1 In the time of War, the Great Queen Zanah gave birth to a child at midnight while her city lay

besieged. This was her seventh child of her seventh husband. As the Queen lay heavily breathing after labor the midwife cleaned up the child in a corner while the doctor and other midwife took care of the Queen. "Let me see my son!” bellowed the Queen. The young midwife in the corner froze. The babe was definitely not a boy and the young midwife knew it. The young midwife turned to the doctor with the babe. The doctor's eyes widened. The babe opened it's eyes and looked about. It had not cried yet but lay calmly and took in all around it. The doctor took the babe to the Queen. "Your Highness. The babe is a girl." said the doctor trembling. The Queen looked at the doctor with her black eyes. "What? How can that be? It had the spirit of a son. The witch said so!" growled the Queen. She pushed a curl of her black hair from her face. The doctor still stood there trembling in fear. "Another girl! My seventh girl! No sons! None at all!" shouted the Queen. "My Queen. Will you hold her.?" whispered the doctor. The Queen snapped her eyes to the babe. "No!! Take it away! I don't want it!" hissed the Queen. "But, My Queen. What shall we name her?" whispered the older midwife. The Queen glared at the midwife. The Queen smiled a cruel smile. "Name it the name of the old demon king, Death Sword. Her name shall be his, Anaerea Machaira. So let it be written so let it be done." said the Cold Queen. Thus, the birth of Anaerea Machaira. Sixteen years later, a beautiful young woman with black hair and green eyes the color of lush grass after a rain perched in a tree. She looked about calmly, surveying the forest floor below. A shadow stalked through the trees quiet and cautious. The woman smiled. The shadow passed below the woman's tree. The woman waited, the shadow continued and disappeared. The woman stood on the limb and jumped to the ground. She landed without a sound and ran in the opposite direction. She ran and ran until she came to the edge of the forest. Hahah, Rasha will be angry that her pet didn't take care of me, thought the woman. "Anaerea Machaira? What the Devil are you doing out here at this time? The Queen's birthday banquet is this night. Go home and get ready!" sighed a pretty woman with pale blonde hair and black eyes. "Hi! Eirene! I was going to hunt but I'm heading home now. ...What are you doing?" asked Anaerea Machaira suspiciously. “Oh. Nothing." said Eirene with a smile. Anaerea Machaira laughed. "Have fun with Tseph!" she said running to the west toward the palace. Anaerea Machaira sped across the meadowlands with ease. The wind caressed her as she ran. It brought her the smells of baked goods and roasting meat. In front of her appeared the looming capital Hane. The grey and black stones were so familiar to Anaerea Machaira. A guard looked down at Anaerea Machaira and waved. Anaerea Machaira ran through the busy cobblestone streets . She quickly reached the palace and ran inside. The dark smoky air of the Great Hall was bustling with activity. Knights carried the solid oak tables and

chairs into the Hall. Maids carried fresh spring flowers and ornaments to decorate the room and tables. Anaerea Machaira ran toward the side corridor that led to the stairs to her room. Anaerea Machaira lived in a tower of the palace, she lived there alone. She didn’t mind it but she knew that soon she would have another person living in a room nearby. Her mother had put her up here when she had turned seven because Mother couldn’t stand seeing the eyes of her favorite husband on a girl child. Of course since she was older now the Queen couldn’t ignore her and she must be watched in case she wants to take over the throne. Anaerea Machaira looked down at the world below. She sighed and turned to her closet. She threw open the doors and walked in. All her clothes were made by her. She looked for a suitable dress for the Banquet. She chose a new dress she had finished yesterday. It was a lovely red dress that flowed to the floor. She quickly put the dress on and looked around for her black slippers. She had overheard some knights talking about some foreign ambassadors attending the Banquet. Tonight would be a play of politics as well as a celebration. Sanguis grabbed a ruby hair ornament from the bottom of a chest. It was the only gift that she had received from her father. It was a red dragon . Anaerea Machaira delicately swooped up half her hair leaving the back to flow down her back. She peered in the mirror quickly before she fluttered down the stairs. I need to find Minnay!, thought Anaerea Machaira franticly. In the Royal apartment of the castle the six older daughter’s of Queen Zanah were busily getting ready for the banquet. Queen Zanah was preoccupied with her newest husband. He was the eighth husband she had married. He had helped produce twins five years ago. And to his relief one of the twins had been a son. The two little ones were Crown Prince Daveh and Little Princess Atima. Each Princess’ name meant something. The Queen had a habit of naming the child after how she felt about them when they were born. The oldest child was Princess Simche who was twenty-four and now lived in the country Chiyl with her husband Prince Choiros, her name meant “Joy.” Princess Orah was twenty-three and also married to a Prince Bilam from the neighboring kingdom of Yashen, her name meant “Light.” Princess Emeiath who is twentytwo and engaged to Prince Bilam’s brother Crown Prince Asteios, her name means “Truth.” Princess Eirene is twenty-one and not engaged or married, her name means “Peace.” Princess Mannay is twenty and is engaged to Prince Porneuo of Racham, her name means “Sorrow.” Princess Ramha is nineteen and isn’t married or engaged, her name means “Wicked.” Princess Atima is five and her name means “Despised.” Then of course there is herself, Princess Anaerea Machaira, she was named after the first Demon King of the Demon Lands of the North, literally her name means “Death Sword.” Anarea Machaira floated into the Common room of the Royal Apartment. “Waaaahhhh! I want my sissa Rea!” bawled a little boy with dark brown curls and brilliant black eyes. He was throwing a tantrum, he was hitting

his nursemaid and throwing toys all over the place. “Ah! Lil’ Daveh! Stop this tantrum this instance!” exclaimed Anaerea Machaira scooping up the crying mess. Daveh rubbed his eyes and smiled a bit sadly.”Sissa Rea! Mommy and Daddy won’t let me inna room whid dem!” pouted Daveh pouching out his lips. Anaerea Machaira smiled. “Don’t worry. They’ll come out in a little while and then you’ll be swathed with attention!” said Anarea Machaira tickling Daveh under the chin. “Where are the other sisters?” asked Anarea Machaira walking past the relieved nursemaid. “They inna Big Girl Room Closet witha dat scary fat lady with da mole.” said Daveh. “Well! That is where I am going.” said Anaerea Machaira setting Daveh down on a chair. “Awww! Sissa Rea! You a meanie.” pouted Daveh as Anaerea Machaira walked out of the room. In the Great Closet Room, six of Queen Zanah’s daughters sat listening to instructions given by the Lady Fenilda. Anaerea Machaira floated into the room. Lady Fenilda glanced toward the opening door. She sighed inwardly, great the difficult one is here! “Ah… good you are finally here. I see you yet again dressed the way you see fitting. Take your place at your seat.” said Lady Fenilda tapping her little fat foot impatiently. All the other girls were looking at Anaerea Machaira with various emotions showing on their faces. Princess Simche looked exasperated at her second youngest sister. Princess Orah looked sympathetic. Princess Emeiath looked entertained and laughter sparkled in her eyes. Princess Mannay looked impassive but faintly happy in her eyes and the line of her mouth. Princess Atima was glowing with happiness and adoration as Anaerea Machaira passed her to sit in a chair behind Atima. Princess Ramah sat next to Anaerea Machaira, she burned with hate and quivered in rage. Anaerea Machaira sat down and leaned against the back of the cushioned chair seeming to listen to whatever the Lady was saying. Anaerea Machaira leaned unnoticeably toward Ramah. “Ramah, dear. The little shadow was a little too dense for my tastes. Get a better one next time, or don’t try at all.” whispered Anaerea Machaira benevolently. Ramah hissed under her breath. Anaerea Machaira softly laughed. Chapter 2 All the girls excitedly bustled about the room making last minute touches to their beautiful outfits. The gifts that they had created secretly for their mother the Queen were already taken down to the gift room. Anaerea Machaira looked around for Eirene. That girl! She better not be late, thought Anaerea Machaira. Eirene snuck into the room inconspicuously. Anaerea raised an eyebrow. Eirene walked slowly over to Anaearea Machaira, she looked a bit bothered. Before Anaerea Machaira could say anything Lady Fenhilda entered the room, flushed with excitement. “Princess’ it is time! Go! Go, and enter the Great Hall!” exclaimed Lady Fenhilda flinging her arms about. Anaerea Machaira walked behind all her older sisters as they each were called into the Hall to pay their respects to their mother and give

