I was in the town. How wonderful the town was too! It was cute and small, you could walk from one end of it to the other in about 20 minutes. It was amazing! The women were kind and the men jolly. I wanted to stay here forever.
As I was walking into one of the small shops, I happened to see one of Dad's friends who spent a lot of time with me while I was growing up in my room. "Rodrico!" I call out to him and he turns around. Even though he was over 200 years old, he looked like a teenage boy of 16 or 17. He was talking with another man I didn't recognize. He had a grim look on before he turned, now it was relieved.
He says a polite excuse to the other man and then comes over to me, grabbing the sides of my arms with his large, soft hands. "Thank the Gods!" He cries out. "You're alright! Hurry Fallon! We must get you somewhere safe and hide you." He brings me over to the other man. "But why?" I asked, fright finding its way into my voice. "No time to explain this now. This is Marcel, and he will be taking us to a safe location. He is just like me and your father. Now we must go! Hurry!" He says in a frightened panic, pushing me down a back alley to a small Jeep.
"But what about Mom and Dad!" I say. "No time. Marie called me and told me to find you and get you as far from here as possible. Do you understand? We have to leave them. They told me specific instructions too. Whatever your father wants, I carry out for him. I am indebted to him for the rest of my life!" He says feverently. "Now, get in the car!" He pushes me forwards.
"Am at least allowed to call them?!" I shout. "No!" Rodrico yells with pure fear and panic in his voice. It takes a lot to scare a vampire, and especially Rodrico. He's the most hardcore and fearless vampire I know besides Dad. Apparently this situation was bad enough to scare him to the point a human would probably die from. "We want to be untraceable, and besides, Aubur said not to call. I trust him with my life to do what he says. After all, 26 years ago he saved my neck when he could've just let me die. I owe him everything for saving me that day."
"Okay." I say. "I trust you Rodrico. Not only are you a friend of Dad's, but you're a friend of mine. If Dad trusts you, then I trust you." "Alright." He says. "Can you please get in the car. We've got to go." He gestures to the Jeep behind him. "Okay." I say and climb in. Marcel is up front in the driver's seat, with Rodrico and me in the back. Rodrico slams the door behind him after climbing in. The windows are tinted to keep out the sun and the prying eyes of humans and vampires alike. Rodrico tells Marcel to start the car and hit the gas, and we are on our way.
"Do you think they'll be alright Rodri?" I ask wearily. "If I know your father Fallon, and I do, he can take care of himself and protect your mother if he needs to. HE won't be able to take them out that easily, not without a fight from Aubur. Your father is the most capable vampire I happen to know, and he has a lot of power and allies in our world. They'll be fine. I'm sure of it." He says quietly, worry still in his voice.
"Wait..." I say. "Who's the HE you were talking about?" He now has a puzzled look on his face. "I was talking about your father of course. Who else would I be talking about, Fallon?" "I don't know." I say. "You said HE wouldn't take them out so easily, not without a fight from Dad." "Oh." Rodrico says, seeming to remember saying that. "No one you need to know about, especially since he doesn't need to know who you are." "Please tell me Rodri. Please." I beg. "Alright." He says hesitantly, but he decides to tell me the backstory of how he and Dad met and what happened through the years until he met my mom and married her.
"It all started when I was a starving, unemployed vampire." He began. "You used to starve?" I ask. I had never imagined Rodrico as a starving vampire in desperate need of blood. "Yes. I did. It is something I never wish to relive either." He says with a hollow look. "I was going through the town I lived in begging for work and shelter. Keep in mind this is several years ago and in a vampire only society. Everyone looked at how thin and sickly I was due to starvation and turned me away. I went from town to town, province to province, looking for someone who could give me work, shelter, and blood. I finally came upon a small hidden vampire kingdom and went to the palace to look for the things I needed. I went and saw the Emperor to see if he would give me what I wanted. He turned me away after seeing me, like so many others before him. Walking out the door, I ran into a man dressed as lavishly as the Emperor himself. 'Must be his son...' I thought to myself. The man grabbed my arm and looked at me. I cowered away, afraid of this prince seeing me, an ugly, undernourished vampire peasant.
