The Love that binds

Baron Telmark surveyed the crowded hall. The annual music festival was to take place as was the custom each October. In the grand hall of London palace, there stood before him a small group of young musicians and aspiring performers and the seats surrounding the open floor were filled with either spectators. The gleaming statue of the figure of justice stood near the stage, a likeness of a woman carved in gleaming white stone, blindfolded and holding a sword aloft. So far most of the performers had been quite unremarkable. He had to wonder why some of them even bothered to participate. There was a murmur from around the hall. A very pretty girl with long auburn hair that shone in the light now stood upon the dais. She played a piece on a violin with great ease. The audience applauded politely. Baron Telmark smiled. At least the contest was saved from being a total waste of time. A final contestant was announced: "Leif Darkholm!" Baron Telmark sat up and took notice at this. On the seat beside him, the aged Minister of the Interior elbowed him in the ribs. "That is Elysia Darkholm's son," he croaked in a whisper that was rather of the stage variety. "He is a shining example to all boys everywhere. I sincerely want him to win, understand?" Baron Telmark watched as Leif stood on the dais. He smiled serenely at the audience. His pale lips were perfectly formed. He was a youth of such unparalleled beauty that the Baron felt quite dazed. His hair shone like gold in the lamplight. His eyes were azure blue, like a fresh spring sky. His long, elegant fingers plucked the strings of the harp, which gave forth a haunting refrain. His audience listened spell bound. Even the Minister of the Interior refrained from fidgeting. When it was over, everyone burst into rapturous applause. Surely Elysia Darkholm herself was here then? Telmark looked up, scanning the hall. Sure enough, his eyes were drawn to a stunningly beautiful girl with long, shining black hair and very pale skin, who was applauding rapturously, beaming at Leif, a look of adoration and pride in her dark eyes. So she was here. Telmark knew she was not as young as her radiance would lead one to believe. She was a vampire, a supernatural being who was eternally unchanging, frozen in time. Leif was a mortal. He was not her biological child. She had adopted him. This unexpected twist of fate was now common knowledge. Her fame spanned back centuries, but in bygone eras it had been founded on her heroism in defending the realm from supernatural threats.

Now came the task of awarding the positions of Winner and Runner-up. The judges took some moments to converse amongst themselves. The Minister of the Interior was adamant that Leif should win. His mother had introduced them some months previously and the Minister had been favourably impressed by Leif's grace and elegance. Baron Telmark had to agree that he had been the best contender by a considerable way. Their decision was to award Leif the first prize and declare the pretty red headed girl runner up. Her name was Marissa. Baron Telmark had not paid attention to the announcement of her name before she began playing, the tedious nature of the previous performances had caused his mind to wander. The judges announced their decision to the crowded hall. Leif and Marissa stood on the wooden podium to receive them. They grinned broadly at one another before both taking a bow.

After the award had taken place, Elysia stood congratulating her son herself in the private suite she had purchased for Leif's use within the palace at an earlier date. Marissa was still with him. Elysia smiled to herself. The girl certainly had a forceful manner. Her interest in Leif was all too clear. Leif and Marissa stood together before her, their auburn and golden hair gleamed in the lamplight.

"Madam Darkholm - " began Marissa.

"You may call me Elysia, child," said the vampire graciously.

"Well Elysia, I want to say how much I admired your performance, playing the harp at the charitable concert last year," said the girl, her green eyes sparkling and her cheeks flushed pink with her enthusiasm. "We weren't able to afford prime seats, but your piece was by far the most haunting."

"I thank you," said Elysia with a smile.

Marissa turned to Leif. "You have that same style Leif." She said looking up to gaze into his deep blue eyes. His perfect lips formed his characteristic smile that always made Elysia feel warm inside. It complemented his exquisite features so well. "I never had a chance of beating you in any contest." Said Marissa. "It was an honour to have such a worthy opponent."

"The honour was all mine," said Leif as he clasped her hand.

"I was hoping we would be able to make music together," Marissa said gazing intently at Leif's face. Marissa's green eyes flicked towards Elysia who felt a stab of unease that she couldn't quite explain.

"I would love to teach you both a duet you could perform together," said Elysia. She took her son by the hand. "We must arrange for you to visit us some day soon Marissa." Marissa looked vaguely disappointed. The Darkholms took their leave of her and made their journey back home.

Later when they were back home, Elysia prepared for a period of recuperation. Sometimes, during the day, she would lie in her resting place in the Inner Sanctum of the Darkholm residence and assume a death like stillness. Before she did so however, she had to dine. As a vampire she could not consume food or drink. She was condemned to feed on human blood. She had in her possession a special urn that could contain and preserve the vitality of the life's blood of any victim who had been bled specifically to fill it. So as to preclude the need to prey upon anyone innocent, Elysia paid the authorities to fill the urn with the blood of evil doers who had been condemned to death by process of law. She herself would never attack to kill any mortal who was not the worst type of malefactor. She had sworn that to herself long ago.

This night the urn had been filled, ready for Elysia to dine. As she rapidly consumed the blood within, Leif waited, ready to assist her with her bodily maintenance. At this moment she was hunched over the urn, guzzling and sucking noisily at the contents. It was not something that alarmed Leif. He had long ago come to accept the process as part of who she was. She was the person he loved most. It could not possibly tarnish his view of her. Once the urn was drained Elysia arose. Standing at her full height, she was very nearly as tall as he was. Her long, lustrous black hair glinted silver in the lamp light. She had removed her dress so that it could not be stained by spilled blood. Her alluring shape was revealed. Her entire body was as white as newly fallen snow. The crimson blood still glistened about her lips, but to him, her warm smile was still the most reassuring thing he could imagine. He approached with a damp cloth and she stood as he carefully cleaned the blood away from her face. She gazed at him with great tenderness in her dark eyes. She began to anoint herself with a salve that helped preserve her vampiric frame. She rubbed some of the ointment into her voluptuous bosom. Leif helped her by anointing her back, caressing her soft skin, so cool and smooth to the touch. When they had finished, Elysia touched her son's cheek with her soft white hand. "It was a magical night my love," she said softly. ."May there be many more like it."