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Review This Story || Author: Veronica Leigh Marquette

Beginnings - Dark Love 1

Chapter 14


Michael and his brood returned to his Sire's domain. Morgan still wrestled with her pup. "So, Vincent, how has it been?"

David looked up from where he and Aaron sat, watching as, Mark was ordered to perform, yet again. "Fine Megel, where is Azrael?"

"Oh, he had a few things to do before he came home." And the tale of the girl and Azrael's intentions was told.

David nodded. It made sense. If Azrael really were opening a covenstead, he would need more humans to feed his Kin. "So, we are to expect a guest for dinner?" He grinned at his own joke.

Michael grinned nodding. "So it would seem, so it would seem." He moved to the couch, dropped the bundles beside it, and sat down. He had to lighten the mood before Azrael returned. Too many new ones a great many of which had been with them only days.

"So," he smiled down where Valerie and Mark lay locked together in passion. "What have I missed?" The kitten curled up against his chest, purring.

David looked at him, chuckling. "Oh, I'm amusing myself and our pets with Mark. We are testing the depth of his submission."

Michael nodded, yes, this he understood. "How has he been so far?"

"Let the girls come sit with me, and let him answer that."

Michael nodded to both Amber and Morgan. "Okay, Vincent, let him show me how submissive he is."

Mark lay beside Valerie, gasping for breath. He had never been so worn out before in his life or at least not the way he was now. He didn't know if he could still move, and yet, David was getting ready to order him up once again. "Please, Master," he begged, not at all ashamed to do so. He had done more in one night, so far, than he did sometimes in weeks.

David made a tisking sound as he rose to come to where he lay. "Mark, where is your spirit of the game? Were you not the one who swore his submission was complete?" He bent and helped Mark back up to his knees. "Go on with you, pet. Neither Megel or Jason are going to hurt you."

Mark knelt at Michael's knees, resting his head against them.

Jason snuggled closer to Michael, eyes wide with curiosity. "Master?"

Michael looked down at Mark. "Let's see what the boy has in mind, love. Who knows, given the right incentive, we might be amused after all." He pulled away from Jason, leaning down to pull Mark up to him. "Look up, pet, see what your master brought you." Dark brown eyes met his.

Mark looked up at him noticing the kitten. "Master?"

"Azrael thought perhaps you would like a pet. Take him and put him away for now, the return to me."

The kitten fussed only for a second as Michael handed him over. "Hurry, boy."

Mark was confused, but he obeyed. "Master?" He returned, kneeling, again at the vampire's feet.

Michael lifted his face. "Thirsty, pet?"

Mark nodded. "Parched." He smiled. "About to die to be honest."

Michael chuckled. "Now," he pulled him closer, "We can't have you doing that, now can we?" He felt the press of hot flesh against him as the lips beneath his parted and welcomed his tongue. "Vincent, would you hand me the knife?" He smiled down at Mark. "The night is young, it is far too early for you to be calling it quits now."

* * *

Tony helped lock up the pet store, muttering about Wendy and her hormones as he did so. All, that flirt and bother, and then leaving with that biker. Some girls had no brains or control.

He couldn't help but notice the limousine parked in the middle of the parking lot as he came out. 'What the' , it wasn't normal, who would leave a vehicle like that here?

He almost returned into the building to call the police, when he noticed Azrael exiting from the back seat. 'Oh, it's him' . Tony relaxed and grinned. The guy probably had one of his numerous lovers in the back. It was almost funny. The guy had money, looks, and charm, yet was always flirting with him every time he came into his store.

Ah, well, it was none of his business. He almost turned away, heading for his car, when his inner warning system went off.

He looked around. Trying to gauge from what direction the trouble was coming. There was nothing. Nothing visible, but there was something there, just at the edge--he invoked his inner sight, seeing the world around him now with more than just his two eyes.

