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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
This is Book 2 of the "New Reality" Series; reading 'Re-Birth', Book 1, is highly recommended.

Re-Forging - 4. Chapter 4

“Put him down!” I shouted at Tommy, then I turned to Chris and added, “And you, calm the fuck down.”

I wasn’t surprised when Tommy obeyed my command. He instantly lowered Chris until his feet were solidly on the floor and relaxed his grip to allow him to breathe. I wasn’t surprised when he continued to stand between Chris and me. I was surprised when Chris went from being as mean as a caged lion to being as meek as a kitten in less than a second. I didn’t understand how or why he had calmed so quickly, but I was thankful for it, just the same.

“Tommy, stand down. He’s a friend and upset; he’s not a danger,” I explained. When Tommy stepped aside, I approached Chris. I couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t take a swing, so I figured I should be careful. He stood like a statue with a glare that could burn through steel. When I got within arm’s reach, I put my hand on his shoulder and asked, “Why are you so upset?”

He shifted his gaze to the floor, crestfallen, and said, "You didn’t trust me enough to tell me that you had been changed.”

I lifted his chin, saying, “I’m sorry, bro, I truly am. I have a lot on my plate, and I thought it was better to keep you in the dark.” When he nodded, I asked, “We good now?”

Shrugging, he replied, "We’re always good, dude, you know that.”

I pulled him into a one-armed ‘bro’ hug, which evolved into him hanging on me, sobbing. I held him until his sobs subsided, then held him at arm’s length and asked, “What?”

“It just hit me that you died.” I smirked at him, and he grinned, “Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re not dead, we’re talkin’ and shit, but you did die, right?”

I glanced at Scott and saw his discomfort, but I couldn’t ignore Chris. “Yeah, bro, I died.” With a horrible Cockney accent, I added, “I got better.” I heard Billy and Scott snort.

Chris gave me a withering look and a shove, followed by, “No quoting ‘Monty Python’ at a time like this.”

I turned to Tommy and said, “This is Chris Barnes, the son of my attorney and one of my best friends. Consider him my brother; you’ll meet the other three this weekend. Chris, this is Tommy McNiel. Tommy is my, um, he’s a—”

“From the way he took me out of action, if he’s not your bodyguard, he needs to be,” Chris said with a laugh as he offered Tommy a fist to bump.

Mary stepped in from the kitchen and asked, “Might I offer up the puddin', Sire?”

"As I said in the office, this is your house, My Lord,” James said. When he noticed my eyes dart to Mike and Chris, he added, “Mike is your attorney, Chris is your friend and, likely, your next attorney. Keep them in your confidence, Greg.”

I turned to face Mary and said, “That would be wonderful, Mary. What are we having?”

Her face twisted into a mock evil grin as she replied, "I call it 'Death by Chocolate', Yer Lordship. It's a three-layer chocolate cake with chocolate clootie as the filling and chocolate icing on top. I hope you've got a fondness for the sugary."

Quickly jumping behind Tommy, I pointed at Mary and whined, “She is trying to kill me, Tommy; protect me!”

That got a chuckle from everyone, but when Tommy deadpanned, “Sorry, Greg, I’ll be too busy eating cake,” we were practically rolling on the floor laughing.

Billy followed Mary and helped her carry the cake plates, then vanished again, returning with two pitchers. When Mary appeared the second time, she had a wine bottle in her hand, so I knew what Billy was serving. I glanced at Chris and, on seeing his eye-roll, held my goblet up for Billy to fill with stag’s blood. I noticed he filled his own goblet from the other pitcher.

While enjoying Mary’s incredible dessert, Tommy said, “Greg, if you don’t mind, I’d like a house tour after we’re done. Every door, window, closet, everything.”

I shook my head and replied, “You’ll have to get James, Donna, or Mary to give you that. I just walked through the door for the first time about four hours ago.”

“Prince George didn’t give me any details. You’re the youngest Baron I’ve ever met. If you don’t mind my asking, you’re what? Almost eight?”

