Epoch

Baron Amon La Croix sets off with his scribe, Aurelia to Silverthorn Ravine where a dynasty of vampires reside. His plan; be transformed into one himself in order to spare the life of his dying girlfriend, Elizabeth Cowell. After returning to his fief to discover Elizabeth had passed away not twenty four hours before his return, Amon seeks comfort from Aurelia who has taken the oath to serve him, regardless. However, seeking comfort from a girl who utterly terrified of what he has become isn't easy…


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2. Epidemic

Alcina Fief, 1858 – Castle Alcina

 

The large, grey stone walls rose high, a collection of rather elegant, golden-framed oil paintings decorated them. From the ceiling, a large, golden-trimmed chandelier hung, its tiny, flickering candlelight dancing on the stone walls. A woven rug of a bright crimson, hemmed with gold lay across the centre of the stone-flagged floor. To one side of the large chamber, a wide fireplace crackled and sparked, bathing the room in a warm glow. Directly opposite sat an elegantly carved redwood writing desk, an assortment of quills, ink pots and parchment littered its surface.  
A girl whose silver braided hair, nestled snugly underneath a salmon and gold coif sat at the desk, quill in hand and hunched over a piece of parchment. Pushing the sleeves of her Scribe’s Robes midway up her arms, she glanced upwards, her lips slightly parted, waiting.
In front of her, a rather tall, slender man paced back and forth along the stone floor – the heels of his shoes clicking against the hard surface; his long, silky black hair billowing behind him with each step he took.
“Aurelia,” he said, his voice deep, but gentle. “Read it back to me.”
The silver haired girl nodded once before glancing down at the parchment that was stretched out before her.
Clearing her throat quietly, Aurelia’s eyes followed her elegant script, her quiet voice echoing throughout the chamber.
“Baron Moreau, I am absolutely devastated to hear of the untimely death of your wife, Morgaine, and wish to send my deepest condolences. The symptoms you described to me in our previous letter were absolutely horrid, and I am deeply sorry to hear that not one medic in our neighbouring fiefs could save her. As severe as this is, I am astonished that Morgaine was the only one to have caught what had led her to a premature end. Surely your medics must have even the slightest idea as to how she contracted it-“
Aurelia glanced upwards at her Baron – her master. “Perhaps,” she suggested politely, “approaching the topic in a slightly more sympathetic manner, Baron?”
The dark haired man stopped pacing and turned towards her, the corners of his lips tugging upwards into a slight smile.
“Ah, but Aurelia, I am. You see, you must approach this from a diplomatic perspective. See, while words of comfort can be offered, they will do nothing to bring back Morgaine. Baron Moreau, as it is, is now without a wife, and more so, without an heir. This will make him more dependent on Castle Alcina for resources and protection. As tragic and utterly heart-wrenching as the passing of Morgaine is, it benefits us greatly.”
Aurelia bit her tongue, looking back down at her parchment. Baron Amon La Croix was, as far as she was concerned, far beyond unconcerned for Baron Moreau and his tragic loss. However, it wasn’t up to her to deliberate the matter, nor was it within her rights to question Amon’s orders.
“Is that all you’d like to include?” she asked and he nodded, closing the gap between them, his golden eyes darting across the parchment.
“Yes,” he said, rolling the letter up, branding it with a warm wax seal. “You have done well, Aurelia. Your services are no longer required for the remainder of the day, you may do as you please.”
Getting to her feet, Aurelia offered Amon a quick smile before excusing herself from the room. 
Walking down the grey stone hallways of Castle Alcina, Aurelia let out a quiet sigh. While she couldn’t question her Baron’s orders whilst in his presence, she was more than inclined to fully disagree with him whenever she was sure nobody would be around to hear her.
“Diplomatic approach?” she scoffed, her tone overcast. “Puh-lease.”


 

~Epoch~

 

 

The dry grass crunched beneath her feet as Aurelia made her way through Alcina Fief’s graveyard.
Light blue, elongated flowers were scattered throughout the area; Devil’s Breath. The women of the fief had taken a particular liking to the flower’s beauty and so Aurelia gathered them whenever she can and took them into town. After picking a handful of the sweet-smelling flowers, Aurelia headed towards the graveyard entrance. A little way off, a large, smooth stone mausoleum lay, its door ajar.
Leaning against the hard rock was the Grave Keeper, slightly out of breath. He looked up when he spotted Aurelia and smiled.
Acknowledging his greeting with a nod of her head, the silver haired girl copied the older man’s actions, her lips tugging upwards into a polite smile.
“Hello,” she said, offering him a small wave. Lifting his hands to his mouth, the Grave Keeper let out a hacking cough before offering her a small nod and returning to his work.
Letting out a quiet sigh, Aurelia continued her way through the graveyard gates, the soles of her soft leather boots crunching on the dry grass beneath her feet and slowly, she followed the trail into Alcina Fief’s marketplace.
“Thank you, Aurelia,” the baker smiled as the silver haired girl handed her the elongated, light blue flower. “It’s beautiful.”
Aurelia bowed her head politely as she watched the aged woman fuss over the Devil’s Breath, setting it in a small brass vase on the counter of her stall.
“Here, this is for your troubles.”
Stretching out her wrinkled, brown arms, she passed the silver haired girl a small roll, still warm from the fireplace.
“Ah,” Aurelia smiled. “Thank you so much.”
After bidding the baker goodbye, she began to make her rounds through the busy marketplace, stopping occasionally at a wooden, calico-roofed stall to deliver a Devil’s Breath or to peruse the items for offer. One by one, the soft-blue flowers were distributed, and Aurelia’s hands and pockets filled slowly with small gifts of gratitude – colourful, wooden beads and apples.
Slowly, the sun began to sink down behind the horizon, casting the marketplace into a soft shadow. Deciding it was time to head back to her small living quarters in Castle Alcina, Aurelia started towards the outskirts of the marketplace, a familiar figure catching her eye. The Grave Keeper was smiling and laughing with the leatherworker at his small tanning stall, relieved to have finished his shift. Getting closer to the stall, Aurelia could hear them laugh and joke, the Grave Keeper extending a hand to the leatherworker who grasped it in his own.
“And a pleasant evening, good sir. I shall see you bright and early tomorrow. “
“Ah,” the Grave Keeper said, tilting his head to the side. “You haven’t finished for the day yet?”
The leatherworker chuckled quietly under his breath. “My work is never done,” he joked and turning to the side slightly, he gestured to a large sack made from soft leather pinned to the side of his stall.
“I’ve got to deliver this to the fruit vendor. She’s had a large harvest of apples come in from Rostowe Fief to the north, and has asked me to help her pack them.”
“I see,” the Grave Keeper said, turning. “I hope you rest well tonight.”
The leatherworker nodded in his friends direction before his gaze fell onto Aurelia, who had, much to her own horror, just realised that she was standing completely still, listening to the older men’s exchange.
“Hello there, miss. Is there anything I can do for you?”
Shaking her head quickly, Aurelia flashed him a quick smile.
“No thank you – just looking.”
Quickly picking up her pace, Aurelia headed back towards Castle Alcina without a backwards glance, the leatherworker’s small, charcoal coloured eyes watching her every movement.
“Kids,” he sighed, shaking his head. Wiping his face with the back of his hand, the leatherworker tugged the leather sack down from the side of his stall and slung it over his shoulder. Coughing quietly, the leatherworker pulled his tunic closer to his body as he started in the direction of the fruit vendor.
“I hope this doesn’t take any longer than it has to…”

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