Disclaimer and Warnings: ‘The Gabriel Journals’ is solely owned by the author and not to be used without permission by the author other than personal reading. Violence, subtext, and a little history... mostly in that particular order. This story is for those 18 and older! It’s about vampires… and sex… and violence… nuff said.

Summary: How can the evil in the world survive if there’s no good left in it? A tale of a young woman, vampyres, good and evil, threaded in history of the Gabriel Journals...
Or as it was put to me Anne Rice meets Jane Austen... I think that about says it all.



The Gabriel Journals

By Inyx




Future’s Requiem


The year is 2099, almost 2100. At least it will be in 24 minutes. Revelers gather in their local watering holes to celebrate. Those with families stayed at home to get out of the acid rain. The first century of the 2000’s A.D. was known as the century of enlightenment. Technological advancements were at an all time high. Money poured in and life was good. There were hover cars; people living on space stations, transporters, computers were microscopic.

But with the good comes the bad, viral outbreaks that decimate millions, weapons beyond mass destruction, trust and honor are a thing of the past, including what remains of Washington D.C. After the second civil war of America in 2074, after the most horrendous depression the people of America had ever seen they rebelled against their leaders and now they live in territories, like when it was first colonized, the survival of the fittest. Pictures of the President of the United States hung at the Lincoln Memorial with dissidents around him waving torches and carrying assault rifles wearing camouflage are still posted about the globe. Guess that’ll teach the government that ignoring white men with more guns than brains will do you in one day.

It’s truly not as bad as it seems, there are little rays of hope intermixed with all of this change. Trying to save the earth from global warming and clean the pollutants that block most of the sunlight are the utmost concerns to everyone, even the worst of the worst.


How can the evil in the world survive if there’s no good left in it?

"I didn’t think it could actually get any louder in here!!!" Kaliasa yelled over the booming thunder of the techno rock music. The place was alive with people who wanted to be dead, an oxymoron, but true. It was a club called ‘Blood Wine’ and it was for vamps and anyone who wanted to be with one came too.

Black and red streamers, black and red balloons livened up the place, or as much as they wanted to. It was so dark it was a wonder anyone could see anything. But the flashes of light from spotlights hung about the place showed enough to move about in. Tables were strewn about in corners and the dance floor sat directly in the middle of the large concrete floored warehouse. It was cold, drafty and ugly. But to them, it was the nightlife.

"Maybe they’re hoping to blow out everyone’s eardrums for the coming of the next century!!!" Fate said as she leaned over to yell this to her friend. Both she and Kaliasa were decked out in all black, as was the fashion code of ‘Blood Wine’, with bits of metal jewelry and blood red lipstick. Fate’s hair was slicked back into a little knot and dyed an awful black color.

Kaliasa, a Negro, which was okay to say since P.C. went out the door with the government, nodded in agreement. Her hair was a big afro and she had in little fake fangs on her canine teeth, and pale yellow contacts in to make her look even more freakier than usually. "Can’t be any worse than dying from the awful drinks they serve here."

Fate laughed as she looked about the floor from their coveted table. There were a few witches on the other side of the cavernous room who looked interesting. And a couple of studly vamp gentlemen that were anything but. Her friend nudged her and she looked over to see Kaliasa nodding in the direction of the dance floor. Out in the center with plenty of space around them from the other dancers were two women. Both young and beautiful and the sexuality that they emitted washed over the place like a tidal wave.

The tall dark one was a bit shy of six feet, but Fate swore no one would hold that against her. She looked extremely dangerous. She flowed with a grace that bore her to be a predator and exuded the kind the creepy fear that most in the bar dreamed of. Ice blue eyes flickered from her partner to the crowd about them as she grooved her lithe body around, and those caught in her path regretted it. They caught Fate’s and she looked away before they burned all the way through her. Fate dared a glance up again to look at her partner. She was a bit shorter than her, the top of her head coming to her dark companion’s shoulder. Blond, pale and smiling, she looked like she was out to have fun as she grinned and moved beautifully with Ms. Deadly, their hands all over each other in what almost seemed to be sex on the dance floor.

"That one’s gonna be toast by morning," Kaliasa predicted. Nodding to the short one.

Fate nodded in agreement. Didn’t blondie know that she was dancing with someone that would probably kill her before morning came? "Do you think she’s a real One?" she whispered directly into her friend’s ear about the dark one. There were rumors of vampires about, but no one knew for certain. If it were true in here they would be revered.

Kaliasa shrugged. "Hell if I know, but I wouldn’t mind biting into her little playmate there."

Fate almost snorted her drink out. "AS IF!!!" She leaned over. "Like she’s let you get within ten feet of her."

"More like a hundred," a voice said from behind.

The two turned to look. It was Cezar, one of the members of a gang called ‘The Ghouls’. All of them were decked out as vampires and their leader, Vlad was believed to be a real One. He was decked out in black as well. But his bleached, spiked hair and his dark gray shirt were a bit more show-offy than what was normal about the place.

"You know them?" Fate asked.

Cezar smiled and the small points of his dentist shaped fangs poked out. "I seen them, but never met."

"To low on the scale to be with the big fish," Kaliasa said.

Cezar glared at her and he leaned in closer. "At least I am one. What about you, blackie? No nigger is going to get into a good gang. Let alone a bitch," he said sarcastically.

Kaliasa clenched her drink as she began to turn.

"What did you want, Cezar?" Fate asked, hoping to disrupt the coming fight. Kaliasa was tough, but this was The Ghouls turf and she’d get fried.

The gang member looked to her. "Wanna dance?"

Fate really didn’t. But she nodded anyway. "Sure."

Cezar held out his hand and led her out onto the dance floor. Fate looked back to see Kaliasa watch them angrily from where she sat. There were prominent black gangs about. But women were rarely allowed in them unless they showed they were tough enough to lead them as well, especially those who hung with this crowd. Kaliasa was an outcast in both worlds.

By the time Fate returned to her seat she was tired and winded. Regardless of Cezar’s impoliteness he was still a lot of fun. Fate sat down heavily and took a sip of her friend’s drink. She winced, it was a fifty/fifty. "I hope you didn’t go for the cheap stuff," she said as she washed her mouth out with her old watered down drink she had left behind.

Kaliasa snorted. "No one outside of the rich can afford the real stuff," she said sarcastically.

One thing Fate hated was when Kaliasa decided to get drunk. She turned mean. "You aren’t a real One anyway. What are you doing drinking blood?" she asked. Kaliasa didn’t answer her as she took another swallow. A bloody mary, with real blood, most likely it was chicken blood, or cow’s blood. Something that was easy to come by. Human blood was expensive, unless you went out and found it yourself and took it from the living person. You also never knew what you might be drinking into your system either. And that kept a lot of people away. At a bar like the ‘Blood Wine’ it was screen and tested and never bad.

Fate had tried it once, on a dare. But she didn’t really care for it. She guessed she was too human. "Did tall, dark and deadly leave?"

Kaliasa looked her way then slowly to a point back in the club. Fate looked with her. There hidden in the corner Ms. Deadly sat with blondie on her lap, and if that wasn’t the ultimate lip lock, Fate didn’t know what it was. "Think she sucked out her teeth yet?"

Kaliasa barked out a laugh as she finished off her drink. Suddenly the music turned down and the local radio broadcast was turned up. ‘We have twenty seconds to go people!’ came the announcer over the airwaves.

Kaliasa grabbed a bottle of beer off the counter nearby.




Blue eyes looked into bright green ones from the shadows of the club. She stroked the pale cheek tenderly and the blond leaned down for a quick kiss.


"I love you," she told her. Ms. Deadly’s voice held a hint of an eastern accent. Probably from the Ukraine or Russia.

The blond woman smiled. "I love you too." Hers also held an accent, it was stronger than her companion’s, but it was a gentle English dialect.


"Not the best place for this," Dark and deadly grumbled.


"Where you go, I go," came the soft-spoken reply.


A beautiful smile of perfect white teeth and the hint of real fangs underneath beautiful red lips appeared. "Forever," she agreed.


‘Happy New Year!!!!’ was cried out through the club minus the two staring at each other.

"Happy New Year, Viktoria," the blond woman said.

"Another century to look forward to," Viktoria replied as she leaned forward tilting the blond woman back. She kissed her thoroughly. "And every moment spent with my nicer half," she told her once she had released her lips.

She got a sweet smile in return. "Let’s hope I am, or the world will be in more trouble than it already is," she said.

Viktoria smiled as she stroked up her body making her shiver. "You had most of last century and the century before that. I think I’m entitled."

The blond woman smiled sadly as she stroked the soft black hair and cupped her face. "I want to go home."

Viktoria stood in a fluid motion bringing the woman up in her arms with her. "Oy Anne," she said in a perfect English accent making her partner grin. "But I want a cuddle out of this."

Anne brought her forward and kissed her hard. "I want a hell of a lot more than a cuddle."

"We have company," Viktoria said under her breath.

Anne sighed and looked up to her companion as they strolled towards home in the dark. People were about on the dismal streets living it up as best they could with the holiday. "I’m not deaf, honey. They’re so noisy they could wake your father," she said dryly.

Viktoria frowned and looked down at her. "You never met my father."

"And your point is?" Anne replied.

Viktoria rolled her eyes and shook her head. "I’ve ruined countries and yet I keep you around."

Anne snorted as she nudged her partner. "Remember what happened last time?"

Viktoria grumbled beneath her breath and put a protective arm about Anne’s shoulder. "Don’t talk about it. I don’t like that time."

Anne nodded grimly. "Then don’t joke about that. It wasn’t pretty for me either."

They walked home in silence listening to two sets of footfalls behind them. Viktoria, more in tune to others that would hunt noticed that the ones following them weren’t together. One was behind the other. So someone was tailing the person who was tailing them. She took a small sniff and grinned, both human. She could smell fresh blood for quite some distance. The one was clean, the second… she sniffed again, was tainted, but it wouldn’t harm her or her lover.


She was getting hungry.

Fate watched as she followed Cezar who was following the women. They were headed for a creepy part of the city. It was old, and run down, a lot of the houses were torn down and it was a huge system of catacombs underneath the city now. The bleach headed man stopped and swore softly. Fate looked around, wanting to know what he was looking at. She knew it was stupid to follow him following the intriguing women, but Kaliasa was working on getting completely drunk and in all honesty, Fate didn’t want to end up as her punching bag later on.

So here she was… and now she regretted it. She ducked out of sight as Cezar turned around, searching for something. Fate watched as the air seemed to get chillier and from the darkness a huge figure leapt out taking Cezar to the ground with a fierce growl. Cezar screamed as he was held down on the cold cement and Fate’s eyes grew huge as she watched the struggle. The man tried to buck the thing off as it tore his neck apart and drank greedily. Fate shrunk back only to find strong hands around her biceps holding her tight. She stiffened up in fear and slowly turned her head to see mist green eyes look at her seriously.

"Be glad she let me come for you," Anne said bluntly. There was a scream gurgling in blood as she said it and Cezar was no more.

Fate paled as she tried to pull away only to find that the gentlewoman was much stronger than she looked. "Are… you…" she swallowed hard. "I mean…" she croaked out. "You…"

"Am I a vampire?" Anne asked. Fate could only nod jerkily. "What if I am?" Fate looked up, fear was written all over her face.

"You didn’t kill her?!" came Viktoria’s voice as she walked over to them. She was covered in blood and sweat. She looked Fate over. "What’s wrong with her?" She looked at Anne. "Are you going through a guilt cycle? Because I’ll nick her for you if I have to…"

"Vik…" Anne started.

"She’s clean, my pet," she looked to Fate with a sexy grin. "We could play with her fi…"

"Viktoria!" Anne stated more loudly. Viktoria stopped and looked at her. "Let’s just take her home." Viktoria grinned wider and Anne shook her head as Fate passed out. "We aren’t killing her," Anne told her.

Her dark companion frowned as she held the body limply in her fist. "WHAT?!"

Anne glared back at her. "I’m intrigued by her."

Viktoria leaned in so that the two were almost nose-to-nose and Anne could smell fresh blood on her breath. "You promised me you would never starve yourself again."

Anne smiled and patted her cheek. "Honey, I’m not that hungry. And I won’t. But not with her, I want to talk to her first."

Viktoria grunted that she didn’t believe her, but she hoisted Fate over her shoulder as if she were a sack of potatoes and held out her arm to her lover. Anne looked at her state of disarray but allowed herself to be wrapped in it. "You’re taking a shower when we get home. I’m not making love to you like that."

Viktoria snorted. "Well, excuse me…" she said. "We’ll see about that."

Fate woke up in a dark, quiet room. She could hear some kind of odd noises in the same room with her and she about peed her pants when one of them came from right next to her.

"Hello?" she whispered and slowly reached a hand out since she was basically blind in the pitch black room. She touched something that was living… it was like skin but it was so pasty.

Fate jerked her hand back and slowly backed away from it in the dark. She stumbled and fell with a thump to a dirt floor when something tripped her up. Reaching over she found that a metal band looped about her ankle and a chain attached to it led off somewhere. ‘Oh my god,’ she thought to herself as she heard something slither across the floor nearby. Something touched her leg and she screamed.

Viktoria slid slowly up her lover’s body. They had finally made it to bed after Anne’s request at her taking a shower. Viktoria did, but only with the short blond joining her. Love under a spray of hot water. She snorted to herself at the idea of being in love. She looked down the woman she did love and gave in. Anne was so beautiful. After so many years together she still was completely spellbound by her.

Anne lay flat on her back breathing hard. She looked to her lover who had no intention of slowing down. Hard lips caught her right nipple and she arched back as a bolt of electricity coursed from the connection down to her groin. She jerked on the chains that held her wrists into the wall that made the headboard. "Ugh… love…" A nibble and a lick. "Ohhhh…. Viktoria…" she growled out. The sensations became more insistent and Anne writhed beneath her. She wrapped her legs about longer stronger ones above her and gave in as the huge bed rocked with them.

Personally she didn’t like the chains, but Viktoria did. Not on herself, but on Anne. And Viktoria was so intense a lover that Anne usually didn’t care what Viktoria did as long as she didn’t stop. She usually ended up drawing blood at some point. But what was a little blood between soulmates?

Pressure between her legs brought her out of that little thought as Viktoria found her other swollen nipple and treated it the same. Anne swallowed and welcomed the rhythm of Viktoria’s body above her measuring a hard, fast pace. She was going to come, she could feel it. The slickness between them made it easier. She tensed and Viktoria slowed down as she continued her ministrations on her left nipple.

"No…" Anne groaned and Viktoria chuckled. She jerked on her chains harder. "What did I do to rate chains?!" she said tightly. She needed to come now!

Viktoria rose up, releasing the now wet and very swollen nipple. She drew herself up slowly letting her thigh drag heavily over Anne’s center making her twitch. The dark headed woman looked down at her. "I don’t like being told what to do," she said quietly.

The tone in her voice normally made both human and demon alike tremble in fear. Viktoria was the alpha bitch and she knew it. Everyone knew it, and Anne was the only one who dared test her and came out still breathing. "What do you want me to do? Say I’m sorry?" Anne said.

Viktoria looked at her. "Are you?"

Anne snorted. "Hardly."

Viktoria smiled and rubbed her thigh between them slowly. "Good, I can’t stand penitent women."

"You aren’t going to release me, are you." she said as her lover rubbed their bodies together and sucked on her neck while cupping her breasts and thumbing the sensitive nipples.

"Did you truly want me too?" she whispered as she gently bit along her jawline barely breaking little bites in her soft skin, licking the blood away.

Anne winced as she felt this, her nipples between tightening fingers and a knee at her center. The area between pleasure and pain combined and Anne’s scream of release was heard a few minutes later about the dwelling.

Viktoria loosened the bands and Anne was free. She tucked her into her arms and watched as the small bite marks she made heal. She was sated with the domination and bloodshed from Anne so both were quite happy. That and the earlier kill of the white headed boy. She felt a line of tender kisses along her collarbone and slowly the soft mouth trailed down to the curve of her breast. "I thought you were tired?" she said softly, but not complaining.

"Never of you," Anne replied. She did sound tired, but happy. "Can we do that again?" she asked. Viktoria’s eyebrows when up. "But without the chains this time?"

Viktoria chuckled. "I always enjoyed the knight and the maiden thing myself."

Anne looked up at her. "I’m to tired to run away."

Viktoria laughed harder. "You’ve gone soft, my pet." She squeezed a firm buttock on Anne’s backside, which was anything but. "What happened to all those days of laboring for the Lord on his lands?" Anne grunted out something that even Viktoria couldn’t understand, but it wouldn’t have been pretty and Viktoria probably would have liked it. "I would be willing to bet I can get your little friend to run for her life," she told her.

Anne smiled against her breast. "I wouldn’t take that bet, love. She was even scared of me."

Viktoria settled back with a big grin on her face as she held Anne close. Anne stroked her fingers over Viktoria’s well-developed abs. "Dawn should be coming soon," Anne whispered. Viktoria grunted softly as the tenderness began to put her to sleep. Slowly the blue eyes closed and Anne heard the deep rhythmic breathing. She nuzzled the swell of the breast she had cradled her head on. "Sleep well, my heart."

Anne watched her lover sleep for a while then she pulled herself out of bed and went to clean herself off again. The two didn’t share the same ideals on cleanliness, if it wasn’t completely covered in blood or something then it was okay with Viktoria. Anne on the other hand liked things much more sanitary than that. She was combing her hair when she heard a scream come from somewhere in the cavernous place they were at the moment calling home.

She sighed as she pulled on soft worn out jeans and one of Viktoria’s button down shirts, hopping along towards the door as she slipped into some sandals, she glanced at her lover who lay spread out naked on the rumpled bed. "Where did you put her?" she muttered as she closed the door softly and headed down the corridor.

Home was now in the underground tunnels that had been dug out centuries ago when America was gaining it’s large cities. They shared it with three other groups of vampires and those that slaved for them. Once Viktoria had shown up she cleared out a large section for just the two of them and one or two servants. No one ever trespassed, and Anne didn’t blame them. She didn’t like Viktoria mad at her either.

There were many pathways and only a few were well used. It was dusty and dank just like Viktoria liked it. She beseeched her lover to make a few places habitable for her and with electricity than ran down into the place she consented. Anne backtracked into a lesser-known tunnel when she heard another scream. Anne closed her eyes briefly. "Purposefully, Viktoria?" she whispered to herself as she listened closely and chose a door and opened it not knowing what to truly expect.

And she was right. Anne rubbed the bridge of her nose and held her breath and wandered in, grabbing Fate, snapping the chain off and dragging her out shutting the door behind her.

Squirming out of Anne’s grip Fate crawled back quickly on the floor breathing hard from fear and her face pallid as a ghost as she shivered hard. "WHAT?!… WHAT WAS THAT???!!!" she said as she stumbled up to her feet moving away from it.

"Believe it or not, it was a joke," Anne told her as she shook her head.

Fate’s eyes went wide as she stared up at her disbelievingly. "A WHAT?!?!" She pointed at the door. "Do you know what was in there?!?!" The hand began to tremble and she collapsed to her knees and began to cry.

Coming over to the shaking figure Anne crouched down, truly feeling sorry for the young adult. She reached out to touch her and Fate flinched away. "You don’t have to be frightened of me," she told her.

Fate snorted in contempt as she wiped away the tears, smearing what was left of her makeup, she tried to stand. "Like hell I don’t."

Anne sighed. "Don’t talk to me that way around Viktoria. You’ll get worse than what was in there."

Fate looked to the door then to her. "Are they dead?"

"No… they won’t ever die. Don’t worry about it," Anne said softly.

Fate looked at her skeptically as she began to calm down a little. "I don’t think I can do that."

"Believe it or not, but I understand." Anne stood waiting for Fate to stand as well and held out her hand. "I’m Anne."

Fate nodded slowly and took the offered hand. "Fate."

Pale eyebrows went up. "Your parents named you that?"

Fate gave her a short smile. "No, but it’s better than Geraldine."

Anne winced. "I’ve always been quite grateful my parents didn’t name me Dorcas."

Fate winced at that one. "Anne’s a pretty name."

"I’m quite fond of it myself," Anne said with a smile. She motioned to the corridor she had come from. "Shall we?"

The young woman looked back at her. "I’m not going to end up in another god awful place, am I?"

"Just don’t go anywhere I don’t show you and you’ll be fine," Anne said. She looked to the bedraggled woman. "Let me show you a place to freshen up."

Fate looked down at herself. "What’s wrong with me?"

Anne rolled her eyes. "You’ll feel better if you do."

She received a slow nod. "Cool."

‘Kids,’ Anne thought to herself as she led the young woman away from what Viktoria called her play area. And the things in that room… Well, Anne was going to have a firm talk with her about it. Not that she thought it would do any good.

With some of the dye washed out, Fate’s hair seemed to be a dishwasher blond. And without the makeup she looked about 20 years old. She came out and Anne escorted her into a large room filled with books, mirrors, gadgets, knick-knacks, old stuffed chairs and sofas with a contained fire belching smoke into a vent in the middle of the room. It looked comfortable and very homey.

