His Immortal Embrace – Lynsay Sands, et al

Prologue Scotland—A.D. 1000 “Nay!” Morvyn Galt woke shaking and sweating with fear. The scent of magic was thick in the air. She scrambled out of her bed and yanked on her clothes. She could feel her sister’s anger, feel how Rona’s broken heart was twisting within her chest, changing into a hard, ugly thing that pumped hate throughout her body instead of the love it once held. Morvyn knew she would not be in time to stop the evil her sister stirred up, but she had to try. She grabbed her small bag and raced toward Rona’s cottage, praying as hard as she could despite her fear that her prayers would go unheeded. When she reached Rona’s tiny home, she tried to open the door only to find it bolted against her. The smoke coming from the house was so heavy with the scent of herbs and sorcery that her eyes stung. She banged against the door, pleading with Rona as she heard her sister begin her incantation. “Nay, Rona!” she screamed. “Cease! You will damn us all!” “I damn but one,” replied Rona, “and well does he deserve it.” Placing her hand over her womb, Rona stared into the fire and saw the face of her lover, her seducer, her betrayer. He was marrying another in the morning, forsaking love for land and coin.


She would make him suffer for that, as she now suffered. “Rage for rage, pain for pain, blood for blood, life for life.” Rona swayed slightly as she spoke, stroking her belly as she tossed a few more painstakingly mixed herbs into the fire. “Rona, please! Do not do this!” “As mine shall walk alone, so shall yours,” Rona continued, ignoring her sister’s pleas. “As mine shall be shunned, so shall yours.” Morvyn scrambled to find something to write with. She needed to record this. As she sprawled on the ground to take advantage of the sliver of light seeping out from beneath the door, she realized she had no ink. From beneath the door she could see the smoke curling around her sister and saw Rona toss another handful of herbs upon the fire. Morvyn cut her palm with her dagger, wet her quill with her own blood, and began to write. “Your firstborn son shall know only shadows,” intoned Rona, “as shall his son, as shall his son’s son, and thus it shall be until the seed of the MacCordy shall wither from hate and fade into the mists.” Morvyn scattered her blessing and healing stones in front of the door, praying they might ease the force of the spell. “From sunset of the first day The MacCordy becomes a mon, darkness will take him as a lover, blood will be his wine, fury will steal his soul, yearning will devour his heart, and he will become a creature of nightmares.” Rona felt her child kick forcefully as if in protest, but continued. “He will know no beauty; he will know no love; he will know no peace.

“The name of the MacCordys will become a foul oath, their tale one used to frighten all the Godly. “Thus it shall be, thus it shall remain, until one steps from the shadows of pride, land, and wealth and does as his heart commands. “Until all that should have been finally is.” Morvyn sat back on her heels and stared at the door. She could not believe her sister had acted so recklessly, so vindictively. Rona knew the dangers of flinging a curse out in anger, knew how the curse could fall back upon them threefold, yet, in her pain, she had ignored all the dangers. Morvyn placed her hand over her heart, certain she could feel the pain and misery of countless future generations, those of their blood as well as those of the MacCordys. The cottage door opened and Morvyn looked up at her sister. In the light of the torch Rona held, Morvyn could see the glow of hate and triumph in Rona’s blue-green eyes. Rona thought she had won some great victory. Morvyn knew otherwise and was not surprised to feel the sting of tears upon her cheeks. “Rona, how could you? How could you have done this?” she asked. “How could I? How could he?” Rona snapped, then frowned when she saw the blood upon Morvyn’s palm. “What have you done to yourself, you foolish child?” Morvyn began to pick up her things and return them to her bag. “I had no ink to mark down the words.

” “So you wrote in blood?” “ ’Tis fitting. The Galts and the MacCordys shall be bleeding for ages after what you have done this night.” She felt the heat in her stones as she put them away and hoped the power they had expended had done some good. “You cannot keep such a writing about. Not only is it considered a sin for you to write at all, but those words could condemn me, condemn us all.” “You have condemned us, Rona. You knew the dangers.” “Unproven. That is proof of sorcery, however,” she said, pointing to Morvyn’s writing. “I shall write the tale upon a scroll and hide it. Mayhap one of our blood will find it one day, one with the wit and strength to banish the evil you have stirred up this night.” “He had to pay for what he has done!” “He was wrong, but so were you. The poison you have spit out tonight will infect us all, the venom seeping into our bloodline as well as his. To do such magic on this night, at the birth of a new century, only ensures the power of the evil you have wrought.” Morvyn stood up and looked down at what she had written.

“I fear you have stolen all hope of happiness for us, but I will not allow this to endanger your life. It will be well hidden. And every night for the rest of my life I shall pray that, when it is found, it will be by one of our blood, one who can free us all from the torment you have unleashed this dark night.

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Updated: 23 August 2021 — 04:03

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