Note: Shyriyh is pronounced (shah-rye-ah)… do not ask me why it is spelled that way… it just it… .'

Prologue:

Count Vladislaus Dracula

As the elf reflected on her losses, the tears continued to fall. She sat in the liberation field surrounded by European soldiers. She sobbed for her family, she sobbed for her friends, and she sobbed for everything lost in the twelve-year siege. Her mother, her brother, her father, and her grandparents from both sides… all were murdered by the Turkish army under the Rumanian siege. They took everyone… even the Rumanian nobles! The only surviving noble was the seventeen-year-old count of Transylvania. She had seen the soldiers crowd around a young man, calling him 'Count' so Shyriyh figured that he must be the single remaining noble everyone was talking about. She was rather annoyed that all the soldiers were interested in was a foolish count when the rest of the recently-liberated captives were just as bad if not more sick and hurt than him. He in fact didn't seem all that hurt. She hadn't really gotten a good look at him but he looked fine… She started crying again when she began to think about the injuries and pain remembering how badly the Turkish soldiers had beaten her mother before she finally died. She let out an anguished cry before jumping in desperate fear of the random hand on her shoulder. Upon looking up she discovered it was the young Count. She was suddenly not a captive of the army but a captive of his sharp features and long, black hair… it rather reminded her of a lovely blackbird feather. "It is over now. Many have lost those close to them," he said in a rather deep-for-his-age voice and thick Rumanian accent, "but we must go on for their sake and avenge what hath been wrought upon them." Shyriyh felt her pale cheeks go crimson. "Do not cry young lady. Go on home and show the world you are a survivor. Show them your resilience. You shall not be a toy of those meaning harm. Go on now," he said as he pointed to a coach, which was guarded by a few Rumanian soldiers. She nodded and ran off towards it. There was a group of five other elves peering at her as she entered, then a light chatter in many diverse Elven languages. Finally one young woman looked up at her and said in perfect Kaernian (the language of Shyriyh's forest), "Are you not Lady Kaernia, Princess of your village?" Shyriyh fell crimson again. "Yes, I am Shyriyh Kaern," she told the woman. "How awful they should take a noble elf!" She wailed. Shyriyh nodded just to agree. "Who was that man you were with?" Another elf asked. "That was the Transylvanian Count!" The young woman said. "He's a human!" Another put in. "He is too lovely to be human!" The young woman added. "You wouldn't happen to know his name, would you?" Shyriyh asked as she gazed out the coach's window at the Count who was helping other people into different coaches to be taken back to their villages. "I believe his name is Count Vladislaus Dracula, Count Dracula," the young woman told the red-faced Kaernian Princess. "Count Vladislaus Dracula," and that the last Shyriyh saw of the beautiful count for twenty-two years…

Chapter One: 1461

A Count's Revenge

"Darling! You look positively gorgeous!" Shyriyh cried to her best friend, Sequoia. "Thank you, I hope he likes it…" Sequoia said happily as she admired her new silk wedding gown. "I am sure he will simply adore it," Shyriyh assured her friend. "Are you ready?" One of the host elves called from outside the bedroom door. "Yes! We are coming! Prepare the bells!" Shyriyh, the maid of the Redwood (equivalent to the maid of honour in human marriage rituals) called out.

Shyriyh followed behind Sequoia and her lover, Milane, as they walked hand-in-hand into the Sacred River. The maid and masters (sort of like bridesmaids and ushers) stopped at the riverbank as Shyriyh's uncle, the Lord of Kaernia, placed identical wreaths of water lilies on each of the lovers' heads. "You are blessed by the mist of the Sacred River," he recited from memory (as all Lords were supposed to do). "May you bless nature with that mist and each other with your love," he continued. "You are now in the mist together, forevermore. Commence," he commanded and the Elven lovers removed their lily crowns, kissed them, and replaced them on the other's forehead. Finally they bowed to their knees, becoming waist-deep in the river as the Lord of Kaernia sprinkled the sparkling blue water onto them. "Blessed be forevermore," he said. "Blessed be forevermore," the lovers repeated as they stood.

"Sequoia's so lucky," Shyriyh muttered to herself that evening as she lay in bed looking out the window at the two lands. The Kaernian forest was half in Turkey and half in Rumania. She suddenly jumped when she saw a small explosion from the Turkish lands. There was a mad shout as she watched a man clad in black carrying another man out of a village hut and impaling him on a stake in front of his house. Shyriyh gasped as she ran out of the Kaernian Palace to join the other elves in staring out at the wreck one of the huts had become. "Who is that? What are they doing?" She cried towards her uncle. "I believe it is the Rumanian Count," he said. "And I think he is getting revenge."