There are some wrong turns, and plenty of surprises, before they win their first major battle against the Devourer and leave with the talisman they were sent to retrieve.
But the four gain a few other things in their quest—mainly forgiveness and the power of teamwork. Readers can join the quest and get their own spirit animal at scholastic. Key Ideas and Details RL. Comprehension and Collaboration SL. He lives in Adelaide, South Australia with his wife, two stepsons, and a charming pair of green tree frogs on loan from globetrotting relatives.
Create a List. List Name Save. Rename this List. Rename this list. List Name Delete from selected List. Save to. Save to:. Save Create a List. Create a list. Save Back. The Teacher Store Cart. Checkout Now. Teach This Lesson. About the Book In the world of Erdas, Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan continue to come face-to-face with good and evil as they begin another quest to find the talismans of the Great Beasts.
Questions for Discussion Erdas needs heroes to defeat the Devourer, and it will take heroes to get the talismans of the Great Beasts. Why does Conor question whether he is cut out to be a hero? Why does he think that Tarik is already a hero? Conor feels guilty about betraying the group. The synopsis below may give away important plot points. Edit page. Share this page:. Episodes Watched in Badass Females of Televison. Favorite TV couples 1. Clear your history.
IMDb Everywhere. The number of people interested in—and even claiming to be—vampires astounded me, but the amount of information their Web sites offered was negligible. I found one promising lead, a professional-looking site with an area to post messages. Figuring it was as good a place to start as any, I began to explain my predicament to the dispassionate white text area.
After several frustrated drafts, I gave up and shortened my entry to two fragmented sentences. Please advise. Before I could get up for a bathroom break, my e-mail program chimed. The first response informed me I was a psycho. The second suggested I might be watching too many late-night movies. Another tried to lovingly counsel me away from my obviously abusive relationship. I began deleting responses as they rolled in, until one subject line caught my eye. I recognized the street.
The content of the e-mail was simply this: after sundown, any night this week. After sundown. I only had to get in my car and drive. But it seemed a dicey proposition. Curiosity had nearly killed this cat already. The sender could be a deranged groupie or vampire fanatic. How could I go to an unknown address at the advice of an anonymous e-mail? I logged on to usmail. I came up with nothing.
That sparked another, more terrifying proposition. What if the sender was John Doe himself, quietly monitoring my activities? He could have been cleverly crafting a trap for me, finding out where I lived, how to contact me and lull me into a false sense of security. The Crypt: Occult Books and Supplies.
There was a phone number and driving directions. Nothing could happen to me in a public place, in a busy neighborhood. I used that line of reasoning as I grabbed my keys and headed out the door. Though it was an hour after sunset, the sky was still bright enough to make my skin feel tight and itchy. I wore a baseball cap as a disguise. If John Doe was waiting when I got there, I wanted to see him before he spotted me. I popped a painkiller and one of the pills prescribed for my light sensitivity, then wrapped up in my wool trench coat to guard against the December cold.
The block was only about five miles from my home. It was in the middle of three crisscrossed streets and housed a cluster of eclectic storefronts and trendy restaurants. There were women in broomstick skirts and crocheted coats scurrying through the snow next to men in Rastafarian hats and corduroy pants. Most of the footprints on the sidewalk were made by Doc Martens. I found a place to park in front of a crowded coffeehouse.
With my jeans, cap and ponytail, I felt rather conspicuous. I stepped onto the sidewalk and tried to ignore the stares of the ultrahip art majors huddled behind the steamy windows. I must have looked like a mascot for the capitalist culture they all gathered to complain about. It proved difficult to find Wealthy. I passed it several times before I spotted it.
A vintage clothing store and a corner grocery, and respectively, jutted up against each other with nothing but a sandwich-board sign between them. Had I been patient enough to read the sign in the first place, I would have saved myself much frustration. A large red arrow pointed to a staircase that descended below the sidewalk in front of the clothing store. I peered down the dubious-looking hole. The steps were wet but not icy. I took a deep breath and started down. The door at the bottom of the stairs was old and wooden, with a window in the top half that bore the name of the shop in gold paint.
Bells jingled when I entered. The sights and smells of the place immediately overwhelmed me. Incense burned, a particularly noxious scent, and the air of the place was hazy with it. New Age music played softly, some peaceful Celtic harp composition punctuated with birdsong. I covered my nose with my sleeve to avoid the heavy smell of incense that rapidly formed a metallic taste in my mouth. I looked toward the sales counter. The shop seemed empty. When I turned toward the sound, something struck me hard in the chest. Lifted off my feet, I landed flat on my back on the unfinished wooden floor.
