Sister of the Dead (Noble Dead Series #3)

Sister of the Dead (Noble Dead Series #3)

by Barb Hendee, J. C. Hendee

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101196649
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/04/2005
Series: Noble Dead Series , #3
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 81,660
File size: 593 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Barb and J. C. Hendee live in a quirky little town near Portland, Oregon, with two geriatric and quite demanding cats. Barb's short fiction has appeared in numerous genre magazines and anthologies. She is the author of the Vampire Memories series. J.C.'s poetry, nonfiction, and short fiction have also appeared in many genre magazines. Visit their website at www.nobledead.org.

Read an Excerpt

Magiere sensed the instant of dawn, though the inn's small room was dark and shuttered. It called her from sleep. This first night with Leesil in her arms lingered in her memory, his shoulder beneath her cheek and her outstretched palm on his chest beneath the blankets. She still feared for him, but perhaps if she kept him always this close, she could keep him safe even from herself.

A more troublesome thought wormed into her awareness. She fought it down, recalling the scent and taste and touch of Leesil in the night, until they'd settled into warm slumber. But the thought wouldn't leave, and perhaps in part it was Leesil's closeness that fed it strength.

Magelia-and Nein'a.

Two mothers waited. One dead, but the second soil lived, or so she hoped-for Leesil's sake.

Magiere opened her eyes to see her fingertips peeking from beneath the blanket's edge across Leesil's chest. When she lifted her gaze past his shoulder, still bandaged from their battles, she found his amber eyes looking down at her.

"You're awake," she said.

"I like watching you sleep. It's the only time you're peaceful."

Did he always have to make jokes? Magiere tried to sit up, but his arms closed around her.

"Not yet," he said. "It's early. I don't think the sun is even up."

"It will be soon," she lied, and relaxed back against him.

Her dhampir nature had grown more pronounced in recent days. She felt the sun's presence even when indoors. In the night, the heat Leesil stirred in her made her heightened senses open wide. With only a sliver of moonlight through the window's shutter crack, she'd clearly seen his white-blond hair, narrow face, and lithe body. His amber eyes, almond shaped from his half-elven heritage, were locked upon her. At most times, her unnatural senses frightened or sickened her for what they revealed, but in that night, she hadn't cared so long as all she sensed was him. She was in Leesil's arms, and little else mattered.

Except for two mothers, who'd each left her child with a dark and bloody heritage.

"Did you sleep all right?" she asked.

"A little," he answered.

She knew he might be lying. He often had trouble sleeping, now that he'd stopped drinking. This, as well, was linked to a mother he'd thought dead for years. Magiere peered about the room.

"Where's Chap? Did he stay out all night?"

Leesil smiled. "For once, he showed some manners."

Magiere scowled. She rolled over to reach for the sulfur stick on the bedside table and lit the one candle resting there. The night before, they'd taken this room at the first inn outside Bela, the capital city of Belaski. The three of them had often slept outdoors in past years. Their dog, Chap, would be well enough on his own, but it bothered Magiere that she hadn't thought of him all night.

She rolled back to find Leesil leaning up on one elbow above her. He slid his fingers between hers, a striped pattern of flesh in the mingling. Half-elf and half-undead, they were a strange contrast with his golden-brown skin and white-blond hair and her blood-tinted black tresses and pale flesh. A mischievous smile crossed Leesil's lips, and Magiere lost all concern for the moment. Chap could wait a little longer.

The candlelight revealed their surroundings more clearly.

It was all simple, neat, and pleasant, but it wasn't home-wasn't the Sea Lion tavern in Miiska. Her falchion leaned against the bedside table, close within reach beside the bed on which they lay. Their travel chest and belongings sat under the window, reminding her that soon they would be on the move again.

"What?" he asked.

"Another journey," she answered.

Leesil settled back on the bed, comfortably close as he brushed stands of hair off her face.

"The sages gave me some supplies, but as we get farther north and into the Warlands, restocking could get difficult. More so as we move on to the northern mountains and the Crown Range between there and the elven lands. We'll need more before we leave."

Magiere hesitated. How could she make him face her new choice?

