Alpha Asher insisted on keeping our group small, wanting us to blend in with the mix of human, werewolf, and vampire’s. I insisted on bringing along Mason and Breyona. The two of them could hold their own, and I trusted each with my life. I couldn’t think of two werewolves better suited to help us out.
While Alpha Asher preferred, I stay behind, he left the choice in my own hands. I’m sure he figured I’d sneak out regardless and find a way to accompany them.
It was only vacant rumor whispered from ear to ear that depicted Sean as one of the many fighters participating tomorrow night, but it was a chance. It was the first we had heard of Sean’s whereabouts, and I was willing to take the risk.
“I’m meeting up with the two of them tomorrow.” I informed Alpha Asher, “I’ll make sure their ready.”
I could see the worry in Alpha Asher’s eyes as the two of us slid into bed. I could feel his worry as it mirrored my own. Would I be visiting my Father again tonight? It was clear Alpha Asher was used to dealing with threats through brute strength and his claim as an Alpha.
He had never encountered an enemy he couldn’t touch, and was powerless to stop my Father from pulling me close again. I said nothing as he wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me into his large chest.
While my stomach fluttered at the intimate position we were laying in, I gave into his warmth and the intoxicating swirl of his scent.
I had slept peacefully last night, not a single dream lingering in my mind. When I finally peeled my eyes open and winced at harsh sunlight, Alpha Asher was already dressed and ready to leave.
His eyes lingered on my porcelain skin, his eyes burning over every dip and curve of my body. I had long ago stopped trying to wear clothes in his bedroom. Alpha Asher was a man of his word, not once allowing me to sleep with any form of clothes on.
“Be here at six in the afternoon, no later.” Alpha Asher grunted, peeling his dark eyes away from my body. “I wouldn’t tell your Dad where were going just yet, wouldn’t want to get his hopes up.”
“The minute I tell him were leaving, he’s going to know what’s going on.” I snorted, pulling on a pair of jeans and a dark blouse.
“Then don’t tell him you’re leaving.” Alpha Asher’s dark eyebrow lifted, his eyes roaming my face questioningly.
“My Grandma will know, she always does.” I shrugged, “But I’ll do what I can.”
I told Alpha Asher about the books Breyona had found in her Mom’s library, and how they might give more information on our situation. Alpha Asher almost seemed eager when I told him there could be information on removing the scarlet mark from my skin.
“The three of you can skip training.” Alpha Asher grunted, his honey eyes flashing as they looked into my own.
Ten minutes after texting Breyona, her car rolled into the large drive way. Mason was already seated in the back, his hazel eyes perking up as I walked from the house.
“You seem excited to read some old, musty books.” I chuckled, flashing Mason a smirk.
Mason rolled his eyes, brushing his sandy hair away from his face.
“More like he’s excited to potentially get me killed.” Breyona snorted, “Let’s make this as quick as possible.”
The three of us headed back to Breyona’s house, quiet as we opened the front door. I could feel Breyona’s anxiety like a thick cloak wrapped around her.
I was unaware her Mom had a safe full of books but judging from Breyona’s aloof demeanor, her Mom was quite serious about the books locked away.
Instead of taking our usual place in the living room, the two of us followed Breyona down one of the hallways in her home.
“They lock the library.” Breyona snorted, digging through the drawers in her parents’ bedroom.
A dull pain throbbed in my chest as my eyes roamed the framed photo’s sitting on her parent’s dresser. Each photo held some part of their lives.
One was a wedding photo, Breyona’s Mom and Dad gazing lovingly at one another. The sight poked and scraped at the hole that had formed in my chest at my own Mom’s death. When I had first come back home, I was hellbent on ignoring the pain.
Even now, I felt incapable of dealing with the loss. With everything that’s been going on, it had been easy to block out the dull ache.
I had never been close with my Mom, never had the relationship her and Sean had but she still held a place in my heart. The two of us could never see eye to eye and would constantly argue. Learning about my Vampire side gave me a better understanding of my Mom.
