The second installment of the Legacy Series Novellas is up for preorder!
We’re taking you across Europe to the desert oasis of Egypt in this next novella, highlighting the origins of a new character to my universe, Tor, who is an Egyptian priest of a dead religion. He teams up with Michael and Jane to find the lost civilization where werewolves and vampires used to live in peace. They also discover the myths of the spirit of Tanatia and the War Beast, which is gone into further detail in the Loup-Garou series.
For those who love the Loup-Garou series and are eager for more of this dynamic, multi-facetted universe, you’re going to want to check out the Legacy Series. Don’t forget to also look for the first novella, The Legend, now available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!
Egypt and Middle Europe, 1570
Tor had known nothing else of life outside of his lonely temple in Asyut. The last priest of the half-man, half-wolf Egyptian god Wepwawet, his days are filled with pious rituals that celebrate the union between his spirit and the gift of transformation his god had bestowed upon him and his family from birth. The sole survivor of his priesthood, he believes he is the only one who can maintain balance between Ma’at (order) and chaos that would inevitably consume the world.
All of that changes when Giovanni, an Italian explorer under the payroll of the vampire lord, Michael Gennari, finds Tor in his temple and asks for his help to find the lost civilization where vampires and werewolves once lived in harmony thousands of years ago. Knowing something of the mythical Arnathia, Tor agrees to help.
Jane Gennari, Michael’s young and mischievous daughter, has another plan for Tor. Inadvertently, she makes a long and arduous journey to the Caspian Sea even more dangerous. Drawn to his raw, savage, and sometimes uncivilized character, she lusts after him with a fervor that seems revolting to other vampires. The vampires and werewolves have been at war for centuries, but Michael’s small coven do not adhere to such prejudices.
With hunters, traitors, and the unforgiving elements working against them, vampire and werewolf must unite for a common goal: to seek the truth of what happened to upset the balance between their races.
Sneak Peek into Chapter 2
“Signorina, we should not be spying on your father,” Francesca whispered.
Jane swatted at her blood servant as she kept her gaze fixed on their dark-skinned visitor from behind the sitting room door. “Silenzio,” she hissed. It was difficult to block out the potent stench of Francesca’s fear, while Jane strained her senses to assess the strong looking lupo mannero standing in the vestibule.
She appraised his tall stature and the way he held himself with pride and confidence. Everything from the way his arm muscles flexed when he gripped his staff tighter to the way his shirt and tight-fitted vest stretched over his back and chest made her weak.
“I imagine you have many questions,” her father said as he approached the man who called himself Tor. Michael’s boots tapped loudly on the tiles, his hands behind his back and chin high to assert his own importance. Tor did not seem fazed.
“Many,” Tor replied and Jane had to catch her breath. She had never seen a lupo mannero before, but if they were all like Tor, she knew she would like them immensely. She liked him already and she hadn’t even seen the golden eyes they were so famous for.
Her father grinned, showing his sharp vampire fangs. “And I will endeavor to answer each of them.” Tor leaned forward, his eyes narrowing upon her father’s face. “Something wrong?”
Tor straightened. “Giovanni said you were a vampire, one who drinks the blood of the living.”
Michael rocked back on his heels. “I am,” he replied with a nod. “You will also meet Yaverik, my apprentice. He is otherwise disposed at the moment, but I imagine he will turn up soon to discuss the plans… What else did Giovanni tell you?”
“That you are a fair padrone. You have sent him to find this place, Arnathia. May I ask why you are in search of it?”
Michael let out a long breath and Jane prepared herself to hear the old story she had heard almost daily for the last forty-eight years.
“This civilization existed long ago. My father told me of it when I was a boy and his father told him. Not many know of it, but it used to be the birthplace of our kind; the vampires and the lupo mannero – the werewolf. The civilization thrived for millennia before it collapsed and our two races could no longer coexist. I endeavor to find it and discover how our races came to despise one another.”
Tor tilted his head. “You mean to say, there is a war between our kinds? Between the priests and vampires?”
