He searched his own head for his sense of Naya. He could feel her when she was near, the blood she gave him like an invisible path for him to follow. Her recent presence still burned in the room, shining bright next to his vacant throne, trailing out through the door nearby. He closed his eyes and continued up the stairs, down the second floor hall, to her room…
…where an awful emptiness waited.
The guard was frantic, as if still trying to make Heriolf understand. “I saw them take her! Three vampires with cloaks over their heads. They flew to the south, too quickly for us to follow. Four of our number are dead.”
Terror and fury chase back Heriolf’s drunkenness. Wanting to kill someone, anyone, he yanked his clothing into place.
He could start with the guard who’d brought him the news. Shut that yapping mouth permanently.
Don’t panic. I still have the powers Naya’s blood grants me. I’ll maintain my supremacy over the others for what, five days? Isn’t that what the fool in the swamp told me? It’s enough time to find her and take her back.
And then he would kill to his black heart’s content. He would kill in ways so heinous no one would ever dare to oppose him again.
He bellowed though the hall had gone completely silent. His voice echoed through the room, and Heriolf found the smallest bit of gratification when everyone cringed. “Guards! Everyone to me.” As the surviving five members of his guard and his new aide Lyndon surrounded him, Heriolf said, “The Font has been stolen. Bar the doors and let no one leave. I will have the final deaths of all who have brought this upon me!”
The guards rushed to slam the doors of the hall shut, but Heriolf saw there were far less vampires there than at the start of the ceremony. This was not the act of a few then. This was an actual uprising against him.
“Anyone who dares to attempt escape will be staked and burned!” To one guard who returned to his side, Heriolf muttered, “Bring me each person present, one at a time. I will have their thoughts and discover who my enemies are.”
As the guard grabbed the first vampire he came to, dragging the startled woman to cower at Heriolf’s feet, Savannah’s lord vowed to himself that if every last vampire in his kingdom had to suffer his final death, he would recover his Naya.