(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Krystianna was written by J. R. O’Bryant.)
The gate opened as the young woman pulled up towards the security camera. She had been invited to the main house at the Winery and it seemed they were expecting her. Her directions had been fairly simple. Drive through the first gate, follow the dirt drive up through the Spanish moss covered woods, take the left fork and head through the second gate, park anywhere near the large house and knock on the front door.
Before she could even knock the large oak doors swung open on silent hinges. What sounded like the low bass beats of a Skrillex song floated out the doors. A young 20 something man stood in the doorway smiling her way.
His bright blue eyes and loosely curly blonde hair gave him the loom of the ultimate surfer boy. “My name’s Mikael. I have the honour of being Mi’Lady Krystianna’s human servant. You must be the long awaited Kelly. Please, do come in. My mistress asked that I take you to the guest sitting room and to make sure you were comfortable. She and Gabriel are attending to the tourist over at the Winery but should be back momentarily.”
Kelly greeted him with a warm smile and a nod as she followed him. “Thank you.” She took in her surroundings as she followed. “So how long have you been her human servant, Mikeal?” She knew that she was here to interview Krystianna, but since Krystianna wasn’t present at the moment, Kelly decided to make the most of her time.
Mikael smiled and his eyes glowed with joy. “I have been in the service of my Mistress for 5 years now.” He led the way past the giant double marble staircase and continued into the back of the house. “Right this way.” He motioned to a living room area with a fireplace, two huge plush red velvet chairs, a small love seat, and large matching plush couch. “Please be seated. Can I offer you anything to drink? Coffee? Tea? Carbonated something? Wine?”
“No, I’m quite fine. Thank you.” She reassured him as she meandered around a little bit before taking her seat. “Will she be arriving soon? Otherwise you may become the subject of my interview.” Kelly smiled at him.
“Speak of the Devil, and she appears…” Krystianna spoke from the shadows at the edge of the room. “You must be Kelly. I’m Krystianna Aramis. Did Mikael make sure you were comfortable?” Krystianna stalked into the room and draped herself across the plush red love seat.
“Quite well, yes. Thank you, and thank you for agreeing to this meeting.” Kelly nodded, fixing her eyes on this woman. “Shall we begin with the questions?” She raised her brows but didn’t really wait for an answer. Instead, she launched off with her first question, “First of all, would you explain to me how one becomes a vampire here? I’ve interviewed other vampires, and each one is different.”
“Well then. One becomes a vampire when their sire, that’s the person who turns them, drains them to the point of death and then feeds the nearly dead from the sire’s vein until life, if you will, returns to their slowly beating heart. What do you mean by here? As in America? Vampires world wide are turned the same. As far as I know…”
Kelly smiled with a slow chuckle. “Trust me, it’s much more complicated than that.” But she wasn’t going to explain all her different adventures into different worlds and such. Instead she sat back to become comfortable as she settled in for her next question. “And what were the circumstances for your turning? Who turned you?”
Krystianna smiled. “My father turned me when I was ready to join him in eternity. My mother died in a horse back riding accident when I was 18 and my father revealed his true nature to me that very night. He offered me the world and eternity. How could I not accept. So a few years later after he taken me all over the world, he drained me of one life and gave me a new one.”
“Do you ever wish your mother was turned as well?” Kelly tilted her head to a side.
“Sometimes…. I think I would be happier if my mother had chosen to accept my father’s offer. But she was content with a mortal life and she was happy to have the time with my father that she did have. She just wanted more for me. I miss her everyday. Over 400 years and I still miss her, if you can believe that.”
Kelly nodded. She could understand that. “What do you miss most about her?”
A single pink tinged tear traveled down Krystianna’s face and she turned away from the light in the room. “I miss her laughter and the way she could make everything seem perfect with a single touch or a gentle hug. She was loved by everyone in our small community and was mourned by all when she passed.”
“What is your favorite memory of her that you treasure even to this day—400 years later?” Kelly asked softly, leaning onto the armrest of her chair as she listened.
She looked back to Kelly and shook her head, her waist length hair falling over her shoulders to hide the side of her face. ” Treasure?” She turned the single word into a question with a head tilt. “I treasure the freedom she gave me and the choice she gave me. She allowed me to choose the life I wanted even if it wasn’t the path she would have chosen for herself. She was very much a free thinker and very forward about her wants and needs. She never allowed anyone to make her into something she wasn’t. Her strength. I guess it comes down to her strength. That’s what I treasured most.” She sighed and looked about the room as if searching for something.
