I crept back into my corner, watching the tapestry flutter behind her. How..? She had crept in like a ghost, scaring me when I turned. I had been in a reverie, playing my piano mentally. It was the only way to stave off the longing for the ivory and ebony beneath my fingers. Yet, she didn't seem disturbed by my habits. On the contrary, she wanted me to play for her. I had loved La Fille aux Cheveaux de Lin since I was a new vampire, and watched his music fade into lift music, or background music. Her eyes shone as she implored me to play on.
So ,I let the music take over my fingers, my mind, and I played for her. I wanted her to feel the notes floating in the air, like I did. I still couldn't believe that she liked Debussy.. that she wasn't running from me. I was a monster- I had killed her leader. Yet she sat at my side, her head on my shoulder, asleep, lulled by the music. The moment seemed fragile, like a soap bubble. I knew that soon it would occur to my guards to check on me, and soon she would be gone. So I rested my head on hers, and closed my eyes, savouring the music still running through my mind, and the slow rise and fall of her breath.
Then, scuffling from afar shook her awake, and stole her away to her chambers, leaving me alone once more. The smell of salt lingered on my clothes, in the air. I prayed that when they came back for more, that they would not detect this, for that would be her downfall and my death. Then, they all burst in- hundreds of wolves. I was hauled up, gagged, tied and placed in a chair- ironically, a throne. If only they knew this would be my place if I was to go home. Then, silence fell over the room. Catherine stood on a table, still clad in her nightgown, her eyes wide. " I have news of the vampires," she said, her eyes darting to mine. I held her gaze as long as was safe, and then closed them. " They write to us about N- the prisoner. " she said, cursing her near lapse. The wolves relapsed into low murmurs. What could they want of him? She eyed them, and they all quietened, expectant and straining to hear of the news.
She looked to the floor, steeling herself to say those words necessary to sate their appetite. Then, she held their gaze, their leader once more. " They have moved into the next town. Our territory. They say to avoid the spilling of more blood, we must give up our prisoner to them. " A wolf stood up, and I saw the swirling mark on his back, marking him Catherine's equal. " We do not bow to vampires, Catherine. We keep their little pet and watch them squirm." A cheer went up, and Catherine's eyes flashed. I willed her not to do anything stupid. If we were to be found out, she would fall into harm, and I could not bear that. She swallowed, and stood taller. " Rowan, you forget where they are standing on this. If they are provoked, they will attack the citizens of the town, and pin it all on us. They have the power to. They have only desisted to do so due to their egos. We as a race could not take the fallback of that much coverage, that much attention. We would be driven abroad, and leave them the whole of the land. We cannot. We have to give in order to receive. We have to meet them halfway. " A gasp rippled around the room, and Rowan's face paled. In my head, cellos burst into life, serenading the empty room with the finale of Debussy's Sonata in D minor.
The wolves all exited the room, chatter filling the room. Rowan stormed from the room, his face mutinous. Only Catherine remained, her face solemn. " Noah, what do I do? If I take them into war, we will lose further numbers. If we do not, they will bring the world upon us. Either way, we are a time bomb. What are you to them?" she soliloquised, rushing to my side. " I am an Old One, " I replied. The words burst out of me like bullets. I felt so conflicted saying them, my vampiric pride bursting into life. I felt like the betrayer, and yet her open face, so full of distress, coaxed the words from my mouth. " I am to them what you are to your people. In short, they will do whatever it takes to get me back. Even if it means ripping the world in two." She slumped down, her mind spinning. " You must fight. " I said. " Vampires are proud, and malevolent. They will take your reluctance as an invitation to siege this palace, tear it stone from stone, kill you all, and pluck me out. You must fight them, and fight for your right to be. You must show them that the death of your leader will not go unseen, unpunished. You must revenge him, and show them that you are strong. "