'Power' . The warning in his head was almost maddening as he looked at himself. He was surrounded by residue. Someone had whammied him. Who and when were at the front of his mind as he looked around for the threat. They were obviously still present, or his warning system wouldn't be acting up. Then his eyes fell onto Azrael.

It was this man, the queer. The powers around him were staggering. A haze of red heavy energy emanated from him. Oh, Shit. Instinct took hold as his shields were raised. Whatever the guy was, it was not something he was ready to take on.

Azrael looked up, alarmed as he felt first the brush against his own shields. It had been so long since he had felt the invoking of mage sight. He almost passed it off as nerves. Then the feeling was accompanied by the calling of shields. Sloppily constructed and incredibly noisy, but shields none the less. His eyes scanned the area, coming to rest on Tony. 'My goodness and what do we have here' ?

The boy was a mage. A true mage, though obviously new, to, his, vocation, incredibly loud, and barely trained. Who would have ever thought, after all these years, that the Magi were still in existence? But they were, and here was a young baby mage, fully shielded, and with Sight, before him. Azrael cast a minor summoning, to draw the youth close.

And, to the young man's horror, it worked. Tony fought the pull that dragged him to this stranger. No one had power like this. His best defensive spells could only slow his pace, not stop it. He redoubled his efforts, throwing everything he had into fighting the inevitable.

"You might as well save your strength, boy." Azrael advised, with an amused chuckle. He added just the lightest brush more power, and the boy's resistance ceased. "So, Mageling," Azrael smiled. "And here I thought there were no more of your kind alive."

"Why are you doing this?" Tony felt the last of his struggle fade with the new power. Whoever this man was, there was no other that he had ever heard of that would beat him. "I have no war with you."

Azrael nodded, granting him that. "Nor I you, but you have recognized me for what I am. Surely you know what that means?"

His captor was a black magician. Tony's heart constricted. The man was, had to be a black mage. "Okay," his head bowed. "What do you want?"

Azrael almost laughed at the young man. This mageling thought him to be a 'black mage'. "Well, you are bright enough to see where there is no chance. So tell me mageling, what do you have to offer, that is worth your life."

Tony relaxed just a little. The man was talking to him. Hadn't done anything more than summon him, yet. "Nothing, you know that." Unlike so many of the new-age groups out there, Tony didn't fear the dark arts quite the way they did. He knew for the most part, those who walked them wanted nothing more than to be left alone, not desiring conflict any more than those of the white. It was only the ambitious and young that ever caused trouble. He wasn't sure of the mage's ambition, but this one wasn't young. "I mean, what can I give you that you don't have already? I'm nowhere near your league, and if what I have seen is any indication, then neither is my Master."

"You really do not know what I am?" There was honest surprise in Azrael's voice. He brushed against Tony's mind briefly. "No, I see you do not. Well this is rich."

"No, I suppose I don't." The ease of breath Tony thought he had constricted again.

"Your teacher has failed you, mageling, if he never thought that you would need to know of my kind and how to protect yourself."

Tony pulled all his power back, dropping useless shields, throwing everything he had into his inner sight. His shields came back up almost as quickly as they went down. "What are you?" The being in front of him wasn't human.

"Oh, do stop that." Azrael's hand rose, and with a careless gesture, shattered Tony's protections. "It's been more years than you can imagine since last I used my arts, but as rusty as I am now, you are no still match for me." He held out his hands. "So mageling, what does your sight tell you I am?"

"I don't know." Excitement entered his fear. "You're not human. So, what are you?" Here was something that was new, and he had to know what form a creature was before him.

Azrael snorted. 'Just like a mage, to be thrilled by a new working, even as

it killed him' . "I am of the Vampyr, a vampire. You conceal yourself well. Had I known you were a mage, I would have taken steps to guarantee that you never guessed my true nature. But now I can no longer blind you. You know what I am, you are on guard, and your very nature now protects you from my illusion."

"Okay," he licked his lips, trying to keep his voice calm as he reached blindly for Kat, his Master. Someone needed to know what was happening. It was his only hope.

