Alright, I've decided to go ahead and upload one of my writings. Be warned, I'm not much of a writer. Comments and constructive critisism are always welcome.
Disclamer: I do not own Harry Potter. However, I do own Ardella, Dimitri, Damien, Valissa, and Lysander Sterling as well as the ideas that put together this story.
The night was eerily still and the surrounding silence was unwavering enough to be mistaken for a sound of its own; one so threateningly oppressive that prolonged exposure would guarantee insanity. The sky, normally displaying thousands of bright, twinkling stars, was just as dark and sinister as the stillness, all light concealed by the thick cover of clouds that stretched across the heavens. Even beautiful Luna in all her sparkling radiance was unable to stretch her luminous rays through the impenetrable, vaporous blanket.
Off in the distance, barely discernable in the black abyss, sat a grandiose manor with high spiraling towers and elegant architecture remnant of 18th century gothic cathedrals, the only form of civilization for miles. A flickering light visible from a window on the west tower was the only indication in the darkness that the mansion was there at all. The only source of light in this haunting world of shadows, bereft of any life form.
The solitary creature strode purposefully through the gloom, garbed in a dark cloak that allowed the wearer to almost completely camouflage itself as it made towards the foreboding manor. Despite the quick lope at which it traveled, the creature was silent as its surroundings, careful not to disturb the uncanny stillness of the night. Minute stars sparkled among the full moon, trying desperately to burst free of the clouds to light the stranger's path, however, despite the stars futile attempts, the unrelenting dark did not delay the outsider as it continued on its way to the mansion like a moth drawn to a flame.
The silhouette effortlessly scaled the large, intricately designed wrought-iron gates that incased the manor's property leaping down into a graceful crouch, not in the least bit hindered, before winding its way up the twisting driveway that lead to the estate. As expected, the front doors of the manor were well beyond exquisite; made from a sturdy dark wood decorated with wrought-iron to match the gates. The figure hesitated for a moment and glanced around, perhaps searching for anything else creeping around in the dark, before moving away from the grand entrance and circling around the building. After a moment or two, the stranger discovered a smaller and much less splendid door that was worn and deteriorated; most likely a servant's entrance. Anyone who lived in a house this luxurious was undoubtedly too rich not to have maids, cooks, and servants ready to be at their beck and call.
Finding the door handle to be locked, the foreigner pulled an object from the folds of their cloak and tapped the lock a few times before the old door swung open, emitting a soft screech in protest. Quickly returning the unidentifiable object to the confines of their cape, the figure slipped inside and silently closed the door. Once inside, the hooded figure took a quick survey of the room and determined it was the kitchen as pots and pans hung from hooks on the ceiling and a large oven and refrigerator stood against the walls. The stranger made its way out of the kitchen and passed an expensively furnished dining room, sitting room, and a library before reaching the spacious entryway of the manor where stood the same large doors the figure had glanced upon only moments ago. The stranger remained in the entryway for a time, taking in the high-ceilings, marble columns and the large staircase that was situated opposite the doorway leading up to the second floor before branching off in three directions. Silently, the figure waited as if contemplating its next move before walking up the stairs and striding down the left hallway with the same decisive step it had taken on the journey to the mansion.
Creeping up five more flights of stairs and wandering through a maze of hallways, all the while in its determined stride as if it knew the layout of the house, the figure came to a stop outside a set of double doors. Stopping briefly, the hooded head rose slightly and turned from side to side all in all looking like a dog sniffing the air. Seemingly pleased with what it found, the creature simultaneously lowered its head and once again produced the curious item it had used to gain access to through the locked servant's door. Pointing said item at the door, the shadowy figure muttered something indiscernible before the door softly popped open. This time leaving the object out, it stretched out a black gloved hand to push open the door enough to slip its slim body inside before focusing on the large four-poster bed situated against the back wall of the enormous area, apparently the master bedroom.
Slowly heading towards the aforementioned bed, the creature paused only once when one of the occupants sighed and rolled over before halting besides the bed where slept who were most likely the master and mistress of the magnificent mansion. Closest to the figure was a dark-haired man with a strong jaw who might be mistaken to be in his late twenties if one didn't notice the wrinkles at the corners of the eyes and mouth that exposed his age. Besides the man laid an equally young-looking woman with a beautifully heart-shaped face that held full, red lips and long dark lashes that brushed against her cheekbones as she slept, long blonde tresses fanned out behind her. The creature took another step forward so its legs now rested against the strikingly carved wood of the bed and leaned over the man, as if taking in a deep breath. Leaning over a little more, it reached out an empty hand towards the sleeping man.