Fate stopped when she saw a huge raven perched on a stand to one side of the room. She looked to Anne who smiled. "Grimlock is Viktoria’s pet."

Fate grimaced as the yellow eyes beaded in on her. "He’s not a…" she nodded towards it. "A… you know…"

Anne thought for a second then laughed when it dawned on her what Fate was asking. She sat down she was laughing so hard. Anne clutched her side as she looked to the blushing woman and the black bird and laughed again. She sighed as she got it all out. "Oh… I haven’t laughed like that in some time," Anne told her as she sat back. "No… Grimlock is not a ‘vampire’. Viktoria just goes out and finds one everyone else hates and they adore each other."

She watched as Fate wandered about the room looking at the objects that had been collected over time. It wasn’t even the totality of it all. Fate stopped in front of a mirror and didn’t give it a second thought as she brushed her hair back "I thought vampires couldn’t see their reflection?" she said then turned to look at Anne. "Why do you have one?" she asked nodding to the mirror.

Anne watched her for a moment. "What makes you think I’m a vampire?" Fate gave her a look that she wasn’t that stupid. "Smile," Anne finally said.

Fate looked at her curiously. "What?"

"Smile," Anne repeated. Fate smiled at Anne. "Not at me, in the mirror," Anne said, rolling her eyes.

"Oh," Fate blushed slightly and turned to the mirror and smiled. Looking close she saw that there were slight changes in her appearance. Her face looked a little more pale and her teeth… Fate slapped a hand over her mouth as her eyes widened.

Anne chuckled a bit at her reaction, and Fate slowly uncovered her mouth and peek at them in her reflection again. They were the same. She touched her teeth to find they were smooth.

"La riflessione dell'anima," Anne told her. Fate turned to look at her, not understanding. "Reflection of the soul," The blond woman supplied. "In Italian of course. That’s where it stayed the longest I believe." Anne stood up and joined her. There she was, but she looked exactly the same. She gave a soft smile and the fangs were evident and a little bit longer than Fate tiny ones. Fate took a step away as a reflex. "Oh, stop that," Anne said as if she were talking to a child. "If I were going to hurt you, which I’m most certainly not, I would have done it long before now."

Anne touched the ornate framing around the mirror. "It’s the only mirror in existence where the soul is shown, not the mortal self." She looked to Fate. "That was your soul that you saw. And you’re quite the innocent." She nodded as she returned to her seat. "I suspected you would be."

Fate watched her for a second and glanced back into the mirror. "How can I be an, ‘innocent’," she said sounding a little offended at the title as she rubbed her tongue over her teeth still not finding the extended fangs. "If I’m like this?"

Anne smiled. "No one is infallible, Fate." She motioned to the plethora of chairs and Fate sat across from her. "Everyone has a little demon inside of them. It all depends on how much they let that demon control their lives. Your reflection in that mirror shows that even though you try to fit in with a crowd like the one back at that vamp bar, you’re truly not one of them."

Fate watched her for a second. "What about Viktoria? I mean…" she looked around to see that Ms. Deadly wasn’t around. She hadn’t seen her so far. "She could scare the shit out of a priest, but she’s far from butt ugly."

Anne chuckled at that description of her lover. "Viktoria is special." She scratched her cheek lightly as she thought about it. "I’ve never had to explain her before. She just is."

Fate’s brow creased. "And you?"

Anne shrugged. "I guess you could say I’m special too."

There was silence for a moment and Fate slowly nodded, a little in skepticism. "You don’t seem to be anything like her," Fate said at last.

"I’m not," Anne replied with another shrug. "It’s a long story. But Viktoria and I are two halves of a whole."

Fate nodded in more skepticism. "I suppose it’s too long to tell me," she replied.

Anne smiled. "I would like to show you something."

Fate looked really skeptical now. "What?" she asked dryly.

Anne stood with a grin on her face. "It’s perfectly safe…" she thought about it. "For the most part."

"Do I have a choice?" Fate questioned.

Anne nodded. "You always have choices, Fate. But there are consequences to each one that you make. You can sit here until Viktoria wakes up and we can decide what to do with you. Or you can follow me." Fate thought about that for a second then stood. Anne smiled. "You’re very wise in your old age."

She got a snort in return. "Not much of a choice."

Anne shrugged. "I didn’t say they were great ones. Just that you had them."

A thick metal door opened. It was quite new and the stone where the hinges to it had been buried hadn’t had time to wear down with age. It didn’t even squeak as it moved. Fate followed Anne in to see that the place was a cavern filled with old, thick books.

"Do you like to read, Fate?" Anne asked as she led her to a desk filled with writing materials and an open book just as thick as the others. She marked a place in it and closed it, setting it to one side.

"Not really," Fate replied. "Movies are more my style."

"Reading has become a lost art," Anne said sadly. She motioned to the seat in front of the desk and Fate slowly sat down. Anne moved about to a section and pulled one of the older looking books down.

"What is all this?" Fate asked.

Anne turned a few pages, ignoring her for a moment. "You asked about us." She set the large book down on the table facing it towards her. "Here is your opportunity to do so."

Fate winced. "Couldn’t you just tell me?"

Anne sighed. "Pretend it’s a movie. And you’re reading the script."

The two stared at each other for a moment then Fate relented. Anne nodded in approval. "Be careful with them, that one is quite old."

"Can’t you just get another copy?" she asked as she looked at the neatly scripted pages.

Anne turned to leave the room. "There are none."

The Telling of a Horrid Tale


France, 1468

My mother has truly died.

It sounds horrible, but I sigh in relief that her soul will hopefully regain the beauty that it once was. Along with her my mentor also perished, and now I am alone. Even worse I am hunted. It is only now that I have found what my mentor has talked about for these past five years. This place is my only refuge, since the Destroyer’s minions lurk in every shadow around the world.

And now I lend my pen to these journals. With my mentor’s death I take on a surname, Gabriel, in honor of him. Anne Gabriel. I think my father would be proud, if he didn’t want me dead as well. Where do I begin?

I shall start from the day my mother died.

For the first time…

England, 1462

Anne braced herself against the cold wind as she pulled her cloak about her a bit tighter. Winter in England was coming and it didn’t look to be pretty. Her clothes as threadbare as they could be outside of complete rags didn’t hold the chill out very well. She watched with tears in her eyes as her mother’s coffin lay in a shallow grave in the small church cemetery. Her father was next to her with his hands held tight as he prayed with Father Thomas who stood at the head of the open grave and read out of the holy book.

Graeham was a devout man, a good father, and husband. Poor as he was, he believed he was rich in heart. Anne sighed to herself as she looked about the barren landscape. His heart had been lost when her mother became ill over three fortnights ago. He prayed every spare minute he could when he wasn’t out working in his farm.

"The lord will provide, my Annie," he’d tell her when she was younger. For some reason it wasn’t until she was a bit older that she realized it was God he was talking about, not the Lord of the Manor. And when her older brother passed away a few years back from a knife fight with a squire, he’d said, "Tis God’s will, Annie." Anne was beginning to think God was a fool.

As much as her father prayed, her mother worked. Elizabeth was not as believing in God as she was in elbow grease. But she’d relent and let Graeham go on about something that the Father had told him the other day. And how right he was. And the more he prayed and talked about god the poorer they became. Anne noticed that her mother didn’t like being poor, or being ribbed at in the commons square by other wives.

When Anne was ten, her mother took her aside after one of her father’s speeches at dinner. "You listen to your ma, Anne," she said as she brushed aside her long blond hair and peered into the beautiful, trusting green eyes. "God may be an almighty power, but he never set food on our table or helped us get out from under our Lord’s thumb. The well ta do and the church have God’s ear. So you watch out for yourself and let God stay with his own." She stood up but touched Anne’s chin and the girl looked her way. "But don’t tell your da I said so."

Anne spent her years working around the small farm. When she came of marrying age there weren’t many boys that wanted a serf for a wife. Most of the young men had gone to join with the armies to fight against someone wanting the throne, and before then it was with France. Her ma was quite impressed with that girl general, Joan of Arc. Too bad about what they did to her though. There had been a few boys that had come courting on Anne. But her mother nixed them before they got too far.

"You don’t want any boy that’s going to make you poorer than you already are, Anne," she said. "Besides that boy of Arda’s is uglier than a wart on a toad."

So at the age of eighteen, Anne was still single, an old maid. It hurt, but what could she do about it? She didn’t want to be worse off than she already was. Not that it would have been difficult.

It was mid-harvest when the strangers came to the small town. Anne watched from where she helped her father tie up wheat. Fine horses, and even finer carriages, men in armor and fine woven livery galloped by with two beautiful black carriages following along. The curtains were drawn tightly, and Anne wondered what nobility rode inside. At least ten more soldiers followed and Anne watched them leave a trail of dust behind.

"Who do you think that was, da?" she asked.

Graeham had seen a bit of it before going back to work. "No doubt we’ll hear about it from your ma by the time we return home."

They did. They sat down to their meal as Elizabeth talked. It seemed that there were two women in the first carriage. One was a Duchess from France, and the other was a companion. The other had held servants. They had come to stay for the winter on Lady Lynette’s invitation.

Elizabeth looked across the small table at her husband. "They were talking about needing a few hands to hire on while they’re there." She looked to Anne. "Anne’s of a good…"

Graeham shook his head as he swallowed. "I need Annie here. The harvest is almost in and I can’t afford to hire someone."

"The money could help," she countered.

He shook his head again. "Not for the crops for the Lord’s taxes. We owe nearly half for the land we’re on. I need Anne."

"Then I could go on," she offered.

Graeham ate another spoonful then nodded. "But don’t let your work here slip or there’ll be no point."

Anne was incredibly jealous as her mother was hired on and she was still out in the fields. "No other way Annie," her da told her as they worked. He could see she was not happy. "When the harvest is in, then you can go on up."

For some reason that didn’t make her feel any better. Her mother would come home and fix the evening meal in time and she would tell them about the castle and the people. She worked under one of the maids caring for the guests. She told them they were rather odd.

"We’re all odd in some ways, Liza," Graeham said. "We’re all God’s children as well, let the gossip be."

But her mother told her more about it out of her father’s hearing. They slept at odd hours, and the Duchess. "I guess a Duchess deserves to be stuck up," her mother sighed as she sat looking out at the night sky - wishing.

Then things began to change as autumn came. So did the plague.

Anne made a few stops along the way home from the market. The commons was abnormally quiet. Most of the shops were closed and those that were opened looked at you suspiciously.

"Oy Annie," Goodman Dall called to her. He was the local tailor and he and Anne had traded stories off and on since she was a child.

Anne waived to him and headed in his direction. "Goodman, your family?" she asked.

He nodded and crossed himself to ward off the evil. "God bless them, they are all doing well." He looked her way. "How fares your ma?"

Anne looked away for a moment. "Not well," she said softly. "Midwife did give my da something for her pallor. But she stopped eating." She finally looked up at him. "Midwife said it wouldn’t be long now."

Dall laid a friendly hand on her shoulder. "I’m sorry Annie. Your ma is a good one. I hate ta see her go."

Anne nodded. "I best get back. My da is waiting."

He patted her shoulder and she headed for the small hovel where they lived. Almost three fortnights her ma hadn’t been the same. She finally couldn’t make it up to work at the castle and she had been bedridden ever since.

Anne entered the hut and found that the hearth was almost out. She sighed and stoked the flame back up and put some water on to heat. She entered the only other room, her parent’s bedroom and found it about like she had left it before. Her mother was sleeping while her father spent the time kneeling by her side in his own little world praying to god. Anne focused on her mother, she was very pale and she hardly had any strength. Her eyes opened and looked at her.

"Anne," she whispered out through dry lips.

Anne came over and sank to her knees on the other side. "Yes ma?" she asked softly.

Elizabeth smiled as she stroked her daughter’s beautiful young face with weathered fingers. "Oh my sweet Anne," she said. "You have so much good in you. So much life," she coughed for a moment.

Anne made to stand. "Let me make you some tea, ma."

Elizabeth held onto her hand making her stay where she was. "No, Anne, listen to me." Anne sank back down and watched her mother intently. "I want you to do something for me," she told her.

Anne nodded. "What?"

"Take my job up at the castle," she said gripping Anne’s hand a little hard. "Annie," she said desperately. Anne’s eyes went wide. "Annie… don’t die like me. Not like this…" she convulsed a little. "She promised me the world, Annie," her mother said. Dull green eyes looked to her daughter. "I know what she wanted." Tears formed. "It wasn’t me."

Anne shook her head not understanding. "Ma, rest… you aren’t thinking to well."

Elizabeth shook her head as the tears came. "It’s a full moon, my Annie. A full moon." She looked to Graeham. "He’ll never understand. All he sees is God." The eyes turned to her. "Don’t leave the house tonight Annie… the plague… it’s stronger… many will die tonight."

Anne’s brow furrowed. "Ma?" she asked as her mother slumped back to sleep.

Anne didn’t leave the house. And in the morning she woke to find her father sobbing and praying over her dead mother. Her mother was right. Over thirty had died in the town. And now she and many of the other families were saying goodbye to loved ones in the cemetery.

Anne stepped into the hut where they lived and it seemed so empty now. She watched her father move around like a man asleep on his feet. He touched things, the hearth, and her ma’s chair nearby. He shook his head and entered his bedroom closing the door behind him.

Night came and Anne had cleaned what she could waiting for her father to show himself. She couldn’t stand it anymore and made him a cup of tea and knocked softly on the door.

"Da? Da, I made you some tea," she said. No answer. "Da? Can I come in?"

"Annie," she heard him say. That was enough and she opened the door. Her father sat on the edge of the bed. He looked up at her. "My sweet Annie," he said.

Anne knelt down at his feet and held out the cup of tea. "Da?"

He cupped her face not even noticing the cup. "When I was young my Annie. Younger than you even, I had a dream, or I thought it was so. Now, all these years later I realize that it was a revelation, my Annie."

Anne looked concerned. "A revelation?"

He smiled gently and stroked her brow. "My parents were a touch better off than we ever were. I could never figure how I came to end up here," he said looking at the ramshackled place. "In my revelation I was to be a priest. My life devoted to God. I saw your mother though, and I began to think evil things. So I defied God, Annie. I married, and settled for this." Anne looked hurt and her father kissed her forehead. "Never you my Annie. You are the bright point in my life. I love you with all my heart." He sighed and looked around again. "But now that your ma is gone, and you’re of age to be on your own…" He looked down at her. "I spoke with Father Thomas, tomorrow I plan to go give myself to God as a priest of the church."

Anne sat back on her heels. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. "Da…" she started.

"Annie, you’re a strong young woman. Your ma told me before she died that they’ll give you a place on up at the castle." He looked to the tears forming in his daughter’s eyes. "You can come see me, Annie. You’re still my daughter."

Anne nodded slowly as two tears trailed down her cheeks. She was stunned. She got up and left the room shutting the door softly behind her. He listened as the outer door to the hut opened and shut. He sighed, but felt good as he got down and began to pray, mostly for his Annie.

Anne walked in a daze. She could see where she was going more than on most nights. The moon was still full. She found herself making her way to the cemetery. Normally Anne wouldn’t even go near it, but tonight, she didn’t care. She found her mother’s grave marker and knelt at the fresh mound of dirt.

For the longest time she just sat wishing that her mother were still alive so that she could tell her what was going on. Her ma would have rolled her eyes and said. "Anne, if the good Lord was so great he would have given men an ounce of brains that wasn’t connected beneath their belt." She smiled through the tears at that. If God did care, then she hoped he blessed her ma.

Anne sat for a while longer when the air about her seemed to chill more. The fog became a bit heavier and Anne could feel a strong presence nearby. Her heart began to pound as the crunch of footsteps drew near. She watched as a portly figure came out into view. She sighed in relief.

"Anne?" It was Father Thomas. "What are you doing out here child?" He looked over to see her mother’s grave. He crossed himself. "Your mother, it’s a terrible thing, Anne."

Anne nodded as she stood. "I better be going."

He watched her. "Your father plans to join the church."

She looked at him. "He told me."

"I said he should wait. To get through this time of grieving and for you as well Anne," he said somberly.

"It’s God’s will," she replied, giving her father’s answer for everything.

He nodded. "So it is."

Anne left and for the first time she felt a hatred for something.

Neither she nor Father Thomas noticed the shadow in the depths of trees nearby watching the two as they spoke.

"So you’re Elizabeth’s girl," a rotund old woman said as Anne followed her through the stone halls of the castle of Lord Albert and Lady Lynette.

It was magnificent! Anne had never seen anything so beautiful in all her life. She had seen the castle from the outside many times growing up. But the inside… the outer rooms all had some natural sunlight from the small windows. But sconces and torches lighted the inner ones alone. Though a bit dreary, it was better than anything she had seen before.

"Yes," she replied once she had focused back on the woman.

Anne had left her father at the gate and watched him head towards the church leaving her with the last bit of money he had left. It wasn’t much, but at least it was something. The hut she had grown up in was left to rot or be used by some other serf that wanted the small patch of land to eke out a living. Now she was on her own.

The woman nodded. "Hope you’re as hard working as she was. Sad to see her go like that."

Anne nodded in agreement. "What would you have me do?"

The woman stopped outside a set of doors. "The name’s Mistress Eda. Your ma didn’t much care for the Duchess, but she got along well with Lady Viktoria. I’ll leave you under her servant’s care." She said this as she knocked softly on the door.

It took a moment but a tall, lanky well-dressed man answered the door. He was a good bit over six feet tall with curly black hair and a trim goatee and mustache. Round, somewhat oversized brown eyes latched onto Anne then he looked to Eda with a raised eyebrow as if to say. ‘Not another one.’

"Yes?" he finally replied. His voice was cultured, as were his manners. He sounded to be very high class Englishman.

Mistress Eda curtsied and Anne tried to do the same, but since she had never done it before it didn’t work out too well. "Master Peyton, I brought a girl to take Elizabeth’s place. Her daughter, Anne."

Master Peyton looked Anne over with a discerning glance. "How old are you?"

"Eighteen, milord," Anne said.

He nodded slowly and in the light Anne saw that his nose was a little too big for his face. And if he had any muscle on him anywhere she would have liked to have known where it was. Her ma would have said that she would have been able to see the sunlight shine right through him.

"And what is it that you do…" he looked her over again. "Exactly?" he finished saying as he looked pointedly at her.

"Anything, milord," Anne said. "I worked on my da’s farm most of my life, and…" she stopped when he held up his hand.

"Enough." He sniffed a bit through his large nostrils then nodded. "Domino won’t like you, a bit too pretty to make her happy. You’ll work under me."

Anne nodded, happy that she had been accepted. "Yes, milord."

He gave her a sarcastic half smile. "I’m hardly a lord. Sir, or Sir Peyton is fine."

Anne nodded again sorry for her mistake. "Of course, Sir."

He opened the door and allowed her to come in shutting the door unceremoniously in Mistress Eda’s face. "Fat old gossipy cow would cut off her right arm to come in here," he muttered grumpily as he moved on through.

The outer room was a fine sitting room with a big hearth, stuffed cushions and a table to break bread at. There were two other doors. Sir Peyton looked down at his new hire. "I take it you have nothing else to wear?"

Anne shook her head. "No mi… Sir," she said as she corrected herself.

He nodded with a roll of his eyes as he led her into the second door and allowed her to enter. "Have you a place to stay?" She shook her head and he looked to the ceiling for a brief glance in annoyance. "Speak with ‘that woman’, Eda, I believe her name is for a bed among the servants quarters." He reached into a purse at his belt and handed her a few coins. "Go to the tailor and get you a few work dresses." He waited until she looked directly at him. "Make sure they’re fine enough to answer the door in. You don’t want the Lady embarrassed by having poor looking servants."

Anne shook her head. "No… sir."

He nodded. "I’ll expect you back here in by midmorning with your hair trimmed, a nice tie to hold it back and you clean and dressed."

Anne returned as ordered and found Eda and a small bedroom not too far from where her Lady’s rooms were. ‘Many servants dead or sick with the plague,’ Eda had told her. ‘Be grateful.’ She was. Peyton put her to work for the rest of the day and soon enough she found she was all alone. No one came; it was silent in the rooms.

For four days she worked this way. Taking the laundry out, cleaning the hearth, the floors, running errands. She had spoken with many other servants and she found that her chores were quite simple. But like her mother had noticed, things around there were odd. Along with never having seen her employer she noticed bloodstains in her clothes. Well, not just blood, dirt, grass, even being wet. Anne thumbed the fine cloth before she scrubbed them down. Not one dress among the bunch, all breeches and shirts.

Anne also found that when she mentioned she was under the hire of the Lady everyone looked scared of her. That was a first for Anne. And soon no one began to talk to her. Anne had never been in a place like the castle, but she was pretty sure that with all the people in it that their had to be more talking that what went on, even if they didn’t talk to her they really didn’t talk to each other either. More like hushed whispers. She had overheard a few conversations, one about the Lady of the castle. She was a little more than an odd duck.