acknowledgement to the Royal Husband. She listened and heard her title called by the caller. “Princess Anaerea Machaira, Second Level Knight, Daughter of the Great Queen Zanah and the Past Royal Husband Great General Lahat of the North Island Akathartos, and the Biyn Mateteuo (Wise Scholar) of Stratologeo University!” shouted the caller. Anaerea Machaira entered and gracefully swayed toward the dais where the two throne chairs sat. Anaerea Machaira gave a properly deep swirling bow of a well-trained female warrior. She then gave a respectful intricate salute of honor toward the Royal Husband. “Ah! Princess Anaerea Machaira! Nice to see you well!” said the Royal Husband kindly. “I thank you sire.” replied Anaerea Machaira with a bowed head. “Anaerea Machaira. I received your … gift. It is to be kept.” said Queen Zanah coldly with a chilling smile. Anaerea Machaira smiled. “I thank you for your acceptance, Your Highness.” said Anaerea Machaira. Queen Zanah waved Anaerea Machaira away. Anaerea Machaira turned and walked toward where she was to sit. People watched as she glided toward her table. Many ambassadors from other countries were in attendance to present gifts to the Great Queen who had diplomatically conquered many enemies and nations. Anaerea Machaira saw her seat and walked toward it a servant hustled quickly over and pulled the chair out to let her sit. Anaerea Machaira sat and looked up and down the long table at the many different people. Across the table a gorgeous man sat observing the princess. Anaerea Machaira smiled. “Well. I must say that I haven’t seen any of you before. Please introduce yourselves.” said Anaerea Machaira looking at the man next to her and the men across from her. The man to her right cleared his throat and looked about at the other fellows. “Well. I am Lord Praus from Shibe.” he replied squirming under Anaerea Machaira’s thoughtful gaze. The man in front of Lord Praus smiled kindly at the princess. “I am Lord Chaneph from Doulagogeo.” he said turning to the man to his right. The gorgeous man looked at the two other men and smiled a bit coldly. “I am Lord General Eisphero from the Great North Lands, Your Majesty.” he said with a knowing smile. The two men froze and the man to Eisephero’s right snapped his head around. Lord Chaneph stood up suddenly, the chair almost falling. “I am sorry Princess…. I cannot sit at this table.” he hissed walking quickly away. The man to Eisphero’s right stood and briskly stomped away. Lord Preus squirmed some more. Anaerea Machaira turned to him. “Lord Preus. If you are upset by this … revelation, then you may be dismissed from this table.” said Anaerea Machaira with a warm smile. Lord Preus gave a nervous head bob and quickly fled. Anaerea Machaira sighed. She looked up at the man in front of her. Someone from the Demon Lands! thought Anaerea Machaira interested. She noted that his beauty was a bit unearthly. He was too beautiful. It was hard to tell what age he was. “I guess we are a bit of plague, hmm?” thought Anaerea Machaira out-loud. “How do you mean, Your Highness?” said Eiphero baffled (surprisingly). Anaerea Machaira’s eyebrows rose slightly. “Oh. You probably don’t know. Or haven’t been informed fully about me.” said Anaerea Machaira a bit sourly at the

thought of what people said about her. “They say I am a demon child. I am the Outlaw Princess. I am supposed to be the one who destroys the Great empire, our allies, and my own homeland. Plus, I am not normal like all my other sisters. I have North blood and I have learned weaponry and the ways of a knight.” said Anaerea Machaira pursing her lips. Eiphero took in this princess before him. To him she didn’t seem strange and demonic, even though she was born of the Vermin Queen. “Is that their reason not to give you an honorific title?” asked Eiphero a bit angry. “Oh. I have never been given an honorific title before. Since, my mother is so displeased with me.” said Anaerea Machaira with a wave of her hand. “Why would the Queen be displeased with you? Is that why you don’t sit with the royal family at the High table?” asked Eiphero interested behind his calm mask. “Well, no. When I was ten I had decided on my own to start sitting with the nobles and knights. They had so much to talk about: politics, history, economics, and such. But, at the High table the Queen and the Royal Husband would talk about whatever and coo over each other. We couldn’t even talk amongst ourselves let alone with them. So, I decided what I wanted and I did it. Queen Mother was furious. I was banished from court until this past month. I have finally met my newest little brother and sister. During my banishment, I enrolled in the University at Stratelogeo. It is in the southern seas. I started to train as a knight and scholar. I finally was accepted into the knight rankings, but my mother will not accept me as a knight and a princess. So, she sent for me right before I was to take my First Level trials. I would’ve been able to be the third First Level of this Century. My father was the second to be made First Level Knight. So, I am stuck between highest 2nd Level and 1st Level.” sighed Anaerea Machaira. “Beg your pardon but you don’t seem like the knight type.” said Eiphero. Anaerea Machaira looked hard at Eiphero. “Well. There aren’t any other types of warrior groups in this part of the world.” said Anaerea Machaira waiting for Eiphero to respond. He didn’t. “Well. To answer the other question . The reason My Mother despises me is that I am not a boy. Plain and simple." said Anaerea Machaira with a smile. "Heeheehee. That's not the only reason Princess Death Sword." laughed a haggard sounding woman. "Hello, Witch." said Anaerea Machaira with a twitch of a smile. "AHheheehee. Well now don't you look pretty. That beauty of your's is going to be your curse." giggled the old woman sitting at Anaerea Machaira's left. "Princess Death Sword?" commented Eiphero. The old hag hissed at Eiphero. "Gaaagh! Horrid scum! Yes, demon. Death Sword. Her mother, our queen, named her after the Great Demon King Anaerea Machaira the Human Slayer. Our Queen actually rightly named this one. She will bring much death to us humans and other creatures. Hehehe. I can't wait to see her destiny begin. Soon she will discover her true power." said the hag eyeing Eiphero. Anaerea Machaira said nothing and just looked past Eiphero up at the high table. Eirene looks sick. Thought Anaerea Machaira alarmed. Anaerea Machaira waved a servant over to her. "Give this to Princess Eirene, secretly." said Anaerea Machaira handing the servant a little note she had hastily

written. Anaerea Machaira brushed back a strand of hair from her face as she turned back to the hag and Lord Eiphero. They were in a heated discussion in a foreign language that Anaerea Machaira had never heard. Anaerea Machaira suddenly started to catch words that she knew the meaning of. "I ___ demon. I__ a vampire lord. I______ from the likes of you!" growled Lord Eiphero. "Stupid vampire! ____ I would listen to the likes of you?" hissed the Hag. "Witch you had better listen to Lord Eiphero!" snapped Anaera Machaira using broken vernacular and some of the strange language. The Hag and Eiphero snapped their heads at Anaerea Machaira. Their eyes popped open. The Hag's murky brown eyes flashed in surprise. While, Eiphero's cold grey eyes shimmered in shock. "How do you speak this language?" whispered the Hag. Eiphero stayed silent and observed. "I don't know. I understand some words but not all." continued Anaerea Machaira in perfect foreign language. After that no one spoke. Thus, ended the Queen's birthday banquet. After feasting Anaerea Machaira stood to the Queen's right on the second step from the throne. She was to greet each ambassador and such. She was the only one of royalty who stood. She had been standing for three hours straight so far. there were still a hundred or so people left to greet the Royals. Anaerea Machaira glanced over at Eirene. She looked miserable.When Anaerea Machaira turned back to the next greeter. She found herself looking into Eiphero's cold grey eyes. "Hello Your Majesties. I thank you for allowing me to be present at your birthday, Great Queen Zanah. I hope our two nations may continue to have strong ties." said Eiphero giving a deep bow to the seated royals. "Yes. Lord Eiphero. We shall have a much stronger tie in the future." replied Queen Zanah with a smile. Eiphero nodded and then turned to Anaerea Machaira. "Your Highness, may I have the honor to kiss your hand?" asked Eiphero bowed slightly. Anaerea Machaira was a bit shocked. But, she didn't show it. She smiled kindly. "Yes, Lord Eiphero, you may." replied Anaerea Machaira extending her right hand. Eiphero smiled and took her hand. Anaerea Machaira luckily was very well trained not to react or else she may have jumped when his ice cold hand took hers. Or when his ice lips lightly brushed her fingers. Or maybe at when she thought something sharp had lightly touched the back of her hand as he kissed it. Then it was all over and Lord Eiphero had disappeared into the crowd. It was about midnight when Anaerea Machaira was finally able to get a hold of Eirene. "Hey! Are you okay? You seemed sick during dinner." said Anaerea Machaira softly. Eirene and Anaerea Machaira were sitting in the ancient church that used to be worshipped in by the four element believers. The two gods and two goddess' statues still stood on a dais. Eirene looked worried. "Ummm. Anaerea Machaira I have to tell you something. But,

please don't judge me. I already feel shame for what I have done. .... I did it with Tseph." whispered Eirene. Anaerea Machaira stared at Eirene. "You slept with Tseph!" exclaimed Anaerea Machaira in a whisper. Eirene winced. She had tears in her eyes. "I...I love him! I don't know what I was thinking when I let him. But, this isn't the reason why I am so worried." said Eirene trailing off. "What is it? Tell me!" said Anaerea Machaira wiping Eirene's tears and grasping her hands. "I...I am pregnant." whispered Eirene looking away. Anaerea Machaira sat frozen in shock. "How? How far a long are you?" whispered Anaerea Machaira finally. Eirene looked at Anaerea Machaira with pain and fear in her eyes. "Two months." replied Eirene. Anaerea Machaira stood. "Come. It is time for you to go to bed before we are found. Have you told Tseph?" asked Anaerea Machaira. Eirene nodded. "I did today. He was so shocked he had to go home and think he said. He wasn't here today." said Eirene sad. "Tomorrow I will speak with him. I'm the one who introduced you both." sighed Anaerea Machaira. "Don't be mean! I love him! I...I want his child and I want him." said Eirene determined. "I know Eirene." said Anaerea Machaira leading Eirene through the dark corridors. Anaerea Machaira jolted awake when banging woke her. She quickly grabbed a robe and threw it on before flinging open the door. A sheepish looking young knight that Anaerea Machaira had recently helped in training stood there with his sheild raised to pound on the door again. "Princess Anaerea Machaira, Great Queen Zanah wants her children downstairs in the Meeting Hall ASAP.” said Heren scuffing his shoe and looking at his feet. “Thanks Heren. I guess that means no change of clothes huh.” said Anaerea Machaira stepping out of her room without slippers and closing the door. Anaerea Machaira ran down the long flight of stairs her robe and white nightgown flowing behind her. Anaerea Machaira ran into the Meeting Hall she saw who all was there and skidded to a halt. Her eyes widened. Her brother-in-laws, all her sisters and her little brother were there. Her mother and stepfather were also there but they were fully clothed. All her brother-in-law’s were also clothed (although a bit messily). Her sisters wore high collared robes that were long and didn’t show one bit of night gown or skin. However, what mortally horrified her was the fact that the Witch and Lord Eiphero were also there, fully dressed. Anaerea Machaira envisioned herself in her mind. Her long black hair was hanging around her, wind blown from running. She wore a medium thickness robe that went just above the knee, allowing her pure white flowing sheer nightgown to peer out from underneath. Her nightgown barely covered an inch below her knees. Anaerea Machaira groaned inwardly and straightened up, walking toward her seated mother and stepfather. She kept a stoic face expression as she gave her warrior bow to the Queen and an acknowledging deep nod to her smiling stepfather. “My Queen. Is there an emergency?” Anaerea Machaira asked. Standing before her mother. The queen looked at Anaerea Machaira. There was silence and then the queen burst out into uncontrollable laughter.

