A/N: I know it's been a ridiculously long time since I've updated and I can only say I'm sorry. I worked full time this summer and had no internet access until recently. I know that these are poor excuses, but they will have to do. As always, your reviews and comments would be greatly appreciated. Enjoy…

A short while later, Aurelia was nearly thrown from the saddle as Mephistopheles came to a sudden halt. Lord Alarian's quick reflexes were the only thing that saved her from dashing her head to pieces on the cobbled drive. As Aurelia slowly looked around, she was filled with awe and foreboding at what she saw.

The main structure was a huge fortress like building made of the blackest stone Aurelia had ever seen. The front entrance was armed with a massive portcullis that was as tall as two men of Lord Alarian's size standing atop each other.

My gods, that one building is bigger than my entire village! How could no one have mentioned this place before?

As she slowly absorbed the whole edifice, she frowned as she noticed that the building was off center. Instead of the symmetry of the village, this building looked like a labyrinth. There were turrets, towers, and catwalks placed randomly with no apparent thought to placement. The closer she looked, the more confused she became until she was not sure if what she was seeing was reality or fantasy. The building seemed to be a living thing, moving very slowly at will.

The stress is making me see things. That has to be it. Huge buildings do not move of their own free will, Aurelia, because buildings are inanimate objects!

She took notice of two or three smaller buildings before she was roughly towed into the fortress by her captor. He came to a sudden halt just inside the entry and released her wrist.

Thank Lyam! she thought, rubbing her wrist, is it necessary for this man to come to a jolting stop wherever he goes?! And another thing, perhaps if he would just ask me to follow, I might. I mean, where am I going to go in this gods forsaken fortress? I'd probably get lost and starve to death trying to escape now! There will be plenty of time for plans later. As for him, I'm sure if I rallied the whole village behind me, we could defeat him! One man against sixty of us, not very good odds. Then we could tear down this dread--

"Come. We will speak privately," Alarian commanded. Then, he turned on his heel and began walking towards a giant ebony staircase, not even looking behind to make sure Aurelia followed.

Privately? Aurelia thought, perplexed. There's no one around! This whole place is as silent as the grave. She shuddered involuntarily at that thought. Bad analogy. Shouldn't there be servants or something in a house this size? Surely he doesn't keep his own house?

Aurelia followed the Master quickly up the red carpeted stairs, nearly running to keep up with him. Immediately at the top of the stairs, he turned a sharp right down a long, very dimly lit hallway. There were no widows and the only light came from silver torches anchored into the onyx stone every three feet or so. What little light was given off by the torches was mostly absorbed by the pitch black stones that seemed to make up the whole structure. The only noticeable color in the dark hallway was a silver border about three feet wide that went around the center of the wall. At the end of the hallway, Alarian paused in front of a door, said a word in an unknown tongue, and stepped inside. Not once did he look to see if Aurelia was behind him. As soon as Aurelia stepped through the door, it closed of its own accord, causing her to let out an involuntary gasp.

The inside of the room was lit by a fire in an enormous fireplace that took up the whole of the opposite wall. The upper half of the chamber was black stone like the rest of the fortress, but the bottom half was covered in the same silver border that was in the hallway. Next to her sat an ebony bed the size of her bedroom. The coverlet was of thick red silk with intricate silver embroidery. On the floor, spanning most of the room was an ornate rug done mostly in red and black, with hints of white and silver. It was strangely beautiful.

"Come and sit. You must be quite exhausted," Lord Alarian beckoned from his position by the fireplace. He gestured for her to sit in one of the red velvet overstuffed chairs that were located in front of the fireplace.

When he saw that she was seated he sighed and leaned his arms on the black mantle while staring down into the roaring fire. With the fire reflecting in his hair and eyes, he looked like a fallen god. Or a demon, Aurelia added. With the light illuminating him, he was a sight to behold.

Finally, when Aurelia was sure that he had forgotten her presence, he turned and fixed her with his chilling stare. She fell into that blind terror that he evoked in her each time he caught her eyes. She was unable to look away, no matter how much her brain screamed for her to do so. Finally, he broke the gaze and turned back to the fire. Only this time, he spoke,

"We are Bound. Neither you nor I can break the Bond. It is a sacred thing beyond our comprehension. To attempt to break it would be the death of us both. Even in death you will be mine. You cannot escape me, no matter where you go. No matter what you do, I will always be with you. I will know everything you know and feel everything you feel. I will know where you are at all times, so escape is futile. If you try to escape, I will punish you. You are not free. You belong to me. I own you."

With this Aurelia flew at him from her seat, going after him with her fists.

"Bastard! You cannot own me! You will never own me! You may think you own my body, but you will never own my heart."

With a growl, he thrust his hand in her hair and jerked her head backwards. Bending so that his face was inches from hers, he snarled, "If you ever raise your fists to me again, I will beat you within an inch of your life!"

With that, he threw Aurelia back into the chair with such force that it nearly toppled over. He stormed across the room towards the door and just as he was about to open it, Aurelia stated evenly,

"In order for the Bond to be sealed completely, it must be consummated willingly, and I will never give you my consent."

Alarian turned towards her and sneered, "We, my darling, shall see about that."

With the slamming of the door, he was gone.