Kasey Hill – Author & Poet
Candles illuminated the halls of the Sarkoczy mansion. The halls were quiet tonight as everyone had assembled. The meeting was called by their coven leader, Ferguson Sarkoczy, a wealthy 34-year-old European entrepreneur. Ferguson was a man of striking features, just over 6-foot-tall with a lean athletic build. His raven lengthy black hair was coiffed professionally to command the power he wielded. With equally dark eyes, Ferguson’s stare was confident, he rarely blinked. His business affairs kept the Lord of the Manor on a tight schedule. While his investments hailed from around the globe, his posh British accent.
A few clan members were missing, so Stephania took it upon herself to seek the next one down in line from her. As she rounded all the tunnels and hidden passageways, she called out to her successor.
“Marguerite!” she called out through the mansion halls. “Marguerite!”
“Yes, Lady Stephania?” Marguerite answered as she stepped through the floating wall.
Stephania jumped as she entered into the walkway. “What on earth were you doing in there?”
“I was looking for the escaped human that ran from Sire earlier today,” Marguerite replied as the floating door shut behind her concealing the hidden doorway as a wall. “I can’t find her anywhere and Fergas is becoming impatient waiting to feed.”
“Mind your tongue! You know to only address him as Sire!” Stephania hissed.
“Sorry, Lady Stephania,” Marguerite looking to the floor.
“Never mind the girl. We can always hunt him another before sunrise,” Stephania replied agitated. She had been searching for Marguerite for hours. “Our annual masquerade ball is in less than a fortnight. We need to prepare for the guests. The Clans will be arriving in the next few days, and we need to gather a list of human guests so there will be plenty to eat.”
“Felix is already out scouting for young women as we speak,” Marguerite said as she tipped her head to her Elder. “He should be back at any moment.”
“Superb!” Stephania exclaimed examining her talons. She had recently changed the color to decaying death.
“I have a new color if you wish to change the color for the ball,” Marguerite offered. “Crimson nightshade.”
“Sounds like it’s a color to die for,” Stephania humored.
Stephania turned on her heel and Marguerite followed her back through the passageways that led to the conclave. Both women entered into the room and took their seat on either side of the clan leader.
“And Felix?” Fergas asked as Stephania settled into her chair.
“Out hunting women for the masquerade ball. He should arrive any time now, Sire,” Stephania replied.
“Well, I suppose we can start without him. Anyone object?” Fergas asked and looked around to the council members. No one opposed. “Alright then, first order of business, since it has already been brought into conversation, the masquerade ball for Samhain,” Fergas started leaning back into his chair. “This year we are doing things a bit differently than usual. There will be more covens attend, but instead of graciously handing over the women as we normally do, we will hold an auction, so to speak.”
“Why a change now, Sire?” one of the council members asked.
“AH, Herryck, the questionable one. The change NOW because we have lost many allies to the coven and we need to find a way to get them back. What better way to auction the women instead of just letting everyone feed from them all,” Fergas replied.
“It wouldn’t be the first time a clan member has taken a human as a puppet,” Stephania smirked. “The poor forsaken souls,” she said puckering her lip.
“Enough, Stephania,” Fergas bellowed glaring over at her. “To speak of what others choose to do with their food is unlady like.”
A commotion broke loose on the other side of conclave’s door, and Fergas stood from his seat. Felix burst through the door dragging Erzabeta and Annaneta by their arms while Matyas struggled to keep his grip on Kaszarina.
“Let me go, vermin!” Kaszarina yelled as she wrestled her arm loose from Matyas scratching his face.
Matyas backhanded her sending her to the ground where she looked up at him hissing. “Vermin indeed!” he yelled wiping the blood from his fresh wound.
“Matyas!” Fergas yelled calling attention to himself as both boys looked over at him.
Fergas walked over to the young women and motioned for Felix to let the other two go. “Strangers are met with hostility from the younger ones in the clan,” he said as he extended his hand to Kaszarina. Kaszarina refused his hand and stood on her own walking over to the other two women.
“Your parasites dare to drag us in here like human food and all you can say is we were met with hostility!” Annaneta scoffed.
“My apologies for how they treated you. They have not developed the sense to sniff out our own kind,” Fergas replied glaring over at Felix.
“Oh, I knew what they were, SIRE. They were sneaking around the manor,” Felix retorted. “And they wear the sign of daywalkers!”
Felix grabbed Erzabeta’s cloak and tore it from around her neck. Upon her chest, on a worn leather string, hung a wooden Cross of Lorraine. Fergas gazed from the cross on Erzabeta’s neck up to her face. He was met with crystal, blue eyes that showed no fear or sense of wrong doing. Her pale skin was silky smooth and creamy as if it were made from the finest tusks of elephants.
“Tell me, Beauty, what year were you turned?” Fergas asked peering into Erzabeta’s eyes.
“Long before you think I was,” she replied in nearly a whisper.