“Wahhahahahahaha!! This is just too much! You really do take biddings of your queen seriously. I suppose I could’ve told the little soldier to tell you to put on a bit better attire. I forgot you had your own sense of sleepwear.” giggled the queen showing a bit of favor toward Anaerea Machaira. But, Anaerea Machaira didn’t find anything at all amusing. “Yes.” she replied and went to sit in a open chair. “No! Anaerea Machaira… stand… by the Witch that you are so fond of.” said the Queen waving Anaerea Machaira away. Anaerea Machaira’s stoic face melted a bit. Her eyes blazed with humiliated anger as she walked to where the Witch sat near Lord Eiphero. She looked at Lord Eiphero, he was calmly studying Anaerea Machaira’s reaction. Anaerea Machaira quickly put her stoic expression back on. “Well. Since everyone is here. I have some news that will change our very lives. The Demon Lands of the North wish to form an alliance with us. How does that sound to everyone?” asked the Queen looking at the semi-circle before her. Everyone burst out into happy shouts. “At last peace with the Demons!” shouted Prince Choiros joyfully. The only people who didn’t shout for joy were the Witch, Lord Eiphero and Anaerea Machaira. “Anaerea Machaira. Why don’t you shout for joy as the others do?” asked the Royal Husband. Anaerea Machaira looked up at the Royal Husband. “Well. Peace would be wonderful. But, what is the price of peace?” she asked looking at the Queen. “One of my daughters is to marry the only son of the Demon King Sareail, Crown Demon Prince Alektoro.” said the Queen simply. “I believe that Princess Eirene will be the best choice since she was foretold to be a great peace bringer.” said the Queen. Anaerea Machaira looked over at Eirene. Eirene’s eyes were wide with fear. Eirene glanced over at Anaerea Machaira fear emitting from her eyes. The Queen started talking about plans. Anaerea Machaira stepped forward. “My Queen!” she said making a move. The Queen scowled at being interrupted. “What!” she growled. “My Queen. Would you please allow me to be sent in place of Princess Eirene.” said Anaerea Machaira kneeling before the Queen. There was silence. “Why?” asked the Queen interested. “I don’t wish for any sister of mine to have to go to a unknown world, and perhaps be lost to me forever. If it is me then I wouldn’t mind. Since I would know that they were all safe” Anaerea Machaira said still in her submissive position. Someone behind her snorted in disbelief. “Princess Ramha. Is there something you wish to say?” asked the Queen now ignoring the bowed Anaerea Machaira. “My Great Queen. The Princess Anaerea Machaira’s reasons are not as pure as they seem. There is an ulterior reason.” said Ramha mysteriously with her silky voice. Anaerea Machaira turned her head slightly to look at Ramha. Ramha’s eyes were full of vengeful victory. Anaerea Machaira was sure she knew. “Go on.” said the Queen leaning back into her throne chair, a bit tired. Ramha’s robe rustled as she stood and walked past Anaerea Machaira and stood before the Queen. “My Great Queen Zanah. Anaerea Machaira, the Demon

she is, is trying to protect Princess Eirene’s sin.” said Ramha pausing dramatically. Anaerea Machaira’s head was no longer bowed. She was staring into the back of Ramha’s head. Her eyes openly burning with hatred. “Sin?” said the Queen perking up a bit unnerved. “Yes. Sin. Princess Eirene has sullied our good name. She has disgraced all princess’ and all maidens. Not only has she fallen in love with a knight but, she has also…” said Ramha. She never finished her sentence because Anaerea Machaira pounced on Ramha knocking her to the ground. Ramha kicked Anaerea Machaira off and pulled out a knife. Anaerea Machaira crouched a little way away. Watching Ramha. Ramha lunged very swiftly at Anaerea Machaira. Anaerea Machaira dodged her even faster and gave her a blow to her back, knocking winding her and making her unable to move for a few minutes. Anaerea Machaira took Ramha’s knife. “Anaerea Machaira! How dare you strike your elder sister!” shouted the Queen standing. Anaerea Machaira turned on the Queen her eyes full of anger and battle rage. For the first time in her life the Queen was afraid, mortally afraid. She blinked and turned her anger and fear out on Eirene. “Princess Eirene! What is this sin that the Princess Ramha spoke of!” growled the Queen daring her to defy her. Eirene clenched her hands to her robe. She looked up at her mother the Queen. The Queen couldn’t help but soften just a little at her precious little child of peace. “My queen. I am with child.” said Eirene quietly. There was silence. Anaerea Machaira went to stand by Eirene. Anaera Machaira looked at the Queen, her stoic face set sternly on her face. The Queen was still standing. She seemed utterly shocked. “With Child? Wh…who is the father?” stuttered the Queen. “Sir Tseph of Deshandi.” said Eirene tear filled eyes looking at the Queen. Anaerea Machaira put her hand on Eirene’s shoulder. The Queen snapped. “Anaerea Machaira! It’s all your fault! All of this! You brought that second son of a lord here! You are a evil incarnate! You are the reason I have so many daughters! You cursed me! Step away from your sisters and family, NOW!” yelled the Queen. Spewing over in anger. Anaerea Machaira looked at Eirene and walked ten feet away. “Yes. Anaerea Machaira. You shall be sent to be the Crown Prince’s bride. But, you will never return here if you run away! If you do your sister Eirene, her child and her soon to be husband Tseph will all be burned alive!” snarled the Queen. “You shall be under house arrest, for hitting your sister, until you leave for the Demon Lands of the North! Go to your tower!” she shouted pointing to the door. Anaerea Machaira turned to leave. Ramha was now sitting in her chair. She grinned a wicked smile. Eirene was crying for her sister now. Atima was wide eyed and starting to cry. Anaerea looked at Eiphero. He looked a bit concerned. Anaerea Machaira walked out of the Meeting Hall for the last time. Chapter 3 Anaerea Machaira looked out through the rain and down to the

ground. It had been a week since she had been placed under house arrest. The Queen had forbade any of her children to visit Anaerea Machaira. The Witch had visited Anaerea Machaira a few times. The Witch on her last visit had told Anaerea Machaira that she (the Witch) would be coming with Anaerea Machaira to the Demon Lands. Anaerea Machaira didn’t really care. She was cooped up in a small area. To keep in shape she would climb out the window and do pull ups from the top of the window ledge. She would also climb to the top of the tower roof and sit there. She would have one of her guards go down to the library and get her some books. At the end of the second week she heard a knock on the door. “Come in!” she shouted from the open window. She was just finishing her last pull up when she saw who had come into her room. “Oh! I thought you were one of my guards bringing me a new set of books!” said Anaerea Machaira a bit embarrassed. Eiphero just stood there in the middle of the room watching Anaerea Machaira cautiously. “Sorry. There isn’t all that much room in here to work out and exercise in.” said Anaerea Machaira brushing her hands off. “Did you need something?” asked Anaerea Machaira offering Eiphero a seat. Eiphero sat. “Yes. Princess Anaerea Machaira I finally got permission to come see you. What sort of things are you going to bring to my homelands?” asked Eiphero. “Oh. Well. What would you suggest?” she asked sitting down on her bed. “Well. You will not be bringing any of your clothes, except for three dresses. You may take any jewlry you have and any weaponry. You may also take a few books. Any boots will be allowed. I will be providing everything you need." said Eiphero standing. "Wait! Lord Eiphero! Would you tell me how to behave and act in the De... North Lands." She said grabbing the sleeve of his jacket. Eiphero looked at Anaerea Machaira's hand. He smiled. "Don't worry, your Majesty. All will be taken care of in a few days." said Eiphero bowing to Anaerea Machaira. Anaerea Machaira escorted Eiphero to the door. "My princess. Princess Eirene misses you and sends you her love. Little Princes Atima wanted me to give you this. And Princess Eirene this. Little Atima says she will always love you and someday when she is big she will find you. Crown Prince Daveh misses you terribly he cries all the time, he gives you this. And the Royal Husband asked me to also give you this." said Eiphero pulling out multiple little packages. "Oh. We are leaving in two days. Please have your few things ready." He then left. Anaerea Machaira looked at the four packages. She put them on the bed and sat looking at them. She sat like that until the sun began to set. She took one of them and began to tear off the paper. She took out a little note first. She read it: Dear Anaerea Machaira, I'm sorry that all this has happened to you. It is all my fault. I want you to be my babies' namesake. If it is a girl it will be called Anaerea and if a boy Machair. I love you like life sister. Your Siter, Eirene Anaerea Machaira looked at the wall. She was so

sad. She would miss her dear older sister so much. She pulled out what was in the package. It was a beautiful pair of boots that would be perfect for active activities. They were black and a supple leather. There was another note. Hey, Anaerea Machaira! This was supposed to be your birthday gift but, I guess you'll need them more now. I hope you like them. Eirene. She sighed and gently placed the boots and letters to the side. She took the next packet. She ripped it open and took out a paper. To: My Sissa From: Daveh I loves you! Anaerea Machaira smiled and took out the little trinket inside. It was Daveh's favorite toy. A little toy stallion with it's head thrown back. She smiled and put it close to Eirene's gift. The next package was hard. She ripped it open and read the note: Dear Sister, I love you. You have always been my bestest friend. I will find you again. Love forever, Atima. Inside was a box. She opened the box and looked inside. It held a charm bracelet. The bracelet had a little dove, a sword, a "A" and a "M" on it. Anaerea Machaira smiled sadly yet again. The little dove was Atima, and the sword was herself. She put the bracelet on and put the letter with her other gifts. She took the last package and slowly ripped it open. The letter read, Anaerea Machaira, I know I am not your favorite person but I have always loved you as my own. The contents of this package are vitally important to you. Because they are for you. And only you. These things were your father's. You didn't know him but I did before he left his home to marry your mother, the queen. They both loved each other deeply. The queen doesn't know of the things in that packet. Don't look at them until you leave and burn this letter in the forest. Your father was an extrordinary man. He knew you before you were even born. Take care. All will work out for you. Don't be afraid to try something new or learn something that goes against what you have always thought. Always, The Royal Husband Anaerea Machaira held the package she started to reach in but stopped. She fixed the package back up and put it on the pile. Then she went to stand by the window. Two days passed by quickly. On the second day she had her two duffel bags that she had taken with her from the University. She was wearing the outfit she had worn on the day she had returned to the capital palace. It was a red tunic with matching pants. She wore the boots Eirene had given her and the charm bracelet. She had tucked the little horse into a fold on the inside of her shirt. The mysterious package was inside her harvester sack.