Michael chuckled. “Not just your priesthood, but all werewolves. There are so many more of your kind in the world and there are many of mine as well.” Michael flattened his hand upon his chest. “I come from an ancient line. My family were some of the first citizens of Roma, but before that, we came from Arnathia, I’m sure of it. I imagine that your own ancestors must have come from Arnathia as well.”
Tor shook his head. “No. I am a descendant of Wepwawet, a god of Egypt.”
Michael held up a finger to point out his guest’s error. “Yes, but where did Wepwawet come from? Suppose he once came from Arnathia as well?”
“You question my faith, signore,” Tor accused, his voice dropping so low that Jane’s fingers began to tremble.
Michael made a sign of resignation. “I attempt to do nothing of the sort, but consider for a moment that everyone must come from some place and I am endeavoring to find this place. It’s my birthplace as much as yours. I know the answers lie in Arnathia, as long as we can find it.” Her father dropped his hands. “I simply wish to know my origins and why our people can’t seem to make peace.”
“If our kind are at war, then why do you show such hospitality?”
Michael nodded. “Because I hold no grudge or hatred toward your kind. I have associated with werewolves in the past and have had nothing but pleasant dealings with them as long as they were willing to cooperate with me as well.”
“And if they didn’t?” Tor asked, a silent question tacking itself to the one he uttered. He wanted to know what became of those who didn’t decide to play well with Michael.
Her father shrugged. “In general, if I show trust and amiableness to a werewolf, he returned it in kind. I have not met a werewolf that wished to harm me for no reason. Now, I cannot say the same for humans or other vampires, which is why I extend the hand of friendship to all werewolves, but reserve my judgement on other races.”
Tor jerked his chin toward the closed library door. “I presume Giovanni has earned your trust, then?”
Michael paused and looked toward the library. “He has served me well. I don’t see a reason to not trust him for now, but humans can be fickle creatures. I’m sure you understand this.” He looked Tor over. “By your looks, I guess you are perhaps… three hundred or so?”
Tor lowered his chin in a look of skepticism. “How did you know?”
“Like I said, I have met many of your kind… I’m sure you have other questions, but for the moment, we should attend to our friend, Giovanni, and map out our quest to find Arnathia.” Michael turned to stride toward the library, but Tor did not budge.
“Arnathia is not a place to be exploited,” he said, his voice echoing off the high ceilings and vibrating against the doorknob Jane grasped tightly.
Michael looked over his shoulder and nodded. “I can assure you that it will not be. This is an expedition of knowledge, not of wealth.”
“No one outside of our party is to know about it. The scrolls say that it is a sacred place and I expect you to respect it as such.”
It had been a long time since anyone demanded something from her father in that way and Jane had to suppress her grin.
Michael’s nostrils flared as if he were ready to charge, but he made no other signs of aggression. “I can respect your protectiveness over Arnathia. It is sacred to me as well. I would not allow anyone to desecrate it; human, vampire, or werewolf.”
Their eyes locked and a tremor of tension passed through the vestibule. Behind Jane, Francesca could feel it too and she shivered. Jane, on the other hand, reveled in the feel of power that exuded from Tor. She wanted to draw closer, to feel it course through her.
Almost as soon as it came, it died away, and Tor bowed his head for the first time in veneration for the padrone. “Grazie.”
Michael said nothing and entered the library, the door left open to admit their guest when he was ready to join them. For an aching moment, Tor stood in the vestibule, silent and motionless. Jane waited, watching with such intensity that her eyes watered. She could hear her father and Giovanni already pouring over the scrolls they had brought.
“I know you’re there,” Tor mumbled, his eyes sliding directly to the cracked sitting room door to meet her anxious gaze.
Francesca gasped and jumped away, but Jane bit her lip, ready and willing to meet her father’s guide. She opened the door, letting the light from the vestibule flood through before she entered. Her heavy skirts rustled with each step as she came to face Tor.