Everyone laughed as I sighed and replied, “Actually, I don’t know how old to say I am. This time yesterday, I was human and six months shy of my eighteenth birthday.”

Tommy stared at me, his mouth agape as if he'd been struck by lightning—utterly dumbfounded. When he found his voice, he stammered, “You’re a changeling? And on your feet less than twenty-four hours after death? And you’re a Baron?” He looked around the room as if looking for the camera, convinced he was being pranked.

James inquired, “I take it you have experience with changelings? Greg is the first one I’ve made, and I turned five hundred and thirty this past spring. I’ve never even known one this soon after the change.”

Tommy took a deep breath and glanced at the two humans, then at me. I gave a slight nod, so he said, “In my four hundred years, I’ve been present at two changings; well, two successful ones. I’ve also watched three human friends die and not come back.” Scott grabbed my hand and crushed it when he heard this. I smiled at him as Tommy continued, “The first was the mate of my little brother. He was six, and she was fourteen. This was in 1659, shortly after midsummer. Gwena’s pa died when the Royalists took Denbigh Castle, and her ma had died of the pox when she was a baby. With no family to speak of, the Baron approved her change. The Baron drained her just before sunrise; she lay there, not wanting to feed, for almost two minutes. We thought she wasn’t gonna make it, but just as the light was leaving them, her eyes landed on Matty, and she fed. Old Baron Denbigh said she needed to feed from him every four hours for the next two days. Said she would sleep most of that time, too. Pa had to hold her and almost drown her with the tea to get her to swallow it, but she survived. She and Matty died in France when the Germans invaded in the summer of fourteen.”

I put my hand on his shoulder, and Tommy gave me a slight smile and a nod, then continued, “The other one that survived is my mate, Leonard. He and I were serving in the Coldstream Guard in seventy-two when Prince George approached me. He said he was going to move to the colonies and asked me to serve as a Sergeant in his Guard. Of course, I was honored, but I knew that Leonard was my fated mate. I was terrified as I admitted to the Prince that I was a sodomite and in love with a human. I was shocked when the Prince offered to change him for me. Lenny almost shite when he found out I wasn’t human like him. Funny, he didn’t bat an eye when I told him I was one hundred and sixty-two. Anyway, he didn’t understand about fated mates, but he said he was sure he loved me. I held his hand as George, er, Prince George, drained him. His eyes never left mine. They were on me when he died, and they were on me when he accepted this new life; he did it to be with me. I fed him his tea, and I was the first thing he saw when he woke up 32 hours after he died.”

I noticed that as Tommy shared his memories, his Welsh accent became more pronounced. He sat silent for several minutes, then he looked at Scott and said, “As you see, My Lord, I’ve been where you were last night. I know that pain of watching your soul die. I know the terror of wondering if he’ll come back to you. I’ve seen how you reacted when Greg talked about dying, Scott, and you need to accept it. Embrace it even. If not for that death, you might only have another fifty years with him. And don’t think that you’ve accepted it just because you’re happy he’s alive. If you can’t talk about it, you haven’t accepted.” He turned to me and added, “You too, Greg. You make jokes about it, but have you mourned your own death yet? Have you cried for what might have been?”

Scott and I stared at each other as we reflected on what Tommy had said. When we turned back to him, Tommy continued, “Sorry, I can’t tell you about what happened without telling you about those involved. It dishonors them. The point of my rambling was supposed to be that I may not be an expert on them, but I am familiar with changelings.”

“Thank you, Tommy, and I’m sorry you had to relive those memories this evening.” Tommy made eye contact and gave me a nod of thanks for recognizing his feelings. Then he seemed to pull himself together, so I said, “From what you said, the information James has is correct; most changelings don’t wake for twenty-four hours or more?”

“That is true, from my limited experience.”

James leaned forward to explain, “Greg’s eyes changed to the emerald green of a Baron right away. Did Leonard or Gwena experience something similar?”