She and the Duchess Mirabella, the one who brought Lady Viktoria to England had been a long time friend in France where they both had grown up. Apparently the Duchess deferred to Lady Viktoria and soon Lady Lynette was following in her footsteps. Everyone slept during the day, except the servants, the place was hushed and hear tell, the Lady Lynette had gone through a slew of servants who had come down with the plague and were all dead. Anne was grateful she didn’t work for her.

Anne also had yet to meet the mysterious Domino. Outside of Sir Peyton she was the closest one to Lady Viktoria. Other than Peyton’s rude comments about this woman and her heritage, which to be honest Anne truly didn’t understand, Peyton was pretty rude about everyone. Sure he had some good qualities. He was clean, efficient and a gentleman to the bone. His laugh though usually consisted of a sarcastic snort.

It was on the fifth day right before she was going to leave for the day when the door to the Lady’s room opened. Out came a woman dressed in a soft white nightgown. She had blond hair so pale it was white. Her eyes were a muddled gray/green and she didn’t look too happy. She looked even less happy as she took in Anne’s wholesome, young appearance.

"You," she spat out at Anne. She held out a bundle of clothing. "Take these and have them washed and ready for the Lady by morning."

Anne blinked in surprise. This wasn’t Lady Viktoria. She took the bundle and her nose curled in distaste at the smells that came from them.

"Something wrong?" the towhead said unkindly.

Anne shook her head. "No ma’am."

"Good." She waved her hand officiously towards the door. "Off with you then!"

Anne was glad to be out of the room. Tired as she was she headed down to the cellar where they washed clothes and set out to the tedious task.

Early morning Anne was at the Lady’s door with the clothes washed and dried. Anne was tired since it had taken the better part of the night to get the stains out of the cloth. She entered not expecting to find anyone in the sitting room. Instead she found Sir Peyton standing in front of a seated woman who looked only to be a few years older than her. Anne almost thought she was a man with breeches and a black shirt on. The high black leather boots didn’t help either. But her face didn’t have the normal facial hair that men wore nowadays, her black hair was quite long and her hip that was visible gracefully curved a long leg, which was crossed over the other.

The two in the room looked at her when she came in far enough. Ice blue eyes caught hers and Anne lost her breath for a moment. They were breathtaking, as was the beauty of her face. She had stopped and just stared. Then the blood red lips broke into a smile and Anne was freed from her gaze.

Peyton stepped forward a bit. "Lady Viktoria, this is Anne. She’s Elizabeth’s daughter. She took over for her about five days ago."

The woman stood and Anne about dropped the clothes in her arms. Lady Viktoria was very tall, at least as tall as Peyton was. But she had muscle where he did not. Her shoulders were a bit broader than a woman’s and she was well built. But that didn’t detract from her beauty. She nodded to Anne. "You have done well, Anne."

Lady Viktoria’s voice was slightly accented. She learned soon after that she was from the east, near parts of Russia. "Than…. thank you milady," Anne said with a slight curtsey.

Lady Viktoria looked down to her arms full of clothing. "I did not know that you started so early in the day," she said softly.

Anne felt a chill go up her spine as she spoke. The Lady had a husky timbre to her voice and blended with the accent and firm authority in it she was surprised to feel that chill center down into her groin. "I…" she tried to start. The Lady looked up at her and she swallowed quickly. "One of your se…servants asked me… um… asked me to have these done for this morning… milady," she got out.

She got a raised eyebrow at this and Lady Viktoria looked to Peyton who shrugged. "Most likely Domino caught her last evening," Peyton said with a note in his voice that it didn’t surprise him.

Lady Viktoria took the clothes from Anne’s arms. "Most kind of you Anne," she said as she handed them to Peyton who fumbled with them for a second. "But Domino…" Viktoria said with a hint of annoyance in her voice. "Should have given them to Peyton for cleaning this morning." She smiled at Anne who about melted at it. "Go get some rest. You may come back to work this evening."

Anne looked worried. "Are you sure?"

Peyton rolled his eyes at that one and his lip curled as it usually did with annoyance. "She wouldn’t say it if she didn’t mean it Anne, now go."

Anne left and headed back to her room. She wasn’t sure how she felt about any of it. She finally met Lady Viktoria. She seemed really nice. If that was so then why was everyone so afraid of anything to do with her? And why were her clothes so stained? It’s not as if she went anywhere. Hardly anyone had even seen her. And she had met Domino as well. To be frankly honest, Anne didn’t like her.

Anne slept through the night. She woke a few times with the odd feeling that someone was watching her. Still a little tired from missing sleep for so long she got up and dressed.

Anne came cautiously into Lady Viktoria’s sitting room. She was surprised to find even more people there than last time. Apparently night was when things happened around here. Lady Viktoria was absent, but Peyton was not and he looked to Anne as the two others in the room rose up. Big men… Anne looked and kept looking up to where their heads almost topped the ceiling.

"Ah… Anne," Peyton said from where he sat. "Heel boys," he said with a smirk in his voice. One of the men looked at him with a scowl. He was well dressed and he was very handsome. His hair was as dark as Peyton’s but he was close shaven other than a trim moustache. His hair pulled back into a small tie, he looked every bit the gentleman.

The other… well… He was big. She wasn’t sure if it was muscle or fat, but he would fill a doorway easily. He had blond hair and a big beard, and he looked nowhere as sophisticated as the other gentleman. What bothered Anne about him is that he looked at her like a piece of meat. His eyes were a little wild and unnerving.

The first man stepped forward and took her hand and kissed the back of it. "Anne, our Lady’s new servant. Peyton did not say that you were so beautiful," he told her sweetly. He had the same kind of accent as Lady Viktoria only a bit thicker.

Anne wasn’t use to the attention either. She blushed as his compliment and he smiled and gave her a little bow. "My name is Anatoly, I work for Lady Viktoria as well." He nodded to his blond companion. "This is Kostya, and no where near the gentleman I am."

Kostya snorted but did nothing to prove him wrong. He gave Anne a look over once more then sat back down. Anatoly motioned to a seat and Anne sat down with him right next to her keeping hold of her hand.

"She does have work to do," Peyton told Anatoly with an acerbic look. "That’s what she was hired for. Not for you to fondle her in front of everyone."

Anne blushed and stood quickly realizing that he was correct. Anatoly’s eyes turned cruel as he turned to Peyton. "No one makes a fool out of me, Englishman. Not even you," he growled.

"Enough," came an even deeper growl. They turned to see Viktoria standing in the doorway of her bedroom. She was in her signature form fitting black breeches and black button down shirt with an evening robe loose about her shoulders, but not her boots, she was bare footed. "You two go away." She waited as the two men got up and left. Anatoly did kiss Anne’s hand once more smirking at Peyton before he left. "Peyton, do not aggravate Anatoly so. I tire of your bickering."

Peyton nodded as he stood. "Forgive me, my Lady."

She smiled faintly as though he said it in jest. She looked to Anne. "I have a few errands for you, then you may start with the work Peyton has for you."

Anne nodded. "Yes, milady."

She smiled fully at Anne and held out a letter sealed with wax. "Take this to the Duchess. Give it to her only, tell them it is from me and they will not bother you. Then I wish you to go into town before the shops close and purchase a few things for me," she said handing her a list and nodded to Peyton. "He will give you the money that is needed."

"Of course, milady," Anne replied.

Viktoria went back into her room leaving the two of them alone. Peyton pulled out his purse and handed her a few gold coins. More money than Anne had ever seen in her entire life, and he handed it over like it was a few coppers. "Make sure you’re clear to them that you are in Lady Viktoria’s service, Anne," he said as he led her to the door. "Her Grace, is rather short sighted on who people actually are, but she’ll remember that alone. "

Anne looked up at him as she stored the fortune of gold in her dress. "Is she stuck on herself? Like Miss Domino?"

Peyton snorted. "Anne, first rule of thumb with nobility. ALL of them are stuck on themselves. And the higher up the title you go the more they are."

Anne looked to Viktoria’s room and leaned in. "Lady Viktoria is hardly stuck on herself."

Peyton laughed and leaned in close to her. "Viktoria is more than anyone else."

Anne made her way to another part of the castle. It was among the outer rooms and Anne was surprised to see so much activity in the middle of the night. She found her way to a set of grand doors and knocked. Two footmen opened them and one of them looked down his nose at her.

"Yes," he asked in a slightly bored tone.

Before that would have scared Anne, but she found that they were just as snooty as their masters, because of the position they held. Yet they were no better than her, still a servant.

"I have a message for her Grace," she said politely.

The man held out his hand disdainfully. "I will see that the Duchess receives it."

Anne’s brow furrowed and she shook her head. "My mistress told me to hand it to her personally."

The man smirked in an ‘as if’ fashion. "I doubt that will be possible. Either give it to me or go away."

Anne shrugged. "I’m only doing what Lady Viktoria asked."

Both of the men stiffened. "You work for Lady Viktoria?" the same man asked. This time all the pomposity was gone and his eyes held a note of fear.

"Yes, she told me to hand it to her personally." Anne looked at them confused. Why were they so scared?

He motioned for her to enter. "Follow me," he told her moving quickly. He knocked on another door and waited for the ‘enter’ to come. He opened the door and escorted Anne in. "Your Grace," he said. "A servant with a message from Lady Viktoria."

Anne looked around at the grand room. Or what had once been a grand room. It was disheveled and dark. Hardly any light permeated the room. Things moved about in the shadows and honestly Anne didn’t want to know what they were. She looked to a huge throne looking chair in the middle of the room. In it sat an older woman with a white wig dyed with a slightly purple hue. She was dressed in a gaudy gown and around her sat women dressed in the same manner as her. Most of them seemed to dote on her every word and gesture. Her face was just as gaudy as her dress, lots of makeup. Anne would have guessed without it she would have been quite ugly.

"A message," the Duchess said. She held out her hand. "Give it here."

Anne moved forward and the women around the duchess watched her with distaste. Anne knew she was a peasant, but they made her feel like dirt with their looks. The duchess looked her over and took the letter with a small swipe of her hand. Anne stepped back and waited as the duchess broke the seal and opened it. She couldn’t understand what someone with Viktoria’s style and taste was doing with this awful creature. Something in one of the corners moved and Anne jumped a little, a woman at the duchess’ feet sniggered and Anne gave her a dark look and the woman shut up.

Well, Anne guessed that Lady Viktoria’s reputation was good for something after all. The duchess looked up from the note. "You may leave," she told Anne and then basically ignored her.

Anne left gratefully, the footmen slammed the doors on her quickly and Anne scowled at them. "What a waste," she said under her breath as she hurried out to the market to find what she needed on her Lady’s list.

The night passed by and Anne went to bed when morning came. Two more nights this happened and Anne found that there were many people about at night. She was put in the position to serve as a maid to Viktoria and her guests that dropped by. One was the duchess herself, this time without her entourage surrounding her. It was odd that this woman that thought so highly of herself was almost cowed in Viktoria’s presence.

Anatoly was still ever the gentleman giving Anne complements and kissing her hand on occasion. Kostya didn’t do anything other than stare and he gave Anne the creeps. Viktoria herself was kind to Anne. Two evenings later she was finished and it was only Viktoria out in the sitting room. Peyton and the others were nowhere to be seen.

"Do you require anything else, milady?" Anne asked.

Viktoria looked up from her book. "No Anne, you have been excellent this evening."

Anne left and returned to her room. She washed herself quickly with a small towel in a basin of cold water and settled her nightgown down around her. She hurried into her bed and shivered beneath the cold sheets for a moment until her body warmed her up. She settled in and lay in thought as she drifted off to sleep. She wondered how her father was doing at the church. Anne was certain he was probably never happier than he had been in his entire life, praying and more praying to his god. She wished her mother were still about missing her the most. Finally she drifted off.


She heard it; Anne turned slightly but didn’t fully wake up.

"My beautiful Anne…"

Anne felt hot breath on her cheek and she shifted a little more as her mind woke up a little more from the sleep she was in.

"You will be mine, Anne…"

There was a soft caress on her jaw and Anne opened her eyes. There was only a soft candle light nearby to give her any view of who was with her. She jerked back once she realized it wasn’t a dream and she wasn’t alone.

"Milady?" Anne asked groggily as she tried to sit up only to be held down by a strong hand on her stomach.

"Shhhh… Anne…" Viktoria said. Her eyes glistened in the gentle light and Anne swallowed instinctively. She kissed her cheek again and Anne’s breathing skyrocketed, as she looked scared. Viktoria noticed this. "Have you never shared a bed before, my pet?"

Anne looked at her for a long moment before she jerkily shook her head. Viktoria nodded as she smiled softly. "Then you shall truly be mine," she replied.

"But…" Anne tried to start only to have her mouth covered by firm lips.

It was the first time Anne had ever been seriously kissed, and Viktoria took her breath away. Her lips were captured by the Lady’s strong ones allowing Anne to get a breath in on occasion. Viktoria rubbed her hand over Anne’s covered belly in long soothing strokes. Viktoria released her mouth trailing kisses along her jaw as she closed her free hand into Anne’s long blond hair and gently tilted her head back revealing her virgin white neck.

Anne let out as gasp as Viktoria’s other hand slid beneath the sheets and pulled up the hem of Anne’s nightgown and stroked her thighs. Anne put her hands up to push against Viktoria’s shoulders but she couldn’t budge her. "Be still my pet," Viktoria whispered with a heady breath into her ear as she kissed along to nuzzle in her neck while her warm hand cupped between her legs and gently caressed her, letting her middle finger trail the slit to where she wanted to enter.

"Milady…" she pleaded. She wasn’t sure if it was to stop or continue. Anne had never felt this way before. Her body tingled on the brink of overload as it released moisture to cover Viktoria’s hand. Viktoria slid her finger in between the folds and rubbed over the hard nub and Anne arched up with a cry. Viktoria held on as she nuzzled her collar.

Slowly Viktoria built the passion in both of them until Anne was shivered with need and desire. "Please…" Anne begged.

Viktoria smiled as she kissed her neck, her tongue lingering over the fast pulsing jugular vein on Anne’s neck. Anne whimpered and Viktoria smiled. "It won’t hurt my pet," she promised as her canine teeth began to elongate mere centimeters from Anne’s neck. "Much," she finished when she forcefully pulled Anne’s hair back farther to give her a full neck to work with as she quickened her pace between Anne’s legs, then bit lightly into Anne’s neck with sharp fangs and Anne screamed as she came and Viktoria drank.

Anne woke up feeling like a herd of cattle had stampeded over her. What happened?! Anne groaned as she rolled over and sat up. She found her nightgown was up around her hips and there was a flood of drying moisture on the sheets below her. She felt alive between her legs. Anne shivered; she had never felt that way before. She stretched her neck and felt it pop back into place and the right side was a little tender. She rubbed it and it stung. She grimaced as she rubbed it more gently.

Anne came into work feeling about the same. She had eaten some which helped with her flagging strength. Peyton was there along with Domino, who fortunately she hadn’t seen that much of in the past few weeks.

Peyton looked up at her as she entered. "I believe washing is on the first order…" he looked at her closely. "Are you not feeling well?"

Anne shook her head. "I’m fine, I just slept oddly last night."

He nodded. "There is a basket of laundry for you to wash." He motioned to the basket. "Then I believe the Lady has a few more errands for you…"

"What’s wrong with your neck?" Domino asked interrupting Peyton.

"Nothing, a high collar," Anne replied as she picked up the basket.

Domino smirked as she left. "High collar indeed."

Anne frowned as she walked down the hall. What did the Lady see in her anyway?

Three days passed and Anne was feeling weaker. The other women servants who never talked to her now wouldn’t go anywhere near her. Not that it mattered; she was so tired she didn’t care. It wasn’t like she had done anything wrong. Then she realized it as she washed on one of her Lady’s shirts. She must have the plague. She couldn’t believe it! The plague was never really talked about in the castle. More had died, but she never really thought about it, not with all the work she had and just coping with the oddness of her life now.

Tears came as she left her washing where it was and headed outside. It was still a little light but the dim sunlight burned at her eyes. She rarely went outside when it was fully light anymore, not with working at night. Anne made her way up to the cemetery where she found her ma’s grave. Winter was almost here and the wind was becoming a deathly cold that along with the gray clouds that filled the sky it looked as dismal as Anne felt. Dropping to her knees near the marker Anne looked at the uneven ground. The dirt had settled. Odd that it seemed more uneven than the older ones.

"Ma," Anne sniffed quietly. There was no one else around, but it seemed out of place to talk normally in a graveyard. "I don’t think I can do it ma." Tears came as Anne wallowed in misery. "I’m not gonna make it out of here," she said to her dead mother. "I got the plague, or I think I do. I don’t know what else it could be." Her throat tightened and the tears came more, dropping from her cheeks to be sucked up by the dirt beneath her. "I’m sorry ma," she said as the tears became overwhelming.

Anne didn’t know how long she had cried for, but she was more tired for it as she returned to the castle. She finished her washing letting work and the hot water heat her body back up. She returned to the rooms not paying attention too much of anything she was worn out mentally and physically. Setting the washing down she headed for Peyton’s room to find else what needed to be done. She knocked lightly and opened the door.

Surprised at the feral growl that came from within she fell to her knees with fear as a hand grabbed her hair and she looked up to see a very bloody and furious Viktoria glaring right at her. Fist raised to strike, the two looked at each other. Viktoria frowned as her arm quivered wanting to complete the motion and beat her. Instead she threw Anne just outside the door. "GET OUT!" she snarled. Anne backed up into Peyton. Viktoria took a long stride out and let the motion and her cocked back fist reach him and he was thrown back into the wall over five feet from where he stood. "Keep her out!" she growled at him and slammed the door shut behind her.

Anne stood shakily not taking her eyes off the door. Peyton was in a daze and Anne hurried to his side. "I’m so sorry, sir," she said in a quaking voice.

Peyton had a huge bruise on his face. "Did she hurt you Anne?" he asked.

Anne looked up. "No, sir. Please, this is my fault, let me help you."

Peyton grabbed her arms and Anne sat still waiting for him to strike her. "She didn’t hit you?"

Anne shook her head quickly. "No sir," she got out.

Peyton let her go when he saw that he was just scaring her more. He sat up a little and tested his jaw. "She never has hurt you, has she," he said more to himself than a question to her.

"No sir," she said again.

He looked her way. "Let me see your neck," he said quietly.

Anne clapped a hand over her neck. "Excuse me?"

Peyton pulled her hand away and lowered the collar to see small bite marks. "Oh god," he said softly.

That got him a curious look from Anne. "What?"

He looked back at her. "How long have you felt sick?"

Anne looked to the ground. "Not long," she mumbled. She hoped he wouldn’t get rid of her.

"How many days Anne!?" he asked a little more loudly than normal and he lowered his voice looking to Viktoria’s door.

"Three or four," she replied.

He nodded. "Anne, I want you to listen to me carefully." He looked at her. "I want you to go to your room and lock the door. Put something in front of it if you have to. And don’t open the door for anybody but me." She looked confused. "Understand?"

She nodded. "Yes, sir, but why?"

"Don’t question me, Anne. Do as I say," he said tersely as he thought. He saw she wasn’t moving. "Now!"

Anne hurried back to her room and locked herself in. As strong as she was it took a bit of doing to move her bed over in front of the door. Her flagging health didn’t help either. She sat down on the bed tired and she wiped her brow. She was scared. Peyton made it sound like whatever it was he wanted her life depended on it. So now she sat.

She wasn’t sure how long it was before the handle of her door turned slowly. Anne was half asleep when this happened and it woke her up quickly. "Sir?" she asked.

The door tried to move open but there was no response. Anne took in a breath as she stepped back. "Who is it?" she asked. Still no response as there was a steady push and the bed began to move. Anne leaned her weight into the bed trying to keep it there, but whoever was on the other side was stronger than her.


Anne stared at the door in shock. "Ma?"

"Anne, why are you blocking the door?" her mother asked.

Anne didn’t move. "Ma, you’re dead." She sat down on the bed. "I’m dreaming." She breathed a sigh of relief.

"Anne, move this door now," her mother said.

Anne did as she was told. She opened to door to find her mother there. She smiled and moved towards her mother. Anne stopped as Viktoria moved between them and she took a step back. Viktoria moved a step closer and Anne backed away. Viktoria followed her in and shut the door behind them. Elizabeth smiled showing new fangs as she watched to make sure her mistress wasn’t disturbed.

Anne moved to the back wall feeling the cold of the stone against her back as she watched Viktoria come closer. "I’m sorry about earlier milady…" she barely got out. "But my ma.." she started but fell silent, as Viktoria stood right in front of her not allowing more than a finger width of light to pass between them. Gentle fingers stroked her cheek and she shivered beneath them.

"What is it about you, Anne?" Viktoria asked as she gently loosened the clasp that held up her collar. She stroked the marks on her neck then began to unbutton her dress. "Why do I feel so about you?" came another question. "Any other, my pet, and I would have mauled you to death by now." She pulled the course cloth back to reveal smooth creamy globes with hard nipples waiting. "Somehow," she whispered as she leaned forward and kissed the top of her head and cupped strong hands beneath her breasts. "Somehow, I find that fury is not inside me," she finished.