For whatever reason, her mate had been the Vampire King. Her one time slip up resulted in me, a half-breed. Yet she had remained strong for so long, resisting the pull of her deadly mate.
“You have a library in your house?” Mason snorted, as though he were surprised.
“You’re really surprised?” Breyona turned, c**king an eyebrow at a smirking Mason.
“I guess I shouldn’t be.” Mason chuckled, “They lock the library? What if you wanted to go in?”
“They know I hate stepping foot in their library.” Breyona shook her head, a grin on her face as she pulled a small silver key from one of the drawers. “History books make my brain go numb. I prefer the wonderful world of fiction.”
Breyona led us down the hall to a set of dark double doors. Her parent’s library smelled of crisp leather, fresh air, and a whole lot of dust. Each and every book lining the ceiling high shelves looked old and worn. I wasn’t sure there was a new book in this entire library.
While the bindings on some were holding strong, others looked as though they might burst at any moment. I half expected some of the books to disintegrate, spewing and scattering pages along the floor.
Dark leather furniture sat in the middle of the room, in the center of the looming book shelves. Mason and I plopped down on the dark leather sofa, my eyes trailing the library around us. I felt as though I were sitting in the center of a tornado, a swirl of books surrounding us.
Breyona gave us an each a tentative glance and headed over to the far wall. In between book shelves, a large painting hung on the wall. I found myself wanting to laugh at Breyona’s parents for their obvious hiding place. The painting was of an older man, no doubt a figure from our History.
The frame was a thick and gilded gold, looking older than many of the books in this library. Breyona swung the painting to the side, much like you would a normal door. Nestled in the wall behind the painting was a thick silver safe.
“They need a safe like that just to hide some books?” Mason coughed, glancing at the safe with a wary look on his face.
“My parents are paranoid.” Breyona shrugged, “They think the books would get stolen. While they happen to be paranoid, they like to write everything down. I found the code to the safe months ago.”
“What if they changed it?” Mason’s light eyebrow lifted; his eyes still locked on the gleaming safe.
Breyona turned her attention to the save, entering in an eight-digit code. A moment of silence ensued, one that left me holding my breath. A loud click followed by a flashing green light came from the safe.
“They didn’t.” Breyona shrugged, giving Mason a cocky grin. “Mom’s horrible with remembering numbers. She used to forget Dad’s birthday all the time.”
Mason and I waited withheld breath as Breyona opened the thick safe. An exhale of breath came from Mason’s lips as we locked eyes on the only book sitting in the safe.
“One book?” Mason scoffed, shaking out his sandy blonde hair. “An entire safe for one book.”
“Like I said, my parents are paranoid.” Breyona shrugged, her hands gentle as she lifted the book into her arms. “Plus, this book is probably priceless.”
Breyona winced as the book hit the oak coffee table with a thud. The cover was thick and practically hanging on by a thread. It was clear her parents had done everything in their power to preserve this book.
While it didn’t have the dusty smell most of their other books had, this one looked decades older. The pages were thick and stained, the writing on them faded and patchy.
I could feel the makings of a headache begin as my eyes roamed the pages, struggling to make out the carefully written words. A few moments of silence passed, three sets of eyes scanning the weathered pages.
“This is a journal of some kind.” Mason frowned, his eyes running over the strange figures and symbols etched onto the paper.
“This looks like a first account of the Burning.” Breyona breathed, looking almost excited. I was sure her Mom would nearly faint if she saw her daughter excited over History.
“Even our elders don’t know the actual story.” Mason breathed, looking just as absorbed as Breyona. “They pass it down through the years, but it changes every time.”
“Looks like your Grandma was right Lola.” Breyona chuckled, her eyes still locked on the book. “The Burning happened because a Vampire was mated to a Werewolf. Mom and Dad always told me the Vampire’s attacked first.”
Something flashed in Breyona’s gaze, something that oddly resembled pity.
“That’s my Dad’s version of the story too.” I nodded, “Only Grandma told me about the Vampire in love with a Werewolf.”
