Subject: DKFIC: Lady in Waiting (1 of 2)
Sent: 4/22/97 9:21 PM
Received: 4/22/97 10:07 PM
Good evening, fellow Children of Darkness. Here is my first contribution to the loop. This story was inspired by Izabela's "Pit of Condemned Bimbos" challenge. Thanks to Lisa (waving to Lisa!) for beta-reading the first half of this.
WARNINGS: (1) This story contains vampire violence and, of course, SEX.
If this offends you (I doubt you'd be on this loop if it did, but anyway...), please don't read any further. (2) In spite of Lisa's terrific help, I'm sure the French contained in this piece is simply atrocious. My apologies to all Francophiles on the loop :). (3) I didn't try for historical accuracy in this piece. I don't know if there are any instances where I violated the 13th century, but I wouldn't doubt it. (4) I didn't spend the time on this piece that I would have liked. It demanded that I write it, and now that it's done, I must release it. I hope you all enjoy it.
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created by James Parriott and Barney Cohen. The characters Nicolas, LaCroix, and Andre are property of Sony/Tri-Star; all others belong to me. No infringement is intended.
"Lady in Waiting"
A Dark Knight Story
by LeAnne Lassiter
We had all heard the stories about the handsome Nicolas and had all wondered if they were true. We all gathered in darkened corners and chilly corridors to whisper about his pale skin and his preference of night over day, about the strange late night interment of his sister, and about his avoidance of all things connected to the Church. We wondered about his stoic and rather frightening companion. Most of all, we pondered the fate of the half-dozen maidens who had disappeared since Nicolas' return to Brabant. It was as if the night had swallowed them. Or was it Nicolas who had consumed them?
All of the more rational members of our household had voiced their concerns about him, but naturally I ignored them. I was intrigued by the idea that our familial holdings bordered on those of a vampire--or a madman, at least. Some souls are attracted to the dark. Some souls reject the light, with is commonality and predictability, in favor of the danger and mystery of the dark. Some are simply born to be creatures of the night; without a doubt, I was.
As our cart rumbled down the dark, gutted lane, my mother whispered prayer after prayer, beseeching God to protect us from our "evil" neighbor. I'd always been a skeptic where matters of religion were concerned, and tonight I especially hoped God was merely a figment of my mother's imagination. An unexpected visit from Nicolas was precisely what I wanted. I smiled secretly in the darkness, imagining moonbeams reflecting off his golden hair as his eyes flared and his teeth grew into fangs. A shudder of delight raced through me. Maman sensed it, and clutched tight to my arm.
"Do not be afraid, Camille, *ma cherie*," she whispered. "God will protect us."
"From what? There is no danger here tonight."
"There is always danger here in Brabant now that Monsieur Nicolas has returned."
"Nonsense, Maman. You assume because a handful of silly girls disappear that Monsieur Nicolas is somehow responsible. I say that is nonsense."
Maman answered my disrespect with a sharp slap of her hand to my cheek.
"Do not take that tone with me, child. You are in enough trouble already."
It was uncommon for women of my era to be out after dark without the company of a man--or out without a man period, after dark or otherwise--but there were always times when such a thing was necessary. My mother had discovered years earlier that she could sneak out of the chateau at night almost as well as I could, and she'd become quite proficient at tracking me down whenever I wandered off. At seventeen, I should have been an old married woman; but I was still delightfully unwed. I couldn't seem to find a husband. My appearance had nothing to do with it; indeed, my beauty had become something of a legend in Brabant. But so, too, had my reputation for wildness. Suitors came and went like night and day. Arranged betrothals disintegrated as soon as my intendeds spent an hour in my company. It seemed that no one wanted to be shackled to me for eternity, not even in exchange for the healthy dowry that my father backed me with. It grew larger each week, and still there were no takers. Not that I was without male companionship, for I had that every night. It's amazing how a maiden can revel in the pleasures of the flesh and still walk away with her maidenhead intact.
I had been on such an outing that evening, and Maman had once again found my lair, disturbing my lover and me as we performed some dark, sexual ritual that would have made even Hecate herself blush. Maman had forced me into my clothes and dragged me out of Sherbourne's barn, promising him that the wrath of God would be upon him for defiling me in such a heinous manner (as if he were the first). Cook was waiting in the cart for us, the reins in her hand, and started us back towards our chauteau without saying a word as soon as we were settled in. She wasn't a particularly good driver, but she was the best Maman could do in a pinch. Cook was reliable and loyal. Though my exploits were common knowledge outside the walls of our castle, inside, Papa remained blissfully unaware of them. Maman worked frantically to make this so.