In youth, he'd fled from slavery as a warlord's assassin, knowing his escape would cause his own parents' execution. For years afterward, he drank himself to sleep each night to smother guilt-spawned nightmares. Even Magiere hadn't known, until he'd confessed but a few nights ago. Then an assassin named Sgäile-one of the elven anmaglâhk-had come to take Leesil's life. Leesil's mother had betrayed her own caste by teaching him and his father the anmaglähk's cold-blooded ways. The assassin changed his mind and let Leesil go. From this encounter, Leesil suspected his mother still lived, imprisoned all these years by her own people.

Now that he had hope, Magiere had to make him wait even longer.

"Before we seek your mother, if she still lives," she said, "we need to go to my home village in Droevinka."

She'd fled from there nine years ago at the age of sixteen, and the thought of returning made bile rise in her throat. Her discomfort vanished when Leesil's smile faded.

He rose up in the bed. "If she lives? What does that-?"

Magiere quickly covered his lips with her fingers as she sat up.

"I didn't mean it that way. I want to believe as much as you ... but I had a mother, as well, and a past neither of us knows. I need answers, too."

Twice they'd been manipulated into battles with the undead. The last time they fought, in the king's city of Bela, had left them both with more questions than answers. Magiere learned more of her nature-dhampir, hunter of the dead-in being coerced into ridding Bela of its undead predators. In the end, Welstiel Massing, whom she'd once thought an ally, revealed himself as a Noble Dead akin to the ones he'd pitted her against. He'd staged the encounters to train her for his own purpose in acquiring an unknown artifact supposedly guarded by ancient Noble Dead.

Welstiel had been less than forthcoming or even knowledgeable about her origin, but his actions stirred Magiere's desire to know.

Leesil's eyes betrayed a twinge of dismay as he looked at her. "No ... no." He shook his head. "It's been too many years-"

"Please, listen," Magiere cut in. "This isn't just for me, but for both of us. There's so much we don't know about my past compared to yours."

"And we'll get answers," he said, "but the living come first."

"I wasn't made by the living!" she snapped. "An undead used my mother to make me-to kill its own kind. I need to know why."

Leesil fell silent. Guilt over lashing out at him made Magiere calm herself before continuing.

"Before we can head north through the Warlands and beyond to the elven territory, we must travel eastward and inland, around the Gulf of Belaski. That's halfway to Droevinka and my past, so close to my answers and less than a third the distance we will travel north."

She put her hands upon Leesil's cheeks and leaned in close until her forehead touched his. When she lifted her head again, he stared downward, not looking at her. His expression softened as his hand slid down her cheek, her long neck, and across her breastbone, and finally gripped her hand.

"All right, it makes sense. If my mother is alive after all this time, likely she's in no danger. It makes no odds if we take a little longer to reach her."

Magiere scooted forward and wrapped herself around him, flesh to flesh, and held him. He understood, but it made her feel no better for having forced it upon him.

"And I swear," she whispered in his ear, "once we learn what we can for me, we'll hurry north for your mother."

She pulled back enough to look into his sad but resolved eyes. Although she spoke calmly, the scope of their impending journey left her feeling small and lost. He was about to answer when the thud of a door and running feet echoed from somewhere out front in the inn, and footsteps grew louder.

"The innkeeper is up and about," Magiere said, wanting to push away the outside world a bit longer.

Leesil shifted her out of his lap and reached for his breeches as he swung his legs over the bed's side.

"No," he said. "It's probably-"

The little room's door burst open and slammed against the wall.

"Magiere ... Leesil! I'm coming with you!" Wynn cried out, and she twisted the latch and shoved the door open with both hands. "Domin Tilswith gave me leave!"

The instant the door struck the wall, Wynn Hygeorht, apprentice for the Belaskian branch of the Guild of Sagecraft, stopped cold.

All her excitement drained away.

Leesil clutched a blanket as he grabbed for his breeches, his wiry torso dark gold in the candlelight. Startled, Magiere jerked the blanket back over her own specterlike body. The blanket snapped from Leesil's hand, and he lost his grip on the trousers, as well. His amber eyes widened, and Wynn's cheeks flushed as all thought scurried from her mind.

Leesil stood before her, stark naked.

"Oh ...," Wynn stammered. "Oh ..."

The door recoiled from the wall and struck her shoulder, and Wynn stumbled back into the opening. A low grunt made her glance down long enough to see Chap standing beside her. A few burrs and twigs stuck in the dog's long silver-gray fur, and his crystalline eyes widened as he looked into the room.