"'Father?...' He said to the Emperor without taking his eyes off of me. 'Did you turn this man away from a request?' 'Indeed, Aubur, I did. This man wants more than I would like to provide a commoner.' 'What did you request?' The prince now identified as Aubur asked." "Wait. My FATHER is the PRINCE of all vampires?!" I ask, my eyes wide with wonder. "Indeed, which makes you a princess." Rodrico tells me. My body goes still with shock and realization. He resumes the story. "So he asked me what it was I longed for and I told him that I pined for work, shelter, and blood to feed off of, for I was very weak. Immediately, he called his personal guards and told them to find me a room, clothes, and a human servant to feed from. He then told me to lean on him for support to take me to my new room, assigned close to his quarters. I could barely walk, let alone stay standing, and as compassionate as he was, he considered me gratefully as he took me in.
"He didn't ask my name or where I came from until I was fully recovered, and when he did ask, it was with gentle demeanor, not demanding control. He told me I was to be his personal servant, to stay close to him at all times. But he didn't treat me as a servant, he treated me as a friend. I grew to love your father, and gave him advice on many things he couldn't deal with on his own. I was with your father for 4 months when his betrothed and her family came to the royal palace. She was lovely in face, but cruel in act and spirit. She was jealous that I spent a lot of time with your father and that I followed him around all the time. It was my job, and I was paid well for it.
"One day while we were out in the garden for a party, she asked Aubur if he would send me away because she felt too uncomfortable with me around. He said that having me around was fine, that he actually enjoyed my constant company like no one else's. She then began to whine that once they were married, I'd be unemployed as his personal servant anyway. Still the young Prince refused to send me away. His betrothed was upset about it too. But she took it in good graces to please him.
"Later that evening, when I was sent to fetch the royal messenger for Aubur, she found me and decided to give me a nice little "talk" about my young master. She told me to leave the palace and never return, for I didn't belong here anyway. When I refused to leave Aubur's side, she slapped me and called the guards. "He tried to force me to sleep with him!" she had told them, and the next thing I knew, I was thrown into prison, starved once again, and beaten harshly.
Several days later Aubur came down to the prison in search of me. He found me lying in a pool of my own blood. "Thank the Gods! I found you! I was extremely worried. Lillia told me you had run away, but I didn't believe her. I've been looking for you for days! What in the God's name are you doing down here though? And why are you beaten to a pulp?" He had asked his voice was thick as if he had been about to cry. "Guards! Let him out of that cell immediately!" "But Sire," one of the guards had answered. "He awaits trial for the sexual harassment of the Princess of Belhaven!"
"'What!" He had exclaimed looking down at me in the cell. "Rodrico is my FRIEND and servant. He would NEVER do anything like that! I KNOW he wouldn't! Now, release him this minute, or I will relieve you of your duty! Permanently!" His voice was extremely severe and controlling. It had been the first time I had heard him use that tone, and it frightened me. The guard opened the cell with shaking hands and the young Prince rushed in, knelt, and cradled my head in his lap. I was breathing harshly from blood loss and starvation, and the Prince of the vampires stared down at me with worry. ME! A lowly common vampire whom nobody cared about, nobody but this compassionate Prince who loved me as if I were his very brother.
"'Run!" He said to the guard. "Get help from the Medical Wing! Go!" He shouted as he still looked at me, hoping with all his heart that I would make it through the next few minutes. "What have they done to you Roddy?" He had whispered to himself. "We're going to make you better. Don't worry, don't worry." I wasn't worried, but I had the feeling the last part was for himself. "Please Roddy, don't give up yet!" he had shouted as he saw my breaths becoming shorter. "Hang in there Roddy, you can do it!" Tears had started to stream down his face at this point. "Hang in there!" He then pulled my body into his arms and wept full on. "You have to make it Rodrico, you have to! I can't live without you! Please!" That's when the medical help had arrived. Aubur was dragged away from me screaming to be by my side, but the doctors said that I needed space. They had to perform a surgery if I was going to survive, and it was going to have to be a quick one, or I would die. At that point dying didn't seem that bad. If I had died, I would have died knowing someone in that cruel world loved me enough to want me to live.
"I passed out to the screaming voice of your father saying "You can't let him die Doc. You can't let Roddy die. Promise me you won't let him die here." And the doctor had replied "I promise Sire, I will do the best I can to save him." Then I was gone.
"When I finally woke, it was around midnight, I guess. I opened my eyes to your father's face hovering over mine with a worried expression. As soon as he saw that my eyes were open, his face came alive with joy. I didn't understand what the big deal was. He saw the look on my face and told me the story. "You've been asleep for a long time." He told me. Apparently I had been in a comatose state for a year and a half. "I was afraid that you might never wake up. If you hadn't, I probably would've died myself because of grief. He had said. "No you wouldn't have." I had told him jokingly. "You would've still had your wife."
