Darkness was a thing I had grown to fear almost as much as death. After all, that was all it brought, in the form of vampires and other demons of the night. I had been raised on those warnings: 'Be in before dark.' How could I forget? So many people disappeared here, no one even batted an eye when a man, woman, or child, failed to appear at dinner or at work. I felt myself immune to such hauntings, as I liked to call them.

My life was much more involved in an endless line of parties and balls. Day after day, and night after night, I would spend in one castle or another, in endless conversations with people I cared not to know and telling stories I really didn't bother to remember. With these endless lines of parties, one would assume that I would begin to forget talk of the unknown, but I never forgot.

I had heard of the Valerious clan through talk: A noble family decended from a king who swore eternal hatred to the Count Dracula. There name was forever entwined with his. Two descendents only survived, Anna and Velkan Valerious. I had heard from talk that they had traveled some time to be here tonight, but I never knew I would come face to face with them in a tragic twist of fate.

My eyes scanned the large gathering, trying so much to catch a glimpse of the legendary two. It took a moment before I finally caught a glimpse of them, a beautiful woman and her brother. She wore an elaborate crimson red gown, the bodice embroidered with golden leaves, enhancing the crimson of the fabric. Her dark tresses lay piled high on her head, single ringlets of hair coming free as she laughed. I heard steps behind me, and I turned to find Clara smirking back at me.

"I see you've found someone of interest." She said simply. I narrowed my eyes in confusion before returning my attention to the man.

"Who is that man?" I asked, looking across the room. Clara turned and smiled at me.

"That man is Velkan Valerious. He is the heir apparent to the fortune of the Valerious clan. That woman you see there talking to him is his sister, Anna, she is quite the beauty, but also quite a fighter as well." Clara replied. My eyes narrowed in confusion. The Valerious clan?

"The Valerious clan?" I asked. "The same Valerious clan that swore eternal hatred to the Count? I supposed it would be them." I said. My heart had begun to beat faster, my eyes locking on the young man. He was handsome, as everyone had told me, even more so. His dark curls hung freely, barely touching his shoulders and partly obscuring his eyes. "Are they mad to continue this?" I asked. Clara laughed quietly before responding. Velkan heard this, turning his face in our direction and catching my gaze. All I could do was blush furiously and turn away. It took a moment before he returned to his conversation with his sister.

"They are about as mad a pair as you can find anywhere in this world." Clara responded.

"What are they doing here?" I asked.

"They were invited, I assume." Clara responded. A woman quickly approached us, hugging Clara tightly.

"Would you care to join us for a drink, Clara?" she asked. "Would you as well, Naiara?" she asked. I nodded no, smiling to Clara.

"You go. I am going to rest by the window." I said. Clara said a silent goodbye before disappearing into the crowds of the gathering. I threw one final look at Anna and Velkan before crossing the huge room and finding a private window to sit by. A small latch kept it closed, and as I looked out the window, I felt as if I had to get out. I felt stifled.

I looked down at myself, noticing the tightness of my bodice, the deep evergreen of my gown. My chest began to heave as I felt myself struggle to catch a breath. Within moments I had undone the latch and stepped out into the adjoining gardens, leaving the light and music behind me. The air felt cooling on my burning skin as it touched it gently, making me forget completely the warnings I had always received as a child. I remained right at the entrance of the gardens, my eyes locked on the darkness ahead of me, wondering what lay beyond.

"I suppose you like the darkeness." I heard as the click of a lock. I turned suddenly, finding Velkan returning my surprised gaze. "I saw you leave. It is not safe out here, you should know that." He said. I smiled sardonically, returning to my spot at the entrance of the gardens.

"I suppose." I replied. "I was not feeling well. I needed some air." I replied. "I believe that we haven't properly met."