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She always thought it was cruel of her mother to name her Dawn. Dawn was the part of day when the night ended and light and warmth filled the world, Dawn was an awful name to give to a child in this area where cold blooded creatures of the night ruled the earth. Her mother had told her by the time she was old enough to be named her hair was a bright golden color that had enough red in it to remind of her dawn. Her mother once told her that in her age, before the vampires, that children were named at birth, or even before it. That seemed beyond stupid to the girl, how would they know if the child would live long enough to even know their own name. Dawn still remembered her name day well.
She was dressed in white, a rare color in the human slave corridors where blood flowed so much, and standing before the vampires of the palace staff in charge of slaves. Dawn could still remember her mother's trembling hand as she held her small palm. The slave girl could also remember looking directly at with her blue eyes, and not blinking in fear, at these creatures. They studied her well. The youngest of them still needed to lean on a cane, and he smiled at her and she could see his fangs. Still the human child did not feel any fear. To this day Dawn could not tell you if it was bravery, or child-like naivety that made her unafraid of them.
"Oh...my what a lovely little girl you have there." said the one leaning on a cane, as he directed his dark gaze at the child.
"T-t-thank you...m-m-masters." replied her mother in a trembling voice, and she grasped her daughter's hand even tighter. The youngest nodded,
"Skin...so pale, much like porcelain." Dawn would understand in later years that Vampires loved paleness, they didn't want any remainders of the sun, and the paleness looks so much similar to their own skin. However, not even the palest of humans could match a vampire's snow white complexion. "And her hair...so much...color...so bright." He reached out to touch her blonde curls, and she felt his cold hand against her skull and cheek, but didn't shudder. She would later learn that vampires loves bright things, ironic since they dressed so darkly and always had black hair and eyes. However, that was the truth. "And her eyes...a beautiful blue." The youngest stared into her eyes for a long moment. Dawn had never understood this, but many vampires seemed to be fascinated with the color blue. The human girl had never been given an explanation for this, but she had a guess. It was because it was the color of the daytime sky, vampires know owned everything, but they were still denied the basic right to the sun that God had given humans freely.
The vampire now retracted his hand from the child slave, and turned his gaze to her still trembling mother. "Well...what do you wish for this girl to be called." There was a tension that seemed to fill the room after that, but her mother spoke.
"D-Dawn." She stuttered, but managed to get out. The vampire once again took a look at the young child and then at his fellow creatures of the night and they all nodded.
"Dawn...a very beautiful name for what will likely grow up to be a very beautiful woman." Remarked another vampire.
"Why I agree...and by the time she has bloomed into womanhood Prince Dragos will have become king won't he?" Another Vampire added, and she heard her mother give a sharp gasp the girl, that was newly named Dawn, had no comprehension on why the vampire prince would have anything to do with her, but her mother understood all too well.
"Oh...you are right." Spoke the youngest vampire again, with a glint in his eyes as he looked down at Dawn. "I see a candidate for consort of the Vampire King in our midst." Now Dawn's stoic expression was broken into one of curiosity. What did they mean by "consort" and what did it mean for her. She wouldn't find out until she was in her early teens. The vampires talked amongst themselves for a few moments longer until they turned their attention to the trembling mother and eerily composed child.
"You are now dismissed, you may go back to the slave quarters to rest now. Her mother bowed, and so did Dawn, and her mother thanked her vampire masters, before taking her child back to their slave quarters. Later that night, while Dawn was looking up at the moon from her bed, she heard her mother crying herself to sleep.
Dawn grew up as children do, but she was still a slave in a vampire's house. She did chores throughout the day, working until the moon rose and Dawn, her namesake, came. However, there was something that separated her from the other slave children, she learned to read. She had been given access to spend about an hour of the day with the vampire children in their reading lessons. This was the best time of the night for her, she got to learn about worlds, places, and things she had never heard of. Kings and Princess of far off, or imaginary lands. Important people of both human and vampire history. Reading became her escape from the toil of life as a human slave. She had begun to sneak books from unused rooms of the manor to under her pillow, and when daylight arrived, she would read them, even if many of the words were too big for her, until she was too tired and had to go back to sleep.
Of course, her privilege of being let off an hour to study with the vampire children let to her being the object of envy and resentment to the other slave children, rumors spread and many friendships; those real and potential were shattered. The girl could not make friends with the vampire children, it was clear they viewed her as just another human slave, who for some reason got to join them. This lead to Dawn becoming more withdrawn in her books. Most books Dawn would return when she was finished reading, but there was one that caught her eye, particularly well. It was an old book of human fairy tales, a dusty old volume, with torn and dulled edges, and almost falling apart at the seems.