The old cart lurched down the rutted road near Nicolas' castle. We could not see the building from our vantage point, but I could imagine it clearly. I wondered what acts were being performed inside those walls. Where was Nicolas? From whom did he drink tonight?
Something moved in the bushes along the road, and our horse reared, threatening to topple over the cart. I squealed in terror, Maman clutched to my arm, quickening the rate of her prayers. I called on the name of the Lord myself, though expressing a different sentiment. Maman was so far gone that did not notice my words, and so did not condemn me. Cook calmed the horse a bit, but still we were in danger.
"Easy," a voice whispered, and immediately the animal went still. The speaker emerged from the shadows and stepped into the road beside the cart.
"*Mon Dieu*," Maman hissed and crossed herself, recognizing Nicolas in the pale light of the moon.
He was exquisite in his black tunic and tights. His golden hair was kissed by stray beams of moonlight and appeared as an aura around his head. He was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen, and in that moment I knew without any doubt that he was a vampire; no human could ever be so flawless.
"*Je m'excuse, mesdames*," he said. "*Comment allez vous*?"
"*Nous sommes biennes*," Maman said through clenched teeth.
"*Je suis tres bien, monsieur*," I said, pulling back the hood of my cloak so that he might see my face more clearly.
The sight of me caused his breath to catch in his throat. I had been told on more than one occasion that my beauty was so powerful as to be distracting, and judging from the expression on Nicolas' face, this was no exaggeration. And all that time I had believed men sought me out only because I was easy.
"*Oui, et tres jolie, mademoiselle*." He reached out and took my hand, bringing it to his lips. His skin was cold against mine. "*Je m'appelle Nicolas.*"
"*Oui, je sais. Je m'appelle Camille.*" I smiled demurely at him. "We were just talking about you."
"You said only good things, I am sure."
"But of course."
"If you do not mind, *monsieur*, it is late, and I must get my daughter home. She is ill." She cast me a glance that would have frozen the fires in Hell. Naturally, I paid it no heed.
"It is a pleasure meeting you, Nicolas."
"*Mais non, ma belle*, the pleasure is all mine."
"Cook, take us home. *Maintenant*!"
Leave it to Maman to interrupt my fun before it even got started.
Cook followed Maman's command without comment and swished the reins. The horse immediately began to pull the wagon forward, and we slipped away from Nicolas, though I could feel his gaze upon me as we went.
"Listen to me, *cherie*," Maman said once she thought that we were out of earshot (but how far must you go to be out of the range of a vampire's hearing?). She clutched my face in one of her hands and fixed her dark eyes intently upon my face. "Listen as you have never listened before. Stay away from that one, Nicolas. The other men, they seek only to steal your virtue. This one wants something more."
I bit my cheek to prevent the smile that threatened to twist my lips. If all Nicolas wanted was my virtue, then he was to be sorely disappointed. *Virgo intacta* or no, I was far from virtuous.
"Whatever do you mean, *Maman*?" I said, feigning ignorance. She enjoyed feeling that she knew more of the world than I did. Even though such a thing was impossible.
"This one will steal your life, *mon enfant*."
I said nothing as we proceded further into the darkness, thinking that it would be impossible for Nicolas to steal that which was freely given.
Later that night, I awoke to the feel of cool fingers against my lips.
"Camille," a rich male voice sighed.
"Nicolas?" I said, my voice uncertain. I thought I was dreaming.
"*Oui, ma cherie*."
Moonlight entered the room through my open window and fell at such an angle as to illuminate Nicolas' face. My eyes struggled through the gloom to take in his features, to study the planes and angles of the bones beneath the fair skin. My attention was riveted to his sensuous mouth with its invitingly parted lips. This was no dream, I realized. The chilly fingers against my skin were very real, as was the desire that suddenly flooded my loins.
"What are you doing here?" I asked breathlessly, staring up at him.
"I could not sleep," he whispered, tracing the outline of my lips with the tips of his fingers. His touch was like an electric current against my skin. "Every time I closed my eyes, I kept seeing your face. I had to see it again, to assure myself that you were as beautiful as I remembered.
