The Princess and the Vampire
The Princess and the Vampire
„Princess! You have to get ready for the ball!“ my maid Odette called, “The guests should be arriving soon!” “Of cause,” I said and climbed into my dress. I was the only daughter of the king, my brothers, George, the oldest, Philip and Raymond, the twins, were older than me.
George would take over the crown some day and Philip and Raymond would lead George’s military force. My task was to look pretty and marry some crown prince, to maintain peace. I was born for a political marriage!
“Hold still, princess Ceelia!” another maid said, putting make-up on me, while another one styled my hair. Only a few minutes later I was ready to go.
“Princess Ceelia, your crown and your highness?” Lissy, my closest maid asked, “Don’t forget to smile, princess, after all, this is a happy occasion!” Happy? Is it really happy? The engagement party of the crown prince and princess Ruby; must be. Quickly I put on my royal smile and followed Lissy towards the hall. The music was playing, some guests were dancing, others chatting.
“Her royal highness, princess Ceelia!” a servant announced and everyone looked up towards me. Gracefully I walked down the staircase, still with a royal smile on my lips. As soon as I reached the bottom, a young prince asked me for a dance, which I couldn’t refuse.
“May I present; his highness, crown prince George and princess Ruby!”
Everybody stopped to catch a look at his highness and his fiancé. The king and the queen were sitting on their throne, smiling happily, waiting for the crown prince and the princess to come. The princes Philip and Raymond watched seriously over the crown prince and his fiancé.
All guests formed a way for the royal couple to follow and bowed deeply as soon as they came close. As soon as the royal couple sat next to the king and queen, the music stopped and the king looked at all the people in the hall, “Welcome and thank you so much for coming today.”
Our king was a good man, fair and open minded. He would listen to the folk’s problems and complaints, trying to find solutions. Also, he didn’t try to forcibly expand our country’s borders.
“And now the feast shall begin!” the king ended his speech. Everybody clapped and their attention drifted off, towards the music, the food and the drinks. My own attention drifted off to the darkness outside. It was pitch black, only the stars and the moon brightened the night sky a little.
Was this beautiful?
My teachers had taught me, the moon didn’t shine by itself, but reflected the light of the sun. And the stars mightn’t even be there anymore. The stars were so far away, that it took the light a few years to reach our sight. So even if they were gone, we would still see them for a few years.
“What about the emotionless face?” a voice beside me asked, “Aren’t you enjoying this party?” He was a tall guy with long dark hair, dark eyes, dark clothes and a black cloak, he sat on the balustrade of the balcony, smiling. “I do, thank you very much.” I said sweetly, smiling royally.
His long black cloak hung over the edge, and his dark eyes were locked on me when he said, “It doesn’t look like you’re enjoying yourself or the party. Do you want me to show you how to have fun?”
Was fun a good thing? Anyway, where did he come from? I had never seen him before!
“Did you come for the party? Party’s are fun, aren’t they?” I asked observing his smiling face. The man smiled and presented straight, white, shining teeth, “I sort of DID come for the party, but not for the crown prince. Prince George surely is busy anyway. I came to see the princess. It is said she is a beauty beyond compare, as beautiful and unique as the snowflakes during the cold season. And to answer your other question, yes, a party is supposed to be fun.”
“Well, it is true I guess, the princess looks like a snowflake.” I said with a glance towards princess Ruby, “Is a snowflake what people call beautiful?” For a few seconds the stranger looked at me in confusion, “Have you never seen a snowflake before, princess?”
Quickly I shook my head, “No, I only know it’s white and people say it is very cold. Is it true? Have you seen snow before? Have you actually touched it?” The man laughed, “Of course I have, where I come from, we have lot’s of snow! Yes, it is cold, and yes, snowflakes are unique little creatures, but as soon as a human touches them, they melt.” For a few more seconds he looked at me, “By the way, princess, I was not talking about princess Ruby.”
He did not talk about princess Ruby? Then who was he talking about?
