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What was it about her that seemed so familiar? It seemed as if he could feel a kith and kinship with the young woman he had met, but where was this feeling coming from? He couldn't quite place it, it wrought his mind with doubt and dread, something that he had not felt for quite some time. Tonight he would have the opportunity to ask her, he was playing tonight in a ballet that she was a part of, Swan Lake to be exact. How he remembered seeing the recital for the first time when it debuted so many decades ago, the excitement that everyone felt, he hoped that it would offer him the same feelings. Adrian wondered if it was something that she would have liked, to see the ballet, her life was take much too soon and he was the fool that had let it all go; he regretted it still to this day.

In the center of the stage he played, slowly to hear every nuance of error that he could make, this is when he could fine tune each song; but each song he knew by ear so each song would have to be perfection and nothing less in his eyes. His mind kept thinking about that woman, not desiring her, but questioning her; who was this Callista and why did she move his spirit in a way that hasn't been moved in centuries. Someone had done that before, but that was in a time long forgotten. The lights turned on, bright and piercing, lifting the bow off of the strings he heard the gruff voice of the stage hand. "Hey! We're going to do sound check soon, get off the stage!"

Adrian turned with his back facing the lights, holding the violin upwards to the light, he saw the name written in it over 200 years ago. "Let us see what this night will bring."

+Callista Sviatoslavicha
+James Taylor 

Callista “Callie” SviatoslavichaOWNERAug 5, 2015

Her life was gaining some normalcy since they were back in California, her physical therapy was coming to an end as her ankle was healing nicely. There was a gruesome reminder in the form of a scar on her ankle, to remind her of the fateful day when she was bitten by that heinous snake. Maintaining her physique and flexibility had been as painstaking as she had first thought. Callista was a stubborn and driven young woman, she didn't toss the towel in or just give up. The accident had happened just weeks after being casted in the leading female role.

At rehearsal the girl had been wearing a soft brace to give her the additional support she needed. It was just hours before the opening night of the ballet called Swan Lake. She was in her dressing room, getting ready, and she knew she was needed down on stage for the last of the sound checks. For tonight the famous violinist Adrian Tepes would be playing live with them. With her brace on she laced up her pointes and walked to the stage. As she walked to the stage she pulled out her phone typing a message to her fiancé. "Hey! I left yours and your parents' tickets on the table in the kitchen. I love you, and I will see you after the ballet." Hitting send she exhaled.

This performance was the time James and his family would see her dance. Never before in her life had she been nervous. She knew it was combination of her and having James there. 'Focus' a phrase she repeated over and over again. Deep breathing she walked on to the stage taking her place, as she waiting for the violinist to begin. The young Russian female smiled over at him.

James TaylorMODERATORAug 6, 2015

In the foyer of the hall, James adjusted the neck of the tuxedo that he had to wear tonight. It was tight and made him feel uncomfortable, his father did the same thing. Two farmers going to see a ballet, this was one for the books and he knew his mother would never forget how they looked for the longest time. His eyes looked down at the ticket that he had held in his hand, Swan Lake was the ballet and he had never heard of it. he had never even worn a tuxedo until now. He knew in his mind that he would have to buy one instead of renting, there would be a lot of these but if it meant supporting Callie then he'd do it gladly. There were so many people dressed well, long and sleek dresses and tuxedos he had never seen before that looked modern. James looked down at his, it was from a rental shop. Sure it was nice, but not as nice as the others and he knew.

When the doors opened to the seating, everyone quietly filed in and to be honest it kind of made James nervous. A few people gave the football playing farmboy looks of disgust, like he didn't belong here. They even did the same to his father, looking at his grey beard and wondering about where they came from. This is the one thing he didn't like about city people, country people wouldn't make fun of you or laugh at you. They wouldn't give you weird looks unless you did something weird and even then they would have some common decency. This was different, it was like everyone was out for blood. There seats were 3 rows back from the stage, far enough to see well and not too close so they wouldn't get a cramp in their necks. James sat in the aisle seat, it let him stretch his legs out and relax a bit while he adjusted the bow tie and waited for the show to start.

Adrian TepesAug 10, 2015

Every guest was seated, the curtains were drawn closed but through them he could still hear the murmur of the guests growing impatient and wondering when things were going to start, this was Adrian's moment. He relished these kinds of situations, building up the tension and soon their curiosity would be satiated in one motion: the opening of the curtains. The orchestra started, big and powerful, high notes and the sounds of cymbals crashing could be heard while the curtains slowly drew open; ballerinas all around the violinist while he waited for the solo of the piece to start. They were all there, pristine and perfectly dressed while they fluttered around like swans on the lake of the Danube. How he loved the scene in his youth, it was this inspiration that made him play the way he always loved to, intensely calm and with a smile on his face. With perfect synergy, the ballerinas and Adrian's playing matched every undertone in the piece and when the crescendo hit, it was so moving that many of the patrons in the hall held their chests, they were that breathless from it all.

All around him the women danced, but there was that feeling again, that feeling of familiarity; where was it coming from? He saw her, the one with the short black hair, that was the one; but why was she setting his sense off this way? What was it about her that made him sense this feeling? He needed to push it out of his mind for now, now he needed to concentrate on playing and finishing the performance, to hear the audience's claps and cries of praise from not only himself, but from the ballerinas as well.

