Authors: Jaide Fox
Dark Lords 3:
ENSNARED BY THE DREAM LORD
(c) copyright Jaide Fox, reissued December 2012
Cover art by Eliza Black, (c) copyright December 2012
Valdosta, GA 31602
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author’s imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Other titles by Jaide Fox:
Shadowmere Book One: Marked by the Beast
Dark Lords 1: Captured by the Dark Lord
Dark Lords 2: Seized by the Vampire Lord
Dark Lords 3: Ensnared by the Dream Lord
Intergalactic Mayhem: Intergalactic Bad Boys
Intergalactic Mayhem: Intergalactic Pain in the Ass
Demon Huntress Book One: Sacrificed
Earth Girls Aren’t Easy
His Forbidden Fruit
The Sky Fox
Captured by Aliens: Alien Captive
Adriana Bordeaux longed to be rescued from her prison.
She’d been locked in the tower since her sisters, Bianca and Cerise, had been stolen away by the unnaturals. Her father, devastated by the loss of two of his daughters, was determined that he was going to protect his only remaining child from the dark and dread forces that lived in Hellsing wood beyond their borders, but in doing so, he was protecting her from any life at all.
She yearned for a life of her own with a longing that bordered on desperation. It had become so painful to her that she could think of little else. Even the books that had given her so much pleasure in the beginning no longer did. Instead, she spent her days searching for the knowledge that might free her.
The day came when she found a very old and tattered book of legends among those that had been brought to her. She knew her father could not know that it was among the books chosen for her, else she would not have had it, for the book told tales of those very creatures from the dark woods of Hellsing from which her father was so determined to protect her. She hid it whenever he visited her, but in the evenings when she was alone in her lonely tower room, she would take it out and read it once more.
One story spoke to her more than any other, lifting her spirits, giving her hope when she had begun to feel that there was no hope for her. It was the legend of the guardian of dreams, the Lord of the Night, Morpheus Dragunas.
According to the legend, if a maiden who was pure in every way petitioned the lord of the night, he would be compelled to come to her and grant her heart’s desire. She knew that it was not something her father wanted for her, and yet she also knew that she had to live her own life.
She feared, though, that she would not be found worthy. She was guilty of envy for the love her sisters had found, and she was guilty of disobeying her father. Perhaps she was not pure enough to summon Morpheus?
Still, she couldn’t think that it would hurt to try. If he did not come, she would be no worse off than before.
Doubt filled her when she thought of father. If the Lord of the Night answered her pleas it might well break her father’s heart. She didn’t want that, but she needed something for herself. Surely, once he saw that she was happy, he would understand what all parents had to learn in time, that when their children grew up, they had need of their own life, to live it as they saw fit.
As she read the story, over and over again, she wavered back and forth, fearing she would break her father’s heart, hoping that she could summon Morpheus and he would grant her heart’s desire, fearing that he would find her unworthy and not come to her at all. Finally, she decided to see if Morpheus would come to her.
Kneeling before her tower window, she lifted her arms in supplication to the heavens and cried out, “Come to me, lord of the night! Come to me, Morpheus, I beg of you, and grant me my heart’s desire.”
She sat in front of the window for a very long time, so long her back began to ache and her knees, and still there was no sign of Morpheus, lord of the night. “Please,” she murmured hopelessly. “I know I’m not worthy, but I do try so hard to be good, and I’m so desperately lonely. I need a husband and a family of my own.”
She had no idea how long she sat beneath her window after she had uttered her final, desperate plea, but the moon had moved across the sky, and she knew it was growing very late. Finally, she rose stiffly, moved across the tower room, and crawled into her cold and lonely bed.
Adriana was despondent the next morning when she awoke, for even as she closed her eyes, she had hoped that Morpheus would visit her in her dreams. That he did not seemed an indication that she was not pure enough to summon him.
In her heart, she assured herself, she had known that he wouldn’t, but she found she simply could not give up. He was her only hope. Night after night, she knelt beside her window, calling to him, fighting the tears that streamed down her cheeks, and dripped cold droplets on her night dress.
* * * *
Morpheus Dragunas massaged his throbbing temples. Night after night, he heard the call without cease, without pity, without mercy until he thought he could not abide the torment any longer. He could not even recall the last time he had heard the summons and felt it pull at him and it infuriated him to discover after so long a time that he was still bound by the spell. No matter how hard he tried to ignore it, he could not.
Knowing it was useless, that he would be compelled to go in the end, he fought it just the same. Each day he would assure himself that he had won, that he had resisted the pull and it would not trouble him further, but each night, he heard the call again, more desperate than before, and each night, the pain inside of him grew until it finally reached the point where he could no longer bear to resist the summons. He had to go.