Tommy nodded, replying, “They did, but within a few hours, they changed from red back to their human color. I can’t speak for Gwena, but I’ve never seen Lenny with red eyes except in his beast.”

“Did either struggle to control their hunger?” I asked.

Tommy’s eyebrows knit as he considered my question. “Would you care to explain?”

I spent the next few minutes telling Tommy about the incident with Chris, his seeming hypnotized, and his offering me his wrist. He asked for any details the others could add, and then he thought for a few minutes.

“Leonard and Gwena were both fed by their maker for over a day before they even took their first steps. Your hunger taking control of you might, no offense James, but it might be because you didn’t feed him often enough. The part that intrigues me is how your fangs dropped, but you didn’t give in to the beast entirely. Can you do that now?”

I looked around the table, stunned. None of us had considered trying this. Then I realized that Tommy had arrived just after the incident, and this was the first time we had discussed it. I concentrated on my teeth. I tried to imagine them an inch longer, sharper, ready to puncture flesh and allow me to feed. I ran my tongue over my teeth and found, to my mixed delight and shock, that they had indeed dropped. I opened my mouth and showed everyone. All the vampires smiled, but I noticed Chris’ eyes opened just slightly as if he was shocked, or was it fear?

I also noticed James was studying me. He looked like he was going to speak when Tommy said, “It seems you have control of your fangs. That’s good. Has anyone explained to you what you did to Chris?”

“I hadn’t gotten to it, Tommy,” James replied before I could answer. “So much happened today that it got pushed to the back of the line. I had planned on having all three boys work on enthrallment and telepathy this evening since Mike and Chris are here. If they’re willing, that is.”

Mike seemed to understand and nodded. Chris tensed a bit, then glanced at me before he turned to James and asked, “I’d do anything for Greg; he knows that, but I’d like to know what to expect. What would be involved, Sir?”

James smiled and replied, “First, I heard Greg call you his brother. If you are brother to my son, there’s no need to call me Sir. As to what’s involved, let me ask you this. Do you remember offering Greg your wrist at the dinner table?”

As they spoke, I was focusing on Chris. When James asked this, I suddenly realized that I could feel what Chris was feeling. Foremost in his mix of emotions was curiosity, followed closely by fear. No, not fear, he wasn’t scared exactly, he knew that he was safe from harm, but he also understood that he was prey in a house full of predators. At his core, he knew he could trust me and wanted to help me learn, but he also understood there were risks in letting me inside his mind, in letting me control his mind.

“I remember our conversation about wrestling, but then I kinda… I don’t know, zoned out? Like I got lost in my own head, not focused on what was happening around me. Does that make any sense?” Chris explained.

Now, I could sense his confusion. I must have telegraphed my dawning realization because James asked, “What is it, Greg? You look… amazed? No, more like intrigued?”

“I… well, I think that…” I was stammering; I paused and took a breath, then looked at Chris and asked, “At first you were curious, then your fears surfaced. Not that you’re afraid of me, but more like, I don’t know, you’ve realized that any one of us could kill you at any second. Underneath that is a solid conviction that you are safe with us; you know that I wouldn’t hurt you or allow anyone else to hurt you. You’re concerned that I might find your deepest secrets. And finally, your mixed emotions have you confused and unsure what to do. Am I right?”

As I told Chris of his emotional turmoil, his face reflected the absolute shock he was now feeling. He was speechless, so he nodded to confirm that he had indeed gone through those exact emotions.

Tommy asked, “Scott? Billy? The two of you should be able to do this as well. Do either of you sense the emotions of Chris or Mike?”

“You two see if you can sense any emotions,” James said before they could reply. “I’d like to continue with you for a minute, Greg. What you did with Chris is called enthrallment. It’s similar to hypnotism, but it is an ability that all vampires have, to differing degrees. I’d like to test a theory I have if you and Chris are willing?”

I looked at Chris and could sense his fears had subsided. He was now more curious and open to helping me learn my new skills. When he gave a slight nod, I did as well. We both turned to James to hear his theory.