The tone of the song had slowed down, become lax and eased to one of closing and relaxing, the ballerinas then came to the ground in a pose that had their arms surround their bodies like the majestic wings of a swan when the song ended. The hall came to an uproarious applause, a standing ovation for each performer. Adrian stood to the side and while holding his violin and bow in one hand, raised his arm to the ballerinas, they were the real star of the show, Adrian only provided the music and atmosphere.

Standing in the center of the stage, Callie positioned herself in the first movement of the ballet. As the blue-velvet curtain is being raised, she says a quick prayer and a smile is painted on her face. There is no red lipstick or funky attire to help James and his family find her on stage. Her tutu is different from the other females. The Orchestra begins, followed closely by the humming of the violin. Callie's character is coming to life. The soft graceful movement, flowing like a rive as she dances across the stage.

The world of music and ballet is consuming her. The Russian ballerina is lost in the music and performing. Avery and Callie make it appear effortless as she is lifted into the air. During the performance she can't look out and see James, John, or Sue. She can only hope they are enjoying the ballet.

The music fluctuates between the different classes of instruments creating a deep reverberant atmosphere to the ballet. With no words, the story is being conveyed only by movement and facial expression. The time flies when you are on stage and before Callie even knew it, the first act was over. It was time for the thirty minute intermission. Once the curtain closed, Callie walked off stage heading to dressing room.

James TaylorMODERATORAug 17, 2015

While she was dancing, his eyes never moved away from her. James didn't even look at the other dancers, he just concentrated on Callie the whole time she was dancing and was hypnotized by her. He had no idea that she was that good, he then did look at the other dancers and knew that not a single one of them could hold a thing up to Callie and it was very apparent. There he was with his parents, James on the edge of his seat while he watched her dance. All of those times with her practicing, he didn't think that she would need to practice because her dancing made everything seem so easy. It was so smooth, James almost thought that he could do something because of how easy she made it.
The song had ended and everyone had stood up, clapping their hands excitedly for both the man that played but especially the dancers. James wanted to yell and scream, like they would in college at a sports game but he held his mouth closed since he didn't want to embarass her. James shut his mouth tight and kept clapping, even receiving a look from his parents from the weird look on his face. He looked at his parents and just shrugged, putting a smile on his face and turning forward to keep clapping.

Someone said something about intermission, he had no clue what that meant but he had seen quite a few people get up and go to the main area of the theater. James was clueless, but decided to get up so he could stretch and look around to see if he could run into her. "I'll be back, I'll see if I can get you guys something to drink. Something girly for mom and of course a beer for you. If they don't serve that stuff then I'll get something else that may not have alcohol in it." Standing up and stretching, he slowly walked down the stairs in the dim light of the theater.

Adrian TepesAug 22, 2015

The intermission, a time of a mental break and to refocus your thoughts or actions, a prelude to the second act and then to the final act where the crescendo of music and movements would be had; but now it was time to relax. Backstage he saw a plethora of performers, some were stretching, others were retuning their instruments for the final acts that would take place. Adrian, however, merely sat in a chair and watched through his eyes of everyone passing by. Everyone that would be passing by were of no consequence to him, the one that interested him was the one that he was waiting for, the one they called Callista. He didn’t know of her but he had heard of her, she came out of nowhere and took the dancing world by storm; like a hurricane she came through and swept everyone’s heart away. 

This was the woman he was waiting for, not in a romantic way, but in a way that he needed to know who and what she was. He had sensed something in her, something that he couldn’t place since it had been gone for so many centuries. He felt that kinship with her like he felt with the one that had been lost in time so long ago. He wondered still, where she was, if she was even alive or dead.

Had she survived all these centuries? Perhaps she was somehow a descendant, that had to be the case, there was no other explanation around that could even come to the same conclusion that had ran through his mind so many times like the replaying of a movie scene. 

Adrian sat up when he saw her out of the corner of his eye, turning his head to look at the woman who was seemingly by herself, she was a lot like him in that aspect and in turn, she was a lot like…her. Standing up easily he approached, calm and cautious steps towards her, like the predator that stalked their prey; nary making a sound until he was right behind her. “Your dancing, I feel that the bending of the reeds in the wind would not hold a single ounce of beauty to what you have given this audience tonight. You are truly talented, and I wanted to express my gratitude to you for being here tonight.”

Callista “Callie” SviatoslavichaOWNERAug 26, 2015

The interlude was usually a time when Callista collected her thoughts, a way of mentally preparing for the next act. She walked off the stage in a hurried manner, her injured ankle was aching. The ankle was injured on a trip to Oklahoma to meet James' family. As of late she had been taking it easy and resting it for the most part. The young ballet dancer unlaced her pointe and rolled up her tights to see that the bandage was oozing a little. Callie removed it quickly and began the task of redressing the wound. After slipping her foot back into the pointe, she took a seat, from the angle of her seat she could look out into the audience.

A smile graced her angelic face once she spotted John and Sue. Her mind was racing, pondering where was James. She wished she knew if they were enjoying the ballet. Sue was all dolled up and John was looking very handsome as well. Callie wondered what her beloved looked like in the attire of a penguin suit.

Lost to her thoughts, Callie could feel someone staring at her. The male voice began to speak as she looked up it was the violinist. "Um thank you." In some aspects Callie is very modest. "You yourself are a very gifted musician." She smiled at him as she stood up. The make-up artist came running over and began touching up her make up.


