17 years later
Having been trapped in the far wing security tower in her father’s castle, Princess Erinna’s only form of entertainment was the stars she could see from her balcony window. Her only knowledge was what she had found out in the rounded walls of her room in the tower. The only life experiences she knew being the ones in sappy romance novels that her governess snuck in for her. And the only people familiar to her being her father and her governess Melissa.
It was only natural for her to wander about the world beyond her tower, as she stood at her balcony. But something caught her attention.”Is something wrong Erinna?”Melissa asked her brow creasing in concern.
“You remember when I told you about the dark cloud that formed just below the Southern Cross seventeen years ago?”Erinna asked Melissa, her eyes narrowed in concentration.
“The one you received in your visions?”
“Yes. Well it has seventeen stars now, one has been added each year it seems. Only one is left to fully circle it.”
Melissa could tell that there was something that her princess and charge was not telling her.
“Do you think that it has something to do with you?”
“Well it did appear when I was born. But what I don’t understand is why it’s completing with eighteen years. And no, I do not sense my death approaching, but I keep on seeing this face...”
Before Erinna could even begin explaining to Melissa her thoughts, the eighteenth star appeared and immediately a bolt of lightning joined the circle of stars before striking down and hitting Erinna square on the head. The face that had been the subject of her dreams was the last thing that she saw in her mind before being sucked into a vortex of nothing and ultimate darkness.
As he viewed the beautiful creature now lying on his king-sized custom made bed, the Count had hard time breathing. Disbelief, awe, gratitude, love and possessiveness were a few of the choice emotions that nearly rocked him off balance. He had never felt more unworthy as he did in that moment, looking at such untainted purity.
Dracula had always been a proud vampire, conscious of the fact that he was the oldest being on earth, above all those that served him, both in physical and supernatural strength. But in the face of this harmless, naïve and defenceless girl; he felt foolish and clumsy; his throat dry and his palms sweating. Definitely not his usual confident self. He didn’t know how he would conduct himself around her, what she would expect of him, whether he could live up to those expectations. He didn’t know how to deal with the living except killing, torturing and defiling them. He intended to do neither of those things. Not to his bride; his angel, sun, moon and stars. His only source of light in his damned existence.
In the many years he had lived, the Count had met a lot of women of different races, colouring and height, but none could be considered even half as beautiful as his bride. Erinna had a rare beauty that none other possessed. Her features were tinged with a fragility and innocence that made him immediately want to protect her, even from himself.
The colour of her glossy silken hair blended in with his black Egyptian cotton sheets yet managed to be outstanding. Its colour rich and dark like the essence flowing in her veins, not some coppery ugly imitation that was possessed by the so-called redheads he had encountered. Her pale skin, rosy lips and symmetrical nose all aligned perfectly to give the most beautiful face that the universe had ever conjured.
Suddenly the 2000 years that he had waited for her became mere numbers and ceased to matter. The elf princess stirred in her sleep before her eyes fluttered open nearly giving the Count a heart attack. She had the greenest most beautiful, most expressive eyes he had ever had the pleasure of seeing. He gazed into their child-like innocence and he was humbled.
She blinked, regarding him like a puzzle she was trying to solve. It took only a second for recognition to flood her features. She had probably recognised him.
“I know you,” she confirmed his thoughts in the most angelic, sweet-accented voice he had ever heard.
“I’ve been told of your visions,” he replied truthfully. Of course the magic the Elves had webbed around her had prevented him from getting a full detailed account of his bride, but every spell had loopholes. And he had managed to exploit a few to learn some of Erinna’s abilities and her name, even as her father tried to make her nonexistent to the world.
Besides, it had been no real hardship, the young princess could not even control her own gifts and her telepathy had been all over the place that it was so easy to pick on her thoughts and exploit them.
“By Melissa?” she asked innocently.
“You’re not the only one with a few tricks up your sleeve my love.”
He could see that she did not appreciate his last remark. But if her nose was going to wrinkle up in that cute way every time he annoyed her, he might just do it every opportunity he got.