Lucy felt like she was falling through the ballroom's marble floor. Was the ballroom even there anymore? The music still played: a waltz. It was dark where she was and she wanted to run. Her feet were moving at the thought and she pulled up her gown in great hand holds that would make the fabric wrinkle so. With her legs unhindered, she could cover more ground. Was there any ground? Lucy looked down. It was only darkness. She couldn't hear the music anymore. Her breathing turned into panting, her eyes grew hot from tears, she was feeling faint. She fell. Screaming for Nikolas and Kristopher, Lucy thought she was going to swoon. She landed on her feet on a grey-green island in the dark. It was small, she couldn't move more than a step in any direction.

"Hello," a cultured voice greeted her in English. The back of her neck chilled and her hair rose. Out of the pitch black around her, stepped a dark-haired vampire. His hair was short and wild, hanging over his eyes which made the surroundings look bright.

"Who are you?"

"Aubrey." He said walking towards her. His nose was beak-like and in the gloom, he could have been a vulture. A hand of ice was clutching her throat and Aubrey simply appeared in front of her. Lucy whimpered and tried to kick out but dots and masses of purple and green mist floated in front of her eyes. Aubrey's glacial lips caressed her temple as his other hand rubbed up her arm. "Kristopher had better watch his toys better. The youngling considers himself a power in our eternal game. Can't even protect a pet…" His lips moved against her cheek leaving flesh mottled by goose bumps. The hand around her throat was gone and Lucy started to sag to the floor. A harsh grip on her arm kept her up. Aubrey seemed to be all fangs when her vision started to clear. Stiffening, she waited for the bite.

Nikolas was holding her close and she was in the ballroom again. A roar sent her trying to get closer to her savior, Nikolas. She had never felt terror like she had in the darkness. Lucy never wanted to be away from Nikolas or Kristopher again. Kristopher -Where was he? Lucy looked out from Nikolas's arms and saw Kristopher and Aubrey circling one another.

The side of Kristopher's face seemed distorted by rage as if a monster was trying to break out of his skin. Aubrey was grinning manically. A dark-featured dandy with foppish hair came out of the crowd of black-eyed beauties that surrounded Kristopher and Aubrey. The dandy tapped his foot which was incased in a most inappropriate footwear, steel-toed black boots with red stitching. He tugged on his warm grey colored lapels and said, in French, "Gentlemen, stop this nonsense at once."

"This is none of your concern, Daryl," Aubrey spat out.

"There was an oath you swore at the beginning of his ball circuit, Aubrey…" Daryl said, loudly, to be heard over the dueling vampire's growling.

"Go back to your human slaves, Daryl, that is the only place you have domination." Aubrey shouted at Daryl before it was like he disappeared. Daryl seemed to be gone in a blink and back in another while Aubrey lay prostrate on the floor.

"Remember you place. Kristopher has the right of the claim to rip you limb from limb." A pale wraith of a woman with black peasant garb seemed to float over to the fray. Daryl smiled, "Thank goodness, your Mama is here to tend your wounds."

Aubrey looked over at Lucy and she squeezed Nikolas' arm from fright. Aubrey's eyes were like coals burning in hatred. He and the wraith woman disappeared. The band started up again and, as if nothing happened at all, the crowd broke up and began dancing again. Lucy swallowed and it was just then that she realized how sore she was. Looking down at her arm, she saw how grotesque the bruising was. Her throat must have looked similar. Nikolas turned her towards him and tipped up her chin so he could peer into her eyes. His jaw was tight and she could tell that he was angry.

"How did that happen?" Nikolas asked quietly.

"I-I don't know. I just looked over in the crowd and I don't remember anymore. I swear. I don't know what happened." Lucy said to him, tears hitting her cheek as she tried to keep close to him even as he was pushing her away. "Please, please, just hold me, don't let me go, please." Lucy felt Kristopher staring at her back and she whimpered as more tears fell.

"Bastard did it on purpose. Don't cry, Lucy." Kristopher had a harsh grip but the arms he cradled her in were tender. She tipped up her head so the tears wouldn't roll down her cheeks. Nikolas smiled at her and she felt safe and loved as she basked in their affection.

"And you're comforting the wench?" A stern, deep voice said behind them. Lucy closed her eyes, she didn't want to see anymore.