The Vampires' Birthright

Free The Vampires' Birthright by Aiden James

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Authors: Aiden James
place―their parents have all been eaten!”
    Chanson stepped back and studied me. She knew exactly what I was talking about. Tyreen, being from a more contemporary age, shared my values. Raquel nodded in agreement, though with her, it could have been she simply wanted a fight, although it was clear there had to be more than a single rogue vampire orphaning the palace staff.
    I looked to the guys for help. “Come on, you
know
this is bullshit Garvan.”
    He refused to meet my gaze and opened his mouth to speak, but wandered over to stand behind Chanson in silence before finally noticing something incredibly interesting on his shoes.
    “Unbelievable.” I was somewhere between furious and disappointed.
    “Very well… we shall agree to disagree. Okay?” She stepped closer, lowering her voice to just above a whisper. “But for now, I ask that you act as if this unfortunate event never happened. At least—”
    I started to protest, but she stopped me.
    “At least until it’s safe enough to do otherwise.” She nodded in an effort to get me to do the same. The weight of her stare burrowed into my frazzled psyche, and I relented. “And, I mean safe enough for us all.”
    In other words, I needed to keep my mouth shut until we were no longer guests of Xu Zheng Palace.

    With such an unpleasant start to Christmas Eve, I assumed the entire holiday would be a somber, and thus a lonelier, affair. Especially since I seriously doubted our Chinese hosts gave a flip about this predominantly Western holiday. There wasn’t a single hint that Christmas even existed in the palace… no decorations, colored lights, and certainly no Christmas trees. Not even Asian or bonsai style. Yes, I knew that is Japanese, but it would have been cute anyway. Just the mundane Eighteenth century comforts.
    Lovely. Just fucking lovely.
    I believe if it had only been me this upset, my companions might’ve been tempted to lock me up in a dark closet and not let me out until January arrived. But Tyreen was also dealing with deep sadness—despite her new nature as a vampire. The human side of her would take decades to die off, unless she was as resilient as the vampires in our immediate circle. They usually seemed ‘human’ enough despite all were at least three centuries in age. Even so, I certainly was seeing more and more where compassion for the true human condition was a perspective of convenience.
    “Hey, sister, how are you holding up?” she said, when the others prepared to leave the room for what I assumed would be another typical night of ‘pick your plasma preference while Txema picks at her food’.
    “I’ll be okay, Tyreen. I just need to take my mind off this shit for at least a night.” The soft-hearted girl I once knew lingered in her eyes. They were glistening as if she might cry. Pink halos formed around the rims and a deeper spot of crimson filled the edge of her left eye. “How you are doing is the more important thing.”
    “I’ll be okay, too,” she said. “But I really miss my mom and dad back in Atlanta… and I miss Johnny
even
more!”
    Her lips trembled for a moment, and I so admired her efforts to hold in the pain for my sake. There wasn’t much mercy for a new vampire. Tyreen was expected to tough it out on her own. Surely, this had been the case long ago for my immortal companions when they were ‘turned.’ Assuming this, none of them could be expected to behave differently, or faulted for not showing compassion to a new vamp struggling with the steady decay of her humanity. Just five weeks earlier, Tyreen talked excitedly about traveling home to Atlanta from Knoxville for Thanksgiving break to introduce her parents to her college beau, Johnny Ayers.
    “Oh, sweetie, you’ll always be able to count on me to be there for you.” I reached out to embrace her, and a deluge of pent up emotion exploded from her. She wept bitterly. “There, there…it’s okay.”
    A good thing I didn’t wear something white

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