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Authors: Scott Prussing

Tags: #occult, #teen, #young adult, #magic, #paranormal, #vampire romance, #vampire, #romance, #fantasy, #breathless, #supernatural

Deathless

BOOK: Deathless
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Deathless
 
DEATHLESS
By SCOTT PRUSSING
 

This is a work of fiction. All the characters or events portrayed in this novel are either fictitious or used fictitiously.

 

DEATHLESS  

 

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2011 by Scott Prussing Publishing    

All rights reserved.  

 

This book is available in print at www.scottprussing.com

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any mechanical or electronic means without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review. The scanning, uploading and distribution via the Internet or via any other means without the written permission of the author is illegal and punishable by law.

PROLOGUE

 

107 years ago

 

T
he volkaane Rave raced silently through the snow-filled woods. His long, dark copper hair streamed behind him as he flashed through the trees, his bronze skin seeming almost to glow in the gray twilight. Tiny blue flames flickered from his fingertips, the only outward manifestation of the magical fire blazing inside him.

Despite his speed, footing was not a problem—the heat from his inner fire melted the thin carpet of snow almost as soon as his moccasin covered feet touched it, leaving steaming ovals of rotting leaves in his wake. A trail of similar marks stretched ahead of him, left by his friend Helm. But no steam floated up from Helm’s footprints, and Rave knew he was almost certainly too late to save his friend.

Helm’s horrific screams still echoed in his ears. Only one thing could make a volkaane scream like that—the fangs of a vampire. And if a vampire had ripped into Helm’s throat, then Helm was almost certainly dead by now. Still, Rave had to try. If he couldn’t save Helm, Rave hoped he could at least avenge him.

Too often of late, he had heard similar screams, each one marking the death of a volkaane. It was the cursed
Destiratu
, he knew. Normally, volkaanes and vampires maintained a kind of balance, each hunting and slaying only the weak or the foolish. But when magical energies in the earth and in the air combined to form the phenomenon known as
Destiratu,
everything changed. Somehow, in a way Rave did not fully understand and none of his elders could fully explain,
Destiratu
raised the killing ire in volkaane and vampire alike. Hunger and bloodlust raged, becoming uncontrollable for many. Fortunately,
Destiratu
arose less than once every hundred years.

Understanding the phenomenon was not important now—surviving it was all that mattered. Part of Rave knew he should be moving more carefully, that danger was likely near, but the magic had magnified his hunger—and his anger as well. So he raced through the trees, moving with a speed even a vampire could never match, hoping against hope Helm was not yet dead. Rave was still young—only ten years past the four decade mark that symbolized volkaane adulthood—and still foolish. He did not even consider that this same blinding hunger was behind Helm’s demise.

Up ahead, he saw the sight he had dreaded to see. Helm’s body lay crumpled on the ground in the center of a circle of still steaming leaves. Even in death, his inner fire had lingered, melting the snow around him. A few feet from his friend’s body, Rave spied a long pile of gray and white ash. Despite his grief, he allowed himself a small smile. Helm had managed to kill one of his foes before being slain. Leading away from the circle, Rave saw two sets of widely spaced footprints that could only have been made by a pair of vampires. Helm had had the misfortune to run into three of the creatures. He never stood a chance.

Rave knelt at his dead friend’s side. Helm’s lifeless eyes stared skyward. His throat had been savagely ripped open, confirming what Rave already knew. There was no blood in the grisly wound or anywhere on the ground—no vampire would waste even a single drop of the glowing blue liquid, a treasure they tasted only rarely.

Tenderly, Rave closed his friend’s eyes and then rested his palm Helm’s forehead. Helm’s skin was still warm, but the heat that was the essence of a volkaane was gone. Rave ignored the voice whispering in his head that the vampires might still be close, just as he ignored the training which taught him he should be directing his senses outward, letting his instincts feel any trace of vampire presence. Such was the effect of
Destiratu
, especially on the young and inexperienced. Rave was both.

Had he followed the tracks of the departed vampires, he would have seen they had taken to the trees less than a hundred yards from where he knelt. He would have been alert to any danger from above.

Instead, he was taken by surprise when two vampires thumped to the ground on either side of him. Despite his youth, Rave’s magical inner fire ranked among the most powerful of his kind. Rare was the vampire who could match his power, but even he could not hope to defeat two of the creatures at once. Still, he was determined to take at least one of his foes with him, just as Helm had done.

The vampires probably expected him to flee. Perhaps he could have escaped even now, using his superior speed, but his
Destiratu
fueled hunger would not let him try. From his kneeling position, he lunged up at the vampire in front of him, wrapping his arms around its back and pressing his mouth toward the vampire’s face, ready to let his magical fire suck the life breath from the creature.

