The world is a dangerous place for Delbeth Sitric. Protected by her vampire father and tempered by her faerie/human mother, Delbeth is an immortal blend that the Croatian Tribunal has condemned to extinction.
She is caught between two worlds: the human teenager who wants to attend prom, and the vampire/faerie who is destined to change immortal life. For now, however, she must concentrate on staying alive.
In this coming of age fantasy, Delbeth goes to Ireland seeking safety in the Celtic world from the political forces that would exterminate vampire blends like her. However, she becomes part of the Celtic mythology when she weds her protector and shares his destiny.
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A Vampire Trilogy: Harbors of the UndeadBook I
By N.E. Tovell
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 N.E. Tovell
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMeet Delbeth Sitric
I had been a vampire for almost eighteen years. Well, actually, I'm a vampire blend because my father is a vampire and my mother is half human and half FAE. (Later, I would learn that FAE, or faeries, stood for Fallen Angels on Earth, but I'll get back to that.) As a part vampire, I had stopped aging, I liked to drink blood—sometimes, and I was really strong and fast. But I was also part human. I slept at night, I ate regular food, and I could cry. It's that last trait that I found really annoying.
The vampire members of my family could experience horrendous feelings with the expression of a stone, whereas I fell apart. I got better at hiding my feelings, but hiding anything from my parents was almost impossible. My mother, Daireann, was what I call an intermittent telepath who could both read and send thoughts—sometimes. She had some trouble reading the minds of very old vampires like my father, but she didn't have any trouble with me. Furthermore, my father could hear anything from miles away, so there was no such thing as mumbling under my breath with him around. Together, they usually knew whatever I was doing, which significantly altered the adventures of my adolescence.
My mother also felt what other people felt, like any good FAE can. She was only half FAE, so her ears weren't pointed, but she smelled and looked like a faerie. My father, Kristian, told me he was enchanted at first whiff. Faerie blood is a vampire favorite.
There aren't very many FAE/humans in the supernatural world, and I don't know of any other FAE/human/vampires like me. In fact, I was pretty much a total surprise to everyone because as far as anyone knew, pure vampires seldom had biological children. I can just imagine the announcement:
Daireann: "Kristian, there's something I need to tell you."
Kristian: "What, my love?" (My dad is centuries old, so sometimes he talks like that.)
Daireann: "We are going to have a baby." Or, "I'm pregnant."
The reaction was probably several minutes of absolute stone like stillness while my dad processed all the ways my entry into the world was possible. Fortunately, within a few minutes, my FAE Aunt Sabia showed up laughing her head off and explained how I occurred.
It seems my father liked to sample my mother's FAE blood, and it activated his daddy cells. Voila! Yours truly, Delbeth, arrived some six months later. Faeries are the exact opposite of vampires—not human, but very much alive. When my father fed on my mother, he evidently took on some of her life. However, he must have started limiting his "snacks," because I was their only offspring.
My Aunt Sabia liked to jokingly tell the story as part of my birthday celebration every year, but my dad never seemed to appreciate the humor. He sat pretty much like a rock, and then after the story was enjoyed by all, he would come up and kiss me on top of my head, saying, "Regardless of how you got here, sweetheart, I'm glad you did."
Everyone notices Kristian Sitric! He's about six foot three with blondish hair, bright blue eyes, and solid muscle. He was turned when he was thirty years old in some Gaelic Viking colony, and he pretty much commands attention wherever he goes.
My mother, Daireann, is his opposite; she's about five foot four with a slim build, long chestnut hair, chocolate-brown eyes, and a remarkable smile. Although she can read thoughts, she doesn't do it well with vampires because most of them are too old—even if they don't look it.
I am a blend of the two: I have reddish-blonde hair, hazel eyes, and am about five foot six. I have my mother's slight body with the ample curves thin girls often don't have. I also inherited part of my mother's "gift." I can project thoughts or pictures to others. However, I had to be careful, especially around my father. He didn't appreciate what he called my "faerie back talk," and I had been grounded for two weeks over my last outburst, which involved sending a picture showing him where to put his "orders."
