A scream caught in my throat as I backed up from Ronah. I could see it in his eyes; the anger, the way he wanted to wrap his hands around my throat and choke the life from me. I closed my eyes and braced for an impact that never came. Instead, he was the one to scream, but it ended with a gurgling, causing me to open my eyes. Braddock stood behind him, his mouth covered in the blood that poured out of Ronah like a geyser. Tears fell from my eyes before I could stop them as Braddock finished draining Ronah of his blood. He let the body fall to the floor with a lifeless thump, and his feral eyes met mine. For a second, I felt like I didn’t know him anymore, but I couldn’t blame that on him. After all, it was my fault he’d been turned into a vampire.
Braddock came to me and scooped me up in his strong arms, carrying me out of my former master’s house. The cold night felt good on my heated skin as he raced at an inhuman speed through the streets toward his home. He let me down at the threshold, opening the door and ushering me in. I felt drained after everything that had happened, and Braddock could tell. He helped me bathe and laid me down on his bed, stripping before joining me on it. His warm arms wrapped around me and made me feel so safe and secure. Soon, soft touches turned to heated kisses, and before I knew it, we were intertwined as we had been many nights before. This night, however, was far more different than I could have ever expected.
As he moved with me and made love to me, his lips pressed against my neck with a fervor I couldn’t place. Before I could react, I felt a pressure on my neck, and a burning like I’d been set on fire. I tried to scream, just like I had earlier that night, but no sound came out. The image of Braddock ripping Ronah’s throat out with his fangs came to mind as I faded out of consciousness.
The guard’s shouts woke me from my dream. I sat up stiffly, rubbing my neck. I had dreamed of my creation for the first time in a century. As I rose out of my cot, I wondered why now, 500 years after the fact, I was still reliving that night in my sleep. I quickly put on my uniform before heading out into the hall. The guard motioned for me to follow him and took me down a series of halls to the throne room. I felt nervous as I approached. I’d been in training for years because of one simple mistake, and today was the day I’d be assigned my duty.
As we entered the spacious room, I couldn’t help but notice how the room was decorated. It seemed like the queen of all vampires had a taste for the dramatic, as the room looked like a throne room out of a tv show set in medieval times, complete with two huge, ornately decorated chairs and a long red rug leading to them. I’d never met the queen, but from what I heard about her, she wasn’t very friendly. I’d soon learn that for myself as she entered the room from a side door. Everyone bowed as she took her place on the throne to the right.
“Why am I here?” She asked with a snide tone. The guard next to me took a step forward.
“To assign Lennox to a duty. She murdered a guard and has been training for the last ten years to take his place.”
“Ah, yes, that whole debacle at the underground meeting spot of those heathens.”
“You mean the fight club,” I supplied, and queen Valentina gave me a cold stare.
“There is no such thing.”
“Silence!” Valentina shouted, and I shut my mouth. “To imply that any of our kind would participate in something so pointless and flashy is an insult. The facts remain: you killed one of my best guards in cold blood. So you’re going to take his place. We’ve had one of our spies filling his spot, and I need that spy back in the field. So effective immediately, you’re the newest guard to king Elias.”
I hid my surprise by looking down at the floor. I was expecting something else, anything else, really. Guarding the king was not one of the scenarios I’d imagined for years on end. I’d heard that he and the queen were nearly polar opposites. Where she was cold, harsh, and abrupt, Elias was kind, pensive, and warm.
This wasn’t going to be easy, strictly because our personalities would clash and it would end up in a horrible mess that might just mean my death.
“Begone!” Valentina shouted and it echoed through the room, sending chills down my spine. Beautiful she may be, but she was a major bitch, and that in itself made her extremely ugly. “Oh, and Lennox?” She rang, stopping me dead in my tracks. “If you step out of line once, I swear to you, you’ll be begging for death.”
I quickly exited the throne room, heading down the corridor that led to the king's chambers. As I approached, I saw the spy that Valentina was talking about. She was beautiful, with raven black hair and brown eyes that resembled milk chocolate. To say I was taken aback would be an understatement.
“You must be my relief,” she remarked, eyeing me up and down with a wink. “Valentina said you would be a girl… I just didn't expect to find someone as pretty as you.”
“Are you flirting with me right now?” If she was, I wasn't complaining. She was one of the most gorgeous girls I had ever seen and I would not mind getting to know her.
“Maybe. You are extremely beautiful, and those eyes… They look so sad. It's hard not to want to learn why. The king will just love you.” Shit… the king. I totally forgot why I was even there.
“While I don't hate what's going on right now, can we stick a pin in that?” I questioned, and she just smiled. “What do I need to know about the king?” I quickly changed the subject.
“The king is a very sensible man. All you have to do is do your job and you two will get on fine. And as for our previous conversation, I want to get to know you better. Will you let me?”
“Yes, if you step out of my way and let me report for duty.”
“With pleasure,” was all she said before disappearing through the corridor. I stood in front of the tall door made of dark oak. To say I was a little intimidated by this door alone would be an understatement, but still, I knocked.