She looked out the window. Then she stood and went to the window seat. She lifted the built in lid on the seat. Inside were her weapons that she had taken with her from the University. She took out her sword. It was a sword that had belonged to her father's household. It had a black hilt with a crystal pommel. She took out a black sash and attached it to the sword scabbard, then she tied it around her waist in the way a knight would. Then she took out a long bow which she carried across her back with the arrow holder. She peered in to see what else was in there. Oh! Crap I forgot about all of those!, she thought as she pulled out seven different knives. Each was a different style. She had been given each of them from some of the strongest knights at the University. She started tucking the knives into various places on her body. At about 7 in the morning a knock on her door sounded. "Come in." called Anaerea Machaira standing to face the enterer. Heren stood in the doorway. He looked a bit sad. "Princess Anaerea Machaira... I have been sent to escort you to the courtyard." he said with a salute. "Thank you, Heren." said Anaerea Machaira with a smile. She reached for a duffle bag. Heren moved quickly and took the bags. "Please... let me do it." said Heren. Anaerea Machaira nodded and smiled sadly. She walked down stairs. As she entered into the Great Hall she saw a group of people standing by the door. Eirene, Atima, Daveh, the Royal Husband, all the servants, all the soldiers and knights of the castle, and the old General Lord Eytam were there. Anaerea Machaira walked toward the people with a stoic expression. The old General walked up to her. "Princess Anaerea Machaira... the army and knights are always with you. You have our hearts." he said simply. She smiled at him and nodded. All the knights saluted her and gave her warrior parafanalia (which she stuffed in her harver sack). The soldiers also saluted her and they gave her various things like medicines and charms for luck and such (which she also stuffed in her bag). Then the servants got a hold of her. "Your Highness. You have always treated us well and have helped us. We will always stand for you." said one of the top servants. "Thank you." said Anaerea Machaira. Most of them gave her handmade things like cloth and carved things and pretty little shiny stones. Then she faced her few family members Eirene was the first. She was red eyed from crying. "Eirene. I decided myself to go. Cry not for someone who goes of their own free will. You shall be with me always. Please take care of yourself and the baby. Let it be strong and healthy. I will see you again." Anaerea Machaira said giving her sister a hug. Eirene nodded and let Anaerea Machaira go. Atima was next she reached for her big sister. Anaerea Machaira took Atima in her arms. "Ahhh! Little Dove. You are so dear to me. Be good. Be strong and don't let anything bad happen to you, okay?" said Anaerea Machaira looking into Atima’s eyes. "Yes, sista." whispered Atima sadly. Then Anaerea Machaira moved on to Daveh. Daveh clutched at Anaerea Machaira's pants. "Sissa no go." said Daveh crying. "I'm sorry I must." said Anaerea Machaira. Daveh let go of her and hugged Atima. She hugged him back. And turned to the Royal Husband. He smiled and handed her his hand. Anaerea Machaira hugged him instead.

"Goodbye. Dad." she whispered as she walked out the door. Outside was Eiphero and the Witch. They were quietly arguing in that strange language. When they saw Anaerea Machaira and Heren they stopped. Eiphero was sitting on a strange breed of horse. It was terribly tall and had green eyes. The witch sat on a donkey that looked old. A pack mule carried a few bags. Heren went over to the pack mule and tied Anaerea Machaira’s bags to the top. Anaerea Machaira walked over to Eiphero's mount. The horse froze as it watched Anaerea Machaira. It's whites showed in fear. It started to whine and toss it's head. Then when Anaerea Machaira reached the bottom step it reared back and pawed at her. Anaerea Machaira stood still and watched calmly. Eiphero calmed his horse and looked at Anaerea Machaira strangely. "Hmmm." he said. "Horses, donkeys, mules, chickens and other domesticated animals despise me. Wild animals don't mind me though. One reason I am thought of as a demon." replied Anaerea Machaira standing still. "How do you travel?" asked Eiphero. "I walk." she replied simply. Eiphero looked doubtful. "Don't worry. I won't slow you down." she said. "Siiigghh. Okay. Let's go." said Eiphero leading his horse to the gate. They had been traveling for an hour. Eiphero had set a fast trot. His horse was in very good shape. The little donkey was doing a good job too. Anaerea Machaira jogged alongside Eiphero's stead (although she was two feet away from the horse). Everyone was silent and Eiphero didn't offer any rest. But, Anaerea Machaira was fine. She could run all day without breaking a sweet. She was thinking deeply. She was going over her past life in her mind. Around midnight Eiphero halted. Anaerea Machaira kept running and then noticed the horse wasn’t beside her and then she stopped and turned back to the two people behind her. Eiphero was staring at her yet again. "We shall rest here tonight. Gerardah!" shouted E. A man materialized out of the woods. "Yes...master." he said in the foreign language. "Take us to where the others are camped. I have brought the bride for our Blood Prince." said E. Gerardah looked at the Witch eyes widening. He hadn't seen Anaerea Machaira. "No. Not I. Her, the Princess." said the Witch with a humour filled cackle acknowledging me. Gerardah looked at Anaerea Machaira now and his eyes widened again he nodded to her. She nodded back. He turned and motioned to the group. They all followed. After a little while Anaerea Machaira could smell campfires. They were at the top of a wooded hill. Looking down into a valley like bowl between hills, Anaerea Machaira saw hundreds of campfires. There wasn't any smoke though. They went down the hill. Around all the campfires were a multitude of soldiers. When they saw the group approaching they all stood and became happily excited to see Eiphero. Shouts of joy and welcome sounded throughout the camp at their entrance in the foreign tongue. Anaerea Machaira noted their total love and loyalty to Eiphero. All these must be demons from the Demon

Lands! thought Anaerea Machaira shocked. Eiphero rode up to a massive tent. He swung off of his mount and looked over at Anaerea Machaira. "My Princess, follow me to your tent." he said extending his hand to Anaerea Machaira. She looked at his hand for a moment and then delicately placed her hand on top of his. He guided Anaerea Machaira toward the massive tent. He guided her inside. Inside was beautiful. It was all furnished with high quality things. Three very young women sat on cushions, sewing and twittering to each other. When they finally noticed Eiphero and Anaerea Machaira they jumped up quickly and gave an intricate little curtsy to them. "My Lord." they said eyes downcast. "Hello little ones." he said with a smile. He turned to Anaerea Machaira. "These are to be your servants." he said turning to leave. "Lord Eiphero...are they your sisters?" she asked turning to Eiphero. Eiphero blinked. "They are my wives. True they are young but, my father wished to ensure that our Crest's would become unified under mine and my people's Crest. They are very dear to me. Although I hadn't always felt such fondness for them." he replied. He stood waiting for Anaerea Machaira's reaction. She smiled, shocking him. "I am honored that you would have your wives be serving maids to me." she said with a bowed head. "The honour is mine to have my Princess served by my own." said Eiphero turning to leave. Anaerea Machaira turned to look at the woman demons before her. One was blonde and pale like a majority of the soldiers and Eiphero. She was small boned and had golden eyes with black speckles. She also had pink little petal lips. She wore purple. The young woman beside her was also pale she had red hair and golden eyes with brown speckles. She was the tallest of the three. She wore green. The last young woman was a brunette. She had golden eyes with grey flecks. She had cunning shining in her eyes. She wore blue. Anaerea Machaira walked toward them. They stood rigidly still, unsure of what to do. "Hello." said Anaerea Machaira in the tongue they used. The women blinked in surprise. "How do you do?" replied the red head. "We are to be your servants for the time..." said the blonde. Anaerea Machaira didn't know what the last bit had been. "What are your ...?" started Anaerea Machaira not knowing the word for name. The women looked at each other confused. "What are your... naymes?" asked Anaerea Machaira trying to figure out the word from the back of her mind. "Names?" said the brunette correcting Anaerea Machaira's pronountiation. "Names?" replied Anaerea Machaira saying it correctly. The brunette nodded happily. "I am Lady Blossom ( Tsitsua)." said the blonde. "I am Lady Strength (Albon)." said the red-head. "And I am Lady Cunning (Biyngia)."said the brunette. "I am Priynceyss Death Sword (Anaerea Machaira)." said Anaerea Machaira. They gasped in surprise. "Really? Is that your name!" exclaimed Biyngia. "It is." said Anaerea Machaira confused. "How did you get that name? Our past Great King was named that." exclaimed Albon. "Yes. I know. My mother named me that." Anaerea Machaira sighed. "Wow! She must really believe you are a