"And so you risked my father's hounds to gain access to my room and satisfy your curiosity? Surely you want something more than just looking at me... How did you get up here, anyway?"
"I have my ways," he said, his mouth curving into a seductive grin. His fingers trailed down my chin and across my throat as his head descended. His lips tasted mine, and I responded to his kiss with everything in my being. My hands reached for his face and found it, thrilling in the feel of his cold flesh. His mouth moved across my face, along my cheek, and I felt his cool breath against my ear.
"*J'ai faim,*" he whispered. "*J'ai faim, et j'ai soif*." *I am hungry and I am thirsty*.
"*Satisfais de soif avec moi, alor*," I responded. *Satisfy your thirst with me*. "*S'il te plait."
Sharp teeth traced the artery in my neck, and I arched upward, desperate for him to take me. I was yielding myself unto death, I realized, but the thought did not frighten me. I had sought pleasure all of my life, and it seemed fitting that I would end my life in the throes of it.
"Take me," I urged with a heated whisper.
His tongue slid across my skin, leaving a line of cool wetness behind. I clutched his hair in my hands. His kissed up over my chin, and our mouths met again. His lips had leeched warmth from my skin and felt normal. His hands went to the bodice of my gown and ripped it open, exposing the small globes of my breasts to the cool night air briefly before covering them with his palms. My nipples grew rigid immediately in response to his touch, and I moaned softly.
"*Un aperitif*," I heard him whisper as his teeth jabbed into my neck.
My breath escaped me in a sharp gasp and my eyes snapped open as a rush of visions crowded into my mind. I saw other women, their heads drawn back to reveal the pale arcs of their throats, and heard them sigh as he drank the life from their veins. I recognized some of the faces--Sylvie, Bernadette, my cousin Antoinette--all girls missing from the chateaux and villages surrounding us. Then I saw myself as Nicolas had seen me earlier that night. Was I really that beautiful?
The sharp points of his teeth relented, and Nicolas slowly released me. He tore open my nightgown down to the hem and looked down at me. It was then that I saw that his eyes glowed an eerie yellow. The strangeness of those eyes frightened me, even though I had expected them. Nicolas sensed the change in me and looked away briefly. When he looked again, his features were completely normal. I reached up and traced his cheek. My fingers slipped across his lips, and he quickly grasped one with his teeth.
His eyes flickered briefly, and he said, "You make it so hard, *cherie*."
I smiled at the double entrendre and sat up. I slid the remnants of my gown off my shoulders and shivered. Nicolas quickly took me in his arms and stole my breath with a deep and passionate kiss. I felt his body change as I clutched tightly to him. His muscles grew rigid and his skin colder. I could taste the metallic tang of my blood in his mouth and wondered how he could survive on that. Did it taste the same to him as it did to me?
Nicolas disengaged his mouth from mine and looked at me with his blazing eyes. I touched his eyebrows, smoothing down and gently pushed the lids shut over the glowing orbs. Those eyes were mesmerizing and terrifying, signifying the finality of this encounter. It would end here tonight, either in pleasure or in pain, or perhaps a mixture of the two. But it would definitely end. Nicolas would make love to me and kill me, or simply kill me, and I'd never again know the pleasure of his strangely cool touch.
His mouth met mine again, his tongue lapping at my lips. He kissed my cheek, moving his mouth along the satin of my skin to my ear. His tongue dipped into the hollow, then slipped around the edge. He briefly nipped the lobe before kissing the skin immediately behind my ear. He traced the strained muscle with his lips, planting icy-hot kisses down my throat and along my collarbone. Nicolas licked lazy circles around a strutted nipple, before sucking it into his mouth. I felt the tips of his extended fangs prick the tender flesh before his mouth strayed lower. His tongue dipped into the sink of my navel, then his cheek brushed against the delta of soft blonde curls at the apex of my thighs. He gently pushed apart my legs and I braced myself for the shock of his cool mouth against my nether lips. His mouth had warmed against my skin, however, and the tongue that touched me felt human.
