Set before Blurred Nights.
In two hours, the sun would set. Two hours after that, Marc, Blake, three more vampires and twelve humans would be taking over a demons’ camp. All they could hope was that it wouldn’t be too late for the prisoners.
“I still don’t see why we have to risk our lives for them,” Blake said, raising his eyes from the sword he was sharpening on a wet stone. “If they were stupid enough to let themselves be caught, they deserve to be killed.”
“They didn’t let themselves—” Frustration dripped from each one of Marc’s words, barely controlled until he took a deep breath. He glared at Blake, without getting much in lieu of a reaction. “You wanted to be turned to fight demons. We are fighting demons. Why are you being such a prick?”
Blake’s face lit up with a sinful grin. “Speaking of—”
Any other time, Marc would have been more than open to the suggestion he was sure was coming. They were overdue for this talk, however, and it was time for Blake to understand a few things.
“Shut up. Listen, for once, and learn.” He sat by Blake, and waited to have his full attention. “Centuries ago, vampires and humans used to be allies. Vampires would spend their nights hunting down demons, and the humans who lived around their lair would come and pay a daily blood tribute.”
Blake let out a little incredulous noise. “Never learned anything like that in school. Not that I went to school a lot, I’ll grant you that, but it sounds like some fairytale if you ask me.”
“I told you to listen,” Marc snapped, then calmed down again. “Human history is unreliable. It depends too much on oral traditions and books that were changed to suit whoever was repeating or copying them. Vampires live long enough that centuries can be shared from Sire to Childer and lose few details. It was only ten generations between my Sire and the time I am telling you about, and the memory is still fresh. Our clan back then was two dozens of Childer strong, all obeying their Sire and protecting the villages they were allied to. Something happened, something terrible that nearly wiped out the entire clan, and those who remained stopped protecting the villages. There was just too much ground to cover and not enough fighters. The clan broke the Pact first. We’ve been doing our best to make up for it since.”
Blake raised an eyebrow. “When you say ‘we’—”
“Yes. That includes you too. You’re part of the clan, aren’t you?”
A smile pulled at Blake’s lips. It had only been weeks since his turning, but it hadn’t taken Marc long to realize that belonging—to a clan, to a Sire, to anything or anyone—was something Blake craved.
“Of course. I’m just saying—”
“I know what you’re saying.” Marc sighed wearily. “Everything has to be a game, for you. And everything can be. Everything except that. This is what our clan is about, and you will fall into line. Am I making myself clear?”
“Clear as crystal. Can we fuck, now?”
Marc blinked at the deadpan suggestion, delivered with burning eyes and an impish smile. “This is the reason why I sired you. So that you would help me continue our clan’s work. Do not treat the matter lightly.”
“And here I thought you had turned me because you liked fucking me.”
This time, Marc growled, a low, warning sound that made Blake’s grin waver.
“I understand,” he said quickly. “If it is what our clan does, then I will do it too. It’s not like I don’t enjoy killing demons anyway.”
Closing his eyes briefly, Marc snorted. This was Blake in a nutshell; complaining and arguing and making his life difficult for the simple pleasure of being contradictory. And as much as his Childe could get on his nerves sometimes, Marc wouldn’t have it any other way.