great person to give you such a honourable name!" cried Tsitsua. "Well, my mother meant for my name to give me a negative connotation. She is a human. She despises me." she said shaking her head. They were all horrified and shocked. "How despicable! Whaat a vile Queen! How can she be ruler!" hissed Biyngia. There was silence for a little while. "Come, Princess Anaerea Machaira. We need to get you cleaned up." said Tsitsua calmly taking Anaerea Machaira by the hand. They took Anaerea Machaira and undressed her. Anaerea Machaira was a bit uncomfortable with them undressing her but, when she opposed to it they became offended and Tsitsua started to weep bitterly. Anaerea Machaira allowed them to do as they wish. She didn't really notice anything. They bathed her and oiled her with unfamiliar smelling oils. After they finished drying her. Then they started to fight over what to dress her in. They bickered over color and style. Anaerea Machaira watched them. She was naked and stood watching with a bit of annoyance. "She should wear purple! And the Fleur style!" hissed Tsitsua shaking a garment at the other two "No way! She is going to wear blue and the Classic Style!" growled Biyngia. "Both of you are so foolish! She is made for green and the Drea style." snarled Albon. “Stop it!" thundered Anaerea Machaira stomping forward. The women were surprised and a bit scared. "Halt this senseless bickering! I shall choose what to clothe myself with!" Anaerea Machaira continued to thunder. She softened at their expressions of fear. "Thank you for all your attention. But, I am not used to it. I'm not that fond of such attention. I haven't really been shown it before. I will allow you to do this to not offend you or your husband. I shall choose my own clothes." said Anaerea Machaira. She looked down at the trunk of clothes. There were various colors. One garment for every known color. Anaerea Machaira saw a black dress. She picked it up. And looked it over. It was made of a fine material. It was long and would've trailed a little on the floor. It was sleeveless but would tie behind the persons neck. It would drape around the body, loose and flowing, comfortable and easy to move in. "I shall wear this." said Anaerea Machaira slipping it on. It was a wonderful outfit. "What?" she asked looking at the expressions of the three young women. "Nothing." they murmered glancing at her from below eyelashes. "Let me get you some black slippers." said Biyngia. "No. I shall wear my boots. Albon will you get them for me?" said Anaerea Machaira tieing the neckpiece. Albon took up the boots and gave them to Anaerea Machaira intriuge in her eyes. "Your Highness. I couldn't help but notice this. Ummm... you have rather firm and ... defined muscles." said Albon looking at Anaerea Machaira's body. Anaerea Machaira looked down at herself. "Yes I do. I was a Knight of the second level in my country. I was about to take my First Knight Trials but, I had to return to the capital." said Anaerea Machaira pulling on her sleek boots. "Really! I have heard of these Knights. They are very strong and disciplined. They are very loyal to their leaders." said Tsitsua jollily. "They are loyal to their people."

Anaerea Machaira said correcting Tsitsua. "Oh." replied Tsitsua deep in thought now. “I have another question. Do all women of your race have such… large breasts?” asked Tsitsua purely curious. Anaerea Machaira looked at all the women. They had small perky breasts. But, she herself had much larger breasts. “No. Size varies from person to person. But, in my country the women usually have small breasts and are very short.” said Anaerea Machaira. Then all was quiet. "Ummm. Princess. We must take you to dine now. You will dine with our Lord Eiphero and heads of the Army, Cavalry, Navy, and the Sangrai." said Biyngia looking toward the tent flap. "Aren't you three coming?" Anaerea Machaira asked. “No. We are not allowed." replied Albon heading to the door. The three women took Anaerea Machaira outside. Outside Eiphero was approaching the tent. He smiled at the three women. They blushed in pleasure. Then he turned to look at Anaerea Machaira. His eyes widened in surprise. He looked over Anaerea Machaira. She felt a bit uneasy at this. He nodded and offered Anaerea Machaira his arm. Anaerea Machaira took it. As they walked away. Anaerea Machaira looked back at the three women. They waved encouragingly and continued to watch them walk off. Anaerea Machaira looked around the group of men in another massive tent. They all stood when Eiphero and her had entered. They looked directly at Anaerea Machaira. Each man wore a specific colored ring. There were four distinct colors used. Blue, green, purple, and red. There were also four different uniforms. But, that only distinguished whether they were in the army or navy, etc. Eiphero took her to the head chair. She sat and the others all sat. Then the murmuring began. The men glanced over at Anaerea Machaira and then would say something. Servants began serving the seated people. "Eiphero. What is going on? Is this an inappropriate outfit?" asked Anaerea Machaira. Eiphero looked at her. “Oh no! Of Course not! Rather the opposite. It’s just that… you remind us of someone. That is all.” said Eiphero giving her a reassuring smile. He was pleased and a bit scared deep down that Anaerea Machaira was a bit more fluent in his language. A man beside Anaerea Machaira turned to her. “Princess. We have heard you are called after our Great King Anaerea Machaira. In truth, the way you have been described to us by Lord Eiphero causes us to believe you are a reincarnate of our Great King. But, half of the leaders here are angry that the reincarnation of our Great King came in a woman.” said the man. “What is your name?” asked Anaerea Machaira intent upon the man. “I am Lord Mekheer of the Sangrai.” said Mekheer. Anaerea Machaira nodded. “Thank you for speaking with me.” she said . “Ummm. Lord Mekheer, forgive my ignorance but, what is the Sangrai?” asked Anaerea Machaira, interested. Mekheer looked at her with his grey eyes. “Well… they are a special type of warrior. Usually they act as spies and such. They deal with the Ancient magics. Only people who have traces of the

Ancient magic can be in it. ….It is more though, it’s hard to really explain.” said Mekheer. Anaerea Machaira nodded. "Thank you for your explanation anyway. The Sangrai seem like an interesting bunch." said Anaerea Machaira with a rare grin. Mehkheer pulled a hand through his grey streaked hair. He shook his head. "You really are the ...." he started trailing off. "What?" she asked. Mehkheer looked at Eiphero a question in his eyes. Eiphero nodded. "Well. Multiple people believe you are the reincarnate of our Great King Anaerea Machaira. Although we aren't sure why he would choose a female body..." trailed off Mehkheer. Most of the table was looking down at Mehkheer and Anaerea Machaira. "...I see." said Anaerea Machaira. "Why?" There was silence. "You see. We put you to a test... or should I say I did." said Eiphero. "How?"asked Anaerea Machaira. "Well... first off, when you started speaking our languege out of the blue I had suspicions. So, I observed you for awhile. One test was my horse. He automatically reacted in fear and disgust toward you. The Great King was not favored by domesticated animals. They feared the Wild Blood in him. Then there is when you were running the entire day. Now look at you! You don't look a bit tired! There isn't a sign of fatigue. If any other human or even vampiric soldier ran that they would be extremely tired and if human pass out on the floor. The Great King was able to run for days without stop for sleep. You also have a habit of a stoic far off look when thinking. The real test however was what happened tonight. My three wives were to take care of you and observe you, but it seems they really like you. Well, it appears that you also have his habit of disliking people to attend to you .... but, you will allow it for protocol's sake ... and for not to offend. Then there is your outfit. If you had allowed the women to dress you and choose your outfit you would have been given a specific Crest's colors and style. However, you didn't. And you chose the dress that the Great King himself designed for his first wife. Lastly, you didn't wait and hesitate with not knowing customs. You did what you thought right and went with it." said Eiphero finishing. Anaerea Machaira thought over all this. Then something popped into her mind. Stand up and slap him! How dare he not treat us with honour. He is dishonouring us to talk so openly without going over it with us privately! Anaerea Machaira quickly stood up and with a passion in her eyes slapped Eiphero accross the mouth. He was very hard! He jumped up in shocked fury. "How dare ...!" started Eiphero. He stopped when he saw her eyes. "Lord Eiphero! You dishonour me in speaking so! I found you an hounourable and good man. Perhaps my judgement was misled." said Anaerea Machaira coldly. Eiphero sat back down as if he had been dealt a blow. Then realization hit him. He fell to the ground immediately. "Great Heavenly Stars! I beg your pardon! I hadn't thought.... then again I should have known since our Great King lives in you." said Eiphero soberly with bowed head. Anaerea Machaira touched the back of Eiphero's head in a acknowledging forgiveness gesture. People started to get out of their seats. They seemed afraid.

Eiphero jerked his head up and there was fear in his eyes as he backed up slowly. Anaerea Machaira frowned. "What did I do now?" she hissed eyes flashing. "You... you... know the Ancient ways! That is a very ancient way. It had not been reintroduced until a hundred years after the Great King had died!" said Mehkheer in awe. Anaerea Machaira nodded. "Yes...once, the Witch had said that I housed three great spirits in me. She said that they would help me in my way. Whatever that is. But, she had said ...." Anaerea Machaira stopped suddenly. She jerked her head around to the right. She spun around and looked at the place behind her. She bolted forward and easily went under the tent wall with a lift. Everyone ran outside to see what was happening. Anaerea Machaira ran faster then ever before. Her gown whipped out behind her. She had heard Tsitsua's muffled scream. She ripped open the tent flap of her tent. Inside was five massive well built ... men? They stood over Tsitsua, Biyngia, and Albon (who were tied and gagged). They turned to see Anaerea Machaira enter. "Grrrowwwll! Stay out ov dis or wey'll keel yoo!" growled a gruff sounding ...man. "Free them this instance and get out of this tent!" barked Anaerea Machaira scowling at the men. The fellows stood frozen. They hadn't been spoken to with such... confidence and anger before. They shook it off though. They grabbed the captives up and made way for the door. Then Eiphero, Mehkheer, and a few others entered. "Werefolk!" spat a fellow. "Anaerea Machaira! Watch out! They aren't like others you have fought!" warned Eiphero. The weremen halted. "Anaerea Machaira?!"asked one of them. "That is I." replied Anaerea Machaira "You are the new Anaerea Machaira?" asked the same wereman. "...Yes."said Anaerea Machaira. Suddenly the weremen dropped to their knees. They bowed to the floor. "Lunar Princess! You have returned to us!"sobbed another of the weremen. Anaerea Machaira was thouroughly shocked. They remained bowed sobbing in their relief. Eiphero and a few others acted quickly. They imprisoned the weremen and saved the three women. "Princess! Save us! Spare Us!"said a blue eyed wereman. Eiphero's soldiers started to take them away. "Stop! Don't harm them! Wait!"growled Anaerea Machaira grabbing a soldiers arm. "Who is this Lunar Princess?" she asked. The blue eyed wereman looked at Anaerea Machaira. "You are she! You are her reincarnate. Our wise woman foretold you would come with the name of our past allied King. Our Lunar Princess was our Great Savior. She brought peace between the Moon Folk and the Vampire's Great King Anaerea Machaira the Human Slayer. She was Anae the only one of us with a non-Moon Folk name. She was half vampire. It is believed that she and the Great Ally King were half siblings. She was deep in Ancient magic. Though she used it for peace, she was familiar with war." "And now you have come back to save us from extinction by the hand of Humans, Vampires, and Eyloths."said the blue eyed one. Anaerea Machaira stayed silent. Eiphero edged his way over to Anaerea Machaira to see what she would do. He looked at her stoic expression. She was

