Chapter 1

Written by: Suraya Dewing

The light breeze shuffled through the clearing in which Vicki stood opposite Sebastian. The winter-naked trees sent spindly, leafless branches up into the darkened sky lit only by the moon, an orb of weakened light. 

Vicki’s long black skirt rippled in silvery silken waves around her legs and shuffled against her leather laced boots.

Leaves shifted restlessly about her feet. She could feel her body dangerously swaying.

“You have just stopped me re-energising.” Her voice broke and her words came out in puffs of light vapour. 

Sebastian shook his head, his dark hair playing across his brown eyes. 

Her weakness growing, she slumped onto a nearby log mottled by red and white toadstools. 

She tried to sit so that Sebastian would not detect how weak she had become. She haughtily lifted her head and as she did she saw a magnificent buck standing proudly on a craggy outcrop, its silhouetted form back-lit by the pale spindly moon. She knew she needed to get to it, to recharge her energies but it was clear Sebastian was never going to help her. He had already proven his deceitfulness by releasing the doe. Anger pierced her heart.

Sebastian stood, upright, self-righteous and straight, his black cape falling in thick woollen folds about his knees touching the tops of his calf skin boots and black trousers.

The moonlight caught his laughing eyes and charged her with desire and antipathy at the same time. 

“You think you can reign over every domain and I say you can't.” He waved a white hand to take in the shadowed forest. “Not here. This is mine.”

“Sebastian,” she groaned. “Please. I am no threat to you.” The clouds in her mind shifted and she heard the silent words, 'right now.’

Her eyes shifted to the buck, still standing as still as a statue. As if aware of her fixed attention it looked to her with large brown eyes. The buck gave a light toss of its imposing head, the eight points on its antlers piercing the darkness around it. His beautiful blood would power her for days.

Dizziness washed over her. She put her hands over her pale face. “My grandmother,” she brokenly murmured.

She absentmindedly rubbed the amulet around her neck.  Vicki felt a force of new energy surge through her. Pushing Sebastian to one side she crept toward the buck. As if sensing that she was nearby the buck stamped its feet and moved further out of her reach. 

Sebastian caught her hands. “Leave him. Woman should not touch male energy.”

She fiercely shook him away. “There is no time.”

As she leapt she seemed to fly catching the startled deer around the neck. She sunk her teeth into its veins and drank all that she needed while it shivered feeling its life draining away.

There was a loud rustling of leaves. The family was coming through the forest to the council meeting Sebastian had called.