She bent down further and caught her lips. Pushing her back into the wall she kissed her hard taking everything Anne had as she held her breasts tight. She released her and kissed along her neck smoothing her tongue over the previous marks she had made as she removed the rest of Anne’s clothing letting them drop to the floor. She ran her hands over Anne’s backside pulling her to her sliding her thigh between Anne’s legs and up off the ground holding her in place firmly between her and the wall. She touched her everywhere until Anne was breathing hard and writhing beneath her grip.

"Instead I find myself lusting after you," Viktoria continued as she explored the smaller body with relentless hands. "Why is that?" she asked. She kissed her hard again and moved around leaning against the wall and holding Anne in her arms with her back to Viktoria’s front.

She kissed along from shoulder to shoulder then she buried her face in her neck as one hand cupped a breast and the other found their way between her legs and Anne stiffened but soon relaxed. Viktoria smiled. "Tonight is very special, my Anne. I will take you two ways. And then you will exist only for me."

Slowly she felt fingers enter her and Anne tried to move away. The fingers moved deeper and soon stopped at a block inside her. Anne about screamed as Viktoria’s thumb rubbed the bundle of nerves above and she shifted but there was no way to get away. Fingers gently tortured a caught nipple and Viktoria gently sucked on her neck warming the skin beneath. Anne had to remind herself to breathe, as Viktoria’s ministrations didn’t slow down.

Fingers moved inside her and she was almost on her tiptoes to try vainly to stop it. Then she felt a small nick on her neck and Viktoria drunk. At the same moment those strong fingers inside her broke through the barrier and Anne cried out grabbing at both her arms and holding on. The pain soon stopped as Viktoria’s fingers thrust fully into her. Anne panted as the life was drained out of her both ways. She came violently in Viktoria’s arms then slumped tiredly into them.

With a quick movement Viktoria withdrew her fingers and slashed open a vein on her wrist. Grasping Anne’s chin in a tight grip she held her wrist to her mouth. "Drink," she ordered. Anne couldn’t help it. She drank. The wrist was pulled away and soon Anne’s vision began to go dark. She felt Viktoria hold her close until she was unconscious.

Viktoria smiled as she lay Anne down on the bed and licked the blood from her fingers, she moved towards the door. Elizabeth was still waiting. "Dress her, while I inform the duchess that we depart tonight."

Elizabeth nodded respectfully. "Thank you, mistress," she said gratefully.

Viktoria’s hand came out and caught her about the throat. "I did nothing for you! Anne is mine, as are you. Be grateful I want to keep you both."

"Yes, mistress," Elizabeth got out.

Viktoria let her go and headed out and Elizabeth leaned back against the doorframe as she caught her breath.

Elizabeth quickly set about cleaning her daughter off and dressing her. She had a shift pulled down about her waist when something hit her and she went down.

Viktoria came back to Anne’s room with Domino, feeling very pleased about her new acquisition and the duchess’ displeasure at leaving. It was off to France. She entered the room and found Elizabeth slumped on the floor with part of her shirt torn off and a brand on her smooth white skin. Anne was nowhere to be seen and Viktoria felt her fury build. She crouched down and looked at the mark and the fury turned to rage.


Domino dared to lean in close enough to see the mark of a sun with the Jewish Star of David in the center of it then a small mark in the center of that. "What is it, mistress?"

Viktoria stood. Her face was like stone and her eyes flat. "The bloody ORDER OF LIGHT!" she screamed it out. She ranted in her native tongue, which Domino didn’t know. Viktoria headed out of the room and to her own rooms. She threw the door off its hinges and strode across to Peyton’s room and tore that one off as well.

Everything was gone. Anatoly and Kostya who were in the sitting room stood behind Domino all watching as Viktoria destroyed the room. Viktoria faced them. "Each of you take a horse and hunt Peyton down and bring Anne back to me!!!!"

"Peyton?" Anatoly asked.

Viktoria growled. "Yes, that hell bound traitor!!!"

"The sun is coming soon, mistress," Domino said.

Viktoria turned her gaze on her. "Then you better find them before then!"


Harbinger of Light



America 2100

"I had to ask her about that part."

Fate looked up startled at Anne who was leaning over her shoulder seeing what she was reading. Anne looked up at her. "Since I didn’t know what she said then."

Fate saw that it was the end of the journal. "So what happened?"

Anne smiled. "Wouldn’t you like to take a break? You’ve been at it for quite some time."

Fate looked at her watch then a little nervous as she realized who lived here. "I won’t see her, will I?"

Anne sighed. "She won’t hurt you."

Fate glanced down at the book she just read out of. "Somehow I don’t believe that." She got a smile for that one. Fate sat for a second then looked up at her again. "Why didn’t you fight back?"

Anne sat down on the edge of the desk and stared off into space for a moment. "I thought about that, later on. Three reasons, one, I was very weak from her draining me from the previous nights, two, I wanted to have her make love to me and lastly, vampires really are ten times stronger than a man."

"That’s not love," Fate argued lightly back. "Not that way."

Anne smiled sadly. "You forget who you’re talking about. Viktoria took what she wanted, when she wanted it. I was a serf, a nothing. She was one of the most powerful vampires on Earth." She looked her way. "Equal rights didn’t exist back then, and I didn’t know that it was suppose to be different. Not until later."

Fate mulled that over in her mind, it didn’t make things better. As far as she was concerned Anne was still raped, but she did have to admit that there really was nothing she could do about it. "Did you love her?"

Anne chuckled. "At that moment, no."

"Who’s Gabriel and what’s the Order of Light?"

Anne looked sad for a moment. "That’s another part of the story," she said as she stood.

Fate watched her pick up the book she had just read from and slide it back into place among the other books, and then pull out the one next to it. She looked around at all the books. "These are all yours?!" she asked astounded.

Anne looked with her. "I’ve been around a long time." She smiled. "And once Gabriel taught me how to read and write, I didn’t want to stop." Fate’s brow furrow at that remark as Anne set the next book down on the table open to a section. "Serf, no money, no schools, no rights," she reminded her.

"That must have been awful," Fate said quietly.

Anne shrugged as she stepped back. "I didn’t know any other life. I thought it was rather good." Fate looked up at her and Anne gave her a rye grin. "But I wouldn’t want to do it again, I’ve been to accustomed to creature comforts." She nodded to the book. "I’ll have someone bring you something to eat."

Fate looked at the door until it closed. She looked to the book and noticed it was still Anne’s neat script.

I awoke.

Hungry, tired and alive.

Or so I believed.

Anne shifted in her covers. She opened her eyes and found she had to adjust to the brightness of a candle in the corner of the room. Her body hurt and she was incredibly hungry. Anne looked about to see she was all alone in some sort of run down room. It was made from stone, but hardly like where she had been. There was moss and ivy growing about the stone and it was white with lime. The bed she was in had fresh straw on top, but she could distinctly smell old rotten straw underneath. The place smelled old and dank overall and Anne had no idea why she was there.

Slowly Anne sat up and her stomach growled. ‘Feed me,’ it complained to her. Not that she ever had a problem with eating before; her ma had teased her about how much she ate. Anne’s train of though left when she realized that her ma was still alive.

"Or is she?" Anne whispered.

Anne got out of bed noticing that she was in one of her shifts, the right seam on her shoulder had blood stains and there were slight grass and dirt stains on the rest of her, even her bare legs and arms. Anne shivered as she made her way to the door. She listened then gently opened the creaking door. It was dark and the hallways looked no less for wear than the room she was in. In fact, they looked worse. The stone was crumbled or broken down in sections, and it looked as if it were charred in places.

"Where am I?" she asked herself quietly as she moved along.

She was still nervous about Viktoria and she felt her throat where the woman had drunk her blood. That made her shudder. Then she licked her lips. Hot blood, she remembered what is was like to taste the dark headed woman’s, it was like the time she had swiped some homemade wine from her ma’s cupboard, sort of mellow with an aged bite to it. Her eyes went wide at the thought of actually drinking blood and she felt like throwing up. She wasn’t like Viktoria, whatever she was.

She found her way to the massive kitchen. It didn’t look any better than where she had been before. It was abandoned, for what seemed like ages. There was no heat, but it didn’t seem to bother her that much. And all the pots and pans were overturned and growing things in them. And there sitting at a broken down table was the only other person about the place, Peyton. He looked none the worse for wear. In torn clothes and looking tired, it was nothing like how the snooty, suave but sarcastic man normally looked.

But it was him nonetheless. Which meant Viktoria had to be somewhere nearby.

"Sir?" she whispered looking around warily.

Peyton turned slowly. "I was wondering when you would wake up."

"Is she angry with me, sir?" Anne asked.

Peyton snorted and pushed out a seat for her. "She’s not even here, and I think she’s a might bit more angry with me than with you."

Anne came over and sat down slowly, expecting Viktoria to storm in any minute. "Where is she then?"

Peyton shrugged. "I would assume scouring the countryside looking for us and killing everyone and everything in her path."

Anne watched him for a minute. "Why?" She looked around. "Why are we here?" Her stomach rumbled again.

Peyton sighed with a small smirk and left the room for a moment. He came back with a large mug and handed it to her.

Anne smiled gratefully. "Thank you sir," she said as she took a big gulp.

Peyton watched her face contort into disgust. "I believe you might reconsider that statement."

Anne swallowed instinctively and looked at the contents of the mug. It was warm blood. It hit her system and a bit of her weariness edged away. She looked horrified at what she had just done.

"I know it’s not human blood, but still it’s nothing to frown at," Peyton said. "And don’t throw it away. It’s not as easy to get that as it looks."

Anne set the mug down carefully on the table. Tears came to her eyes and Peyton gave a sigh of ‘why me?’ "What’s wrong with me?" Anne asked. She wiped the tears away to see her hands stains with blood. She felt the hot tears streak down her face and she caught one and found it was red. She tasted the drop and found the saltiness of tears mixed with the tang of blood. She looked to Peyton with huge eyes.

Peyton sat back. "Don’t interrupt and I’ll tell you." He pointed to the mug. "Finish it soon or it won’t be drinkable."

Anne shuddered at the thought and she heard a louder sigh from the lanky man.

"You are now what is called a vampyre." He spelled it for her, but she looked blank at him and he rolled his eyes. "You’ve heard of daemons that hunt in the night?" She nodded. Who hadn’t? "Vampyres are one of those things. We drink blood to survive, though I have found that I enjoy normal food on occasion. However it doesn’t fill you the same way…" he stopped when he realized he was rambling.

"A person becomes a vampyre by having their blood taken by a vampyre and drinking some of theirs. You can’t go out in sunlight it will kill you. Holy water is something you want to avoid as well as wooden stakes anywhere near your heart." It sounded like he was checking off a list for her.

He thought for a minute. "Beheadings are quite awful. But I suppose that goes for humans also." Peyton looked at her. "Lady Viktoria is one of the most powerful vampyres in the world. Most would be honored to have her as a sire."

Anne looked as if it was the last thing she would ever want. "Why did she do this to me?"

"Because she can," he admitted. But then he slowly shook his head. "But she treats you differently than most." He leaned forward and looked at her seriously. "Do you feel the desire to join her? To hunt for blood?"

Anne looked at him with a furrowed brow as she thought about it. Slowly she shook her head. "No." Her eyebrows went up. "Is that good?"

Peyton worried his bottom lip with his teeth as he thought. "I hope so." He glanced her way. "Do you desire to be intimate with her?" Anne looked confused. "Sex," he said firmly. "Do you wish Viktoria to bed you again?" Anne thought about it and blushed as her body responded to that thought. "Hm!" he let out in a snort realizing that he had his answer just from the redness of her face. "Do you love her?" he asked. Anne looked horrified and he smiled briefly. "So there is some control…" he muttered to himself.

Anne’s stomach grumbled again and he looked to her. "It doesn’t sound appetizing, but you’re still thinking as if you’re human."

Anne bit her lip and looked at the mug. She was hungry and as much as she hated to admit it, it had tasted good. She picked up the mug, shut her eyes tight and drained it. Finally she cracked an eye open and looked to Peyton. "I thought my ma was dead."

Peyton blinked at this. He wasn’t expecting it. "Your mother was taken by Viktoria as well."

Anne looked mystified. "But she died at home, in bed. I saw her there."

"You were quite accessible, Anne. Your mother was not, a nip here and there and a little of her blood to your mother. When Viktoria drained enough it was only a matter of time before your mother died." He watched her try to take this in. "She didn’t die violently, and the amount of blood taken away and taken in were never enough to make her a powerful vampyre. She rose from the ground the next evening and returned to her mistress to live a life of servitude to her."

Anne looked at him. "And you? You are one, aren’t you?"

Peyton nodded. "Quite so. I died a bit more violently than you. But then I was trying to kill her. And where Viktoria drained me of a lot of blood she didn’t give quite so freely. It is my heart that gives me the freedom to break from her reign over me."

Anne didn’t quite understand that but she let it go for the moment. "And was I supposed to be like my ma?"

Peyton looked a little perplexed at that. "I believe that’s what she had initially planned for you. Like mother, like daughter. And Viktoria is known for enjoying blonds. She feels something for you though. She took a lot from you and from how long you slept she gave you quite a bit as well."

"So what did she plan for me?" Anne asked.

Peyton shook his head. "I have no clue." He looked her way.

"Why did you take me from there?"

Peyton looked away for a moment. "I believe you are someone special, Anne," he finally replied. Anne snorted and he glanced at her. "Do not underestimate yourself. Christ was born in a lowly stable to a carpenter and yet he was the Son of God." He sat forward. "Sycophants hardly ever break free from their master’s will."

"What’s a sick-o-f…" Anne started to ask.

"A servant or a slave," Peyton told her. "I believe if I can teach you to follow your heart, instead of having Viktoria or one of the others drag you into the evil part of your soul, you can be someone to battle against her."

Anne sat there stunned speechless.

"I’m quite positive that Viktoria wouldn’t harm you," he said.

Anne didn’t move.

"You could be the one I’ve been looking for, the one my forefathers spoke about. The Harbinger of Light," he continued.

"WHAT?!" Anne finally blurted out.

Peyton looked at her, confused at what she was so upset about. "Harbinger… a bringer. Bringer of Light."

Anne shook her head as she stood. "I’m not fighting her!"

"Well, I’m sure…" he started.

"Have you seen how big she is?!" Anne cut him off.

"But you see…" Peyton began again.

"Like a cat on a mouse…" she said back.


"NO!" Anne yelled back.

"It’s not the same," Peyton said rising up. "You’re special."

"And what is Viktoria?!" Anne countered. "Some evil killer?!"

Peyton was silent and Anne stared at him waiting.

"What is she?" Anne asked quietly.

Peyton looked to the scarred table nearby. "Viktoria is called The Soul Destroyer." He looked her way. "Her purpose is to go about leading people into the darkness of their hearts."

"Even those who are good?" Anne asked.

Peyton shrugged a little. "She finds them a waste of time. She finds the blackest hearts and guides them to the truly wickedest they can become and then she leads them to slaughter the ones with the good hearts."

"What about that girl from France that my ma was talking about a while back? The one that led them to win against the King?"

Peyton sighed. "Joan of Arc. She was of the hand of God. Viktoria knew this. She convinced her own people, the clergy, that she was out to take over their power and told them to burn her at the stake for the witch she was."

Anne was silent again. "They did, didn’t they?"

Peyton nodded. "Viktoria loves death and suffering. Nothing else." He looked her way. "Until you." Anne frowned. "The other day," Peyton started. "When you entered her room without permission. She should have killed you. Anyone else and she would have. Struck you down or snapped your neck," he said somberly.

"But she didn’t," he finished.

"So what does that mean?" Anne asked.

Peyton sighed. "I’m not sure, but you hold some power over her. I’ve served her for two hundred years and I’ve never seen her be as gentle with someone as she is with you."

"She doesn’t like you, does she?" Anne questioned honestly.

Peyton smiled and shook his head. "No, she respects that I was daring enough to try and kill her. Not that it worked, mind you. But I’ve survived this long near her and she hasn’t killed me yet."

"Why did you stay if you hate her?"

"Have you ever heard the saying ‘always know where your enemies are?’ " Anne shook her head. "Viktoria is no fool. I’ve acted as Peyton long enough for her to believe me. I guess with what happened the other day it’s rather pointless to continue."

Anne watched him for a moment. "Who are you if you aren’t Sir Peyton?"

He smiled. "A little over two hundred years ago I owned this castle." He looked

to the decaying building around them. "I was known as Sir Gabriel of Whitecross. My father was also Sir Gabriel, and so on down the line back to the time of Christ."

Anne looked surprised then at his lanky features. "You were a knight?"

Gabriel gave her a look of contempt. "One does not have to wield a sword to be a knight. It’s inherited." He sat back and crossed his arms. "And I still am one."

He sounded a little hurt at Anne’s accusations. "You were going after Viktoria?"

Gabriel nodded. "It is my duty. All of my ancestors before me had hunted and slayed daemons for centuries. My father expected no less of me." He leaned forward and pulled a small piece of metal out of a purse on his belt. It was a seal, a sun surrounding an odd shaped star with three tiny dots in the center.

Anne looked up at him from it. "What is it?"

"The Gabriel Seal. Each of the Order of Light had one with the initial of their name in the center around the Star of David." Anne looked curiously at him. "The Star of David is the symbol of Christ’s ancestor King David. In a way it has more power than a cross does."

"What’s the Order of Light?" Anne asked.

Gabriel replaced the small seal and sat back again. "The Order of Light was formed shortly after Christ’s death by the remaining apostles and their followers. My grandfather, many times removed was Gabriel. Their mission was to cleanse evil from the earth. But they had sworn to never shed human blood, but they fight against things that are not human."

"Like us," Anne said somberly.

Gabriel nodded. "But,… there is something that the Order never understood. As far as I know, I’m the only one of a true descendant of the Order that was changed. It wasn’t until then that I found that if vampyres, are shown the way of their heart, instead of pulling that bit of evilness up to smother out the rest they can be as good as they were when they were human. It is the soul that exists on the mortal plane. Nothing more."

Anne looked up at him. "Why don’t you tell them then? Stop them from hunting the good ones?"

Gabriel shrugged. "The Order like all humans had a falling out. Some believed we should head in one direction, some another. They’ve splintered off. And I honestly don’t know where I can find any of them. The ones I knew are all dead."

"So now what happens?" she asked.

Gabriel sighed. "I take it you don’t know how to read or write?" Anne shook her head. He nodded. "Then that along with teaching you to survive is first in order. And we will have to leave here. Viktoria will eventually send her servants out this far to hunt for us."

Anne looked a little worried. "Where are we going?"

Gabriel smiled. "First to London, then to Spain. I have some good friends there who will take us in."

"What about Viktoria?"

"She’s going to have to find her own friends," he told her.

Anne looked surprised and he laughed.

Anne stepped out into the night air two days later after she had rested and gain enough control of her new form. Gabriel had two horses tethered nearby and she looked around for a moment then mounted in a few of her old clothes Gabriel had taken with him when he took Anne away.

They rode easily for a while. Anne looked to her new friend and mentor after a moment. "Sir?"

"Gabriel," he said as he looked her way. "Call me Gabriel now, Anne. I believe we are more on equal settings than before."

She nodded. "Gabriel," she said with a smile. "Do you believe that Viktoria was that evil as a human?"

Gabriel shrugged. "Not likely. But I know nothing of her past except for bits and pieces. I believe that we must all have some goodness in our hearts. I think it is as with you and what I believe you to be. Not just anyone can be the Harbinger; it was preordained. I have no idea why it wouldn’t be the same with Viktoria."

"So she’s not truly evil," she replied.

Gabriel shot her a look as they made their way through a small forest. "Don’t be misled by her kindness towards you, Anne. Viktoria has encouraged the slaughter of hundreds of thousands, if not more by now, quite a few of them by her own hand. Man, woman, or child, it makes no difference to her."

Anne chewed this over in her mind as they rode. When dawn was coming they found an old cave buried behind some shrubs. Anne slept while Gabriel nervously kept watch.

Anne learned to catch small animals to feed off from. She was faster than she had ever imagined, and her vision was excellent, in the dark she could see better than she ever had in the daylight. It had shocked her when she caught her first meal, a small rabbit. Her fangs elongated and before she knew it she had drained the rabbit. Sad as it was, it didn’t fill her and she was hungry, but she wouldn’t take the wrist Gabriel offered her. He had snagged a deer and even though he complained of the gamey taste he drank his fill. Anne couldn’t bear to watch it.

"You’ll get hungry soon enough," he told her as she felt her fangs with wary fingers.

"Please," Anne begged.

"No! That is a very bad idea, Anne!" Gabriel told her. As they rode along the path he had raced along before with an unconscious Anne. He had ridden for a two nights on horseback before sending the horse off towards Scotland and set out cautiously on foot. Four days afterwards he had watched over Anne as she slept in the remains of Whitecross Castle.

"I have to," she tried again. "Please, Gabriel, it’s my da."

