Hope people have been enjoying the War of Nytefall: Ravenous teasers. I haven’t decided if I’m going to continue it going through October or take a break to do something more Halloween-y. Anyway, I figure it’s a time for Nadia Sylvan to get a scene. Check out the full book for the whole story. Feel free to leave a review too. Those are more precious than gold and infinitely harder to find.
Using a hand mirror, Desirae checks her elegant dress and hair to make sure both are immaculate. She finds that she cannot get a good look at the back without ruining her hair, so she scans the thoughts of her enslaved servant. The dwarf has been ogling her for the entire journey, which has created a detailed image of her body in his mind. Spotting a leaf on her lower back, she stretches an arm to pluck it off the dark blue fabric. After fixing a few more minor flaws, Desirae waves for the smiling man to lift the heavy crates of blood bottles over his bald, tattooed head. She takes a deep breath and closes her eyes as she crosses a barrier that gives a little resistance before letting her through. The open farmland ahead of the Dawn Fang disappears to reveal a simple cottage that is one minor storm away from collapsing. Staying on the gravel path, she watches the surrounding dirt shift and occasionally sprout a grotesque, grinning face. The soil golems randomly bump against the wide road of stones that deflect their frail bodies, which break apart and reform after the slightest impact. A groaning thud causes Desirae to freeze and she twists her head around to check the area. The gloomy dusk makes it difficult to see any changes in the landscape, but she swears that one of the leafless trees has moved closer to the cottage. Scanning the area, she notices nearly fifty spots where there are flickers of repetitive thoughts. With the exception of the soil golems, the other constructs keep their distance and wait to see if the newcomers are a threat to their beloved creator.
A window creaks open and reveals a fading candle, which has feet and arms that are steadily melting. Before the tiny creature disappears, it chirps a warning and points its wick at the blank-faced dwarf. Desirae signals for the man to put the crates down and go back to the other side of the barrier. She is wrapping her arms around the delivery when she hears a tiny giggle come from the dirt. Her servant has no time to scream as the soil golems leap out from one side of the road to tackle him onto the exposed ground. More clamber out of the earth to grab the flailing vampire, who bares his fangs in desperation and claws at his attackers. They reform as quickly as they are destroyed, but their numbers gradually overpower the man. He is about to reach for Desirae, but stops at the thought of his precious mistress getting hurt. With a sigh of resignation, he gives up fighting and lets himself get pulled beneath the surface. A patch of red and white grass emerges from dirt and splits into smaller groupings that spread out across the front lawn. A second later, a loud burp sends a knotted beard soaring onto the gravel path and the soil golems giggle from their hiding places.
“I wasn’t done with that man,” Desirae says as she drags the crates to the front door.
Forcing herself to smile, the Dawn Fang knocks with her foot and is relieved to see that it opens immediately. She squeezes in with the crates and flexes the inside of her nostrils to close off her sense of smell. It is not fast enough to block the stench of herbs, old blood, and fresh milk, which makes her stomach turn. Placing the delivery on the floor, Desirae checks her nails while her host rises from a porcelain tub that is out of place among the rotted furniture. Aside from a wooden pendant shaped like a sparrow, Nadia Sylvan is naked and her body is covered in the foul-smelling concoction that helps ease her aching joints. The vampiric orc cradles her bloated belly as a wind golem lifts a nearby towel to dry her off. Her red hair is whipped around by the creature, which braids the tresses while completing its other task. Stepping out of the basin, the noblewoman whistles to get slipper golems to crawl out of the shadows and plant themselves on the floor to catch her feet. The soft and warm constructs lead her to a chair that is still in good condition and has a robe draped over the back. Nadia puts the royal purple garment on and groans at the sensation of her knees creaking from turning to her guest. With a silent wave, she brings the patient woman’s attention to a scroll that is dangling from a hook next to the door.
“Another list of delicacies that you wish for me to procure,” Desirae bluntly states, her arms crossing instead of stretching for the new job. She meets her client’s gaze with a look of calm that she has spent decades cultivating to perfection. “You must be wondering why I came here instead of sending Renald as usual. Then again, you don’t seem to be doing very well, Lady of Nyte. I’ve heard of that bath and it only works on mortals. Our regeneration works against us when pregnant. At least that’s what I’ve learned from my own observations. I make sure to avoid getting struck down by such an inconvenience. Besides, I can make children in a much simpler and less self-destructive way. Do you want me to toss you a snack?”
“Please do before I lose my temper,” Nadia answers in a weak voice. She catches the bottle in the blink of an eye and bites off the top to drain the sour liquid. “The blood of a halfling drunk off dwarven whiskey who has recently been intimate with a gnome of the same age. Such a delicious and rare taste.”
“And that was one of the easier items for me to get,” the elf sarcastically mutters.