A young girl, perhaps twelve or thirteen, glanced up from the book she had been reading to level her gaze at her door located on the other side of the room. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, she lowered her eyes back to the novel in her hands. After another moment or so, she started and looked up again. Once more, she studied the door, her expression bemused, only this time she did not turn her attentions back to the book, instead marking her place and setting it on the nightstand beside her bed. Slowly slipping out of the mountain of covers that adorned her bed, she grabbed a stick-like item from her bedside table and crept towards the door of her bedroom.
She slowly turned the knob of the door and swung it open just enough to stick her head through. Glancing left and then right, she once again found herself confused as to why she was up when the hallway was obviously devoid of anyone but herself. In fact, she was the only inhabitant of the entire west tower, her parents in the east tower and her two older brothers on the north side of their ostentatious mansion. Seeing how late it was, she figured she was getting tired resulting in her mind playing tricks on her. Laughing to herself at how unreasonable she was being, she turned back and was about to shut the door was she heard it.
The sound was faint, probably from the other side of the house, but it was undeniably a scream. Fear coursed through her veins as she checked to make sure she still had the stick in her hand before bolting from the room; racing down the winding staircase and through hallways that she knew like the back of her hand. As she sprinted down corridors and raced around corners, a number of scenarios about who was screaming dancing across her mind's eye. Briefly, she thought that perhaps she should have first woken one of her brother's before investigating the source of the shout, but having already passed by the halls that led to their rooms, she continued her trek towards her parent's wing of the house.
As she came to the final stairway that would take her right outside the double doors of her parent's room, she heard another shriek, this time much louder. She froze in her steps. That last scream held cold-blooded fear, and now she seemed to be rooted to the spot in fright. She was after all, only twelve. What help could she possibly be? She should have gotten her brothers to help. They were older and much more experienced then she was. They'd know what to do. Just as she was about to turn back, she heard another shout and then her mother's voice, broken and begging. Making up her mind, she spun back around and ran up the stairs and burst through the open doors of her parent's room, freezing at the sight that sat in front of her.
The room looked like it always did with all her parent's furniture and paraphernalia in its proper place and impeccably neat. The only item amiss was their bed. What was once a beautifully crafted four poster bed with soft, satin sheets the color of freshly fallen snow, was now in ruins. There were deep gouges in the carved wood and the sheets had been shredded and soaked in what was unmistakably blood, so dark red it almost appeared black. Despite this horrific scene, it wasn't the worst sight in the room. For in the middle of the bed lie what could only be the body of Lysander Sterling.
Upon the sight of her father's mangled and broken body, she let out a muffled sob, her hands covering her mouth as tears began to rain down her cheeks. It was then that the other occupants of the room noticed her presence. She hadn't seen them in her initial scan of the room, but she now saw in the furthest corner of the room, shrouded in shadow, the figure of her mother pressed as far as possible against the wall, a tall, cloaked figure towering over her. At the sound of her tears and sobbing, they had both turned in her direction, her mother's face displaying fear while the stranger's lit up in amusement. Quickly bringing up her hand to wipe away tears that refused to abate and feverishly trying to avoid looking at the bed, she focused on the stranger's face while her jumbled mind attempted to process the horror and confusion it was witnessing. She continued to scrutinize the cloaked figure and began to really look at him and take in his rather odd features. The only part of him not covered in fabric was his head, full of dark locks that curled slightly at the ends and fell around his face to contrast sharply with his chalky white pallor. His eyes were particularly strange and from across the room they appeared to be brown, but had a strange glare about them. Around his mouth was smeared a dark substance and his lips were parted in a feral grin, revealing teeth with abnormally long canines. It took a minute for her mind to catch up, but she soon realized what it was standing before her, and what had unquestionably killed her father and was now threatening her mother.
"You're a vampire," her voice was no more than a shaky whisper, filled with dread and grief, but as she had stated he was a vicious creature with senses that could rival any animals and as such he heard her statement as clearly as if she had shouted it.
"Very good. You're quite a bright child aren't you," his tone was mocking and his grin seemed to grow, if possible, even wider at the prospect of another meal. It was at this moment that her mother seemed to break through the fear that had until now kept her still.
"Ardella, run! Get your brother's and get out of here," her voice was hysterical and it ended in breathless sobs. Ardella could only stand transfixed as she watched her mother wail in a fright induced frenzy. Valissa Sterling had always been a strong, intelligent woman that carried herself with an unearthly grace and was uncommonly kind for someone of her status. It was devastating to see her now, reduced to a pitiful heap on the floor, tears and fright marring her angelic face.
The vampire, apparently more interested in the fresh young blood before him turned from the panic-stricken woman and moved towards Ardella, who could do nothing but watch as her mother fell to pieces and her once happy life slowly crumbled away to absolute chaos. It the past few minutes, she has lost her father and was now on the verge of losing her mother. The suddenness of these events caused her body to tense up and completely lock in place, unable to respond to her brains commands while it raced and tried to take everything in.