He was being thrown around worse than at a game, people moving him out of the way and people giving him weird looks. James walked around these people and felt like the smallest person in the world, now he knew what it was like when Callie first went to one of his games. This put everything all into perspective for him, it made her appreciate who she was that much more. How she put up with this was beyond him, he knew how she was and he definitely needed to give her props on this.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone move which made him turn his head to see the makeup artist touching her face up. There was a man there, it was the same guy who would be playing at their wedding. They were talking, he wasn't sure what about but he really didn't mind. "Hey! Watch out!" Came the cries of a person that ran right into James, spilling things on the floor. "Watch what you're doing!"

"Sorry." James said while getting on his knees and picking the stuff up. The woman he ran into started swatting at his hands to get him away. "I don't need your help! Go back to your seats!" Backing away, he stood up only to bump into someone else. "Sorry, sorry" He kept bumping into people until everyone just backed away like he was the plague.


The stage door to the Rotunda was open, allowing some much needed air flow in. Callie smiled up at Adrian as she listened to his words. The sweat was rolling off of her as the make-up artist was attempting to paint a face on this wet canvas. There was a commotion outside of the door which quickly caught Callie's attention. Her eyes darting out the door to witness the embarrassing event unfold. The young dancer was well known and respected in the dance world, she held her hand up and shaking her head.

"Adrian, excuse me for a second." Callie walked over to the stage door surveying of the spilled drinks and top tier hypocrites of society. She heard the whispers whirling as she walked out the door and felt a few people touch her. Callie walked over to James and smiled. "You look handsome tonight." She reached over, straightening his bow tie. Her angelic face turned to the woman that was being hateful to him. "Madame, can you get those drinks refill. For the future, please note Mr. James Taylor is an honored guest of the ballet company. He is my future husband. If he or his family needs anything I expect you will assist them with a smile."

Callie turned back to James, and kissed his lips in a very tasteful manner. "Come with me." The ballerina offered her hand to him gesturing to the back stage area. She knew she needed to change her attire and allow make-up to finish the transformation.

Adrian Tepes11:28 AM

It was interesting to him, to see the amount of power this small woman had over the stage crew, she reminded him of Queen Elizabeth I; the way she was respected and loved by all. He saw this in her, how she explained things like an expert and it was listened to like gospel, it was an impressive sight to see. Adrian leaned against the wall of the backstage, propping a foot up while his arms were crossed, staring at this dancer and seeing her facial expressions from the side. It was so uncanny, the way she reminded him of someone he knew, but with all of the people he knew took some time for him to start pinpointing exactly where the resemblances came from. The black hair and parts of her face were reminiscent of Sofia, but there was no possible way that could happen, she was never pregnant; but why the resemblance?

He remembered her, the way she was, her powerful walk and the way she was still kind; he saw this in her with this ballerina. Maybe a descendant of her family tree? That was the only thing that he could think of now, it had to be that, Adrian wondered what would happen if he got her alone and asked her these questions. He also wondered how she would react to even asking about her past, but he couldn't reveal who he was, that would not go over well.

She brought the man she held onto deep into the bowels of the backstage area, showing him things, explaining what they were; he was like a fish out of water, out of his element and it was showing by the way he looked at things. It wasn't obvious to anyone except him, he could see it like he was flailing around, but he remained as calm as he could. Would he be introduced again? This, he wasn't sure of, young love did that sometimes; he remembered all too fondly.
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The grass of the castle was still warm from the day, the sun was setting and it was the time of day that she loved the most, to see the creatures of the night prepare to come out and how the world changed. It was nice to be here, even though it felt like she had to start over again, to find some sort of place in this world now that her friend had taken her in. In truth, he had taken so many people in recently, she wondered what it was all about. Amora knew that he had a past, but how much he would divulge was the question.

+Adrian Tepes +Lysette Andrews 

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It's Friday evening at Castlevania.  +Adrian Tepes likes formal dress for our dinners together and since it's Friday, red is the color I choose.  There is still time before dinner is served and I linger at the window, looking out over the stunning grounds and surrounding forest.  I"m still mulling over my undecided choice of staying permanently or returning to the modern world and my old life.  I miss my old life sometimes, the routine of the library where I worked and the daily interaction with people. But, admittedly, I do love it here too.  Adrian has been a perfect host and gentleman, making sure I want for nothing and giving me full rein of his vast library where I have spent many enjoyable hours lost in the books.  There are also visitors to the castle which make things lively at times and he holds the occasional ball too which fills up the usually empty rooms with life and music and laughter.  The first chime of the clock striking, noting the 6 o'clock hour rouses me from my inner thoughts.  Checking myself in the mirror one more time, I head out of my room and down the long hallways to the dining room, looking forward to a delicious dinner and some interesting conversation with Adrian.  

The soft candlelight of the dining table glowed and made the light and shadows dance, flicker in their waltz of heat and light, silver eyes staring at them while he waited to see what would happen. The chandelier with modern lights above were dimmed low, to give the ambience a more relaxing mood while Adrian sat and waited if Alexxanna would even show up for dinner. Things had changed so much between the protector and protectee, she had seen the awesome power that lay within his body, the evil that dwelled within him was something that he had even feared. Exhaling strongly through his nose, a sigh of discontent, a balled fist held his head up; looking at the spread of food laid out. 

