Welcome to Draegan Manor, a manor about to fall into the hands of a new sucessor. But this sucessor has a secret that he can't share, and an eternal torment who goes by the name of Rose.
Follow the tales of the Manor after it falls into new hands and everthing begins to change. For better, or for worse? That's the big question.
(Likely slow updates - having lots of computer problems at the minute. Comments and Criticism welcomed :D.)
Part One – Draegan and Rosie
It was well past midnight and very cold. The moon had risen long ago, and its pale light reflected off the frozen lake like carelessly scattered diamonds. In an odd way it seemed like the frozen water was reflecting the starry sky above, making the universe feel so big, yet so small at the same time. It was easy to get lost in the beauty of the night, but Draegan couldn’t afford to forget the fate than awaited him when the sun arose once more.
With it, the morning light would bring his ‘destiny’ as his father called it. His father would hand everything he owned to him, and he would be the Lord of Draegan Manor. As his fathers’ only child he’d known since he was born that one day the manor would fall into his hands, unless his death preceded his fathers’ – an unlikely occurrence. As a child he’d welcomed such an idea. This entire manor and its surrounding lands, all his, to do as he pleased - To have control over all of the residents and on-goings of the place? He could think of nothing more fantastic than owning the property at such a young age. But he was a child then, and he was innocent and naïve.
Times had changed since then and he was no longer that petulant, power-crazy child. Dreams of owning the manor had fled many years ago, and he’d managed to repress all thoughts of this day, hoping that if he didn’t think about it, it would go away. Of course, that was rather naïve of him too. But what else was he to do? He’d have to give up so much when the manor fell into his hands – including love. Responsibility would fall onto his shoulders with a force he’d never experienced before. His father was wrong in his belief that Draegan was ready to take over for him. He was very, very wrong, and Draegan had no doubt that the kingdom would suffer for it.
He sat at the lakeside, reminiscent and detached – separate from the world just for one night. A million thoughts raced through his mind; memories of the last few years. One thing held its fort, foremost in his mind – a face so familiar that he was sworn never to forget. Rosie - his dear, sweet Rosie.
He visualized her in his mind, remembering every curve, every blemish, and every crease and line of her skin. He remembered her sweet, flowery scent that always overwhelmed his senses and the softness of her gentle touch – a reminder of her innocent, human nature. She was his polar opposite in almost every way, but that had never stopped the chemistry that blossomed between them – the heat that tore at their souls and made them one. In his mind he saw her eyes, blue as fresh cut sapphires and as bright as diamonds; eyes that saw though him, deep into his very soul, into the very core of his being. There was nothing he could hide from her except the one thing that kept him from giving himself wholly to her. The demon within.
He let the minutes pass him by, trying desperately to figure out what to do. How did he tell Rosie that he’d never see her again? He thought about it long and hard. He didn’t want to give her up; he’d do anything to keep her by him. But even when this manor was his it was a rule he could not break nor change. It was one of the strictest laws of the demon world. 1. Never let a human know what you are. 2. Never fall in love with a human.
He’d already broken one of the laws years ago, and now he feared he may have to break the other. Whatever he did the outcome had to be the same. He could never see Rosie again. He had to convince her to stay away from him for good. The very thought made his heart feel like it was being ripped out of his chest. As a child he’d never believed in love. His father and those around him had always told him that a demon didn’t have a heart and could never love – only lust. After only a few brief meetings with Rosie he knew it was all lies. He did not lust for her, he loved her – dearly. Now, with the upcoming morn, he was going to have to shatter her heart, and in doing so, shatter his own.
A bird chirped somewhere in the distance. Draegan looked up. Sure enough a few weak rays of sunshine were beginning to poke up over the horizon and casting a pinkish glow over the sky. He rubbed his eyes and pushed himself up off the ground. He winced and stretched, trying to get some feeling back into his frozen and unused muscles. He’d sat out all night without realizing quite how much time had passed, and now time was running short. It was now or never. He needed to talk to Rose.
