Disclaimer: One of these days, Verona, Marishka, and Aleera will belong to themselves (you go, girls!) but for right now they belong to Stephen Sommers and Dracula. Drac, stop looking so smug- you belong to Stephen Sommers, too.
Thank you for your lovely reviews,
SilverFlover: I'm glad you like how I write them all…they and he are the best characters!
SapphireShadows: Aww, I'm glad you liked it! And they are wonderful, aren't they?
Wicked1: I'm glad you think so, I've been writing for quite some time.
Agnes Fey: Yes, I always thought Marishka'd be that one….trop d'audace, bless her damned soul… I liked making them get along…
Laiqualorelote: Yes, they are! What a quote that is! Can I add it to my profile? And I thought she was Finnish upon first seeing the film, so I haven't changed it…even though she's more likely to be Hungarian! But I like to make Ocs from Hungary, so…
Mariposa Gema:I don't pick favourites, but Aleera is definitely most like me…
LadyValerious: I know I haven't! It's so sad- my goal was to write a lot on Marishka, since she's so unrepresented, but then I notised a lack of Verona in everything, and so I was sad because it made me look like on of those people who hates her serious attitude, and I wasn't sure how to write her…but now I've neglected Aleera! Argh! Balance is hard!

"Aleera?! Aleera?! You're joking, love- who in hell is Aleera?" Marishka demanded, hands balled into fists.

"Who in Castle Dracula," the Count corrected her without turning around.

"Right, that. Don't remind me!" she snarled. His hand, which had been reaching out to an icicle to snap it off from the window ledge and discard it, froze. A frown forming on his face, he sighed and instead tucked a strand of dark hair from his eyes, holding his hands behind my back.

"Why, Marishka?" He asked, turning slowly to face her. She opened her mouth in outrage to reply to him and he said softly, before she could say anything, "Why do you trouble me with your fool's talk?"

She began to shriek, "Fool's talk?! Listen to yourself!" but the phrase died on her pink lips, ending on the stubborn "f".

She took a step back, looking down at her gold-sandaled feet, then lifted her gaze carefully and said, "Fool's talk, Master?"

He nodded, keeping eye contact with her, stepping into the shadows of the room, glancing up at the tall, painted ceiling for a moment, and her gaze followed his. When he looked back at her, he found her still looking up, and he wondered absurdly whether the cobwebs had contained and ensnared her eye line as well as they had many helpless flies.

Or not. She looked back at him, a silent plea written on her face. Her hands, earlier so angry, were sweating and she wiped her palms on her trousers.

"You may leave now," he said, then looked up again at the ceiling, contemplating the spiders. Were they fit for the ball, should he sweep them…perhaps Verona would assist him in choosing out new curtains, she always did love decorating-


Marishka. He shut his eyes briefly. How irritating. If Verona did the same…if Aleera did…he didn't know how he'd handle it all.

"What is it, Marishka?" he asked, opening his eyes and looking at her, deciding quickly that it was a tedious situation he'd found himself in.

"Why did you need another? You have me- Verona, too- why her?" Her voice was a whimper now. "Do you love her?"

He looked at her pointedly, then looked out the great window towards the even greater moon.

"You don't?" Her voice echoes in the empty spaces of the grand ballroom. He did not answer her; with Halloween coming, the anniversary of him, his Brides, of every being in his command, he was busy enough. He didn't have the time to deal with Marishka and her silly head. Even if it wasn't silly, her fears were. All their fears were, they were little and scurried like rats if you but chased them away. And he had not the time to chase fears from her head, either.

"This is nonsense," he muttered out loud. Marishka shifted a bit from behind him and he turned to face her.


"Well…." she seemed uncomfortable, and unable to force the words from her dry throat. "I love you, Master."

"I can see that quite plainly, Marishka," he said, patience waning.

"Can you?" she asked, serious in her question. "It shows on my face? Those things…don't show on yours."

"You are too audacious," he murmured, annoyance crossing his brow.

"Unless you don't' feel those things?" she whispered, licking her lips, her eyes wide and fearful, but a glimmer of hope within…or perhaps it was the gleam of her golden jewelry; in either case Dracula chose to ignore it.

He took a deep breath and strode back to the table in the middle of the room glancing down at it to check for the details of costumes once again.

If he had turned back, he would have seen the image of Marishka shatter, her face fall; seen her turn around on her heel and flee from the oversized ballroom. But he did turn back, unbeknownst to her, and thought of it- the imperious room was much like her, the exotic bird with the golden plumage and shrill laugh, her mocking call, her airy flight. But it was all just playing pretend, he knew. She was not deadly, not made for war, and would not last as long as he, although she'd last long enough. She was made for the frivolous days of summer; but in autumn, one must prepare for war. What better bird to fly at his side than a falcon, who would so simply kill all lesser creatures? Marishka; she was lovely, but she would melt away like her precious sea foam. He shrugged the thought off and went back to what he was doing, blocking the sounds of her heavy, cumbersome footsteps from his head.

Through her tense vocal chords, Marishka managed to squeeze out a "stupid- big- room!" to express her anger at the large, corridor-like space. The door seemed miles away and she could not use her wings to fly, her shoes clattered meaninglessly against the floor, which warred against her so much. The sound of her footsteps sounded all the worse for the thought that he heard it and cared nothing. Finally she got to the door. Not as heavy as the door to his chambers, Marishka flung it shut quickly and then, fearing his reaction, fled up the stairs as quickly as her agile legs could carry her and stormed into her room, where she threw herself at the foot of her coffin and lay sobbing, as though tears would come out if she tried hard enough for the sound to be expelled from her throat.

In time she stood up from where she lay, sniffling. Of course, she hadn't cried at all. Considering her options, she thought about what to or to not to do. It came upon her quickly and she ran from her room, furnished in gold, her absolute favourite colour. Gold coins littered the floor, winking smugly at her, and her sandals made an odd noise as she stepped on them on her way into the corridor, then a hollow sound came as she ran through that into another room down the hallway.


The dark-haired bride looked up at the blonde, whose lovely face was twisted in sadness.

"Marishka?" she began, a small frown on her face. Marishka ran to her and buried her face in her lap, her shoulders shaking. Verona stroked her head gently, pity on her face.

"Shh…" she said kindly. "Now….what is wrong?"

Marishka looked up and said, voice trembling, "There's a…new Bride."

Verona stared at her, her mouth dropping open. He'd had her, then Marishka…then he had to go and get…another? After she'd swallowed hard, imagining how fast her heart would have been beating if she had one that did, indeed, beat, she said in a restricted tone, "Well….that's interesting."

Marishka sniffed.

Exotic birds only flourish in the warm tropics. If you move to the cold snow in the winter, the raven may flourish, but the gold will fade from her plumage. Will you risk that? Can you stand to harm her in such a manner?

It's as though you don't even care…

To be continued.