Succulent meats from a freshly caught hog, vegetables cooked to perfection and even some raw, all of the things that the garden and markets would provide to them for eternity. Eternity, that was something that he wasn’t sure if she was ready for, to live a life of never growing old, never getting sick, never dying. When Alexxanna had came in, he did the gentlemanly thing and stood up, a small wave of his hair when he stood so fast. A polite bow and then a revelation, she was wearing a red dress today. “Good evening, Alexxanna…"

Approaching the large ornate door to the dining room, she hesitates remembering their recent encounter and her discovery of his darker nature and her heart rate speeds up.  She remembers her resolve to continue to believe in his goodness even though she is still a little wary and pushes the door open, entering the dining room.  The lights are lowered, which they both agreed creates a better ambiance for talking and enjoying their evening meals together.  As always, the table is laden with delectable meats and vegetables.  Her stomach growls and mouth waters, realizing how hungry she is tonight.  The candelabras reflect and sparkle as the light from the candles hits their shiny exteriors.  

Spying Adrian as he jumps to his feet, she notes that he looks dashing in his suit, his hair pulled back, but the signature strand finding its way loose as he bows.  She notices his red handkerchief tucked in his lapel pocket and she smiles, nodding her head in greeting.  “Good evening Adrian.”
There is a moment’s hesitation, then the rush of business getting her seated, involving him pulling out the chair, then helping to push her in after she is seated.  Once they are both in their seats there is another small moment of uncomfortable silence where both seem to be searching for the right thing to say and then Alexx speaks.
“Everything looks fantastic Adrian….Here’s to a great night of good conversation……between two good friends.”
Raising her glass of wine, she smiled at him hoping her words would be taken as an olive branch, a gesture of good will reaching out to him.  She wanted to put aside some of the darkness of the other night and go forward, at least for now.

Uncomfortable silences are always the worst thing to dissolve, the few seconds that are spent, can seem like eons in your mind. When Alexxanna broke the silence finally. It shocked him, caught him off guard, but being a gentleman, he would respond accordingly. "Yes, well worth am glad that everything is to your liking. Ladies first, please get what you want, I heard your stomach rumble." His sense were keen, beyond that of any human, so her rumbling nearly sounded like the largest of earthquakes to him.

He would wait until she was satisfied with what she wanted to get before he would get food of his own, in the meantime, he felt he should explain himself or at least make some light of some sort of conversation. 

"Your dress, it looks enchantingly beautiful on you, but you know that you do not have to dress up for so simple an occasion as dinner. This, what I wear, is my customs from years passed; centuries even." He eased back in his seat, knowing that this was something that she wanted to do of her own accord.

With a subtle pop, Adrian lifted the cork off of a very old Merlot wine that had been made so many years ago, he could practically have a fortune with how old his wine collection was. If it was thing that he knew, he would never have to worry about money with how old some of the things in the castle were.

Alexx dug into the food as Adrian sat back, watching her.  There were many choices and she tried to take a small amount of each since it all looked good.  Hearing the pop, she looked up with surprise, then chuckled at the realization that it was only the wine cork.  Adrian poured out two glasses of the deep burgundy liquid and she lifted it to her nose, inhaling.  “Merlot?”,  she asked and smiled at his nod.  She was learning to distinguish the wines and was proud of herself for correcting identifying tonight’s selection.  
“I know that I’m not required to dress for dinner, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  Since it’s not a common practice in the modern world, it’s a treat for me to get dressed up.  And it gives everything an air of importance, reminding me to savor each day and each moment. “She smiled over her wine glass at him.  “Besides, you’ve given me so many dresses to choose from that I would hate to think they were only going to sit in the closet.”
The wine was smooth and velvety and complimented the food perfectly.  She could feel herself beginning to relax and feel more at ease.  Perhaps it was the wine, but she also thought that maybe they were becoming more comfortable with each other.  

Adrian Tepes
“If that is your wish, then so be it, you may dress as you please.” Pouring his own glass now and setting the bottle on the table, Adrian takes his own glass and swirls the wine around, releasing the fragrance before take a deep inhale and drinking the wine; truly enjoying the taste. His eyes close for a second while he pays attention to the complex flavors and fermentation of the grape. With a deep exhale, he sets the glass down, perusing some of the items on the table while he stands to reach some of the other items that were just shy of his his grasp.

It was true, he had given her so many dresses to choose from, all of them were worth so much since they were old and practically priceless. Some of them had been worn by foreign dignitaries that had visited his castle throughout the years, others were powerful figures. “I am pleased to hear that the dresses are to your liking, I hope sometime you pull out the white victorian era dress, that particular dress was worn by someone very famous. A miss Marie Antoinette…” 

Finished with this plate, he sat down to pick up his fork, taking some of the food to his mouth. Savory, delectable, all of this could be used to describe what he tasted. “I am curious, what is it that they do in the modern world most of the time? I am usually confined to my room when I roam the lands, but I do see people that sit in restaurants, or even eat in front of the television? Is that considered proper nowadays?"

The idea of wearing a dress previously worn by Marie Antoinette was very intriguing and it got Alexx thinking.  She had seen the voluminous white dress in the back of the closet and now she was itching to pull it out and try it on.  Dinner continued, the differing flavors mixing on her tongue as she enjoyed every bite.  
She had never thought about the fact that Adrian would not be familiar with TV or other modern devices like computers or iPads or cell phones.  
“Well, television and the internet do consume a large amount time for many people.   They can’t go anywhere without some kind of electronic device that allows them to access the internet anywhere, including restaurants and coffee shops.  I do think many people eat in front of the television.  I’m not sure it’s proper, but it is done.  I have to admit, living alone, I usually ate in front of the television.  I think I just needed the sound or feel of connection to the world.”
Alexx took another sip of wine, wiping her mouth.
“It occurs to me that, since being here at the castle, I don’t miss television or being connected to the internet.  I attribute that to good company and plenty of good conversation.”  She smiled.  “And having such a fantastic library at my disposal doesn’t hurt either.”