One morning I was sunbathing on our patio in my favorite blue bikini. It was late April up in the Wisconsin peninsula of Door, and although it was only sixty degrees and the wind was cool, the sun felt glorious. My mother and her twin sister, Sabia, were next to me soaking up the rays, so I come by the love of sun naturally. Kristian was watching us from the balcony while he talked on his cell phone. He was probably admiring my mother and wishing I had more clothes on. Kristian was a little overprotective. By vampire standards, I was mature by age ten, but by Kristian standards, I doubt if I'll ever be. Granted, as a blend I was still aging some, but that would stop soon.
As if I had projected this thought, my mother warned me, "Your father thinks you need to put on a robe so you don't catch cold, Delbeth."
"Cold, my ..." I glanced up at Kristian, who was scowling at me as he continued talking. Oops. I got up and put on my robe. After a minute, I could hear him farther away, so I let the robe slip open and was soon absorbing the warm rays once again. I must have fallen asleep because I was suddenly awakened when Kristian started talking in between us. His speech was directed to my mother, but before he sat down in a plastic armchair, he pulled my robe closed. I sighed, and he smiled triumphantly. I chose not to send a message.
"What's up?" I asked.
"We're going to be taking a trip next week to Dublin," Kristian stated simply.
"Dublin? Why?" I didn't want to miss the senior prom I had worked so hard to produce. To save time, I just projected all the images of how I expected prom to look.
"Perhaps we'll get back in time, sweetheart," my father interjected. "We can hope, anyway." There wasn't any sense trying to negotiate because Kristian never made these announcements until all the plans were concluded. Also, I didn't have a date for the prom yet, so Kristian probably didn't see my dance activity as settled.
I felt a little guilty whining about prom because I knew my father had a full-up, loaded plate. He had been elected the governor of North America last year by the vampire government, which was sort of like being President of the Vampire United States. He was always on his BlackBerry and did a lot of traveling related to his new position, much of it with us.
"I want you to go, too, Sabia," Kristian added. Sabia was Kristian's executive assistant. She had actually worked for him for years part time, but she took over full time when he won the election. She is my mother's best friend. She is also my godmother—or as I like to call her, my faerie godmother. Sabia is my mother's fraternal twin, and they are the same height, but Sabia has blonde hair. Her eyes are hazel like mine rather than brown like Daireann's.
Sabia has all sorts of talents, but her faerie talent is that she can see the future—not with absolute certainty, because people have free will and can change their choices, but barring people changing their minds, she is really good.
"I know," she said. "I've already started packing."
My dad smiled at her. He likes Sabia. I do, too. She is great at designing and sewing clothes, and she already had my prom dress for me, which I loved. Then I remembered.
"Aunt Sabia, will I get to go to prom?"
"Depends," she answered reluctantly.
"On what?" I whined.
"On what happens in Ireland. We have important events to consider trying to stay a step ahead of the Croatian Tribunal."
It was true that my father was the governor of North America, but the Tribunal had existed since ancient times, and they represented an old guard of sorts. Three of them headed up the Grand Council, which was the judicial, legislative, and executive branch of the vampire government. Five years before, however, in order to avert a vampire revolt, the Tribunal had ceded power to a representative form of government, and they had a worldwide election for governors. That was the first election, and Kristian was elected North American Governor.
Kristian doesn't have a need for power, but he sure does think his way is the way. He's smart, even for a vampire, so his way is—I hate to say it—often the best course. My mother softens his high-handed approach, so she has made him a popular political figure. He seeks out her advice a lot because my mother is really smart for a human. Perhaps it's her FAE blood.
Oh, great! My vampire prejudice is showing through. Vampires usually look down on humans as inferior beings, but my mother and aunt are what I think of as enhanced humans. Because my family is all very talented, I was lucky to have them home-school me until I was enrolled in St. Margaret Girls' Secondary Academy, where I was now a senior.
"Are we in danger?" I asked my parents. They looked at each other with wrinkled brows, and I knew that we were.