"Do not try that," Azrael chided, stifling the cry before it could launch. "We must not involve others in this. Would you have another's death on your soul?"

Tony fought and won over the urge to panic. "So." He took a deep breath, facing Azrael. "Are you going to kill me?"

Azrael sighed. Good, the boy was thinking. 'I could make him into one of the finest Mages of this century' . "That depends on you, Mageling. My hunt this night was for another, but alas, she proved to be useless for my needs."

"Wendy? But she left with, Ah." A simple enough illusions to cast. Then the rest fell into place. Azrael's earlier words echoed in his mind as he merged it with the new information. "Did you kill her?"

"No, at this moment she is asleep in my car. But yes, she is to die. Her mind snapped under the knowledge of my true nature." He held out his hands, shrugging. "She is quite mad now." Azrael stepped forward. "So, Mageling, you have a choice. You can join her in death, or you can accept me as your master. I promise you, I can train you to be more than, you, ever believed possible. I, too, am of the Magi, though in my age we were also called priests." He felt the boy's arm flinch under his hand, and he drew nearer, mouth just inches from his ear. "Remember I promised that you are safe from me, that I would rather have you as a friend. Allow me that, Mageling, for I am loath to have to be your enemy."

Death wasn't an option for Tony. His will to live too great. But what would this one before him demand? "You--I will not be forced to lure others to you, will I? Be responsible for their deaths?" No he didn't want to die, but neither could he live if his life meant that others would lose theirs.

"No, child. I would never ask that of you. You are a white mage. Asking that of you is the same as killing you. You would die before submitting to it."

Tony swallowed back his fear. He wouldn't be asked to help him kill. "I won't have to betray my people, will I?"

"Absolutely not, I too was one of the light in my youth."

"My oaths. Must I forsake them?"

"Again, absolutely not." Azrael was pleased with the young man. It was becoming more and more obvious that he was one, not only with a brilliant gift, but a quick mind as well.

"My master?"

"Child, your teacher is safe from me. I will harm no one you hold dear. I want your submission, but not over the bodies of your people."

There was only one thing left. And he knew the answer even as he formed the words for the question. "Belonging to you, accepting you as my master, does it mean I have to get used to taking it up the ass a lot?"

The smile on Azrael's face was serene. "Absolutely."

Tony waited for the 'not' to follow, but as seconds passed, it became obvious that it wasn't coming.

Oh well, homosexuality was a lifestyle that he had never even remotely been interested in. Looked like that was now going to change, if he wanted to live. He would have to give his new Master whatever was deemed the price for his continued life and learning.

"Do you have any more questions for me? Is my offer tempting? I will not ask much of you, just your word. Accept me as your master. Obey my will. Allow me to let you live. For if you break pact with me, I will have no choice but to strip you of your powers and make you a slave of my house." His tone softened as he pulled near, again. "Let me grant you the honor of my teachings, join me in the joy of learning. The things I will teach you, the wonders you will see the, miracles of life at your command. Knowledge, more knowledge than you would

ever dream." His fingers brushed Tony's cheek.

Tony took a deep breath, closing his eyes as the hand continued to caress his face. "And if I keep faith with you? Obey you as my Master. Your word that I will be just that, your apprentice?"

"My word Mageling." Azrael knew, this one he would love.

"Then I will make to you the same oath I did my teacher." He knelt. "My life, my will and my obedience will be yours. I swear on my body, my soul and my power."

It was too rich. Go out to, reward, one pet. Choose another, and lose her, and come home with one like this. One he would make Kin. He could not let one like this, so powerful and so open, whither and die. "My name is Azrael. As a token of my pleasure at your submission, you may use it as freely as you do 'Master' . And we will call you, Torin, or Tori for short, after one of my brethren from when I was young and in the priesthood. Will you accept your name?" So far he had not once been forced to use his power. Eventually he would, and he wondered how long it would be. With the exception of removing the pain of the boys deflowering, he would never do so unless he was forced.