“May I have this dance, your highness?” he asked with a deep bow. I was just about to take his hand, when Prince Raymond called out for me. “I will return eventually and teach you how to have fun. Is that alright, princess Ceelia?” he asked, touched my right hand with a gentle kiss. With a last smile he stepped onto the rail and jumped, vanishing into the darkness.
Was he alright? The balcony was quite high. Nobody could jump down there and live. Or could he fly?
“Ceelia! There you are! The king wishes to talk to you!” Prince Raymond said, stepping out onto the balcony. “Prince Raymond, may I ask you something?” I asked staring into the darkness where the stranger had disappeared. The prince looked at me, “Go ahead, what would you like to know, Ceelia?” “Could you actually jump down there and not die and not make a single sound of falling to the ground?” I asked curiously, pointing towards the edge of the balcony. Would he be alright?
“No, it is too high and down there is also a canyon and a river and anyone would definitely make any kind of noise and die. Why are you asking?” the prince explained worried.
“Well, I was talking to a man just now and when you came he jumped off the rail.” I said shrugging my shoulders and asked, “You said, father called?” Still irritated Prince Raymond looked over the railing and shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know what you’ve been doing out here, but don’t say a word about that to the king or anyone else, understood?”
Obediently I nodded and let my brother escort me to father.
With a deep curtsy I stood in front of the king, “Your majesty?” “Is she enjoying the party?” he asked with a gentle smile. “She is enjoying the party very much, your majesty.” I replied formally. “We are pleased to hear that.” The king nodded, “Soon we’ll have a party like this for her as well and did she meet anyone who pleases her, maybe any of the crown princes?” “No, not yet, your Majesty.” I said, thinking about the stranger from before.
Who was he? Was he one of the crown princes? Soon after that I returned to the party and I danced for a long time with all the princes at the party, but none of them seemed to be interesting at all, so I excused myself and left the ball to go to my chamber. Lissy and Odette helped me out of the heavy dress and took all the decoration out of my hair, while I washed my face.
I felt exhausted, not only from all the dancing, but also from all the smiling, I was tired of smiling.
“Odette? Where is the most snow during the cold season?” I asked a few days after the party. I wanted to find out who he was. But that wasn’t easy, because Raymond had told me to not tell anyone about the guy I had met.
“Well, I guess in the north. They have snow almost all year long.” Odette said, brushing my hair. “What kinds of people live there?” I wanted to know curiously. “I don’t know princess. If you’re interested in the country, you should ask one of your teachers, they should know!” my maid replied.
During my next geography class, I asked my teacher about the North. “You see, princess, the North is a very fascinating place, but none of our expeditions has ever returned. We know only little of the country of the everlasting ice!” the teacher explained, “As far as we know, the weather there is really cold all year long, so they have snow and frost and ice almost all the time. They have only a little variety of plants, most of the landscape is stone under the ice and lots of mountains. How did you hear about the North, princess?”
“At the ball I heard about a country which had snow almost all the time, I was curious, so I asked my maid, but she didn’t know about the North.” I replied, “What kinds of people live there? And why didn’t our people ever return? Did they like it so much, that they decided to stay?”
My teacher shook his head, “No, milady. It is said, there are no humans in the North. They don’t freeze or sweat. It is said, they are not human. They are monsters, although they look like us, they are not!” My teachers face was as pale as a ghost and he stuttered, he had some urgent business somewhere out of the castle.
As soon as he left the castle, I searched the books for more information about the North and the people living there. But I couldn’t find anything, not even a map! Who else could know about the North and the people living there? Maybe, if I could find the stranger from the ball again, maybe he could tell me more about his country?
With a sigh I stepped out of the library, onto the balcony and into the fresh air. It was sun set and the sky had turned red and pink and purple while the other side of the castle was covered in darkness already. Only a few more minutes and the darkness would have surrounded the entire castle.
