Author's note: This is another story written in a ficlet challenge over at LiveJournal. This time from Astrik. Took me a while to finally get it done, but I did get it done at last. It was interesting to get into Marishka's head long before the movie took place, and to write her and the other brides and Dracula. I have always loved their relationship anyway, and I was very thankful to Cat for this challenge. And she liked it, which was even better. So here it is, hope you enjoy, and please: Review. I know you hear this a lot, especially from me, but reviews are a wonderful thing. And here are the requirements:

Title: Bonded By Death
Character: Marishka, right after Aleera is turned
Genre: I trust your decisions, so do with it what you will. (it ended up being drama)
Dialogue: "I do not think she is entirely sane."

Disclaimer: I do not own Marishka, Dracula, Verona, or Aleera. I own nothing to do with Van Helsing period. Please do not sue me, I mean no copyright infringement. Savvy?


Marishka could not understand why her master was never satisfied. He had her, he had Verona, why did he need another bride? Were they not enough? They never grew tired, they knew what pleased him, what was the problem?

Perhaps because this one was as dependant as a child and as desperate for attention as a kitten. Because Aleera, as their master had called her, was clinging to their master, looking up at him with adoration, staring fearfully though curiously at the brides every so often, and nuzzling herself against him. She gave off the impression of a child or a kitten to Marishka.

Verona walked over to Dracula and the new bride, smiling kindly, gently, at the little thing. She was smaller than the other two brides, though she made up for that in her curves, but though she was beautiful and full in the bosom, she was not as graceful or elegant as Verona.

Marishka wondered how the little kitten would handle knowing that she and Marishka would never match up to Verona in Dracula's eyes.

He liked variety - for Marishka could see now that this bride was nothing like Marishka, who was nothing like Verona, who was nothing like Aleera - but whatever remained of his human heart kept Verona fondest in his eyes.

This new bride seemed far too adoring and dependant and obsessed to take that news well, but perhaps she would surprise Marishka. Still, something manic in her eyes that told Marishka that they would probably share the same lust for blood to be split in violent and cruel ways, but they wouldn't share sanity in the act.

Marishka understood her actions, but would Aleera?

Perhaps somewhat. But she still seemed, off.

Verona was welcoming the latest bride into the family, and Dracula was telling Aleera to go with Verona, that she would lead her to her quarters where she could change into some new clothes.

The middle bride could not help but smirk, as Aleera's present clothes were in tatters, and it appeared that some of her human blood had split into the white dress during her turning and Dracula's feeding. She watched as Aleera finally allowed herself to be pulled from their master and led out of the large chamber, then walked over to Dracula cautiously.

"Master, I do not think she is entirely sane," Marishka spoke softly, though not meekly as she imagined Aleera might would. Still, she watched her master carefully, looking for any sign of anger in him at her words.

But he remained calm as he looked at her, stroking her face gently. "Marishka, do not be jealous. Perhaps she is unstable for the moment, perhaps she will stay that way, but she is your sister now, sharing the same death and rebirth you had," he said to her, gently reprimanding her. "Remember how frightened you were at first?"

Reluctantly, she thought back to her first night as a childe, a bride, of Dracula. It had been frightening, she had been scared hat she was so cold and yet not uncomfortable or sick, she had been confused. But Dracula and Verona had been there for her, especially Verona.

Verona was like a mother more than a sister, and she had taken great care of Marishka, teaching her as much as Dracula had.

Marishka nodded and glanced back up at her master. "I shall go help with Aleera, Master, unless you wish for me to stay."

Dracula shook his head, smiling as kindly as he could, motioning for her to go as well. He was a good master. He would have loved them if he could. Verona more, but Marishka suspected there was more to Verona than simply being eldest and first.

Walking out of the large chamber, she headed down the long, cavernous hallway until she heard Verona and Aleera's voices coming from one of the chambers. She gently pushed the large door open and stepped in.

The new bride and Verona turned to her, Verona smiling that gentle smile that would comfort anyone, and had comforted Marishka many years ago. The new bride looked at Marishka with apprehension, though that same catlike curiosity was in her eyes.

Marishka walked over to the wardrobe, where Verona was helping Aleera decide on which of the lavish dresses their master had given them she wanted to pick as hers. She smiled at Aleera, then glanced over at the dresses.

Aleera had fiery red hair, with dark eyes. But Marishka wanted to see her vampiric eyes. That was how their dress was picked, she remembered Verona saying. Of course, that was not a rule, it was merely something to ease the newest bride into her new life.

"Aleera," Marishka said softly, taking the other's hand while Verona stepped back, watching the two. "Change your eyes for me, please," she instructed gently.

The youngest concentrated hard, a little too hard and she shifted into her harpy form, but that gave her eyes away still. She quickly shifted back to normal, looking embarrassed and worried.

Marishka grinned. "It's always hard the first few times. But we are magnificent creatures, and soon you will be able to control the power within you," she assured Aleera before turning back to the dresses. Carefully, she pulled out a beautiful dress of pink and white and touches of gold here and there.

Aleera almost made a squeal when she saw her, her now brown eyes lit up with childish glee, and she took the dress from Marishka, giggling. Then she nearly broke Marishka's ribs with the embrace she abruptly gave her, still giggling.

"You are welcome," Marishka told her, once she had been released. She grinned over at Verona as Aleera hastily removed her clothes, not at all scared or timid anymore.

The eldest bride was smirking at the scene, and Marishka decided that perhaps Aleera wasn't so bad. Now. Still, who knew what would happen in the future. Perhaps Verona and Marishka would have to watch their backs, perhaps Aleera would be as loyal to them as they were to each other.

Still, they all shared a special bond, and that could never be broken.