"Does all my past die tonight?"

"Yes, you will be reported missing, just as the girl. No one will ever find you, of that you can be assured. I will sever you link with your old master. It is better he think you dead. Let him mourn your passing and go on

with life."

"She." There was honest pain in his voice. "Her name is Katherine." He looked up, face of an angel. Eyes clear and true no resistance, no deceptions. "She will never know I broke my oath to her will she? That I have taken another as my teacher?"

"No, pet, she will never know. She will feel the tie as it is severed, and she will believe you dead. Fear not, child, the break will be quick. I will give her no reason to add the pain of believing you suffered to her grief. I am not a monster. I regret that this happened. As I said, and you may believe this, I was content to let you live without this knowledge. It was fate that threw us together, not any action on my part. I would never force one of the practitioners of the art to my dominance unless I had no choice. I will not make you suffer because of it. My word, on 'my' life, 'my' blood, and 'my' power."

"Thank you." Torin's head bowed as Azrael stroked his hair, waiting as he had so often with Kat, for permission to stand.

"Come on up, boy, we should be getting home. Both Morgan and Mark probably believe that I have forgotten them." He helped the boy to stand. "On the drive home, I will tell you of your new family, and what is expected of you." Gently Azrael cupped his face. "Do not fear me much, Mageling. I have no reason to hurt you, and as long as you keep faith with me, I never will. Should you give me some cause to punish you, you will find that both the delivery and the forgiveness afterwards are swift. I have walked the earth for over three thousand years, had scores of mortal pets and sired nine children of the Vampyr, seven of which still live. Megel, who you met tonight, and who I called by his mundane name of Michael, is my First-Born. He is my most beloved, and you may ask him anytime, freely, without fear or reprisals of my nature and temperament." Slowly, he pulled the boy forward. "Ssshh. It is all right Tori. You are safe. "A brush of his lips, lightly teasing. He would never let the boy fear attack, and later, in his bed, he would treat him with the same gentleness that had claimed so many of his precious ones. "Will you accept this? Wrap your arms around me, and share this moment with me before you leave your life behind?"

He felt the boy fight the tears as he took a step, eyes lifting to meet his. He could read the pain, the sorrow, in them, but surprisingly enough, no fear. That was gone. "I'm sorry," were Torin's only words, as a single tear slipped down his cheek, then his mouth covered Azrael's, accepting his fate.

Azrael accepted the kiss as what it was, another oath. Another promise, that he would live up to his word. And the respect he felt, not only for the boy, but the woman, who had begun his training, grew. "Open your mouth, child let me taste your tongue."

Tony, who would now only think of himself as Torin, or Tori, as his new master decreed, was a strong empath, but never before had he ever felt emotions from anyone as strongly as he felt them from the vampire. The pleasure at his acceptance mingled with the regret for having to alter his life, as well as the intense physical enjoyment of the kiss. They combined and washed over him, leaving him feeling humbled and a little less apprehensive of his future. Surely his new Master, Azrael, would not be too hard on him. No one who could feel this purely could be evil.

He returned the kiss freely, without shyness. Fingers locked in Azrael's hair. Devotion he knew well, and he would learn whatever he needed to learn to do what he must. "Azrael, please. May I ask a final question before we go?"

"Yes Tori, ask."

"When you--" he blushed "--when you chose to take payment for my lessons."

"I promise you, Tori, when that time comes, there will be no pain." Azrael brushed the wetness from his cheek. "I will refrain from dominating you, from taking away your freedom of choice, as long as you obey me. My word, as long as you keep faith with me, it will be by your own choice."