Was this sun set beautiful? With all the nice and warm colours changing the blue sky into a gigantic, magic canvas.
How could I ever find him again? Father would never allow me to join one of the expeditions to the North. Surely, it was a dangerous task and nobody had ever returned, yet, but I had the feeling I would return if I’d go.
With another sigh I turned around to go back inside, when I saw a broad chest in front of me and a deep voice, “Don’t tell me you were looking for me, princess Ceelia?” My heart started to beat faster, as if I’d been running for a few miles. It was the stranger from before!
Politely I made a formal curtsy and I nodded, “I was indeed!” He chuckled and his long black hair fell over his shoulders, “It is an honour that my precious princess was looking for me!” “What is your name?” I asked stepping towards the railing, where he was sitting now.
“My name is Marcus.” He said with a smile. “Marcus.” I said quietly, “Can you tell me more about the North? I want to know more about the country and the people, can you tell me?” Marcus chuckled again and looked up to the sky, “All you want is to know about my country?” “Of cause,” I said, “What else is there?” Marcus started to laugh and let him self fall backwards over the railing.
“Marcus!” I called in a shock, “Hey! Marcus!” Did he fall? Was he alright? But the laughing didn’t stop, it came closer again, “You’re funny princess.” He shook his head and tried to compose himself, “Were you concerned about your information or about me?” I stared at him in a lack of comprehension, where was the difference?
“Marcus, I’m sorry if I have to disappoint you, but I will marry a crown prince to connect our countries.” I said and leaned over the railing to see the ground. Marcus jumped back over the railing and sat down next to me on the railing. “Is that a proposal, princess?” he said chuckling, “You know, I’m a crown prince as well.”
“You are?” I asked surprised, “So the North has people after all! Do you have a monarchy as we do? Or how do you get a king? Do you have elections or is your family royal for all generations?” Marcus shook his head, “You really are a kid, princess. But to satisfy your wish, why don’t you come to visit me some day in my palace, you can get all the information you want first hand.”
“I would have to ask my father, but I’m sure he won’t permit it. You see, none of our expeditions ever returned from the North. His majesty’s only daughter is not allowed to set a single foot out of the palace.” I said regretful and looked to the ground. Marcus pulled my chin higher, so I had to look into his eyes, “Don’t be sad, princess, who said a word about touching the ground outside the palace?” “Still, I won’t be allowed to go. I’m not allowed to leave the castle!” sadness filled my heart when realisation reached my mind. I couldn’t go, no matter how hard I tried! Not until I was married! And after that I was the crown princes business.
“Don’t be sad, princess, if you wanna go, go to bed and lock your door when no one is in your room and meet me outside on the balcony. I’ll wait for you and take you back before the sun rises in the morning! I promise to protect you with my life so no harm will be done to you!” Marcus said seriously and pulled me in his arms, “I will wait for you!”
With that he jumped back, off the railing and disappeared in the darkness. Why was I so sad? So sad that he left, so sad that the king would never let me go out of the palace? I used to be satisfied in the palace, why was I so out of my self? Why did I want to go with him? I didn’t even know him at all! I had met him twice like!
Slowly I walked towards my room and told my maids to leave. I locked the door and looked out of the window. He was there, standing with the back to the palace, looking out into the night sky. Should I go? Should I stay?
Father wouldn’t like to see the princess spend a whole night with a grown man exploring a different kingdom! But I had never seen anything else BUT this palace. Quickly I put on warm clothes and a coat and opened the door to the balcony. If this was my only chance, I would take it!
Elegant I stepped out onto the balcony and said, “I’m ready to leave. But how did you plan on leaving this palace, when I locked the door?” “Who said anything about walking? Princess, how do you think did I get here?” he said chuckling and turned to me. That was right. How did he get here anyway and how could he be so fast? Even with a fast horse would it take at least five days only to get there!
