The Brethren Of Tavish by C.L. Scholey by C.L. Scholey - Read Online



Ice and snow litter the frozen earth in the not-so-distant future. Survival is for those adept at carving out homes within the polar ice caps. Mercy is the last child of a martyr family. The line must die out—the madness must stop. All have been forbidden to produce offspring by their leader, Mercy's father. Sex and conception is a sin punishable by death. A dark evil is spreading across the land. Vampires, in a desperate bid for self-preservation are searching each iceberg, cave and cavern for their highly prized food source. Of particular interest are women of childbearing years. With Tavish's first taste of her blood comes the first onslaught of Mercy's tears. Rules of survival are explained. Complete submission, it is law. Fealty to her Master, it is law. Females must be bred. It is law. Those that cannot breed are given over to the vampires and Anivamps. It is certain death. Tavish will soon come to realize exactly how far he will go for a little Mercy.
Published: Torrid Books on
ISBN: 9781611604511
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The Brethren Of Tavish - C.L. Scholey

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Banished to the ice and snow, the lone man stumbles through an encompassing blizzard. Jagged pieces of razor-sharp ice had all but sliced the fur boots he wears from his feet—but he is unable to take to the air. Starving, weak and alone he is certain only impending doom is before him. Tavish is the last of his kind from a small vampire coven. The youngest of the Reign of Galf.

At only two centuries old, born the tail end of the ice age, 15,000 B.C., Tavish was too young and too weak to fight off the angry clans of primitive man. The clans had banded together to purge themselves of Galf and his family of twenty-eight. The angry mob of one hundred and fifty plus had proven successful.

They came at dawn clad in furs, armed with hunting weapons. Galf’s people were cornered in the family cave, their home, domicile and protection, like the clans’ own homes of caves, against the wind and storms.

Tavish had approached four other covens with deference. Each time he had been chased away and humiliated, taunted by his father’s failure to keep his family safe. The last coven had allowed him only to partake of vermin blood until, unable to take any more, Tavish had run again. Only one came after him. The leader, Rakin. Rakin told him to head farther north into the ice. If Tavish ever showed his face again, he would be killed for his disloyalty. Rakin called him a coward and a fool. Tavish was without family or friends. He was all alone.

The cold didn’t bother Tavish. He could see clearly. In Galf’s coven, his people all had pale blue eyes that changed to clear snowy white when necessary. Tavish could see in the dark, yet he could only see in black and white when his white eyes shone. It was what his father described as a peculiarity, his color blindness. Because of it, Tavish had grown partial to dark-haired men and women or the blondest of blonds. His entire deceased coven had all been dark-haired. The very blond was a rare occurrence.

Tavish was on the lookout for sustenance. Tavish’s last meal had been yesterday. The young, motherless seal had offered little enjoyment; the blood was laced with the taste of fish. Tavish hungered for the sweetness of a young woman’s blood. He longed to sink his fangs into a virgin. Never again did he want to feast on rats and vermin.

Seething with anger, Tavish stumbled into an icy cave. He sat on a frozen boulder and placed his head in his hands. He was all alone, again, consumed with misery. He no longer had the safety of a coven. His family was dead.

He could still hear his family’s tortured screaming in his ears. The humans unexpectedly appeared in the early morning, and they had come with fire. Tavish could still see the look on his mother’s beautiful face as she burned to death in front of him. He knew he would never get the stench of blood out of his nostrils. The images and scents would haunt him forever.

Those of his coven who weren’t burned were staked. Galf had saved his only son’s life. Tavish hadn’t wanted to run; he had fought so hard side by side with his sire, but his father used the last of his strength to fling him up into the air at the mouth of the cave.

Live, my son.

Helplessly, Tavish watched as his father was impaled from behind. There was no sense in returning; the entire coven had perished. Tavish would make the guilty pay. He balled his large hands into fists. He would make them all pay for what had been done to him and his beloved family. Tavish would never love again. The pain of loss was too much. He couldn’t bear it. Anguish consumed him.

A snarl caught Tavish’s attention. He spun to encounter a massive polar bear. He was mildly surprised; he had been so in tune to his despair he never even heard her heartbeat or felt her warmth until now. Gazing deeply into the darkness, Tavish saw the bloodied body of a young bear cub, a hybrid polar-brown bear mix. The mother bear looked like she had fought for her own life as well as for her little cub’s. No doubt she had been set upon by a stronger male and lost half of her battle. Tavish looked at the ground where he saw drag marks. The mother had brought her dead cub in here, or perhaps she had brought it here and stayed with it while it died. What a tragedy. Tavish understood the feeling of being turned on by your own kind.