"I won't give you reason to believe I broke pact with you. My word." And this time it was he who brought their heads together, no incentive, and no requests. "I swear it. Before tonight, my master never had reason to think I would fail to keep my end of the bargain." Eyes lowered, as the pain of his loss struck home. He had just bought his life and training, but at such a cost. He was forsworn now, an oath breaker, a warlock

"Torin, look at me. You are not in violation of your oath. Surely your teacher would not want you to die. You had no other option, and as of this moment have no other master." Azrael pulled Torin close, arms wrapping around to give support. "Once I have broken your tie with your old master, you are blameless, and free to accept me as your master, freely and without taint." He felt the shudder that ran through the boy in his arms. "Hold on to me, Torin, there will be some pain. I am sorry, I would not hurt you, if I could prevent it." He felt the boy stiffen, heard the small strangled gasp of pain as he severed the tie between the boy and his human master.

It hurt. Oh, gods, it hurt. Torin felt lost, alone. He had never realized what Kat meant to him before now, when it was too late. "It's gone." The words were more an accusation than a question.

"Yes, child. You are free of all ties and obligations, other than the ones you have with me." Poor youngling, Azrael swore he would see this bright life happy again. "Are we ready to go? Or do you need a moment to mourn the passing?"

"No." Torin locked it all down. Now was not the time for this. Later, when he was alone, he would cry. But for the moment, his life called him on. "I am ready, master."

"No, Tori, you are not. Mourn if you need, but you must let go. For if you do not, it will eat at your soul." Azrael felt the battle going on inside his new pet, the pain and the need to hide from it. "Cry, I will not begrudge you the tears, or your love for the woman who started you on this path." He slowly helped Torin to the ground, holding him as the tears came. "There is no shame in how you feel. The honesty of your grief proves more to me of your worthiness, than all the power in creation."

Torin couldn't stop the tears, or the pain that flowed from him in waves. He had traded everything for his life and his craft. His family, his friends, the teacher that he loved more than life, had given it all up to the creature that held him, stroked his hair, and whispered what words of comfort that he could.

The emptiness in his soul reached for this kindness. Let the emotional support his new master offered fill the void. Holding on as he gave in to the kisses that were meant to comfort. Welcoming the strength that surrounded him.

Azrael paid no mind to the time as he held his pet. Time had no importance now. The only thing that mattered was helping the youth, purge, himself. If he was unable to let the past die and go on freely, then he was useless as a mage, and a danger. "All better, now?" Azrael smiled down into Torin's eyes as he brushed the tears away.

"Yes, Master." And he was. Azrael had been right to insist that he purge himself. The pain was still there, but it didn't eat at his soul. He really wasn't close to his family, his father had left when he was little, and his mother didn't have time for him, nor had she understood him. His studies kept him busy, so he really had no close friends, no one to miss him, and Kat. . . ., he was dead to her now. "Thank you."

"For what? Not being a monster?" Azrael laughed, kissing him again softly. "Now come, it is time to leave,"

* * *

Michael watched. Both pleased and amused as both Jason and Jenna attacked Mark. It still surprised him, even knowing how powerful Azrael was, that, Mark had given in as he had. But it was a good thing. So he welcomed it.

Mark didn't know who to hold, or who to kiss first. He had been drowning in flesh for the last couple of hours. If he had been worried that by living here, being owned by a man would limit his time with the ladies, this night had eased his worries. Even as Jason toyed with him, he could hide himself in the warmth of another woman. He could learn to live with this. As he moved to fill her, being filled in turn by Jason, it was fast becoming a life he could learn to love.

* * *

Torin tried not to notice Wendy's naked body in the back seat. She looked dead, and he couldn't stop staring until he saw her chest rise slightly. "Does she have to die?"

"Unfortunately, yes. I would have rather had her for a pet. I am opening a covenstead for my Kin. I will need mortals as servants and food. Her mind was weak. Would you have me let her live with no sanity?"

Torin looked at him, reaching to lay a hand on his arm. "May I try? I've had some success with healing. Will you let me see if I can help her?"

