Meeting The MakerbyCelticAngel1605©
The silence stretched for miles around in the open country. In the Dead of night, the sky was pitch black and starless. The night air chilled Maharani's bare throat and collar bone, her dainty ankles also chilled quite thoroughly. The crimson red evening dress she wore was splayed deliberately around her full, round hips. The folds of Chinese silk were neatly arranged to cover her slipper clad feet, which were then tucked up beneath her bottom on the cushioned carriage seat.
A gust of wind sent her silk clad hand to her bosom, the fabric of her dress dipping low off the shoulders and down her front, her milk white throat and the swell of her cleavage bared daringly, framed with gold stitching. The carriage bumped and rattled along the grimy dirt road, cutting its way through the heavy night the best it could by light of one lantern. The wheels screeched and rattled with every dusty rotation, the only sound to be heard in the night aside from the incessant 'clop' of the inky horse's hooves. Suddenly the carriage came to a halt.
Maharani heard the commotion above as the reigns-man cried out. "What the-" his voice cut out in a garbled, wheezing choke. She gasped, the horses rearing and bucking momentarily. Just as suddenly as the incident had occurred, there was a heavy 'thump' beside the carriage, right beneath her window, and all was silent once more aside from the wheels revolving and the carriage returning to its journey, or so she thought.
"Gustav! What was the commotion! Are you well?" she called, standing and peering around the outer wall of the carriage through the window. Gustav, his wide brimmed travelers cap shading his face, and his dusty road cloak wrapped tightly about him, simply inclined his hat her way. Looking back into the night, Maharani's voice leaped in her throat as the lantern light faded away from a horrifying scene. Gustav, stripped of cloak and hat, lay back where the wagon's wheels had just left. His throat was torn open, his eyes widened in terror and glazed in death. She turned around and looked in terror at her new driver.
He was looking back at her, yellow feline eyes glinting from beneath Gustav's brim, a flash of white blinding her as he smiled deviously. She was in for a ride. The driver cracked the reigns, sending Maharani's team of two careening forward into the night, their hooves galloping into the unknown. They weren't headed for home anymore. She stumbled back into the carriage' cab, shrinking away from the opening as those yellow eyes advanced on her. He nearly floated through the window, the team leading themselves.
As he entered the cab, he grabbed for her, catching hold of her waist in his firm hands easily. He banged a fist on the side of the carriage, the horses stopping immediately as if entranced. He hauled her up into his arms, throwing the carriage door open and stepping out into a dark, empty graveyard. He allowed her to tumble free of his arm, hitting the sod covered path and rolling like a child's poppet.
"You have one chance." He said his voice like being submerged in icy lake water in December. It was soft and low, but it clenched her insides in a frozen knot. She ran. She simply stood up on her trembling knees, and forgetting she was Lady Maharani of Moldavia, forgetting all of her courtly manners, she fled. Maharani ran deep into the twisting paths of the graveyard, the headstones and tombs creating a labyrinth around her. Suddenly, her foot caught on something and she tumbled forward.
She hit the ground hard, all of the air in her lungs leaving with a 'whoosh'. As her body came crashing to the ground, her brain exploded with pain inside her skull, the back of her head glancing off of a nearby grave stone. The silhouettes and dark shapes around her swam before her eyes, which were now seeing doubles of everything. Suddenly everything faded into to blackness.
The night air made no stir upon his resurrected form standing stone like and still upon the hill in the old cemetery.
A shuddering breath fought to leak its way into her aching lungs, her terrified sobs racking her frail temple.His hands, so pale and smooth,
wrapped around her wrists though she tried to shy away, his flesh drawing all the heat from hers with his frigid corpse like grip. His eyes were catlike and demonic, and they gleamed in the night. They seemed to...glow.
Maharani trembled in fear, her body going rigid as he pulled her to her feet. Her eyes traveled the planes of his black cape, his black tunic and breeches giving him the look of an eighteenth century lord. His black hair fell in tendrils to his shoulders, framing his pale face. His pale pink lips were curled slightly,
revealing deadly points, wickedly curved and sharp inside his mouth.
Despite her fear he was a beautiful creature. As his face neared hers, her fear evaporated, and became something less predictable. It became wonder, curiosity.
