Prologue

November, 1907

Ghoul Village, Transylvania, Romania

Twilight brought with it a foreboding feeling of dread. The forest was unusually quiet for this time of night and the villagers were getting restless already. Animals that were normally active during daytime were now cowering in fear, safely tucked inside their shelters. Only the wolves howled and hunted and an occasional hooting sound came from owls that had not yet flown away. When night came, they knew almost as well as the villagers, the ghouls did also and more often than not, they took with them innocent bystanders.

The silence stretched as the hours passed, but still, no spirit came. The people relaxed, only slightly, because they knew better than to let their guard down. The winter chill that was soon to come hung in the air, autumn was ending slowly, day by day. A carriage pulled up near the only inn the small town had. It was a small building made of wood, just one story high. It looked abandoned, about to fall really, had it not been for the ruckus inside that announced the on-coming party. A high-born young woman emerged from inside the carriage, her curly red hair falling over her shoulders in a halo, sparkling blue eyes lifted from the ground and a smirk scrunched her beautiful face into an ugly grimace.

"M'lady, are you sure this is where we are supposed to be staying?" the carriage driver asked confused, looking up at her. When her icy eyes stared into his onyx ones, he immediately averted them, a flash of fear made its way across his face, he bit his tongue not to whimper. Carl visibly paled. He had been in his lady's service for almost ten years now so he knew better than to argue with that look on her face.

"You really think I have nothing better to do than waste my time, no matter how much of it I have, in this ...distasteful little village!" her face wrinkled in a look of disgust, flipping her ginger hair back with disdain. "Start unpacking!" she barked, walking out of the carriage and into the "run-down inn", as she referred to it.

"'ello, m'am! May I ask w'o 'u 're?" the small elderly man asks, smiling.

"You do not know who I am?" she squeaked. "I am Baroness Withmoore! Elenore Withmoore!" she explained, voice hard and unyielding in undertones, although childish in her declaration, making the old man gulp and whisper an apology, followed by the number to her room.

Turning around a smirk etched onto her face, then, deliberately slow, climbed up the stairs, swaying her hips sensually, fully aware of the stares which accompanied the movement. Once inside the confides of the room, Elenore breaks the facade, letting out her dislike and, thus, true personality. The driver was already inside, her luggage safely tucked inside the closet and the chest hidden underneath the bed, away from prying eyes.

"M'lady, is there anything else you might need?" as soon as he spoke, she growled low in the throat and dismissed him with a wave of her hand. Bowing, Carl quickly leaves and Elenore is left standing in the middle of a small bedroom, glaring at it for about five minutes, before going to change from her heavy dress. Knowing a bath was needed soon, she decides not to wait any longer. Since she was already undressing, she orders a maid to prepare one for her. The sickly sweet tone of her own voice making her nauseated, but she bares with it nonetheless.

She couldn't blow her cover just yet, so she continued smiling and took her bath, all the while a plan forming in her head, she had a job to do here. Another smirk appears on her face as the final details of her plan fall into their rightful place. Elenore chuckles and prepares for dinner. It was going to be a long night, maybe the last night for someone, if she had any say in it.

...

As the music began to lessen its volume, Elenore headed towards the back door, careful not to be caught and dragged back inside to attend the party that had started just two hours ago, thus ensuring her mission is a failure. The cloak she was clad in rippled as the wind blew. So deep in though she was, that all the outer world seemed to fade as the silhouette of a dark castle slowly carved itself in the moonlit scenery making Elenore's icy eyes sparkle in the moonlight. The echo of her footsteps on the cold cobalt pavement filled the night air. She briefly wonders where the stone was procured from, but doesn't dwell on it much longer. It was close to midnight now as she reaches the castle.

The screeching of the doors opening made her cringe, as well as the musky scent she smells. Whoever lived in this place must really hate cleaning, she muses knowing no one has actually lived here in over a decade. It was just her and the ghouls. Muttering a charm and showing her witches heritage, she steps inside the grand hall. Hopefully, this small spell can help her find the foul creature living here before dawn, without killing her in the cross-fire. It was a chance she was felt was worth taking.

Another spell falls from her rosy lips as the dark aura becomes stronger, this time a defense spell. Moving faster, Elenore enters the dining room, candles illuminating the chamber. The sway of the chandelier catches her attention, something is moving in the dark...

"Ah!" a battle cry that doesn't leave enough time to counter startles her and soon she finds herself on her back, something or someone strangling her. Trying to breath, she gasps as a long talon grazes her ribs, one wrong move and it pierces the skin. The creature tells her as much. Judging by its voice, Elenore establishes it's female.

"Let me go and I swear not to kill you." she says hoping to trick her attacker, but is rewarded by a mocking laugh. It doesn't care about life, she muses.

"Let you go..." it sneers, gleaming red eyes flashing dangerously." Why would I do that, when I can have much more fun by playing with you" it slurs the words, though not drunkenly, but tauntingly. Elenore glares and carefully mutters another spell meant to throw off her attacker. It doesn't work and she's left perplexed. Her spells have never failed before.

"Who are you?" she wonders aloud. The creature cackles maniacally, a grin spreading onto its face. "Why... I am the best torturer of the Black Court, of course... I am Mina, the leader's whore, as many call me..." the grin expands as a look of horror appears on Elenore's face, a look of recognition.

"You're Minabelle Luise Blood, the traitor of the Blood clan." she whispers in disbelief, Mina smiles, her eyes gleaming in blood-lust. "And you're Elenore Withmoore, the strongest witch in eternity they say. I have to admit...I am verrry..." she licks her blood-red lips, drawing out the word. "Disappointed. You're weak!" she spats. "But I think we'll have a lot of fun, back home, don't you?" the wicked grin reappears and Elenore whimpers. Mina is known for her cruel, painful torture after all. Gripping her shoulder, Mina's talons pierce the flesh, blood oozing out from the wound, she licks her lips approvingly.
Elenore loses consciousness due to blood loss, the last thing she hears being the laughter of the most wretched vampire in all history. "I will die..." she thinks as the cloak is dropped onto her shivering body as the creature lifts her up to take her to "hell", for it is the hell on earth, to the Black Court...