deep in thought. Then, a mix of realization and remembrance surfaced on her face. "Where do you hail from?"asked Anaerea Machaira sharply. Blue eyed one was startled. "Ahhha... I hail from Ice Moon Clan, Luminous One." said the wereman with an honourific title. Anaerea Machaira's expression softened. Then she blinked. "That name is so familiar." whispered Anaerea Machaira discomforted. "Of course. That was where you grew up as a werechild." he said simply. Anaerea Machaira's face emitted shock. She recovered and replaced it with a weary expression. "Well. It seems I am both the Great King the Human Slayer and the Lunar Princess hailed from the Ice Moon Clan. ...What a lot to take in." she sighed. Eiphero then stepped forward. "Hold it. Princess Anaerea Machaira is coming to the Vampiric Capital of Rhusis Akeldema to marry our Blood Prince." said Eiphero facing off the blue eyed one. "What?! How did such a thing occur?"asked the blue one. "My mother is the Queen Zanah. She has appointed me to marraige into the North Lands Royal Family."said Anaerea Machaira. The blue one was quiet. "I suppose you must honour your birth mother's wishes. You do as the Lunar Princess would have, obeying one's mother." acknowledged the blue eyed one with a nod. "The Moon Folk will come from every corner of the North where we roam to be united under your banner. You shall be adopted into the Ice Moon Clan and finally all the Clans shall live together peacefully." he said happily. The five weremen howled. It was a fierce sound that vibrated through your body. Anaerea Machaira found herself grinning. Eiphero shook his head. "Let us all go. Princess Anaerea Machaira should sleep although it may be hard to do so after learning ... all these interesting things."said Eiphero motioning for everyone to leave. "Wait! What are your names, Moon Folk?"asked Anaerea Machaira. The blue eyed one with black long shaggy hair stepped forward. "I am Cheif Prince Snowstorm Fury hailed from Ice Moon Clan. This silver haired, black eyed one is Cheif Warrior Sunstruck Wanderer hailed from Ice Moon Clan. Next here is this brown eyed, black skinned one called Warrior Night Walker hailed from Dark Moon Clan. This fellow with fair skin and fair hair with the pale grey eyes is Warrior Clear Eyes Searching hailed from Crystal Moon Clan, and lastly the gold haired and white skinned one with silver eyes is Cheif Warrior Stars Shining Brightly hailed from White Moon Clan." said Snowstorm Fury smiling. "PLeasure to greet you." replied Anaerea Machaira appropriately. "Eiphero. Allow the Moon Folk a place to sleep. Allow them to be cared for. If offense is fond through this then allow me to make amends." she said as they all left. Eiphero nodded in stiff agreement. Anaerea Machaira slept surrounded by Tsitsua, Albon, and Biyngia. She had fitful sleep. She dreamt of past things. Of the Vampire cities and peoples and customs. She also dreamt of the ice cities of the Moon Folk and of hunting on snow covered hills. Then she dreamt of an underwater world full of bright colors and of mysterious human-like swimming things riding horses of the sea.

Anaerea Machaira woke with a start, Tsitsua sat bouncing on her bed. "Princess! Princess! We are going to the capital today! We leave early! I can't wait to show you our house!" cried Tsitsua gleefully. Anaerea Machaira groaned at her cheerfulness. "I suppose you slept well?" mumbled Anaerea Machaira getting up slowly. "No. We vampires do not sleep." she said simply folding up Anaerea Machaira's bedding. "Really! Than what do you do?" asked Anaerea Machaira. "Oh. Well. At the capital there are various activities. Plus, if you're married, well you'll have plenty to do."said Tsitsua with a giggle. Anaerea Machaira looked for her tunic and pants. She glanced Biyngia packing away different things. "Hey Biyngia! Where are my tunic and pants?" she asked. "Weeeellll. Albon was told by Master Eiphero to ... burn those." said Biyngia nervously. "Why!"hissed Anaerea Machaira shocked. "Because, until you have a Crest it is not fitting for you to have the colors red, green, blue, or purple in your wardrobe."said B "Oh... What am I to wear?"she asked frwoning. "You can shoose something from that trunk." said Biyngia. Anaerea Machaira looked at the trunk and flung it open. Inside were various dresses of varying lengths. The main colors were black, white, silver, and gold. Anaerea Machaira looked at everything with mounting disdain. How was she supposed to run and fight in any of these flimsy little dresses! She then found something that would do. It was a short dress that was two inches above the knee. It was sleeveless and was made of thin cotton. It was silver in color. She quickly put it on and looked at herself in a full length mirror. The dress was very becoming to her. I don't think I should go out without pants or hose on underneath, thought Anaerea Machaira turning to look at her back. She rummaged through the trunk and found black hose to wear. She put that on and then looked around and found her boots and sword belt. She quickly put on those few things. She brushed her hair and let it hang loose today. She then left the now empty tent and went outside. A warm breeze played with her as she walked around the camp. Soldiers put up tents and scattered fires. Anaerea Machaira looked for a familiar face that she could name but didn't find anyone. Late in the morning she saw the Witch playing with her bones. She looked up at Anaerea Machaira and cackled. "Look at you! You look rested and calm for someone finding out they are the Lunar Princess and Great King in one." cackled the Hag. "Hello Hag. Where is Eiphero? I have wandered about in ignorance." Anaerea Machaira cast a glance over the camp in search. "I'll take you, but you will be angered when you find what has occured." sighed the Hag. The Hag easily wound her way through the busy camp roads and to a far off tent. "Go on in first, Princess." Anaerea Machaira looked hard at the Hag and strode into the tent. She looked about the dark room. The five Moon Folk were there along with Eiphero, his wives, Mehkheer, and a few other Vampire fellows. They were deep in discusing whatever was on the table. "Isn't this an Eyloth royal insignia? How did she come by it?"asked Mehkheer. "It was in a half opened packet

haphazardly sticking from her bag." replied Biyngia. My packet! thought Anaerea Machaira rushing forward. She looked at the table. There was the packet that the Royal Husband had given her. The others hadn't noticed yet. One of the male vampires held a note with the Royal Husbands writing upon it. "Hear this! Dear Princess, This packet contains the few things that are your father's that wasn't destroyed by the Queen. One day you will understand what all this means. I don't know all that much. But, once your father said to me that one day you would need these things to help you on your way through life. Also, soon you will change. At least you should know there has never been one like you before. Truthfully, the RH Anaerea Machaira shook with anger. The others were all silent in thought. "How dare all of you look through a personal package!" said Anaerea Machaira in a dark and cold voice. Everyone shuddered at the sudden voice. Anaerea Machaira came into the pool of light cast by a torch. "Why?” asked Anaerea Machaira with a dark expression on her face. She is coming to hate us! Thought Eiphero franticly. "Princess. I may sound cold but, it will be worse at court. There is no privacy for a royal. I know it was wrong and we are sorry. But, poor Biyngia was so scared when she found Eyloth items in among your belongings." said Albon putting a hand on Biyngia who was cringing. Anaerea Machaira's dark expression remained but she nodded. "It is all right. I'm only mad because I haven't even seen what was inside yet. It is my father's things." she said now looking at what was on the table. First thing that caught Anaerea Machaira's eyes was a ring made of what seemed to be a orange stone and inlaid in the stone was a crest made out of mother of pearl. She took up the ring and examined it closer. It had a picture of a seahorse surrounded by linked chain. There were foreign words in fine print at the bottom. Anaerea Machaira squinted to try to make out the words. "...Elnaam Family.” said Anaerea Machaira thoughtfully. There was a collective gasp from everyone. "The Family of the Death Seeker Royalty!" hissed Clear Eyes Searching in revulsion. "Silence Clear Eyes! That is the lineage of our new Lunar Princess! She will keep us safe!” hissed Snowstorm Fury. Anaerea Machaira looked at the other objects. There was a little black onyx box. Also, there was a large orange ...clam shell? Anaerea Machaira put the ring down and grabbed the little black onyx box. "We tried to open it but, couldn't." said Eiphero finally speaking. Anaerea Machaira ignored him and turned the box about thoughtfully. She pushed the top of the box lightly and a humming began to start. Anaerea Machaira jumped in surprise. The others moved away. The box glowed faintly and began to ... grow? Anaerea Machaira then seemed to drop it and it floated there in the air and transformed. It turned into a man about two inches taller then Anaerea Machaira. He was clad in black leather pants and a vest. He had brilliant blue hair and silver eyes. He was pale, you could easily see blue veins on his skin. His lips parted and sharp pointed teeth peeked out at Anaerea Machaira. His pupils were slits. He acknowledged

