Home > The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15)(2)

The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15)(2)
Author: J. R. Ward


sehclusion (n.) Status conferred by the King upon a female of the aristocracy as a result of a petition by the female’s family. Places the female under the sole direction of her ghardian, typically the eldest male in her household. Her ghardian then has the legal right to determine all manner of her life, restricting at will any and all interactions she has with the world.

shellan (n.) Female vampire who has been mated to a male. Females generally do not take more than one mate due to the highly territorial nature of bonded males.

symphath (n.) Subspecies within the vampire race characterized by the ability and desire to manipulate emotions in others (for the purposes of an energy exchange), among other traits. Historically, they have been discriminated against and, during certain eras, hunted by vampires. They are near extinction.

the Tomb (pr. n.) Sacred vault of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Used as a ceremonial site as well as a storage facility for the jars of lessers. Ceremonies performed there include inductions, funerals, and disciplinary actions against Brothers. No one may enter except for members of the Brotherhood, the Scribe Virgin, or candidates for induction.

trahyner (n.) Word used between males of mutual respect and affection. Translated loosely as “beloved friend.”

transition (n.) Critical moment in a vampire’s life when he or she transforms into an adult. Thereafter, he or she must drink the blood of the opposite sex to survive and is unable to withstand sunlight. Occurs generally in the mid-twenties. Some vampires do not survive their transitions, males in particular. Prior to their transitions, vampires are physically weak, sexually unaware and unresponsive, and unable to dematerialize.

vampire (n.) Member of a species separate from that of Homo sapiens. Vampires must drink the blood of the opposite sex to survive. Human blood will keep them alive, though the strength does not last long. Following their transitions, which occur in their mid-twenties, they are unable to go out into sunlight and must feed from the vein regularly. Vampires cannot “convert” humans through a bite or transfer of blood, though they are in rare cases able to breed with the other species. Vampires can dematerialize at will, though they must be able to calm themselves and concentrate to do so and may not carry anything heavy with them. They are able to strip the memories of humans, provided such memories are short-term. Some vampires are able to read minds. Life expectancy is upward of a thousand years, or in some cases even longer.

wahlker (n.) An individual who has died and returned to the living from the Fade. They are accorded great respect and are revered for their travails.

whard (n.) Equivalent of a godfather or godmother to an individual.

 

 

PROLOGUE


THE OLD COUNTRY, 1731

Firelight thrown from a shallow pit clawed across the damp walls of the cave, the rough rock face bleeding shadows. Outside the earthen womb, a great snowstorm raged, howls of bitter wind echoing into the throat of the shelter, joining the screams of the female upon the birthing pallet.

“’Tis a male young,” she panted a’twix her contracting burden. “A male!”

O’er her recumbent, straining flesh, looming as a curse upon her, the Black Dagger Brother Hharm cared naught for her pain.

“We shall learn soon enough.”

“You will mate me. You promised—”

Her words choked off and her face squeezed into ugliness as her innards contorted to expel his progeny, and as he played witness, Hharm reflected how unattractive this aristocrat was in her laboring. She had not been thus when he had first met her and seduced her. Then, she had been proper and satin-clad, an appropriate vessel for his legacy with perfumed skin and shining, bouncy hair. Now? She was nothing but an animal, sweated and stringy—and whyever was this taking so long? He was so bored by the process, offended that he had to attend to her. This was the work for females, not a warrior such as himself.

But he was not mating her unless he had to.

If this was the son he had prayed for? Then yes, he would legitimize the young through a proper ceremony and give this female the status she was calling her due. If not? He would walk away and she would say nothing, because in the eyes of her class, she was be-fouled, her purity lost as her field had been plowed.

Indeed, Hharm had decided it was time for him to settle down. After centuries of debauchery and depravity, his age was setting upon him and he was considering for the first the legacy he would leave behind. At the current, bastards abounded, fruits of his loins that he knew not of, cared not for, associated never with—and for so long, that had been an acceptable by-product of him being accountable to naught and no one.

Now, though … he found himself wanting a proper family tree. And there was also the issue of a number of wagering debts, something this female’s father could readily discharge for him—although again, if this was not a son, he was not mating her. He wasnae crazed, nor willing to whore himself out for pence. Further, there were countless females from the glymera who coveted the status that came with mating a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Hharm would not commit until he had a male offspring to raise properly from night one.

“Oh, do compose yourself,” he snapped as she screamed again and his ears rang. “Be silent.”

As with all things, however, she defied him. “It’s coming …! Your son is arriving!”

The shift she had on was dragged up to the base of her distended breasts by her twisting, fisted hands, her stretched and rounded belly put on a shameless display, her thin and pale thighs spread wide. What transpired at her core was disgusting, that which should have been a delicate and lovely entry for to accept the arousal of a male leaking all manner of fluid and discharge, the flesh swollen and distorted.

No, he would ne’er penetrate that again. Son or naught, mating or not, the perversion upon his eyes the now was nothing he could unsee.

Fortunately, matings of convenience were commonplace among aristocrats—not that he would have cared if they were not. Her needs were hardly what was important.

“He is upon you!” she shouted as her head fell back and her fingers scratched at the earth beneath her. “Your son … he is upon you!”

Hharm frowned and then widened his stare and his stance. She was not misapprised. For truth, there was a thing emerging from her interior … it was …

An abomination. A terrible, misshapen—

A foot. ’Twas a foot?

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