by Queen of Sarab

Author's note: Hi everybody! This is a sort of prequel to my story Vampyr, which I posted quite awhile back... but I think this one is a bit better... anyway, PLEASE R&R!!! I adore reviews...

Chapter One

France, 1791

The boy was only seven years old, his small, dark-haired sister only five, but they were getting a true taste of war.
Huddled together behind a wine rack in the cellar of their aristocratic family mansion, they waited in silence, biting back the fear that rose in them unwanted at the sounds of shrieking from above. The sounds of people gone mad, villagers angry at the tyranny of the aristocrats. Not in particular these children's father, the lord of the the village, but the aristocrats of France, whose oppressive views had angered them for far too long.
"Darion," the little girl, overly intelligent and curious for her young age, whispered urgently. "What's happening?'
Darion shook his head mutely, pressing himself more tightly to the wall.
"Shhh!" He clamped his hand over his sister's mouth. "Be quiet, Raven."
Footsteps sounded hollowly on the steps winding down to the cellar. They saw the shadow before the person himself- distorted by the flickering light of the candle he carried, it jumped and danced across the wall, a black phantom. A thousand horrible ran through Darion's mind at the crucial moment before they came into view, and he pulled his sister closer with a miserable gulp.
The heavy French accent penetrating the darkness was familiar, and Darion's small frame immediately relaxed. Eager, Raven called out first.
"Yes, darling," their father came into view- a thin, middle-aged man whose aristocratic features gave him an air of perpetual disdain. His dark hair , streaked with premature grey, was rumpled, light blue eyes worried, but he managed to force out a thin smile for his daughter."Don't worry- it will be all right now. I have horses waiting outside, and we are going to go to cousin Jeffrey's for awhile."
"Why do they want to hurt us, Papa?" the girl persisted, placing her perfect little hand into her father's large one trustingly. He tightened his grip on hers instinctually, wincing as the sound of breaking glass came from above.
"Because they believe we are bad people, darling," her father answered with a wry smile. "Now come. We have a great distance to travel before we are safe."

England, late 19th century

They were the talk of the ball.
The mysterious family, never before seen at one of the exclusive royal balls, had arrived in style, in a gold-encrusted blue carriage that was old-fashioned but elegant, pulled by a team of black horses with golden halters. The driver and the footman had both been dressed in clothes seen only on the richest of aristocrats, and the people themselves rivaled the royal family.
The father, with dark hair barely streaked with a gray that made him only more distinguished, was dressed in a black suit of the finest velvet, lined with satin and embroidered with almost gaudy gold thread. His aristocratic features only added to the appearance- hawk nose, clear blue eyes, arched eyebrows. He was incredible.
But his children were masterpieces.
His daughter, black hair piled on her head in a seemingly haphazard, intricate arrangement of tendrils, was decked out in a jasmine blue dress the color of her eyes, fitted around her slender waist, where it flared into an impossible array of drapes and bustles. The plunging neckline was trimmed in expensive black lace, and the ends of the bell sleeves hung heavy with it.
Her face was smooth, fashionably pale skin- paler than normal- not broken by a single blemish. Her high cheekbones were rouged subtly, as were her perfectly formed lips. Her eyebrows, elegantly arched above heavy lashes, framed icy blue orbs of eyes. Eyes that held an intense intelligence, a shrewd calculation of the world around her.
The son dark hair was much the same, and perfectly black tendrils clung desperately to his head. He was wearing a black velvet suit like his father, only of a more modern cut, embroidered sparsely in baby blue. He had the same perfect, snowy skin, the same aristocratic features, the same blue eyes- only his held an incredible vitality and irrepressible bitter sarcasm that was also seen in the stance of his lean, muscled form.
"I've heard they are distant relatives of Marie Antoinette," whispered a young duchess to a friend as they walked down the gilded stairs leading into the ballroom, fashionably late.
The ball was already well underway. Everywhere aristocrats and wealthy people danced, a swirl of colors, brocades, velvets, satins, silks, and foreign fabrics most of them didn't even know the name to. Light with drink and music, the normally formal aristocrats forgot everything and let themselves be carried into some fantasy of their own making.
After all, it was why they were here.