This love & vamps story is inspired by L'Amore delle Tre Melarance (The Love for Three Oranges), a fairy tale written in the 18th century by Gaspare Gozzi, to become later a Prokofiev 's opera. It was one of the favorite bedtime stories I requested from my grandmother. Of course in her version there were oranges, but not even a hint of lemon! In my version things might change, slightly. There will be passion, there will be danger, and a surprise at the end.

Please note that in Italian Edward becomes Edoardo, and all the other names needing it have been suitably Italianized.

Story Notes

Many thanks to Stefanie for editing this story.

The three bloody oranges

Chapter 1 – Once upon a time

Once upon a time there was a king. His name was Giacomo and he was a powerful vampire who ruled his kingdom with an iron fist. He had a strong army, the elite of which was comprised of immortals, some endowed with extraordinary gifts. His subjects were happy to have a vampire king, because it meant that theirs was the strongest among the neighboring countries, and that brought tributes, slaves and prisoners. The latter were mainly fed to the king and his vampire warriors, but the tributes made everybody rich. Of course the subjects feared their king and tried to keep him happy, therefore, once a month they choose a virgin among their daughters and sent her to him, to be ravished and drained.

One night, however, it happened that the virgin was so beautiful that the king decided to ravish her repeatedly, before killing her. She became pregnant and in a very short time she was delivered of a baby boy. She did not survive the pregnancy, but her son did. King Giacomo was elated, since he had never thought that his loins could produce a child. The little prince was a beautiful half breed, with green eyes and bronze colored hair. He was named Edoardo and his growth was quick. Albeit not strong like a true vampire, the prince was far stronger than any human being, and practically indestructible. In addition, he ran so fast that he could best many of his father's immortal warriors.

Edoardo could eat human food, but he hated it, so, at the beginning, his diet was like his father's. But he had a particular gift: he could read minds. When he drank from prisoners he could see desperation and terror in their minds, and soon became devastated by it. To escape the agony he tried to stick to human food, but it repelled him.

One day he was hunting boar with some of the human noblemen of his father's Court. The hunters were using spears but, as they were approaching a big male, Edoardo leapt from his mare, with his bare hands subjugated the beast and sank his teeth in its neck. It was delicious. From that day he went hunting alone and refused to drink human blood.

His choice did nothing to endear him to his father, who disliked having a weakling for a son. He had plans for him. Not to leave him his kingdom, of course, as he counted on being king forever, but he had just conquered another country, and wanted to give it to Edoardo. Now he feared that he would be incapable of being as pitiless as required from the heir of the Vampire King.

When not hunting, Edoardo retreated to his chambers, playing music on his dulcimer or reading classical poetry. He tried to have less and less to do with the court and the cruel games they played.

Among the king's allies there was a witch, known as Tania, and one day he called her to the court to ask her how he could convince his son to behave more appropriately. "Well, make a man of him," suggested the witch, "it is high time."

Therefore the king ordered his subjects to provide him with two virgins, this month, and allowed the prettier of the two to be brought to the prince. Two female guards accompanied the girl and left her naked on Edoardo's bed. The girl cried desperately and upon hearing her misery he could not even consider touching her. He saw the terror in her mind and very gently he enveloped her in one of his mantles, then carried her to the stables, took his mount and brought her back to her parents.

The king and the witch were very displeased, but decided to try again, so a new virgin was brought to the prince. Again, the girl cried, but what Edoardo read in her mind was quite different. She was informed of the fact that the prince would not drink human blood, so she was not scared. Her mother had told her that if she played her cards correctly she could end up as a princess, and had instructed her on what to do once she was alone with the beautiful prince. In the girl's mind there was the image of another boy, who loved her and she thought she loved, but the possibility of becoming a princess was much more attractive. She was looking forward to the night with the King's son, and had many ideas about it. Edoardo was completely put off by her calculating, petty mind, so again he produced one of his mantles to cover her, and then he simply brought her to the door and asked the guards to take her home.

The plan suggested by the witch seemed to be unsuccessful, so she decided to take the matter in her hands. Tania was not young, but with her arts she managed to look very beautiful. She tried to surprise Edoardo, entering his room while he was sleeping. The night was warm and the prince was unclothed. He was dreaming and she began to entertain lustful thoughts in her mind, which was no difficulty when she looked at him.

Those thoughts were perceived by the sleeping prince, and insinuated themselves into his dreams, and so he became aroused. The soft hands that were touching him intimately were part of his dream, and he was responding and rolling toward the inevitable conclusion. Some noise, however, penetrated his slumber and he was suddenly awake, looking at the beautiful woman who was making free of his body. The pleasure was intense and he might have succumbed, but then he saw the real workings of her manipulative mind behind the lust, her cold spirit and the plans she had for him, after the seduction. She had a daughter and wanted to convince him to marry her.

He was revolted, and rose quickly from the bed. "Please leave," he said. She then tried to embrace him. "Please, leave," he repeated, "you disgust me."

A red haze descended over Tania's vision. She was infuriated; nobody, nobody had ever dared to scorn her. Without thinking she spoke with the high and clear voice witches used to dominate the elements and throw curses.

"Ah, so you do not want me? Well, you will not want any woman, witch, vampire or demoness until you find the love of the three bloody oranges. You will not sleep, you will not drink any blood, be it from man or beast, and you will not find peace until that day!"

Tania hastily left the room and the palace. She had much to accomplish before the king realized what she had done and before she began to feel the repercussions of her actions. She feared his reaction, for his wrath was great.

The effects of the curse did not instill themselves slowly. The following night Edoardo was unable to sleep. He went hunting, but as soon as the blood touched his lips he was seized by violent retching. He tried music, but could not finish any piece he wanted to play. He tried to read, but his attention wandered. His existence became a living hell.

He resolved to leave, albeit he did not have any idea of what he was supposed to look for.

Chapter endnotes

No, the piano had not been invented yet, so Edoardo had to make do with something else for music. It is becoming fashionable again, but If you don't know what a dulcimer is, just google it and you will see videos with players in action.

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