With her hands meekly held behind her back and long blonde hair braided around her head and interwoven with bright ribbons, Jane knew she was attractive. Michael spared no expense to make sure she had the finest silk garments and all the luxuries that a woman could ever want.
Yet, when Tor beheld her for the first time, he didn’t smile as other Italian men did. His eyes didn’t alight with interest, yet what could she expect? He hadn’t even shown a hint of happiness since he walked in. Lupo mannero or not, Jane was determined to find out why he was so placid.
“Buona sera,” she greeted, sure to make her voice drip with sweetness. All the ragazzi loved to hear her speak.
Tor bowed lower than he did to her father just moments before. “Buona sera, signorina.”
Jane’s lips twitched and pulled as she tried not to let her face split into a grin. He might have been speaking perfect Italian, but there was still a hint of his Egyptian accent that snaked through the way he formed each sound.
Up close, Tor was so much more than just a werewolf. He must have been the most handsome man she had ever laid eyes on. His exotic and unique scent alone made her head spin. She could imagine him wrestling a scaly and viscous crocodile along the banks of the Nile, his bulging muscles glistening with sweat in the hot sun. Not only that, she could imagine him wrestling with something a little softer and between silky sheets.
“You are a vampire as well,” he said. Jane was slightly grateful that he seemed so open to conversation. When Giovanni was in the vestibule, he was as silent as the grave.
“I am,” she replied. “Many are misled by my youthful appearance.”
Tor’s eyes drifted to the hem of her skirt and back. Yes, Jane was nearly half a century old, but many disregarded her as a mere adolescent of sixteen, perhaps seventeen, years. It was only when she carried on a mature and intellectual discussion that they might wonder how old she truly was.
“I was born a vampire,” she continued. “My father and mother were both vampires as well.”
As soon as she let the word “mother” slip from her lips, she immediately regretted it. It had been years since she let herself think so much on the memory of her mother and it brought with it too many emotions to count.
Jane had learned to push it all side, just for a moment, to worry about the grief some other day. If she didn’t, she’d surely go mad.
Tor watched her and he must have seen the flash of feeling in her eyes. “Something wrong?” he asked and she could sense his sincerity. It was clear that he wasn’t quite attracted to her, but he did care.
Jane rolled her eyes. “I envy you and Giovanni. You’re going to see the wondrous Arnathia.”
“You don’t sound so impressed.”
She scoffed. “I’m not. Father’s been talking about Arnathia for as long as I can remember. It’s nothing special anymore. It’s just a place I’ve never been.”
Tor’s eyes penetrated through her half-truth to see the reality of her sarcasm beneath. “You do want to go, though. Don’t you?”
Jane slowly paced around Tor, but he did not turn to follow her movements. “A caged bird would gladly fly into hell if it meant it could escape the confines of its prison.” She let her eyes wander over his body, seizing the moment to be so close while it lasted. “I used to go with father on his trips over Europe, but I haven’t left Italy in nearly fifteen years. I’d gladly go to Arnathia if he would let me.”
“He let you go with him on voyages before, so why not now?” he asked as she made her way back around to face him.
Jane shrugged and looked away, casting her smoky gray eyes to the intricate pattern mosaic on the floor. “I don’t know. He doesn’t answer me when I ask.” She looked to Tor through her thick, dark lashes. “Maybe he’s worried that a certain wolf may be bad company for me.”
She saw the slight waiver in Tor’s defenses and she was ready to pounce upon it.
“Jane,” her father snapped from the library door. She jumped and turned to face Michael’s hardened gaze. “Leave the signore alone,” he ordered.
Without hesitation, she fled from the vestibule to return to Francesca who was still waiting in the sitting room. Her father could command obedience, but Jane’s wild spirit pulsed for the chance to get closer to the Egyptian.
At the door, she turned back and locked eyes with the high priest once more. His defenses, thick as the walls of Jericho, were restored and he slowly walked away to join Michael and Giovanni in the library. Her father gave her a reprimanding look that promised a harsh scolding later, and then disappeared with the lupo mannero.