Suspiciously I stepped back towards my door, “Maybe I should stay here after all, if I stay away only for a night or a few hours, the king would be very worried and have me punished.” “Punishment, huh?” Marcus asked, “Would he put you into the dungeon?” “No!” I said choked, “I don’t think so!”
“Would he torture you?” the northern prince asked, coming closer, “Would he hit you? Or lock you up?” “I don’t know!” I said, hearing a bit of panic in my voice, “Usually he forbids me to read for a while and my teachers aren’t allowed to see me as well and I have to stay in my room.” I felt like a deer, caught in a corner, with no way to escape.
At least that was all I could remember from the past. “But I’m sure that’s not all he’d do if I left the castle for more than week without telling anyone, without permission!” I said, trying to convince myself, that my father could actually do harm me for running away like this!
“Would he still punish you if he never found out?” he asked curious, “If you only stayed away for a few hours and returned safely before the sun rose upon the sky and nobody noticed your absence?” Slowly I felt my resistance fade away, while my wish to let him take me with him to the north grew steadily. Only what should I do? If nobody noticed it would be fine? Wouldn’t it?
But what if someone noticed? What if he couldn’t take me back in time? What if he didn’t plan on bringing me back in time? After all, I didn’t know anything about him? I couldn’t even tell if he was lying about his name and his status as of being a prince and such. There was no proof of anything he had said! What did I get myself into? Who was he? How did he get into the palace?
“Maybe we should do this trip a different time.” Marcus said out of a sudden, “You don’t seem to be confident about this, princess, and I don’t want to force you.” What should I say now? Should I approve of his retreat and go back to my room and wait for him to come back? Or should I protest and ask him to stay and tell me more? Should I be grateful for not getting into trouble?
But when my mind was clear enough to say something, the northern prince had disappeared already. With a sigh I stepped closer to the railing, staring into the dark sky. There were so many stars out. Something like this must be called beautiful, and if it wasn’t, what else should be called beautiful? Wasn’t the bare existence of the far lights, brightening up the dark nights enough to qualify?
For me it was! The dark sky with the bright shining stars was really the most beautiful sight I had ever seen in my life!
A knock on the door pulled me out of my thoughts and I heard my maids’ voice in front of my room, pounding on my door, “Princess Ceelia, are you alright? Why is your door locked?” Quickly I returned into my room to unlock the door.
“I’m sorry, Odette, I was out on the balcony.” I said apologizing; “Is there anything wrong?” “It’s your brother, milady,” she said in a scolding tone, “He said he heard voices outside. He said, he had seen a shadow outside the window in the hall below your balcony, so he told me to check up on you, princess.”
Her eyes seemed to pierce me when she scolded me, “What have you been doing out on the balcony that late in the night? What if someone came to snatch you?” “I apologize for worrying the prince, I promise to do my best to not worry him anymore.” I said with a royal smile. “Prince Raymond asked me to report immediately.” Odette said calmly, “What will I tell his highness?” “The shadow must have been an illusion or a shadow of the plants outside, lit by the moon, for I didn’t see anything.” I said royally, “I was thinking outside, I must have been talking aloud. I didn’t see or hear anyone besides me out there.”
“Yes, milady!” she said with a bow, “Have a good nights rest, these coming weeks will be exciting for you, your highness.”
“Would I finally go out of the palace?” I wandered after closing the door again. To get out of the castle, even if it was only a few hours, I would do almost anything. Would I ever get to do that? Would I get out of the castle after getting married? Would my prince let me go out as I pleased, or at least once in a while? Or would he lock me up in the castle to keep me save such as my beloved king?
Excited but very tired I went over to my bed and cuddled up under my duvet.
The next morning Odette and Lissy prepared one of my most favourite dresses for the day. It was bright red with black lace decorations. After brushing my long dark blonde hair they tucked it up into a loose, but elegant hair due and put decorative black and red pearls in. When I was dressed, they led me out and told me to go see my father in the great hall.
Usually I got to wear dresses like that only for a ball or a big feast, so I was curious about what made this day special.