Vampires return to their Gothic root. A story of romance, adventure and revolution.
The Vampire Covenants
The German vampire Gunther von Wittersheim has a problem: he’s fallen in love with a mortal, Lady Marguerite Giffard. His greatest immortal enemy, Comte Alphonse de Brunel, knows, captures Marguerite and turns her into a vampire. Gunther must put aside his desire for revenge and help his beloved through the painful transition to immortality.
Vampires are bound by the Covenants, a code of law enforced by the mysterious Conclave of Elders. If Gunther kills his enemy, the Conclave will destroy him. The couple is ordered to bring de Brunel alive to the Conclave to answer for his crimes. Gunther and Marguerite pursue their foe to St. Petersburg, where they are caught up in a revolution that pits vampire against vampire. Can they find a way to capture Alphonse de Brunel before the violence in Russia erupts? Or will they and their love fall prey to the breaking of the Covenants?
I fluttered down from the night sky and hovered outside Marguerite’s window. Even with my vision I could barely make her out through the filmy drapes. Her beauty was breathtaking but there was now an edge of sorrow on her features.
I looked at the vampire set on watch but he was quite deliberately paying no attention to me. Even though I knew better, I flew into Marguerite’s room and took my human form.
At once I was filled with that strange, glad and bitter emotion that had burdened me since I last saw her. How can something be soothing and painful at the same time? My existence had gotten complicated. And I was not, really, at all sorry that it had.
Marguerite’s eyes opened and she raised herself on one elbow. She smiled at me but a glimmer of pained tears appeared in her eyes. “We’re dreaming again. I was afraid I’d lost those dreams. It’s been three nights. I’ve missed them.”
“I have not slept a night since we parted, Liebchen.” That was true, after a fashion.
“My sleep has not been the best either.” Her mouth went hard and a touch of fury replaced her tears. “I am not happy with you, Gunther. You know how I feel about you and I know you feel that way as well. Yet you’ve pulled away from me. I didn’t know you were such a coward.”
My own ire rose at that accusation. “Coward?”
“Yes, coward. You were a soldier. You know about fighting. Why are you not willing to fight for us?”
“Because, Liebchen, a soldier does not endanger the innocent. We protect them. When we fight we do our best to ensure it involves only those with a stake in the conflict. We, I, do not wantonly inflict violence.” Reciting the duty I’d always carried with me calmed my dark feelings.
She sighed and smiled. “I am not as innocent as you think, Gunther. I do have a stake in this. If you are not willing to fight for our love, I am, and will.”
I went stiff. We could not love one another. It could only end in tragedy.
My love, bright woman that she was, did not miss this. “I do not fear that French Comte. I don’t know why he holds such enmity for you. Even Lord Hetherington wouldn’t tell me, but I don’t fear him. He will not come between us!”
“You went to Lord Hetherington?” That was a great surprise and it showed on my face.
“I did, Gunther. He offered his power and services to me because my father was his lover.”
“You knew about that?” My surprise grew.
“My father told me. He carried the pain of his separation until the end of his days. His last words were to tell me not to let go of love when I find it. I have found it. I will not let it go.”
Joy and pain slashed through me. “You do not understand and it is better that you do not. Do not love me, Marguerite. I can only be your destruction.”
The firmest determination appeared on her face. It enhanced her comeliness beyond measure. “Lord Hetherington said much the same thing. I know there is something he is hiding, that you are hiding. I will find that secret and then it will no longer stand between us.”
“No!” burst from me. “No,” I said again, softly. “Do not seek that knowledge out, Marguerite. It is hidden for a very good reason. If you uncover it you will find yourself in a place that you can never, ever leave. You will lose everything; your house, your estates, your friends. You will travel far from your bright, happy world and never return.”
At my vehement statement she paled but her set expression remained. “Will I have you?”
I stepped back to the window. My fear told me to run fast and far. I’d said too much already. My emotions calmed a little when I realized she would regard this as only a dream. And dreams were not the truth.
They could be a warning though.
“No, Liebchen, you will not. I am still your friend and discovering my secret will lose you everything.”
She stared at me. A sharp anger began to burn in her eyes. “Liar,” she finally said. “You’re trying to protect me again. I do not need your protection. I need your love.” A wicked, almost vampiric smile shaped her mouth. “And I shall get it no matter how you twist and turn. No man can deny me if I’ve determined I want him. You, Ritter von Wittershiem, are no exception.”
Despite everything I felt; my fear and pain and distress; I couldn’t help but laugh. “Marguerite Giffard, you are the most beautiful and frightening woman I have ever met. Let us play your game then. You will lose.”
“I shall win,” she replied with the most supreme confidence in her voice.
My lady love lay her head back on her pillow. “This dream is at an end, Gunther. I have made up my mind and I won’t be turned from my path.”
“Prepare to be disappointed on your decision.” I reached out with my power and slowly calmed her. Soon her eyes closed and she slept with that wicked, sweet smile still upon her lips. I watched for a while admiring her beauty and basking in the glow of my feelings for her.
A small pang of hunger clenched my stomach. I had not hunted this evening. At that urging I transformed and flapped my way towards my favorite hunting ground.
As I went I marveled yet again at my good fortune in meeting her. Despite our travails just a few minutes with her had lifted my spirits beyond measure. She was safe from de Brunel. Lord Hetherington would make sure of that. And I would make sure of that. When my meal was done I would return and add my presence to her guard.
That would free us to be friends. She would try to seduce me, she would fail. And we would laugh about it. Marguerite would never find out the truth about me.
A shiver of fear dampened my happiness. Don’t beg questions of the future.