Just a few quick notes...All things Carpathian belong to Christine Feehan,
Radu Florescu belongs to...well Radu Florescu and his descendants. I had the opportunity once to meet him and discuss his biographies of Vlad Tepesh and the Turkish Wars in Romania, and promised one day he might make his way into something I wrote, so Radu, this is for you, he deserves the immortality of a Carpathian.
Katya James is all mine.
As far as I know there is no Liamistra, but with the way my mind works, I had to come up with an Origin Myth for the Carpathians, something they don't even fully remember. The myth will unravel with the story. The archaeology of the northern tribes of Greece is as close to accurate as I can depict while taking some poetic license.
With all that said...Here is Chapter 2 of Dark Tides.
Katya looked off into the horizon, the sound of the waves crashing at the base of the cliff singing a siren song to her soul. She walked as close to the edge as she dared, the crashing surf below her tempting in its lacy foam and intense blue depths.
She'd always loved the sea, despite family tragedy, and standing here, looking out over the Aegean made her toes itch to get wet.
"Dr. James, we must go over this grid layout again." She looked over at Dr. Franklyn Hatokus, another of mixed heritage. His father was Greek, his mother English, not quite as turbulent as her own. Her mother had been the daughter of a Russian defector during the cold war, her father a U.S. Sailor of Irish descent.
She nodded and walked to the camp table set up inside the canvas tent. He wanted to start the dig further back from the cliff's edge, but her notes indicated the entrance to the temple faced the sea, with only a narrow path up from the secluded beach.
"It is just too dangerous to start digging there." He said. "If we start the grid here, near the center of the temple we can reinforce the entrance area." She had to agree with the common sense approach, but she still wanted to work near the edge.
"Start the main dig there, I will take two diggers and a secretary and work the beach and cliff area." He was on loan to her from the Greek government. Her Chair at the University of Huston had given her six weeks to find something on this 'vampire' hunt of hers, and that was only after she secured funding herself.
Katya had been surprised when the Morrison Group offered to fund her expedition, even clearing the permits and arranging a Greek archaeologist to work the dig with her.
This temple would prove the existence of one of the most famous vampires of all, not really a vampire, a fertility goddess with a blood cult, but she was only one of two, maybe three if you count Kali in India, named female vampires in myth or legend. Lamia.
Some claimed her a Queen of Persia, others a daughter of Poseidon and lover of Zeus, but Katya's research found an ancient Mother Worship cult dedicated to a local mountain goddess Liamistra, which bore many of the same characteristics of the Lamia myths. The cult was said to steal the children of neighboring tribes and sacrifice them to Liamistra, either a priestess and seer or a goddess. Katya estimated the worship of Liamistra at nearly ten thousand before common era, which would make it one of the oldest recorded religions to date on the planet, if she could find the temple, and if she could find proof of its age, and association with Liamistra or Lamia.
She went over plans again with Dr. Hatokus, deciding where the first sample bores were to be made for geological dating of the cliff site. She hoped the bores would back up later findings. While the test bores were being drilled, the GPR unit would start the grid layout, and give them an idea of where they might be able to dig. She wasn't too hopeful of the GPR, the area had regular seismic activity, and there could be generations of rubble under the surface. He was in charge of the technology, she would take a small group and, using old fashioned trowels and brushes, sifter and back breaking labor, check where she was certain the entrance to the temple was, and down the well worn path to the beach.
Once plans were in place she slipped into her personal tent and slipped into a bathing suit. She was going to at least get her feet wet tonight before sleep. She walked out of the tent, a dark towel over her shoulder, the path had a guide rope so even if she were down there after dark, she would be able to find it easily.
She reached the small, secluded beach and dropped her towel on the black sand. She dropped a rock on it so it wouldn't fly away in a gust of wind, then walked toward the gently rolling surf between the headlands of the cliff. She had the strange feeling someone was watching her. She glanced up the cliff faces on either side of the beach, but all she saw was a roosting hawk.
Radu watched her, her feet covered by the swell of the surf. He didn't know why she was here. This place was forbidden, protected by the oldest and strongest safeguards known to his kind. He didn't even know why this place was forbidden. All he knew was that Prince Vlad charged him with protecting it, keeping humans and Carpathians alike away from this hallowed ground. He watched as she swam, silently cursing as he saw a dark shadow in the water. It was moving toward her.
His centuries of training to protect women at all cost rose up, and he took flight, diving at her head until she turned back to shore.
"Stupid bird, I'm not after your fish." She scolded as she walked out of the water. He was stunned, the sound of her voice sending him tumbling out of the sky and into the water. He landed with a loud splash, in his natural form, the shock of color and emotion driving the image of the hawk from his mind.
He managed to conceal himself as she turned to face the sound. There she was, standing with sea foam around her hips, his own Aphrodite, rising from the sea. He watched as she walked out of the water and grabbed her towel and shook it. He looked back out to sea, the darkness was still there, ready to claim her, lying in wait for another chance.
He could sense something in her, an undeniable pull to the sea, but somehow he knew the sea would mean her death, and that he could never allow. He followed her up the cliff to the camp near the forbidden temple. He had to stop them, stop her. They were too close...to what he didn't know, but every instinct, every Carpathian sense he had was screaming at him to leave this place.
He watched her enter one of the tents, and found himself mesmerized as she undressed, her shadow cast on the back of the tent. He could feel the weight of her breasts in his hands as they sprang forth from the we're swimming attire she'd worn on the beach. He groaned as she shimmied her hips to slip the wet, clinging material down her thighs where it dropped to the floor. He could feel the burning heat growing painfully, the irony of watching her in stark black and white on the canvas wall while all the world exploded with color was not lost on him.
He would wait until the camp was quiet, and she was asleep before slipping under the canvas and claiming what was his. He could sense the other in her, the part that longed for the sea. He would not repeat past mistakes. He would bind her and claim her. The sea would not take his lifemate.