A/N: For all of you who really enjoyed Life Blood, here's a little treat for you ^-^ I decided to go into a little greater detail on how Klara and Leidolf met, so here you go! (I guess I was curious, too.)
Klara - French
Leidolf - Norwegian
*Just in case there's any confusion about stuff that happens in this little snippet...
Klara knew better than to travel at night. It was something she'd learned very early on in the nightmare which her life had become. Even during the day, she was as skittish as any other wounded creature. Hiding from humans was one thing: not difficult if you had enough practice. But hiding from the others? From the ones who sought her blood, even though it killed them? They could find her even if she hid behind stone walls, in tall trees, in deep caves, in bottomless pools. For them, it seemed a game. But every time they caught her, every time they made her bleed, she was left with the searing pain and the haunting screams.
Rubbing her arms, attempting to keep out some of the chill, she pushed farther through the foliage. After nearly a decade of hiding, she wasn't exactly sure where she was. However, if she were to ever speak to anyone, she doubted they would respond in French. In fact, it had been some months since she'd gone near enough to any sort of habitation to find out. Inevitably, people thought one of two things when they saw her. She was either a crazy person or a witch. Neither sort of person was treated very well, so she tended to blend back into the scenery as quickly and quietly as possible.
The vampyre were worse, though. She seemed like a magnet to them. When she'd first been bitten, she had already been nearly insensate. Being tied to a tree, her arms stretched so tight over her head that breathing became a moment-by-moment battle, didn't allow her the greatest chance of fighting off such an attack. However, even in her fever-ridden, already painful predicament, she felt the new, piercing, hot-iron-to-bare-skin pain radiating from the bite on her arm. However, before she could even try to see what was causing this new sensation, the presence disappeared. All that was left were the agonized screams of a dying man.
As though the wound had triggered something within her, the scraps and bruises which her body had been covered in began to heal. The marks left from her fight with the pig-like son of her owner, the inn-keep Jacques, faded away and became nothing but loathsome and unwelcome memories. When the people of the village returned a few days later, she was so thirsty, she would have dunked her head in a bucket, if it had been offered. It hadn't been.
Over the next day and a half, she'd been drowned (at least she'd gotten something to drink during the ordeal, though perhaps a bit more than she'd anticipated) and burned. But her skin had refused to respond properly to the fire, though her hair and clothing hadn't felt the same compunction. Out of the flames she'd leapt, darting off into the woods and jumping feet first into the stream. Realizing very quickly that she was being pursued, she'd hauled herself from the water and dove headlong into the thickest piece of forest she could find.
And so it had been ever since. Pausing under a spreading oak tree, Klara leaned silently against its trunk. Sighing softly, she wondered, not for the first time, if the rest of life would consist of running away from everything and everyone. Once upon a time, when she'd been quite small, her family had been a happy one. What she could remember of her early life left her yearning to return to the peace and comfort which it had offered. Being sold off after her parents' deaths had been terrible. Her three sisters had been sent to similar situations, while her brothers, one four years older than she, one only a baby of a few months, had gone to places unknown to her. Klara tried hard to remember what they all looked like, but she failed. Five year olds don't have the best memories for details...
Pushing away from the tree, she stumbled over some hidden root which lay in her path. Hissing as the pain radiated through her bare foot, she didn't hear the telltale sound coming from her left. Within moments, two sharp fangs sank into her shoulder. Yelping, unprepared for the sudden and unseen attack, she jerked away from the creature as it let out an ungodly howl before his ashes became part of the forest floor.
Spinning, Klara sought an escape, but found none. She'd also learned over the years that many vampyre were social. At least to the point where they tended to travel in packs. She had begun to think of them as wolves. A few ran free and alone, but most banded together for the strength such numbers afforded. Surrounding her now was one such group, holding newly lit torches aloft so that the trees took on a glowing shade of orange. While they weren't baring their fangs at her, she still felt incredibly uncomfortable. Shoulder still aching from the quickly healing bite, she scanned the group for their leader. There was always a leader...
Sure enough, a tall, blond man stepped forward, his head bowed slightly. Broad shouldered, but slim, he commanded attention. It was obvious the others knew their place in his presence. His eyes were looking in the direction of where his follower had only recently stood. Sighing softly, he said in a voice deeper than his frame suggested, "Jeg er lei meg." She wasn't sure what language he was speaking, but it sounded almost apologetic.
In a small voice, holding her left arm close to her chest, she asked, "Je ne comprends pas..."
"Do you speak English? I'm afraid I have not spoken French in some time." The accent was much more pronounced now, although she still couldn't place it. Nor would she meet his eyes. Legends said that vampyre could see into your soul if they looked into your eyes.
"I speak it...a little." It wouldn't do to annoy him, however. If he or his men bit her, they too would die. But she'd had enough pain for the evening, thank you very much.
"Ah, good. Then I shall say it again: I'm sorry for this. I had not realized he was so hungry..."
Not sure what to say, for she'd never actually spoken to a vampyre before, Klara simply nodded her head in his direction.
"He did not hurt you, I hope?" Now his tone was curious, which made her wary. A curious vampyre was surely a dangerous one. After all, what would happen if he discovered that her blood could kill his fellows with a single drink? She didn't want to be used as a weapon. She had to think of someway to make them go on their way.
"I am fine!" she assured him, desperately wanting to back away, but knowing there were fangs behind as well as in front.
"Are you quite sure? I would feel better if you would at least lower your hand? So that I might see for myself?" He hadn't moved any nearer, but she could almost feel his aura coming closer.
"No!" she answered quickly. Perhaps too quickly, she realized as his stance changed from relaxed to concerned.
"I must insist."
She simply shook her head in a negative fashion several times very quickly.
Without saying another word, he stood before her. That was one of the worst things about the vampyre, Klara had decided years before. They moved faster than any other creature, making almost no noise in the process. With a startled yelp, her hand was pulled away from her shoulder. The man froze instantly. Sliding her own gaze sideways, she saw what he saw: a ripped piece of bloodstained fabric pulled back to reveal the unblemished skin beneath.
At his continued silence, Klara could keep herself still no longer. Allowing her head to tilt back slightly, she looked up at the tall man before her. His eyes were staring in disbelief at her shoulder. However, as though he could feel her gaze, he shifted his to meet it.
In that moment, everything changed. His gray eyes widened, he blinked several times in rapid succession, then he touched her chin. Tilting her face towards the dark canopy, he leaned forward, nosed her neck, opened his mouth, and bit her.
And so it was that Leidolf, the vampyre Ice King, claimed his Life Blood. Many years later, they took in a frightened young woman with sad eyes; to them she became both daughter and friend. But that is a story for another day.
I used a translation I found online for his comment to her. Supposedly, it's Norwegian for I'm very sorry. If I'm wrong, tell me the right thing and I'll fix it ^-^
Reviews, pleas and thank you ^.^