Meant to post this excerpt of War of Nytefall: Rivalry earlier, but I wasn’t sure if it counted as a spoiler. Still, showing the Vampire Queen’s debut is important. I’m going to using teasers with her in them, so it isn’t like she’s going to be a secret. Enjoy!
Swirling the wine in his mouth, Clyde takes a seat on a pedestal that holds a ruby statue of a beautiful dancer. He gazes at the sky to see if there are any wards over the island, but there is no telltale shimmer. The idea that they are not being contained through magic does little to ease his nerves, which remain on edge. Stretching his arms and yawning, the Dawn Fang counts how many servants are wandering through the crowd. None of the other guests appear to be worried and are thoroughly enjoying the feast, which makes Clyde curious as to how long most of them have been on Apelios. Glancing at one of the monstrous statues, he hops off his perch and goes in for a closer look. He practically touches his nose to the display’s face and notices that there is a hint of green in its eyes. Taking a step back, he cannot shake a strange sense of amusement towards the monstrous piece of art.
“Teleportation is the most likely scenario if they don’t have ships, but there’s also the chance that we haven’t seen the port,” Clyde explains, his voice only slightly louder than a whisper. Waving his friends over, he snarls at an approaching waitress wearing nothing more than maple leaves. “This place is giving me the creeps. It’s like if Chastity was put in charge of Nytefall and decided to lose what little restraint she had. Even then, there’s something else in the air that is driving me crazy. Almost like I should be picking up on signs of what’s going on, but there’s one central piece that I’m missing. Okay, does this thing look familiar to anyone else or am I losing my mind?”
“The face reminds me of my sister,” Titus says while tapping at the statue. Walking around the pedestal, he notices tiny details such as a set of lockpicks hidden in the foot. “Mab used to have a set like this and kept it in her boot. Wait a second. This could be a demonic version of my sister, which means this Vampire Queen knows . . . We have to get off this island. Luther, turn into a raven and go hunting for the teleportation device. If I’m right then this has very little to do with all of us.”
“You don’t mean-” Clyde begins, his eyes going wide.
“I think so.”
“You said you threw her into a volcano.”
“Well, obviously it didn’t do the job.”
Luther grabs his friends by the arms and hisses, “What are you two talking about? Who took us and what does it have to do with Mab?”
“Please be quiet for the Vampire Queen!” Dean announces from the top of the walkway.
The doors slam shut and walls of melted gemstones rise between the columns to create a beautiful cage that many of the trapped Dawn Fangs foolishly applaud. Colorful diamonds rise from the floor and fly through the crowd, the jewels circling each of the vampires to leave a trail of sparkling dust in their wake. Rising high above the banquet, they hover for a second before soaring towards the empty throne. The gems collide with the large ruby and explode into a shower of rainbow shards that open like a curtain to reveal a woman whose crimson eyes glint in the light. Her sleeveless dress resembles liquid sapphires and she is wearing as much jewelry as she can without appearing gaudy. Two slits in the side of her skirt reveal her toned legs, which appear longer due to the stiletto heels that are made from polished metal. Many of the guests whisper about how beautiful the black-haired vampire is, the servants chiming in to add that the Vampire Queen is kind and generous. Satisfied with the waves of admiration, the woman pulls a folded fan out from behind her back and holds it over her head to get complete silence. Reaching out her other hand, she conjures a silver tiara that is studded with teardrop-shaped purple topazes and a single starburst emerald.
“I welcome all of you to my beautiful island home,” the Vampire Queen announces before blowing a kiss to the crowd. She giggles when she spots Titus in the back, the warrior having covered the eyes of his friends. “I promise that there will be no manipulation on my part, so please relax. You are all going to be a part of history. As you know, the Dawn Fangs have changed the dynamic of our world, but they remain unorganized. No offense to their leader, but the new breed needs the touch of an elegant and sophisticated woman. That is why I, the legendary Vampire Queen, have decided to become a Dawn Fang and bring them into my kingdom. Of course, this cannot be done until I have a proper king. Many would believe that Clyde or Lord Tempest deserve this right, but I do not feel they should be given anything for free. Let them fight for my hand like everyone else. There is always a chance that one of you will prove to be the true Vampire King and win the contest that I have created. With the exception of one, all of you are the strongest and smartest of the Dawn Fangs. Use that power and desire to battle for the greatest title of our world!”
“Yup . . . That would be my maker,” Titus mutters under his breath. “Say hello to the vain and greedy Jewelz. Like I said, we need to get out of here. Now.”