However, Dawn took care of the book and handled it gently, like it was her greatest friend. In a way the dusty, old book did become her best friend when her mother passed away from a fever when she had just turned ten. Which left her both isolated from the human and vampire world. The slave girl had no idea why she had such an attachment to such a silly book full of impossible things; boots that could go seven leagues in a step, cats that could talk, and pumpkins turning into beautiful carriages.
However, she still read this book of impossible things until the pages fell out and she had to keep them in careful order. Sometimes she thought about how silly the book was with it's handsome princes and beautiful princesses. There was no princesses in the world anymore, anyway. The vampires had done away with any human rulers when they took over and a girl hadn't been born into the royal family for centuries. Vampires lacked females in their ranks and as a resulted often took human females to breed more vampires for themselves. The prince of the vampires, she had never seen, but she heard rumors he would be king soon.
But what did princes concern her for? She was miserable except for the moments she could escape in the books. The vampire children resented her for being in their presence. The vampire adults saw her as nothing more as a human slave. Her follow human slaves resented her for the "special treatment" she received for being able to learn to read, a privilege she could not explain why she had. She once had the idea to try to teach her fellow slaves how to read, but they refused and thought it was just her way of making them feel stupid. It did not go well, in the end she was isolated, lonely, and miserable for reasons she didn't fully understand. Why had she been given the privilege to learn to read with the vampire children. However, she would one day understand. Turning thirteen was a big deal in the human slave world, it meant the age where a vampire began to take blood from you and every human dreaded that day. No one could lie and say it was not a painful experince. The best the older humans could tell you was that you got use too it, not that it got any better. She remember being lead away with her heart beating so fast, she thought it might come out of her chest. Then she entered a room, a rich room that only the most trusted slaves were allowed to enter and she saw several elders. Her heart now panicked, did they all want to feed off her?
"Dawn..." Spoke one, "You have grown into a beautiful young woman, just like we predicated on your naming day." He turned to the others and they nodded in agreement. He looked back at her, his black eyes staring deeply into her blue ones. "We have decided to make it official, you will become a candidate for consort of the Vampire King Dragos." Her eyes widened in both fright and confusion.
"M-Masters-" She stuttered out, "I don't understand."
"Oh, lovely Dawn it is an honor. As you have noticed there is a lack of female vampires in the world, and less are born with each passing generation. Some of us think female vampires will become a thing of the past after this generation. We don't know why that is, but we must continue our race. Fortunately, the vampire race has been able to reproduce with human females" Dawn felt her heart beating fast, "And the human female who is chosen by the Vampire King becomes his consort."
"But...how...I can't." She said, scared. She didn't want to be consort. She didn't want this at all. She felt herself stumble back a little, but it was a waste of energy, there would be no way for her to escape this.
"Oh, Dawn..." His smooth voice became and she could sense he was using a vampire's thrall on her, but there was nothing she could do to stop it. Some humans could resist vampire's powers, but that took years of training which was not offered to her. "Being a vampire consort is wonderful. You will not have to work anymore, you'll be well feed, and wear beautiful gowns and dresses. It is wonderful. You want to be vampire consort." She was now lost in the thrall, all she could do now was meekly nod.
"Yes, masters it would be an honor to become vampire consort." The elder clapped his hands.
"Wonder, wonderful, Dawn. I knew you would agree to it. Now your training begins today. You will no longer sleep in the slave quarters, but upstairs with the family and be trained in the arts and learn how to be a proper consort. The competition for consort will begin in three years, when you are sixteen. You will be ready." Dawn gave a bow to them.
"I shall be, masters."
That was the start of her new life. She was still in her thrall state when she was lead up to her new bedroom and when she finally snapped out of it, she started crying on her new plush bed. Oh, she didn't want to be a consort, she didn't care about the gowns, or jewels. She would still be a slave, just one in a gilded cage. She just wanted to be free. The finally calmed herself down and wiped her tears...yes all she wanted as to be free. She wanted to feel the sun that was natural to humans, not to worry about vampire masters, be free of so much hate and anger towards her.