Bear and vampire each eyed the other warily and hungrily. Tavish was weak, and desperate. The female bear was majestic even though she too looked weak and desperate. She had to weigh at least two thousand pounds. They circled one another. The bear roared, the noise reverberating off the cave walls and Tavish hissed, exposing his two fangs. They weren’t nearly as impressive as the bear’s. Tavish was young yet. Though not the youngest of vampires. Rakin’s chosen female mate had given birth to a son, Remo. How Tavish envied and loathed the babe.

At one time, Tavish had been the coveted one, the one the others revered because his mother was chosen. She had been the most beautiful of them all. Tavish had been so proud to be her son. In her eyes, he could do no wrong. She had mated with the man of Galf’s choice, only the most powerful human male he could find. Tavish was the result. Galf and his mother had loved one another.

Once Tavish had been weaned, his mother’s reward was to reign at his father’s side for eternity. Tavish had been turned at age twenty-eight by Galf, making him his own blood-son. Tavish was tall, muscular, powerful and in his prime. Galf had been so proud of him. Tavish had been loved and had loved. One day Tavish would be sire to his pack and rule by Galf’s side. Now Tavish’s dreams were destroyed. He had nothing and no one.

His heart filled with pure hate, Tavish attacked the bear. He clawed at it ripping its throat open viciously and dived face-first into its blood. They would pay, they would all pay, both humans and vampires. The bear swung its paws helplessly as Tavish feasted greedily upon it. He gorged himself after days of little food. The bear stumbled to her side. Finally filled to almost bursting, Tavish stepped away from the beast and wiped his hand across his blood-streaked mouth, cheeks and nose.

The bear lifted her head in agony. She moaned pitifully. Large dark eyes settled onto Tavish; he could see her loss and the sadness reflected in those dark eyes. Tavish cocked his head and felt pity for the beast. All of his misery wasn’t her fault after all. She was a beauty. Snow white hair covered her in a thick pelt in the places she hadn’t been mauled. Tavish looked at her neck with a small bit of remorse. He had made a mess of it. It would take her awhile to die. Tavish sat on the same boulder he had vacated, watching her flailing attempts to rise. Finally, she just lay there whimpering.

Just give up, join your little cub, Tavish said to her. She groaned an answer. I can’t take much more from you or I would give you peace.

Tavish pushed up from the rock and once more went to the bear. She was too weak to do anything but lay with her tongue lolling out the side of her mouth. He trailed a hand over her luxurious fur. As his fingers delved deeper into the thick pelt, an idea occurred to him. He could skin the bear and bring back his victims here to the cave. They wouldn’t freeze to death if he could wrap them. The idea had merit. He could sneak closer to an inhabited igloo, grab a meal and eat it here, away from Rakin and any other vampire. Tavish filled with renewed excitement.

Hurry up and die, Tavish said to the beast.

The bear lay there whimpering. Tavish began pacing. Growling, he went back to the bear thinking he could bash in her skull with a rock. Tavish picked up a large boulder and stood holding it over the bear’s head. Right before he plunged it down, the animal looked up at him. She was intelligent; he could see it in her eyes. She knew what he was about to do. Tavish knew some creatures cried, but when a tear trickled from the bear’s eye, Tavish lowered his weapon of convenience. He could feel her sadness.

You wish to live, don’t you? You’re afraid. She was such a beauty, only the blood marred her pale white perfection. She was helpless and alone, betrayed. Sighing, he realized they were somewhat of a kindred spirit. Tavish understood aloneness. I will offer you a kindness and spare you the pain of bashing your brains in. I won’t be another who turns on you. Another race for you to abhor.

Tavish dropped the boulder. He knelt by the bear’s throat. Her blood was still gently flowing. Tavish leaned down. He took her regal head into his arms and shushed her. His words were crooning and gentle. Tavish stroked her fine head, gazing into her beautiful eyes until she settled under him. She stopped whimpering and her eyes closed halfway. It was as though she understood and accepted this one small kindness after being hurt and betrayed. Her breath that had been coming in ragged, huffing pants, slowed.