I quickly rolled to my side just as an axe blade splintered the floor right where my head had been. Only then did I come face-to-face with my attacker. If I had to guess, I would have placed him at about fifteen years old. But the tattoo on the back of his hand and his multiple ear and eyebrow piercings told me he must have been at least eighteen. His long, greasy-looking hair was shaved into a thin strip down the middle of his head, and despite the temperature in the shop, he wore a heavy overcoat.
I held my hands up to show I meant no harm, but he swung the axe again, this time breaking the glass display window of the counter.
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Though he was fast on his feet, I managed to get past the baby-faced psycho and gained the door just as it swung open. The heavy wood door smashed into my face and knocked me off balance. The first was holy crap. My second thought was also holy crap. The man was sex walking. Wide shoulders, flat stomach, wavy, dark hair… I suddenly realized the appeal of those firefighter calendars that the nurses ogled in the coffee room. I took the hand he offered, nervous electricity zinging up my arm at his touch, and got to my feet. My hands shook as I reached for the door.
An ambulance? Sprinkle some marshmallows in it? Yet my feet stayed rooted to the spot, completely under the control of the morbid curiosity that had brought me this far and the ruthless attraction that urged me to stay as close to this man as possible. Nathan cocked his head and regarded me with sparkling gray eyes. Clearing his throat, he leaned the axe against the doorpost and crossed his arms over his chest.
I had a hard time concentrating on his question, distracted as I was by his perfect mouth. That would be me. It reminded me of the way the dentist looks right before he says you have to come back for a root canal. I apologize for Ziggy. What are you talking about? He stepped behind the counter and pressed a button on the CD player, cutting off the annoyingly soothing New Age droning. The rules every vampire has to follow. He caught my arm and gently turned me around to face him just as my hand found the lock. My words sounded thick and strange as I spoke.
Why did I get attacked when I walked through that door? He followed me to the threshold and let me get halfway up the steps before he spoke again. I was struggling with my lighter when he called after me. His skin was ice cold. I trembled, and not entirely due to the cold. Nathan spoke again, but he sounded disconnected and far away. If I never saw this place again, I could pretend none of this had ever happened. I dropped the cigarette and watched it roll to the next step. The blood drained from my face, and I could tell by the way his expression softened that my fear was visible.
We all go through this, when we change. I have to work tonight, and I just might be able to get a call in to my psychologist first. Faster than I could think to scream, I was pinned between his hard body and the harder brick wall. His hand clamped firmly over my mouth, muffling my terrified cry.
Then he dipped his head, and his body went rigid against mine. When he moved his head back up, my heart stopped. The chiseled, handsome planes of his face were twisted, the skin stretched tight over a sharp, bony snout. Long fangs glinted in the dim light. Only his eyes held a glimmer of control. My heart pounding, I nodded. He pulled away and covered his face with his hands. When he looked up again, his normal features had returned into an expression of kindness and compassion. Some were so laden with books that they bowed in the middle.
Notebooks and legal pads, all scribbled on in barely legible handwriting, littered the coffee table. It was cluttered but not dirty. His gaze flitted to the hall. A Marilyn Manson song blasted at full volume behind one of the closed doors. Nathan and I stood awkwardly by the door for a moment. I suspected he was as uncomfortable as I was.
But then, for all I knew, Nathan could be hundreds of years old.source url
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Then he lifted a teakettle from the dish rack next to the sink and ripped the top of the bag with his teeth as though he were opening a bag of chips. Snapping on the burner of the gas stove, he emptied the blood into the teakettle and set it over the flame. For the first time, I noticed how truly tall he was. Still, Nathan looked like he could easily rip me into pieces with his bare hands if he got the inclination. But his voice held a note of sadness. His eyes met mine briefly, but before I could understand the pained look in them, he turned away.
Blood-drinking is just one of the realities of being a vampire. To my horror, my stomach actually rumbled. But the list of things that can kill us is a mile long. Sunlight, holy water, hell, even a badenough car accident can take us out. And Ziggy needs to eat. Ziggy had clearly lured me to the shop in order to kill me. I was hip. I could read between the lines.
In his thick accent—I was fairly certain he was Scottish—my generic, first-pick-from-the-baby-name-book moniker sounded exotic and almost sensual. I wondered if he could sense the attraction I felt, the heat coursing through my blood. If he did, he had the courtesy not to comment on it.
I was grateful for that. Setting his cup aside, he braced his elbows on the table and covered his face with his hands. At this point, I wanted answers. Namely, why you were in the morgue that night. My bones ached twenty-four hours a day. My head throbbed at the faintest glimmer of light. I was in a living hell, certainly not by choice. What kind of freak do you think I am? Guilt had kept me from opening up about them. He actually had the nerve to reach across the table and take my hand. Believe me. I wanted to do it again. The ugliness and horror of the past month seemed to swell inside me, pushing me beyond the limits of my self-control.