“Enter,” a deep British voice boomed through the thick wood. Hesitantly I did what was commanded of me. As I entered, I noticed his tastes weren’t as loud as his wife's. In fact, it was the exact opposite. The room was painted a sea blue and the contents in it were very minimal.
As I stepped further into the room, I noticed a dark blue couch, a king-size canopy bed, and a desk. Searching for him shouldn’t have been that hard and yet there was no sign of him until I rounded the corner and stepped into another room. This room was gaudy, filled with unnecessary sculptures and tons of antique furniture. Right away I knew queen Valentina had decorated this room. As I looked up, I saw the man I was here for. His back was facing the fireplace and suddenly I felt like I was back in the 1500s. I had never seen the king before, but from what I could tell from behind, he was a very handsome man. His unruly hair made him look almost carefree, that is until he spoke.
“So you are the woman that killed my guard.” His words were cold and harsh.
“Yes, your majesty. In my defense, it was a deathmatch in a fighting ring and it was my life or his.”
“Uriah had been with me since before you were even thought of being created. He was one of the best warriors I had ever known and you are telling me that you, a woman, defeated him?” He snapped.
“Yes sir, I did,” I stammered. Okay, so he intimidated me a little… well, maybe a lot.
“And now I am stuck with you,” he retorted.
“Y-Yes sir,” was all I could manage to say. He was talking to me with his back turned, but I still felt so small. I knew this wouldn’t work.
“Well then... alright.” He chuckled and turned around. One look at him and I swear I felt sparks fly. He was beautiful. He stood tall and proud. His hair hung around his angelic face perfectly, his emerald green eyes left me speechless, and his full lips made me wonder how they would feel on mine. His jawline could cut through glass and his smirk made me weak in the knees. He looked up at me and his smile fell. There was an awkward silence in the air. Suddenly, he became harsh again.
“Your first task is to go to the library and find me the First Edition Jane Austen’s, Northanger Abbey. Leave it outside. Knock three times, then go to the kitchen and retrieve my lunch. After that, your to-do list will be taped to the door. Begone,” he snapped. I rushed out to begin my tasks. As I made my way to the library, I thought about the moment he turned around. That breathtaking smile and the tension between us... clearly he felt it, right? I forced myself to stop that train of thought. Even if he did feel it, he was the king, and so off-limits. Entering the library, I noticed the girl from earlier. I wasn’t sure what her name was, but maybe she could get my mind off the king.
I breathed a sigh of relief when the new guard rushed off to start on her tasks. I had no idea what had transpired between us when my eyes met hers, but it was unsettling, to say the least. Vampires were beautiful, sure. Even as a married man, I could appreciate the aesthetic of beauty. But that guard… she transcended normal standards and reached a whole new plane. And it wasn’t just her looks. It was in the way she moved, the way she spoke nervously but her deep blue eyes conveyed strength. I hadn’t ever felt anything like I did when we locked glances. It was almost a tangible spark.
I wondered if she felt it too, but as my mind traveled, my wife entered the room. Immediately my whole mood changed. A few hundred years ago, my heart would do backflips when she would walk into a room. Now my heart filled with dread at the sight. Valentina had become a monster. Her heart had frozen solid and the light purely drained from her eyes. Power enveloped her, never planning on letting her go, and she accepted it willingly.
“My love, I see you have your new guard running wild. What on earth could she possibly have done already to deserve such a cold welcome?” She smirked as if she already knew and was hoping I would be stupid enough to announce it. I knew all too well though that she had no clue.
“Call it initiation... Besides, she killed Uriah. I thought you would be pleased with my treatment of her,” I retorted, although that was far from the case. If only she knew the reason for my busy little guard chores were simply because her being in my presence made me feel things I hadn’t felt in centuries.
“I do wish you wouldn’t have moved to your own room. I miss having these strong arms around me at night.” She crossed the room and now stood in front of me, forcefully wrapping my arms around her.
“It’s no secret why I did Val. I won't share a bed with a stranger.”
“I'm not a stranger,” she pouted. “I am your wife, and more importantly, your queen.”
“See, and that is why you are a stranger.”
“I feel like you are implying you no longer love me, but lest you forget, we aren’t just bound by marriage. We are bound by one heart. Though you may not love me, you will never love another, so you should get used to this stranger because I am the only one you will ever be with, my sweet.” Her cold words slithered out of her mouth and for a second I could have sworn she actually took the form of a snake. Then she left with a slam of the door. I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing she wouldn’t be back to visit until tomorrow. Suddenly there was a knock at the door, followed by another. There was the final one to announce that it was the guard with my book.
I only had a few more minutes before she would be back with my lunch. Quickly I jotted down “Come in” on a piece of paper and taped to my door, grabbing my book before closing it. I looked down at the book and smirked, as it wasn’t the first edition like I ask for, simply because she wouldn’t have been able to find it. All first editions were kept in my room. Still, she had been gone for quite a while searching, so I couldn’t make a scene when she came in… or could I?