Chapter 1: The Cellar and the Mystery

Ceridwen looked out the window of the large mansion sighing softly. It had taken Dwight three months to recover entirely from their first adventure together. So far, the young vampire had shown little resistance to the reformists around him. Or at least less than when he first arrived at the mansion. Dwight had spent nearly seventy years as a wandering vampire, piloting himself up and down the east coast until he met his match in the form of a seasoned and rather seedy tabloid reporter. After a nasty confrontation, the reporter (Richard Dees) had taken it upon himself to make sure that the carnage he had witnessed would cease. He had come accross a reformist close to Ceridwen purely by happenstance, but Ceridwen preferred to call it divine intervention since she didn't believe in flimsy things like happenstance. Dwight had been promptly caught, subdued, tagged, and brought to the group of reformists at the mansion here in Maine. Ceridwen was head of the team and, despite her own struggle with feline lycanthropy, was doing more for the young man in a few months than it seemed his tutors and doctors had in his youth. Dwight had been afflicted with polio in his early childhood, but thanks to doting and wealthy parents, had overcome it. Ceridwen found this story not only remarkable, but a sign that Dwight was meant for great things and should be spared at all costs. Dwight had risked life, limb, and his precious plane Lenore to save Ceridwen those three months ago. She stared out the window as rain pelted against the panes from the darkened sky. The only lights that could be seen this evening came from the frequent sparks of lightning. She frowned. Storms seemed to set Dwight on edge after what had happened during the last one. She couldn't blame him, she herself wasn't fond of rain at all.

A sudden crash from the other side of the mansion caught Ceridwen's attention. She frowned and sniffed carefully. Ceridwen had hated her lycanthropy almost as much as Dwight had hated his vampiricism, but both still found their physical properties quite useful from time to time. She listened, keeping her breathing as still as possible. She could hear everyone else in the mansion getting ready for the evening; the three medics, the four other reformists, and Jeremiah who was both her personal assistant and adopted brother. Dwight was settled in the library from the sounds of it. He was currently trying to drown out any tension from the storm with a large volume of New England Poetry Rediscovered and heavy breathing. Ceridwen comforted herself with the knowledge that he seemed to be handling the fear by himself for now. Jeremiah, or rather Jeremy, was in the downstairs livingroom on the phone to his father, arguing about who was a better musician in the early fifteen hundreds. The four reformists were discussing some of Ceridwen's research and the three medics were going over their supplies. This didn't seem connected to the noise Ceridwen had heard earlier at all. She frowned and headed towards the other side of the house. As she opened the door, Dwight met her face to face. Ceridwen let out a small cry and stumbled backwards. Dwight quickly reached out his hand and caught the girl in mid-fall. He lifted her gently back to standing and looked over her once.

"Thank you for catching me, but next time alert me to your presence," Ceridwen breathed as she slowed her heartrate. "I thought I heard you were in the library."

"I was. I heard a noise, did you?" he asked looking back down the hall.

"Yes, but I don't think it was anything to worry about. It just sounded like something fell, that's all," she reassured. "There's no cause for alarm. You go on back to the library and..."

"Shh," Dwight suddenly commanded. Ceridwen looked up at him in confusion. Having been protected from her lycan form from the time she was a young child, Ceridwen did not have the fine tuned abilities that Dwight did. She found it both useful and frustrating that he could make up easily for what she lacked most of the time. Dwight narrowed his gaze down the hall. "It's an animal. Don't you smell it?"

"What kind of animal?" Ceridwen asked feeling her muscles tense. Now that Dwight had brought her attention to it, Ceridwen could detect the presence of an animal... a cat to be exact. She growled softly at the scent. Dwight turned and looked at her in shock. Ceridwen moved past him, trying to keep herself under as much control as possible. Ceridwen gave a small roar as her pupils shifted into small slits. She darted forward, following the sound and the scent carefully. She growled softly as she hurried towards the farthest part of the house and into the basement. Dwight breathed deeply and hurried after her. Ceridwen stopped dead in front of a door.

"What is it?" he asked softly.

"A female," Ceridwen replied softly.