“Do you stand before me and mock an Elder vampire?” Fergas said through gritted teeth. “Tell me, what year!” he sneered.
“Long before the birth and heralding of the Sun God’s son was I created and not turned!” she exclaimed back.
“How long before?!” he demanded.
“I am a daughter of Luluwa born spirit made flesh. We are all daughters of Luluwa, and to strike us down means an end to your petty existence. You scoff at me claiming to be elite as an Elder,” Erzabeta laughed. “You have no idea what power you are ridiculing.” Erzabeta stepped back from Fergas and joined hands with Annaneta and Kaszarina. “We Sisters, of the Karpati Clan, sought protection in the manor, but clearly there is none. Now if you don’t mind, we wish to leave.”
“I don’t believe who they say they are. Vampires are not born, they are turned. They honestly think they were born that way? Like those punks in the Quarter?” Felix hissed. “It is unvampiric for them to wear those totems upon their necks!” Fergas waved his hand to silence Felix. “Honestly, you’re trying to silence me! If they leave, they could send anyone back to attack.”
“Silence!!” Fergas bellowed and walked toward Felix. “Your insolence has become rather unappealing of the late, Felix. Perhaps you seek somewhere else to live?”
“My insolence is only for your inaction when events occur that thwart our protection of the coven and of our home. Might I go on record that Jozsef is scheduled to be awakened this Samhain from his slumber this decade, or has everyone forgotten this year?” Felix asked looking around to the council members. “I see, you all have forgotten, or maybe Fergas just didn’t want to clue Jozsef in on his own agendas. One night out of ten years his spirit can walk the halls and you all forget that year is nigh.” Felix walked to the door passing by the three women. “And as for these three, if they stay, they will tear this clan apart!” He stared into Kaszarina’s eyes as he exited the room.
“It is evident that this is not the place for us,” Annaneta began as she too turned to walk through the door. “Come, Sisters, we shall seek refuge elsewhere.”
Erzabeta and Kaszarina turned to walk through the door with Annaneta when Fergas ran to block it. “Forgive me, and forgive my underlings. No one wishes you harm here, and we offer sanctuary and asylum to those who need it.” Fergas bowed to them. “The sun is nearly up and there is no shelter for miles in time for you to reach. Now, please, stay the day, and if you feel uncomfortable tomorrow, you can leave. We wish you no harm or ill will and would hate to think of the covens and clans who would find out that we treated such royalty with ignorance and disregard.”
The three women huddled and looked between themselves; the glances they stole toward the council and back to themselves appeared as if they were talking telepathically. Annaneta raised an eye brow and Kaszarina fought a grin. Erzabeta squinted her eyes at Annaneta and they face back to Fergas. Annaneta nudged Erzabeta who scowled at her.
She returned her eyes back to Fergas and spoke softly, “We will stay for the day. Do you have accommodations where we can all stay in the same room?”
“I will arrange for our housekeeper, Brunhilda, to prepare you a room. It may take an hour or two, so if you would like, I can give a tour of the mansion to you,” he offered sticking his arm out.
“We would like that,” Erzabeta said smiling and taking his offered arm.
“Sire, if you would like, I could accompany the young women and give them the tour,” Stephania piped up walking toward the group ushering towards the door.
“No, it’s fine, Stephania. Make sure to tell Brunhilda to have their rooms ready within a few hours.” Fergas left the room with Erzabeta on his arm, and Annaneta and Kaszarina walked behind them.
The door closed and Stephania let out a disgruntled groan. She saw the exchange of looks Erzabeta and Fergas had shared. It didn’t appease her at all.
“Marguerite,” Stephania snapped.
“Yes, Lady Stephania?” Marguerite said jumping to her feet.
“Find the house keeper and relay the message for her to prepare the room. I’m going on a walk,” Stephania spat.
“Yes, ma’am,” Marguerite said bowing as Stephania left the room. Marguerite glanced at Herryck and Matyas who had yet to leave. “I suppose the meeting is adjourned,” she said shrugging her shoulders.
“Marguerite, why do you let her speak to you in such a way?” Herryck asked.
“Because Sire asked me to,” she replied and left the room.
Matyas and Herryck exchanged glances. “Did you know Jozsef was to be awakened this Samhain?” Matyas asked.
“No, Fergas had made no mention of it. Had it not been for Felix, none of us would have known,” Herryck replied.
“Have you given any thought as to Felix’s proposal?” Matyas asked as they made their way through the door and into the halls of the mansion.
“Yes, I have. I’m sorry to say, Matyas, but I intend to stand behind Fergas. He has yet to disprove me of his role as clan leader, and frankly, Felix is young and hot-headed. He doesn’t have the training to become the clan leader. Unless you can prove to Jozsef it is so, I’m afraid your only choices are to stick it out, or leave,” Herryck replied walking away.
“One day you will see the error of his mistakes, Herryck. By then, it may be too late to salvage the clan,” Matyas yelled out as Herryck rounded the hall. “It will be too late for all of us…”