Chapter 1 : The Four Moons
Vannie had been a prisoner under the King's dungeons for four moons.
So she was experienced enough to know that something was wrong when the King's Keepers entered her cell. Each Keeper was about three times her size in their human form, hulking bodies covered in black cloaks, and eyes filled with bloodlust.
The two Keepers moved to work on the chains that bound her to the filthy ground with an accuracy that was meant to intimidate. She wondered with mild detachment what they had in store for her. If they were taking off her chains, it had to be one of those days where they loved to see her try to escape, then restrict her just to double the punishments.
"Where are you taking me to?" She dared to ask as one of the men flung her to her feet with one hand, not really expecting an answer.
But they gave her one nonetheless "We're taking you to meet the King" because they knew the reply would send fear crawling down her spine. But after the fear came the familiar anger that she embraced. The King was the enemy.
She clenched her jaw as she was manhandled down what looked like a lobby, choosing to shut up and not waste her strength asking any further questions. Moreover, she still hadn't fully healed from the wound they'd inflicted on her mouth last night.
(She'd asked for water. They'd given her piping hot water to drink, and in her eagerness, she hadn't noticed. Not till it was burning her gullet and tongue.)
Remembering that just made her angrier about this position. That was her perpetual state: An angry half-fae, half-wolf. And she had to remain angry, because the alternative was fear.
So lost in her bitter and angry thoughts, Vannie almost missed the gate of the prison being opened wider. Suddenly the men were leading her outside. The second her mind caught up to the situation, her already parched mouth went drier and her heart began a frantic rhythm. The usual games they played with her never extended to this point.
Something was very wrong. Why were they taking her out when it was almost midnight? Why were they even going outside? Was this the day she was finally executed? What did these bastards have in mind?
The dungeons had trapped and rendered all her fae powers useless, so it was not like she could use magick to hurt these men. Weakness surged through her and briefly made her blank out. Even if she had her powers, she wouldn't have control over them in this state she was in.
The Keepers had to push her when her limping gait proved too slow to catch up with them. The air was thick with urgency. Whatever the reason for her sudden release was, it was important. She knew it in her bones.
They continued to drag her into the tunnel that the prison gates directly led into. After what seemed like an eternity on her weak limbs, they reached a wall. Before she could look around and determine why they were facing walls built with ancient oak, one of the Keepers stepped forward and pushed in a part of it.
The wall came apart to reveal a steel-reinforced door. The same Keeper rapidly typed in a code, and the door also came open.
The first thing that met her gaze was the large window that was open to let the moon shine through. This was the first time she'd seen a moon in all the time of her capture, and she couldn't even be glad about it.
There was a reason they kept her in a windowless cell. They knew fae magick fed off the moonlight. So obviously, bringing her here was no coincidence.
Foreboding hit her as she quickly cataloged the issues. The Keepers had broken off her chains, knowing that she used her hand movements to cast spells. They took her away from the cell without a blindfold. And now, they let her see her magick source. Something was wrong.
"Well, if it isn't the princess," a voice called to her left, and she jerked. Abject terror pitched through her at the blast of raw, primal power, eclipsing her rage for the moment.
Vannie did not need to be told who was inside the room. The King of all Werewolves was waiting to meet her, and she could already tell it wasn't going to be a happy reunion.
She'd only met the Alpha twice. Once when he was torching her family house to the ground, and the other when he was ordering his men to do as they wanted with her and the other spoils of the destruction. He had not only been cruel enough to annihilate an entire family, he'd kept only one alive to live the nightmare.
When she'd first been taken below his dungeons, she had an elaborate plan to escape and wreak havoc on the Inlands. She would avenge what had been done to her household. She would make every single one of the Inlanders and every Keeper that had been part of the bloodbath pay head for head. And as for the Alpha, she'd make death seem like a salvation. She'd watch him burn like he'd done her Sire.
But she failed, didn't she? Nothing, absolutely nothing, could best the King, and she'd learned it the hardest way possible.
The Keepers pushed her in, and slowly- very slowly, she looked up to meet the burning gaze of the King that housed a species of the most powerful Lycan in the world. Evil power roared in her ears, reminding her that this man was a lethal legend. He was sitting up on a bed, his body covered from his stomach down with white linen.
He didn't look like he had a dangerous wolf inside him that he barely kept leashed. He looked like a Roman god, all golden hair and rakish grin, the moon light making his skin have an unnatural glow to it. Obsidian, soulless eyes pinned her to the ground like invisible bands around her person. She averted her gaze immediately.
As an Inlander, he was from an ancestry of the most powerful and ruthless demons in Lycae history. His own Mam was Rosann the Seducer, whose legendary powers were spawned from her beauty. His powers spoke of death, the stark features of his face molded in steel.
He would have been completely beautiful, were it not for the glint of craze in the obsidian depths of his gaze. His wolf was no ordinary Alpha. It was the beast of a reincarnated power-drunk god, a daemon. This man held all the power possible to have in the world. He was Alpha de Noir, and even she could not deny that the effect of him was devastating.
Yet, if she didn't dislike him so much, she'd pity him. Because underneath all that power, the King was lonely.
But that was before he said, "I wish to make use of your blood," and Vannie's rage came back double-fold.