Title- War of Nytefall: Rivalry
Author- Charles E. Yallowitz
Genre- Vampire/Fantasy Action Adventure
Seeking the pleasure of revenge, an ancient rumor will reveal herself to be a deadly legend. Lurking within the shadows for centuries, the Vampire Queen has been drawn to the conflict that surrounds Clyde. Only whispers have been spread about this elusive figure, who has amassed a kingdom that can rival Nyte and Nytefall. All that she is missing is the strongest vampire to crown as her king. In one fell swoop, she has taken the most powerful of her kind, including Clyde and Xavier Tempest. Hosting a tournament where the rules seem to change at her whim, the Vampire Queen threatens to shatter the already strained world that lurks beneath Windemere’s surface. Yet, there is more to her desires, which seep from a soul that is pulsing with fury. For her kingdom can never be complete until she holds the head of the one who wronged her centuries ago. Can Mab stand against her ancient rival and save her beloved partner?
Passing under the entrance to Nyte, the metal carriage earns a few lingering stares due to the cold mist seeping out from under the bolted roof. The Elven merchant and his Orcish wife are too plainly dressed to garner anyone’s attention, which is what the pair had hoped for when they made their plans. Hitting a bump in the road, the brown-haired woman sneezes to cover a grunt that comes from the underside of the carriage. The sound nearly startles the horses, but a soothing whisper that only they can hear helps the beasts remain calm. Praying that their precious merchandise is still intact, the elf hands the reins to his wife and opens a panel behind his head. A blast of cold sends frost into his face, but he manages to see that the chocolate statue of a winged demon is still in one piece. He has to stick his head entirely inside to see that a collection of edible orchids is safe, the fragile flowers held beneath a glass case that is topped with a candy parrot. Tapping rhythmically on the freezing wall, the merchant closes the panel and goes back to steering the nervous horses towards the castle.
“I have an auditory illusion going, so we can talk freely,” the wife says in a deep, masculine voice. She fixes her simple dress to hide her legs, which are itchy from having all of their hair removed. “Xavier’s forces are probably looking for my visual tricks, so it’s better to use good old disguises. Can’t believe I can regenerate limbs, but I can’t get my hair to grow back any quicker than that of a mortal. I’m envious of the others since they get to hide. These things hurt a lot. How does Chastity move around with such agony in her chest?”
“Being on your back all the time makes it easier,” the elf jokes with an impish smirk. The disguised burglar tries to laugh, but the tight wrap around her chest threatens to snap. “I told you we shouldn’t have switched like this. You took this too far, Clyde. Bad enough that my upper torso is being crushed to make me look like a guy, but you didn’t have to sew fake breasts onto your body. Nobody would have noticed a padded dress since we’re hired help. Can’t believe we’re going to have to fight like this. Keep in mind that we aren’t sure if we can get Luther and Titus out of their disguises in an emergency. At least Bob is doing okay underneath us, but I’m not sure how he’s going to get into the castle.”
“We have the cart and he can hide on the shelf,” Clyde replies as they go around a busy courtyard. The temptation to steal one of the banners is strong enough to make his fingers twitch, but he settles for making a lightning fast swing of his arm to slice it in half. “The important part is that we got through the wards and we’re still together. Once we reach the castle, we’ll unload the others and get them into the party. Xavier will drop his guard if the ceremony finishes without us appearing, so we’ll attack right before the desserts. Did you pack a change of clothes for us to use?”
“I’ll be a dwarven warrior and you’ll be a fireskin caster.”
“Those are way too bulky.”
“They were the only costumes Chastity had that didn’t smell funny.”
“I told you to buy fresh ones.”
“Spend money on something I can borrow or steal? It’s like you don’t even know me.”
Dropping the illusion at the castle gates, Clyde does his best to laugh in a more melodic voice while carefully getting off the carriage. He moves slowly out of fear of his fake chest shifting unnaturally and gaining attention. Knocking on the side to tell Bob that they have arrived, he calmly makes his way to the back where Mab is already unlocking the door, which has been frozen shut. Clyde puts on a show of opening the carriage, his true strength making the effort no more than if he was tearing a piece of paper. Without delay, his partner jumps into the icy compartment and immediately feels her chest wrap snap. Seeing the pause, the other thief nods at a thick apron on the wall while he pulls a wheeled cart out from under a bench. He flicks one of the doors closed with his finger and creates an illusionary wind to explain the movement, which hides Mab from view long enough for her to fix her disguise. Tossing a cloth over the cart, Clyde sees how part of it hovers for an instant, his eyes scanning the crowd to see if anyone else noticed his invisible friend. The guards are focused entirely on the chocolate demon that is handed to the homely orc, who unceremoniously puts it over her shoulder. Putting the orchids on the cart, the disguised intruders exchange sighs of relief that their plan is still going smoothly and quickly get inside the castle.
The partners are surprised when they find that the hallways are devoid of activity beyond a handful of patrolling golems. Staring at the Dawn Fangs with empty eyes, the wood and carpet constructs let them by since they show no signs of aggression. They sound of distant music and faint applause drifts to their ears and helps them traverse the hallways, which are not as familiar as they had hoped. Passing rooms filled with valuable pieces of art, the thieves are tempted to grab a few vases, but the sense that they are being watched by unseen eyes keeps their urges at bay. As they cut through a courtyard, Mab coughs and nods to the roof where they can barely make out the naked figure of Stephanie Talon. The ritualist resembles a gargoyle in the way that she is leaning over the edge of a tower, her bleeding eyes allowing her to scry the entire city. A pool of gore has gathered at the base of her high perch, which the intruders have to pass within a few feet of.
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Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After spending many years fiddling with his thoughts and notebooks, he decided that it was time to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house with only pizza and seltzer to sustain him, Charles brings you tales from the world of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and drawing you into a world of magic.
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