Gabriel looked upset. "Anne, it’s most likely that if you go there he’ll hate you for what you are. Do you want that?"

Anne looked sad. "I have to say goodbye."

Gabriel shook his head but changed the direction of his horse to head for the small town. "You have only a few minutes, and if you get caught then on your own head so be it," he said tersely. "And if Viktoria is still there then we ride straight on!"

Anne nodded with a short smile. "Thank you."

He snorted in reply. "Women!"

Anne watched from the shadows. There was a thick fog around the stillness of the church it was oddly quiet. Slowly Anne crept forward, watching, hoping her father would appear. Finally she couldn’t stand it as lights began to wink out drowning the building in darkness. She headed around back and found a door open. She touched it lightly afraid that the place would burn her to a crisp or something awful now that she was no longer human. Anne looked out back towards the cemetery before she tried to enter in and she stopped in shock.

Mound upon mound of new graves, bodies still waiting to be buried, holes where new vampyres had arisen. The moon barely lit up the sight making Anne shiver in fear. Knowing that evil things were out there. Knowing that Viktoria had happened.

Gabriel had warned her that she would slaughter everything in her path. And it seemed as though the small town was the first to feel Viktoria’s fury. She looked about, but Gabriel had assured her that the Lady had moved on. Anne wondered if her ma was with her.

"Daemon, get thee behind me," a man’s voice said from the doorway of the church.

Anne turned to see her da in old brown robes and sandals holding a cross in his hand. "Da," she said.

"Daemon, you took my child from me!!!" he yelled back.

"No, da, it’s me," Anne said. She was about to move forward when he pulled a stake out from beneath his robes. "Da…"

"You are no daughter of mine!" he shrieked running at her with the stake and the cross in both hands.

Anne backed up in fear only to catch her footing on a grave marker she landed flat on her bottom. "No, da!!! It’s really me, no daemon!" Anne said with a rising fear in her voice as he came closer with the stake.

"Only daemons go out in the night," he said. But his tone was kinder. "Where have you been then? I had heard you were working under that daemon like your ma. Then a few days ago she starts slaughtering the whole town telling them to give you up." He looked down at her. "Why is she hunting you, my Annie?"

Tears welled up in her eyes. "Da… it’s awful."

Her da watched then a frown came over him. "You beguile me, daemon. You cry tears of blood!!" he yelled as he raised his stake up and held the cross out to keep her back.

Anne reached out and wiped the tears away, she had forgotten. She scuttled back a few feet from him and the stake. "Da, if I was a daemon wouldn’t I just come and kill you? Why would I talk at all?"

His brow furrowed at this. "Same reason as the others. You’re just waiting until my guard is down and then you’ll drink me dry!" He came closer and Anne backed up into a marker. He drew the stake up again to drive it in when they looked at each other. He stayed where he was.

"I just come to say goodbye, da. No harm to you," Anne whispered.

Tears came to his eyes and he worked his jaw as he looked at his little girl. "You’re the devil incarnate."

"No da, it’s just Anne," she pleaded. "Please da."

He raised the stake again and it wavered in his hand. "God forgive me," he begged. He dropped the stake. "Go, begone."

"Da," Anne started.

"Now!" he yelled at her as though he was keeping the voices telling him to kill her out of his head. "You’re no longer my daughter! Leave!!!" he screamed.

"No," came another man’s voice came to them. Men and torches filled the doorway twenty yards from where they stood. "You cannot allow this abomination to live, Brother Paul."

Anne’s father turned to look at them. "She may not be my daughter, but she has done me no harm."

The speaker, Father Thomas, came out into the moonlight. "You’re blinded by your love for what was your daughter, Brother. Slay the daemon. It is god’s will," he told him.

Anne got angry at this. "God’s will?!" she spat out. "I lived my whole life here Father Thomas, I am I good person and yet my becoming this ‘daemon’ is god’s will?!" She stood and her father backed off a little. "My ma died from god’s will only to be a ‘daemon’? My da left me because it was god’s will so that I would be all alone?! And now men of the cloth turn on me and even tell my own da to kill me?! If that is god’s will then I’m glad to no longer be part in it!" she said angrily.

Anne’s eyes began to get bright and her fangs began to show themselves.

"Daemon!" Father Thomas said as he fumbled about for his cross and stake while her father ran back to the sanctuary of the church.

Anne snorted. "You might as well get it right. We’re called vampyres." She looked about. "I have the feeling you will spend the rest of your lives fighting against them." She saw Gabriel come up fast leading her horse behind his. She mounted quickly as more men came out of the church and the two rode off.

Gabriel was silent as Anne fumed on her horse. They crested the small hill that overlooked her homeland. In pent up fury she screamed out a blood chilling cry.

Anne looked out at the full moon. She had been living in Pamplona, Spain for five years. Marcos and his wife Rita had been vampyres for many years and they were polite, but once they had heard Viktoria was Anne’s sire and she was looking for her they became somewhat distant. Her clothing had changed to that of a gentlewoman, and the house she lived in was upper class. She no longer had to work for a living, she was waited on and she found it was quite nice. Especially when Gabriel introduced her to new foods she had never tried before. Chocolate was her favorite.

Gabriel had taught her to hunt and drain only a small amount from human victims. He also spent many hours teaching her to read and write. He found she picked up on it very quickly and soon she was writing on her own. She also found that she was quite powerful, more powerful than most vampyres, but Anne was so kind most scorned her for it. But they left her alone since they didn’t want to be known as the one who killed her when Viktoria decided to travel through Spain again.

"I have something I wish to show you Anne," he said to her one evening. He led her to his small study and pulled out a journal. Gabriel reverently touched it. "I had to hide it at Whitecross a little over fifty years ago. I have been updating it as best I can." He looked at Anne seriously. "There is no saving grace left between Viktoria and myself. The next time we meet I will most likely end up deader than I am now."

Anne looked as if to argue. He shook his head. "My grandfather many times removed, the original Gabriel started to keep a journal on his life and the world about him. And his son and his son and so on continued this tradition up until me." He sat on the end of the bed and looked to the tome in his hands. "I am the last of my line, Anne," he said sadly. "Gabriel is no more."

Anne sat next to him. "Could I read it sometime?"

Gabriel smiled knowing of Anne’s love for the written word. "You may do more than that. Deep in the city of Paris, France there is a vault one of my ancestors built to house all of these writings." He got up and with pen and paper drew out a map. "One day, if you need a safe place or want to read them you may go there." He looked to the drawing then handed it to her. "I pass them on to you Anne."

Anne looked surprised. "But they’re worth a fortune, Gabriel!"

Gabriel smiled. "Only to my family and a few others. But in the wrong hands those who dwell in darkness could use them to destroy what is left of good in the world."

Anne studied her map. "Thank you," she said softly.

He nodded and looked out to the night sky. "Two hundred years Anne. I should have been generations gone."

Someone knocked at the door and Anne let them in. It was Pedro, one of Marcos’ servants. "Senor Gabriel! There is news, from the Senor! Please come!"

He waved them along as Gabriel and Anne went into the living room where Marcos, Rita and a few other master vampyres sat. Marcos motioned to seats nearby. "There is news about Viktoria," he said solemnly. Many of them were descendants or sired by Viktoria. "She is near the Bathory’s in Transylvania, a lower country called Walachia. She is guiding a Prince there who is called Vlad Tepes Dracul." Marcos looked to Gabriel. "Personally I have believed that humans are nothing more than fodder for the stronger race. However, my colleagues and I have the pleasure of anonymity. This ‘Prince’," Marcos said scornfully. "Has slaughter thousands of his own in a space of a few years and the world will not forget since the cry of vampyre has come with it as well. If Viktoria is allowed to continue on we will all be in jeopardy."

Marcos looked to the men in the group. "You were honest with me many years about who you truly are. I never thought well of it, but remain your friend regardless. There are some who will go with you to Walachia if you wish to stop or at least slow Viktoria down as much as you can."

Gabriel nodded. "Thank you, I know that was not pleasant to say since Viktoria is admired and feared throughout the many ranks of vampyres in Europe. However, if they would like to join Anne and myself it would be for the trip only, an escort if you will. You know as well as I that anything we try against the Destroyer would be futile."

Marcos looked at him like he had lost his mind. "Gabriel, you will die."

Gabriel shrugged. "I have lived a long time, Marcos. I believe this is a fight I will not come away from. And I will not condemn any of you to your deaths."

Marcos nodded to Anne. "And what of her? You lead her there as well?"

"No," came the reply, not from Gabriel, from Anne. "I go because I want to." She got up and left.

Gabriel gave Marcos and the other a brief smile. "Never argue with a lady." He left soon after and knocked on Anne’s door. He opened it to find Anne packing. "What are you doing?"

Anne looked up at him; there was a gleam in her eye. "I’m going… as soon as I can."

He nodded. "Then I will join you."

That got him a shake of her head. "She’ll kill you."

Gabriel sighed. "Well, it’s taken her long enough."

"Don’t jest about it," she said seriously.

Gabriel moved across the room and rested his hands on her shoulders. No longer was the serf there, Anne was a beautiful young gentlewoman, and he was quite proud of her. "I’ve taught you all that I can. From now on the battle is up to you."

Anne looked up at him. "Do you truly think I’m this Harbinger of Light?"

Gabriel smiled. "Yes, I do."

"Were there others before me?" she asked.

He nodded. "Once in a while they’ll show up. But the Destroyer would find them eventually. And they’d fight and soon enough the Destroyer came out alive."

Anne looked at him seriously. "Do you think she’ll kill me after so long?"

Gabriel shrugged. "I honestly have no idea."


Heart of Darkness




America, 2100

Fate looked up from her book as the door opened into Anne’s study. A woman who looked a bit older that Fate came in. She looked like she was once a real beauty, but her face was disfigured and her hair wasn’t kept very straight, neither were her clothes. She bore a tray, which she set down at a table nearby.

"Ms. Anne doesn’t eat over there," she said sullenly.

Fate nodded. "Who are you?" she asked as she rose up.

The woman looked her over. "None of your business," she replied unkindly.

"Now, now, Domino," came a dark voice chiding her. Viktoria entered the room wearing black jeans and a faded black shirt, looking every bit as scary as she did before. Fate took a step back from her. Viktoria gave her a cocky grin. "I promised my love that I wouldn’t harm you." She growled a little. "But I will not apologize for the room I left you in."

Domino snorted at that having overheard Anne tell Viktoria that is wasn’t nice and she should apologize to their guest.

Viktoria looked her way. "I don’t have any reservations about putting you in there though. Leave," she ordered.

Domino cringed in fear and left the two alone. Viktoria sat down at the desk and looked at the place where Fate had left off. She smiled deeply and touched the pages with tenderness. "I’m surprised you look at them fondly," Fate said as she slowly sat at the small table where the food smelled delicious.

Viktoria looked her way as she leaned back into the seat. "I’ve never read them, only because they mean so much to Anne do I allow them here." She shrugged lightly. "I don’t regret anything I have done, and I would have done them again."

Fate watched her for a moment. "Are you really that evil?"

Viktoria laughed. She wiped away a single blood red tear that caught at the corner of her eye and sighed with an amused look. "To ask Anne she would say no. But then she has theories on everything to justify why I am not. I suppose that is because she loves me so much." She looked to the books around her. "But if I were to say," she gave a slight look of compromise. "It would be yes." She glanced to the young human. "I have been behind every major human suffering for almost two millennia. And I drank my fill of blood and the cries of the dying."

"Humankind has been around longer than two millennia," Fate replied not really wanting to think about what Viktoria’s death toll counted to.

Viktoria shrugged. "Someone such as myself could not exist during the time of HIM walking the Earth. Before then, I have no idea what took place."

"Him?" Fate asked.

Viktoria scowled. "You will have to ask Anne, I cannot say it."

"Christ?" Fate took a guess.

Viktoria sneered at the name. "Yes, foolish man. He could have ruled the world with an iron fist. Instead he was killed by his own people." She smiled as she leaned back. "You would have thought he’d be overjoyed at the annihilation of so many during Hitler’s reign."

Fate frowned. "He’s a god of love, not hate."

Viktoria snorted out a cut off laugh. "The Jews, they do not even believe he is a god. So why should he bother?"

Fate shook her head knowing they could probably argue about it for some time. She picked up a chocolate from a small tray and looked at it in surprise. Not the normal thing you find with dinner. She glanced at Viktoria. "You have chocolate lying around?" Chocolate, especially so expensive a brand was very hard to come by.

"If they made a chocolate filled with blood, Anne would be in heaven," Viktoria told her.

Walachia, 1648

Anne couldn’t look anymore. She, Gabriel and three other vampyres traveled by horseback through the remains of a battlefield. The moon, unfortunately, was full and everything that had occurred was in plain view.

Not just a few, but thousands of wood poles stood as a forest around them. Lining the roads, out in the middle of fields, everywhere the losers of this war were impaled for display. The smell of rotting corpses turned Anne’s stomach. Flies were everywhere and scavengers watched the silent group ride by as they tore up flesh. Anne paled even more when she heard groans out among them signaling that there were still some living.

"Wouldn’t it be better if we helped them?" she pleaded.

"No," Gabriel said firmly. "We went through this before. They may notice that they’ve been killed by other means…"

"But you want her to notice that someone is around," Anne replied.

Gabriel gave her a look. "She will notice soon enough, and we want to pick the battle, not her."

The three Spanish vampyres behind them smiled. For the months they had been traveling to get to Walachia, little arguments between the two of them were common. Between Gabriel’s common sense and Anne’s good heart the two always thought differently.

"But we could just…" she started.

"No," he replied firmly.

"It’s not that…"

"No!" he shot back before she had a chance to get anywhere with it. The two glared at each other and finally Anne scowled and looked away.

"You’re being awfully testy lately," she told him.

"So are you," he replied. "But I’m old and decrepit. What’s your excuse?"

Gabriel got a full glare for that one. "Decrepit means the same thing as old," she said dryly.

He snorted at this. "At least you’ve listened to something I’ve said."

If it weren’t for the horror and fear that coursed through the small towns it would have been quite a beautiful place. Small rough-hewn farms with large haystacks and various animals about reminded Anne of home. The place was green with trees and lush fertile soil. They rode on noticing that out of all the places they had ridden through the humans behind closed door watched them closely. There was no one out at night, not a single soul. But then with the adornments about from this Vlad Dracul, Anne honestly couldn’t blame them.

Gabriel nodded towards the north and Anne looked. High on one of the mountains sat a dreary looking castle. It had a very uninviting look to it, straight stone and stairs leading up to it. Poenari, as it was named, in a place called Tirgoviste, ‘foreboding hellhole’ would have been a better name for it, Anne believed.

"Can you feel it?" Gabriel asked her quietly.

Anne nodded. She could, Viktoria was somewhere nearby. The idea of seeing her scared her to death. Gabriel had assured her time and again that the dark headed woman would not harm her. But Anne still didn’t believe him. Why did she even come now? The Spanish vampyres had asked this many times and she wasn’t sure herself. Just that she had to. But now that she was here, she could feel this strange connection binding her to the dark woman. She longed to be in her presence, to love and be loved as odd as it seemed, she knew there was so much more to Viktoria than anyone could possibly know.

Gabriel secured a place beyond the village and just out of view of the castle. The place was without owners, as anyone could tell at the dust that had settled on the things inside. And other than the four poles outside where the owners were now suspended was another clue as well.

"You should leave," Gabriel told the other men. "I thank you for the escort, but staying isn’t necessary."

The oldest one, Ramon looked at him seriously and waiting until Anne had fully left the room in search of a place to sleep. "You truly intend on dying here? By the Destroyer’s hand?"

Gabriel sighed. "If I can avoid it I will. But this is something I must do."

Ramon nodded to the direction Anne had just left. "And Anne? She may not be like the rest of us. I have never seen a vampyre, woman or other who cares so much about life, especially that of humans. Does she plan to die also?"

"I do not believe she will die, Ramon. Not by Viktoria’s hand," he told him sincerely.

Ramon shook his head in disbelief. "I did not want to say this in front of her, I can see she feels something for the Destroyer. But I watch Viktoria butcher an entire convent full of nuns because they looked at her oddly. This is no place for her."

Gabriel smiled. "It will be alright."

Ramon shook his head slowly again. "We will go, I do not want to be around for Viktoria to amuse herself with me." He gave Gabriel a knowing look. "And I will even pray to God that you bring Anne back to Pamplona safely. I think even though we were tight lipped about her, Rita and the other women will miss her. She is always welcome in Spain."

Gabriel grinned. "I will be sure to tell her." He held out his hand and they clasped tightly. "You have helped us greatly." He shook with the other men and when Anne came out they each gave her a small kiss.

Anne watched them leave. "What is it about gentlemen vampyres? They seem to be in a social class all their own."

Gabriel smiled. "How else are they going to charm their way into a woman’s bedroom?"

Anne looked stunned for a moment then grinned at him. "So, what do we do from here?"

Gabriel sat down at a chair. "Now we test your feelings," he told her seriously. "We can’t just go up to the gate and ask to see her."

Anne sat down across from him. "Why not?"

"Why…" Gabriel looked a little stunned. "Why not?! You didn’t seriously ask me that, did you?!" Anne smiled and Gabriel frowned. "You never would have acted like this back in England," he huffed out.

Anne grinned and patted his bony knee. "I didn’t know better then. And you weren’t that nice to me," she reminded him.

He let out another huff. "I do care about your safety, Anne," he said solemnly.

Anne nodded. "I know. But we both know how dangerous this is. She may kill me faster than I can blink. Then you can say ‘oops’ right before she kills you."

He sat silent frowning at her for a moment, looking at the twinkle in her eyes. "You’re taking all of this rather light heartedly."

Anne shrugged as she stood. "I’m so scared that if I don’t I think I’ll cry."

Gabriel stood up behind her. "I hope I’m right Anne, I truly do," he whispered in her ear.

"So do I," she whispered back.


‘…I know you’re here, my pet…’

‘…I’m waiting…’

Anne woke up in a light sweat. There had been no visions, only Viktoria’s powerful voice, hushed, calling to her as one lover to another. She looked to the boarded up window, feeling the sunlight against it trying to reach through and touch her with its deadly ray. Anne shivered as she huddled up in her blanket. She closed her eyes and swore she could feel Viktoria wrap her long, hard body around her.

Anne waited. She didn’t sleep the rest of the day. She watched for sundown and quickly went out and saddled her horse. Gabriel came into the kitchen looked tired and disheveled when he saw Anne’s satchel on a chair and the door to the outside open.

"Anne?!" he called out as he headed outside. He found her finishing with the saddle. "Where in the bloody blazes do you think you’re going?!"

"To her," Anne said breathlessly as she passed him to go back into the house for her satchel.

Gabriel shook his head as he followed her in. "What?!" he exclaimed as he shut the door and leaned against it. "What’s gotten into you Anne? We talked about this!"

Anne shook her head and clenched her fist tight as it shook. She needed to go. "It’s changed Gabriel." She looked up at him with pleading eyes. "I need to be with her."

Gabriel looked even more stunned. "And how do you know this?"

Anne tried to figure out how to get past her friend without hurting him, but soon she wasn’t going to care. "I just know! Move! Before I move you!"

Gabriel rested his hands on her shoulders and she looked up at him. "It could be a trap…"

Anne shook her head. "No… five years… I can feel her so clearly. I know she feels the same."

Gabriel watched her for a moment. "Then I’ll go with you."

Anne looked scared. "You can’t!! She’ll kill you!"

"And she’ll control every movement in your life if you go to her!" he countered.

Anne looked at him for a minute. "You don’t know that," she said sullenly.

"Yes, I do. And you know it also," he told her. "What did you think she’d do, Anne? Who do you think led the prince to do all of these horrible things to the people here?" He waited for a moment but she said nothing so he continued. "If you just went to her, without learning how to control your feelings for her… which is what you’re suppose to be doing, then you’d be nothing more than a sex slave to her!" he barked out this point to her to drive it home.

"No…" she started.

"Don’t lie to me Anne," Gabriel said angrily. "More importantly don’t lie to yourself just so you can get bedded for the night…" He was stopped up sharply when he felt her palm hit his cheek hard. He looked to her to see tears course down her cheeks as she let out a silent sob and turned throwing her satchel across the room she head out of the small kitchen.

"I hate you!" she cried out.

Gabriel watched her leave. That was the first time Anne had ever hit him. "Right now, I hate me too," he said softly.

Two days passed and Anne didn’t sleep. She felt sick to her stomach as Viktoria dreamt with her. A few times she had gotten angry Anne wasn’t coming to her and had ordered Anne to come, but most of the time it was a gentle summons. Anne cried when she was awake, longing to go. But she knew Gabriel was right, if she didn’t control herself Viktoria would.

Gabriel didn’t sleep much either. But he at least rested, Anne paced and he would watch her with a half open eye. She wouldn’t eat either, and that was making him worry. Every time Anne would head for the door he’d watch. First he would have to take her fury for holding the door shut, and then Anne would cry and apologize. Now she would stare at the door and finally she slept for a short while when she had exhausted herself out.