Chapter TwoAn Unexpected Guest
My mother loves balconies. When she designed our home in the woods here in Door County (or as my father calls it Doras), she put a balcony all around the second floor, so each room has its own deck with a view. The balcony also linked each room, and we never knew which family member we would meet on the extension. This particular morning, my Aunt Sabia was already sunbathing outside her room next to mine.
"Good morning, Delbeth," she seemed to sing as I sought the sunshine again.
"Uh-huh," I mumbled. My vampire half really doesn't like early morning, but I have adjusted to the fact that I am a night creature in a morning world.
"I brought a Thermos pot of coffee, if you want some."
"Thanks." I nodded and poured a cup. I can understand living without food, but how do vampires exist without caffeine? It certainly isn't the FAE/human way, thank heavens.
"So is someone going to tell me what's going on?"
"About what, hon?" Sabia was studying some papers and didn't look up.
I wasn't in the mood for chit-chat. "You know about what! Why are we in danger?"
"Who said we were?"
"Oh, come on, Sabia. Suddenly we're going to Ireland. Kristian is governor of North America, not Ireland." I felt as though I were explaining the obvious to a moron, so I knew I was being stonewalled.
"I'm going to let your parents explain it, Delbeth. And watch your tone, please." Sabia let out a deep breath, inhaled again, and continued. "I really wouldn't know where to start anyway. Suffice it to say that there are powerful forces in the vampire hierarchy that we seem to threaten, and it is up to us to remove that threat—or remove them."
I gazed at Sabia to see how worried she looked. "Are we talking war? Is Kristian in favor of this?"
"No one is in favor of this, Delbeth, but sometimes events lead us down roads we weren't expecting. We aren't sure how the Tribunal will act against us, but for some reason they are more worried about vampire blends than they used to be. I don't know why."
"But why do we threaten them?"
"That's what I'm going to let your parents explain." With that, Sabia got up and left.
No doubt about it, I wanted to talk to Kristian. He annoyed the crap out of me much of the time, but there was no escaping how much safer I felt when he was around.
When I got up and reached for my robe, I heard a rustling behind me. As I turned to identify the sound, a hand flattened on my mouth, and a steel arm grabbed me around the waist and started to drag me to the sliding door.
"Be quiet, Delbeth. It's Johan Mirez." I knew his voice and relaxed to take a breath. As I exhaled, anger welled up in my throat. When his vice-like grip loosened, I turned to face him.
"What is wrong with you, Johan?" He put his finger up to his lips as I spoke—probably to suggest I keep my voice down. "Why didn't you use the front door like the rest of us?" Then I realized that using the front door was not what vampires usually did when we could just as easily jump to the balcony.
"Yes, Johan, why are you sneaking into our house?" Uh-oh, Kristian. Startled, we both faced him. Johan was definitely in danger and he seemed to realize it.
"Kristian, I'm not here to hurt Delbeth. I'm here to warn her—or protect her."
Kristian's response was simple and icy. "Explain."
"Last weekend when I returned to my village to visit my sister, the place was in ruins. Someone had set it ablaze, and it was still smoldering." Johan was about sixty years old, and he also used words like 'ablaze.' "Drained bodies were everywhere, but there was no sign of my family. While I searched the debris, I found an old man who was still alive, but barely. I asked him who had done this, and he told me that a group of vampires dressed in long robes had come into the village and laid waste to the inhabitants. They took my sister Bianca."
With this, Johan slumped into my chaise, but Kristian wasn't about to let him relax.
"Have they been tracking you?"
With Kristian towering over him, I guess Johan decided it would be better if he stood, because he pulled himself out of the chaise and faced my father directly.
"I'm not sure." He glanced at me and then back at Kristian. "I came here to seek your protection because the vampires only seem to be concerned with half-breeds. My sister had told me that she had fallen in love with a vampire who said he was a scientist from Germany. He wanted her to leave with him, so I went to meet him."
"Did she tell you his name?" Kristian asked thoughtfully.
"I thought she said Gierd," he offered. "Does that name mean anything to you?"
