Katrina, The Beginning

 

 

Katrina

The Beginning

 

 

A Royal Blood Chronicle

Book One

 

 

By

Elizabeth Loraine

 

 

 

 

This is a work of fiction.
All the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this
novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously.

 

 

Royal Blood Chronicles Book
One copyright © SMASHWORDS EDITION 2013 by Elizabeth Loraine all
rights reserved. 

 
ISBN 978
1301569670

 

 

We are named in every ancient
culture.

 

You speak of us in every written
language.

 

We have walked beside your
ancestors,

just as we walk beside
you.

 

What you don't know protects
you.

 

Those you fear will save
you.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

I sat very still,
staring straight ahead. Sitting for a portrait for the Sanctuary’s
grand library was a great honor. My name is Katrina Von Dracek, and
I can’t believe how long it’s been—almost one hundred thirty years.
This is the chronicle of my journey, from the
beginning.

 

From this vantage point
atop the castle’s west wall, I could see the entire valley. The
breeze was cool, but no longer held any threat of
winter.

What would the rest of my
life be like, I wondered. All young girls, I supposed, wanted love,
but I also wanted adventure, to travel the world, to make a
difference in some way. It would be a long life, I knew, for
vampires live a very long time.

I appraised my
surroundings. The night was breathtaking. With my vampire gifts, I
detected a stag in the woods nearby and even though there was no
moon tonight, my enhanced vision made the darkness as clear as the
day.

From my history lessons, I
learned the earliest known members of our race could not tolerate
the sun in the beginning, or control their lust for blood. But just
as all creatures have evolved through the centuries to survive, so
had we, although some of the clans prefer, as they call it, to stay
true to their heritage. Vampires are mostly born now, not made.
Blood lust has been tamed by the hunting of animals and through the
use of Crimson. Crimson is liquid strength for vampires, and is
made from small amounts blood donated by our human watchers. It is
mixed with an ancient elixir that vastly multiplies it by volume,
and enables it to stay fresh indefinitely.

As I turned to leave, I saw
a shadow, too fast to be human, streak across the field toward the
front gate. Alarm trickled through me. I had been up on the wall
for hours, and I had neither seen, nor heard anyone leave the
castle.

“I have to find Quinn,” I
whispered into the darkness.

Quinn, my Watcher and my
friend, was one of the seven Voss brothers who attended my family.
Watchers are the personal human guard of the vampires; men who have
dedicated their lives to the well-being of their vampire families;
none more loyal than the Voss.

I rushed to the stairway
leading to the entrance courtyard, but stopped just as Quinn
emerged from the doorway at the bottom.

“What’s
happened?”

“A courier has just
arrived. The whole council has been called to meet in Salzburg, and
each family has been directed to include their best young royal
representatives in their party,. You will be joining your father.
Come with me now, we have begun making preparations to leave, since
the journey is long and the Council is to meet in just fourteen
days.”

That was Quinn, always
seeing to the needs of our family. He and I had grown up together,
becoming so close, my father had actually sought to warn me.
“Katrina, Quinn is your Watcher and must remain as
such.”

Bristling, I’d told him in
no uncertain terms, “Quinn was also my friend, my best friend”, but
later I found myself wondering if it was still the truth. Had I
started to feel something more? No, I reassured myself; Quinn
was
my friend, and
of
course
I cared for him, yes, maybe even loved him, but as a
friend, or a member of my family. Right? I guessed I would need to
sort this out, but it would have to wait, for tomorrow we were
leaving on a journey that would take us north and east; a journey
that could hold danger. I grew excited at the prospect. The unknown
is always both the most frightening, and the most exciting part of
any new adventure.

My head swam as I realized
the full impact of the Council’s directive. Our retinue would be
large enough, but all the clan’s would be adding their royal
families’ most worthy young members, and the numbers going to
Council this time would be in the hundreds. All would be traveling
with their entourage made up of Watchers, servants, and caravan
wagons filled with provisions. There would also be wagons carrying
the bales and boxes of gifts for the other clans and their leaders,
especially those chosen for the High Regent.

“Katrina, you look weak.”
Quinn broke my reverie. “When was the last time you fed? Did you
drink anything today at all?”

Quinn was right; I hadn’t
had Crimson or been out to hunt all day, preferring to concentrate
on the development of my gifts and military skills. I thought back
now, I hadn’t fed since the day before or maybe longer. I realized
with a start, I was very near dormancy and could have gone into
that state in my sleep. Dormancy, a kind of hibernation if you
will, is a slowed metabolic state which saves us when we have to
hide, heal, or survive when food either was not available or was
tainted. This dormancy can last hours, days, weeks, or even years.
Now that Quinn had brought it up; I did feel weak, too weak to
hunt. Why hadn’t I paid more attention? Suddenly my vision started
to fade; and I was forced to leaned against the wall to steady
myself from the overwhelming feeling of dizziness.

When I awoke, Quinn was
wrapping a cloth around his wrist.

“You must be more
responsible.” he chided me. “I can’t be in charge of your
feedings
too!”

He was angry, so angry his
face was red, and though I had never bitten a human in my life, the
bulging vein on his neck was making me feel something I had never
felt before - blood lust. It didn’t help Quinn was so handsome, and
as he kept ranting about how I was ignoring my training, my
studies, and everything else, I couldn’t help admiring the
ruggedness of his jaw and the way his dark brown hair flopped onto
his face; his beautiful face.

