Prologue

It was a cold winter that year.

There was a talk of their Lordship perishing and the lady of the house ruling their lands. She was stern yet extraordinarily intelligent. With the backing of the House of Bathory, their Elizabeth was the lady of their lands and rumours spread of her aging skin to the peasant people who relied on nothing but gossip and enforced laws to know their whereabouts. The streets were empty as of late, nothing but the candle lit street lamps and the haunting echoes of a carriage's stead stomping through the cobble streets.

Yet, despite how far, D could hear it in the distance.

But his bags were packed and his cloak around his shoulders. He gripped his hand firmly, silencing it from its goading and its laughter at his pathetic fleeing. He arranged his sword into the horse's bag, it grunted against the weight and kicked up a small fuss before easing itself at D's hand. D looked back once again, before he caught sight of a brown cloak standing at the street side. The figure was a small and frail against the backdrop of darkness and white- yet there was a small serenity around her. Within her hand was a small book, possibly a bible, as he could hear her whispering some psalms as she waited for someone.

He could have stopped for a moment, he could have told her to go inside. It wasn't safe for a young lady to be out in the streets alone.

But his blood was enraged, his hands moving too quickly to get himself away from this city. Away from this life he had tried to fit into- this world in which he didn't belong. His father's taunted haunted him to his core as he tied the belt onto the horse's back and slid ontop.

He turned back again, slightly interested in the girl's activities as he was curious to her intentions.

A small brush of wind had now knocked her cloak off. He saw dark hair fall over her shoulders and land over her face a bit, she turned in his direction where he saw curious grey eyes reflecting his seating figure. Her expression captivated him for a moment- she wasn't as common as the average girls he saw walking on the streets, she seemed almost foreign to the country.

'Pardon,' he heard her whisper, a twang of some sort within her words.

From another country, perhaps.

A cough followed as she brought her fingers to her lips. D cringed at the sight, almost relishing the face he would never suffer any illnesses from the filth the mortals kept themselves within.

Then he heard it.

The creaking of the wooden wheels, the pattering of hooves against the stone floor. It was a chilling sound that caused D to grip the leather strap of his horse's riding crop.

Within the darkness of the city, a black carriage had arrived before the girl. Her attention shifted to the suddenly open door in front of her, her grey eyes staring into the darkness of the carriage. He watched, entranced by the movements of a slinky, malnourished hand stretching out from the carriage. He heard a few whispered, broken words which he couldn't place, and then there was a deathly silence.

The girl's eyes widened, her hand gripped the bible close to her chest. Her feet made a motion to run before her head whipped to stare at him again. D froze at the sight before him, his eyes made contact with the grey ones he had been eluding for so long. She seemed to beg him, plead with him, with those pupils bearing themselves to him.

'Help me,' he could hear her whisper through the gaze, 'Please help me.'

He heard a growl follow her actions and her gaze dropped back to the carriage.

The girl shakily extended her hand to meet the frightening stranger. Before they touched, there was a second where her head whipped to his direction once more. Dark hair flew against the wind and pale skin peered through the darkness of the winter night- through the light of the candles in the street he couldn't see her face too well... but her eyes seemed like they belonged to a dead owl. Dark and empty, pleading and longing- absolutely desperate.

'Save me'

She might have whispered again, her eyes were screaming for help through the silence of her lips. It was a second where he could have done anything.

Everything in his body commanded him to jump off the horse and run towards her, to pull her away from the beast within the carriage. To save her. Instead, in his young rage and immature mind- D noted that mortals were to die regardless of how young and beautiful they were. In those final moments, he turned his back and raised the whip to signal his departure. Before he had to time leave, the slamming of the door joined with his horse's retreating footsteps. He heard the slapping of whips with the peeling sound of the wooden wheels grating off the stones- if he looked again, he would have known the carriage was gone as quickly as it came.

"Smooth move,"

A whisper, coarse and sounding amused flittered into the air.

"Don't blame me if you find her corpse floating down the stream. Coward."