There had been whispers and rumors told when the sun was high and the vampires hidden away of free human colonies...that were in barren lands that were so hot, humid, and vast that the vampires would not be able to find shelter by sunrise, or even find the human colonies. Of course, these were rumors, but inside Dawn had a feeling they were real. They had to be. There had to be humans who escaped being made slaves of the vampires. Yes, there had to be...and she would join them. When the time came for her to be part of the composition for human consort...she would have to leave this mansion, and that would give her time, if she was smart and swift enough to escape. She got up with a new feeling of resolve, but also fear at what she had decided. However, she had to continue with this goal in her mind, not only for her freedom, but for her sanity. Dawn doubted she could make it, with her future only possibly as a consort. She needed something else to hope for.
Later, she sneaked back down to the slave quarters and found her fairy tale book and brought it back up to her bedroom, where she put it in her nightstand. Dawn took a glance around her room, it was much nicer than the slave quarters that was for sure, and the bed felt cozier and more comfortable. So this was the start of her next three years. She gave a silent prayer, to whoever was listening, for her deliverance from her vampire masters.
The next three years was work, not the labor she was use to as a slave, but work as in learning the arts and manners of the Vampire court. She was taught piano and violin, paintings, sewing, needlepoint. Dawn was given lessons in dance and conversation, as well. During the three years, she was also dressed much better and feed better as well, but not as good as the vampires were. However, still far above what a human was usually given. However, Dawn did not complain, but there was also another benefit to her training she had free access to the library and could read to her heart's content. She still cherished her book of fairy tales though. The vampire elders were pleased by her progress and never felt the need to use the thrall on her again.
Dawn was very pleased by how her act was paying off, of course her goal was too escape in the end, and that kept her going. Finally, the three years had passed and she had turned sixteen only a few months ago, she was called before the elders. The human girl greeted them with a proper curtsey that was suitable to her rank, and which pleased the elders.
"Why, Dawn, you have grown into a beautiful woman." The eldest vampire of the family praised her, "We have entered many human women into the contest to become consort over the years, but we have never had a single win. However-" He looked upon her and his black eyes seemed to glow with an expression of greed. "-I think our luck might change. You are beautiful and well trained in the arts of culture."
"And-" Began another vampire, "-If King Dragos picks another girl, well have a beautiful female that we can breed with our own family, or sell at a good price." The other vampires chimed in with agreement. It took the last three years of learning self-control for her not to have a look of disgust on her face at the statement of her "breeding", her blue eyes were neutral. But inside she thought 'like I will ever be a broodmare to your kind, I won't spread myself for any of you, not even your damn king', but she was not foolish to voice such a thought. Instead, she kept her docile expression until the Vampires Elders dismissed her.
The next night, for the first time in her sixteen years of mortal life, she left the castle. She observed the enchanted horses. They reminded her of the pegasuses she had read about in her fairy tale book, that she had hidden away in her trunk, but these creatures were pure black, including the feathers of their wings. Their eyes had a warning red gleam to him, reminding her, like vampires, these creatures were beautiful, but deadly. No human would lie and say vampires were not beautiful, but their beauty was a dangerous trick a way to lure their prey in to make, them want them. It was no wonder that vampires hadn't gone extinct while underground, with their lack of females, considering their beauty could easily lead any hot-blooded human woman into temptation. She was helped into the carriage with her "guardian" at her side. Her guardian would likely be the thing stopping her from making an escape as soon as she would like, but she had to be given a chance at it. She had to, or that would have been too cruel. The carriage began to levitate from the ground and the enchanted horses began their movement from the earth to the sky. Dawn looked out the window, and saw the mansion that had been her prison disappear grow smaller. She felt the night rush through her blonde curls, as she gazed down to the earth. Forests were in view that glowed with the moonlight reflecting on it, but soon the forests gave way to the cities...or what was left of them.
Her mother had told her that humans didn't have magic, like vampires, so they used their intelligence to make machines to help them. However, there was a price to be paid for humans advancement, something called pollution. Her mother had explained that humans had somehow poisoned the earth and had set the earth in a downward spiral that would have wiped out human life, eventually. When the vampires took control, they saw no use in human's technology and left all the great things they had built to rot. A good section of vampires were still working on ways to use magic to reverse human's damage to the earth. Dawn was not sure if she believed that story, it could just be lie, a myth, that vampires told to justify their treatment of humans. After all, her mother had been young when the vampires took over, they could have easily influenced her.
The trip took this night and another to complete. Dawn would not admit it, but she actually enjoyed flying through the air, the feel of the wind in her hair, and the sights of the earth down below. The only thing that could have made it better was if she could have seen it during the day, but that was impossible. Still, flying through the air made her feel more free than she had in her entire life. But all good things had to come to an end.