"I will care for you…" Viktoria’s voice came to her mind. Anne could feel a caress on her cheek. "I sense your hunger, I feel your pain, come to me…"

Anne woke up feeling miserable. She looked to Gabriel who didn’t look any better. "I hate this."

He nodded. "But you understand… don’t you."

Anne nodded sadly. She did. Now that the urge wasn’t so overpowering she still longed to be with Viktoria, but she knew she could fight it, for how long though?

It was late into the night when a knock came at the door. It was soft but brisk. Gabriel and Anne looked to each other and Gabriel answered the door. There stood an old woman, gray hair, and peasant farm clothes. But she was no fool, she was smart with age and her eyes were intelligent. She fingered a medallion about her neck as she spoke rapidly in a language Anne didn’t understand but Gabriel nodded as he listened.

"This is Janka, she’s the local head of the witches in this area," he told her.

Anne looked surprised and the old woman cackled and said something else. Gabriel smiled. "She believes your surprise to be funny since you are a vampyre."

Anne looked to him. "She knows?"

He nodded. "Witches are very in tune with the earth. As much as the church would like the people to believe that witches are evil, not that many work in the black arts. She could sense the difference in us most likely."

Janka spoke up again and he listened then translated for Anne. "She has seen us hunt a little, and knows that we aren’t out to kill for Viktoria. She wanted to warn us that the men at the castle have been searching the lands for a young female, who looks just like you." He glanced down at Anne. "And you are only to be caught at night."

Janka came in and Gabriel moved respectfully out of the way. The old woman stood in front of Anne and grasped her face between her palms and stared into her eyes. She let go and took Anne’s hands and peered intently at her palms. She nodded and looked to Anne speaking to her.

Gabriel told her what she said. "She says you have a good soul. You would be a welcome protector in these lands. She also said that you would help to end the slaughter taking place here by controlling the daemon in the castle." He said something to the woman who nodded. "She had this feeling before, which is why she warns us now. They will search this area soon, we’re going to have to leave or be caught."

Janka reached into a pocket of her skirt and pulled out a necklace of rough leather with a metal shaped lashed to the end of it. She slipped it over Anne’s neck and tucked the end piece in her shirt. She spoke again patting Anne’s face gently and she left.

Anne looked to Gabriel as she pulled the piece out and glanced down to look at it. "What is it?"

"A charm," he told her as he looked at it himself. "She said it would help you resist the evil that you will fight."

Anne gave it a surprised look but tucked it back into her shirt. "I need all the help I can get."

They moved to a more desolate area of the land in a ruin of an old house in the midst of many new corpses. Anne shuddered at the sight. "There are times I wish we could just stay at an inn," she told him as she moved through the blood-splattered house.

Gabriel snorted as he found a small untouched room and gave it to her. "And we would be in Viktoria’s clutches not much later, I assure you."

Anne looked to him. "We just can’t keep running," she said quietly.

Gabriel shook his head. "I think between your feelings and what the witch said you truly are the Harbinger. Now you need to work on self control."

"And how do you propose I do that?" she asked.

Gabriel fiddled a little with his beard. "I will go out later on to the taverns. They will talk of the prince and what goes on. There should be some soldiers there," he glanced down at her. "If the prince goes on a killing spree, Viktoria will most likely be with him. We can follow but have ample space to get away if need be."

Anne looked worried but nodded finally.

Three days later and the couple had to move once more to avoid being caught before Prince Vlad and his entourage moved out. There were dissidents to his northern border and he was out to stop them. Anne and Gabriel followed as best they could.

The smell of fresh blood made Anne so hungry she had to bite her lip to keep from going out to one of the dying men. The idea disgusted her of feeding off the dying. But her instinct to survive was starting to kick in. It had been some time since she had fed.

"How close are we?" Gabriel asked.

They couldn’t see the troops, only the dead they had left behind. But Anne could feel Viktoria. "Closer than before," she replied.

He looked her way. "We’ll find a soldier or something…"

Anne closed her eyes and nodded. Something… soon… or she was going to pass out.

The led their horses on foot over the next rise and saw that the prince and his troops had stopped for the night at a small keep. There was a grand banquet set out and with her sharp eyes Anne saw Viktoria in the flesh for the first time in almost six years. She looked exactly the same, but her eyes were sharp and she seemed to be on edge. Anne was grateful she wasn’t the only one. She saw Domino nearby laughing and drinking. But Anatoly and Kostya were nowhere to be seen.

On the other side of Viktoria at the center of the table sat an ugly looking man. His nose was immensely big for his face and he had a huge moustache. Along with his garish clothes and armor he just looked out of place next to the dark lean figure next to him. It wouldn’t have been that bad, but the screams of the dying that weren’t being posted all around the banquet didn’t help Anne’s hunger any. Personally she couldn’t see how anyone could eat through all of that.

Anne watched for a moment, her eyes never leaving Viktoria’s. She felt a nudge at her side and it took a few more before she looked to Gabriel. "Let’s go," he whispered. They had spent long enough being so close.

Anne looked as if she were going to refuse when the decision was made for her. She felt something sharp at the base of her neck and she noticed a blade at Gabriel’s. "Peyton," came the cultured voice of Anatoly. "And sweet Anne," he smirked. "Let them up," he ordered the soldiers.

Slowly they rose having sharp swords from over a dozen soldiers pointed at them. They were stuck, and Anatoly knew it when he faced Gabriel. "I hope you enjoyed the show," he sneered. "I will have the honor of showing you one personally if Viktoria doesn’t do it first." He spit in his face. "You shame the race of the vampyre."

He turned and wrapped a strong arm about Anne’s arms and upper body and lifted her bodily off the ground. "You on the other hand, Viktoria will give me anything I want to bring you to her."

Anne was strong, but she was young and not to her full strength, whereas Anatoly was old and powerful. She fought the best she could only to stop once they came to the front of the table. Blood, death, the stench of bowels having been released with the horror that faced the victims moaning about them mingled with the smells of rich foods.

The ugly man looked their way. "More?" he asked.

Viktoria stood leering at Anne. "Hardly, these are mine," she said firmly.

Vlad Dracul looked as if he were going to disagree when Viktoria leaned over and whispered something to him. He looked thoughtful as his eyes narrowed then he smiled and nodded.

Viktoria barely noticed his nod as she looked to Anne for a moment taking in the curve of her body and the fineness of her clothing. "Anatoly, you have done well." She looked at him. "I will reward you greatly."

Anatoly smiled. "A pleasure, my mistress."

Viktoria looked to Gabriel. "Little did I know I would be the one to change one of the Order of Light." She walked around the table to face him. "You have seen my collection of traitors, haven’t you, Gabriel?"

Gabriel looked scared. "Yes," he said dully.

She nodded. "You will join them, and others will see you and know not to cross me."

Anne looked between the two of them. "No, he didn’t…"

Viktoria grabbed her chin and held her in place as she kissed her hard. The prince frowned at this, but said nothing. Viktoria possessed every inch of her mouth and when she was done Anne was heaving for a breath. Viktoria touched her forehead to Anne’s as she took in a breath. "We have much to discuss, my pet," she said hungrily.

Anne found herself in a master bedroom. She had been locked in, and with all of her vampyre strength she still wasn’t strong enough to break through. It was four inches of thick hardwood door. She felt herself shiver with the thought of being with Viktoria. But she was worried about her friend. She had no idea what plans Viktoria had for Gabriel, but she knew it wouldn’t be good.

Anne backed away from the door when she heard the lock turn. A soldier came in with a glassy eyed look, Viktoria was right behind him. "Stop," Viktoria ordered and the soldier did.

Anne looked between the dark woman and the soldier. Viktoria closed the door then moved behind Anne. The blond shivered as Viktoria gently slid up next to her and wrapped her arms about her burying her face in Anne’s soft hair.

"I have missed you greatly," she whispered. A hand moved to cup a breast and Anne about exploded right there.

She fought it. "Where’s Gabriel?" she asked with a breathless voice.

Viktoria growled as she popped the buttons off Anne’s dress. "Gabriel is not your concern." She walked her forward a little towards the still soldier. "You are hungry," she said. "This one has displeased me, drink," she told Anne.

Anne shook her head and Viktoria snorted at the defiance. "Kneel," she told the soldier. He did without question making him a little shorter than Anne. Forcefully, Viktoria moved Anne up and she slit a vein at his throat. She coated her fingers with blood and wiped them over Anne’s lips. The younger woman whimpered with hunger as she automatically licked her lips. Viktoria pushed her mouth over the bleeding neck and held her there until she was satisfied that Anne was feeding.

Anne sank to her knees when she was full. The soldier fell back dead and Viktoria took Anne into her arms. "I will not allow you to go hungry," she told her as she kissed along her shoulder.

Her dress front had parted and Viktoria peeled her out of it. Anne leaned back into her tilting her head up they kissed. Viktoria lifted her into her arms and put her on the bed and then covered her with her own body. The dark woman caught Anne’s wrists and held them above her on the bed as she took control. Hungry kisses, Anne felt the rough texture of cloth against her body.

"Viktoria," she got out between kisses. "Please, let me feel you." Viktoria looked up. Anne tried to wriggle her arms free. "I want to feel you next to me."

"You do not ask without consequences," Viktoria told her. "Is that truly what you want?" she asked. Anne nodded and Viktoria smiled with a wicked gleam in her eye. "So be it." Viktoria got off her and found a long length of leather lead and tied her wrists to the end of the bed. She leaned over and kissed a firm nipple. "Don’t go anywhere." She chuckled as she moved about the dark room.

Soon she was back, naked in all her glory and Anne took in a breath at the exquisite sight. The broad shoulders, lean muscled belly, firm round breasts and a tiny patch of dark hair between her powerful smooth legs. Viktoria laid a few things to the side of the bed and crawled back up to cover her and Anne arched up into the connection of skin on skin. She wished she could touch her with her hands.

"Are you ready for your consequences?" Viktoria asked.

Anne swallowed but nodded and Viktoria smirked as she leaned over and whispered, "Don’t fight me." She moved her knees apart to separate Anne’s legs, opening her to anything Viktoria desired to do to her. "The pleasure will be greater than the pain if you don’t." She slid her fingers between Anne’s legs and found her to be very wet. Viktoria smiled. "But then you may enjoy it like I do." She leaned over and offered the sticky fingers to Anne who took them in her mouth and tasted herself.

Viktoria followed with a kiss to taste for herself.

Releasing her Viktoria rubbed there again and Anne’s hips came off the bed. "Ready for me, are you?" Chuckling she reached over and picked up a long black object with bumps on it. "I am rather fascinated with this device." She placed one end deep into her center leaving a good portion out. "I have had yet to enjoy it fully." Viktoria leaned over her on all fours. "Have you been with anyone during our time apart?" she asked as she positioned herself. Anne shook her head as she waited breathing hard, not knowing what this would do.

Viktoria nibbled along her neck letting her fangs come out as she pushed the device into Anne. "I believe Dracul is a bad influence on me," she told the blond as she pushed deeper in, inch-by-inch. Anne opened her eyes at that remark and saw the blue eyes shining at her.

Buried so that the two were joined Viktoria began to push. Anne about screamed, it felt like she was being ripped apart. "Don’t fight it, my pet," Viktoria told her as she nicked a vein and gently lapped up the sweet drops that came to the surface. Anne relaxed and found that if she wrapped her legs about the dark woman’s waist it went even smoother.

Viktoria paced them, when Anne came close to coming she would slow down making the bound woman beg to be released in more ways than one. She would wait and once Anne was calmed she would begin again.

Anne’s neck tightened as she felt the fires of pure orgasm try to make it’s way through her from between her legs to her entire body. With Viktoria’s weight on top of her every inch of her skin felt alive. She pushed up into her to feel Viktoria begin to slow down. "NO!" she screamed out. She heard Viktoria chuckle. Anne glared at her as she had heated up from cooling down so many times over. "You are truly evil."

Viktoria grinned hugely as she leaned over and kissed her. "That’s all I wanted to hear." With that she brought her and Anne cried out her release. Viktoria slid out of her and pulled the device out then lowered herself and brought Anne with her mouth. No longer did she tease, but by the time she had pleased herself fully Anne had passed out.

Viktoria rose up and removed the bindings and settled in with the covers over them as she curled up around Anne’s beautiful body and slept the day away with her.

Anne’s mind rose into consciousness like it was stuck in honey. She felt warm in a cocoon and found a large naked body surrounded her. She looked up to see Viktoria while she slept. Her hands free she gently touched her. The dark haired woman was a bit on the cold side, so was Anne, which came with what they were, but where the two touched it was very warm.

There were a few marks from scars that were almost invisible. But she was soft and Anne smelled the sweet scent of sex on her skin. She caressed a nearby breast with her cheek and cautiously reached out and kissed the nipple. She heard almost something like a purr come from Viktoria, but the larger woman didn’t wake.

Anne was so tempted to just roll over and nestle into the woman and go back to sleep. But it nagged at her to check out Gabriel. She felt guilty that she hadn’t before, or at least insisted to know where he was. She moved and a blue eye opened. "Go back to sleep…" she said quietly.

"Gabriel…" Anne started.

"Shhh…" Viktoria whispered softly as she kissed her lightly and rolled over so Anne was beneath her and she held her close as she went back to sleep. Anne couldn’t help it; she fell back into a dreamless world.

Then the world erupted as the door opened violently with men coming in. In the lead was Vlad Dracul. He took in the picture before him. Two women in bed together, sheets rumpled and both of them naked and in a lover’s tangle of sleep.

"This is blasphemy!" he said angrily. "You are not above the law!" He was firmly against anything that he didn’t believe in, and those that went against him were killed, usually impaled, his favorite form of punishment. Women fell victim to it as well.

Viktoria gave him a cocky look and Anne peered out from around her shoulder scared to death.

"Take them!" he ordered his men. "Unholy creatures!"

The dark headed woman had risen and leapt out of the bed easily. "You just figured this?" she said with a smile as easily knocked him out of the way.

Anne sat up pulling the cover about her she got out of the bed right before a soldier could take a swing at her. Viktoria made sure Anne was behind her as she grinned. "Better make this your best," she warned the soldiers and the Prince. "It will be your last." She said it deliciously, like she was waiting for them to come so she could kill them.

They swarmed her and Anne ducked out of the way, strong and fast as she may be, but a fighter she was not. She made it to the doorway and looked back worried only to see that the naked woman had taken away someone’s sword and was using it to good effect. Half of the men were dead or wounded on the floor surrounding her with a darkness just oozing from her willing the men to be drawn in and die.

Anne pulled the cover around her tighter and headed down the hall to find a safe place knowing that more would be coming. Down stairs and through the halls she moved until she was lost. Then she heard a tortured scream. Shuttering she moved down and opened a door to find a pole in the center of the room. Anne turned and threw up in the hallway as tears came. Dark eyes looked up and Anne looked back at the figure impaled there.

Then she saw a woman at his feet doing something she honestly didn’t want to know about. Gabriel was already being tortured enough. Anne felt anger boil up as her eyes quickly searched the room and found a torch and pulled it out of its holder. She turned it so that the pointed end was facing the woman. At the last second the woman turned and Anne buried the end of the torch into her heart.

Anne looked at her mother for one last second before she turned to dust and then the figure imploded. Anne was stunned as she stood there still holding the torch.

"Anne," Gabriel whispered.

Anne began to cry as she looked to the bony knee nearby. "Gabriel, I’m so sorry." She should have helped him. "I’ll get you down," she told him.

"No," he answered. "Viktoria made sure it wouldn’t penetrate my heart." Anne looked up at him as the blood red tears streaked down her face. "That’s all you need to do."

Anne shook her head fiercely. "No! I can get you down!"

Gabriel couldn’t move it hurt so badly. "You can’t save me Anne. Even if you did I would be in so much pain what kind of life would I be living?"

Anne wiped away more of the tears.

"It wasn’t your fault, Anne," he got out as he coughed up a bit of blood. "It’s penetrated my lungs," he said as he wheezed out. "Please, Anne."

Anne faced him with the end of the torch; they looked at each other one last time. "You aren’t ready Anne. She’s too strong."

"I never will be," she told him somberly.

"Yes… you will," he said as more blood came out. "You made it to me, a first step. Take my seal and go to the vaults, she won’t find you there."

Anne nodded as more tears came and she pressed the end of the torch to his chest. "Thank you, Gabriel."

He smiled grimly as she pushed the wood through and he breathed out a sigh of relief as he turned to ash. Anne dropped the torch and covered her face with her hands and cried.

How she found a horse she’ll never know. But she rode, covered in the clothes off from a soldier she was forced to kill to get away, until she was in danger of the sun. She hid knowing that Viktoria had to stop as well. She could feel the woman behind her, giving chase. She dreamt as she slept. The dark haired woman was in her every thought.

She eventually made it to France, a month of hiding and finding passage where she could. She remembered the map and made her way down through the secret passageways until she came to what looked like a stone wall with a slight depression in it. Anne pulled out the small seal that she had picked up out of Gabriel’s remains and put it in the depression and watched as the stone slid back and Anne removed the seal and stepped inside listening as the door sealed shut.

It was massive. The ceilings were vaulted and every inch was covered with shelves and on them there was everything from loose pages to scrolls to bound books. They were the complete journals of every Gabriel. She swore she would go to Spain and retrieve Gabriel’s last one. In the center of the room there was a desk and a bed. Other than that the place was empty.

For the time being it would serve Anne well.


Between eban and a hard place



America 2100

Fate looked up from the book as an old Chinese man came into the room. His hair was gray and he was mostly bald. He gave Fate a gentle smile as he set down a cup on the table nearby and poured some tea into it from a pot he carried, which he then gently sat on the table nearby. Anne came in a moment later and gave Fate another smile as she sat down at the table and the man handed her the cup. She took it and looked to Fate. "Would you care for some?" she asked.

Fate nodded. "Sure." Anne looked to the old man who patted her arm and left the room. Fate watched him go. "Who was that? Another slave?"

Anne chuckled as she sipped her tea. "Hardly."

Fate bit her lip as she thought. "Viktoria doesn’t do things halfway, does she?"

Anne looked to the book and saw from the amount of pages turned where she was at in the journal. She smiled and shook her head. "No, she doesn’t."

"I bet she didn’t apologize for what she did to Gabriel, did she?" she asked.

Anne shook her head. "She has only apologized to me twice and that was only when our bond was threatened to tear permanently apart. And we were too early in our joining to have her worry about what effect Gabriel had on me."

"Did she find you?" Fate asked softly.

Anne watched her for a moment as emotions showed in her face. "Yes," she whispered. "But it took her a few years. I had dropped my guard for a moment out on the streets… she was waiting."

"What happened?"

Anne sighed and looked to the journals about her. "Well, you could read about it. But just our learning about each other and controlling our relationship to some kind of equality takes up a good portion of twenty five journals."

Fate looked surprised. "How many years was that?"

Anne smiled as she lightly scratched her chin. "I would guess about a hundred. Give or take a decade or so." Fate just looked at her and Anne grinned. "I thought we did quite well considering."

"So you’re equals?" Fate finally got out.

Anne teetered her hand back and forth a little. "Between the two of us, yes. Viktoria takes the lead but she doesn’t push me past what will hurt us. And she listens to me when it deals with others. Though when she’s really set at doing what she wants or gets angry it’s best just to stay out of her way." She watched the young woman. "It wasn’t until we were split apart that we realized just how much we truly loved each other, how much we needed each other."

Fate looked surprised. "I’m surprised Viktoria let that happen."

Anne gave her a sad smile. "She didn’t. The Order of Light found me once when Viktoria was gone for a week. They had heard there were vampyres about and though I did protect myself, I was caught anyway." She stood up and found a book some ways down the line from the book Fate had in front of her now. She moved the other one to the side and set that one down before her and turned to leave.

"Anne?" Fate called out softly before Anne left the room. The blond looked back. "Do you really love her that much?"

Anne smiled. "She is everything that I am."

France, 1800

It has been eleven years since I last wrote in this book. I have been to hell and back. The worst is not what I suffered at the hands of men, but that I was parted from Viktoria for so long. We have shared a life for over three hundred years, rarely separated for more that a few weeks. Eleven years! It was truly an eternity!

I can feel the pain within her as well. She wakes in the middle of the day to assure herself that I am in her arms. I myself wake shivering, remembering, but joyous that I am no longer alone. I also rejoice that I have rid the world of such a hideous place, I regret the loss of so many lives. But they would hunt my soulmate and me forever if I did not. And as I sigh to say it, I would not want Viktoria to suffer as I have. She would probably enjoy most of it, but the separation, no. I regret to say that during this time Viktoria has learned sorrow and fear. She has changed, and no matter what I will always love her.

Unknown, 1798

Anne woke feeling as though she had been run over by a horse. She felt bruises on her face that were slowly healing. Her eyes felt like someone had tried to melt them out of her head with fire as she groaned rolling onto her side. Raw marks on her body she sighed when she felt the cool straw and stone lay beneath her. She was back in her cell.

"An-nee," came a soft whispered.

"It’s alright Shing," she told her friend.