Wynn lifted her head again, and embarrassment overwhelmed all good sense.

"Forgetful gods, Wynn!" Magiere snapped, still clutching the blanket as she stood up. "With all that learning, didn't those sages teach you to knock?"

With a sudden inhalation, Wynn slapped her hands over her eyes at the sight of an exposed Leesil and an incensed Magiere heading straight for her. In less time than it took to announce her presence, she had lost the good graces of everyone she intended to join on the coming journey. How much worse could this possibly become?

"Get out!" Magiere snarled.

Wynn fumbled for the doorframe, too mortified to open her eyes. Two large paws thumped against her rear, and she stumbled into hallway. She heard the door slam shut behind her as she caught herself on the passage's far wall.

When she turned about to peek between her fingers, Chap sat before the closed door. His translucent blue eyes were filled with something akin to an elder's disappointment. Wynn slid down the wall to slump upon the floor.

"You should have warned me," she said.

Chap cocked his head, unblinking. His expression was too much like that of an old master sage waiting for a slow pupil to see the obvious answer to a stupid question.

Wynn stared back at the closed door. "Oh, my," she groaned.

Chap grunted and licked his nose.

"Oh, be quiet," Wynn snapped.

Leesil belted on his breeches and pulled his shirt over his head. "Well, now neither of us has any secrets from Wynn."

"You knew she was coming," Magiere said in the same biting tone she'd used on Wynn.

Leesil saw the accusing wrinkle of Magiere's brow as her own white shirt dropped around her neck. It was difficult to decide which response would spare him the worst of her coming assault. An uncovered lie would be dangerous later, but so was the truth in the moment.

Looking at Magiere's uncanny beauty, at her black hair loose over her shoulders, and her pale face and dark eyes, such a choice was exasperating. Only the day before, he'd thought their previous night together could never have happened.

As much as Leesil adored her challenging nature, and even goaded it at times to watch her smolder, this wasn't the time for another clash with Magiere. And worse, with the lingering memory of her pressed against him, he couldn't think of a convincing lie.

"Yes, I knew," he admitted. "I gave Wynn a necklace to sell, and she's brought us the coins from it."

"Necklace? What necklace? Leesil, what did you-?"

"I took it from Sapphire's body before we burned her corpse in Bela. We've a long way to go, and we're not going to get there on your bad temper and my charm."

He jerked the door open before she could come at him again.

Chap sat before the open door, his tail thumping. Wynn slumped against the far wall, her face buried in her hands. Barely twenty years old Wynn had a round face and brown braid hanging over one shoulder, and the sage's traditional long gray robe had been replaced with a shorter one that hung to the thighs of her new breeches.

Her little hands slid down from her eyes and she peeked up at Leesil, her olive cheeks flushed, and she covered her face again.

"You two get in here," Leesil ordered.

Chap trotted in, and, at the sight of Magiere's stern expression, he slipped past the travel chest and out of the way. Wynn entered more slowly.

"I am so truly sorry," she whispered.

Magiere crossed her arms. Leesil tensed as he shut the door, waiting to see if she would continue with him or turn her ire elsewhere.

"What's this nonsense about coming with us?" she snapped at Wynn. "You're supposed to be on your way to Miiska with our payment from Bela's city council."

Leesil and Magiere had been well paid for their services. Wynn had promised to take a bank draft to Miiska with a letter to their friend Karlin explaining their plans and other matters.

"Domin Tilswith will go in my place," Wynn blurted, plainly relieved that her poor manners seemed forgotten. "Your town council can begin building the community warehouse. He asked me to travel with you to the elven territory and serve as your translator. The elves here are different from those of my continent, so reclusive and secretive, and-"

"You're not coming with us," Leesil cut in, astonished. Wynn was little more than a sparrow barely out of its mother's nest-too innocent and naive to get involved in what he and Magiere didn't fully understand. "Now, did you sell the necklace I gave you?"

The young sage stood silent. With only a brief hesitation, she frowned, pulled a pouch from her robe's pocket, and handed it to him.

Leesil looked into it and found a fistful of coins, half gold and half silver, and mostly sovereigns. It was more than enough to see them through the coming seasons, or so he hoped.

"I received a good price for it-and I am coming with you," Wynn said. "Domin Tilswith assisted you both more than once and gave you shelter in Bela. He wishes me to-"

"I doubt it was his idea," Magiere scoffed.

