Here’s another War of Nytefall: Lost teaser. Highlighting another character who doesn’t get a lot of attention here. Stephanie Talon is fun to write, but she’s a tough one to fit into scenes due to her utter devotion to Nadia Sylvan. Hard for her to function without her precious master right now.
Stephanie stands in Nadia’s private quarters, which have been filled with strength-sapping sunlight. The old-world vampire winces and growls at the sensation of weakness that runs through her muscles. Her tail hangs limp behind her and its heaviness threatens to pull down her ankle-length dress. The garment is not as fancy as those in the closet behind her, but it is still an odd choice considering she is busy cleaning the room. Having told the servants to leave the work to her, Stephanie goes back to toiling in the sunlight. Straightening the papers on the office desk is an exhaustive challenge, which requires that she lean against the cushioned chair while sipping at a pouch of blood. The vampiric calico runs a hand through her violet hair and scowls at the clump that comes off in her fingers. She reaches up to touch her scalp, which is throbbing from her pushing her body beyond its limits. Unable to withstand the discomfort any longer, she steps into the shadows of a tall cabinet and reattaches the knotted tress. Stephanie attempts to continue her cleaning, but she finds that her legs refuse to obey her commands. The gasping vampire surrenders to her body and collapses into the faint darkness, which allows her to gradually regain her strength. With a sigh of defeat, she slips on a diamond ring and presses her thumb against the pointy top to give the relic a few drops of her blood.
“Resistance to sunlight can’t be achieved through exposure,” Stephanie whispers into the gem. Gesturing for a wind spell, she pulls a night cloak to her, but lets it flop to the floor at her feet. “In fact, pushing myself to endure began either a rotting or aging process. I don’t wish to see the end result because Lady Nadia still needs me. This failure makes it even more apparent that I’m too weak to be of any real help. It is also clear that the secret to becoming a Dawn Fang is in the blood, but the few I have experimented on have not had the potency of Clyde. There is no chance of me capturing him and the vial I had has been destroyed as per the request of Lord Tempest. I feel like I gave up too easily, but I can’t disobey such orders. Not if they would result in my destruction or exile, which means Lady Nadia will not have me by her side. For now, I will have to be patient and-”
“Why are you talking to your jewelry?” a voice asks from the top of the cabinet. Hooking her legs on a torch sconce, Lost dangles off the furniture and flashes a crooked smile at the startled woman. “You’re not like me. Oh, you’re one of the relic types that go wimpy in the sunlight. I thought all of you were dead or hiding, but you’re all here. Weird that my father is lord of a city of weaker vampires. You smell like old blood and licorice, but you’re not wearing socks, so you’re good.”
“Who are you and how did you get into my master’s office?” the ritualist asks when she regains her senses. Leaving the shadows, she sees that the front door is still closed and locked, but one of the windows is open. “You climbed the wall and came in through a window? That doesn’t make any sense. Nyte has wards to prevent unaffiliated Dawn Fangs from entering the city. I know you’re not one of our people, so you should have been destroyed the instant you tried to get inside. Why can’t I sense the wards anymore?”
“They may have popped when I poked at them,” Lost sheepishly admits as she drops to the floor. Scooping up the night cloak, she offers it to the cautious woman and tries to bow on one leg without toppling over. “I didn’t mean to break anything. It happened and I couldn’t put them back together. There were a lot of soldiers coming through the front door of the castle too. Last thing I wanted to do was get in the way of their fun, so I went looking for another door. This one looked easy to get to. By the way, my name is Lost and I’m searching for my father. A priestess told me he could be in Nyte.”
Pulling her night cloak tight around her body, Stephanie moves to the other side of the desk and inches towards the door. “You have to be mistaken. None of the Dawn Fangs in Nyte would dare to turn someone. Even the Lord and Lady have refused to create children because they see their condition as unnatural. This is why they deny my desire to change. Please leave and I will pretend that this never happened. After all, you seem like a nice child, who is simply confused and ignorant of the world.”
“Why are you scared of me?”
“If you are not one of our people then you must work for Clyde.”
“That the mean guy who kills all who oppose him?”
“So, you do know him.”
“No, but that would explain why you’re so scared.”
“It’s more that there is a strange girl in my master’s room and I’m still weak.”
“I get it now . . . You’re too tired to answer my questions, so I’ll do it myself.”