Anne sighed as curled up into a ball and let the pain roll past her as she cried. She cried more that it wasn’t a dream, that she wasn’t in Viktoria’s arms. She knew that the strong dark headed woman would fight fang and nail to protect her. And that she would have killed all of them that guarded this awful place.

Fa Shing, a vampyre from China, was in the cell to her right. The two had become very good friends for the time they had been in this dark dungeon. He was good of heart, just like her and the old vampyre taught her how to survive the cruel place. Shing had been there much longer than Anne; they figured he had been imprisoned by the Order for more that eighty years. Anne cried harder at the thought of being here for so long. Even as long as she had been here was hard enough. The prison she was in, as far as she could tell was made of solid stone, cut away, and bars of iron laid in with strong evil-warding talisman’s about to keep evil in or out. There were no lights, save when a guard came through. It was dank, and smelly and cold.

Noise of a guard came and there was a pinpoint of light in the darkness. Anne turned to face away from the entrance to the cell; no one would see her cry. She heard a bowl being slipped into a small opening at the bottom off her cell. "Eat up, daemon," he told her as he left.

Anne could smell it from here. Malachi, one of the Order of Light, leader of this place, and Anne’s greatest tormentor had given her some blood, to recuperate. She hadn’t had a drop of blood in three years. She was slowly killing herself, but she swore she wouldn’t allow herself to heal and give in for more of their ‘studies’ by letting that happen. She was so hungry she couldn’t stand it.

A rattle of the bars to her left signaled that her inmate on the other side smelled it. He was an ugly little creature called, Inek. He had been one of the first inhabitants of this place and he had been around for over seven hundred years, from what Anne understood, and he was basically insane.

He was a greedy little man with a mouth full of fangs and he was so pale he looked like a ghost. No one came near him; the last new guard got his hand gnawed off. Shing told Anne it was amusing though, they had to amputate what was left and Inek wore the bones from his hand braided in his long, stringy hair.

Anne then thought about a bath. The stench of the place permeated so that she didn’t even notice it anymore.

"Drrrrrriiiiiiiinnnnnnnkkkkkkkk!" Inek shrilled out. "Wwwwwwwaaaaannnnnttttt!!!"

Anne sighed. She wasn’t going anywhere near him. "Shut up, Inek," she said grimly. He looked at her and they stared at each other. Finally he shut up but didn’t move away as he looked to the bowl of blood on the floor. All that time around Viktoria did her some good, Anne decided. She found most of the stuff that scared the hell out of her before now looked incredibly cute when her lover did it.

"An-nee," Shing said again. Anne rolled over to look at him. He was an old chinaman who looked like he couldn’t move a stick let alone be a vampyre, or as they were called in China, Chi’ Lang Shih. "Drink it, you must," he told her in broken English.

She smiled sadly at him. "No, but you may have it."

"No! No! No! No!…" Inek started to scream. It was a rattle on the other side of Inek’s cage that made him shut up. It was a creature unlike any Anne had ever seen. Tentacles, scales, and more sharp teeth than a shark, it didn’t speak and it ate whole living things.

Anne crawled over to the bowl and slowly handed it to Shing. "Please," she told him.

The old man looked upset. "Good no to me," he said as he slid his arm through the bar and held the bowl. "If An-nee die."

Anne shook her head. "It doesn’t matter, Shing."

He looked at her seriously. "What of Vik-tor-a? She no matter?" Anne had told him about her lover and he knew when she cried it was because her heart hurt so much missing her. He had heard of Viktoria that alone gained Anne respect there.

Anne looked away. "Something good will happen." He snorted as he tilted the bowl up and pressed his face to the bars and drank as best he could.

Shing waited until she took the empty bowl back that he grabbed her arm. "Good, you are. Signs, symbols," he said, nodding to the talismans to keep them imprisoned on the bars and doors. "For evil."

Anne smiled sadly as she removed her arm from his hand. "No, Shing. I tried that when I first came, remember? I can’t get out either."

Shing looked at her as she moved wearily back to place the bowl at the door. "Heart good, An-nee." She looked at him and he nodded to the small hallway. "Men trust."

Anne smiled and shook her head as she lay down on the straw. "Not a vampyre." She half slept/half napped as she thought about what Shing said. Both Viktoria and Gabriel had told her that confidence and experience was the key to obtaining anything. Gabriel hadn’t shown her anything as underhanded and nasty as Viktoria had though. Anne remembered a few things in particular and a plan began to form; now she just had to wait for the right moment. And time was definitely on her side.

John, a new guard with the prison of Eban, went on his first walkthrough by himself. He had been shown where all the different atrocities of the world were, each on their own level. Some who were more worthy to watch and take note of sat in lower echelons. He shuddered at the story about one of the guards who got their hand eaten off by one of the abominations in here.

He opened the small door and settled on through holding his torch high he peered into the first one and saw an old man. He moved on to the next one and found that in the darkness there really wasn’t anyone in there, that wouldn’t be good to report back, so warily he stepped in a little closer making sure he could jump away in time if need be. Still he could see no one.

"Oy… show yourself!" he called out.

A creepy thing jumped up on the bars of the cell next to the one he peered into. He took a step back from it with a cringe. They watched each other for a second when he heard a voice next to him. "You’re English?"

John looked back and saw a beautiful young woman a bit younger than him not more than four feet from him. He jumped back startled; he hadn’t heard her come up. "What?!"

She smiled with a kind but sexy grin. "England, are you from there?" He stared at her for a long moment. "You sound as if you are."

He nodded. "You do as well, are you nobility?" She had a well-toned and mild voice of an upper class woman.

She grinned; he saw a beautiful woman and missed the small start of fangs. "Hardly, I was taught to speak this way. I grew up a serf." He looked at her disbelieving. She chuckled and it sent a shiver down his spine, he liked her, and found he wanted to hear her laugh again.

John left that area a short time later feeling quite happy and promising to come back soon to talk with her about England. He didn’t remember that she told him not to speak about this to anyone. But he did do as she asked.

Shing looked over at his friend who collapsed at the back of her cell. What she had done had taken a tremendous amount of control if you were weak. She had waited a long time to find the right ‘victim’ though. The guard was new, inexperienced and vulnerable.

Anne wasn’t sure how many days had passed, but John came more often and they talked. She expected him to come again today and she didn’t have long to wait as he came through, hardly glancing at Shing or any of the other he came right up to the door and smiled when she came out of the shadows.

"Anne," he whispered softly. He was very much in love with her and she knew it.

She smiled at him and gently slid her hand through the bars and caressed his cheek with a soft touch. "How are you, my love?" she asked him quietly. Her heart belong to one person only, all Anne had to do was imagine it was Viktoria she was touching and the love that reflected from her voice was very genuine.

He turned his face and kissed the inside of her palm. He didn’t notice it was stained with dirt or that Anne was malnourished and sick from her time in what she deemed ‘the mouth of hell’ with Malachi, the head devil of them all. "Wonderful," he said happily.

She smiled back. "Good." Then she stepped closer until they were almost touching. She couldn’t touch the bars less it burn her skin. But she came as close as she dared. She looked directly at him and her eyes hardened and his seemed to go blank. Anne removed her hand from his cheek and he stood there.

"Unlock my cell," she told him, the warmth in her voice gone.

He pulled out a set of keys on a big ring and jerkily moved to the door of the cell and opened it. Anne about cried to see this. She noticed and Shing watched her as well as the other. Anne stepped out of her cell into the hallway. John waited and she held out her hand. "Give me the keys."

He did. "Kneel," came the next order. He did this also. Anne moved around behind him and turned his head to the side. Just as she was going to sink her fangs into him Inek shrieked pulling John out of the trance. Anne used what strength she had left to hold him in place.

"Daemon!!!" he screamed.

She bit deeply and drank as fast as she could. She knew the cry would bring others. He struggled in her clutches tearing at her arms and pulling her hair but soon he was too weak and his hands dropped. Anne released him only to turn and throw up half of what she drank. She had gone for so long without feeding, her body wasn’t ready for it. She kept the rest of it down. The door opened to let in three men all in a hurry with torches and crosses. No one had ever felt the need to carry a stake in such a well-protected place.

Anne turned to look at them. Her chin covered in blood and a murderous look in her eyes. She grinned showing full fangs and the men backed up surprise. The one in front crossed himself as Anne came at them.

She killed all three without a single thought. Anger, desire and freedom were her advocates in not caring. She wrenched the door open finding no one else waiting to jump her she hurried and turned back picking up the keys she carefully opened Fa Shing’s door without touching the door itself. The two friends looked at each other and Anne hugged him. He held her close in return.

Anne let him go and looked to the other cellmates. She passed Inek’s cell even though he howled out to be released. She looked into the cage at the creature that even scared her. Male or female, she couldn’t tell.

"I don’t know what you are, but I’ll unlock your door. Just don’t do anything to me or my friend," she told it.

She heard a grumble that sounded like an approval. She unlocked it and opened it standing back a good ways near Shing. The thing slithered out and it’s razor sharp teeth clicked at her. "Yyyyoooouuuu," it hissed through its teeth. Anne and Shing were both surprised it knew how to talk. "B-lng to dissss-tr-yer."

Anne didn’t understand for a second. "The destroyer? Viktoria?"

It smiled and Anne cringed. "T-ll heeerrrr I ccccooommmm," it got out around the mouth full of teeth.

Anne didn’t have the opportunity to ask what it meant when it slithered past gnashing a couple of times at Inek then went on up the stairs. Screams were heard and Shing touched her shoulder gently. "Follow, is best," he told her.

The two did, leaving Inek to scream from his cage at them.

They still had to fight their way out even though the creature had cleared a path for them and the remains it left behind made Anne want to almost throw up again. Blood and gore dripped from the stone walls, pieces of bodies flung here and there. Shing stopped her when they reached one of the top levels. There were bits of sunlight coming through slats showing that they were to the top level. The creature was nowhere to be seen but the place was pretty much empty.

"Wait, we must," Shing said finding a corner of darkness to sit in watching the room they wanted to enter and the stairwell they just came up. Anne sat down next to him only to jump a little when she heard a man’s scream echo up the stairwell.

"I guess it hasn’t made it this far," Anne whispered.

Shing lightly tapped her forehead. "What thinking, An-nee?"

Anne sighed. "Just tired, Shing." She looked over at him. "What are you going to do now?"

He smiled. "Save me, you did. With you, I come," he told her.

Anne blinked her surprise. "What?"

He nodded firmly. "Care you for, I will."

Anne shook her head. "Oh, Shing. That’s really nice of you, but I can take care of myself…"

She tried to talk him out of it, he wouldn’t listen, and he firmly believed that only he alone could do this. After a moment Anne noticed that the screams had long stopped. She stood and so did Shing when she heard a scraping noise at the stairwell. Carefully Anne looked down the stairwell and found that a long stream of men, all guards were climbing the stairs quietly but quickly. In the lead was Malachi. Each of them holding a cross and a few stakes and they all had swords by their sides.

Anne shivered. She would rather die than go back to that cell. But she had a beautiful woman she wanted to go home to. The problem was that the two of them couldn’t fight all those men off. She was too weak and Shing couldn’t do it himself.

"What do you think, Shing?" she asked softly. "Die by their hand? Or by sunlight?"

Shing looked between the two ways out. Neither of them looked good. "Honor you, An-nee. For life," he patted his chest. He nodded to the men below. "Go to sun. I stay, fight, then come."

Anne smiled sadly and kissed his weathered cheek. "You are a true gentleman, Fa Shing."

He smiled and nodded to her. "True heart, An-nee. Go!" he told her as Malachi rounded the last level and saw them. Shing followed her to the first crack of sunlight and Anne ran as hard as she could towards the door. Malachi stopped when he saw this, holding his men off from attacking Shing and going after Anne.

"Let her go," he smirked. "I enjoy watching daemons bring on their own death."

Anne flung the door open and ran out into the sunlight begging Viktoria to forgive her. She tripped in the sand beneath her feet and fell to her knees waiting for the sun to turn her to ash. Her eyes ached at the brightness she had not seen directly for over three centuries. It was so beautiful to feel it caress her face as the tears came.

She waited then looked around. It stung her eyes, and her skin itched a little but she was still alive. Anne couldn’t believe it! She laughed and cried through the tears as she let the light fall on her.

Shing and the others watched stunned as he reached out his hand into the sunlight and it burned him. He jerked it back and looked to where Anne stood. Anne took a look back then took off.

"After her!" Malachi ordered. Shing was ignored as everyone ran after Anne.

"Sir, we haven’t found her yet," said one of the guards. It was almost nightfall and it seemed as though the vampyre had just fallen off the face of the Earth.

Malachi did not look amused. He glanced over to the Chinaman who was being properly punished as far as he was concerned. The old man was nailed to a cross at the other side of the room. He didn’t make a noise, but Malachi could tell he was in pain. Soon the cross would burn through enough of his flesh that he would turn to dust, but it would take a little while.

"Keep searching," he told the underling.

He was left alone with a few of his men standing guard while they searched the hills around them. It wasn’t long when the door opened again with no knock. He looked up to see Anne standing there with blood on her hands and face. She looked a little better but sun burnt. Malachi pulled out a stake and some holy water. Anne watched him warily. "What are you, daemon?" he asked. "I tested you, you are a vampyre."

Anne smiled as she kept an eye on the stake in his hand. "I am also the Harbinger of Light," she told him.

Malachi snorted at this as he rounded the desk. "No daemon is the Harbinger," he sneered back.

Anne looked to him as she kept her distance. "Gabriel believed it so."

Malachi’s eyes narrowed at this. "No Gabriel has been seen in a long time."

Anne nodded. "The last one died three hundred years ago."

"And you killed him, didn’t you?!" he said getting more angry. He plunged the stake at her throwing the holy water at the same time. The water hit her but did nothing and she grabbed the wrist with the stake in it and they fought. He almost got her a couple of times but finally she got the stake away and held him to the ground in a headlock.

"I did kill him. But he was already a vampyre," she said and Malachi held still, listening. "He left me the Gabriel Journals. I continue them on." She nipped his ear and he tried to jerk away. "I am going to give you a gift, Malachi," she told him. "The same gift Gabriel had. Let’s see how you deal with it."

"NO!" he screamed as she bit into his neck. Like Viktoria did with Gabriel she drank deep but gave back little. Malachi slumped down dead, only to awaken two days later in a grave out in the desert.

Anne turned to her friend and set about pulling the nails out. Shing dropped to the ground on all fours breathing heavily from the pain of his wounds. Anne helped him up. "It’s dark now. Let’s go home." She looked around for a moment. "I need to do something first."

France, 1799

Anne watched from the shadows as she roamed the streets of Paris. She and Shing had just arrived and Anne was glad to see one of the places she and Viktoria spent much of their time in. Only it wasn’t the way she remembered it. Everyone was scared, many soldiers about, and she was stopped at the gates. She spoke fluent French and she passed Shing off as a servant, which he had decided he basically was.

Finding a local tavern Anne inquired about what was going on. All of them looked to her like she was a mad woman. She smiled sadly; she had been away for many years and was now coming home to her family. Which was true.

She found herself in the middle of a revolution. A short while after Anne had been captured the commoners of France rebelled against the crown and the nobility of France calling them traitors to the people and country of France. King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette had both been beheaded some years back. Anne didn’t blame them, the crown really hadn’t been that good to the people, and Marie had rubbed her the wrong way on the one occasion when they met at a social gathering.

It was when they passed the raised stand with the large looming form of the guillotine with it’s huge angled, blood covered blade, that Anne had a good idea who had spurred the dissidents into rebellion and the bloody outcome to follow.

She and Shing went into the underground, the catacombs. Viktoria wouldn’t stay above if she were in her truly dark state. There were many faces Anne didn’t recognize as they walked the dimly lit caves. Anne didn’t like that fear that crept into her as the dank smell reminded her of the prison cell she spent the last eleven years in.

A very young and daring male vampyre came up to them. He wore a surcoat and a dirty old wig showing that he had been in the higher class before someone bit him. "You are very stupid to come down here, humans," he said to them trying to look as scary as he could, but Anne smirked.

"You’re going to have to better than that," she told him.

He looked a little taken back at this. "Don’t you know who I am?" he said ungraciously.

Anne gave him a once over and looked to Shing who didn’t understand any of what they were saying. "A pompous fool comes to mind," she replied.

He frowned at this. "I am Aubert the Bloody!" He waited for the fear to come as he showed his fangs and hissed. Both of them looked at him waiting for something scary. "I was sired by a woman who was sired by Viktoria herself!"

Anne snorted. "At least you didn’t say Viktoria straight off, you’re too snooty for her tastes."

He looked offended at this. "How dare you!"

"Shut up," came a quiet voice from the shadows. Anne had known someone was there, just not who it was. Anatoly stepped out and bowed to her. "Anne, the mistress said she felt something strange." He was missing an arm and an eye and he looked tired.

"Where is she?" Anne asked.

He nodded. "I’ll take you to her." He looked to Aubert. "Be out of the catacombs by dawn or I’ll kill you myself." Aubert looked shocked as they moved inward. "I believe Domino changed him just to annoy me," Anatoly told her.

They came to a large room where Viktoria was sitting in a chair facing the fire. Anne felt tears come as she quickly headed over and knelt slowly in front of the dark headed woman. Blue and green eyes met for a long moment and a strong hand lifted off the arm of the chair and gently touched the soft blond hair.

"Do I dream again?" Viktoria asked in a somber withdrawn voice.

Anne turned her head and kissed the palm of her hand then leaned into it. "No, no you don’t, my love," Anne replied with a catch in her throat. She placed her hands on Viktoria’s knees and it was a moment longer they stayed that way.

Viktoria picked her up without even rising and tucked her into her lap and held her close, Anne buried her face in her chest clutching her shirt hard and cried. Viktoria stared into the fire with her cheek resting on Anne’s head.

Anatoly and Shing watched as the two stayed that way for hours. Anne fell asleep in Viktoria’s arms and Viktoria didn’t let her go once. Finally she stood with Anne in her arms. She looked to Shing but her eyes seemed glazed. "Don’t let anyone disturb us," she told Anatoly. He nodded and she headed into her bedroom and shut the door behind her.

No one saw the two for a week. Shing waited in the sitting room meditating on the dirt floor. He had learned patience long ago. A week was nothing to him. Everyone that roamed the catacombs and dared to come anywhere near Viktoria’s place gave Shing his space. They knew that Anne had brought him along.

Viktoria came out alone and stood in front of Shing who rose gracefully. He bowed to her; he had heard of her and respected her place with Anne and her position in the realms of things dark. Then she surprised him by speaking Chinese to him.

"You are Fa Shing, Anne’s friend."

He nodded with a bow. "Yes, Anne and I spent her time in prison next to one another."

"She tells me you will not leave her," Viktoria told him.

Shing nodded again. "I may be one with the dark, but I believe we are of the same heart. She saved my life many times over at her own expense. I am honor bound to serve her." He looked up at the dark haired woman. "And I choose to as her friend."

Viktoria gave him a half smile. "As a servant?"

"If that pleases her so, yes."

"She will not tell you to do anything, I have brought servants and slaves for her before and she refuses them all telling them to be free. What makes you different?" she asked.

Shing smiled with a soft bow. "I have studied her for many years. I will learn what she enjoys and what she does here and I will do what is necessary."

"You will stay out of my way with her then," Viktoria told him firmly.

He looked up at her. "I believe you mean An-nee no harm. But if I must, I will defend her life from you."

Viktoria gave him a full smile. "I would expect no less."

He nodded. "She will not be pleased that we have come to an agreement on this."

Viktoria shrugged. "What will she do about it?"

They both smiled at each other. Viktoria motioned to a chair and Shing sat and she joined him in a seat across the way. "I have spoken with Anne many times over the past week," she said. "I know she would never lie to me, save it were to keep me from getting angry or if she thought it would harm me in some way." She looked at him and the blue eyes held his. "I have seen her wounds and her malnourishment, but she smoothes them over as if they are nothing." She sat back and settled in. "I will have the truth from someone."

Shing nodded. That was Anne, always to help others but make light of her own problems. "Then you shall have them."

Viktoria listened to Shing for over four hours as he talked. She was livid when he told her about the experiments Malachi would perform on the prisoners. To study them, find their weakness. Torture, is what it was. Viktoria wasn’t opposed to torture, it sounded like fun actually, but not when it came to Anne. She had taken her soulmate to bed and after the blond had rested she questioned her gently. And as usual Anne was vague. It almost got them fighting, but Viktoria reluctantly let it go. She was just so glad to have her back.

Then they spent the rest of the week touching and remembering each other and what they had missed for so many years. Anne had fallen asleep and she had gone out to get her someone to feed from when she saw the Chinaman waiting. Anne had talked about him; he was the one who got her through the first year with her sanity intact. Viktoria would never be indebted to someone, but she was glad that he was there. She was proud of Anne for what she did to Malachi; if she met him he would regret it. And the prison itself… She chuckled as she thought about what Shing said. Her Anne had gained a bit of a dark side from her time in there.