She had many points, every single one of them were finely crafted and made a perfectly rational sense, at least to him it did. Adrian never really relied on technology when it came forth throughout the ages, it was only until recently that he acquired a cell phone and only used it to keep in contact with those that were pertinent while he kept up the visage of a mortal violinist. "It seems to me that in this day and age," he pulls his phone out of his pocket, "that far too many people rely on this instead of the time honored tradition of speaking sentimentally towards one another; such as we are at this moment." He was pleased to see how much she enjoyed the food, and the wine, but he couldn't help but look down with a light smile, letting out a small, quick laugh at the mention of his library.

"A treasure trove of knowledge and power that could last anyone a lifetime to read and even then, they still would not be able to finish everything, it has taken me hundreds of years to even go through forty-five percent of the library. And I surmise that it will take another hundreds of years to come to the end, truly something that can occupy the time of any person." Taking a hold of his cup, he looks at the crimson liquid through the light and revels at it. "They say that knowledge is power. If that is the case, then a God am I."

With a quick raise, he drinks a hefty amount of the wine before setting it down. "But I really do not compare myself to God, nor do I have the powers of he, I am myself and that's all I shall ever be which brings me to my next point." Adrian stood up slowly, walking to the window with his hands behind his back. "Alexxanna, I have no heir, no offspring of my own and if the worst should ever happen to me, if I should perish in my protection of you. Castlevania will then be yours to control how you see fit." His eyes stayed on the window, looking out to the darkened horizon. "You would then be known as the Lady of Shadows."

Alexx chuckled as Adrian referred to himself as a god, knowing that he was referring to having read almost half of the books in his library.  She sipped her wine, once again enjoying conversation with him.  He was always witty and interesting, but she truly loved it when he was humorous.  It was a rare but welcome occurrence.   And it didn’t last long.  
As he walked to the window, she could tell by his demeanor that he had something weighing on his mind and he chose his words carefully.   She froze mid-sip of her wine, he mind trying to fully comprehend what he had just said.  
~…if the worst should ever happen to me, if I should perish in my protection of you. Castlevania will then be yours to control how you see fit.~ 
What?!  That thought had never occurred to her.  The fact that he could be killed while trying to protect her.   Suddenly her heart felt like it was beating out of her chest and her breathing came fast.  She took a deep breath and a large sip of wine, then sat back in her chair as her mind raced and played through that scenario.  Why hadn’t she thought of that before?  She shook her head, then looked up at him.  
“Lady of Shadows? “  The full weight of that responsibility suddenly hit her and she stood up, moving quickly to him.  “How could I possible run Castlevania?!  I have no experience in that kind of thing.  I wouldn’t even know where to start!”  He turned and his eyes on her quieted her, making her rethink her tone.  
“I’m sorry…I am just a little overwhelmed at all this.”  She paused, taking a deep breath, picking her wine up from the table and taking a sip and looking at him.  “I am honored that you would think of me for this, but honestly, am I really the right choice?”

Adrian Tepes
"Neither did I, I only used the knowledge that I have gained through the centuries to turn the castle into what you see it as now, a beacon of sorts; a place for the weary and persecuted to have a haven that will keep them safe like the arms of a loving mother." Adrian took a hand and ran it through his hair, straightening it and keeping it out of view of his eyesight so he could see his charge and the looks that she gave him. He surmised that she would have spat the wine out from pure shock, but she was strong and she held her own, which was a rare occurrence with people. "It's too much, I don't know if I can handle it, those were things that I said to myself when I lost my mother. It was a tough and dark time for me but you have to remember that even though I looked not much younger than I am now, in terms of an immortal I was still a toddler that had been thrust into a world that I had nary a grasp on."

Walking to the table, his finger circled around the rim of his wine glass, emanating a steady frequency to almost lull a person. "Are you a religious person Alexxanna? I am sure that you are. I truly believe that there wsa someone in the history of mankind that said the same things but upon them was thrust a great responsibility that they had to accomplish. A person that took the great responsibility they had and made the most of it, no matter how tough it was. No matter the trials and tribulations they would face, that person faced them head-on and with a calm look on his face."
Taking his wine glass, he held it and sniffed the wine deeply, sniffed it before taking a drink and setting it down. "That person was Jesus Christ. How would you feel if you were told this? You had a great responsibility to uphold but did not have the slightest inkling as how you would carry out the task? I was the same way, and I feel that you are the same way, right now. Although I do not think that this will ever happen, my death, I feel that it is something that I should prepare you for; if I am to perish, you would gain all of this." His arms stretched out and presented the expanse of the dining room and even the castle to her.

