I always forget how hard it is to find teasers for War of Nytefall: Eradication. If it isn’t a lot of talking then it’s a fight scene with spoilers. Then again, the book has been out for a while, so I don’t think a few juicy reveals are going to hurt it. This one is fairly mild and it’s a great set up for a later story. Here you go.
Mab is vaguely aware of the splintering of stone behind her, but the noise does not really register until she is in the air. Feeling a violent jerk on all four chains, she is momentarily suspended in midair before flying backwards. She expects to hit the wall, but is whipped to the side and spun in a way that the chains cocoon her from the neck down. With a final yank, the burglar is slammed against the wall and she is held there by the foot of the armored hunter who attacked her in the tunnels. The ends of the chains are held in his hands and it is clear that he is not using all of his strength to keep the Dawn Fang in place. She is about to spit at the eye slit in the demonic helmet when she notices that there are stone chips falling off the heavily scratched snout. Glancing to her left, she sees a gaping hole and gets a sense that it was done entirely with his head.
“All of you are to leave me and the woman alone,” the mortal says in a voice that is raspy and cold. Without question, the other hunters pick up those who are unconscious and hurry out of the room. “I assume your mate gains the same amount of respect from his people. Now, I have some questions. You will answer them because you have no choice. I have no interest in torturing you. In fact, I find the practice ugly and barbaric. Not that it would work on the infamous Dark Mistress of Nyte.”
“Don’t believe I’m familiar with that name,” Mab replies with a cough. She tries to slip into the shadows of the chains, but the hunter’s large hand catches her by the head. “That’s an impressive grip, but your control is what has my attention. I can feel the pressure on my skull and it’s the perfect amount to warn me that you could crush my head. Leo Kandrel doesn’t want me dead yet, does he?”
Releasing his hold, the hunter uses a finger to sheer off the front of his chest plate that has the winged demon symbol. “He is neither my master nor superior. In fact, my brief time with him has come to a close. I gained his attention, entered his ranks, and observed enough to answer a few questions I had about his intentions. All that is left is for us to talk and then I will be on my way. Perhaps an act of good faith will loosen your tongue”
The man removes his foot and lets Mab drop to her chain-covered feet, the burglar struggling to maintain her balance. A flicker of movement from the hunter causes her to tense and prepare for a blow. Instead, his pinky finger runs down the thick bonds and slices through them like they are water. The armor around the digit is destroyed from the friction and exposes his tan skin, but he swiftly wraps it in a cloth. When the man turns his back on the Dawn Fang, she considers diving into the shadows that are starting to return. He stops and holds up a hand at the faint sound of her foot sliding, which causes the burglar to freeze. Mab’s heart nearly jumps into her throat when the large figure moves in the blink of an eye to retrieve her clothes and returns to place them in her hands. A long-held quiver runs up her spine and she cannot fight the urge to move away from the mysterious warrior.
“Your kind truly are monsters with the souls and hearts of mortals,” he says with an ear-wrenching chuckle. He refuses to turn away while the burglar gets dressed, but faint nod from within the helmet shows that his eyes are closed. “I have been observing Dawn Fangs since the day I came across you. The Garians have maintained a book that I read every week to make sure I know everything. Your existence changes the way hunters will operate because some are wondering if it is ethical to destroy monsters that have restraint. This is why I have questions because I am not sure if you should live or die. Clyde’s dream of acceptance is admirable, but one wonders if it is possible.”
“Gregorio is going to have to speak with Huntley about who gets to look at those secret tomes,” Mab replies after putting on her jacket. Taking out a flask of blood, she takes a sip without looking away from the man. “I doubt that I can tell you anything that isn’t in that book or you haven’t observed. You even know a nickname of mine that I’ve never heard of before. I should be interrogating you.”
“Curious how you are attempting humor instead of your usual threats,” the man replies as he reaches out to catch the vampire by the chin. He lets her resist in vain while he stares into her eyes and searches them for signs of deceit. “Part of you is scared. That is good because it means you won’t force me to destroy you. I don’t believe I’m ready to face Clyde right now. As powerful as I am, I sense that he is stronger. That is what I want to know from you. Has your mate ever released his full power or is he always restrained?”
The dangerous question causes Mab to scowl and she yanks herself free, which leaves her with a bleeding chin. “I will never betray him. None of your questions about Clyde will get answers other than that. If you want to find out how strong he is then you should ask him yourself. He might even give you a demonstration.”
“Such a display might not answer my question since I believe he brings himself down to or stays slightly above his opponent’s level,” the hunter calmly states. A clanging erupts from the walls and they can hear the distant rumble of hundreds of feet rushing down the stone steps. “It seems we’ve run out of time, which means my questions will go unanswered. If I stay any longer then that fool will expect me to fight for his cause and I’m not ready to sacrifice any of my reputation. Perhaps this is for the best, Dark Mistress. I should not have expected the one who has loved him for over a century to be disloyal. Besides, a woman in your condition must be in need of rest. I’m certain the child has been making you very uncomfortable.”
“How do you know about that?”
“I can smell the child in you.”
“Are you a Dawn Fang?”
“No . . . I am what Clyde will truly fear one day.”