The sight held a sick fascination for me, and in a flash I saw a clear image of myself leaning over and licking it up. I shook my head to destroy the vision. Let him hear. I just want my life back! I wanted to stamp my feet and throw things. I wanted to be empty of these feelings of despair and frustration.
Instead, I cried. My legs buckled and I slid to the floor. When Nathan knelt beside me and put his arms out to comfort me, I pushed him away. His wool sweater pricked my cheek. So what if he was a complete stranger? At the hands of your John Doe. My chest no longer heaved with sobs, and my tears miraculously dried.
Nathan helped me to my feet. I took advantage of the moment, resting against him as long as I could without seeming weird. I pressed my hand just below his rib cage in the guise of steadying myself and felt the solid ridges of a perfect stomach beneath the wool. He picked up my chair—a casualty of my sudden rage—and helped me sit.
Then he got me a glass of water and began cleaning up the spilled blood. The silence between us was stifling, but my questions overwhelmed me. I started with the obvious. Then you died. Instead, I focused on his statement. In your wounds?
It can lie dormant for decades, waiting for the heart to stop beating. Then it corrupts your cells. I went into v-tac, in the recovery room.
The Turning (Blood Ties, Book 1)
I flatlined. He pulled a volume down and handed it to me. The cover was bare, save for small gold lettering stamped in the lower right-hand corner. I recognized the root word, Latin for blood. The title page lent the only clue to the age of the book. The Sanguinarius, it read in large print. The font was uneven, as though the pages had been printed on an ancient press. The book must have been at least two hundred years old. I flipped a few pages.
More like a training manual for vampire hunters. Not that I was complaining. In the past they were known as the Order of the Blood Brethren. Today, they are known as the Voluntary Vampire Extinction Movement. But the Movement enforces only three. No vampire shall feed from any unwilling human. No vampire shall create another vampire. And no vampire shall harm or kill a human. The Movement has a fleet of private jets, in case a member needs to travel abroad.
Otherwise, it would be pretty hard to get around. The Movement has been around a long time, and those donations add up. Plus, I believe they dabble in real estate on the side. Is that his real name? The injuries that brought him to your emergency room were incurred during an attempted execution. Long before he attacked you.
The missing eye. The splintered, destroyed bones of his face. The man sitting beside me had done it all. Someone must have seen us fighting, because the police showed up. Nathan shifted uncomfortably beside me. I keep an eye out for any new fledglings that pop up. I find them, kill them and report back to the Movement.
Figuratively, of course. I mean, do you even check first or do you just go all kill-happy on them?
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The blood tie is incredibly strong, which makes it nearly impossible for a new vampire to fight the will of the blood in his veins, the will of his sire. The book will explain it a lot better than I can. Hence the extinction part of the Voluntary Vampire Extinction Movement. So they start creating new vampires. It builds something called a blood tie.
It lasts after death. Even if the sire dies, he can still wreak havoc on the world through his fledglings. The way the Movement sees it, the only way to keep somebody like Cyrus from making his own vampire army and taking over the world is to kill his progeny. When I was turned, I swore my allegiance to them in order to keep my life. I was not going to let him intimidate me. He pushed my hair aside and gently touched the scar Cyrus had left. I leaned into his hand. Something changed in his eyes, as if an iron gate were slamming shut.
He dropped his arm and turned away. Whether you want to pledge your life to the Movement, or lose it. I took a step back. I would have punched him in the face if he did. You need to make a decision. Ask the Movement for mercy and hope they grant it to you. Luckily, the common sense which seemed to have deserted me in the past few weeks found its way back, and I held my tongue. In fact, he looked even more grave than before. Petition for membership or die. I can get them on the phone right now.
I rolled my eyes. Power, dark and barely leashed, emanated from him. Somehow, my physical attraction to Nathan made him seem more dangerous. He just invaded my personal space and shattered my comfort zone. He leaned down so our noses practically touched. You can even check in on me. Something in the way he raked his eyes over my body, like he did now, raw and hungry, told me he had something of a soft spot for women. Or a hard spot, depending on how you looked at it. A deliberately slow smile played across my lips. Are you going to kill me with your bare hands? The teen stalked angrily into the kitchen, middle finger raised toward Nathan as he passed.