 Alexx listened carefully as Adrian brought religion into the conversation.  She thought it interesting that a vampire..well, half vampire would be religious or at least have such knowledge of the Christian faith, but Adrian was full of surprises.  And he had lived much longer and had seen many more things in his life, so she really shouldn’t be surprised.  
“I have never thought of myself as religious.  I was brought up going to church.  My father left when I was still a baby and I think my mom thought that going to church would somehow help me.  I managed to learn about the Christian faith and Jesus and God.  Those stories stick with me.  I never found as much joy in going to church as some people do, but I feel that a relationship to God or whatever higher being you worship is a personal thing.  For me, he lives in me and I can talk to him whenever I want.  He’s not some guy up in the clouds that I don’t know.  I internalize him.  I know him and he knows me.  I guess you could say that he is my moral compass.”  
Alexx chuckled and took a sip of her wine, then looked at Adrian.  “I think I got a little off track there.  Jesus’ story has always fascinated me.  The thought that so much would be asked of him and that he would bear that burden, well that’s almost unfathomable.  I cannot say I would be so self-sacrificing.  I would hope that I would be, but I don’t feel that strong most of the time.  But I see the connection you’re making.  The situation has a lot of similarities and it is certainly one to ponder.”   She sat back in her chair, her brain working through and imagining what that might be like.    “I guess that it’s better that I know this now.  It will give me more time to prepare, if not practically, but at least mentally.  If I should ever be faced with it.  Of course, I should not like it and find it hard to go on here without you.”  She looked up at him suddenly, a little embarrassed, realizing she had said those words out loud, she quickly added.  “Of course, I will find the strength, as we all do when we are presented with such challenges.”  
Focusing on her food, she stabbed at her salad, bringing it to her mouth and chewing on it.   It was dawning on her that she really did feel that way.  It surprised her that she had unconsciously become accustomed to being at Castlevania and had seemed to accept it as her new home.   Of course, she didn’t have any family in her old life.  Her mother was missing and her father had left years ago.   She was discovering that she really did enjoy her life here at the castle.  It was comforting to know that someone in the world was looking out for her. 

Adrian Tepes
She had learned so much in the time that she was here and she would have ages left to learn everything that he had to offer her, in case the situation arose that she would have to take up the mantle of being the caretaker of this castle, he knew somehow that she would be able to carry on the legacy and he wouldn't have to change her. He didn't think of changing her, the castle would supplement her with the power that she would need to be able to carry on through the storm of life and this pleased him. "You did well Alexxanna," he said with a nod while he watched her eat, "already you are learning the proper characteristics of what it's like to be me." His stride casually walked to his seat, easing into the seat with a sigh while he took the glass of wine that belonged to him, taking a long drink and finishing the drink before setting it down. Most humans could not fathom the amount of wine he just drank but with his metabolism, he would need it because of what he needed to show her next. "Allow me to elaborate what I mean. You know that within me lies something that you have not even seen 1/1,000,000th of what I am capable of, a power that was bestowed upon me because of my father and also of my birthright."

Looking down, his hair fell around his face, obscuring his features to Alexxanna. Raising his head slowly to eye her, his eyes had now become a dark, blood red. His eyes were menacing and could scare even the most hardened of creatures, but his eyes shifted over to a suit of armor that held an axe in one arm. Slowly, the armor started to creak and rattle, a small plume of smoke came from the visor and then sucked right back into it. Suddenly, the armor came to life, stiff and strained were its movements at first but soon it became more agile and looked around the room; it's eyes fixated on Alexxanna.

Standing up slowly, Adrian saw the object that he needed: the Tepes family sword. Reaching his hand for it, the sword heeded the call of its master and flew off of the wall to be grasped by the hand of Adrian. The lord's head turned towards the suit of armor and before Alexxanna could see it all unfold, Adrian was already behind the ghostly armor with his sword slung on his shoulder and looking back at her with his blood red eyes. A few rattles and the suit of armor had fallen into several chunks on the floor, visibly cut by his sword because of the way it fell. "Hiding your knowledge or power until the opportune time, that is what you did with your knowledge of religion."

His eyes, then turned normal...

As Adrian’s face changed, his eyes turning blood red, Alexx could feel her heart rate speeding up.   She was really not afraid that Adrian would hurt her, but feeling the lethal power emanating from him, she knew to be cautious.  She jumped a little as the suit of armor seemed to come to life and look straight at her.  Okay, now she was scared.  That kind of thing didn’t happen every day in the life of an ordinary librarian.   She pushed back in her chair, wanting to get as far away from it as possible.  But before she could even think, Adrian was behind the armor, staring at her with those blood red eyes, the sword from the wall in his hand and then with what seemed like a blink of her eye, the armor was lying in pieces on the floor.  
~"Hiding your knowledge or power until the opportune time, that is what you did with your knowledge of religion."~
Alexx sat frozen staring at Adrian for what seemed like several minutes. His eyes had returned to normal, but the sword was still in his hand, his body was still poised for fighting.  His hair had come loose, falling about his neck and shoulders, the sheen of sweat was on his skin as his chest rose and fell from his breathing.  He looked like a warrior.  And admittedly, he was breathtaking.  
This was a side of Adrian that she, up until this moment, had yet to see.  And though she knew she shouldn’t be surprised at his lethal side, she still was.  This was the side that would protect her at all costs, against any physical harm that could come to her.  Knowing intellectually that he had these abilities within him was one thing, but seeing him in action was quite another.  As he said, it was important to hide your power until it was necessary to show it.  He had proven that to her in his demonstration.  
She was also surprised to find herself breathing rapidly, her heart beating fast.  Her whole body shook slightly as the adrenaline coursed through her body.  Finally she smiled at him, still a little breathless.  
“That was…incredible!  If I ever doubted your ability to protect me…well, let’s just say, those fears are laid to rest.”  
She watched as Adrian moved back to his chair and sat.  “I believe you have made your point.  It also brings to mind a phrase from a superhero called Spiderman.  Are you familiar with him?  ‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’  I believe that you have demonstrated that point as well.  Even though you have this power, I have never seen you use it recklessly.  And I don’t believe you ever would.”  Shifting in her chair, she made herself more comfortable, then picked up her wine glass and took several sips hoping to calm the tremors still echoing through her body.  