Dawn's mouth dropped when she saw the palace, it was situated on a tall mountain, covered by snow, but it's spirals shown greatly. It was a large; gray and black castle. On the spirals and towers flew banners with the black and crimson symbol of the Vampire kingdom. She felt the carriage go into decline as they started to land. Dawn kept her composer and did not to gawk at the beauty and riches she saw around her. It was clearly vampire atheistic with it's dark colors and red, but she also saw shivers of gold and brightness scattered around. There were plenty of human slaves about and a few guards, but not many as you would suspect. Dawn took an educated guess and decided the palace was likely protected by the highest of magics and guards weren't need in large amounts.
They seemed to pass through endless halls, as they made their way to the room she was assigned too, and they finally entered it. Her guardian immediately began talking about how dinner would be severed in only a few hours and how she needed to get ready right away. She wordlessly obeyed, and went to the bathroom of her suite and took a quick bath, making sure she was clean and refreshed. She put on a robe and walked out to see a frilly pink and white dress on the bed. Dawn held back a sign, but vampires seemed to love to dress their human concubines or "possible" consort, in this case in lace and frilly things. However, she said nothing as she put it on, where she also discovered it had a pink bow attached to her waist at the back.
The blonde sighed, knowing that eating in such a white and frilly thing would be a needless pain, but she some of her lessons on manners had been dedicated entirely on the subject of eating neatly while dressed in ridiculous clothes like this.
Her guardian entered the room and approved of her the dress looked in her and she smiled and thanked him, why fighting the same time to tell him to try to wear something this lacy and then try to eat, or do anything practical in it. Her guardian then directed her to a vanity, where she sat down. Guardians were good for more than just protecting the future candidate they also had to make them look good, she felt her hair being done, and her curls put in place, along with make-up. In the end, Dawn had to sadly admit that she did indeed look like a doll, just how vampires likes their human woman. She held back a disgusted look. The guardian then left her alone and Dawn waited bored for the almost an hour until he returned to inform her it was dinner time.
Dawn took a deep breathe and took her guardian's arm, as he lead her out to the dinning room. The dinning room was a long and thin table at the head of the table was a fancy, but empty, chair. It wasn't a hard guess to believe that this belonged to the king. She looked at the table and she spotted eleven other women, which she took by their coloring and bright dresses, were other women, along the table were also other vampire nobles. She noticed that most of the human woman were clustered around the end of the table where, what she guessed, was the king's chair. Did they...want to become Vampire consort? Before this night, Dawn had never considered the fact that other human women would want to be vampire consort. Had they been tempted by the tales of wealth, and living in luxury. She felt two emotions at this; first disgust that they could throw themselves at the mast of the race that was enslaving their's and second; relief, now she could focus more on her plans of escape with the other human women fighting for his attention.
She felt her guardian untwine his arm from her's and he wished her luck before leaving. With her guardian gone, Dawn went and sat away from the king's seat, and near the middle-edge of the table, beside a vampire nobleman, who seemed more interested in his wine than her. Not that she was complaining. Vampires did need blood to survive, but they couldn't sustain on that alone, they needed food and water, but only a little compared to humans. However, some vampires were gluttonous when it came to certain things. For instance, the nobleman beside her seemed to be a glutton for his wine, by the way he was swaying and moving so early in the evening.
Several minutes passed, and then the doors open and she saw every head in the room turning towards them. Their stood a man, clearly a vampire by his snow-white skin, and black hair and eyes, whose hair was slightly passed his neck and he was dressed in dark blue. His face was expressionless, she saw his gaze shift briefly toward the girls crowded at his edge of the table, but his face showed no sign of pleasure, or anything at that.
Everyone stood up, including Dawn, and the men bowed, while the ladies curtseyed to his majesty. He gave a brief nod in acknowledgment of this act of respect, and no one sat back down, until King Dragos did. Then the food came out, she noticed the humans had larger portions than the vampires while the vampires had little at all, but that was usual. The noble beside her was quickly finishing down his glass. Dawn ate, but she was bored, she was not about to make conversation with the king, or any vampire for that matter. The curly blonde glanced down again at the king, and the king seemed bored, even though it sounded like every human woman there, but her, was in competition to gain his attention. She took a moment to study his face. Oh, he was handsome, but that didn't impress her. What vampire man wasn't handsome? Though he was a bit more "buff", if that was the word, than the typical lithe vampire man. She turned her head back to her plate, wishing this dinner would be over soon.
