Read Katrina, The Beginning Online

Authors: Elizabeth Loraine

Tags: #romance, #vampire, #adventure, #fantasy, #magic, #young adult, #ebook, #teen, #elves, #series, #vampire series, #young adult series

Katrina, The Beginning (26 page)

“If we can block their
spells they will be no match for us, and we can take care of them
ourselves,” I stated.

“They also have many ways
to hide, and most have individual gifts just as we do. They may be
shape-shifters, so they can blend in and disappear. Usually each
individual can only change into one kind of thing, either a living
or an inanimate object. So you would need to be on the watch for
something that seems out of place or was not there
before.”

“Great, once again, so much
to learn in such a short amount of time,” Letta shook her
head.

“You’ll never stop
learning, my dear, and you still haven’t told me why you think
you’ll come across such evil.”

“We’ve all learned Luena,
her mother and possibly Damien’s mother are evil and seeking to
recruit others to join them, even if they have to turn humans into
vampires to do it. We want to be prepared for anything.”

“I can have talismans made
for each of you. They will each contain a spell that will protect
you. I’ll request them from a powerful wizard who can insure, when
you are wearing them, they will make you undetectable by witches or
warlocks. I will also I’ll ask his recommendation for any other
items which may be of use.”

“Thank you, Mother,” Kate
hugged her.

As she stood she asked,
“Would you like to take a break for lunch?”

“That sounds good. I didn’t
eat breakfast, and now I’m starving,” I realized.

We enjoyed a nice lunch and
it gave me a chance to give Father the message from
Philepe.

“Gerhardt brought it
himself, Father. Don’t you find that strange?” I asked.

“It is odd, but he has
always been unpredictable. I think he gets that from his mother.
Oh, I almost forgot, I’m sending provisions to the mission this
afternoon. Do you still want to take it yourselves?”

“Yes, thank you,
Father.”

I found the others, told
them that today we would be delivering the provisions and once
changed into our riding gear, we all went to the stables ready to
help with the loading of supplies. Packed up, we mounted, and with
two wagons filled with food and clothing, were on the road for the
mission.

“How far is it?” El asked
me.

“Just a few miles
east.”

As we rode along, I
couldn’t get the image of the woman in our vision out of my head.
Was she Damien’s mother, and was Damien the one she was talking to?
No, I didn’t want to believe that, but I couldn’t be absolutely
sure; not yet.

We arrived at the mission
and helped unload the supplies before heading to the hospital. We
were all excited at the prospect of helping El enhance her healing
gift. We were shocked when we entered the mission hospital and
found it was overflowing with patients. Cot after cot was filled
with men and women, young and old.

“Father Jonas, what has
happened? Why are so many hospitalized?” I asked him.

“The villagers started
coming down with some unknown illness two weeks ago. Our physicians
do not even have a diagnosis, let alone a cure,” he
said.

“What kind of symptoms do
they have, Father?” El asked, coming to the priest’s
side.

“Although, all seem to be
in a catatonic state now, when they first come to us they are weak
and pale, with no appetite, and suffering from memory loss. It is
as if they were the walking dead.”

Our eyes widened and our
stomachs tightened.

“What can we do to help,
Father Jonas?” El asked.

“Thank you my child. We
have been overwhelmed.” Father Jonas called over one of the women
attending to the female in the bed next to the door, and introduced
us. Our duty, he said, would be to help out wherever we
could.

“We followed Father Jonas
to a small room, where we each received fresh linens, cloths for
washing, and basins to be filled with clean water. He left us then,
to attend to his many other duties.

As we made our way back to
the ward, we noticed the physicians were applying leeches and saw
their assistants were preparing ointments and potions to relieve
pain and treat symptoms. They were using a wide range and
combinations of herbs, bark, molds, lichens, mushroom and
grains.

“Where should we start,
El?” I whispered.

“I know each of us
recognized what has happened to these people just by Father Jonas’s
description of their symptoms. You know what we need to look for,
signs of vampire attack,” she replied in a low but urgent
voice.

We all knew it, but hearing
it out loud, was still shocking.

“Might as well start here,”
El pointed to the bed next to her.

In first bed was a pale
young man, no more than fifteen years old. Although he appeared to
be awake, because his eyes were open, the circles dark as bruises
under unfocused eyes, belied his conscientiousness. He was totally
unresponsive to our touch. El examined his neck, chest, and his
arms down to his wrist. She found a slight bruise on the inside of
his left wrist. It was, to anyone other than a vampire, an ordinary
scratch, something he might have gotten working on his farm. We
quickly examined the others and without exception, they each had
similar wounds in different locations on their bodies. We huddled
together at the end of the corridor so no one would hear
us.

“It’s obvious a vampire is
at work here,” Rosa stated emphatically, “The fiend is trying to
hide the evidence by changing the positions of the bites, so no
ordinary human would suspect; but we’re not human or ordinary, are
we?”

“It doesn’t help them to
use leeches.” El pointed to the men applying the slimy black
wigglers to the patients. “These people need blood, not have it
taken. They are so far gone now, they’ll die soon, if we don’t do
something,” El was adamant.

“First, let’s see if we can
enhance El’s gift enough to help them. If we improve their
condition by at least half, I think their own bodies will be able
to heal themselves. If not, we can try again in a few days,” I
suggested.

“Okay, let me give it a
try,” El agreed as she prepared herself.

We gathered around the
young man as El placed her hands on his chest. We all concentrated
on the healing with her, and slowly his color started to improve
and he began to moan. Two physicians came running from the other
room.

“What has happened? What
have you done?”