“Good, and thank you, Chris. I appreciate your being open to this, and I’m sure Greg does too. Would you prefer I explain first? Or test, then explain?” James asked, looking at me.

He took a few minutes to explain that all vampires could enthrall a human for a short time, typically fifteen minutes or so. This ability is how we fed before the blood banks without exposing our existence to humans. He told us that while under this ‘feeding thrall’, the human felt a sense of being lost in their own thoughts, distracted. Everyone has had these moments, so their occurrence didn’t cause any alarm or concern. While in this state, the human was more than willing to offer their blood, and once it passed, they had no memory of the events that occurred.

Vampire leadership, or the nobility, has enhanced abilities when it comes to enthrallment. The duration and efficacy increased with the rank of the vampire, meaning that James could keep a human enthralled for roughly twenty-four hours. With my being a Baron, I should be able to keep one in this state for a week or so. Along with the increased time frame, the level of control was also greater. As an example, he said that if he were to enthrall Mike, he might be able to get him to overcome his natural modesty and undress in our home, but he would not be able to overcome it enough to get him to undress in a crowded public area. As a Baron, I might be able to overcome this, but not convince him to undress on television, while Prince George likely could. I had to laugh as I both sensed and saw Mike’s embarrassment as he imagined these scenarios.

Another part of these higher-level enthrallments involved honesty. While in this state, the human is incapable of telling the vampire a lie or withholding information related to a direct question. While a human under the thrall of James might have enough self-control to carefully word their replies so they’re truthful but not complete, this same human would give every detail they know on a subject when enthralled and questioned by George.

“We may or may not be able to prove my theory because it depends on what your instincts did when you enthralled Chris at dinner. If you invoked a simple feeding trance, you can no longer control him. On the other hand, if your unfamiliarity with your abilities caused you to use all of your power, you should be able to get Chris to do your bidding.” James stated.

My voice betrayed my shock as I asked, “So I could have him jump off the balcony? Or stand in front of a moving car?”

Tommy interjected, “Yes, no, and maybe.”

“That’s so helpful,” I growled sarcastically.

He smirked and explained, “All humans have an instinct for self-preservation. You can’t overcome that, but things aren’t always black and white. If you’ve enthralled him as a Baron, your force could probably override his self-preservation instinct enough to get him to jump off the upstairs balcony because he would probably survive that fall. Depending on how strong his individual will is, you might even get him to stand in front of a moving car; he knows he’d probably survive that. There is not a vampire in the world that could compel him to take his own life.”

I considered what had been said while James turned to Scott and Billy, asking them to describe what they were sensing from Mike. They both seemed able to easily do what I had done, sense and relate a detailed evaluation of Mike’s emotional state. When he was satisfied, James turned to me. I knew what he wanted, so I glanced at Chris and raised an eyebrow; he smirked and nodded.

“Take your shirt off, Chris,” I said in my best authoritative voice.

He stood and started unbuttoning his shirt. In a monotone, he said, “Yes, master.”

“Really?” I squeaked. “No way it works like that,” I added, glaring at him as he started to giggle.

“Sorry, dude. I couldn’t resist.” His face contorted as we all laughed at the unintended pun. “Seriously, I don’t know if I was compelled or just did it cause you asked. Try something I wouldn’t do.”

I smirked and said, “Take off your pants.”

“You just want to get me naked, ya perv,” Chris laughed as he lowered his hands and began unbuttoning his shorts.

“Stop!” I shouted.

Chris looked down at his hands, bewildered. He looked at me and quietly said, “I didn’t even notice I was doing it until you stopped me. I thought you were joking. Dude, that’s not funny.”

The laughter coming from Scott and Billy seemed to say that they disagreed with that last statement. They quickly stopped when James gave them a glare that would melt iron. They thought it was funny; I thought it was dangerous, and the implications sent chills down my spine.

“So he has to do anything I tell him? For how long? And is there a way I can break it?” I asked, looking at Tommy and James.