"Yes, he used to be a part of the Tribunal," Kristian said simply. "Both of you go downstairs and secure the premises; we will meet in the conference room in fifteen minutes. Of course, you have our protection, Johan."
After he pulled me inside and locked the patio door, Kristian pushed a button on my door, and an automatic metal wall sealed us in. I hated to see the sun disappear. Then Kristian gave me a disapproving look from head to toe.
"Get dressed, Delbeth."
I was too shocked to scream back "Yes, sir!" but I thought about it after he left the room. My timing leaves a lot to be desired, and I am, quite simply, a chicken.
When Kristian left, Johan and I were in my bedroom alone, and I was standing there in my skimpiest bikini. After my father's comment, I felt naked as Johan stared at me, so I mumbled to him, "Go on ahead. I'll meet you in the conference room."
"Yeah, uh, right." Thankfully, Johan left. He knew Kristian was nearby.
Johan Mirez is a half human/half vampire blend from about two hundred miles southwest of Santiago, Chile, an area that is populated by German expatriates who moved there after World War II. His vampire father was a former Nazi scientist executed by the Tribunal because of his mating experiments with human women. The Tribunal allowed his blended children, Johan and Bianca, to live because they were innocents. However, there were members of the Croatian Council, the Tribunal advisors, who wanted to dispose of the blended vampires to keep the vampire line pure, so we have always been wary of changing winds.
I had met Johan years ago when I was still a child. After some eighteen years, vampire blends stop aging, so now I looked about the same age as Johan. Did I mention that he was gorgeous? He was almost as tall as Kristian, but he had long, black curly hair and brown eyes circled with lashes no man should be allowed to possess. He had thin lips and a square jaw, which he moved slightly from side to side when he was annoyed. The second stage to that annoyance was an exaggerated flexing of shoulder and chest muscles which were generous in the extreme. I had never seen the next stage of annoyance, but I imagined it might resemble Kristian's. Run, baby, run.
Johan's younger sister, Bianca, and he shared a common father, but they had different mothers. Both of their mothers died in childbirth, which is one reason the Tribunal stepped in. Not very many women could be found dead before the authorities would be contacted and a thorough investigation begun. Then questions would follow, the vampires would be implicated, and unwanted attention would result. The Tribunal had no patience with attention-getters, and they usually acted swiftly to neutralize the offending vampires.
Excerpted from A Vampire Trilogy: Harbors of the Undead by N.E. Tovell Copyright © 2011 by N.E. Tovell. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1. Meet Delbeth Sitric....................1
Chapter 2. An Unexpected Guest....................6
Chapter 3. The Family Meeting....................11
Chapter 4. Our Irish Arrival....................21
Chapter 5. Ireland....................24
Chapter 6. The Summit....................28
Chapter 7. The Morning of Newgrange....................42
Chapter 8. Meeting the FAE....................46
Chapter 9. Kristian Plans with Brian....................50
Chapter 10. Meeting in Newgrange....................54
Chapter 11. Meeting The Croatian Tribunal....................63
Chapter 12. The After-Summit....................69
Chapter 13. To Dublin with Galian....................75
Chapter 14. Sabia Goes Missing....................83
Chapter 15. Plans and Promises....................96
Chapter 16. Our Wedding....................100
Chapter 17. The Croatian Surprise....................104
Chapter 18. Under a Full Moon....................108
Chapter 19. The World of Caresses....................116
Chapter 20. A Brief Honeymoon....................121
Chapter 21. Saturday....................124
Chapter 22. Saturday Afternoon....................130
Chapter 23. Sunday....................133
Chapter 24. Departure from Dublin....................136
Chapter 25. Stateside....................141
Chapter 26. Settling In....................144
Chapter 27. At the Precipice....................167
Chapter 28. Prom Night....................171
Chapter 29. Graduation....................176
Chapter 30. A Change of Events....................181
Chapter 31. Showdown....................187
Chapter 32. The Plague Rages On....................191
Chapter 33. And the World Turns....................196