10 years before Queen Tatiana is murdered

"Do you need any help?" The man asked the girl. She looked to be in her late teens with blonde-brown hair that fell to her lower back, her brown eyes intently focused as she glared down at the flat tire of her compact car.

"Oh, would you? That'd be a blessing." The girl said, her face brightening and a smile spreading across her face at the man's kindness.

The man smiled. "Of course, let me get the jack out of my car." The girl nodded enthusiastically as the man turned to his car. The girl watched the man lift the back of his SUV and pull something out. When he turned, there she was; in front of him, a scowl creasing her features. The man laughed. "I was coming back, don't worry." The girl's brown eyes were colder than ice. She didn't speak and chills ran down the man's spine. He started to back away, but the girl reached out, grabbing his arm, and pulled him back to her. The man struggled uselessly against her vise-like grip. His eyes opened in horror as her eyes flickered silver.

A noise escaped the girl's lips, almost sounding like a growl. No words were exchanged, and this made the man more afraid than if she were speaking.

Her lips drew back off her teeth. The man nearly screamed as he stared in fear at the lengthening canines. The man's gaze shot back up to the girl's eyes, which were now practically a copper as the silver engulfed the brown. The girl didn't return his gaze, she focused on his neck. His heart beat rapidly in his chest. A feeling crawled through the girl's stomach and she licked her lips. "Wha- What are you?" The man gasped out, his voice trembling.

The girl drew her eyes up to his and spoke, and the man's opinion changed; her voice was far more frightening. The one word she muttered sent the man into hysterics. "Death." Before the man could scream, the girl's head shot forward at his neck. Her teeth tore into the man's jugular, and his sweet liquid essence filled her mouth. She swallowed greedily, and before long the man's face became one of ecstasy as the endorphins from the girl's bite filled him. A thought passed through the back of her mind telling her to stop, but the blood still flowed and strengthened her making her not want to stop. The man went limp in her arms, but she couldn't stop. Suddenly, the blood stopped. The girl whimpered, pulling away and dropped the lifeless body of the man to the ground. Wiping her mouth as she walked away, Jamie felt sustained.

It didn't take long for Jamie to get back to the nest. The group of Strigoi she'd been living with for the past two years had recently settled in Las Vegas, just outside the limits of the city in a large mansion. Dawn was just on the horizon when Jamie walked up the steps to the porch. The moment she entered the house, a man rushed up to her.

The man was severely pale, like all Strigoi, but his tall structure meant that he had once been Moroi. The man crossed his arms over his chest, his blue eyes ringed in red were cold as he stared down at Jamie. "Cutting it a little close, Jamie, you shouldn't be out so late. A young girl like you might get taken advantage of." The man reached forward to brush Jaime's long strawberry-blonde hair, but Jaime's hand caught his and she promptly crushed it.

The man snarled at her, yanking his hand back. Jaime gave him a tight smile. "Try touching me again and I'll kill you, Baxter."

Baxter glared at her, popping the bones in his hand back into place as they began to heal. "You need to learn some authority or Harper might not be so keen on letting you tag along with us."

Jamie laughed humorlessly walking past Baxter and further into the mansion. "Harper thinks she owns everything, but we both know who's really in charge here."

Baxter followed right on Jaime's heels as she began to ascend the staircase. "Who, you? You've only been around for two years. A lot of us aren't even sure you're one of us."

Jaime whirled on Baxter, setting a look over her features that made him cringe. Jaime's voice was ice. "I beg your pardon?"

Baxter's face relaxed into his arrogant smirk. "You heard me. We've all noticed the differences. You're not as pale as us, your eyes aren't as red. Sure you've got strength and speed, bu-" Jaime didn't let him finish. With one motion she backhanded Baxter across the face sending him flying over the railing and crashing into the foyer's marble floor below.

At the commotion the foyer filled with Strigoi, fifteen in total. They all looked feral and lethal as they positioned themselves in a fighting stance. Jamie knew all them had heard her and Baxter's conversation, but chose to ignore it and finished walking up the stairs and down the hallway to her room.

It was the largest in the mansion, Jamie had assured that, with a small sitting room and a king-sized canopy bed. Jamie flopped onto it, flipping open her phone, and pressed a message in quickly to Queen Tatiana that merely said: We need to talk. Jamie suspected that Queen would be in bed soon being that it was dawn and the Moroi and Strigoi days were just ending, so she was surprised when a response came: Coffee shop on the Strip, you know the one, 10pm. Call me there. Jamie didn't respond to the message, not wanting to leave a longer message trail than she absolutely needed to, and deleted the other two messages. She flipped the phone closed, sliding it under her pillow as she made herself comfortable under the covers. It only took a few minutes for Jamie to fall asleep.