Here we go with excerpts from a new book. It started with War of Nytefall: Loyalty and now we’re on to volume 3, War of Nytefall: Rivalry. This is the opening scene of the new book, which I still hope to release in April. Enjoy.
Ralgin is about to suggest a smaller job when he hears a strange sound coming from the nearest room. Seeing that Narwid has heard the noise as well, he holds up his hand to stop his leader from investigating. Even though the Dawn Fang can handle himself, the mortal feels honor bound to get his club from a table and take the lead. Bowing to the amused vampire, the man casually swings his weapon at his side as he approaches a colorful tapestry that depicts an exploding rainbow. Before he can push the entrance aside, Ralgin catches the same noise coming from the room next door, but it ends with an odd rattle instead of abruptly cutting off. The gang leaders exchange worried glances, which deepen when more of the sounds emerge from their friends’ quarters. Some end quickly while others carry on for several minutes, which begin to include muffled voices that are vaguely familiar.
Worried that they are under attack, both thieves hurry to the only room that has remained silent. Tossing the starry tapestry to the side, they watch as the young woman inside leans over to kiss a large emerald. The mortal’s eyes are glassy and she shows no sign of recognizing that she has company, her attention solely on whatever she sees within the flawless facets. As her lips start to leave the jewel, they stretch and create a sucking noise that Ralgin and Narwid recognize as the strange sound. The mesmerized thief’s body is gradually drawn into the emerald, but the process stops once her upper torso has been completely absorbed. Seeing an opening to free their friend, the panicking leaders hurry to grab the woman by the legs and pull her out of the gem. No sooner have they touched her than they hear a gentle sigh and the mortal suddenly bursts into a curtain of crimson powder. For a brief moment, they see a pair of golden eyes in the emerald, which cracks and crumbles into a pile of worthless rocks.
With a guttural snarl, Narwid bends down to touch the layer of red dust and licks some of it off his finger. His mouth is filled with the taste of blood as if he has swallowed a mug full of precious ichor. Signaling for Ralgin to stay where he is, the Dawn Fang moves at a dizzying speed to check the other rooms. All of them are empty with only a few having the powdered remains of his mortal friends. The quick search gives him no answers, which stirs his primal rage to the point where his fangs are peeking out of his mouth. It is only when he sees the fear and worry on his partner’s face that Narwid manages to get himself under control and takes a seat in his favorite chair.
“We were targeted by somebody,” the Dawn Fang states with a shrug. Cringing at how anyone could figure that out with a mere glance, he pulls out a flask and takes a sip of fae water to calm his nerves. “Maybe Lord Xavier found out about us and set a trap. Although, he typically sends Decker to Canst’s Fields, so this doesn’t feel right. Don’t look in the rooms, Ralgin, because the traps may still be active. The only reason I was safe is because I moved too fast to get caught. Looks like your kind were turned to dust while mine are gone without a trace. I can’t tell who the main target was, which is frustrating. Did this mystery person want to kill mortals or contain Dawn Fangs? Are they even trapped because all of the gems have turned to rocks? This is beyond my knowledge and abilities.”
“Nobody in the area has this kind of power,” Ralgin quietly says. Sitting next to his friend, he lets his club thud to the floor and leans forward until his head is between his knees. “It happened to fast. They were with us no more than ten minutes ago and now everyone is gone. I think we should report this to Nytefall. You keep telling me that now is not the time for mortals to see your home, but I ask that you take me along. This place isn’t safe and I want to make sure you reach the hidden city without incident.”
The vampire cannot stop himself from chuckling at how his friend is speaking sternly while trying not to vomit from shock. “I’m sorry, but Clyde would punish both of us. It is risky enough that we work together, which took a lot of explaining on my part. Chastity Sullivan had to back me up and I doubt she will be of help for such a breach of protocol. You are right that this place isn’t safe, so I want you to go to the new city. Once I’m done reporting to Nytefall, I’ll return and we can set up a new gang. Maybe I’ll find some fresh recruits while I’m home.”
“As you wish . . . Wait, I think there is something you should take,” the exhausted man claims as he heads for the treasure horde. Knowing exactly what he is looking for, he leans inside to grab two small bags, each one no bigger than a cantaloupe. “These are our shares of the latest haul, which held those trapped gems. I’m sure each of us received one as well. Take these to Nytefall and they can prove our story.”
“Perhaps Mab or Luther Grathan can use them to track our enemies.”
“One can hope.”
“At the very least, Gregorio Roman would be happy to-”
Before Narwid can finish his thought, the bags tremble and hum with enough force to vibrate Ralgin’s entire body. With a loud crack and crinkling, the bags are punctured by jeweled spikes that rapidly grow towards the walls and ceiling. The mortal hurls the treasure away and the terrified thieves rush for the exit, neither of them looking behind at the quivering mass of crystals. They are within reach of the door when the trap violently explodes and fills the hideout with a shimmering fog that hardens with a slow crunch. Everything is coated in the fragile gemstones, including Narwid and Ralgin, who try to scream as the weakened ceiling collapses and a flood of dirt fills the ancient cellar.