“You’ll learn how to moderate your voice, Greg. Then he’ll know the difference between a command and a request. You’re a Baron, so if my memory is correct, he’s under your control for roughly a week unless you release him.” James explained. I stared at him, waiting. He got the message and added, “It’s simply a matter of giving him a command that he is released.”

I turned to Chris to give that command, but he stopped me. “Don’t, Greg. You need to learn how to do these things, and if you release me, you can’t test the limits of the control.”

Tommy chimed in with, “Not quite true. If he releases you, he can actually practice enthralling you.”

“Could I hurt him by doing it over and over?” I asked, concerned for my friend.

James took this one. “I have never known a human to suffer any long-term effects from repeatedly being enthralled. In fact, it was my intent to have Scott practice on Chris every time he fed.”

Scott’s face showed his confusion as he asked, “But I can already do a feeding trance; I did it the last time he fed me.”

James started to answer, but I piped up with, “But you’re a Baron’s mate, and I’m guessing your abilities match mine, right James?”

James nodded as he said, “Exactly. And since you brought up the topic of mates, you’ve given me the perfect segue to our next topic.”

Donna stood and said, “Mary would probably like to clean up if you gentlemen don’t mind?”

I jumped to my feet and said, “I’m sorry, Mary. Let Scott, Billy, and me clear the table; you’ve done enough. And by the way, dinner was delicious.”

Mary scowled and said, “Your Lordship will do no such thing, especially not when we have guests. I dina need help, but I thank ye for the consideration.”

I started to argue, but as I thought about this from her point of view, I realized that she took pride in her work. Having us help her, especially in front of guests, made her look bad. After mom died, Dad hired a lady to come in and clean once a week, but we did all the cooking and laundry. That was the closest I’d ever come to having servants, but I learned not to interfere in her tasks, knowing better than to dust or vacuum. She, like Mary, took pride in keeping our house clean. When I looked at it through her eyes, I understood how she felt, and I knew how to make things right.

“Thank you, Mary. If no one objects, I think we can take our conversation to the terrace. I’m sure everyone would like their drinks refreshed once we’re there.”

My words hit their mark. I saw a slight grin as she said, “Might I suggest, Your Lordship, take yer drinks on the rear deck instead of the terrace? It offers a far bonnier view of the sunset."

Crisis averted; I smiled and thanked her as we all headed for the deck off the grand salon. We set the chairs in a semi-circle, facing the lake but positioned so we could all see one another. Scott and I took the center seats, with Billy to my right. James and Tommy naturally gravitated to the ends, allowing me easy eye contact with everyone during our discussion. As we were sitting, I heard Mike mention a hotel.

“Not going to happen, Mike. We have more than enough room; you’re staying here.”

He started to argue, but Chris broke in with, “Better listen to him, Dad. He’ll enthrall you.” When he saw my glare, he actually flinched and said, “Sorry, Sir.”

The ‘sir’ reminded me, so I said, “You are released from your thrall. You do not have to obey my instructions.” I turned to James and asked, “Good enough?”

Nodding, James said, “Probably, but the best test would be if Scott or Billy can enthrall him. It’s not possible to overwrite a vampire that outranks you. For now, I’d like to get back to our discussion.” I nodded, so he said, “Tied to your empathy is telepathy. Once you and Scott are fully mated, the two of you will be able to talk mind to mind.”

"If I may interject, James," Tommy began, pausing until he received a nod, "Greg and Billy should share that connection too."

James couldn’t hide his surprise and asked, “How’s that? I know that Greg will be able to do the same with other nobles, but I didn’t know that Stewards had that connection. I never had it with his grandfather.”

“No offense, James, but you’re a Baronet; you wouldn’t have that connection with your Esquire,” Tommy explained, then bit his lower lip in thought. “In fact, Lenny has that connection with George… I bet it’s a changeling/maker thing. Would you like to try it?”