Vampires were fast as well, though, and he felt the second creature fasten its powerful grip upon his shoulders from behind, ready to tear him from its brother. In a moment, its fangs would sink into Rave’s flesh. There was little Rave could do to prevent it, so he forced his mouth closer to the vampire in his grasp.

Suddenly, he felt a blast of volkaane heat behind him, and the hold on his shoulders vanished. There was no time to wonder about it now—the vampire in his grip was trying to reach his neck with its fangs.

With no help from its companion, the vampire was no match for Rave. Rave pressed his mouth over the creature’s nose and lips.
The raging heat of his magical fire sucked the life force from the vampire, funneling it into Rave’s lungs. The sensation was beyond exhilarating, and Rave relished every moment of it.

In less than a minute, it was over. He dropped the vampire’s limp body to the ground. The heat from Rave’s fire continued to consume the beast from the inside out. The vampire’s pallid face slowly grew lighter, becoming almost translucent. With a sudden, barely audible crackling sound, the creature shimmered and crumpled to a pile of gray and white ash.


Well done, young Rave,” said a familiar voice behind him.

Rave turned and smiled at Balin, his friend and mentor. An identical pile of ash lay at Balin’s feet. Balin had destroyed his vampire even before Rave had finished with his. Tiny blue flames flickered from Balin’s fingertips. Rave glanced down at his own fingers. They, too, glowed brightly.


Without your help,” Rave said, “I fear the outcome would have been less pleasant.”


That’s precisely why I followed you. You must be more careful, young Rave.
Destiratu
is a dangerous time for all, but it is especially so for the inexperienced.”


I’m sorry, Balin. You taught me better than this. But when I heard Helm scream, I could not stop myself.”


Such is the power of
Destiratu
,” Balin said, “as well as the pull of anger.” He draped his arm around Rave’s shoulders. “I believe you are destined for great things, young Rave, but for that to happen, you must first survive.”

 

 

1. NEW BEGINNINGS

 

L
eesa Nyland was afraid to open her eyes. Not because she was scared she might see something frightening—though god knows she’d seen and experienced enough scary stuff her first few months at Weston College to last a lifetime—but because she was afraid if she opened her eyes she might discover she’d merely been dreaming all the
wonderful
things that had happened.

She had every right to be worried about that, she knew. She had seen and done things in the last three months—could it really have been only three months?—that few people would believe, or could even imagine. Maybe it all
was
just a dream. Maybe there were no vampires. Maybe she’d never allowed herself to be bitten by the enigmatic Stefan, in a bargain to save her brother Bradley from an imprisonment far more horrible than death. She almost reached for her throat, but pulled her fingers back. What if she found no twin scars there? That would mean it was only a dream, and that Bradley was still missing. And that her mom was probably still a recluse, refusing to leave the house during the day, claiming sunlight hurt her skin because she’d been bitten by a one-fanged vampire. Leesa did not want to return to that reality.

And she certainly did not want to discover that the comforting warmth she felt against her cheek was nothing more than her electric blanket. No, she much preferred believing the magical heat radiated from her amazing volkaane boyfriend Rave. She snuggled her face more tightly against the warm cloth and sighed.

She could feel the hard muscles of Rave’s chest working beneath the material. This was no dream—no blanket or pillow would move like that. She opened her eyes and confirmed it, staring at Rave’s brown and purple flannel shirt, not her blanket. She looked up into his handsome face and smiled.

He carried her effortlessly, racing through the woods along old game paths at speeds that should have been impossible, his gait so smooth she felt almost as if they were flying. She loved it when Rave carried her like this, cradled snug in his arms. It more than made up for his people not using cars or any form of transportation other than their feet.

Volkaanes did not use any electrical or battery operated devices. They couldn’t. The energy from their magical inner heat simply shorted out any kind of appliance. Leesa had learned that the hard way, when she’d tried to use her cell phone while holding Rave’s hand. Even the indirect contact had destroyed her cell, frying the chips and the battery. And since Rave could not use phones, she had no way to contact him when she wanted to see him or even to talk to him. All she could do was wait for him to show up. While she wished that weren’t the case, it served to make any time they spent together extra special.

Rave’s magical fire had one other drawback—a major, major drawback. If he lost control for even a moment when they kissed, it could kill her, burning the life out of her from the inside out. And that really sucked, because that same inner heat made his kisses beyond amazing. Most girls were merely waxing poetic when they said they “melted” at their boyfriend’s kisses, but with Rave it was almost literally true. So far, she and Rave had been able to share only the briefest of kisses, under the watchful eye of Rave’s mentor Balin, who could sense even the slightest changes in Rave’s heat. Balin and Rave were working on technique for controlling Rave’s fire that few volkaanes dared attempt, but it was still far too dangerous for Leesa to kiss Rave in the manner she longed to.

BOOK: Deathless
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