It felt delicious as well, and a moan escaped me as I arched my hips upwards. Since I must die, it was just as well I died as this, with my *virtue* intact, with Nicolas drinking from my sex. Part of me feared the prick of his teeth against that sensitive skin, while another part of me craved it. The ripples of pleasure began quickly, and all thought disappeared. As they subsided, Nicolas pushed my legs further apart, not so gentle this time and lowered his head to me again. His fangs pierced the skin of my right thigh, sinking deep into the muscle and drawing out my life. The world grew dark around me, and I slept like the dead.
Subj: DKFIC: Lady in Waiting (2 of 2)
Date: 97-04-22 22:17:30 EDT
When I next awoke, I was sprawled on a cold hard floor in a dank, musty dungeon. I was completely disoriented and lay there for several minutes, staring up at the dark ceiling and trying to recall how I'd gotten there. The memories came slowly, and I finally remembered waking to find Nicolas in my bed chamber. So he had not killed me after all.
I took an assessment of my general welfare, finding that I was thirsty and a bit weak, and that there was a dull pain in my right thigh, but I felt fine otherwise. Nicolas had taken the time to cover my nakedness with a dress from my own wardrobe. A wave of dizziness overswept me when I struggled to sit up, but disappeared quickly. My eyes searched for light in the gloom and found it, a single candle burning in a far corner. I crawled toward the light, and made out the vague shape of a person sitting beside it. As I drew closer, I recognized the face.
"Antoinette," I whispered.
"I knew it was only a matter of time before you wound up here," she responded.
Antoinette and I had always borne a strong resemblance to each other, which was not surprising since our mothers were sisters, though she was dark where I was fair and rubinesque where I was dainty. But in that dungeon, we looked no more alike than two strangers might. Her rich black hair had lost much of its luster, her dark eyes their spark. The lushness of her curves had given way to the sharp angles of her bones. Fear had faded her beauty, marring it with the taint of impending death. I quickly took her hands in mine, pressing the thin fingers to my lips.
"Antoinette," I whispered again.
"I knew that he would find you and claim you before long," she continued. "And knowing you, you probably gave yourself to him."
I was embarrassed by the veracity of that statement. "I thought he would take me, and that would be the end of it."
She made a small, disgusted sound. "You deserve to die like this, Camille, for being a whore. But what have I done to earn this fate? To be the concubine of a fiend from hell? To be kept as cattle and slowly drained of life until I am nothing but a husk? Why should this be my fate?"
"It does not have to be like that, Antoinette," I said, remembering my last moments with Nicolas. "It was not like that for me. You can find pleasure in his embrace, if you allow yourself to."
"What, and die like a whore so that my soul can go swiftly to hell?"
I realized just how different my cousin and I were, and decided to leave her to her misery. I withdrew from her and made to crawl away, but she clutched tightly to the hem of my gown.
"Do not leave me, Camille. I do not want to be alone."
I returned to her and took her in my arms, holding her until her sobs eased. I wondered what the meaning of all this was, why Nicolas was holding us captive in his basement. Why hadn't he killed me earlier? I had been there for the taking, his willing victim. Did this vampire have a conscience? I contemplated these questions, knowing there were no easy answers, until I drifted off to an uneasy sleep.
Antoinette was gone when I awoke. There was movement somewhere in the dungeon, but the candle had burned out and so the room was enshrouded in darkness. I heard a whispered voice and a soft moan.
"Antoinette?" I whispered, searching for her in the darkness. I crawled towards the sound, worried about my cousin. She did not want to die in this way, and I did not want that for her. I was no longer sure I wanted it for myself either. "Nicolas?"
There was a low rumbling purr in the dark, and then a rough male voice growled, "Wait your turn, wench."
I stepped closer to where the voice was and stumbled over something...a body.
"Antoinette," I cried as I fell to my knees. My eyes had adjusted to the gloom, and I was able to see that it was, indeed, my cousin lying on the cold, hard floor. I clutched her to me and discovered that still she breathed.
I searched for Nicolas in the blackness, but saw nothing.
"Antoinette," I breathed into her hair, tears spilling down my cheeks. My cousin and childhood friend lay near death in my arms. I surprised myself by whispering a prayer for her, then dragged her lifeless body to a soft pile of straw spread on the floor. As soon as I had her positioned comfortably, I was grabbed from behind.
"And now for you, *ma cherie*," Nicolas purred into my ear. His breath was cold against my skin and carried the scent of Antoinette's blood.