Slow and cautious were his movements, moving towards the wall and sheathing the sword back in the scabbard that held it tightly like a lover's embrace, a few steps back he took and with a bow he returned to his seat. "The last thing that I want you to do is feel that this was all a matter of showing off, which it was not, this was merely a lesson that someone should learn; hiding your powers and knowledge is the greatest weapon you have." His body moved forward on the table, he propped a hand up on his elbow and made a tight fist, looking at it intently while he spoke. "Striking at the right moment with your full might and you can catch someone off guard almost every time, it is in those times that a risky gamble can pay 100 fold in dividends, you will learn in time as well how to use that power."

He loosened his grip and let out a quick sigh, knowing that the discussion of this dinner would be that much more interesting. "You might seem lost now, now that I said what I said, but can't you feel it?" Opening his mouth slightly, his tongue ran across one side of his teeth, he was almost smiling as he closed his eyes and turned his nose upwards to see if she could sense it. "Close your eyes, feel, don't think. Haven't you noticed how you feel different here? You don't get tired as easily, the simplest of things in this castle excite you."

Adrian gave her a few moments, letting this sort of baptism of knowledge wash over her, to let it seep into every pore of her body and fill her with a white light of knowledge that she needed to realize: she was given powers by the castle, but the castle also received powers from Adrian as well. "The castle is like a brace, a muzzle so to speak, for me. The full breadth of power that I possess in my body, a look could obliterate a mountain and turn the seas boiling. There are levels of restriction that I have, each brace unleashing a certain amount of the hellish power that my father passed to me."

He knew what she would first think, that she would be turning into a vampire of dhampir, to which was not the case. "To quell your thoughts now, you are not turning into me or a vampire, a bite has to occur; you are turning into an immortal, something that hasn't happened for so long. The power of this castle, of me, will keep you looking like this for all eternity." Adrian stood up and held his wine glass in a toast, to her. "To you Alexxanna Rae Lawson, may you become something that no one else ever would dream of being."
~"…, but can't you feel it?......Close your eyes, feel, don't think. Haven't you noticed how you feel different here? You don't get tired as easily, the simplest of things in this castle excite you."~
Alexx watched Adrian closely as he tilted his head back and closed his eyes, encouraging her to do the same.   She leaned back, a little reluctantly at first, then finally letting his words wash over her.  At first she felt a little silly in this position, trying to sense something that she wasn’t even sure existed.  Eventually she gave over to his words, really listening and letting them wash over her, taking them all in.  As she relaxed, she began to feel what he was speaking of.  It felt like a tiny ball of warmth nestled in her chest, and as she concentrated more on it, she could feel it emanating slowly out into her limbs.   The warmth overtook her body and briefly it flashed, showing her the castle.  Or rather, it allowed her to “feel” the castle and the power it contained.  Power that, at the brief moment, she could control.  It only lasted for a few seconds, but it was more power than she had ever felt in her life.  

As the feeling of power dispersed and collapsed back into the tiny ball of warmth in her chest, she sat up and looked in wonderment at Adrian.   Her whole body felt energized and alive.  Looking down at her arms, she held them out, turning them and inspecting her skin and wiggling her fingers.   “I do feel different!  It must have been so gradual that I hadn’t realized it until you pointed it out.”  Standing she moved to the mirror on the wall, looking in and staring at her face.  Tilting her head this way and that, inspecting it closely and then smiling.  She turned back to him as he raised his glass to her and blushed at his words.  

“Thank you Adrian….for giving me a safe place to live and thrive….and…..become…..whatever it is that I am meant to become.”  She chuckled and picked up her glass, raising it to him.  “To you Adrian, for welcoming me into your home, making me feel safe and opening up a whole new world to me.  You’ve changed my life….for good.” 

Adrian Tepes
Raising his glass that much higher in the toast to the both of them, Adrian nodded in gratitude to her compliment, the two of them had eternity together and he would do as much as he could to make sure his guest would be comfortable in this castle. Something concerned him though, as much as he guessed it would concern her, what she would become. Taking a drink of the wine and setting the glass down, he wiped his mouth with the napkin near the table and set his eyes on his charge, studying her actions. "Alexxanna, as far as what you will become, it is something that I do not know; but I know it will not be something as terrible as I or the vampires that plague this world. You are not undead and you have not felt the fangs of a werewolf of vampire, or even myself, therefore you will not be tainted by those curses."

Like himself, she would be the first and presumably the last of her kind, something that the world has never seen but this revelation did not mean she would be doomed to a life of torture. If he had to think about it, he was in a sense, jealous of Alexxanna. She was not tied down to a curse of blood thirst or to roam around at night like most vampires do, she would not change into a wolf and roam aimlessly like the werewolves do, in his saving her; he gave her free will. If one had to think about it, if life was a coin, then her coin had landed on the edge; the impossible third option that rarely occurred.

"Tell me Alexxanna, what did you feel just now? How did the power of myself, the castle, how did it affect you and what was it that you saw or sensed?" He was curious about this, everyone's gift was always different, he wanted to know what gift the castle would have bestowed upon her. There were things in the world that he could do, and things that he could not, he was curious about how her gifts would affect his own that were given to him by his father so long ago.

"In the infancy of your gift, it is best to concentrate more on sensations that you felt instead of describing what it felt like in detail. In time, you will learn how to describe and then harness said power, to bend it to your will. You are pure, I would not be surprised if the power bestowed upon you is that of a holy knight, something that has not been seen in so many centuries." He remembered the last time he saw one, how he almost died but then the knight did not sense any malice in Adrian.

