here on the estate in one of the smaller houses."

"And where is Jax?" I asked. Jax was Cain and Blaze's younger brother. He was just barely old enough to be bonding material. He'd had fewer years to learn control.

"I finally convinced Miguel that he needed a drone," Brendan said. "They're upstairs right now."

"Miguel?" I asked, outraged. "Brendan, he isn't even one of us."

"He's one of us," Brendan argued. "Eric said so. That makes it so. It doesn't matter who sired him."

Then they walked into the parlor. Miguel came first, looking like an exotic statue come to life. Then Jax came behind him. Jax looked a lot like his older brothers but his body was lean and toned like Brendan's and Miguel's instead of all over muscle like Cain and Blaze. I could see the bite mark on his neck. I could also see the yellow rings around his dark eyes. The effect was almost electric. It was also evidence that he'd just been bonded. Over time the yellow rings would dim and blend in with the various shades of brown in the iris of his eye.

"So this is the child that was on the news," Miguel said with his accented English as he came into the room. I merely looked at him.

"Perrin has taken care of that," said Brendan. "Jax, we'll need papers for the child. I suppose he is to be Jessup's son now."

"That's right," I said, looking at Jax's beautiful eyes.

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