A Creature of the Shadows

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Heidi sat down on her luxurious down comforter as the late afternoon sun glared through her windows.

"Window curtains please," she said, casting her aura onto the windows. The light diminished significantly allowing her to see her brother, Reginald.

"Show me, Heidi," he murmured at last. She thought back to her tea date with Jonathan, how he was so easy to talk to, and even further back to the carriage ride to the Point of Love. She remembered the toothache, then the fleeting glimpse of bone white fur, turmoiled thoughts, and blood red drool. The sound of threat that ripped through the air around her brought her back to the present.

"Are you sure that's what you saw?" he asked, barely keeping his voice level. He was trembling with barely controlled rage. "Tell me!" He banged the table beside him with his clenched fist.

She jumped. "Y-y-yes," she whispered, struggling to keep her tears at bay.

He whipped around and looked like he was going to say more when he met her eyes. "Oh Heidi, I'm sorry," he said going to her bed and sitting beside her. He pulled her in for a warm hug, soothing and comforting her as best he could, all anger and fear gone from his person. After a while he said, "What you saw was a Creature of the Shadows. They have a claim to you because of the time I found you at: Dusk, the Time of Changing. I found you and called my family because I didn't want a fight. If there had been one, we would have been obliterated because the Creatures of the Shadows are far more powerful than we. The King of the Shadows Drachais, the one you saw, met us at the river's edge. He and Badante exchanged words and it was agreed that until you found out who you were, you would live with us. Now you know who you are he has come to claim you as his mate. I'm sorry for not telling you this before." He finished with a mumble.

Silent sobs shook her thin frame as she realized her fate.

Is that why you all had to go back? To try and alleviate the tension between your family and Drachais? She thought voice too tight to speak.

“Yes. Drachais refused to believe you are happy where you are. They were taken captive and-,” he halted as she pulled away suddenly.

“They were taken captive?” she whispered just below a shriek. Color drained from her face as she realized what she had heard. A thought occurred to her. “How did you manage to escape?”

“I never left the kingdom. There is an unspoken law between the mortals, vampires, and Shadow-beings. The law decrees that if a fugitive vampire is within kingdom boundaries, they are untouchable, provided they do not pose any harm to the residents who are there year round,” he said.

“Which you do,” said a new voice. Heidi leapt to her feet, Reginald a heartbeat behind her. Drachais stepped out of the shadows. His hair grew long and silver. He wore it up in a ponytail. His face bore an eye patch over his right eye. A hard look came to his face, one she recognised immediately.

(Flashback: Adelheid’s POV)

A man’s eyes looming over her in a darkened nursery. A guttural cry as he draws a knife over her throat; hot blood rushing down her thin tiny neck. The man leaned down and began lapping at her throat. A murmured Word and a blinding flash of light.

A Woman standing over her, pure white light emanating from all around her. She bends down and whispers a gentle blessing.

“Child of My Heart, I give thee this one gift. The gift of gragymae also called magic. With this ability, you can bend and use your aura, one of pure silver,” the Woman withdrew slightly, revealing the man who had cut her throat. “Try it now, little starling.”

“Bye-eye!” she cooed, flapping her hand at the man. He recoiled as a wide stream of silver light struck him in the face.

“ARGH!!!” he cried staggering back and tripping over his cape, which trailed on the ground three feet too long. “I’ll have my revenge Aurora! You have my word!” His scream faded as he fell out of the third storey window overlooking the kingdom she would rule when she came of age. The blood ceased running as She caressed the young child’s neck. She picked her up and cradled her, humming an ancient lullaby.

(End Flashback)

“Hm hmmm hmhmm,” hummed Adelheid swaying slightly with the rhythm of the song. She opened her eyes and found the man’s name. “Drachais, I believe your wife is the Mother of My Heart’s sister Australis. You may go.”

Drachais stiffened, fury flashing in his good eye. He reached up and grabbed his eye patch, ripping it off his face. Adelheid gasped, fighting the urge to vomit. In place of his right eye was a gaping hole, pus oozing from the empty socket. Reginald doubled over as the smell hit them. Rotting carrion with cow manure along with vomit and every disgusting scent known to man. She wrinkled her nose and gagged.

“Aha! You see what your filthy magic has wrought? Your friend here can’t stand the smell. His family couldn’t either, ahahaha!” he cackled evilly.

A low growl began building in Reginald's throat.

"Simmer down," said Heidi, holding out her hand, trying to cover his eyes which he had said would calm even the most drained of aura vampire.

He avoided her hand easily, but ceased growling like a caged wolf. Instead, he glared across the narrow spanse separating them from Drachais.

Turning to the man who held her family captive, Heidi said, "Drachais, you have my family, and I demand you let them go!" A dull roar sounded in the distance, and a gentle wind nudged their hair.

Winds of the earth, she silently sang, mouthing the words of the summoning. Surround all evil, destroy all evil, in this room, which I am in.Lend me your strength, that I may aid you in defeating Drachais, Orphan of the Great War, and free my people. My family.

A small whirlwind knocked several vases to the floor, shattering them into a thousand tiny pieces, never to be reassembled again. The twister grew until it surrounded Drachais with dancing leaves, scraps of cloth, and shreds of parchment leftover from her patterns for dresses.

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