"We have other more immediate plans," Leesil said. "And when we do turn toward the elven territory, it may well be winter. Wynn, you aren't fit for such a journey, and we don't have time to coddle a scholar on the road."

Wynn straightened her back, head up, embarrassment replaced by stubborn indignation. Leesil had seen this more than once during their time in Bela.

"And how will you get your answers?" she asked.

Table of Contents

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Sister of the Dead (Noble Dead Series #3) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
Eneri009 More than 1 year ago
I was at a stand still on this series and have just recently started to catch up. I've forgotten how much I enjoy reading this series. Magieres & Leesils adventures from town to town never stop and I find myself never bored. In this installment you get to dig a little more in to Magieres past and findout some of the sinister things that were played out. The revealing of truth & the chase of the past. All to get more pieces of the puzzle that is Magiere.
micgloth More than 1 year ago
This is the book that explains margieres origins. Marg goes back to her home town where her aunt raised her, her fathers castle is their. She hopes to find her out why someone would make a half vampire half human creature. What she finds is shocking. While they are their if i remember correctly they run in to a sorcerer that has cursed the town. Leesil and Margiere grow closer together throughout the books and this book is really shows how close they have become. Would recommend to all.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Magiere the dhampire wonders why her father a vampire would mate with a mortal and sire an offspring like her who kill his undead species. She travels to the village of her birth to seeking answers. Accompanying her is Leesil the half-elf, Wynn the sage and Chap a Fay contained in the body of a dog who doesn¿t want the dhampire to find out about her origins. Following them is the Noble Dead Welstiel, who doesn¿t want Magiere to learn the truth about her birth either and Chame who cares deeply for Wynn.--- In the village, the dhampire discovers five creatures, a dwarf, a troll, and three other species lost to the mists of time and memory who died so she could be born. They travel to the capital city to find out if there are any records that might explain her origins. Welstiel and Chame are there before her and kill the man who could give her access to her records. Although she learns nothing, a noble dead tells her where to find a vampire who was there for her creation; she doesn¿t know that when she find him, he will never let Magiere escape him again.--- SISTER OF THE DEAD is a combination of fantasy, horror and romance that will appeal to readers of all three genres. Magiere finds some of the answers she seeks but knows that someone so powerful that even though he sleeps enacts his will on many of the nobles and he wants her for reasons unknown at this time. Readers will treasure Magiere¿s tenacity and vulnerability just as they will care for the loyal loving Leesit. Barb & J.C. Hendee have written a spellbinding work that is creative and addicting.--- Harriet Klausner
HEABookNerd 26 days ago
I'm really enjoying this series and I'm glad we get some answers with Sister of the Dead, though of course, there are still some question left. Magiere's history and how she was born is a tragic story and it weighs heavily on her shoulders. She was created by evil but she wants to be so much more and this internal fight creates a lot of tension for Magiere. Helping to keep Magiere grounded is her relationship with Leesil, the only person she's ever opened up to and I liked the softer way they treated each other in this book. It's not unusual for Magiere and Leesil to bicker, I'd even say they enjoy it, but it was a nice change to see them be vulnerable together. Leesil continues to be an intriguing character for me and I can't wait to get more of his story. He's agreed to put off finding out more about his mother and her people in order to help Magiere but now that she has her answers, it's time for Leesil to get his. Another interesting development is Wynn, a young sage, who is traveling with Magiere and Leesil to lend her knowledge once they reach the Elven lands. She's innocent and naive in a lot of ways but she also helps to remind Magiere and Leesil about what they're fighting for. A lot is revealed in Sister of the Dead and it's pretty action packed as the group confronts creatures and magic they've never encountered before. Magiere is learning to control her dhampir side and each new battle teaches them more about the undead world. I can't wait to see where this series will go.
DonnerLibrary on LibraryThing 30 days ago