“We only washed him and
gave him the herbs you provided,” answered El.

They examined the boy and
were amazed at his sudden recovery.

“He’s turned the corner. I
think he said he’s hungry! Come, we must make more of the herbed
drink.” One doctor said to the other assistant.

We hugged El and got right
back to work. Every single one of the patients improved, and all,
but a few were to the point where we were sure their own bodies
could heal them over time. We spent the rest of the day giving them
soup, water, and of course the miracle herbs.

It was early evening before
we got back to Mormont, exhausted, but satisfied. We had agreed it
was necessary to tell Father what we had discovered at the mission,
although we decided to keep our part in the healing to ourselves
for now.

After listening carefully
to our descriptions and conclusions, Father sent out both Watchers
and the elite vampire guard to locate the vampire causing the human
plague.

“We need to find this rogue
immediately,” he said. “This is just the kind of thing that can
bring our whole race down. I don’t know if this is just one rogue
vampire, fledglings, or another distraction to draw us out. You
girls go and get your rest. We’ll speak of this again
tomorrow.”

We arrived at our rooms,
where Sarah had dinner waiting and several jugs full of much needed
Crimson. We ate and drank our fill and afterward felt somewhat
renewed.

“You did wonders today El,”
I said awed by her gift.

“I’ll go back in a few days
to see how they are. You know we were lucky none had died before we
got to them. If we’d even been there a day later, we’d have a whole
new problem to deal with.”

“That’s true, and Father
has already dispatched Watchers to check the surrounding villages
to make sure they don’t have victims as well. He’s also sent word
to other clans to be on the lookout for any signs of rogues in
their area. Usually when we have a rogue, there are murders, I’ve
never heard of anything like this before.” I was
puzzled.

“Vampires have always taken
advantage of plagues or wars, when nobody notices one more death,
but we don’t start them. Not that I’m aware of anyway,” Letta
said.

“Well, let’s talk about it
tomorrow. Sarah has our baths ready and I’m still exhausted, even
after the Crimson,” El hugged herself. She did look drawn and pale;
it was evident the healings had taken a lot out of her.

“See you in the morning,
then,” I stood and went into my room.

I undressed and sank into
my fabulous bath once again.

“What a
day.
One continuous and strange day after
another,”
I thought as I drifted off
.

Sarah woke me when she came
in to brush out my hair, she got me into a nightgown, and I slipped
into bed, thinking no bed had ever felt so good to anyone. I fell
right to sleep and didn’t wake until Sarah pulled open the drapes
and let the morning light stream in.

“Breakfast is ready, if
you’d like something,” she bustled around the room.

“Go for a
ride,”
I heard in my mind.

“Just some fruit please,
and something to drink. Is anyone else up?”

“They’re already at the
training grounds. You know Gunter.”

“I think I’ll go for a ride
this morning. Tell them I’ll meet them later.”

I rushed to dress, eat, and
get over to the stables.

“I brought you something,
Nulla.”

Her ears pricked up and she
leaned out as far as she could. I offered her the apple and she
took a big bite. I rubbed her forehead and patted her neck as she
finished it up.

“Need any help?”

“Quinn, hi. No, I can get
it.”

“I wanted to let you know I
decided to go to Paris myself and send Avery to Portugal. I also
think sending someone to the ports in France and England would be a
good idea. If someone didn’t want to call attention to themselves,
they might use a less-used departure point.”

“That is a good idea, but I
worry sending out so many more of our people may be too
conspicuous.”

“I don’t think so, since
your father has already sent Watchers out, many have returned and
others will be sent.”

“If you think so, I trust
your judgment.”

He was smiling at me, with
that twinkle in his eyes.

“What?”

“I was just thinking how
much you’ve changed from that little brat in braids, I used to
chase around these very stables.”

“Ha, it seems like
yesterday we were riding our ponies into mock battles and wishing
our fathers would let us go along on their journeys.”

He came closer to me and
took both my hands in his. “You know some things never change, Kat.
I’ll always be here for you, no matter what, no matter
where.”

“I know,” I said and I gave
him a big hug. “But thanks for reminding me. That works both ways,
you know; there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you or your
brothers.”

I looked up at
him.

“You be careful in Paris.
And did you hear Gerhardt was here yesterday morning?”

“I did. I’ve never liked
him, but his father is a good man.”

“Don’t you find it strange
he would come all that way to bring the message
himself?”

“Not really; he’s never
been one you would call normal. He probably had nothing else to
do.”

“There was something
different about him yesterday; I can’t put my finger on it, but
something. So if you could keep an eye on him and the chateau you
might find out something. Also, I remembered Damien was sending
Ivan ahead to prepare things for him, so keep an eye out for him as
well.”

“He gives me the creeps,
but he’s always been loyal to Damien.” Quinn frowned as he thought
of Ivan.

“He also may be loyal to
Luena. That’s what we need to know.”

“All right, I’d better be
going. I don’t have vampire speed you know.” He smiled
again.

“As I said, be
careful.”

“I will. I’ll see you
soon.”

He left the stable and I
led Nulla out of her stall, so I could saddle her. After putting on
her halter and rechecking the tightness of her cinch, we walked
outside, where I mounted and rode to the front gate. As I cantered
over the hill and past the vineyards I heard:

“Katrina, I’m
here.”

“Where?”
I replied, as I took in a breath and looked
around. His scent was strong; he couldn’t be far. “
Pinpoint him,”
I told myself as I pulled Nulla to a
stop. Another breath in revealed he was in the woods to my left. My
instincts told me to “see” if anything or anyone else was nearby,
but I detected just animals.

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