the people around Anaerea Machaira with a flick of a massive hand. He had black nails that were pointed. "You are Princess Anaerea Machaira." he said in a heavily accented voice in the language the Moon Folk and V's used. Anaerea Machaira nodded. The man gave a sweeping bow. "I am Mishan Sharkscale, your head guard." said the fellow still bowed. "Your father, the Great Sorcerer Prince [...] Elnaam, placed me in the Sleeping chamber to await his daughter and protect and help her in her life. I was once your Great great great grandfather's guard. I am at your command." said Mishan. "He's a Eythol!" shrieked Tsitsua cowering behind Eiphero. "Grrrowl! Stay away from our Lunar Princess!" growled Night Walker leaping in front of Anaerea Machaira. "Night Walker! Stand down!” snapped Anaerea Machaira grabbing him on the nape of his neck. He yelped in surprise but backed down. Mishan was laughing. "Wow! I can't believe it all that Jiju said about you were true." he laughed. "Jiju?" said Anaerea Machaira. "Oh. A nickname of your father's. Is that whore Lunar Princess Anae and the Great Lazy King Anaerea Machaira the Human Slayer really in you?" asked Mishan eyebrow cocked. There were snarls and pounces aimed at Mishan. "Mishan. Do not dishonor those names. Whether they are true or not." Mishan nodded. "Princess I am terribly hungry. Do you forbid me from eating a vamp or dog or two?” said Mishan intent upon Anaerea Machaira. "What?” said Anaerea Machaira shocked. "Eythols must feed off of an intellectual land walker to continue to survive.” said Eiphero in hatred. "Oh."said Anaerea Machaira in thought. "No. I cannot let you do that. But, tell me more about these feeding habits." said Anaerea Machaira. People began to leave. Eiphero, the Hag, and Snowstorm Fury stayed. The others had packing to finish. "So, let me get this straight. You don't have to eat a whole lot. Not the entire thing. You need only a few bites to last you a month or two. And what you eat from you will have knowledge of, the way they behave and culture etc.? Right?” said Anaerea Machaira strolling through the woods with Mishan, the Moon Folk, the three women, Eiphero and the Hag in tow. The camp was moving quickly through woods. "Yes.” said Mishan. "So. Someone could, oh, cut off a chunk of flesh and give it to you and you'll be fine?” asked Anaerea Machaira jumping on top of a massive fallen tree. "Erm. Yeah."he said looking at Anaerea Machaira in amusement. "Ok. That'll work! I'd do it now if I had one of my daggers.” said Anaerea Machaira sadly. Everyone stopped at that. "What!” exploded Mishan, Eiphero, and Snowstorm Fury at once. Mishan looked at the others. "Not that I don't appreciate it. My Princess. But, That is a bit too much." he said uneasily. "I won't allow it!" shouted Eiphero fuming. "OH Shut Up! Eiphero! I'm not a fool to give my life blood without ... a precaution." said Anaerea Machaira rolling her eyes as she leapt down from the log to stand near Mishan and Eiphero. The rest of the army was ahead a little. Anaerea Machaira sighed and furrowed her brow. "See... ummm... oh crap! How can I explain this!" hissed Anaerea Machaira upset. "Go ahead Lunar Princess. We are your servants and will not talk of whatever it is you are uncertain about." said Snowstorm Fury. The others

nodded. "'Kay. Siiiiighh. Here goes. I'll give an example of what I'm trying to say. If I decided to cut my arm off it would grow back.” said Anaerea Machaira bluntly. There was silence. The three men looked at each other. Their looks spoke that they feared Anaerea Machaira was crazy. "Great flaming moonstone! I'll show you!” hissed Anaerea Machaira upset. She lashed out and took the sword that was in Eiphero's belt. Everyone was too shocked to move. Anaerea Machaira jumped to the log again. Testing where the wind blew. It came from the soldiers. Good! The vampire horde won't be able to hear what is happening, thought Anaerea Machaira taking the sword in her left hand. She didn't hesitate as she raised her sword and sliced through her forearm. Sharp piercing pain shot through Anaerea Machaira as she quickly caught her hand and half her forearm as she still held the sword. Anaerea Machaira's face turned cold. She hopped down again. Eiphero held a curious looking ... little pillow. The thick smell of lavender and citrus blasted her. She raised a eyebrow and handed her chopped off hand and part of her arm to Mishan. His confident and haughty eyes were in shock and fear for Anaerea Machaira. "Why?” he whispered. "I...I can't eat it." "Yes you can and will." said Anaerea Machaira voice hard. She felt a tingle as her blood stopped spurting out with her heart beat. She looked down as flesh slowly began to knit together. The pain was different now. It was a heart staggering burning. Anaerea Machaira turned and started after the army. "Princess!” shouted Eiphero as he put up his...pillow. He jumped after her and grabbed her shoulders. He turned her. His eyes were flashing. "How could you!? There is a army of thousands of vampires and you shed your blood! We drink blood! We'd go into a frenzy at your blood! How could you mar yourself! You are to be married. How could you do such a thing to the Blood King and Blood Prince.” growled Eiphero taking back his sword and cleaning it off. Anaerea Machaira said nothing and lifted her right arm. Eiphero stared. It was as if Anaerea Machaira had lost it years ago. The skin was moving and massing, growing slowly. "What!” hissed Eiphero grabbing at her arm. Anaerea Machaira took back her arm away from Eiphero. She kept walking after the army. She was cold and her arm was burning. The others followed. Someone moved faster then the other two and walked beside her. Anaerea Machaira looked up at Mishan. "Where is my arm?" she asked coldly. "I ate it." he said simply. "Good." she sighed. "Your blood is very good. Your meat is firm and well formed but, very tender.” he said thoughtfully. Eiphero and Snowstorm Fury made some sort of noises in anger. Anaerea Machaira nodded. "So I've been told.” she muttered softly. Mishan looked at her but said nothing. "It hurts, huh?"he said thinking. "Yeah."said Anaerea Machaira with a shrug. "I have gotten used to it.” she said smiling bitterly. Mishan said nothing again. An hour before sunset. Anaerea Machaira and her company entered into the set up camp of the army. Anaerea Machaira had her reassembling arm

inside a pocket of the coat Snowstorm Fury had lent her. She made her way through the makeshift tents. She was taken to a massive tent. "Princess. Since we are on the move you will have to share a tent with others. Myself, my wives, the werewolves, ... Mishan, and the three heads of the Sangrai, Navy, and [...]. I hope you will not be offended." said Eiphero glancing at Anaerea Machaira's hidden arm. "It is fine.” said she "Where is the Hag?” asked Anaerea Machaira looking around. Eiphero blinked. "The Seer?” asked Eiphero. "Oh. I guess she could be called that." "She is probably in the tent." replied Eiphero opening the tent for Anaerea Machaira. Inside was a few pillows and a chest or two. the tent was divided in half. Anaerea Machaira heard the bubbling voices of Albon, Tsitsua, and Biyngia. Anaerea Machaira turned to one section and entered. The three wives of Eiphero were surrounding the Hag. "Now. It is told that the Great Blood King Anaerea Machaira and the Lunar Princess Anae were half brother's and sister. Whether by Mother or Father is unknown. The Lunar Princess was both Moon Folk and Vampire. She had the strengths of both but she had not the blood lust. Her personality was pure and good, she brought peace to all. She had white hair since birth and blue eyes as the sky. She was a healer and held a magic of the earth for healing and bringing back life. However, compared to the Great Blood King he was a pure vampire of a old lineage. He was a strong man of mind and body. He had confidence filling him with a vibrant air. He was destined to roam a dark path of death. He became king at age fifteen. Taking from his guardian all his power and eagerly leading his people to success. He had black hair as of old blood and eyes of yellow gold. He held the ancient dark magic to wield for his people. The two great ones were as different as shadow and light. But, they were best of friends and alliances. They helped each other in time of war or famine. When the humans and ethyols were learned of then the two started to differ in opinion. The Great King wanted to drive from the land the humans and ethyols. But, the Lunar Princess did not. She was fine with the moving in of these new species. At that time Moon Folk and Vampires owned all this land that is now owned by humans. Those the friendship of the two great ones was broken. So the vampiric nation attacked these humans, finding that the ever burning thirst they had was quenched by their blood. But, the terrible thing that happened was that these humans had a magic called the Claiareh that was unknown and ignored by the vampiric soldiers. This magic and the ever growing determination of the humans forced the various Crests to turn to the Blood King that lived in the North for help. The Blood King moved in and saved the race as the humans were entering the Deep Forrest that surrounds the capital Vampiric city. He unified the Crests under the governing of his Crest, the Red Flame. Thus, he pushed back the humans in that hundredth year and regained half of the land they once had. Then he and the humans signed a peace treaty. The ethyols then acted, they had been observing vampires and their ways. They then started the act of eating from

the vampiric race to become like them but, they also brought their ways and magic of water. So for a thousand years battle with the ethyols went on. The Moon Folk had gone into seclusion ten years into the Vampiric Humanity War. The Lunar Princess still lived all this time because of her vampiric blood. The Great Blood King had lost more then half the population of his people. The ethyols continued to stream from the seas, they had taken half of what the Vampires had gained in land in the war with humans. The Great King then had to seek help the humans could not help because they were warring among themselves. So, the Great King went to the Lunar Princess. She was fearing for her people because the Ethyols were not subtle in their intentions for the Moon Folk race. She then aligned herself once again with her friend of the past. Together they fought against the Ethyols. At the Final battle before a peace treaty was finally settled the Great King and the Lunar Princess were killed in battle. They died together at the front line under overstress by using magic and flaming lava balls sent by the ethyol mages. But, here is what has been passed down through my family of seers who lived at the court of the Great King once many years ago. The Great King and Lunar knew they were to die at the last battle to bring peace and protection to their people. They thus cast a great magic combining their magic’s stating that they would come back once more in a child and come to save their people and lead them once more. Thus, this great child would be named for the Great King and have his warring spirit and hair and his confidence and abilities. The child shall also have the calm and gifts of the Lunar Princess along with her spirit. The child will have knowledge of both races and great ones and shall have the eyes that are mixed blue and yellow, green. But, the child will have it's very own spirit that is just as vibrant as the two great ones. So, there you go." finished the Hag smiling at the three enraptured women. Something snapped and bubbled up in Anaerea Machaira. She swayed and collapsed to the ground in shock. Memories and feelings flashed through her. Killing her first wife for plotting her death. Healing a man half dead. Watching a human with terror on his face as she ripped out his throat and drank him dry. Being rapped by a ethyl. Anaerea Machaira shuddered as her senses sharpened and took in all around her along with her memories. “Princess!” shouted a voice. “Princess!” Anaerea Machaira was lost to them as she swirled through darkness and mists. She was approaching a eerie green glow of light. “Princess Anaerea Machaira.” said a smooth deep voice. She jerked her head up to see who was speaking to her. She looked at a man in black silk and velvet. He was tall, about Anaerea Machaira’s height. He had black hair and yellow piercing eyes. “Gasp! You are my namesake the Great Blood King!” whispered Anaerea Machaira. He rolled his eyes in a very un-royal sort of way. “Call me Machai.” he huffed flicking hair from his eyes. A chair puffed into existence behind him, he sat. “I’m so glad that you are here! It is sooo nice to be able to think and … sort of live again.” he said gleefully. “Where are we?!” asked Anaerea Machaira. “Why! We are in the dark recesses of your mind. Me and Ana