Sister of the Dead begins the morning after Thief of Lives ends. This is a series that absolutely must be read in order or it will make no sense. I am so glad that I am reading the books now instead of when they first came out because a waiting a year between books would have ruined the flow of the story for me.As I get deeper into this series, I am enjoying it even more. The characters are all complex. They all have their own secrets and moral codes. Each has a past that they would rather forget but which calls to them. The choice of whether to continue on their current path or step off into the darkness doesn't simply occur once but instead over and over again in so many small choices that are made. Unknown forces try to shape events to their purpose but must contend with free will at each crossroads.The action seems to be non-stop even when I thought Magiere and Leesil were going to get a small break to rest or talk things over. Their journey was full of obstacles and the simplest of tasks became difficult. Emotions are constantly running high, leading to short tempers and inner conflict.Each time I thought I knew where the story was heading the authors threw in another twist. Once it happened I could see how things were leading up to it even while pulling me toward a different idea. This kept the book and the series unpredictable.This is a great dark fantasy series and I'm looking forward to reading the next book.
slothman on LibraryThing 30 days ago
Magiere the half-vampire has set off to her homeland of Droevinka to learn more about her own history; even her own birth seems to have been a planned event, and she wants to know why. She and her partner Leesil the half-elven assassin are joined by a young sage named Wynn as they follow the trail that leads back to the sorcerer who planned her very existence.Adding Wynn to the party makes the relationships of the characters even more complicated, as her scholar's perspective leads to conflicts with the more battle-seasoned Magiere. We also begin to see the stakes in the whole game, and see some of the more compassionate side of a character who was looking quite ruthless.
kw50197 on LibraryThing 30 days ago
The Noble Dead series grows more interesting. There are still many unanswered questions regarding Magiere's destiny as there seem to be at least 2 opposing forces attempting to make Magiere their ally. Neither side's motives have been explained but both have meddled greatly with Magiere's life, as demonstrated when Magiere was sired and Chap's pushing of Leesil into Magiere's life. And yet, neither side maybe absolutely wrong in what they believe about Magiere's nature. As Magiere discovered when Ubad attempted to coerce her into consuming the element of Spirit, she was in fact unable to do so. And it is these questions which continue to make the series interesting.Another interesting aspect of the series is the role reversals between the male and female lead. In Sister of the Dead, Magiere is the hunter while Leesil is the nurturer. Often, Magiere is the one who fights the undead while Leesil is the one who keep her from giving in to despair over her nature.Apart from that, the addition of Wynn makes Magiere and Chap's view of the undead creatures they fight seems at times too harsh. While Magiere is intent on denying any possible human emotions attributed to vampires, Wynn believes otherwise and the vampire Chane who has rescued Wynn twice because he cares for her seems proof of this. It certainly makes one wonder who is right in this case.
Darla on LibraryThing 30 days ago
This series keeps expanding rather than just presenting the same kind of story over and over. Here we learn about Magiere's origins, and there are some painful and emotional developments. No black and white characters--even the villains have motivation and are sympathetic. Some questions are answered, but more arise.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Third in the series about Magiere the Dhampir and her companions Leesil & Chap. In this outing, they go in search of Magiere¿s past. We learn more about her creation and birth. Decent addition to the series.
Alera on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This one I actually thought would be my least favorite in the series thus far. It might still in some way be. But I do have to give it credit. The last 100 pages pretty much managed to redeem well characters. But let's start at the beginning. Magiere and Leesil are about the only thing that made the book enjoyable at all for the first 300 pages. I don't much like Welstiel and I detest Chane and Wynn. But when they finally gave me Magiere's back story... it was well done. It answered everything I really cared about and it didn't take over 600 pages to do. Yes, JK I'm talking to you. It even made me genuinely respect in some manner Welstiel's actions when prior to this I had merely not cared for him. I now know there is a bit more depth there and I am satisfied. I am even a tiny bit more satisfied with Chane. Largely because I really am beginning to feel that he actually cares enough for Wynn...that maybe just maybe...he could do something awesome. However Wynn is just a whiny bitch. I can't stand her. Wah Wah Woe is her! Oh and Chap....totally awesome! If only because telling off the others of your kind and then basically forcing them to still do what you want....always perfection. I'd love to get a little more on that. Really a whole prologue to the series dealing solely with Chap would be amazing!
LEW on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Third in the series about Magiere the Dhampir and her companions Leesil & Chap. In this outing, they go in search of Magiere¿s past. We learn more about her creation and birth. Decent addition to the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the journey as she searched for her father.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Second book was more like the first. This book brought the series back to life! Almost as great as first.
SmalltownSR More than 1 year ago
I'm liking this series much more with this book.
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