"What are you?" I demanded, fully knowing the answer.
Nicolas gave me a feral grin as he spun me around to face him.
"A creature intent upon stealing first your maidenhood and then your life."
He pulled me close and planted a kiss upon my unwilling mouth. My resistance was, of course, futile, as a vampire gets what a vampire wants, and I soon found that he and I wanted the same thing. I'd never been kissed by one so skilled in all my life, and I'd certainly been kissed by more than a few. His mouth warmed as the kiss grew deeper and more passionate, and his hands began to roam my curves. I had assumed, based upon our previous encounter, that vampires were impotent in the mortal sense, yet I felt a hardness pressing against me as Nicolas held me tightly to him. I reached down and grabbed it, pleased with the hungry groan that escaped him. He lifted me in his arms and carried me to a bed of blankets and worn tapestries near the stairs, stretching me out gently upon it. His lips slid over my chin and down my neck, and I felt his tongue against my skin, tasting me. Could he smell the blood as it pumped through my veins? Could he hear it? I willed my pulse to quicken to further awaken his desire. I wanted him to take me and have done with me; I did not want to linger and slowly fade into death as Antoinette would.
I felt his fingers against my breasts, struggling with the strings holding shut the bodice of my gown. The gown fell open, and his hand plunged inside, grasping my breast tightly. I moaned as his mouth strayed lower to take my nipple. I pushed myself upright in an effort to slide the gown down off my shoulders, but Nicolas would not allow it. He pushed me back down on the straw and raised the hem of my gown up to my waist. Cool air kissed my bare legs and a frisson of desire mixed with fear tripped down my spine. Chill fingers slipped between my legs, sinking into the enveloping heat of my sex. Nicolas' breath caught in his throat as he encountered the thin membrane sealing off my entrance, perhaps anticipating the sweet rush of blood that would come when it tore.
His mouth found mine again, and we kissed as his fingers gently stroked my sex. He pushed against my hymen, and a stab of pain gripped me momentarily. My carefully guarded maidenhead was lost at last. I felt his fingers withdraw and watched as he held his hand up to the shaft of moonlight that entered from a distant window. His fingers were stained crimson with my virgin blood. He brought them to his lips and sucked them clean, then burrowed his head between my legs. The pain that had been there moments before was forgotten as he licked and sucked as I bled. I pushed my hips against his face, grinding against him, desperate for the sweet release that was promised. He raised his head, licking his lips, and tore off his tunic. He lowered his tights, then climbed atop me. The skirts of my gown were bunched up around me waist, keeping the feel of his skin away from me. I tugged them higher, desperate to feel him against me as he sank his member inside of me. It was like an icicle at first, but quickly warmed in my heat. His thrusts began gently, then gained depth and fury as the desire built inside of him. He rode me hard and furiously, drawing out the hot, quick contractions. Ripples of pleasure radiated outward from the core of my being, spreading out to the top of my head and the soles of my feet. I cried out his name, declaring my love for him, begging him to take me down into death.
My eyes snapped open as a rumbling purr vibrated through him and into me. He threw back his head, then sank his teeth into my neck. The last thing I saw was the pale, smirking face of his companion as he stood watching on from the stairs above us.
Everything was cold and black. Darkness filled my eyes, filled my lungs. Thirst consumed me. My heart beat sluggishly in my chest, barely able to pump what little blood I had left through my veins.
I had been like this for an eternity. Nicolas had come to me several times while I was in that state, but I could never respond. I was spiralling in a terrifying void. I wanted to open my eyes, but they were sealed shut. I wanted to scream, but I no longer had a voice. All around me was silent, until that silence was shattered by the distant whisper of Nicolas's voice.
"There now," I heard him breathe. "You may rest until morning, and I will come to you again."
Was he speaking to me? He sounded so far away.
"I'm afraid I will only have you to help me through the day."
*Nicolas*, I screamed silently, begging him to come to me. And as if he heard me, suddenly he did.
I felt his cool fingertips against my skull as he raised my head from the pile of blankets on which I lay. His lips pressed against my forehead and his cool breath caressed my skin. He rested his cheek against mine.
"I have been saving the last of your life for tonight," he said. "I have thought of nothing else."