The lights were still out inside the manor; it was too early for most of its occupants to be up and too cold anyone to want to be. Even through his jacket Draegan could still feel the cold biting at his skin. He felt damp too. He walked in the opposite direction of the door, and headed to the drive way that would take him down to the village. He’d have gone on horseback if it wasn’t for the fact that the hooves would have made a right racket going down the cobbled drive, likely waking everyone in the process. Besides, he couldn’t help but be glad of the delay. Draegan knew he couldn’t put it off any longer but he wasn’t going to purposely speed it up by riding to Rosie’s house. He looked at the slowly rising sun again. She wouldn’t be up quite yet anyway.
He made it to the main road without a problem and down the outskirts of the village without seeing a single passerby. Not that many people went to the manor, but they had been known to steal into the crop fields early on the mornings before anyone would be around to spot them. Crops grown on the manors land seem to flourish in comparison to those on the peasant’s land, even at this time of year.
He walked through the desolate streets with ease, the path he took etched into his mind from walking it almost daily for the past few years. This, he thought, was to be the last time he walked this route again. Even knowing this fact he paid little attention to his surroundings, his mind too focused on what he was about to do. This morning, he didn’t bother to stop and admire the decorations placed on the pine trees in front gardens, or the way the robins danced on fences as they chirped their merry tunes. He glanced briefly at the time as he passed the church, but paid no attention to anything else beyond that and the crunch of snow under his heavy boots.
He found himself outside of a familiar door in no time at all. He rested one hand on the gate and closed his eyes, breathing deep. Despite how much he loathed what he was about to do, he set a look of grin determination upon his face as he reopened his eyes. It was now or never.
The front door was unlocked as usual despite several tellings that even in a small village like this one it still wasn’t safe to leave your doors unlocked – especially not for a young woman who lived alone. He pushed it open slowly and stepped through. A flowery scent met him as he entered. That was something else he was going to miss, but he pushed those thoughts from his mind. The hallway he found himself in was dark but he could pick up the smell of coffee brewing coming from the small kitchen at the back. He followed the smell.
He stopped in the doorway to the kitchen and watched as a familiar head bopped around making breakfast. His Rose, always bright and always lively. Would she be after this? After what he was about to do? Would he destroy her? Or would she just move on easily? More thoughts he shoved furiously from his mind. For several minutes he simply stood there, watching, taking in the beautiful sight for the last time.
The smell of buttered toast soon joined that of the coffee he’d smelt when he first walked in. Sitting in her kitchen, buttered toast and coffee, sweet words and tender kisses… gone. No more. From now it would a breakfast of cold silence and icy shadows. Dark walls would replace beige ones, stones floors replace wooden, and an empty hearth to replace a burning one. Another result of what today had in store for him.
Rosie didn’t notice him for several minutes as she bustled around the small kitchen making breakfast, only once she’d placed her plate and mug on the table and started to sit down. She jumped and gasped at seeing someone unexpected standing in her doorway. But a dawning realization quickly spread over her face, her mouth forming a small ‘o’ that quickly became one of her dazzling smiles as she launched herself across the room at him.
“Draegan!” Her small form flew at him and arms wrapped around his neck. He stepped backwards with the force of her impact. His arms automatically went to her waist, steadying her. She buried her face in his neck and sighed. He managed to pick up her muffled, “I missed you.”
Draegan tensed and bit his tongue to refrain from repeating the words back to her. He desperately needed to keep his poker face in place on this task. Rosie must have felt him tensing and pulled away. Her eyes darted across his face, eyebrows pulling together. She placed one hand on the side of his face and held it there. He didn’t lean into her touch, his face remaining clear of all emotions. “Draeg, what’s wrong?”
He swallowed, hard. “We need to talk.” He guided her back towards the table and sat her down in front of her breakfast. He took the seat furthest from her, avoiding looking at her face and the hurt he knew would be there.
“Draegan, what is this?” The hurt flowed out through her words too as she tried to figure out what he could possibly be doing. “Draegan…”
The wooden table quickly became a source of great interest to him. What should he say to her? He really should have thought his next words through, rather than having to go out on a whim. He stayed silent for several minutes, his Adam’s apple bobbing rhythmically as he struggled to find the right words to say. He didn’t want to hurt her, he loved her too much to cope with seeing her face fall and that look of sorrow fill her eyes at his expense, yet at the same time his words needed to be harsh enough to keep her away.