I sat forward on my chair, excited to be trying something that even James wasn’t aware of. As I sat and stared intently into his eyes, I heard Tommy start to laugh. I ignored him and tried to focus even harder. Finally, in my mind, I heard James’ voice say, ‘You look like you’re trying to take a shit, Greg. Relax and find our connection in your mind.

Hearing him in my mind stunned me, but his message made me burst into a fit of laughter. Once I recovered, I relaxed a bit and searched my mind. After what felt like an hour, I found what James was talking about. I can’t really explain it, but I found my connection to James, Billy, and even Scott. Of course, my first ‘transmission’ was to tell Scott that I loved him. I knew he heard me because he squeezed my hand. I then replied to James, ‘Does this work anywhere?

James smiled and said, “I don’t know, Greg, we should ask Tommy. Is there a distance limit on this, Tommy? Or do you know?”

Shrugging, Tommy replied, “I don’t know, James. I know that Lenny and George have had conversations all over the US, though they can’t if one is overseas.”

James added, “You and Scott should be able to communicate much farther than that, Greg. I’ve talked to Donna from Germany when she was here at the house.”

Scott sat forward and asked, “Dad? You said that Greg and I would have this connection after we’re mated, right?”

“Yes, Scott. Remember, though, it has nothing to do with a wedding or mating ceremony. It’s tied to the first time you, um…” James was no more comfortable with discussing this than my Dad was. I found that almost cute. He took a breath and continued, “You’re considered mated after the first time you actually mate, although I’m not sure how the gods would define that with two men. I assume it would be the same.”

Tommy was nodding as he said, “It is. My connection with Lenny developed the first time we, ah, engaged in intercourse.”

“Then how did Greg just tell me he loved me?” Scott asked, confused.

Tommy and James both turned to stare at me. I shrugged and said, “Before I replied to James, I sent a message to Scott. When I was looking for my connection to you, I found several others. I figured out which ones are you, Scott, and Billy, but I don’t know who the others are.”

“Most likely, those are the other nobles. You are in the range of some, but it would be rude to speak to them mind to mind before having actually met them in person,” Tommy explained.

I wanted to ask who these other nobles were, but James stood and said, “Now that the sun has gone down, I think Scott and Billy should take you hunting, Greg. You seem to have some control over your beast, but you need practice, and both boys should be able to talk you through things. If you have any problems, I’ll be showing Tommy around the house.”

Before I could reply, Chris chimed in with, “Oh, can I watch?”

I looked at Billy and Scott and, getting shrugs from both, said, “I guess it’s okay. We can have these two enthrall you and laugh while you dance around naked.”

James laughed and said, “While that sounds entertaining, I think it’s best if you stay in the house, Chris, for your own safety. Until Greg learns to control his beast better, having fresh human blood nearby could lead to an unfortunate event.”

Copyright © 2023 Justin4Fun; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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And the possibilities are endless for Greg and Scott's business endeavors. Also for Greg's friends that stuck by him and might still.

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I like Tommy.  He is a true protector and very knowledgeable.  He's a great addition to the team.  Chris is also a very good friend who is as close as a brother to Greg.  Greg is surprisingly quick at developing his new powers and learning to control them.  James speculates that Greg can feel some of the close nobles, but I do wonder if maybe one of those connections might be to his brother/friend Chris.  Also, maybe some are not so close like Prince George.

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I do find it a bit strange that Chris just accepts what is happening like it’s no big deal and has run screaming from the house 

Edited by Bft
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1 hour ago, Bft said:

I do find it a bit strange that Chris just accepts what is happening like it’s no big deal and has run screaming from the house 

Well, you've got to consider other factors. He trusts Greg, so that has a calming effect. Also, his Dad's not freaking out, and that goes a long way. 

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On another subject, they all keep talking about their 'beast.' This makes me wonder if this transition makes them look somewhat like a werewolf. Perhaps in this universe, this is how the werewolf myth came about.

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Posted (edited)

Well I have to say that Tommy will be a great bodyguard for Greg! And there are so many cool powers at his command.  So much is happening which is one reason why I love this story!

Edited by Albert1434
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