are very intrigued at the structure and functioning of your mind and body. She’s around somewhere. She is a bit sluggish in your mind. You are surprisingly more tuned to me but, then you are barely in tune with me. The plan was that me and Ana would take over and force you out and live on together. Although Ana wasn’t too happy. I told her we’d only take over a dangerous and blood thirsty beast. You surprised us though. You have taken on aspects of me and Ana’s races but, you have others in you too. You are a mix of Vampire, Moon Folk, Human, Ethyol, and Demon.” said Machai slumping. “I see.” said Anaerea Machaira thoughtfully. “You live in me.” Anaerea Machaira commented. “Yes. We do. But, you are also part of us. You have feelings and memories of various other things of our lives. It will be interesting at court.” said Machai thoughtfully. “Anyway. Go on back. They are a bit upset at you right now.” said Machai waving her away. “Bye.” replied Anaerea Machaira taken away. She jerked up from the ground. She used both her hands to grip a hold onto Mishan who had been leaning over her. He looked startled a moment. She jumped up, still gripping onto Mishan. Anaerea Machaira swayed slightly. "Is the Blood throne still used by the Blood Rulers?" she asked suddenly. "No, your highness." said Eiphero. "It was discarded for what is called the Death throne." "I see. How far are we from the capital?" Anaerea Machaira said pacing the room. "Five hour' march." replied Eiphero. "Is this army not of vampires? Then they can still be moving. They are not humans that must rest and sleep everyday." Anaerea Machaira. "True, but we had thought it best to enter the capital in the day." said Eiphero looking at her strangely. "We are creatures of the night! Enter our capital in daylight! Preposterous! Come! We will reach the capital at the moon's height if we pack up and go now. Let's go!" she said Eiphero blinked and then ran to do as Anaerea Machaira bid. It took thirty minutes for everything to be done and then they were on their way. Anaerea Machaira ran at the front of the army. She was now wearing a red tunic and pants with her boots. The tunic was fitted to her form and had slits up to four inches below her hip. Eiphero had left his stallion with the other horses and ran behind and to the left of Anaerea Machaira. "Princess! You have ran for three hours straight! Aren't you tired?" called Eiphero who was fine but didn't want the person he had been charged with getting to die of exhaustion before reaching there. "I can run for three days without stop. five hours is nothing." Anaerea Machaira said with a laugh. Anaerea Machaira topped a hill and looked down upon the capital It looked as it had many hundred years ago except it was larger. Eiphero stopped by Anaerea Machaira. "Signal of Return!" Anaerea Machaira called out. The army gave their triumphant battle cry. "Saaaanguuiosss!" Anaerea Machaira called with them. Then they ran. Wind tore at them as they ran down their hill and up the next to the capital. The black walls of the city blended with the night


At the iron gate was two sentries. "Who leads this army?" called down a male sentry. Eiphero stepped forward. "Princess Anaerea Machaira, reincarnate of the Great Blood Emperor Anaerea Machaira and Ana, the Moon Mother and I Commander General Lord Eiphero of the red flame of the Blood Emperor Sareails army." he called. Eiphero looked at Princess Anaerea Machaira. She smiled and nodded in appreciation. "Lord Eiphero! We expected you tomorrow morning." the sentry said. "Open these gates, Darsian." said Eiphero calmly. "Yes, sir! Right away! Tasdan has gone to the palace.” said the sentry going to work. The gates were opened and Eiphero and Anaerea Machaira led the army into the city. Lights began to flare in the eye sockets of various reliefs on the buildings. The buildings were ancient and made during Blood Emperor Anaerea Machaira's rule. The artist had made the reliefs so that when the true Blood Emperor entered the city then the lights in the buildings would come alive and when the true Blood Emperor left then the lights would go out. "The city recognizes me." Anaerea Machaira said to Eiphero. Eiphero looked around with slightly wide eyes. "I haven't seen these reliefs light up since the death of the father of the last Blood Emperor. It seemed that the capital had not found a true Blood Child. Blood Emperor Sareail was adopted but his wife was of a descendant of ... you the Great Blood Emperor. You had the most vampire children ever." Eiphero said clearing his throat. "Yes. Ten. Six male and four female. My first wife bore me three. Then she died and my second wife bore me five. She was killed and my last wife had my final two. How many of my children remain?" Anaerea Machaira asked using some of Machai's memories. "Two remain. Both are your daughters. Euodia Chazon and Shaphiyr Optasia. They have three children between them. Chalal Emoi is Enodia's son he is almost a hundred years old. He is a cavalry captain. Merorah Iysh is Enodia's youngest daughter she is fiftyseven years old. She is currently married to my young brother, Reomai Rishon. They are supposed to have a baby in three months time. Lastly, Princess Shaphiyr's son Archon Emeth has returned from being an ambassador to the were folk. He is a strange one. He is seventy-nine. He was bitten by a were as a young vampire, so he has had the were virus in him. That is all."Eiphero said. Anaerea Machaira nodded her thanks and turned back to see that they had reached the palace. A large crowd had accumulated and were smiling and clapping. (Which is very enthusiastic for a vampire) Anaerea Machaira was ready to walk up the stairs and into the castle but she remembered that she wasn't the Blood Emperor to these vampires. Anaerea Machaira waited for Eiphero. Eiphero offered his arm to Anaerea Machaira who smiled and took his arm in hers. Inside was splendid. The decor had been changed over the years. But, the architecture was still the same. "Your Highness. The Blood Emperor Sareail and the Blood Prince Alektoro will be in the Death throne room awaiting to meet you. Do you wish to

change before you meet with them?" he asked a bit hurriedly. "I will go as I am in these clothes that a warrior would wear and with my weapons." Anaerea Machaira said certain. Mishan, the Hag and Eiphero's three wives followed in their wake. Eiphero signaled to a pair of guards dressed in black and white to open the doors. In the Death throne room everything was black, silver and white. Skeletons and skulls of different types were used as decoration everywhere. The throne chairs on the dais were made of bones. In the largest chair sat a tall very thin male vampire with blonde hair. He wore a black gold crown with blood rubies of varying shapes inlaid in the crown. He wore black which wasn’t a good color for him. Alektoro was blonde like his father and had red eyes that could appeal to the worst person in the world to help him. Anaerea Machaira focused her attentions on the King of the Vampires. He was the demon lord she had grown up hearing of. That was before all this. She approached the dais. Eiphero followed a step behind her. The silence was heavy and thick. It coiled around the room like a giant snake. Anaerea Machaira stood waiting and watching the king. He stared right back. He was measuring her. His face was stoic as she had always come to expect of the demons … vampire from stories she had been told by veteran soldiers and a knight or two drunk from good ale and beer. “My king, allow me to introduce Princess Anaerea Machaira, Second Level Knight, Biyn Mateteuo (Wise Scholar) of Stratologeo University, and the Daughter of the Great Queen Zanah and the Past Royal Husband Great General Lahat of the North Island Akathartos.” Eiphero said remembering Anaerea Machaira’s full title. “Ah. You are the one that Akzaree foretold about. Welcome my daughter.” the Emperor said with a warm smile. “I thank you, Blood Emperor Sareail. I am honored by your hospitality and by the acceptance of my presence into your coven.” Anaerea Machaira said with a hand salute of respect, that involved making the shape of a crescent moon over your forehead. There was more silence. Anaerea Machaira lifted an eyebrow. “Not meaning to judge you, Your Magnificent, but is courteous acknowledgement no longer practiced in the Land of No Sun or am I mistaken?” she asked head cocked. Anaerea Machaira heard the soft gasps of Tsitsua and Biyngia from behind her. Eiphero fell to his knees beside Anaerea Machaira. “Most High One! I beg pardon for Princess Anaerea Machaira. She is a human. Their tongues are not as guarded as they need be.” Eiphero said with bowed head. “Lord Eiphero. If, I need to apologize I will do so for myself. I need no one to speak for me.” Anaerea Machaira said face stoic. Eiphero looked up into Anaerea Machaira’s eyes. His widened and for the first time he was afraid. Never, not in any battle or duel, nor even when he thought he was going to die did he feel fear. Looking into the cold wild eyes of this princess scared. “Eiphero bowed his head to Anaerea Machaira. “I beg your forgiveness, my princess. I did not think before I acted.” he said. “I forgive you this once. Never do it again.” Anaerea Machaira said turning back to the king. “Did I misspeak earlier? I

thought I spoke fairly enough. If not please correct me.” Anaerea Machaira said head tilted to the side slightly. “You are perfectly correct. I simply was not treating you as I would any other vampire. I am pleasured to allow you to grace the confines of my coven.” Sareail said demonstrating the courteous acknowledgement salute, which involved touching your forehead with your index finger and extending your hand in the direction of the one you are acknowledging. Anaerea Machaira smiled. “Thank you.” She turned to look at Alektoro who sat watching with a amused expression on his face.

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