Noticing the creature's focus had moved on to a new victim Valissa looked up and locked her gaze with her daughter's, reading the fear, distress, and love in her gaze. Seeming to come to a decision, Valissa Sterling gathered her mind and pulled herself from the floor, standing with every ounce of authority she had left before hurling her body at the vampire advancing upon her daughter.
"Ardella, go now!"
The vampire seemed surprised that his prey had managed to move at all, but didn't falter for long. Reaching behind him where she screamed, bit, and clawed at anything she came in contact with, he pulled her around to stand in between him and the girl. He locked his crimson gaze with Ardella's as he lowered his head and swiftly sank his fangs into the neck of her mother, making sure she had a clear view as he sucked the life from the woman who had brought her into the world; the woman that had loved and cared for her; the woman that had always been there with strength when she had none. Ardella gazed on in numbed shock as her mother's shrieks died off into pained whimpers and her fists stopped in their beating to fall limply at her sides. Something about watching her mother's life be taken away seemed to snap Ardella from her motionless stupor as she suddenly brought up her wand, previously forgotten, and pointed it at the vampire.
The spell didn't have much effect on him as he didn't have a wand in hand and creatures like werewolves and vampires were able to deflect some magic, but it was enough to push him back a few feet and startle him into dropping her mother. Letting out a cry of anguish, Ardella rushed forward and dropped to the ground besides her mother's inert body.
"Mama? Mama, please look at me. Mama? Mama!"
"I believe you're too late. Perhaps if you had attacked sooner you might have gotten a word or two from her, but it's too late now," he paused in his taunts and tilted his head, not unlike a dog listening for something, "Yes, I can hear her heartbeat, it's nearly stopped." Ardella ignored the amused words of the vampire and continued to shout at the prone figure, shaking her shoulders and begging for her to open her eyes. After another minute passing with no response, Ardella collapsed once more into uncontrollable tears, laying her head to rest where she should hear her mother's heartbeat, but all she heard was the echoes of her own sobbing.
"Now, my dear, I'm afraid that you're next," the vampire crept nearer to the two, Ardella too absorbed in her anguish to notice or care, "It'll only sting for a moment and then you'll find it feels quite nice."
The vampire crouched down and carefully pulled her up into a sitting position, to which she gave no indication she even noticed as she continued to weep, and leaned over to whisper in her ear, "Who knows, if I can control my thirst I might even keep you."
His mouth now hovered over the junction were her neck met her shoulders and he slowly breathed in through his nostrils to savor the smell of his meal before plunging two pearly white fangs into the soft flesh. Ardella let out a whimper as tears continued to race down her cheeks, but after a moment her cries subsided and a dreamy look passed over her features, the endorphins from the vampire bite calming her. Letting out a soft moan of contentment, Ardella found herself wishing that the wonderful feeling would never end.
"Ardella!" The peaceful feeling that had consumed Ardella was shattered as the vampire withdrew and the door to the bedroom slammed open. Looking around as if in a daze, she turned as saw her eldest brother, Damien, in the doorway wand leveled in her direction. Confused as to why her brother would be pointing his wand at her, she turned back around and came face to face with a beautifully pale face, dark hair falling to frame red eyes and a mouth splattered with blood. This site seemed to pull her back to reality as she looked down and saw the lifeless body of Valissa Sterling.
"Mama! I'm so sorry. I couldn't help you," her hysterics came back and more tears leaked from her sapphire eyes as she babbled useless apologies. She could hear voices in the background, shouting at one another, and the vampire was no longer sitting in front of her, but her hearing was fuzzy as if someone had muted all noise in the world. Her vision was growing dim around the edges and there was a horrible burning pain coming from her neck. Slowly reaching up her hand to the spot, she pulled it back to reveal her fingers covered in a dark, sticky substance so dark she couldn't discern whether it was black or scarlet. Her blood.
And not the blood from a harmless little scratch. No, this was the dark blood that resided deep within the body, the blood that should never come to the surface. She was going to die. Looking down she saw her pajamas soaked in fresh blood; it was impossible she would survive after losing so much of her lifeblood. Feeling a bit faint, she swayed to the side and heard more shouting as two strong arms hugged her figure before she hit the floor. Just before losing consciousness, Ardella was faintly aware that it was her other brother, Dimitri, who had caught her and now cradled her close to his strong chest as he whispered frantically in her ear.
"Don't worry, you're okay. Everything's okay. Just hold on a bit longer. Ardella, Ardella…" His voice faded and then there was naught but darkness, cold and unmoving as the world outside.