Azrael knew there was no hope. But killing so upset those of the light. What could it hurt? If the boy accepted that there was nothing left, he would not mourn her death too much. "Yes, if you feel you must, then by all means feel free. I give you my blessings. But if you cannot."

"Then it's better if she died. Not even Wendy ever did anything to deserve that."

Azrael could see how having this one was going to be such a joy. He would fit in so well with his girls, and would give Mark a brother to help him share the emotional ups and downs of his new life. "I suppose now would be a good time to explain how my home works."

"Please." Dark gray eyes, so full of curiosity and hunger, rested on him as Torin gave Azrael his complete attention.

"At present count, not including you, I have five mortal pets. Four girls and Mark, these five will be your family, for they are all mine. Maria is my first, and unless one of my Kin countermands an order she gives you, you obey her as quickly as you would me. Then there is Jenna, Valerie, Morgan, and Mark. You will share your life with them, and eventually your love." He let it sit for a moment. He wouldn't rush the boy.

"At the moment there are four of my Kin in my home. There is Megel. Who is called, Michael, in the outside world. You may call him either if you are not using 'Master' . He is my First-Born, and has with him two pets. Jason, who is Morgan's brother, and Amber. They are sweet children that will quickly become your friends. Jason is Megel's, Chosen, and the one he will make 'his' First-Born, one-day.

"Then there is Vincent, who is called David outside, and his two Fledglings, his children. Lilith and Cain, or Anna and Joseph if you would rather. They have with them two pets, Aaron and Billy." He stopped and looked at Torin. "Am I going to fast for you, pet?"

"No, sir. So far, so good." He quickly memorized all the names, and who belonged to whom.

"Vincent is serving a one hundred-year-service to me in exchange for my assistance as he grows stronger. He is quite young for an adult, barely a hundred and fifty. His Fledglings are mere babies. Lilith, is four and Cain is still young enough to be locked to his Sires throat. He is not quite a year yet."

Torin caught that. "Wait, please. 'Locked to his throat' . Explain."

"Yes, a true Mage." Azrael chuckled. "The first year, while the change takes place within our bodies, the only blood we can stomach is from our Sire. It is a very uneasy and stressful time for a young Fledgling, because his whole existence is dependent on his maker, and should something happen to the Sire, the Childe will die."

"Okay, got ya." He had not known of vampires before tonight, but he swore he'd learn everything he could about them, if for no other reason than to be able to serve his new Master to the fullest. "Can I ask a question? Where did you come from?"

"The Vampyr did not come from this world, or not entirely." It had been many years since last he had been asked to tell this tale. "Our forefathers came from another world. This world was hard for them, and after the crash, and the first sunrise, which killed so many, they were only twelve."

"I don't understand, why did the sunrise kill them?" Torin listened with rapt interest. He knew he was hearing something of importance.

"Legend will tell you that it is the purity of the sun that is our death, but that is not correct. There are several bandwidths of ultra-violet that exist in the light of your sun that are deadly to us. This we inherited from

our ancestors. So once they were faced with only a handful of survivors, just two that were female, they knew that they were doomed.

"Thousands of years passed, and the Vampyr began to worry. There were no children. Now as a race, they were extraordinary. Gifted with mind gifts, and almost immortality, they were loath to let their race completely die out. So after it was finally decided that they could have no more children on their own, they strove to breed with the closest thing similar to them." Azrael paused, letting Torin come to the conclusion needed.

"Humans, right?"

"Yes, good, you see where this is headed. Unfortunately, the first children they alter and bred, they stove for fertility and ended up with monsters. The first Vampyr were not killers, and it caused great pain to be forced to end the lives of these poor beasts."

"But they tried again, right? They would have to." Torin was captivated by the story, in spite of his nervousness.

"Yes, the second attempt resulted in three sons. Whole and sane, but

sterile, after that, they admitted defeat. They believed they were to die out."

"So what happened?"