“It’s kind of sad, isn’t it?” Breyona frowned, flipping the pages gently. She nibbled on her lower lip; her eyes clouded as she scanned the book. “That two people in love couldn’t have a happy ending, all because of their species.”
“I wonder if the Vampires were plotting against the pack back then.” I frowned, my eyes scanning Breyona’s face.
“It looks like they weren’t. It looks like a case of wrong place, wrong time. The she-wolf had found her mate, only to realize it was a Vampire.” Breyona let out a shaky sigh, nudging the book closer to me. “This is what we’re looking for.”
My own eyes drifted down to the book, the strange look on Breyona’s face forgotten for the moment. Even Mason looked uncomfortable, glancing at Breyona every couple seconds. I was able to make out the word’s ‘mark’, ‘mate’, and ‘half-breed’ without much hassle.
The first half of the page was identical to what Breyona’s Mom had showed me. It told vague information of the Kouritis bloodline, and how controlling the shadows was a suspected ability. The bottom half of the page was completely different. Instead of blank space, words had taken up the lower half of the page.
Vampire’s and Humans have coupled since the beginning of time with little effects. With enhanced senses, speed and strength these creatures lack the ability to befuddle the mind.
While Vampire’s have an average life-span, they are able to resist disease and illness. Vampires are able to mark their chosen mate’s, whether they be Human or Vampire.
Mating between Vampire’s and Werewolves’ holds a complexity that eludes most. Both species is able to mark their mates, yet a werewolf is unable to choose its desired mate. A mark is a symbol placed onto the skin, signifying a connection between two parties.
It is known, a Vampire’s mark works very similarly to a Werewolf’s. A connection is established between two parties, a bond formed as the mark heals on skin. A mark will heighten emotions and feelings of intimacy.
Once complete, a mark will not fade from skin. The symbol is permanent, as is the bond between two souls. Completion of the mark involves both parties adorning the same symbol followed by the process of physically mating.
Though there have been rare occurrences, little is known about these particular half-breeds. Few Werewolves and Vampires have been mated, and even fewer couple to produce offspring. Vampires and Werewolves have long been thought of as natural enemies.
Acknowledging the ability for Vampires and Werewolves to mate poses a heavy question. Are the two species truly destined natural enemies?
During the 1,500’s a surge of half-breeds appeared across Eastern Europe. Various tests had been done before each half-breed met an untimely demise. It is unknown whether Werewolves or Vampires are responsible for this mass slaughter.
A she-wolf by the name Catherine had completed the mating process with a Vampire. Pregnant and unmarked, a male in her pack had long desired Catherine.
After taking her in the night, the fellow werewolf placed his mark upon her skin. Upon the arrival of her true mate, Catherine had searched for any possible way to remove the mark from her skin.
Unable to find a way around the Werewolf’s mark, her Vampire mate placed his own. The mark of the Werewolf faded, replaced by that of her true mate.
These half-breeds are similar to Vampire’s and Werewolves individually. Each half-breed adapts differently, taking on certain qualities of their species. Few half-breeds studied lacked a wolf spirit within them, unable to shift. These half-breeds craved blood over food.
Those half-breeds with a wolf spirit living within them often craved food, unresponsive when introduced to blood. While these creatures vary, they each had heightened strength and speed, and were also able to detect the scent of Vampire’s.
Vampire’s claim the ability to mask their scent, to hide the sickly-sweet scent that flows from their pores. Half-breed’s are able to detect this scent, whether it be concealed or not.
I tried to hide my interest at the last paragraph I had read. The thought of drinking blood sent a wave of disgust down my spine. I could only assume Vampire’s weren’t in the business of drinking animal blood, the thought nearly made me want to retch. Hunting in wolf form was different. Maya enjoyed hunting other animals, much as a wolf would.
My eyes widened as I read the paragraph a second time, a distant thought crossing my mind. I had met someone who could smell the Vampire’s. The two of us picked up on that sickly sweet scent, even as the other wolves were unable.