I wonder if Leah’s home. She should be busy helping mother plan the ball. No doubt her study table looks like a warzone with colour swatches and pattern catalogues. Both her mother and sister had asked if she wanted to lend a hand but she would hardly be of any help if not a hindrance. So she declined the invitation with a smile on her face claiming that she had no interest in china patterns.Besides, if shopping for a gown stressed her out, she could just imagine the effect of planning a ball for over two hundred of the most respected Nocturnes would have on her already fragile mental health.
Arianna climbed out of her car and entered the mansion to be met by their family’s elderly human subjugate. ‘Good day, Miss Acrux.’ Alfred greeted her solemnly. Alfred was almost seventy and had been with their family for what seemed like forever. Even though he should have been stricken by human diseases and other ailments of old age, the magical rune that was traced on him when he came into service with the Acrux family gave him some of the abilities that vampires had; including a slow aging process and the ability to heal quickly among others. Arianna could not remember a time when Alfred wasn’t tending to the household or its occupants and over time, she had come to consider him part of their family.
'Would like anything to drink?’ Alfred asked as he accompanied Arianna to the black and white marble double staircase that lead to the second floor.
‘No thank you, Alfred. I’m just going to take a shower and get a change of clothes before I head out later to meet up with Dominic. And you don’t need to show me my room. I know exactly where it is.’ Arianna joked with her butler.A smile softened his stern face making him look much younger as he said, ‘Old habits die hard miss. If you have need of me just give me a ring through the intercom.’ with that he gave a low bow before disappearing into the kitchen.
The arched doorway with its delicate carvings of dragons and phoenixes chasing each other framed the heavy wooden door that led to her sanctuary. She reached into her bag for her key and slid it into the keyhole which was shaped like the gaping mouth of a dragon. The solid click of the lock drowned out the more muted sounds of runes flaring to life on the solid wood. Finally the door swung open of its own accord, the well oiled hinges making no sound of protest. Sanctuary at last. Arianna sighed tiredly and dragged herself over to the king sized four poster bed with its dark cream bedspread and gauzy black curtains.
Flopping herself onto the bed, she gazed around her room fondly. The room was covered in soft cream coloured wallpaper, streaked with gold and black lines that matched the black velvet curtains with their golden tassels. There in the corner stood her antique dresser cum desk, beautifully shaped like a dragon, its head had once curved around a gilt edged mirror that had been removed when it came into her possession and its tail swept to the floor in thick scaly ropes that served as small hidden compartments. The huge clawed feet of the dragon were the table’s legs and each claw was layered with gold leaf that had dulled over time but still looked rich. A single gleaming sapphire eye the size of a quail’s egg sparkled in the light, making the dragon look even more lifelike. Next to it stood rows of bookshelves that reached the ceiling. Her favourite collections lay within.
Her mother had a fondness for human designer labels. Once Arianna had heard her claiming that though mortals had short lifespans, they created art that lived longer than they did and that ‘art’ included clothes. Arianna smiled wryly as she remembered her elder sister taking her out on shopping trips when she had been younger. Now Velaria had taken her place instead, but shopping was still shopping. Arianna dreaded it no matter who she went with. Her room held a certain warmth in it and it certainly wasn’t from the large fireplace to the right of her bed. That fireplace had never been lit before and its sandstone sides remained a creamy white. The white marble mantelpiece held various portraits of herself and her siblings. Memories lined the shelf and even more were hung on the walls in black and white frames. She slid from her bed to let her toes brush against the plush white carpet. The soft hairs tickled her feet as she swung them back and forth. Her stormy blue eyes scanned the portraits hanging on the walls and the mementos decorating her mantelpiece.
An ancient Chinese vase that held freshly picked white roses from the greenhouses in the mansion’s garden was nestled among artfully arranged tiny gold figurines of mythical creatures on the low cabinet which sat next to the fireplace. That cabinet held her journals and sketches. Important things. However, it was not those things that explained why the cabinet held a special place in her heart. Despite the scratches on the glossy dark wood, it was still her favourite because it had been a gift from Gabriel when he’d dabbled in wood craft many years ago. He had made her a cabinet that held secret drawers and drawn runes into the seams of the wood itself so that it would never be destroyed. The intricate scrollwork along the sides of the cabinet were carved with patience and love.
~by S.Dawn & R.Shiori