“Katrina,
Katrina
! Are you even listening to me at
all?”

Snapping out of my reverie
felt almost painful; I would have liked to remain there just a
little longer.

“Katrina?” his inflection
changed as he walked toward me.

The impulse to throw my
arms around his neck and kiss him passionately was so overwhelming,
it took all my strength to contain myself.

“What is
wrong
with you Katrina? We have no time for
this.”

I spun away to gather
myself, and then tears filled my eyes. I am not someone easily
moved to tears, I had to wonder, what
was
wrong with me? I
felt a jolt when Quinn placed his warm hands on my shoulders and
turned me to him. When he saw the tears, he froze for a moment.
Then his face softened and I saw something new there, but then he
hardened again, “You must be more careful.”

He strode away, leaving me
feeling abandoned and hollow.

I walked to my room in a
daze, suddenly drained.

The door to my room had
never felt this heavy, I thought as I pulled it open. Once inside,
I was pleased to see the bed turned down and a meal of sweet bread,
butter, and a glass of wine on the table. Thank goodness for Sarah.
Sarah my handmaiden and confidant, had been with me since I was a
child. Our relationship was special and I could always count on
Sarah’s calm good nature, wry humor, and wise council.

I quickly ate the food,
choosing to savor the wine. Then, too exhausted to put on the
dressing gown left out for me, I lay down on the bed; the last
thing I remember was picturing the look in Quinn’s eyes and
wondering what it meant. Though fleeting, it had been there, hadn’t
it? With that thought, I slept.

~~~~

 

Entering the courtyard of
the Watcher compound, I found three of my brothers, Thomas, Simon,
and Avery, seated around the roaring fire. The smell of venison and
red cedar firewood made my mouth water and I realized I hadn’t
eaten since yesterday. I needed to take my own advice and have a
meal.

The food brought back to
mind what had just happened with Katrina. The thoughts made my
heart race and shortly my it pounded so loud, I felt certain
everyone in my compound could hear it. I saw something different in
the way she looked at me and I was sure it wasn’t just because I
had yelled at her. Was the fact I’d cut myself and let her feed
directly from my wrist, the reason that she saw me differently?
After all, I had never had to hand-feed her before. But since she
hadn’t awakened until afterwards, she didn’t know I had given her
blood from my arm, or that she had actively engaged in a direct
feeding.

I knew of course, it was
strictly forbidden for a Watcher to give blood directly, but when
she fainted she was clearly in danger of dormancy, so I acted. My
only thought at the time, was getting fresh blood into her as
quickly as possible. As my knife opened the vein on my wrist, the
scent made her nostrils flare and the same instinct that kept
vampires alive for centuries kicked in. She grabbed my arm and
began to feed. The movement was so swift and powerful I wasn’t sure
I could have stopped her even if I’d wanted to.

The feeling I had while she
was feeding could only be described as pure euphoria, and only the
sound of my brother coming up the stairs made me break the bond. I
quickly carried her to a side room to recover. “
Break the bond
.” Why had I thought of it that way? Was
that
it? Had that short feeding changed
everything between us?

I calmed as I began my
meal. I needed to fortify myself since my brothers and I would be
giving and storing blood for our charges for the trip.

Although Baron Von Dracek
would surely hunt along our journey, in the event there was no game
available in the high country, the added availability of Crimson
would definitely be needed. Nothing gives strength to a vampire
like the human blood in Crimson.

As I sat by the fire, my
oldest brother, Gunter, approached.

“We missed you at training
today,” Gunter told me gruffly. “Don’t let it become a habit. None
of us can be the weak link.”

I was the youngest of seven
brothers, something the other six never let me forget.

It was exciting to think I
would now have a chance to prove myself on this journey. As
Katrina’s Watcher, I was bound to protect her no matter what might
happen, even to the point of giving my life for hers, something our
family had done for generations.

“Quinn,” Gunter started to
pace, “Only four of us will accompany the Baron and Katrina on this
trip, and I’ve decided you are too young and untried in battle to
be one of the four.”

I jumped to my feet, pulled
my sword, with anger I didn’t know I possessed, looked Gunter
straight in the eye and through clenched teeth I yelled, “I dare
any of you to try to keep me from my duty. Nothing is going to stop
me from going on this trip, including you, Gunter. If you have any
doubts, let us settle them here, and now.”

Gunter gave Thomas a
surprised look, and slowly rose from the seat he had just taken by
the fire. Looking around at the others, he shrugged, “All right,
little brother, let’s see what you’ve learned.”

As I backed into the open
part of the courtyard, Gunter drew his sword and we prepared to
fight. The fire reflected off our blades and made them seem to jump
in our hands, as we circled first right and then left. Gunter
lunged, his sword held high. When moments before I felt tired and
weak, I was now invigorated by both my anger, and the thought my
brothers would try to leave me behind.

Other books

The Second Time by Janet Dailey
Los viajes de Gulliver by Jonathan Swift
Bold (The Handfasting) by St. John, Becca
Diamondhead by Patrick Robinson
Eye of the Tiger by Crissy Smith
Stormy Night by Jade Stratton


readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2022