What might she become?  That thought hadn’t really crossed her mind or the thought that the castle would change her in any way, except for slowing her aging.  She never thought about having any power and it seemed like a strange idea to her.  In her life she’d never wielded much power over anything.  And even though she had never craved power, she was still not immune to its allure.  The thought of being a vampire had seemed intriguing when she was a young girl, but now having met Adrian and having seen this world first hand, it did not seem as desirable. There were advantages of course, but after seeing the darker side of his life, it was not nearly as appealing.  
Listening to Adrian, she tried to remember the feelings she had felt when she had concentrated before, feeling the castle for the first time. How could she describe those? She felt that she had described them, but, she realized that she hadn’t really described out loud what she was feeling. So closing her eyes again and focusing, she was able to reach out with her mind and let those feelings wash over her again.  Her body relaxed, leaning back in her chair, this time, describing what she felt.  
“There’s a small ball of warmth that I can feel in my chest, very tiny at first but the more I concentrate on it, the more it grows. Now I can feel it moving into my limbs and I can feel the power it wields and the energy with which it imbues my body.  If I just allow my feelers out a slight bit, I know I can touch the power and I can feel that it wants to surge into my veins, but I am too afraid to touch it. The power is overwhelming.”
Opening her eyes, the energy slowly made its way back to the center of my chest, finally dissipating and leaving her energized. She smiled widely at Adrian.
“And it leaves me feeling energized and ready to take on the world and I have no idea what to do with that kind of energy.” 
Picking up her wine glass, she sipped it, straightening in her chair feeling the after affects and contemplating Adrian’s words.
“Does that help you understand what I was feeling? It’s really quite a wonderful feeling, but a bit overwhelming for me.  At least for now. Is there a way to learn to control it?”  
Then she remembered something else he had said.  
“And what is a holy knight?”

Adrian Tepes
"Come with me," he said while standing up again, "I have something to show you about the history of the Holy Knight." Adrian walked casually, giving Alexxanna the time she needed to catch up, he knew she would have questions and flash him a look like he had just said something strange to her. It wasn't a great distance they walked, merely to the room that Adrian had usually spent his nights, the study. In the study, there were other tapestries strewn about, but he had walked to one in particular that he was surprised that she had never asked about. He surmised that the reasoning was she thought it was some descendant from long ago, but on the contrary, it was of the last Holy Knight to ever grace this planet: Simon.

"Behold Simon, the last Holy Knight." On the tapestry was a man, clad in light armor and brandishing a whip, a visage of Dracula in the background while the knight looked onward at the castle. "Simon and I had a partnership at one time, to rid this world of my father, but without really knowing how to truly stop him we were met with my father resurrecting each and every time." Adrian stood, staring at the tapestry, remembering the times he had to travel to this very castle, each time the layout of the castle would change since it was essentially a living thing.

Letting out a long sigh, Adrian's eyes affix to Alexxanna while she would look at the tapesty. "The family that Simon belonged to had died off centuries ago, Simon being the last in the long line, the task of ridding this pestilence of my father then rest on me, to protect this world and restore good name to the Tepes line that he had stained so many times. It's ironic, had I figured this out sooner with how to stop him, I wonder the kind of difference it would have made."

Adrian waved his hand around, dismissing the notion, he wasn't the type to really dwell on the past; it was futile to think anything and otherwise fleeting. "Holy Knights are gifted with the powers of God himself, only to be amplified by the powers of this castle. Like I said, it's a possibility, one of many that can occur; should you still wish to stay here then the training would fall to me to instruct you in their ways."

As she followed Adrian into the study; a place she’d been before but apparently had not noticed the numerous tapestries, her mind whirled with possibilities.    He pointed to the one he referred to as Simon, the last Holy Knight and she listened to his story.  “What happened to Simon?  If he had the powers of God, how could he be killed?”  She inspected the tapestry from a distance and moved closer to it.  She could see how regal he was, but shuddered a little at the sight of Dracula as a cold spike of fear went up her spine.  She turned, looking at Adrian.  “Why does Simon have a whip?  I should have thought that a knight would carry a sword.”  Listening and watching Adrian talk about Simon, she could see there was more to the story.  There seemed to be regret somewhere in the past, but when he waved his hand, she knew he was not wanting to talk about it.  Still, it niggled at the back of her mind and she put it away as a questions for another day.

She shifted her thoughts to his earlier statement that perhaps she would be gifted with the powers of a Holy Knight, much like this Simon.  “Me?  A Holy Knight…gifted with the powers of God?  That seems like something out of a fairy tale!”  Alexx mused and then catching Adrian’s eye, became embarrassed.  “I mean, the thought of wielding all that power…well that is a bit overwhelming in itself.”    This new knowledge was a lot for her brain to take in and she could feel herself becoming confused with everything he’d thrown at her.  Her eyebrows knit together and she chewed on her lip, trying to work it all out in her mind. Of course if that was her destiny, then she would try to live up to it, but how would she know?  Would there be a sign?  What would determine or deign her to be a Holy Knight?  At this point in her life, she had never felt more unworthy of such a title.  
“I…I can’t imagine myself as a Holy Knight…and how would I know anyway…what kind of signs or changes would happen?”  She sighed.  “I guess I would just feel unworthy at this point…what have I ever done to deserve something like that?” 

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