"Bring me more wine, boy!" She heard the drunken vampire carry on beside her, and she was now regretting her choice of sitting beside him. At least the king didn't seem like a drunk. She glanced toward the servant and to her surprise saw a small boy, but he was black. It was well known that vampires loved pale skin and the richer vampire families generally had an entirely white staff, while humans of darker races were slaves to poorer vampires, or did rougher manual labor. She was surprised to see a black human in the royal household. She looked at the little boy, he was holding a wine bottle that looked too big for his still small hands. The drunken vampire held out his almost empty wine goblet toward him. Dawn felt sympathy in his chest as she watched the slave child struggle to open the wine bottle. However, unfortunately for the little boy, in his struggle to get it open, the bottle slipped from his little hands and it shattered on the floor, splattering a bit on him and the drunken vampire, who was now enraged. He gave a growl and screamed,
"You little bitch! Spilling good wine like that!" He took his goblet and hit the child over the face with it, shattering it. The child gave a cry of pain and fail back and she could see blood. The scent of the child's blood in the air caught the attention of every vampire in the room. Dawn looked at the bleeding and crying child, with shattered glass on his face, on the ground and a rage built up inside her. Vampires had abused humans for far too damn long. Before she realized what she was doing.
Dawn was standing wine goblet in hand, and she shouted.
"You son of a bitch, how dare you strike a child." Before anyone could react. She struck the wine goblet over his head, shattering it. His rage now turned from the child to her.
"Why you-" Before he could finish speaking a voice boomed over them.
"Stop, and come here now." Came a commanding voice, that automatically made her stop. She looked up to the head of the table to see the king standing up. His expression of apathy now changed to one of seriousness. The drunken vampire, immediately began to stumble towards the king, but Dawn would not immediately obey. She went to the fallen child's side, and began to remove pieces of glass from his face.
"Sshh..." She whispered to the little boy, "It's okay...it's okay." She said, as she dusted off the glass shards. He was bleeding from several places in his face, but he opened his eyes and looked at her. "Don't be scared." She said gently to the bleeding boy. "I'm here." She slowly helped the boy up to his feet. The child grasped her hand, and slowly they walked up to the Vampire king and drunkard, who had started this mess in the first place. If they king was annoyed her delay to take care of the child, it did not show on his face. Before the king could say anything, the drunkard began to rave and rant against her and the slave child he had struck. She felt the child move behind her skirts. She was not sure what scared the child more, the king, or the one who struck him.
Finally, the king raised his hand to the raving man, as a sign for him to be quiet. The drunken vampire was sober enough not to dare disobey the king of vampires. King Dragos turned his gaze to the child.
"Dmitri," He called, and a guard on the wall answered,
"Take the child to the infirmary." The guard immediately obeyed and took the child's hand. She felt the child was reluctant to leave her side, but the guard took him off, anyway. Then the king turned his eyes toward the drunken vampire.
"Anton, your family has served mine well and has continued to serve me in turn." The drunken man grinned widely at this. Dawn held back a sigh, of course vampires always put family connections before anything, especially slaves.
"However-" Continued King Dragos, "-I grow tired of your drunkenness and lack of respect for anything in my household. You treat both my objects and slaves with little concern and for that I am ordering you to leave the palace and return to your family's manor." Anton began to gape,
"I was just punishing that incompetent slave of yours not to spill things." He pointed to Dawn, "It was this bitch who struck me. Punish her, send her back."
"Anton, you know I don't like fowl language at the dinner table. I gave you an order, return to your suite and begin packing. I will give you till the next night to start your journey home."
"B-b-but you can't do this-" Before he could continue King Dragos shout the man a deadly glare.
"Are you disobeying the orders of your king?" The tone was dangerous and now Dawn began to fear for herself if she was asked in that tone.
"N-n-noo." With that, Anton stumbled out of the dinning room. Now all that was left was her. She swallowed hard. The King now turned his gaze to her.
"What is your name?" The girl gave the king a curtsey, as she answered.
"Dawn, your majesty." Her heart was leaping in her chest.
"Dawn, this is your first night here so I will tell you. I don't like fowl language at the dinning table."
"Oh, forgive me my king. I will not let it happen again." She had given her apology, but now what was he going to do? That couldn't be it, just berating her for saying a bad word like a child. She had struck a noble vampire over the head. Surely she would be punished.
"You are forgiven, Dawn, now take your seat." Dawn felt shock go through her body. Was that really it, no punishment, or anything.
"Thank you...your majesty." With that she went back to her seat, and she saw that slaves had cleaned up the mess that had been made earlier. Their was silence for a moment, but finally a consort candidate became brave enough to resume conversation with the king, and things returned to normal.
Dawn was so glad when dinner was finally over.
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