Her dark raven locks flew about in the frosty ethereal mist that the raw, chilly wind brought about. Tiny snowflakes adorned her head, and goose bumps ran through her soft, ivory skin. Despite the numbing cold that surrounded her, she was wearing a soft smile on her red lips. The smile grew wider as the great ancient oak door that stood before her open with a loud clang. The carvings that ran through the handsome black door reassured her, and her grey eyes twinkled and lighted up as she saw the figure behind the great door.
“Greetings!” Her voice rang dulcetly through the frosty air.
“I seem to have lost my way in this strange land. I’m a stranger here, just set foot in Romania yesterday.
Her voice trembled, as if the cold was finally attacking her. “It’s quite awfully cold, may I-?”
The figure raised his head. Her smile widened. He was terribly beautiful, this one. Tall and slender, wrapped in expensive winter robes, his stature screamed money and status. His eyes shone as he narrowed his eyes and feasted them on the slender body of hers and of her raven hair dancing in the wind. Her dress of English origin, he observed; her accent of English origin, but her eyes, definitely not English. Not-he quickly stopped thinking, and that’s when he interjected her little speech.
“Welcome to Romania, my dear.”
His voice sang, deep and proud. His English was the best she’s heard since she stepped in the country, with a slight variation of accent.
“You’re of course welcome in this household. Do step in”
He gestured towards the door, and fixated his eyes on her expectantly. Her smile greeted him again, and she lilted through the door, with a triumphant look on her face. And he closed the great oak doors behind her, with a terrible triumphant smile.
As she stepped in, she froze.
The house was majestic. With high ceilings and arched doors complete with extremely expensive looking furniture and silks that adorned the place, it stood prouder than a palace. With a winding stairway that went up, it was exquisitely decorated with antiques that shone bright. Her breath was taken away, and she stood there transfixed in the beauty.
“I hope you enjoy your stay in my humble abode, Miss-?” His reddish brown eyes met hers questioningly.
She broke her eyes from the opulence that surrounded her. “Charlotte Brown” and held her hand out. His hand met hers, and shivers ran down her spine. It was cold. “Thank you for granting me the stay, I’m grateful.”
His eyes narrowed but he smiled warmly. “Dimitri. Dimitri Crudla.”
“Ah- you must be cold, please follow me” he gestured her forward, with a mysterious smile playing on his lips. He walked into an octagonal room, and through a dark archway, into a warm hall, with a fiery fire warming up the place. The hall smelt beautifully of pine cones roasting in the fire, and she couldn’t help but breath in a deep waft of air. He went on, and after a few more strides, stopped at a door with beautiful carvings that adorned it, and open the door. She gasped.
It was an ancient room, with alluring beauty. A bed sat majestically at the center, with high posts and white screens falling from it. There were hand painted drawing on the stone walls that looked very expensive, and a dead fire place. Dimitri swiftly started a fire and the whole room was warm and inviting while Charlotte looked around with complete awe on her face.
“Take your time and ease up, my lady. And come back to the hall, your dinner would be ready” he smiled.
“I’ll be waiting.”
She walked into the hall a while later, dressed in a deep, blood red dress that featured a bodice that framed her slender body. With her dark hair rippling contrastingly on her ivory skin, she was eluding beauty, a vicious beauty. But the smile that she wore made him narrow his eyes.
“Welcome, my darling” he sang. “Do sit down and sup”
The long table that stood majestically in the hall was filled with food that made her eyes go wide, a roasted chicken with herbs that scented the room, with many aromatic side dishes that made her realize how famished she was.
As she sat down, he said
“I’ve already supped so I shall not sup with you, please do enjoy.”
She nodded gracefully and started the feast, and he sat beside her, pondering over her journey.
“My dear, I hear you got lost?” His voice rang murmorously.
“Yes, kind sir. Uh-I came here all the way from England. Lived all my life there. I seek for adventure and here I headed, to the beautiful country of Romania”
He nodded politely encouraging her on.
“I think I took the wrong carriage, for my German is pretty weak, and there’s not much who knows either German or English. And I was stranded here. “
“Oh?” He nudged her on.
“Beautiful place, I must say. The country side was beautiful as well. I enjoyed my ride.
“Ah” He softly kept his hand on hers.“I’m sorry you had to go through the trouble, my dear”
“It’s quite alright. Thank you.” She replied gracefully, and his peaceful composure just snapped.
“I know you’re not of England. I know, even though you guise your voice extremely well, your composure immaculate, you’re not. Eyes don’t lie. “
She smiled. A cruel, terrible smile.
“Oh?” Her smirk widened. She seemed amused.
“You couldn’t have just stumbled down here, not without guidance and I know, that no one would guide you, a young beautiful girl towards this place. And you weren’t lost. You’d have more chances to freeze to death than find this place. And you had no reaction to my t-” he stopped himself.
“What in the seven hells are you?”
“Lalia. She smiled. “I’m Lalia.”
“And, she went on, “I know what you are.
“You better. I’m a lord, a lord of this place, and people look at me with terror for I am powerful. I run this town, I rule this town, and I am the absolute law” he growled.
“Law? She laughed. Her tones echoing in the hallway.
“I’ve come to learn about you, of your nightly strolls, of your great power- she smiled.
“In the book of the ancients, I read of you.”
His eyes went cold. It was as if new knowledge dawned upon him, his eyes twinkled again.
“I know you’re not Dimitri.” She sang.
“Oh?” He said.
“I know you were the- uh, conservative one. The last one standing. “She looked straight into his eyes.
“Am I not right, Dimitri? Or should I say- Count Tristram?