He bent forward at the waist, hanging her over backward in his surprisingly strong arms,
lithe body hovering over hers. His lips neared her bared neck and as she understood her fate,
she met it.
Those deadly scythes inside his mouth tore fiercely through her flesh. She felt her life slowly dragging from her body. Barely hanging on to her own existence, she became aware of a coppery, heavy taste. The most wonderful feeling of numbness and satisfaction pulsed through her entire corpse.
Slowly, her eyes flutter open. The cemetery was gone, and she was lying upon a four poster bed, the canopy draped with heavy, crimson velvet. The same material surrounds the outside edge of the bed, the curtains pulled shut so all she can see is the place where she is lying. Her head is throbbing, and her hair has been let down from it's intricately placed ringlets, now falling haphazardly about her shoulders. Her gown had been removed from her body, and she lay in the bed in a small satin slip, a sleeveless tunic that flowed over her curves and did not end until it reached the tops of her feet. It was the strangest slip she'd ever seen.
Never in her life had she ever seen a black slip with crimson ribbons lacing up the front corset. It was oddly beautiful, but it left her feeling nude and vulnerable. She decided she looked altogether too provocative. Sitting up carefully, Maharani reached out and threw back the curtains. As she swung her feet out from under the red and gold silk bed linens, she noticed how dark her surroundings are. The walls were a deep tarnished Gold color which reflected the flickering candle light gently. There were only four lamp stands of candles, each with four tiers of black candles burning softly at each of the rooms four corners. A Crimson and gold velvet day bed lay in a semi-circular alcove at the far side of the room across from the foot of the bed she then sat in. To the bed's left was the door, a black metal door, which was bolted tightly, shut. As her feet hit the floor, Maharani shivered. The floor was completely made of glossy black stone. Over to the right of the bed was an armoire. It was the height of the wall it stood against, reaching ceiling to floor. It was black and trimmed in gold with crimson jewels encrusted into its gold handles. As her head began to clear she realized she was hearing the strangest noise. It was a bubbly, gurgling noise, like a brook, or some sort of flowing water...
On the right of the bed, right beside the door was a pool of bubbling, steaming water sunken right into the floor. The pool was lit from beneath the water! Maharani's heart began to race as she immediately allowed her mind to jump to thoughts of sorcery or witchcraft. The stone floor dipped at the edge of this pool, a stone basin really. It was about eight feet in width, and about ten feet long. As she realized how enormous this bubbling basin really was, she also realized how gigantic the room it self was. Since it was so dark and also lacking windows of any sort, the room didn't strike one as being the massive space it was.
She glanced around again, memorizing her surroundings. There was a black silk dress splayed out across the daybed, the petticoats to match were neatly placed beside it, a mix of gold and crimson red material. There was also a pair of black velvet slippers at the daybed's foot, golden trim running along the opening her foot would slip in.
She reached up and ran her fingers over her neck. No marks or bites. It had been a dream. Just then, that voice she'd heard before, a voice that turned her insides cold spoke softly from the corner near the armoire. "That was a rather nasty fall you took. You're lucky I was there writing in that cemetery or you'd have been in a dreadful amount of danger Ms..." She stood up, reeling to face him full on. Her mind whirled, and she collapsed against the post at the end of the bed in agony, clutching her skull. The tall, lean man lunged toward her. "Come sit in the water, you'll feel much better." He murmured in her ear. She realized that she must have been only half dreaming when this man had found her in the cemetery. He was trying to help her.
"Thank you." She said gently. He helped her over to the bubbling water. "What lights that?" she asked, hesitating as he picked her up, letting her slip into the water, her feet hitting stone while the water was only to her ankles, his hands catching the slip and hoisting it to her knees so as not to get it wet.
"It's minerals. That water comes straight from a natural spring that flows beneath this manor. I had a well dug so the water will come up through the floor, and we discovered the minerals that the water contacts and mixes with on the way up cause it to glow, but all of that sediment settles at the bottom, so it looks as if only the floor of this pool is lit." He smiled his lips thin and tight together. "It is an interesting addition, really." He murmured. Maharani sank comfortably down into the water, his hands pulling the slip over her head gently as she did. "I took the liberty of setting you up in this room. Anything you want, just ask and I'll have a servant bring it the moment it's possible." The stranger murmured. His eyes were still incredible Amber yellow. That had not been her imagination.
