Lancothy, Soul Stone Mage Book 6
By Sarah Noffke & Martha Carr
A loud ticking echoed through the rustic foyer of the abandoned boarding house. At one time the building had been full of laughter and the bustling feet of precocious pupils. Still with the fine layer of dust covering the stone banister and tile floor, it’s original charm seeped through.
“The realtor who showed it to me said the manor is haunted,” Cordelia said, turning to face Hamilton. He didn’t look impressed as he ran his finger over a large vase sitting on the floor by the entry way. Hamilton was wearing his usual suit and the scowl made him look quite cute, but that was only because Cordelia found the more hostile emotions attractive. A smile made his green eyes light up, but a grimace made his power flow from his gaze.
“Haunted, huh?” Hamilton asked. “We’re vampires. The thing of nightmares. Aren’t we the ones who haunt?”
“We both know that ghosts aren’t real,” Cordelia said, looking over at the large grandfather clock on the wall that was responsible for the loud ticking sound. It was nearly morning. They’d have to take refuge in the basement since proper curtains hadn’t yet been installed over the floor to ceiling windows. The center atrium was also a gigantic problem with a huge skylight. Humans loved their sun, Cordelia thought with major irritation.
“Are there any of the old students of this boarding school roaming the grounds?” Hamilton asked, not looking amused. “I’m hungry.”
“We’ll feed in a bit,” Cordelia said, striding over to Hamilton. Today she wore one of her favorite red dresses. All of her dresses were red. What use did she have wearing anything but? This one had a heart shaped neckline and ruffles that spilled all the way down to the floor. It was heavy, but that wasn’t a problem for Cordelia with her incredible strength. She ran her fingernail down Hamilton’s suit jacket. “Do you like the house?”
Hamilton eyed the dusty foyer, disgust making his lip curl. His gaze softened when it landed on Cordelia. “No, not really, but I like you and you picked it.”
“It’s not our forever home,” Cordelia explained. “It’s just a base of operation for the brood until we find something better.”
Hamilton sniffed. The air in the old boarding house was stale and laced with what Cordelia had hiding in the closet. A sort of house warming present for her love. “You know I don’t mean any offense to your efforts. I’m just picky.”
Cordelia leaned into Hamilton, her lips grazing the side of his neck. Her fangs instinctively withdrew, her desire for blood linked to her lust for the man before her. “I enjoy that you’re selective. You picked me, didn’t you?”
Hamilton’s hand gripped Cordelia at the hip bones, pulling her in close to him. “I would have no other.”
A cough sliced through the air, interrupting the couple. Cordelia pulled back, but only a few inches as her fangs retreated. “Yes, Ata?” she asked, her tone impatient.
“Using the tracking spell, I think I’ve located a page from the Book of Dead,” Ata said.
This stole Cordelia’s attention. She turned, looking up at the wizard who stood at the halfway mark on the long staircase. He was dressed in the traditional robes of the New Egypt coven and holding his crook lightly in his fingers. Since the disturbance with the Queen of Virgo, Azure, he’d been a bit more difficult to control. A wizard, even one as powerful as him, couldn’t resist their mind control entirely, but he could try and fight it. Cordelia worried that he’d find a way of breaking it. More importantly, she worried that the pages of the Book of the Dead would surface. Centuries ago the earliest founder vampires had pulled the pages that detailed how to eradicate vampires or cure vampirism. They couldn’t be destroyed but they could be lost and they had been for a long time. Now with vampirism spreading in the homeland of New Egypt it was crucial that the pages were found and kept away from Chibale and his coven.
“Do tell,” Cordelia said, arching her eyebrow with curiosity.
“The Queen of Virgo has it,” Ata stated, his voice neutral. He almost appeared like a statue with his black hair pulled back in a ponytail and his jaw firm. The swirling tattoos covering his legs, arms and face were less visible in the darkened house.
“What? When did she get it?” Hamilton asked, stepping forward.
“My spell doesn’t tell me when, only that she’s in possession of one of the pages,” Ata said.
Cordelia gritted her teeth, stomping her black heel into the stone floor. “Damn that witch. She escaped from us and now has a page that could hold our demise.”
“I knew she was going to be trouble,” Hamilton said, his eyes steaming with fury.
“She won’t be a problem when we turn everyone in her kingdom in to vampires,” Cordelia. “She’ll be begging for us to turn her then.”
“And we won’t,” Hamilton said. “That will be her punishment.”
“You’re so cruel, my love.” A wicked smile sprang to Cordelia’s face. “I happen to think that she’d make a fine founder. And I could use a formidable female companion.”
Hamilton gawked at Cordelia, his eyebrows knitting together. “You have me. Why do you need another companion?”
Cordelia brushed a hand over Hamilton’s firm jaw. “You’re wonderful, but every woman needs another who can relate to her. I’ve yet to find one intriguing enough to turn into a founder.”
“Yes, but soon we will have a population of bats and need to decide how to use them,” Hamilton stated. Lux and Devo had already set out for Lancothy to retrieve as many bats as they could so that the mission to create founder vampires could be completed successfully. In the meantime, Hamilton and Cordelia had only created a handful of follower vampires, but they’d need to expand their efforts to ensure their brood thrived. Vampires were truly powerful in numbers and taking over New Egypt was their ultimate goal.
“I guess,” Hamilton said, a look of disapproval on his face.
Cordelia heart was lightened by Hamilton’s jealousy. Proudly she turned back to Ata. “I want you to try another tracking spell. We have to find those other pages. How many are there?”
“I’m not certain. Maybe three or four,” Ata said.
“We need all of them. But we can’t touch the queen so instead I want you to create something that can go after her,” Cordelia ordered.
“Yes,” Ata said, but a bit of hesitation in his eyes.
“Yes, what?” Cordelia asked.
“Yes, master,” he said, his voice sounding dead.
“That’s better. Now off you go.” Cordelia turned, giving her attention to Hamilton. “Now, I say that we christen this house the right way.”
A heated look crossed Hamilton’s face. “What do you have in mind?”
Cordelia peeled away from the man and crossed the foyer to the closet door. The handle was rusted, but still turned with a bit of effort. She pulled back the door to show a man standing squarely in the empty space. His gaze was dull and his mouth hung open like he was in a trance.
“The realtor didn’t just help us find this new location, but is also going to be our first meal in the place.” Cordelia snapped at the man. “Come forward,” she commanded.
Like a robot the man marched forward, out of the closet where she’d made him stay using the slightest bit of effort with her mind control.
“Halt,” she said when he was just between Hamilton and her. Cordelia brushed the side of the man’s neck and a moment later found that Hamilton had joined her on the other side using his super speed.
“What a great idea you had. I always enjoy feeding with you, my love,” Hamilton said.
“Yes, I know.” Cordelia’s head reared back as her fangs slid into place. She launched forward sinking her teeth into the realtor’s neck as Hamilton did the same on the other side. The two drank until they were full and the man was dead.