Chapter One Hundred and Forty Seven
My eyes opened and I saw I was in a round stone walled room. From the narrow windows and the torches in iron holders I figured I was in a castle. It wasn't a very big room furnished with a round rough hewn wooden table on which stood a thick smoky crudely formed candle, a cloth covered square table and fur covered chaise lounge.
That's where I was, on the lounge, covered with a thick hand woven wool blanket. That wasn't really necessary because vampires didn't feel the cold but it at least meant someone was making a effort to take care of me.
A short thick vampire man stood by the door. His sandy hair was coarse and wild, chopped off in any old which-a-way. His tunic and pants looked like they were made from burlap, his leather shoes so cracked I could see his grimy toes. His eyes were too small and too close together for his broad face, shaded by bushy eyebrows. He smiled a gap toothed mirthless smile and said something loudly. It was in a language I didn't understand. He didn't appear to be addressing the remark to me, but to the door behind him.
I swung my legs over, pushed off the blanket and stood. I was still in the red dress and fancy gold jewelry. Maybe I was being held for ransom.
"Where am I?" I asked the man.
"Majstor će objasniti," he said to me in a flat gravelly voice.
"Who are you?" I asked, coming closer to him. I was almost a half foot taller than him.
"Majstor će objasniti," he repeated.
Well this was getting us nowhere. Was Jure up to his tricks again? It seemed impossible he would follow me to Scandinavia and then mess with my mind. There were so many reasons this was not likely I decided to look for another explanation. Time travel? A visit to a nearby dimension? Both of those seemed more possible than Jure going off the rails and playing some bizarre prank.
The door opened and I was proved wrong. There stood Jure, dressed all in black, his silky raven hair hanging close over the sides of his face like partially drawn curtains. His dark eyes blazed from within the shadows created by his hair. He looked plum crazy. Had Jure lost his mind? He must have to pull a stunt like this.
I decided to play this lightheartedly in case there was some way I could salvage the situation as some kind of joke and not mess things up for Linda. Maybe Jure was doing this in his subconscious mind and wasn't even aware he had summoned me.
"Jure, what the dickens are you up to now?" I asked, smiling, trying to show I wasn't mad and wasn't going to make a big deal out of this, whatever this was..
The man didn't move his lips but I heard his answer in my mind. He raised his face slightly, the curtains of blue-black hair parting a little more. Dark emotions gave his eyes an intensity that seemed to burn from his very soul.
"Jure? Jure is a pathetic weakling that can not control his wife or his peasants. How do you know my brother?"
I looked at this replica of Jure and the truth dawned on me. This wasn't Jure, this was his twin brother Drevan. Wherever I was, whenever I was, in this reality Drevan hadn't taken Celandine away from Jure yet, hadn't set in motion the chain of events that ultimately resulted in his death. Drevan had the same strong Slavic features Jure did, the same big jaw, jutting eyebrow ridge, high elegant cheekbones.
The difference was in the mouth and eyes. Where Jure's mouth and eyes showed arrogance, a hint of contempt and supreme will, Drevan's mouth had the turned down corners of discontent, his lips pouted and truculent, his eyes wary as if waiting for a chance to take advantage of a moment of weakness.
Apparently Drevan couldn't read my mind and I couldn't read his. But he could project his thoughts into my mind so that I could hear them.
"You are the Oracle. You must tell me what I should do to accomplish my goals. Once you have mapped a course for me I will set you free," he thought/said.
I spoke out loud, wondering how he understood my modern day English. "What are your goals, Drevan Grando?"
As I spoke I realized that while I was thinking in English, my words were coming out in whatever language he understood, probably Croatian. Some kind of magic was at play here, maybe to prevent anachronisms from crossing the sea of time, maybe part of the same magic that had brought me here.
He smiled slightly. He had the same sneery half smile Jure did only his half smile went the other way. I remembered Linda saying they were like mirrors. "So you are truly the Oracle. You know who I am."
"I also know you want to take Celandine for your own and take over Jure's inheritance. Except for a moment in birth all this would have been yours." I gestured with my hand, hoping to look impressively all knowing.
He nodded, looking up more as I captured his complete interest. His dark eyes glittered behind his veil of hair, reflecting the torch light. He was mighty pleased that he had found the Oracle to help him.
"The witch has done well," he said, more to himself than to me.
Oh mercy me, another witch. I made a mental note to myself to stay the heck away from witches when I got back to my regular life. Except Amelia of course.
That was when I heard Eric's mighty bellow outside the castle walls, calling my name.
more to come .... Greetings Fanpires! Thank you for traveling through the nebulous lands of the internet to visit with me here. Here you are always received with joy. See you next week.