"Wait, I... How will I get home?" she asked. He smiled at her gently.
"You won't be leaving anytime soon, you need to recover. Any kind of journey right now is a hazard to you."
"No, really sir. I wish not to intrude upon your privacy! Please, send for my brother and I'll have him fetch me and bring me home." Maharani said. Her body was hidden in the water which was deliciously warm and lapping gently over her skin. For some strange reason she felt no discomfort at having this perfect stranger seated beside her while she was nude in a basin of glowing water.
"Don't be ridiculous. You're no intrusion at all. Actually, I'd rather have some company than send you home at any rate. Forgive me, how terribly rude, I'm Lord Aelfric Cromwell, how do you do, Madame?"
He took her hand from the steaming water and kissed it. She felt the crimson flush spread over her face. That's when she noticed how pale he was. In her self-consciousness she began to examine his skin tone in contrast with her blush. He was pale as snow, with lips of failing pink and a slight blue tinge rimmed his eyes. Maybe it was her imagination, the lighting from the basin playing tricks on her eyes. "My name is Lady Maharani, Countess of Moldovia." She replied softly. He smiled gently.
"Well milady, let's get you into bed before you wrinkle, shall we?" He asked smoothly. He helped her to her feet, hoisting her nude, dripping body into his arms, cradling her as he brought her to the bed. He helped Maharani get the slip back on before tucking her back into bed gently. "I'll have someone attend to you in the morning. I'll be away on...an affair concerning trades. I'll return tomorrow eve though. Sleep well Countess." He drawled in a low rumble. With that, he walked to the door, heaved it open, and turning to smile at her one final time, then retired down the hall after closing her door. That night she slept very well, dreaming of his hands on her arms as he dressed her again...
In the morning, the room was just as dark. Maharani wouldn't have known it was morning save for the small, quiet woman that scurried around the room. "'Allo, Lady. Me Master 'as told me you are to 'ave free reign of explorin' the house. Breakfast will be ready in a moment. Let me know if you need anythin', my name is Gertie." The woman said briskly. She laid a silver hair brush and small hand mirror near the dress on the day bed, setting a large luminescent candle near by. Then, as quickly as she'd come, she had left.
True to her word, as soon as Maharani had dressed and wrenched the door open, another small servant had bustled up and led her to breakfast. There was morning tea and scones, eggs and sausage. There was so much food she was beside herself. After she had finished, more servants appeared as if the shadows had swirled into tangible forms and cleared the dish ware away. She spent the afternoon wandering about the yards. The entire house was as dark as her room. No wonder Lord Cromwell had been so pale...
The front door was a large mass of wood, old and worn with age but beautifully carved in great dips and swirls. The knob was a huge bronze curl, and the whole door was fashioned with bronze studs throughout the trim. To open it, she had to wrench with all of her might. When the blasted thing finally groaned heavily and eased backward, the intense mid morning sun filtered in and the servants all scattered. A tiny shiver ran down Maharani's back. How odd.
She wandered the spacious front yard, sticking to the dense tree line to the sides where she found many wild flowers and foot paths to the garden. The cobbled path led her to the back yard amidst giant trees all trimmed in crimson flowering and other lilies and that sort. In the center of the garden was a large stone bench. Seating herself here she came to study the house it self. It was two stories high and absolutely massive. She had noticed the cathedral like ceilings on the first floor instantly, and had never dreamed it possible that there was another floor. The house was peaked here and there by turrets and gables, the entire exterior of stone. However, in the very center of the house, standing taller then every other spire and spiral was a dome. A huge, magnificent dome. It was entirely made of glass on the side that was facing her, and the entire other half was the same stone as the rest of the house. She gathered the petticoats from her dress up from around her thigh and hoisted, jumping to her feet and beginning to sprint for the house. She wanted to see that room.
