Wicked Deeds on a Winters Night Online

《Wicked_Deeds_on_a_Winters_Night》

Chapter 1

This book is dedicated to the warm, witty, and amazing Beth Kendrick, because we're good enough friends to say,"Isn't it about time you dedicated a book to me?"and "How 'bout that book dedication?"

Acknowledgments

I would like to acknowledge the wonderful short poem "The Witch in the Glass" by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt (1836-1919), which I use within this book, and which inspired the character of Mariketa the Awaited, as well as her unique talents.

Glossary of Terms from the Living Book of Lore

The Lore

"... and those sentient creatures that are not human shall be united in one stratum, coexisting with, yet secret from, man's."

The Lykae Clan

"A proud, strapping warrior of the Keltoi People (or Hidden People, later known as Celts) was taken in his prime by a maddened wolf. The warrior rose from the dead, now an immortal, with the spirit of the beast latent within him. He displayed the wolf's traits: the need for touch, an intense loyalty to its kind, an animal craving for the delights of the flesh. Sometimes the beast rises... "

Also called werewolves, war-wolds.

Enemies of the Vampire Horde.

The Talisman's Hie

"A treacherous and grueling scavenger's hunt for magickal talismans, amulets, and other mystical riches over the entire world."

The rules forbid killing - until the final round. Any other trickery or violence is encouraged.

Held every two hundred fifty years.

Hosted by Riora, the goddess of impossibility.

The House of Witches

"... immortal possessors of magickal talents, practitioners of good and evil."

Mystical mercenaries who sell their spells.

Separated into five castes: warrior, healer, enchantress, conjurer, and seeress.

Led by Mariketa the Awaited

The Valkyrie

"When a maiden warrior screams for courage as she dies in battle, Wóden and Freya heed her call. The two gods give up lightning to strike her, rescuing her to their hall, and preserving her courage forever in the form of the maiden's immortal Valkyrie daughter."

Take sustenance from the electrical energy of the earth, sharing it in one collective power, and give it back with their emotions in the form of lightning.

Possess preternatural strength and speed.

Without training, they can be mesmerized by shining objects and jewels.

Also called Swan Maidens, Shield Maidens.

Enemies of the Vampire Horde.

The Vampires

Two warring factions, the Horde and the Forbearer Army.

Each vampire seeks his Bride, his eternal wife, and walks as the living dead until he finds her.

A Bride will render his body fully alive, giving him breath and making his heart beat, a process known as blooding.

Tracing is teleporting, the vampires' means of travel. A vampire can only trace to destinations he's previously been.

The Horde

"In the first chaos of the Lore, a brotherhood of vampires dominated, by relying on their cold nature, worship of logic, and absence of mercy. They sprang from the harsh steppes of Dacia and migrated to Russia, though some say a secret enclave, the Daci, live in Dacia still."

Distinguished by their red eyes, a side effect of drinking victims to death.

Enemies of most factions in the Lore.

The Forbearers

"... his crown stolen, Kristoff, the rightful Horde king, stalked the battlefields of antiquity seeking the strongest, most valiant human warriors as they died, earning him the name of Gravewalker. He offered eternal life in exchange for eternal fealty to him and his growing army."

An army of vampires consisting of turned humans, who do not drink blood directly from the flesh.

Kristoff was raised as a human and then lived among them. He and his army know little of the Lore.

Enemies of the Horde.

The Demonarchies

"The demons are as varied as the bands of man... "

A collection of demon dynasties. Some kingdoms ally with the Horde.

Most demon breeds can trace like vampires.

The Furiae

"If you do evil, beg for punishment - before they come... "

Ruthless she-warriors bent on delivering justice to evil men when they escape it elsewhere.

Led by Alecta the Unyielding One.

Also called Furies, Erinyes.

Berserkers

"A berserker's lonely life is filled with naught but battle rage and bloodlust... "

A cadre of warriors who swore allegiance to Wóden, known for their merciless brutality.

Though some are immortal through resurrection, most are mortal - one of the few human orders to be recognized and accepted by the Lore.

Able to conjure the spirit of the bear, and channel its ferocity.

The Wraiths

"... their origin unknown, their presence chilling."

Spectral, howling beings. Undefeatable and,