Today I’m sharing a taste of Elizabeth’s novel, Katrina.
I sat very still, staring straight ahead just as I was told. Being asked to sit for a portrait to be displayed in the Sanctuary’s grand library was a great honor. My name is Katrina Von Dracek, and I can’t believe how long it’s been—almost one hundred thirty years. Now I’ve been asked to chronicle my journey from the beginning.
From this vantage point atop the castle’s west wall I could see the entire valley. The breeze was cool, but no longer held any threat of winter.
What would the rest of my life be like, I wondered? All young girls, I supposed, want love, but I also wanted adventure, to travel the world, to make a difference in some way. It would be a long life, I knew, for vampires live a very long time.
I appraised my surroundings. The night was breathtaking. With my vampire gift of acute hearing, I heard a stag in the woods nearby. There was no moon tonight but my enhanced vision made the darkness as clear as the day.
I remembered from my history lessons that back in time, the earliest known vampires could not tolerate the sun or control their lust for blood, but just as all creatures have evolved through the centuries to survive, so have we, although some of the clans prefer, as they call it, to stay true to their heritage. Vampires are mostly born now, not made. Blood lust has been tamed by the hunting of animals and the use of crimson, blood from our human watchers mixed with an ancient elixir which vastly multiplies a small amount of blood and enables it to stay fresh indefinitely.
Just as I turned to leave I saw a shadow, too fast to be human, streaking across the field toward the front gate. I had been up on the wall for hours, and although vampires can easily move very quietly, I had neither seen or heard anyone leave the castle.
“I have to find Quinn,” I said to myself.
Quinn is my Watcher and my friend, one of the seven Voss brothers who watch over us. The Watchers are the personal human gaurd of the vampires, men who have dedicated their lives to the well being of their vampire families, none more loyal than the Voss.
I turned and rushed toward the stairway leading to the entrance courtyard just as Quinn was coming toward me.
“Oh, there you are Quinn. What has happened?”
“A courier has just arrived. The whole council is to meet in Salzburg, and to bring along young royal representatives from each family. You will be joining your father. Come with me now, for we must prepare to leave. The journey is long and the Council is to meet in just fourteen days.”
Quinn, always wanting what is best for the family. He and I had become so close that my father sought to warn me. “Katrina,” he said, “Quinn is your Watcher and must stay just that.”
I told my father in no uncertain terms that Quinn was also my friend, just my friend, but I found myself wondering if that was still the truth. Had I started to feel something more? No, he was my friend, and of course I cared for him, yes even loved him, but as a friend, only a friend. Right? I guessed that I would need to sort this out, but that would have to wait, for tomorrow we must travel north and east, a journey full of danger. The unknown is always both the most frightening, and the most exciting part.
With the clans being represented by their royal families’ most worthy young members, the royals going to Council would number in the hundreds, all traveling with their Watchers, servants, and numerous wagons for provisions and gifts for the leaders, especially the High Regent.
“Katrina, you look weak. When was the last time you fed? Did you drink anything today at all?
Quinn was right; with everything that was going on I hadn’t had crimson or been out to hunt for days. I realized I could have gone dormant in my sleep, a kind of hibernation if you will, which saves us when we have to hide, heal, or survive when food either is not available or is tainted. This dormant state can last hours, days, weeks, or even years. I had no time for that, but now that Quinn brought it up, I felt too weak to hunt. Why hadn’t I paid more attention? Suddenly my vision started to fade, and the last thing I remembered was leaning against the wall to steady myself from the feeling of dizziness. When I awoke, Quinn was wrapping a cloth around his wrist.
“You must be more responsible.” he chided me. “I can’t be in charge of your feedings too!”
He was angry, so angry his face was turning red, and though I had never bitten a human, the vein bulging on his neck was making me feel something I had never felt before, blood lust. It didn’t help that he was so handsome, and as he kept ranting about how I was ignoring my training, my studies, and everything else, I couldn’t help admiring the ruggedness of his jaw and the way his dark brown hair flopped onto his face, his beautiful face.
“Katrina, Katrina! Are you even listening to me at all?”
Snapping out of my trance was almost painful; I would have liked to remain in that reverie just a little longer.
“Katrina,” he said as he walked toward me.
It took all the strength I had to stop myself from throwing my arms around his neck, his very inviting neck, and kissing him passionately.
“What is wrong with you Katrina? We have no time for this!”
I had to turn away just so I could gather myself, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, tears filled my eyes.Whatwas wrong with me? Quinn placed his hands on my shoulders and turned me towards him. When he saw the tears in my eyes, he froze for a moment; then his face softened and I thought I saw something new there, but then he hardened again and said, “You must be more careful.”
He turned and strode away, leaving me feeling empty and alone.
I walked to my room in a daze, suddenly tired again.
Pulling the door open even seemed difficult. Once inside, I was so pleased to see the bed turned down and sweet bread, butter, and a glass of wine on the table. Thank goodness for Sarah, my handmaiden and confidant.
I ate the bread quickly and savored the wine. Then, too exhausted to put on the dressing gown left out for me, I lay down on the bed and the last thing I remember was picturing the look in Quinn’s eyes and wondering what it meant. Though it had been fleeting, it had been there, hadn’t it? And with that thought I slept.
Katrina is free on Amazon at this time. Hop over and grab your copy.
You can also connect with Elizabeth and find out more about her books on her website.