Rosie didn’t say anything while he sat there, just watched him patiently, though from the way he could see her hands fidgeting that patience was running out. Now or never, he reminded himself. “Rose…” He took a deep breath before continuing. “We can’t do this.”
“Can’t do what? What are you saying?” Her voice dropped to hardly more than a whisper, the words sounding almost forced.
He looked up at her then. Beautiful blue eyes met his and locked on them, making it impossible for him to pull his gaze away. Her front teeth worried her bottom lip and the cadence of her chest seemed to increase, deep, quick breaths that gave her unease away. “This. Us… We can’t do this anymore.” She opened her mouth to speak but he cut her off. “Don’t. Don’t try to convince me to change my mind. Things happen Rose; things change. This is the last you’ll see of me Rosie, please; don’t try to make this any harder than it has to be.”
He could see her battling to keep her emotions in line; to try and find the right words to say. He took those few seconds just to look at her and make sure he had every part of her committed to memory. If she were to be his torment from now on, then the least he could do was make sure he knew every detail of her memorized right down to the faint freckles scattered over her pale cheeks and nose. Seventeen freckles he remembered; three on her nose, six on her right cheek and eight on her left. He could remember all the nights he spend curled next to her as she slept peacefully, counting each of those light tan-colored marks over and over again. These days he was sure he could reach out and trace each one with his eyes closed.
“And you can’t tell me what it is that has happened?” His eyes jumped quickly back up to hers. The hurt and sorrow he didn’t want to see in her eyes was as clear as the cloudless sky he could see beyond the kitchen window.
“No, I can’t. Not this time.” Draegan sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. Staying up all last night was beginning to catch up with him and he was losing the face of indifference. He stood quickly. “I should go.”
“Wait…” Rose hesitated a few seconds before pushing away from the table and walking slowly towards him. He didn’t step back; just let her come to him. Stopping right in front of him, she reached up and placed both hands on either side of his face and looking deep into his eyes. He didn’t fight the urge to place one hand on the small of her back and the other just between her shoulders, and that was all the encouragement she needed. She pulled his face gently to hers, eyes closing as their mouths met. The kiss started slow and weary, but soon became fast and desperate. Draegan could taste the salty tears that fell from her eyes and trailed in a steady river down her cheeks, some gathering upon her top lip. He nibbled it lightly, the salty taste driving him wild. He didn’t want to stop. Didn’t know how to.
Rosie pulled away first and rested her forehead against his, her breathing deep. Her hands fell from his face and slid down to rest on his chest. They clenched into fists around jacket, keeping him from moving away. He brought one hand up and ran in through her hair, letting the soft strawberry-blonde curls run lightly through his fingers. He’d always loved her hair…
“No.” She closed her eyes briefly and bit her lip. Her hands moved to the top of his jacket and started working the top button loose. “Please, Draegan…” She tripped over her words and the tears fell thick and fast down her cheeks once again.
She didn’t need to finish her sentence for him to know what it was she was about to say. He knew her too well for that. He wrapped his arms around her waist and picked her up, backing them out of the kitchen and down the still-dark corridor. Her arms went around his neck and she buried her head against his chest again. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs and picked her up properly, one arm behind her knees. He carried her up and along to the door at the end, pushing it open easily.
Rosie lifted her head then, eyes locking with his once again. She pulled his face to hers and kissed him again; another desperate kiss into which she poured all her emotions, and so did he in return. Their emotions seemed to fuel their actions as he lay her down on the bed, resting above her. Her hands returned to the buttons of his jacket and he shook it off quickly.
Hands battled hands as tongues battled tongues in a frenzy of desperate need. Rose made quick work of his shirt and it joined his jacket on the floor, hers not far behind it. His mouth returned to hers, then moved to her jaw, and then her neck. Her skin seemed to burn beneath his hands as her fingers worked desperately at the button on his trousers.
He thought about putting a stop to it, but what was the point? Why not indulge in this intimate act just one more time with her? This is what she wanted, and who was he to say no? A final moment of bliss with her to commit to memory - a final moment with Rose that he would never forget.
He hips rocked and her back arched up to meet him, her hands gripping at his shoulders. She cried out his name when he pushed inside her. He offered himself to her just as he was, and took her just as she was.