Ten after ten. His blood had become part of me, too. Nathan studied my face for a moment, and I stared back, unable to discern a single emotion. He looked away and handed me my coat. He held out The Sanguinarius. I took the book in one hand and awkwardly tried to slip into my coat with the other. He moved behind me to help, and it took all my self-control to keep from leaning against him. What could I say? I always have some to spare. In the daytime, I mean. In fact, you should probably start avoiding it entirely.
Of course, I read The Sanguinarius. It was as dry and Victorian as Lord of the Rings. I reminded myself that the course of my existence was dependent upon finishing this particular book. Nathan called to check in on me every night. I cursed myself for having a listed number. But by the end of the week, my spare thoughts—no, my every thought—had turned to blood.
To get through my night shifts at the hospital, I snacked constantly. Coffee, pizza, popcorn, anything with a substantial aroma that covered the smell of blood. A few nurses made envious remarks about my ability to eat so much and never gain weight. I barely heard them. The obnoxious thumping of their pulses was all I could hear. Blood became an all-consuming distraction. I took numerous, drastic measures to ensure the safety of everyone around me.
On my frequent breaks, I locked myself in the staff bathroom and used a razor blade to make small, shallow cuts on the inside of my arm. Then I licked away the blood that welled up. It did little to slake my thirst, but the resultant marks piqued the interest of the psychiatry resident.
But the threat of tiny viruses just waiting to take up residence in my body made my skin crawl. I poured the blood down the sink and destroyed the vials. My weight dropped dramatically. I lost ten pounds in three days. I was tired and sick. Everywhere I went, the sound of human hearts pumping blood through fat, blue veins absolutely maddened me. The Sanguinarius recommended feeding captive vampires raw steak.
My nights off were almost worse than the nights I had to work. At least at the hospital I had to force myself to concentrate on something other than the hunger. I was struggling through a particularly bad night at home when I finally gave up and went back to Wealthy Avenue. Tears streamed down my face as I shook uncontrollably behind the wheel, like a drug addict in desperate need of a fix.
I needed blood. I needed it badly. My hands trembled as I rang the bell to his apartment. There was no answer. The window of the shop was dark, and no one responded to my frantic knocking. Young men and women hurried up and down the sidewalk.
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The pumping of their blood drowned out the words of their conversation. Most of them looked young enough to have a curfew, but some could have been college students.
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College students from other states, perhaps, with few acquaintances in their new surroundings. Like me, if they went missing, no one would look for them for days, possibly even weeks…. I was horrified at the thought, but I needed blood. I needed to walk in the fresh air and open space. I was selective. One bar looked too dank and blue-collar for my tastes. It would be crowded with middle-aged men in flannel shirts watching sports on television. I wanted someone young. Someone beautiful. I spotted her on the street. She crossed against the light.
Her pale, blond hair flew behind her like a banner in the wind. The way she clutched her coat to her chest accentuated her skinniness. I had never felt this sort of attraction toward anyone before, let alone a woman. It was not an attraction in a sexual sense. It was an animal instinct, as pure and natural as breathing. I wanted her blood. The girl in the black coat pushed through a small cluster of young men and women loitering on the sidewalk.
As I approached, I read the name of the building she ducked into. The covered windows of Club Cite were framed by blue neon tubes. The brick building had been painted black, but the paint job had not been kept up, revealing flecks of the original red brick. The place was dirty and run-down. Once inside, I followed her down the stairs.
The walls around us vibrated with a muffled bass line.
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She pulled open the door at the bottom and the entire corridor flooded with noise. The club was packed with young people, all dressed in black. Some were Dickensian, with top hats and walking sticks. More were swathed in torn fishnets patched with electrical tape. They all looked at me as though my blue jeans and freckled face disgusted them. Finding her tragic figure in this writhing mass of self-pity would be impossible.
My chest tightened, and the excitement of the chase vanished. I was caught. I turned slowly, expecting to face a uniformed officer. Instead, I found myself looking down at the smirking face of a very confident young woman. The standard Robert Smith makeup of heavy eyeliner and deep red lipstick decorated her pale face, and a thick riot of red curls hung to her shoulders. She looked me over with her head cocked to one side. Her curls bobbed as she laughed. I squinted against the swirling light and movement of the room.
Danger was here. Tension seethed beneath her sweet words. She moved like a dancer despite her round shape, her every movement charged with urgency. The hunger gnawed at me, so I followed her. As we walked, she told me her name was Dahlia. She led me from the club and down a few alleys, through an abandoned rail yard adrift with snow. A cement barrier separated the area from the expressway. I heard the cars racing past. In the very center, the ceiling had caved in. Someone had been industrious enough to cover it with plastic tarps. It was dark and cold. Ominous shapes huddled in every corner.