Domino stormed down the tunnels in the catacombs madder than a bat out of hell. It had been three weeks since any of the humans had seen Viktoria; she had been directing the commoner’s anger towards the slaughter of the nobles and any that collaborated with the crown. The people were calming down and a man named Napoleon was taking charge over the armies and forming a new government.

She had heard rumors that Anne had come back. ‘Bitch!,’ she swore to herself. She couldn’t stand the self-righteous pain in the ass! Ever since they found equality between the two of them life had just become dull for Domino. Viktoria, the right hand of death, sat around kissing and holding the smaller woman and pretty much thought about sex. It was enough to turn her stomach.

"She’s a bloody peasant!!" Domino yelled out letting the sound of her voice ring through the dark corridors. Domino herself was the daughter of a merchant at least! Not some lower-than-dirt scum!

She stormed into Viktoria’s main room passing by a little old man. She sniffed in distain. "She’s bringing the peasants in with her now," she muttered as she passed by.

The man watched curiously as Domino found that the only person present was Anne. She nodded slowly with a sneer on her face. Anne didn’t look to well. Very skinny, and more pale than usual, she was only in one of Viktoria’s shirts but she was still beautiful. ‘God damn her!’ Domino thought.

That should have been her! It would have, it was, until Anne came along. And now Domino was booted out from Viktoria’s bedroom to being a servant only.

Anne turned away from the fire leaving the poker she had used to keep the comforting fire going there to look at the angry woman storm her way. She sighed, she and Domino never got along. "Domino," she said politely, noticing that Shing had entered the room to watch from the shadows.

Domino’s smile was almost a snarl. "I see you’ve come back," she said ungraciously.

Anne’s eyes didn’t look worried, didn’t change. Before she would have been concerned that Domino was upset with her. "So I have," she replied blandly. "I see you’re still trying to be something you are not." She looked to the fine party clothes Domino wore. The hem was dirty and tattered from her race down through the catacombs. And if anything Domino was hardly a lady.

Domino looked ready to strangle her. "I see you’re quite uppity when Viktoria’s around to protect her weak little sex toy."

This was something Anne had heard numerous times before when Viktoria wasn’t around. "Well she isn’t. And I choose to be her ‘sex toy’ as you so bluntly phrase it." Anne arched an eyebrow at her. "What does that make you?"

Domino was stunned for a second. This was a new Anne. Sure they had argued, but Anne’s tone was barbed to hurt.

All that rage in her exploded. Domino jumped at her, fingers curled like claws and fangs extended.

Anne looked slightly surprised but she let her come. They both went down and Anne got both of Domino’s wrists to keep her from gouging her skin.

Domino lunged in, her fangs trying to reach her. "I will kill you, you peasant whore!" she screeched.

Anne got a knee in her gut and pushed her off as hard as she could. Domino scrambled to her feet as Shing came up. Domino got in a lucky punch at the Chinaman and he stumbled back. Domino thought nothing more of the old man as she broke off a section of one of Viktoria’s favorite chairs and came up with a section of pointed wood.

She smirked at Anne. "I hope you enjoyed your stay at that awful place." She lunged and the oddly made stake came close but Anne dodged away from her and they circled each other.

Anne frowned. "What?!" She didn’t keep her eyes off the stake, but her energy was lagging. She was going to have to end this soon. She sighed a little in relief when Shing got up and came at Domino from behind.

Domino smiled unaware of the flexible Shing coming at her. "It took a bit of doing. But I told someone who had connections with the hunters. And Viktoria’s convenient journey away…"

The towhead didn’t get anymore out as Shing tackled her from behind bringing all three of them down with Anne on the bottom. Shing was wrapped around Domino pulling the woman off and wrestling with her on the floor. Viktoria came into the room seeing the chaos then looking over at Anne lying still on the floor. Her heart about stopped when she saw a stake sticking out of her chest.

The dark headed woman’s rage almost consumed her to go tear the two fighting to shreds when Anne moved slightly. Instead she ran over and knelt down next to her, breathing hard to control her fear and anger. Anne opened her eyes slowly and looked down to the stake. Viktoria shook her head. "Harbinger you may be, but stakes as well?"

Anne winced as she pulled the pointy stick out of her. "Missed my heart." It hadn’t gone in too far on her right side. Anne put her hand over it as she bled and Viktoria pulled off her shirt and held it over the wound. It would heal, slowly.

"What is it with you and trouble?" Viktoria asked her.

Anne smiled painfully. She could see that Shing was doing his best to hurt Domino. Good for him. "Well, I do share my life with you," she replied.

Viktoria gave her a look then she let out a breath. "Which one do I get to kill?"

Anne gave her the look back and Viktoria growled. "Domino…" she said under her breath.

Anne gave her a little wicked smile. She crooked her finger and Viktoria leaned down and Anne whispered to her. Viktoria began to look enraged. Anne kissed her lightly. "Not too quickly," she finished.

Viktoria gave her the smile back, only it was an evil grin on her. She moved quickly, throwing Shing off like a rag doll and pinning Domino to the wall with her hand around her neck. "Domino…" she said pitifully. "My sweet little Domino…"

Domino looked rightfully scared. "Vikt…" she tried to get out as the fist around her neck squeezed harder.

"No…" Viktoria growled with her face right up near her victim’s. She didn’t look to good from the pounding Shing had given her. "You are not worthy to even say my name… now I just have to figure out the most amusing way to get rid of you," she said with contempt.

"Mistress," Shing said from where he bent over Anne tending to her.

She looked over at him and he raised his old eyes up to her then to the fire. "One has learned that beauty is most precious to some women."

Viktoria scowled trying to make sense of what he said then she smiled. "Anne you have a lovely servant there."

Anne couldn’t understand what Shing had said but when Viktoria picked up the red-hot poker she had left behind in the fire she looked at Shing. "You are a bad man."

Shing nodded as Domino screamed and the smell of burning flesh permeated the room. "Buddha forgive," he said as he cleaned her wound.

Anne raised an eyebrow at him wincing as he pulled a sliver of wood out. "Are you sure?"

He looked at her seriously. "Confucius?"

Anne clutched at her chest as she laughed.


The Dawn of a New Age




America, 2100


Anne sat content in Viktoria’s lap as Fate came out of the vault and found the two in the large sitting room. She sat down across from them, silent, she just watched with both of them paying half their attention to her and the other to each other.

"You two are strange," Fate finally said.

Anne chuckled as Viktoria nuzzled her lips to Anne’s cheek to have the blond turn her lips to her and they kissed. Anne finally looked her way. "That’s rather mild to some of the things we’ve been called." She watched the silent young woman a moment. "Did you finish that volume?"

Fate shook her head. "I think I’ve read enough." She looked between the two of them. "Has your life together always been so difficult?"

The two vampyres smiled flashing a bit of fang. "No," Viktoria said in her usual deep grumble. "When the world became enlightened the people stayed in their homes and forgot the old ways of the world. Fear of things that go bump in the night became a form of entertainment."

Anne snickered at that and Viktoria nipped her ear making the centuries old woman giggle and Viktoria smile. Anne kissed the dark haired woman’s nose. "You’re just upset that they made Dracula into a wimp." Viktoria didn’t say anything and Anne looked to Fate. "The children would come dressed as Dracula at Halloween to a house we lived in for a while during the 1900’s. Viktoria thought it was amusing that they admired such a dark creature. But they acted like idiots going around saying, "I vant to suck your blood!" Anne said in Bela Lugosi fashion making Viktoria cringe.

"Nosferatu was a good vampyre movie," Viktoria said. "At least for the time period anyway."

Anne sighed and leaned into her. "I thought you would have chosen something from Stephen King." She looked at her lover. "Salem’s Lot, or something along those lines." She looked to Fate. "We had to watch that movie at least thirty times…" she was cut off with a hand clapped over her mouth.

"’It’ was better than that, if you discount the ending," Viktoria said as Anne laughed behind her hand. Viktoria leaned in close. "I vant to suck YOUR blood," she whispered with the corny phrase but in full seriousness. Anne stopped laughing and they kissed.

Fate bent her head almost embarrassed at the making out and grinned. Anne’s documentation about the two was very correct. "Did you really know Vlad Tepes?" she cut in softly.

Viktoria nodded taking her time to look from Anne to her. "I find it odd that men who think they revere… Him…" she glowered and Anne smiled but Viktoria continued on. "They believe that this gives them the power to kill all around them." She shrugged. "Dracul was a cruel man before he ever came into his power. I only made it stronger."

Fate looked to Anne. "What about the Order of Light? Are any of them left?"

Anne looked thoughtful. "Malachi had a son before he was turned. And the line still exists as far as I know."

"It does," Viktoria said angrily.

Anne patted the strong arm about her waist in comfort. "Josias is the only other one I’ve heard of, there might be others," she said with a shrug. "But I don’t think they’re doing anything about the Order."

Fate nibbled on her bottom lip a little. "So who fights the demons now?" She glanced over at Viktoria who grinned.

It was Anne who answered though. "There aren’t as many vampyres as you think there are. Others of their own kind killed many of them off. Some died by stupidity and youthfulness, thinking they’re invulnerable. Large pockets dwell in France, America and China. The others are scattered on their own. There are other kinds of evil in the world though. Fate," she smiled, "has a way of working things out."

Fate smiled back at that. "So there isn’t a need for the Harbinger or the Destroyer anymore then."

Viktoria laughed and Anne smiled. "Hardly," Anne replied. "There must always be a driving force behind both good and evil in the world."

Fate shook her head not understanding. "I thought that’s what Satan and Christ were all about?"

"They’re what the average person believes in. It is all they can cope with. Those that see beyond into pure light or true terror are changed regardless and are no longer average," Viktoria told her. "There was no conflict in America for almost two hundred years. Power and greed still controlled the government, but it took time to build it up and then the depression came. Americans are not blinded by wealth and opportunities anymore. They are no longer average."

Fate looked to her. "But this…" she waved her hands about. "The war, it was you’re doing," she stated. Anne and Viktoria looked at each other silently. "Wasn’t it?" Fate asked when they didn’t say anything.

Shing came in bearing a thick book, which he handed to Anne and she smiled at him. "You’re very good at that," she told him

He bowed to her with a smile. "It is a gift."

Anne chuckled. "And full of yourself too."

Shing grinned and left bowing to Fate as well. Anne got out of Viktoria’s lap and moved to sit next to Fate pulling a coffee table up close and setting the book down on it. She placed it in front of Fate as Viktoria came over to sit on the arm of the small sofa and put an arm about Anne’s shoulder.

Fate winced at the huge book. "More reading?"

Anne smiled. "Look through it if you don’t mind."

Fate opened the cover. It wasn’t written in, it was a scrapbook, old, withered pages, and news clippings with pictures of people long dead. There were some that caught her eye —

Sixteen Hundred Lives Lost on the Titanic

There were men and women being escorted off the boat looking shell shocked with blankets around them as they disembarked from the Carpathia.

Hitler remains in Power

The dictator and his group of high-ranking officers look out to the loyal groups in lower fields of an arena.

Americans go to War over Oil

Young men and women in fatigues carrying assault weapons looked back at the camera.

Black Friday, Stock Market Crashes

View of a defunct Senate holding a crisis meeting with people in the background outraged.

There were others. The book was half full with clippings of catastrophes that had taken place over the past two centuries. Fate looked to her companions. "So you’ve been busy," she said pointedly to Viktoria.

Viktoria frowned and Anne leaned into her comfortingly. "No," Anne said quietly. "She hasn’t."

Fate looked to the dark woman. "If you didn’t do it then who did?"

Anne sat back a little deeper into Viktoria and Fate knew she was going to tell her something major. "We have a theory," Anne said. Viktoria poked her side lightly and Anne smiled. "I have a theory." Fate looked curious as Viktoria slid down into the seat by Anne holding her close.

"The last major wars took place during my stay at the prison, such as the French Revolution, which you read about. And the American Revolutionary War was right before."

Viktoria snorted. "I didn’t need to help them with that, push the English a little that they lose some land that isn’t theirs and off they go." Anne scowled at her reminding her of her heritage and Viktoria just grinned unrepentantly at her.

"As I was saying," Anne started again. "Between then and the first World War, there were only minor skirmishes. The first American Civil war, Spanish-American and so on, but it was relatively peaceful. Advancements were made, science flourished, medicine took a foothold and alliances were formed," Anne said proudly. Viktoria rolled her eyes at this. "The first World War killed more people than in any other war to date."

"They can’t prove that," Viktoria said offended muttering under her breath as she scowled at the fire.

Anne patted her knee. "The Second World War was two decades later, and that had even more reprecu.."

"I did a hell of a damn sight better than he ever could without guns!!" Viktoria said, as she looked black.

Anne looked to her lover. "I know you did, sweetheart, I was there. It was bloody and gory, much more than those. Very disgusting."

Viktoria didn’t look that appeased. She hugged Anne close like a child with a teddy bear as she grumbled something about Oppenheimer and Japan, but Anne let it slide. Anne waited until Viktoria had calmed a little then continued.

"May I continue?" she asked. Viktoria grunted and she cleared her throat. "When these things started Viktoria wasn’t there for them. And they were too major to not have something pushing them along."

Fate frowned. "Then who was it?"

"Look through those clippings again," Anne said. "Carefully this time. Take in everything and tell me what you see."

Fate was a little unsure about this but she did as she asked and sifted through them again. She shook her head and looked up. Viktoria made a contemptuous noise and got up and left the room. Fate watched her go and Anne patted her hand lightly.

"It’s okay, you’re new at this," she said reassuringly. "Viktoria isn’t known for her patience."

Fate looked to the scrapbook perplexed. "What am I looking for?!"

Anne watched her closely for a moment. "Let me tell you another theory I have." Fate sighed frustrated but waited. "From what you’ve read about my life," Anne said quietly. "What is the Harbinger of Light?"

Fate shook her head not understanding the point of the question. "Someone to stop the Soul Destroyer," she huffed out.

Anne looked thoughtfully at her. "What is the purpose of the Soul Destroyer?"

"To do evil, to kill things!" she said getting a little angry herself. "What’s the point of this?!"

Anne sat back a little. "Are you sure?"

Fate looked up at her. "Yes!"

Anne nodded slightly. "Fate, if neither Viktoria or I were immortal what do you think would have happened to us?"

Fate frowned. "I don’t know!"

Anne sighed. "You aren’t thinking, you’re reacting." She stood up and looked down at her. "Think about this Fate," she told her. "When light and dark combine and form a bond that is unbreakable, what happens to that opposition that was once there?" She stood there in the silence for a long moment. "Viktoria has actually killed less than you think, the same as I have never created any of the amazing things that advanced the human race. We encouraged the good and evil in mortals. Even the bad things have their purpose in history. Without it, how would we know what is good?"

"What’s your point?" Fate finally asked.

Anne sighed as she moved to the doorway. "Why do you think there was a lull in history and then the bad things started again when Viktoria had no hand in it? She’s content where she is. A little killing, a little bloodshed and she’s happy. Grand scale doesn’t concern her because I’m her focus in life, and the same with me towards her. Look through those pictures, remember what you’ve read, and what I told you tonight."

She leaned against the doorframe as Fate looked back to the book confused. "Fate?" The young woman looked up at her. "The Order was wrong," she said quietly. "Violence is not the way to defeat Evil. The Light will never prevail if it repeats past mistakes." They stared at each other for a moment and Anne smiled softly. "Also, there’s no such thing as a chance meeting."

She left and Fate stared at the doorway for a long time.

Three days past. Anne lay in bed with Viktoria wrapped around her. They had left Fate to the sitting room and the vaults with Shing keeping an eye on her.

"You’re still awake," Viktoria said as she gently rubbed the blond’s belly with soft strokes.

"Maybe I was wrong," Anne whispered to her.

"About her?" came the question.

Anne nodded and Viktoria kissed the top of her head. "What will happen if I am?"

Viktoria shrugged as she lowered her hand to cup the soft down between Anne’s legs and the blond bucked a little in surprise. "Don’t worry so much," she told her lover. "If she isn’t then you will find the one."

Anne shook her head as she arched lazily underneath Viktoria’s skilled hands. Slow love, what could be better? They lay sated when a knock came at the door. Anne pulled a sheet off with her wrapping it around her as she moved to answer it. There stood Fate, looking like the world had crashed in around her.

Anne held her close and drew her in.

"Do you understand?"

Fate nodded. "I think so."

Anne smiled. "Show me."

Fate led the half dressed woman back to the sitting room and they sat on the sofa, Anne arranging her sheet to allow her to sit. There on the table sat the four pictures she had noticed before.

"I didn’t see him until last night," she said softly.

A shaky hand reached out and pointed to the same man in each photograph, an officer being helped down from the Carpathia. "He caused the ship to sink," Fate said.

Anne shook her head. "No… you need to understand. He influenced, the ship was renowned that it WOULDN’T sink. He fed a strong belief to the captain that it wouldn’t. It was the crew’s decision, he only encouraged."

Fate looked doubtful as she nodded to the World War II clipping. "An officer under Hitler." Then to the War over Oil. "A soldier," she looked to Anne. "Wasn’t that important though?"

Anne looked at he surprised. "When is war the answer, Fate? When is war ever the answer?"

Fate nodded to the last picture at the senate meeting with the rioters. "A security guard." She sat back. "He’s a vampyre isn’t he?"

Anne shrugged. "I don’t know. But he’s over two hundred years old. He would have to be something beyond mortal."

"Wouldn’t Viktoria know?" came the reply.

Anne shook her head. "Who can you trust amongst a pack of thieves? None. Evil can’t trust other evils. They work alone." She nodded to the pictures. "When I realized that there was a new Soul Destroyer it came to me that I wasn’t the Harbinger anymore." She gave that a thoughtful look. "No… I will always be one; I am Viktoria’s Harbinger. I don’t believe in a particular god, but when I realized this. And I understood the gift I have in my possession to help the next Harbinger…" She looked to Fate. "I began my search for them. That I could teach them for what no one else understood."

Fate looked curious. "Then he is my soulmate?"

Anne shrugged. "No two are alike. Maybe you will have a constant struggle with him or maybe he will lead you more astray into the dark. I can’t say. But I can tell you this. No Destroyer went into anything half blind and lacking confidence."


Fate nodded. "What do I need to do?"

Anne smiled sadly. "You need time more than anything."

Fate looked scared. "You’re going to change me into a vampire?"

Anne shrugged. "I don’t have to, but the gift would help you greatly."

"What if I decide to ignore all of this? Just go on with my life?"

She got another shrug. "I don’t know. Destruction will run rampant without a Harbinger to temper the Destroyer."

"So it’s you and me?" Fate asked.

Anne laughed. "Hell no! Viktoria wants you to kick the daylights out of him! She still furious that he has guns and nuclear weapons to work with."

"And if he finds true love," Viktoria whispered in Fate’s ear as she slid a quick arm about her shoulders holding her tight. "Then I still win."

Fate struggled. "No!" A hand gripped her hair and tilted her neck to one side and Fate looked to Anne in horror as she felt a tongue rasp along her neck. "Anne?!" Anne sat back and watched. "You lied!!" Fate said as she felt a nick at her neck.

Anne sadly stroked her cheek as she leaned forward. "No, it just not much of a choice."

Viktoria held Fate tight as Anne bit into Fate’s neck and drank. Fate clawed at them only to drink from Anne’s wrist before she died.

Anne wiped bloodstains from Fate’s mouth as Viktoria laid her back. "In time," she whispered as she looked to her soulmate. "She’ll understand."

Russia, 2145


Dead lay everywhere. The stench of rotting corpses overwhelmed even Viktoria’s senses. The worst outbreak of Influenza the world had ever seen, drugs didn’t do anything for the mutated strain and hundreds upon thousands were dying all because the government wouldn’t institute good hygiene in the highly populated area.

Anne held Viktoria’s arm tight. She hated stuff like this. She hated so much chaos around her. "What do you think happened?" she asked quietly.

Viktoria shook her head. "I don’t know."

"What do you think happened to Fate?"

Viktoria sighed as she wrapped her arms about her shivering soulmate. "I don’t know." She lifted her head. "Death comes, I can smell it." She turned her smaller companion away. "The Destroyer prevails."

Anne sobbed into Viktoria’s jacket as they go back to the underground far from the mess they walked through.

Not too far from where Anne and Viktoria had passed by a figure watched until the two are out of sight.

"No one will ever have that love," they said softly and sadly. "One day, I may."

They turn to leave only to look back at a man held against a tree with a long bladed dagger buried up to his chest, only a few hours before the dagger had removed his hands that were laying at his feet. It was the man in the clippings that Anne had. His eyes were open and he was staring at the figure in disbelief. The figure patted his cheek gently.

"I’m not the innocent she believed me to be, Malachi."

Fate looked down at the man who was the son of the Malachi, the man that imprisoned Anne centuries ago, and later changed his own son into a vampyre. "But then I was raised by both a Harbinger and a Destroyer. My soulmate is out there and I WILL find them."

Snow started to fall coating the scene with a hue of pure white. Fate glanced back at him, leaving him for the morning sun to finish him, before she walked away.

"One day."

The End

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