I won’t hurt you, Tavish crooned. A tiny grunt was his answer.

Tavish lowered his head; he lapped at the oozing blood. His hunger was again upon him, although not nearly as great. Calmly, he spoke to her in reassuring tones. As carefully as possible, he sank his fangs into her tortured throat. Tavish was surprised as their memories mingled. It happened with humans, though he didn’t know why. She was an intelligent beast. He watched her fight for the life of her cub, he watched her fail. She had brought her little cub back to the cave to die. She, in return, was given the glimpse of his family’s pain, their demise, his overwhelming sorrow and loss. He sank his teeth deeper into her neck and sucked until he could take no more. He couldn’t drain her.

Try as he might Tavish couldn’t ease her pain mercifully. Tavish tried. He felt dizzy with his attempt. The bear shuddered. Tavish dropped to his side, he whispered an apology. After all this time he let himself sob with his loss. Tears and blood mixed. He had failed again. The poor majestic beauty, he hadn’t meant to be so cruel. His hand rested on top of the bear’s head, stroking her until he finally stilled. The bear’s paw pulled him close to her heart. Tavish was spent. He closed his eyes. He fell unconscious on the cave floor wrapped in a bear hug.

When next he woke, Tavish sat up groggily. He hungered. A sound to his left captured his attention. The white bear sat on her haunches. She was watching him. Tavish stood up and approached her. She had something half-buried under her, and moved of her own accord. Wrapped in a white pelt made of baby seals was a woman. She was alive.

Tavish looked at the bear with wonder. She had brought him food. Tavish chuckled when the young woman stirred. She sat up and cried out at the same time. Tavish studied the bear. Her clear white eyes glowed. Her fangs were even longer. Her throat was healed but blood still stained her. She made a short snuffling sound. A massive paw was raised in the air.

The bear grunted again. For you my master, my friend.

Well it would seem in trying to offer an act of compassion we have both been saved. No one would ever suspect a polar bear and a vampire.

Tavish knelt; he reached for the frightened woman and gazed into her eyes. He shushed her fears and smiled with roguish charm. Soon her look was glazed, accepting. Tavish kissed her lips, her cheeks. He whispered she was beautiful and she was. Tavish loved each one of his victims for the few moments he spent with them, nothing more. He would leave this one innocent. She slumped into his arms. Tavish licked her sweet neck then leisurely sank his sharp fangs into her throat. He was very gentle; this female had not harmed his family. No female had harmed his family; it had been the angry clan men who had killed his loved ones. Tavish groaned as the sweet taste of virgin blood slid down his throat in exaggerated swallows. Her warmth flowed through him, filled him. His mind feasted on her charming memories, her stolen kisses and first sexual awakening and he graciously allowed her a few teasing ones of his own. It was like making love in their minds. Soon enough she tired. Their connection broke; he no longer needed to love her.

When Tavish had his fill, he laid her back into the furs and went back to the rock and sat. The idea to turn her never crossed his thoughts. The bear had been Tavish’s first and that had been an accident. Although the idea of the bear was appealing, Tavish was no longer alone and he didn’t have to be responsible for the creature—they were more companions. It was a dark and primal time and Tavish only had primal needs; the humans had made him dark. He was a hunter. That was all he knew; he had been raised that way. It was in his essence that flowed with the bear’s.

The polar bear approached the woman with Tavish’s permission. The woman would experience no pain. Tavish watched as his new and only friend finished draining the woman and then fed on her carcass.

Chapter 1

Mercy was hiding; the solitude was a small blessing. The farther back into the polar ice cap she went, the darker it became. She looked around at the sleek walls and ceiling of blue ice that was her home; it was home to forty family members. Mercy was the youngest at twenty-two. The oldest man was her grandfather at sixty-three. Almost everyone else was considered middle aged.

Mercy could see her breath with an expelled puff of air. She couldn’t remain hidden for too long, eventually she would get chilled. But not yet. Her entire outfit was made of fur. Protection against their family’s cold way of life. Not often was she able to leave the safety of the iceberg. On a rare occasion, her father would allow her to peek through holes in the ice to gaze upon the stars. It was the older men who went out to hunt the polar bear, seals and to fish. No woman of childbearing years was allowed outside without good reason. It was law.

The rule had been in place as long as