From The Strigoi Chronicles: Drue and his Leige Lord, Michel, relax on a terrace above the Black Sea. Recovered from his physical injuries, but not the blow to his heart after losing his lover, Fane, to the were pack, Dreu asks a boon.
Mine papa had cleverly positioned us within easy distance of the pack’s stronghold. If I were wrong, the other option was to scour the Adriatic coastline, scaring up the odd were pack but not a guarantee that the perpetrators of my lover’s demise would ever surface.
Revenge tasted best when the dish served was the one ordered off the menu, and although a scorched earth policy appealed, it also wasted assets. The old man looked like he’d be amenable to fronting a few resources but when push came to shove, Dreu the Warrior Monk was on his own.
Speaking of which, I needed clarification on that favor he’d yet to agree to. So I asked yet again, “Will you teach me how to fight?”
Folding one leg over the other, he rested a hip on the railing and looked me up and down, more with curiosity than in an attempt to find me wanting.
“Have you ever killed anyone, son?”
He called me ‘son’, not boy, an elevation in status that had me giddy again, this time not from second-hand narcotic-laced smoke.
“Yes, I have.”
“Did you like it?” He waited for an answer that wasn’t forthcoming, mostly because I’d never really thought about it.
I tried to explain in terms he would understand. “I need to feed. I’m half…” then stutter-stopped because he already knew why, so I went off in a different direction. “Sometimes, the donor,” oh the wonderful euphemism of ‘donor’, “…the, uh, donor isn’t strong enough and I might take too much.”
I didn’t mean to, honest I didn’t, it was a mistake…
His crystalline blue eyes pierced my skull, willing his one and only offspring to grow a set and fess up to who and what he was, sans excuses and pretty justifications.
The best I could do was equivocate with, “Sometimes, yeah, I liked it.” As in really liked it … in a carnal, orgasmic drench of my senses. The kind where I got my rocks off on draining a victim dry until the spirit dissipated into the floorboard and my belly engorged on the putrescent masturbation of lust masquerading as metabolism.
In nine hundred years, I could count those times on the fingers of both hands, mostly in my early, unformed years, but that fact wouldn’t hold much cache with a demon sire admiring of body count.
And that reminded me of the legions of minions dispatched like so much vermin with a mere expression of pique on my part.
Dreu did it on the fifth level of Hel with a brain fart.
“I will instruct Jefrumael to begin your training immediately.”
As I was going for the gush of oh thanks, Dad, you rock, he stopped me with a frown.
“You do understand that there will be certain … conditions.”
“Your performance will be evaluated on a regular basis.”
And there will be punishments, right, got it.
“If you perform to my standards, you will be rewarded, but if not…” He allowed that threat to hang for a heartbeat, letting me absorb the implications.
“I’m glad we understand each other, son.”
I watched him saunter off, disappearing around the corner of the dacha, and tried to come to terms with the fact I’d just bartered my nookie away for a shot at a brass ring.
Damn it, karma sucked.
And I still hadn’t gotten those yoga lessons.