"Enzymes. They had not counted on the bestial nature of the mother race. Humans were still so close to their animal roots. The children had a dark nature, and due to their mixed heritage could only accept nourishment in the form of blood. The Vampyr struggled to train their children to be humane, to respect the life that gave them nourishment."

Azrael looked at him out of the corner of his eye as he drove. Yes, the boy was holding up well. It pleased him to see how strong his new pet was. "They taught them laws, and codes so that they might live and grow with honor and decency. Just think Torin, if a mortal hits you it would only hurt, a Vampyr could knock your head from your shoulders. They accepted that these children, would, be the, last of, their kind. But they were wrong."

"So what happened." The knowledge he was learning thrilled him.

"No one is truly sure. The truth has long since died out. But legend says that one of the three, a young Childe fell in love with a mortal woman, and in the act of that love lost control and bled her almost to the point of death."

"Man that had to suck."

"Yes, and in his panic, that Childe sought to return the blood he had taken, by forcing it back through his fangs. The change was total. She began to become Vampyr, and after a year, was."

"So that is how vampires were made. Yeah, I can see it."

"The father race was, of course, distraught. This gave them a completely different problem. So again laws were made, as to what would and would not make a suitable Childe. To this day, we live by those laws. And that, my curious Mageling, is how we came to be."

"Thank you." It helped him somewhat to know that his knew master wasn't a demon, or some beast.

"Now." It was time to finish his introduction to his home. "When we get home, you and I will share what is called a blood bond. I will drink from you, and then you will accept my blood in exchange."

Torin gasped. "Wait, I--Are you--Am I--" No. This wasn't part of the agreement.

"No child, relax." There was still fear, well hidden, not easily seen. Azrael knew he would have to be careful with his mageling, take that extra step to fully explain things. "I would have to drain you to the point of death, and then force my blood back into your veins. A blood bond ties you to me. It will make you completely mine body and soul. My blood will grant you greater control over your powers, as well as a hundred and fifty years of perfect health and beautiful youth. You will live for the next century and a half as lovely as you are right now. It is a trade we make to the mortals we keep to feed from. We do not have to kill to live, and in this age, try to do so as little as possible."

"This is part of my payment for training? You will live off my blood?"

"Yes, but try not to worry so. There, is no pain other than a brief flash at the initial bite. Then, I promise you, you will enjoy it." He was anxious to see how his mageling reacted to his first feeding.

"Do the rest feed off of me, too?"

"No, only I, for now. Once more of my Kin begin to come, you may be asked to grant them your blood. But no one will hurt you. Believe, that Tori, you will be safe.

"You will recognize all the Vampyr as master, as is law. You will share yourself with them and show them the same respect as you show me. I understand that at first it will be difficult for you, and I will insist that they allow you to talk your way through the first few times, and that you are treated as gently and carefully as is needed. It will only be difficult for a short time, and then the blood I give you will make the contact not only necessary, but very pleasant."

"And the others, the ones like me. I--do I have to--" he blushed.

"Yes. You will not deny your love to any in my home." Azrael reached for him as he stopped for a traffic light. "Come here, lean against me. You are frightened, and I did not want that."

Torin obeyed, fighting the trembling in his body. "Not frightened, I mean, not much. More nervous than anything, I--" he took another deep breath. "I'll do it. Just try not to expect a whole lot of finesse out of me at the beginning. I've slept with a couple of girls before, but nothing hot and heavy. My training kept me fairly busy, and Kat doesn't sleep with her students."

The rest of the drive was silent. Torin was stiff against Azrael for the first few minutes, but as he berated himself for his unwillingness to comply, began to relax. He had his life, an obscenely long one if what Azrael said was true, with greater power and a better teacher. What more could a mage ask for? He couldn't, think of any of those he knew that would have turned down an opportunity like this, even if they had to sleep with half the city. So, as his soul finally came to terms with this the silence in the car became peace, and the body, which, he rested against became comfort, and the ride to his new home was one he made with anticipation.

Review This Story || Author: Veronica Leigh Marquette
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