My name is Elizabeth. I come from a wealthy family in Romania. While our last name means "Dragon" in other languages, you may know my father by our Romanian name -that is to say, his name is (well… WAS) Vladimir de Dracuul. That's right. The Impaler is my father, though don't go getting all freaked out, because I should tell you, he is not now, nor was he ever, a blood sucking creature of the night.

Did he go a little wacko when his first wife –my namesake- jumped off the highest guard tower along with their unborn son? Well, DUH! But the most he did was get raging drunk at the local tavern and wake up married to my mother, the barmaid, Maria Delrouse. Many failed attempts at annulment later (a year of them, to be precise) my older brother, Vlad Jr. was born. A year after him, my twin sister, Mina and I came into being. Life was pretty good. Until that fateful night…

The day before had been much the same as always. Papa went to town with Vlad and Alexander, a good friend of the family, and Mina and I stayed home with Mama to help with whatever.

Alexander was a tall, white-haired, nineteen-year-old with molten-gold eyes and skin so smooth and white that it made paper look like tree bark. I had always liked Alexander. He never seemed to mind that I wore breeches instead of skirts when I was away from the crowds or that I climbed trees like the boys. Everyone else in the village thought I was a freak, but never Alexander.

But I digress.

I was up in my room when Papa, Vlad, and Alexander returned from wherever it was they had gone (the obvious would be the tavern, but one can hope). I waved from my window to Alexander before flitting off to go change for bed. From what it would seem later, this would be the last time.

I fell asleep easily, not really worrying about anything, and certainly not thinking anything of the 'might be's or the 'what if's of life, however my dream was uncharacteristically disturbing.