“And now?” Kelly lifted her brows. “You seem very driven to please your father. Why? You seem very accomplished, and it’s been 400 years, so why does that drive you?”
She stood up and walked to the fireplace, staring into the smoked mirror on the mantle. “He chose me. He didn’t have to, but he did. He chose me, at a very young age, to be his companion for the rest of eternity.” She turned and faced Kelly. “Don’t you see, out of all the creatures in the world he could have taken as a companion and as a protege, he chose me. I couldn’t bare the idea of disappointing him in any way. The idea that I might not meet up to his standards breaks something inside me.”
“You are his daughter,” Kelly pointed out as she sat back to watch Krystianna pace. “He had an obligation to provide for you, and he gave you eternity. Yes, that’s a heavy burden, but…every child eventually grows their own wings and flies.” Kelly spread her hands out to indicate to their surroundings. “And you have done quite well for yourself. How could he be disappointed?”
“Maybe a mortal such as yourself can not understand the duties owed one’s liege lord. But I do. He may be my father, but he sits on the council. His word is law. He granted me the title of Head of House Aramis when he took the council seat 200 years ago. I’m still honored and a little shocked that he allowed me to run the house affairs. I fear everyday that I will not be good enough to live up to his praise. I will never feel worthy in his eyes. No matter the praise he grants me at every turn. I know it’s silly. I do. But, it’s simply the way I feel.”
A tall olive skinned man with ankle length black hair and turquoise eyes drifted into the room and dropped gracefully on the love seat that Krystianna had been sitting on. A small smile snuck onto her features as she joined him and wrapped his hand in hers on her thigh.
Kelly raised her brows at this newcomer. “And you may be?”
“Oh Krys, I like this one. Very forward. I may be her lover. But I suppose that’s not what you wanted to know. I’m Gabriel. Head of Vampire house de’Taverna. And who might you be, lovely one?”
“I am Kelly, and I am here to interview Krystianna.” And Kelly fixed her eyes on Krystianna once more. “I don’t mind the additional company, but sometimes my questions can be very blunt and bring up things you may not want others to hear, but I need you to be completely honest with me. Can you do so with Gabriel here?”
Krystianna kissed Gabriel softly on the cheek and leaned back. ” We have no secrets. We are more than lovers, more than friends, more than most mortals can comprehend. We can continue with your questions. It makes me feel better to have him at my side. That’s not an issue is it?”
“Not at all, but Gabriel, please understand that I would like her answer the questions and not you.” Kelly looked at him for a moment and then shifted her gaze back to Krystianna. “Now though, let us return to the topic of your father. Have you ever done anything that has displeased him or given him ground to doubt you?”
“Oh sure. When I was younger. But what child doesn’t do things to annoy their parents in their youth. I snuck off and got lost in the catacombs at Council Headquarters, once. I learned my lesson by the time my father finally found me hiding in a corner in tears. Of course then there was the time I tried to test out the whole vampire versus sunlight theory…” Krystianna and Gabriel both cringed at this mention. “But if you mean outside of youthful stupidity, then no. I haven’t done anything to ire my father in a few centuries.”
“Well, I must admire your desire to constantly please him, but do you have your own dreams and ambitions outside of his will, his expectations of you?” Kelly lifted her brows, leaning forward in her seat, resting her elbows on her knees.
Krystianna laughed. “Oh yes. I have many ambitions. I want to add to Cold Crypt Cellars and our properties and holdings. I want to better relations between the other species and vampires. I want to do a few things on my own. Not everything I do is with my father in mind. But I do aim to please as much as possible.”
“That is good.” Kelly nodded. Then she shifted her gaze finally to Gabriel once more. “And how did the two of you meet?”
Gabriel wrapped his arm around Krystianna’s shoulders and pulled her tight. Krystianna smiled brightly almost flashing fang. “Now that’s one of those things that caused my father to have some issue. Both of our fathers sit on the council and we are both heads of our houses. So a few hundred-ish years back there was a gathering in Europe. All the great houses were in attendance. I was there at the behest of my father and so was really just being a flashy show piece for my house that night. We were walking the room and my father was making introductions when I saw Gabriel. He was this gorgeous creature in painted on leather pants and a see through mesh shirt with his hair in a french braid down his back. I totally stopped hearing anything my father was saying and just walked across the room to this creature standing there. I looked up at him and just went stupid. I mean I totally lost all sense. So he looks at me and says, “You must be Erick’s daughter I’ve heard so much about. Would you like to join me for a drink?” I still couldn’t talk. I just took his offered arm and wandered off with him. Oh my father was ready to strangle me later that night. All I could do was blab about the hot guy I had met, all my father could do was fume about my inappropriate behavior. But Gabriel and I found each other time and time again over the years and finally made a thing out of us…” She kissed Gabriel’s knuckles where they lay across her chest.
