Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And Away We Go!

In order to start this blog off with a bang I thought I would share with you all what was meant to be the prologue for the (possible) series I am writing. The (first) book is BIRTH OF A VIXEN. This excerpt has been taken out of the series, thus allowing me to share it here with you. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And, for future reference I do take requests.

PROLOGUE

The night sky threatens to rain down upon the dark, wooden carriage riding through the thick forest in the French southern countryside. The pitter-patter of rain droplets tap lightly along the roof. The wheels splash through small puddles, as the four horses that pull the carriage race over the eroded pathway under the thick over hang of lush maple tree branches. Seeing the white stone castle in the distance the driver slaps the reins encouraging the horses to hasten their pace as the storm worsens.

The black cloaked, female passenger, protected from the rain by heavy black curtains over empty window panes, sits quietly inside the cabin afraid to make the slightest noise until she is safely behind the wards of Lord Sunder's castle. Resting in her lap on her cerulean gown is a thick, ancient, leather bound book. She holds the binding protectively, worried an awkward bounce of the wheel will send her mistress' prize possession flying to floor.

Before entering the gated castle grounds of Lord Sunder's estate the driver tugs on the reins, steadying the carriages approach across the stone bridge over the rising mote. He stops the horses in front the main entrance. After locking the brake he pulls the ends of his wet, brown cloak around his waist and jumps down to the muddy path below. The driver opens the carriage door and ushers the woman out of the carriage. Then he leads her through the rain to the wooden door. He is unable to see her face from under the hood of her black cloak.

A man with short dishwater blond hair dress in a leather brown jerkin over a plain white linen shirt and brown and white paned trunk hose over brown cannions opens the heavy wooden door. His ensemble holds no flare so as to not distract from the richness of the Lord he serves. He bows as the lady from the carriage enters the castle "Right this way my lady, the rest of your party are awaiting your arrival in the dinning hall."

She gives a slight nod of her head. Then she follows Lord Sunder's servant through a series of cold, stone corridors. Torches are strategically place in iron hooks along the hallway to illuminate the way.

Together they enter the open dinning hall at the far entrance. The grand rectangular room is bathed in firelight from evenly space torches lining the length of the hall. Tapestries depicting epic battles and hunting parties hang between the torches to keep out the cold. The functional pieces of art reach high to the ceiling and brush the stone floor. At the far end of the room is a large stone hearth sitting fat with a large fire in its mouth. In the middle of the room is a practical wooden table that spans half the length of the room. A dozen high back chairs rest on either side of the table. Three of those seats allow the hierarchy of a secret order to rest after a long journey; two men and one little girl that appears to be around the age of ten or eleven. At the heart of the room is the night's entrée.

A young woman stripped of her clothes dangles over the table from chains running from her wrists to the ceiling above her. She droops her head in pitiful shame as she slowly dies. Once what must have been beautiful light brown hair that she would use to taunt young men of court now acts as a shield hiding her face from her captors. Her blood trickles down the length of her body from deep cuts through her wrists above her head, breasts and inner thighs. Tiny blood droplets sprinkle from her toes into a large metal vat at the center of the table.

"Ladies and gentleman I present to you Lady Goodwin of Vadimas House, representative of their Matriarch, Lady Maya Vadimas." As Lord Sunder's servant announces her properly to those in the room the two men at the table respectfully stand.

Once announced Lady Goodwin pulls back her hood revealing her lovely face. Golden blond hair is pulled high on her head with a soft part down the middle creating two round puffs. Her bangs are cut very short showing off brilliant aquamarine eyes that sparkle on her pale face. Her full lips shine with a touch of lemon juice. The small point of her chin is accentuated with the white lace partlet jeweled with sapphires around her neck. The parlet's lace hides her skin from showing as it is tucked into the low, square neckline of her cerulean bodis. Thin dueling lines of white lace trace the sides the bodis with black leather tightly intertwine between them.

The petite, pale wisp of a girl glides to her. Her own hair, the color of sunshine, is pulled back from her face in a braid laced with gold silk tied in a bow at the tail end of her hair that reaches the small of her back. The child's golden gown adorns her small stature with shoulder puffs sliced with white chemise pulled through. She curtsies to Lady Goodwin. Who interns mimics the courteous gesture. The little one says smiling, showing a hint of fangs. "Lady Goodwin, it is a pleasure to have you with us this evening."

"The pleasure is all mine Thais. My Lady is intrigued by the news of the new prophecy you have been bestowed." Lady Goodwin purposefully holds back the main reason her mistress sent her tonight. The vision Thais claims to have seen is one that Lady Maya Vadimas has not witnessed yet. There are few people, vampire and mortal alike, that can say they know something before Maya. She is not only the Matriarch of the House but the Oracle as well. If Thais were to discover that she knew something before Lady Maya it would disgrace the name of her beloved mistress.