I wanted to give him some sign that I heard him, that I understood, that I wanted this as badly as he did, but I could not stir even the tiniest of muscles. Instead, I lay limply awaiting his final embrace. I heard the beast in him cry out in desire, then felt the jab of his teeth in my throat.
Delirium washed over me in a crimson flood as the outpouring of my life met with the incoming rush of his emotions. Could he sense my never-ending love for him, my forgiveness of him for murdering me in this way? Did he know that I would carry the memory of his touch with me into the hereafter, if such a thing existed? Could he understand what I felt for him?
His touch grew faint, as did the images and emotions I was receiving from him. I was fading away into death.
*Je t'aime, Nicolas*, I thought. *Toujours*.
He withdrew sharply, and I was desperate to follow him. It was not possible, however, and I lay there, growing colder by the minute. I was drifting towards death, and I would go there alone. The last drops of blood remaining in me told me that Nicolas had left me. And without so much as a "fare-thee-well."
Suddenly cold hands gripped me and I was forced upright. The metallic stink of blood rose in the air, awakening the desperate thirst in me, and when a torn wrist was placed at my lips, I drank hungrily. No visions came to me ask I drank, only a sense of power and of age. The flow of blood slowed to a trickle, then stopped all together, and I cried out in protest, my eyes opening to look at his face. It was the face I had seen on the stairs, watching Nicolas and I make love, the face of his companion. He silenced my protests with a look and withdrew.
I looked around me with vision so sharp as to be disquieting. Though it was night outside (somehow I was certain of this, though I could not say exactly how), inside the confines of Nicolas' dungeon it was as bright as day. I watched as Nicolas' companion hefted a lifeless Antoinette onto his shoulder and brought her to where I lay, dropping her down beside me.
"Drink," he said, and pulled back her head to expose her neck.
I looked down at her, mesmerized by her heat and the sound of her heartbeat (which was unnaturally loud, especially for one so near death), and hungered for her.
"Drink," he urged again, and I glanced up at my new companion, my new father. His face was completely devoid of emotion, but his eyes glowed yellow, speaking of his arousal.
I looked again at Antoinette, not seeing the girl I'd grown up with and had loved as a sister all my life, seeing only a font of life with which I could slake my thirst. I lowered my head to her throat, feeling a strange ache in my eyeteeth as they grew long and sharp in my jaw, and punctured her satin skin. The blood erupted from Antoinette's torn artery and flooded my mouth, bringing with it visions of sunny summer afternoons, horseback rides through the countryside, and countless images of my face. Her heartbeat roared in my ears, slowing as she died and the flow of blood ended.
I pulled away sharply and caught sight of my master. A look of utter satisfaction gripped his features. His mouth was open, and his eyes closed. Somehow, he was savoring my drinking of Antoinette's blood.
"Nicolas," I whispered, wanting it to be him sharing this moment with me, not this stranger.
"Yes," he said. "Nicholas leaves, and so must I."
He rose and floated up the stairs, pausing briefly to explain what I was and how best to survive. Then he disappeared entirely, leaving me alone in the dungeon with Antoinette's corpse and my broken heart.
I stalked the halls of the chateau that night, searching for Nicolas but not finding him. I did discover a boy, Nicolas' nephew Andre, hiding in the shadows in the kitchen. He was crying, heartbroken, and never sensed my approach. I took him and drank of his young life, feeding on the images of hurt and betrayal that sang through his blood. Nicolas had betrayed him by not being the man he expected him to be; he had betrayed me by allowing me to live without him.
All these years later, I wonder how it was that I was lost so completely to Nicolas de Brabant. What was it that made me offer up to him the one thing that I had kept sacred from all my other suitors: my heart? Why had I fallen in love with him, and why do I love him still?
Nicolas and his stoic companion, my master, left Brabant that night, never to return. Left Brabant. Left the chateau. Left me behind. But I remain here, lurking in the castle, hiding in its shadows. It has had many lords over the centuries, but none like Nicolas. I haunt its corridors, a pale ghost that preys upon rats and other denizens of the night. It seems that I am still a thing of legend here in Brabant, though few here believe I truly exist. I am here, though; I have nowhere else to go.
Still I wait for you, Nicolas. I will wait for you forever.
L. LeAnne Lassiter (LeAnneL@prodigy.net)
"I'm luck's last match struck in the pouring down wind."
-- "Mind Riot," Soundgarden