"He then looked at me with a puzzled stare. "What wife?" He had asked. I thought he was kidding, but apparently, he was serious. "WHAT?!" I practically yell at him. "You didn't marry Princess Lillia?!" "No." He had stated. "I was too upset and struck with the grief that you might not wake, that I told Lillia when you woke, IF you ever woke, if she wanted to ask for and try to earn my forgiveness and take my hand later the next year she could. But I told her that if you died because of her selfish actions, then she would never have my forgiveness for what she'd done." He was somber, angry, passionate and joyful all at the same time. "You didn't need to do that." I told him quietly. "I'm just a commoner, and an extremely lowly one at that." Aubur's eyes had then taken a sudden fierceness and distraught look to them. "Don't EVER say that about yourself!" He had commanded. "You are much more to me than a common SERVANT! You are my FRIEND, my BROTHER even! Don't ever say you're anything else than that! EVER!" "Okay." I had replied as he came and embraced me fiercely. I had become speechless and let my tears flow at his affection. He then pulled back, and placed his hands on my cheeks. " You are my brother, and NOTHING can ever separate us." He had said softly as he placed a tender kiss on my forehead. "Now, rest. You'll need your strength for tomorrow. You'll be re-teaching yourself to walk." And with that he had walked out of the room. I was still shocked and speechless by his actions and words.
"As the months went by, I became as strong as I did before the incident had happened. Maybe even stronger. Around April of the next year the Princess of Belhaven had returned. As soon as she got to the palace she saw me and cast her face downwards. In the next moment she rushed up the steps and smothered me in a sorrowful and apologetic hug. "Oh Rodrico!" She had exclaimed. "Please forgive me. I did you wrong because of my jealous nature. I wanted the Prince to myself, and I let his friendship with you anger me into doing what I did. I'm so extremely sorry!" "It is not me that you should apologize to Highness." I said to her. It is Prince Aubur who requires your apologies." "Of course." She had said humbly and with humility. "Where might he be?" I tell her that he is getting ready and escort her to the study to wait. "I'm sure Aubur will be down shortly. Please have some tea while you wait Miss Lillia." I step out of the study and head in the direction of mine and Aubur's rooms.
"I find his and knock on the door before stepping inside quietly. He was sitting on the bed, reading a novel. "Aubur, the Princess has arrived. She is in the study, waiting patiently." I said. He set the book down and looked at me. His eyes had been filled with some of the anger and hatred from the incident that occurred about 2 years ago, but he slowly let it fade. A smile took up his features. "Alright." He said and he stood up. "Let's go see her." We walked in silence the whole way to the study. I went ahead of him to open the door, but he stopped me. "You don't have to act like a servant around me Roddy." He said compassionately. "Remember, you are my brother. Nothing less." I had nodded as he opened the door and we stepped inside.
"I'm going to skip some because this is a very long story." Rodrico says. "Alright." I say. "Whatever works for you. I want to know how Mom and Dad got together though." "Okay Fallon." Rodrico says and jumps back into the story.
"Aubur forgave the Princess with much "encouragement" from me, but thankfully he did. One day, months later, he went into the village of his people and saw the weekly wagon of feeders coming through. Your mother was on that wagon, shackled and bound with vampire metal, a metal heavy to humans, but feather-light to someone like me. Your father saw her and had her released from the wagon. She was afraid because she had been kidnapped in the night from her parent's house. She was a teenager then. Aubur fell madly in love with her and asked her to marry him. She fell in love with him when she saw how kind and compassionate he was, and she agreed to marry him.
"They wed and then fled the kingdom from the Emperor's wrath. 10 years later, you were born and I found my way from the kingdom to your father. I had taken countless beatings from the Emperor over the 10 years for not telling him where he or your mother were and I was through. When I finally found your mother and father, I found out they had you. I was overjoyed to get to be a part of your upbringing, and so were your parents. Your mother loved me as much as your father did, and I loved being able to spend time with you while you grew up."
"And now, you're out in the world, and you may be in danger, all because I left the kingdom. I'm so sorry Fallon. If I hadn't left, then the Emperor wouldn't be searching for Marie and Aubur now. I've endangered the only family I've ever known." He put his head down in his hands and cried. "It's okay Rodri. I know you didn't meant to. You just had to get back to your brother is all. I would've wanted to do the same. I love you for you, no matter what Rodrico." I say as we continue our journey...