She would regret it, he decided as he stalked furiously from his throne room and strode down the echoing halls of his castle. When he was done with her she would not dare to summon him again, he assured himself as he stepped from the wide entrance and whistled for Despair, his night-mare.
Despair answered with a high pitched whinny and galloped from his pasture, snorting and breathing fire, no more pleased to be summoned than was Morpheus. Catching the night-mare’s mane of fire, Morpheus leapt onto his back and rowled him into motion. Rearing, Despair pawed the air with his flaming hooves, then shot skyward in a burst of speed that whipped his fiery mane and tail into a frenzy.
* * * *
Adriana stared hopelessly at the distant horizon as the sun sank from view and the evening sky blossomed with colors. She could not even find it in her heart to enjoy the beauty of it, for she had petitioned the lord of the night for so many days that she had lost count, and still he had not come to her. Below her, she saw the servants of her father’s keep going about the final chores of the day, putting the castle to rest for the evening, laughing and joking as they anticipated their dinner and the entertainment that usually followed.
Sighing despondently, Adriana lifted her head as the first stars winked into life above her. In the distance she saw a flicker of light. It caught her attention, and she studied it, thinking at first that it was a twinkling star, but after a time, she frowned, her curiosity thoroughly aroused. It seemed to be growing larger, or coming closer.
As she watched, she realized that it was definitely coming closer, for she saw that it was not a star at all. There were flames streaming from it, and at the center of the flames was a dark shape. Slowly, it seemed to her, it drew closer and closer, and the dark shape took form, and finally became two forms. And the fire took shape and form.
In time, she saw that it was a dark cloaked figure upon a black steed. The mane and tail and even the hooves of the dark horse seemed to be on fire.
Adriana’s heart sped up with fear as she saw the unnatural creatures bearing down on her father’s castle like some evil spawn of hell. Whatever it was, it wasn’t coming for her, she told herself. It could
be coming for her. And yet, it was hard to convince herself that it wasn’t, when neither man nor beast looked right or left, focusing on a course that led directly to her.
As man and beast alit in the open ground just beyond the castle walls, Adriana tensed, expecting momentarily to hear a cry of alarm. Instead, she heard only silence as the dark cloaked figure lifted his arm and moved it slowly through the air before him. Confused, fearful, she dragged her rapt gaze from the dark figure at last to look at the guards upon the walls to see what they thought, why they had not sounded the alarm, and she saw that they had slumped on the parapets as if they had fallen asleep. Stunned, she looked down into the bailey, and as she watched, the workers there yawned and began to slide slowly toward the ground, as if some invisible force was moving inward, catching man and beast and placing some sleeping spell upon them.
Below her, the castle itself fell silent, but even as she listened to the silence of the dark enchantment, Adriana felt her fear subsiding, felt herself drifting slowly toward the floor.
* * * *
As sleep claimed the very last inhabitant of the tiny castle, Morpheus dismounted. His booted heels crunched loudly on broken rock strewn across the ground, sounding loud in the silence of the night, but not a breath of protest whispered on the cool night air.
Freeing Despair to go about his own concerns until he had need of the steed again, Morpheus strode purposefully toward the castle gates, seeking the object of his wrath, his tormentor, the mortal that had dared to summon him, Morpheus, lord of the night as if he were no more than a slave to do her bidding. When he reached the great gate, he lifted his hands. At once, the massive panels began to swing open. He strode inside, crossed the bailey and lifted his hands as he approached the castle doors so that they also opened to him. Without pausing, he entered the castle and crossed the great hall. Reaching the stairs, he climbed them rapidly, until at last he came to the tower door, where slumbered the sleeping beauty who had demanded his presence.
Flicking an arm in the air as if swatting at a fly, he threw the door to the tower open. It slammed against the stone wall, echoing in the silence. Entering the room without a pause, he looked around for the girl, jolting to a halt when he spied her.
By the window she lay, resting upon the floor in a pool of her own wine dark hair, one hand cradled against her face in sweet supplication.
He had known that she was pure of heart. He had not expected that she would be lovely, as well. As angry as he was, Morpheus felt a pang of something he couldn’t quite identify as he stared at her peacefully sleeping face.
For a moment, it pierced his anger. Impatiently, he brushed the unaccustomed, unidentifiable emotion aside, crossing the room swiftly and kneeling beside her. So close, he saw that his eyes had not done her justice. She was fair, so fair that it caused him another pang only to look upon her.
It took more of an effort to banish the strange, confusing hesitancy that came over him that time, to resurrect his anger of before, but he stoked it to life once more for he despised his enslavement to mere mortals with their petty dreams. Bending over her, he scooped her into his arms and carried her to her bed, laying her carefully upon the counterpane.