Kelly chuckled. “Glad to see love has the same affects on immortals as it does on mortals. However…” She leaned forward, steepling her hands, considering both Krystianna and Gabriel, and she had to furrow her brows. “Let me see if I understand correctly…did your father disapprove of you two becoming an item at this time?”
Krystianna and Gabriel both laughed together for a good minute.” Disapproved. Yes you could say that.” Krystianna laughed again. “My father disapproved of his chosen Sion going all moon eyed over another vampire. Especially one who had the rep for being a bit of a ladies man. It wasn’t really my father’s ideal match. He got over it eventually. Mainly because Gabriel and I both enjoy being Poly and enjoy sharing as well. He makes me so very happy. I think once my father realized that nothing was going on behind my back and I was okay with everything that was going on in front of me, well he gave in.”
“But did you ever have your doubts?” Kelly raised her brows. “I mean, still today, you feel very strongly about wanting your father’s approval. Did you ever doubt your decision to be with Gabriel?” Then she looked at Gabriel. “I did say I might ask difficult questions.”
“Did I have doubts about being with Gabriel. Sure. I think we both did at the beginning. I wanted to please my father, I always have, but I fell so hard and so fast for Gabriel that it took everything I had not to beg my father to let me to be with him. It would be ten years after our first meeting when my father finally gave in and said “be happy”. Those ten years were sheer hell. I tried to be with other people. I tried to date the people my father wanted in my life. But no one and nothing compared.” She turned to her lover and kissed him deeply, running her fingers through his thick black hair. Pulling back breathless, she smiled brightly. “I love him so much. I don’t know what I would have done if my father had not finally given in.”
Kelly smiled. “I’m glad you have each other.” Then she eased back. “So, going further to the past, when was the first time you turned someone into a vampire?”
She leaned forward and bit her lower lip, flashing the tips of her fangs. “It was the night of my 100th birthday. I had never turned anyone and I hadn’t really found anyone that I could imagine having in my life for an eternity. I was walking the streets of Rome at night and I heard the most beautiful voice singing an Aria on a balcony above the streets. I was drawn to her. Her voice was the purest sound I had ever heard. Such beauty and passion were, no are, so rare. I stood bellow that balcony for an hour listening to her sing. I followed her for weeks after. She never did a public show. She only sang for friends and family. I finally caught her one night on her way home and convinced her to join me for a drink. We became fast friends. She became very ill a year later. I couldn’t stand the thought of such talent leaving the world and so I offered her the gift of a new life. My father helped me that first time. He walked me through each step and guided both of us. She is still my companion to this day. She even lives here at the winery.”
“I’m glad you allowed such a gift to continue in this world. I hope you managed to get her to record an album at least. That would be neat.” Kelly smiled, setting her chin in her palm as she pondered this. But then she became serious. “Other than your father’s disapproval, Krystianna, what has been your greatest fear?”
She shivered and damn near crawled into Gabriel’s lap to be closer to his embrace. “My greatest fear is to die. They say death, true death is the only great adventure left us. But I fear the unknown of death itself. I fear that having died once already, there will be naught but nothingness in the afterlife.” She shivered again and clung closer to Gabriel.
Kelly nodded when she heard this. “And in that you are not much different then most mortals, but, I suppose, it is a reasonable fear.” Then she caught a glimpse of the clock on the wall, saw the time, and looked back at the two vampires. She offered them a smile. “My time here has come to an end, so I will stop pestering you with such questions, but I do appreciate your time and your honesty.” She rose to her feet. “It was a pleasure to meet you—both of you.”
Krystianna and Gabriel both rose to their feet. “It was my pleasure, thank you for talking with me. Mikael will see you out.” Mikael walked back into the room and offered to escort Kelly to the door.
J. R. O’Bryant’s novel, ‘Cold Crypt Cellars (Book 1 of the Krystianna Aramis Series)’ is available on Amazon. The second book in the series, ‘Behind the Masque’ has a intended release for next spring if not sooner. Be sure to follow her on social media for more updates!