It was late afternoon by now, being that she'd spent her entire day wandering the landscape, and as she came inside, the warmth of the blazing torches in the stone hallway called her present chill to her own attention. She rubbed her arms, wondering where the staircase to that beautiful room might be. As she started off toward the far end of the manor, a voice stopped her in her tracks.
"Milady, Good Evening!" It was Lord Cromwell. As Maharani turned to gaze upon his beautiful, lithe form in partial shadow and flickering torch light, the thought of the room fled her mind quite completely.
"Good evening Sir." She replied with the tiniest curtsy. His hair was swept back with a fine length of black leather, some of it fallen from this binding to frame his eyes. He must have just exited the carriage. "Will we be dining together this evening?" She questioned. Lord Cromwell smiled indulgently before he drawled a reply in his hypnotic voice.
"No Milady. I shall not dine with you, for I've already been to supper, but I will be your company whilst you dine." He inclined his head with a slight nod and extended his elbow toward her. She took his arm graciously, her heart palpitating rapidly and her stomach churning in the most wonderful way.
'Stop acting like a giddy little chamber maid!' She scolded herself in her own head. Whenever she set eyes on the good Sir she became quite incapable of talking with out tittering and giggling like a nervous little girl. Then she remembered that room. After supper she would have to investigate.
At dinner the servants again appeared, bustling noiselessly to and fro with a plate of this, a dish of that. It still amazed Maharani how they just seemed to kind of form from where so ever they chose at a particular time. As she ate, Lord Cromwell sat across from her and watched. She caught him once from the corner of her eye, his tongue sliding across his lips much like a hungry predator. A chill ran the length of her spine once more. Yet, despite all of the mysteries held by Sir Cromwell, she wanted him.
"Milady, I will see you later this evening. I am weary from travel and must go lay in my chambers." He said as he rose from the table. As he began to walk out of the room, his cold fingers slid over Maharani's shoulder and gently up her bare neck. He turned, looking her in the eye with an expression of animal hunger, and proceeded out of the dining hall. She left with out waiting to see the servants mutely scramble to clear her plates.
The corridor ran in a long line from east to west. Her chambers were at the far end of the eastern hall, she had seen no staircase. Therefore, she thought it rather clever of herself to conclude that the staircase must then be at the western hall's end. She started down the corridor, gazing into the blazing flicker of the candles on the wall in there little candelabras. As she walked further and further down the hall, her eyes scanned the stark, graying stone for any sign of a doorway. Suddenly, a clammy, cold hand closed around her shoulder. Gasping, she whirled about.
There stood Gertie. "I be beggin' your pardon miss, and I may lose me Master's favor for this, but ye be wantin' to know where the crystal ballroom is, don't ye?" She questioned. She was speaking oddly; a small, hurried whisper was all she would make of her words. Maharani nodded slowly. "Well Master Cromwell, he been forbidden the household to tell you where it is and we's to keep you out o' there come what may, but I thinks you ought t' see what's in there, I do."
"Please, Gertie, take me up there." She whispered. Gertie straightened her stance, and nodded curtly. She turned to a tapestry hanging beside us and ran her fingers along its edge. Slowly, she peeled it back to reveal a door way. There was a staircase going down, and a staircase going up. Maharani began to start toward the staircase going downward, her curiosity getting the best of her. Gertie grabbed her fiercely.
"No! Beggin your pardon, Missus, but you cannot be goin' down there. I'll lose my hide for sure. It's up here ye be wantin'." She led her up the steep stair case to the top landing, and through a long corridor which lead back through the middle of the house. Finally, they came to a door and stopped." This is as far as I be goin', Milady." She curtsied and turning, bustled off down the hallway.
Maharani turned and grasped the large brass handle to the door in front of her and pulled. When the door opened, she gasped at what she had found. Stepping into the glass domed room one could look up into the darkened night sky and see every constellation known. That however was not the amazing secret the room held. In the center of the room, a book floated, suspended in mid air. It floated just above the surface of a small stand and it was glowing, faintly giving off the same green glow as the spring in her room. She walked hesitantly forward, drawn by the book. As Maharani gazed down upon its pages she read her name many times, in many tongues, from many ages. She read a prophecy of her life, and her previous lives, and her destiny in the next life.