Read Katrina, The Beginning Online

Authors: Elizabeth Loraine

Tags: #romance, #vampire, #adventure, #fantasy, #magic, #young adult, #ebook, #teen, #elves, #series, #vampire series, #young adult series

Katrina, The Beginning (5 page)

“Damien, Luena this is my
daughter, Katrina.”

I curtsied and extended my
hand to Damien in greeting. He took hold of it and while still
holding my eyes, bent and gave the back of my hand a kiss. I felt,
what I could only describe as pure energy coming from his lips onto
my hand, up my arm and into my heart! I could feel my face heating
as he stood there smiling at me.

“Delighted to meet you,
Katrina.”

“Come, Damien, we have
others to meet,” Luena took his arm to guide him away.

“Yes of course, sister,” he
said with a hint of sarcasm. “Please save a dance for me,
Katrina.”

Then once more he
acknowledged my father.

“Your Lordship.” He turned
and gave a slight bow, which my father returned, and then brother
and sister were gone.

At least he looked at my
face, I thought. I had never met them before but again I had a
strange feeling about him, but what? As for Luena, there was
nothing good about the feeling she gave me.

Next we made a circuit
around the room, casually greeting everyone, and I hoped I would
somehow be able to remember who was who. Some families would be
easier to commit to memory than others of course. Such as the tall
and elegantly regal Tantees from Africa, with their caramel colored
skin, high cheek bones, their beautiful bodies draped with the most
colorful fabrics. Chander, who was my age, was a prince. His father
MoMar was king of his clan, and he and my father knew each other
well. The delegates, also quite memorable was the clan from the Far
East, the Gomon. They had beautiful Asian eyes, black short hair,
and wore clothing of hand-embroidered silks of red and gold,
depicting scenes from their homeland. Hun Lee, Lord Gomon’s son,
spoke seven languages and by all accounts was the most brilliant
mind in attendance.

The tall, handsome Vikings
also were easy to pick out, with their broad shoulders, long blonde
hair, chiseled rugged features. Sven Arenkiel and his son, Axel,
both wore full beards and although their hair was blonde their
beards appeared to be shaded with red. Their piercing blue eyes
were in constant motion and they seemed to be always on guard, and
ready to fight at a moment’s notice. I smiled as I imagined their
smoldering, quiet passion awaiting a lucky girl.

Of course the girls’
fathers we would see often: Duke Ricardo Valdesio, Arletta’s
father; Edward Flanery, Eleanor’s father; and Michael DiPalicio,
Rosalinda’s father. Everyone seemed exceedingly pleasant, but still
an element of caution and apprehension filled the room. I imagined
that outside, on the commons and on the walls, there was also a lot
of tension. Since news of the attack had spread, everyone’s
Watchers were on edge. Tonight we eat and enjoy each other’s
company. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Later, Rosa, El, and I sat
together discussing fashion and those in attendance this evening.
Other than the Council members, it was indeed hard to keep the
other royal family members matched.

“I think we should all wear
name tags with family crests and have a coordinating list,”
grumbled Rosa.

She was particularly
attracted to Axel, as were many of the young ladies in attendance.
Much to the disappointment of the half-dozen or so girls that
surrounded him, he didn’t dance.

“How are you ladies this
fine evening?” asked Gerhardt. “I can’t stay long, as that would
deny too many others of my company.”

“You’re forgiven,
Gerhardt,” I was able to maintain a completely serious face. “We
understand, don’t we girls?”

As he left to continue
‘sharing’ himself with those unfortunate women who hadn’t yet been
graced by his presence, we broke out in gales of
laughter.

Rosa was asked to dance
several times, as was Eleanor. I danced with Demitrie Devorak and
an adorable Russian named Nicoli, but was content to watch people
and chat with the girls. Finally I stood, ready to make my exit. I
visually searched the ballroom for Father. I hoped for a moment
alone with Quinn, before I rested for tomorrow’s
regimen.

“If you’re looking for me,
look no further.”

“Damien, you startled
me.”

“I’m sorry, but I haven’t
had a chance to speak with you this evening. Would you care to
dance?”

“No, I’ve danced all I can
dance, I’m afraid. I was hoping to find Father and say
goodnight.”

“But the night is young,
and it would please me if you could stay and talk, at least for a
little longer.”

He was even more
mesmerizing than earlier, but something was still bothering me
about him. Maybe I could figure it out if I stayed and spoke with
him for a while.

“All right, you win. But
just for a little while. I have training in the morning and as you
know, the Council meeting later. What can you tell me, Damien?
What’s going on?”

“I am sworn to secrecy, my
Lady, and I don’t know very much myself. I would rather talk about
you.”

He brushed my cheek with
the back of his hand, which sent tingles from my face down my
spine. His dark brown eyes had a sparkle in them, which told me he
knew and expected that very reaction. I stepped away.

“Damien, I really am tired
– Oh, Father, there you are.”

Damien looked deflated. I
didn’t think many girls refused his charms.

“Father, I’m very tired.
May we go?”

“Of, course Katrina.
Damien, goodnight.”

“Lord Von Dracek, Katrina,”
Damien bowed slightly.

With those
acknowledgements, we started to make our way from the
hall.

“Quinn is waiting to escort
you back,” my father advised. “There is still something I must do.
I will see you in the morning.”

He gave me a kiss on the
forehead and turned to walk away.

“Father?”

“Yes, Katrina?”

“Do I really look like
Mother?”

“Yes, yes you do, just as
beautiful.”

Then he turned and walked
away. His words made me happy and sad at the same time. As I left
the hall, the cool night air gave me a shiver. Quinn stepped out of
the shadows and placed a cape around my shoulders.

“Sarah thought you’d get
chilled.”

“She was right, as usual.
She always knows what I need before I do.”

I looked up at him, then
and we both smiled. I was sure he couldn’t tell I was blushing in
the dim light of a half moon. I was thinking back to the last time
we were together. That kiss was amazing, and although I had nothing
with which to compare it, as it was my first kiss, I could not
believe anything could match it. However, I was willing to
try.

We walked slowly back. I
really wanted some more time alone with him. Did he feel the same
way, I wondered?

“Maybe we should check on
Nulla again,” Quinn proposed.

“Yes, I think you’re right.
I want to make sure they changed the dressing and used a fresh
poultice.”

He
did
feel the same
way, I was sure of it now. We quickened our step, we didn’t dare
take too much time; Gunter would figure it out, and that was the
last thing we needed.

“You look so
beautiful.”

I had to look down. My face
was feeling flushed again. My pulse was racing.

“Thank you,
again.”

Why couldn’t I think of
something to say?

When we arrived at the
stable, Nulla’s head was drooping, her eyes closed. Then her
nostrils flared as she picked up our scent with her sensitive nose.
A low whinny escaped from her throat and she tossed her head as
though scolding us for taking so long to get close.

Quinn laughed. “She’s never
seen you in a ball gown before.”

“Her dressing looks good,
and I can smell the fresh poultice. Are you all right,
girl?”

She placed her muzzle into
my hands, the soft velvet caressing my palms. Quinn produced a
carrot, which she eagerly took from his outstretched palm, and I
scratched her neck, then gave her a pat.

“We should probably get
back.” A shiver went through me just then, so I pulled my cape
closer around me. Quinn came behind me and rubbed my arms up and
down to gently warm me. This gave me a shiver of a different kind,
one that went from my stomach to my toes, a tingle I’d felt before,
when we kissed.

He wrapped his arms around
me, then from behind, the same way he had outside my room earlier
that day, he kissed my neck just below my ear. I heard a moan and
then I realized—it was me! Gently, he turned me to face him. We
looked at each other for what seemed like forever, but was only
seconds.

He began to lean down as I
rose up to meet him. He pulled me closer, his arms now around my
back. I slid my arms under his and up his back towards his
shoulders. At that moment I knew this was right, and no one was
going to be able to tell me this was wrong. No one, not even
Father. When we broke from the kiss and the one that followed, I
knew I would never forget this night. As we left the stable to walk
back, we were startled by someone coming out of the shadows.
Damien.

“Well, well. Aren’t you two
cozy?”

Quinn pulled me behind him
placing himself between Damien and me.

“No need to be defensive; I
mean you no harm.”

Horrified, we both
understood immediately what this conversation with Damien really
meant. We had let our guard down, allowed Damien to approach us
unaware, which is exactly why relationships between Watchers and
their charges were forbidden.

“What brings you to the
stables, Damien?” I asked.

“Oh, I was just out for a
stroll, trying to relax after such an exciting evening.” He looked
past Quinn to address me. “I guess you found your second wind.
Before you left the hall you were feigning exhaustion.”

“My horse Nulla was hurt in
the attack earlier, and I wanted to check on her, not that it’s any
of your business. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be
going.”

“Of course, don’t let me
keep you. I’ll see you tomorrow. But please be careful on your way
back. You never know what lurks in the shadows.”

As I passed Damien, I was
overcome by the same sense of something escaping me, but
what?

Quinn and I were silent all
the way back, because now we both knew what needed to be done. I
would not give him up. I also knew I would not let him give me up.
He walked me up the stairs and as we turned to enter the main hall,
we knew the time had come. The Watcher who had this shift would be
in front of my door, so this would be our last chance to be
alone.

“I love you,
Katrina.”

“I love you, too,” I
whispered softly.

He held me and I wished I
could hold him forever, but I released him. Then he told me what I
already knew.

“I can no longer function
as your Watcher. I’ll speak with Gunter in the morning. Either
Simon or Thomas will take my place as your Watcher.”

I nodded. Knowing it was
right didn’t make it any easier. We continued around the corner
until we knew the other Watcher had seen us. Then Quinn just turned
and walked away.

This couldn’t be the end.
It had to be the beginning.

“Goodnight, Joseph,” I said
as I got closer.

“My Lady,” he opened the
door for me.

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

Once inside, I noticed the
table had been prepared with fruit and pastries and a pitcher I
assumed contained Crimson. I knew I should be hungry; since I
hadn’t eaten before we went into the Hall to be
introduced.

Maybe in a minute I would
try to eat something, but now I just wanted to warm myself by the
fire. The part of me that needed the warmth, wished I would hurry
to get a little older, for I knew the older I got the less I would
feel heat or cold. The aging process also takes away our need to
sleep, except when necessary for healing, and we no longer need to
eat regular meals to sustain us. Filling my head with these
thoughts was keeping me from breaking into tears. We would find a
way to see each other, I promised myself.

I sighed and went into my
room where I loosened the corseting at my waist, and shrugged the
dress off my shoulders. Its sheer weight dragged it off my body and
it fell to the floor. I stepped out of the rumpled gown now filling
the space in front of the bed, and removed the equally constrictive
undergarment. I slipped on the simple nightgown laid out for me,
and crawled in between the two layers of down. In the cradle of
softness, I drifted off to sleep.

The dream began with my
taking in a breath just before our party was attacked. I could
‘see’ men on both sides of us, but there was something else, much
farther away. I could almost place it…almost. Then it hit me. Now
wide awake, I sat straight up in bed.

Damien! It was Damien in
the woods that afternoon! Damien was the traitor! It was
his
scent that was what I couldn’t place! I had to tell Quinn; after
tomorrow he would no longer be my Watcher, but tonight he was, and
I needed him. We had to get to Father, now! By the look of the
light, it was nearly four in the morning. I asked myself,

Why would Damien want to have us
killed?”

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