The two gentlemen in the room, Lord Sunder and Lord Thromdin, make their way to their new guest.. The first to reach Lady Goodwin is Lord Sunder, the host of tonight's gathering. Other than the feast dangling above the table he is the only other human in the room. The mortal Lord of the castle bows his snowy white head low. He dressed for tonight's gathering in a black, ribbed leather doublet with sleeves tied in a bunch at the shoulder and matching leather cannions over black and white paned trunk hose that hinder his movements slightly. Thromdin mirrors their host's inviting bow wearing exactly what Lord Sunder except his clothes are crimson and his hair is jet black. Both smile respectfully, Thromdin trying not to show his fangs. Both look at her with the deepest of regards with their matching blue eyes.

"Welcome to my humble estate Lady Goodwin. You honor us with your presence and warm these drafty halls with your beauty." Lord Sunder greets her.

"You are too kind. Thank you." She repeats the curtsy to both men. "I hate to get right to the point of tonight's meeting but I have a rough ride back to Venice in the morning. Shall we get started?"

"Of course, Thais would you be so kind as to indulge us with your new information regarding the Others?" Lord Sunder gestures for everyone to return to the table. The four members take seats on either side of the table near to the fireplace, women on one side, men on the other. Lady Goodwin places the leather bound book in her lap, keeping it close.

After smoothing out her gown Thais begins, "As previously stated in the letters I sent the vision I had three weeks ago is one of great importance to our mission in bringing about the Others into our world. I have seen a woman who will lead the way for their return."

"Are you sure it is a woman?" Thromdin asks. Like most men of his time he is doubtful of a woman's rise to power. Over the years he has gone out of his way to hinder the fairer sex from having to deal with the burden of strength. "With no disrespect meant to those here I hardly believe a woman can gain enough power to bring them back, especially with what happened the last time they made it through."

"From what I have seen there is no way to mistake the herald of our saviors to be anything but a woman." Thais knows Lord Thromdin's standings. She smirks at the elder vampire taunting him to question the truth of her words again.

Not wanting to waste precious time with idle political games Lady Goodwin speaks up. "My mistress has asked that you share this vision with me so that we can compare what you have witnessed to what we have already catalogued."

"I have permission to enter your mind?" Thais asks eagerly surprised. Her gold eyebrows arch high and her blue eyes grow large on her small face.

"My mistress orders it to be done."

Thais giggles a high twitter of a laugh. She is overly excited at the thought of reaching into Lady Goodwin's mind. Her mind is inaccessible to any vampire that attempts such a daring feat thanks to Maya's tight grip on her beloved ghoul. This is an opportunity Thais would kill for.

She repositions herself in the chair to face Lady Goodwin; who in turn looks down at the child vampire. Their eyes meet, lock, and with but a flicker of supernatural power Thais reaches into her mind. Lord Sunder and Lord Thromdin watch in awe of the rare spectacle before them. The two woman sit as still as statues, unreadable and unshakable. In a short time the vision is transposed from one mind to the other. All the while the storm outside grows.

Once Thais completes her task she slumps in her chair exhausted. "Never have I entered a mind as complex as yours, Lady Goodwin. I feel positively faint."

"Here, drink this." Lord Sunder dips a stone goblet into the blood filled vat. He walks around the table and offers the drink to Thais. She drinks back the entirety of the goblet with one hearty lift to her mouth.

"What did you see?" Lord Thromdin asks Lady Goodwin. He sits on the edge of his seat ready in waiting.

"I am not sure of exactly what I saw. I have seen hundreds of prophecies from my mistress but this was not like them. It felt as though I were at the site of our forefathers, lost in the crowd below a woman I could barely see." Thunder booms outside. "I am unsure of your interpretation of this vision Thais." Lightening strikes and thunder echoes its bright cousin shaking the foundation of the castle. The storm grows closer.

"What are you saying?" Thais snaps the question at her. She takes offence by the impertinence of a mere ghoul; no matter whom she belongs to, "I believe I saw the second coming."

"You saw something you are not meant to have seen. Neither of us was meant to have seen this." She stands, clenching the book to her bosom, and fearfully walks from the table.

"What did you see?" Thromdin repeats and he hates to repeat himself. With his hands on the table he pushes himself up. The chair teeters behind him almost falling to the floor.

"I saw," Lightening strikes the castle. A harsh wind blows down through the chimney snuffing out the fire. The woman hanging from the ceiling swings like a pendulum in the updraft. She screams a blood-curdling cry of terror as her blood splatters across the hall and on all those inside. One by one the torches are blown out as the wind picks up momentum.

"What is happening?" Thais cries out. She bolts from her chair and jumps into Lord Sunder's outstretched arms. He holds her protectively, hunching over her tiny frame.

"He knows." Lady Goodwin shouts to be heardover the gusts of wind. The wind twirls faster and faster turning from a haunting wind to a bloody tornado trapping them in the room.. She clenches the leather bound book to her chest, arms wrapped around it for dear life, and runs cowering in the corner.

"Who is he?" Lord Sunder asks Thais. But she shakes riddled with fear. Fear of what is coming. Fear of what He will do to them and fearful of living through it.

Lady Goodwin is barely able to hear his question. She says, though no one can hear her, all the while wishing her mistress were here to protect her. "You don't want to know."

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