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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(129) by Chloe Neill
  • *YAWN*

    I’D LIKE TO SEE ICELAND.

    PROGRESS!

    APPEARANCE BY MINORISH BASEMENT FIRE’S ANGRIER, MORE FIREY COUSIN.

    FIRE CONTAINED TO CHAGRIN OF FIRE.

    WEAPON MAGIC IS STILL WEIRD.

    The later it got, the loopier the messages. Mallory and Catcher had been awake for thirty-six hours, refusing to sleep so they could figure out the binding magic.

    They were still going at dusk. Being that we were vampires, and because we were headed into battle, there were of course ceremonies to be had while we waited.

    According to the Canon of the North American Houses, Desk Reference, it was a tradition of Cadogan House, a tradition established long ago by Peter Cadogan, the House’s first Master, at dusk before a big battle. All the vampires of the House would gather together with mutton and ale, and the Master would give a rousing speech that called the House to victory.

    The cafeteria was full, each space at each table taken, and vampires shoehorned into corners wherever room enough for a plate could be had. Someone had brought in folding chairs from the storage room, and the rest stood around the edge of the room, yawning and waiting for the ceremony to begin.

    We’d been ready to go into battle before, when we thought we’d be facing down Sorcha, getting an opportunity to knock the smug smile from her face and close that particular chapter of our lives. Tonight, the mood was somber.

    Ethan sat beside me at the table, a pewter stein in front of him.

    “The Master’s chalice?” I asked.

    Ethan smiled, reached out, turned the mug so I could see the neat inscription on the opposite side: CADOGAN HOUSE BOWLING LEAGUE, FIRST PLACE, 1979.

    “Why haven’t we had a bowling league since I’ve been here? I can bowl.”

    “You’re the social chair,” Ethan pointed out. “So that’s technically your fault.”

    Tough, but fair. “I didn’t know you bowled.”

    “I don’t,” he said with a smile. “But it’s my House, and to the sponsor goes the spoils.” He pushed back his chair and rose, buttoning the top button of his impeccable suit. Even before battle, Ethan would lead his people. He would Master them, and then soldier them.

    A hush instantly fell over the room. “Novitiates.”

    “Master,” they said in unison, as if responding to a pastor’s call-and-response.

    I didn’t say it, because I hadn’t known it was a thing. I should have perused the actual Canon instead of just the Desk Reference. Not that I’d had a lot of free time.

    “There have been many battles in the previous days. Many acts of bravery among our people, and many acts of treachery by those outside our House, including the woman whose name will no longer be spoken in its halls.

    “In those other battles, we followed the dictates of others who believed, however wrong they were, that they knew what was best for the city. Tonight, we strike out against a monster plaguing the city in our own manner, in our own way.” He paused, leaving every vampire on the edge of his or her seat. “Tonight, we fight with steel.”

    There were whoops of approval.

    “Whatever happens here tonight, know that I am proud to be your Master, and proud that you are my Novitiates.” He raised a cup. “All hail Cadogan House!”

    “Cadogan House! Cadogan House! Cadogan House!” Hands slapped tables in time with the chanting, as Ethan drank from his stein and toasted the room.

    • • •

    “It was a good speech,” Malik said, when Ethan sat again. “You will stay alive, or I will be monumentally irritated.”

    “Hear, hear,” I said, and raised my cup.

    Because hungry vampires were dangerous vampires, carts were rolled around the room by Margot’s staff, and food was dished out to hungry vampires. She brought the cart to our table herself.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire