Just the beginnings of a draft I've been writing over and over again in my notebooks
| Atli strung his bow in the shadow of the setting sun. "Like a cat on the prowl," he whispered to himself. His black cloak hung around his shoulders gently wafting in the breeze, the dying light warming his skin. He jumped to his feet and surveyed the castle, if you could call it a castle.
Elves have a way of building things, living things, living buildings, he corrected mentally. This 'building' was made of trees, yet one could walk it's halls, it was truly a palace ordained with beautiful stone, and yet it was grown. He marveled at it, it would always grow and change, and be pruned to whatever need they had of it. It was forever alive to them and they shaped it, a little trick they picked up from sprites...sprites were a breed of their own, he thought. Elves used magic, sprites were magic. Elves revered them, but there were few other races that knew of their existence. One clan of dwarves but that was because their royal house descended from one. How that happened Atli mused, I'll never know.
He guarded the outer edges against all the things that he knew went bump in the night. "Things like me," he muttered out loud. "And I hope I don't run into another one of me out there."
He wasn't the only vampire living in the castle, there were plenty of others. Most worked and lived and got along just fine with their neighbors and hosts. Others were wild, and a few were truly bad. But in this castle the job mostly required to keep the 'wild' ones out. Those who had gone into a rogue state, who preyed on anything or anybody they happened to cross out there. Some desparate enough would attempt the gates. Humans were easy prey though, elves were not, but a starving vampire wouldn't care and either had a death wish or had gone insane. He could manage to pick anything off from the walls with his crossbow. His eyes worked much better in the dark than any elf. A fact that galled some of the other elven guards, but made him useful at night.
"Bloody elves, and their living castle."
"Now you don't mean that," a soft voice whispered from behind him. His heart skipped a beat, he'd been thinking too much and had been caught unaware.
"Sar." Atli turned to look at her. She walked to him and smiled, her skirts swishing, a sound usually ignored but Atli's incredible sense of hearing picked up on it and it always sent a thrilling charge through him to have her so near.
He wasn't fooled by her dress, as fancy as it is, as a lady of this realm she is also a trained fighter, an elf, among one of the people's who live as long, or longer than his own race of Vampires. All elves train to fight, no matter their station or profession. In times of war, a prince is equal to the pauper when it comes to battle. Sometimes their survival depends on it. Atli knows looking at her, that she is just as deadly, if not more than he is.
"Sar," he says again, "it is late. Even for me."
"I know but I couldn't sleep."
"Now do not put too much hype into a prophecy, Sar." He couldn't help the sarcasm in his voice.
"Atli, it is about you." She put her hands together over her light blue dress and eyed him.
He sighed. "It could be anybody."
"No." Her deep blue eyes focused on him, and he thought he was going to drown. "You. The one the demons drove away, will return to push back the Fay."
"It's cute, Sar, it's a catchy diddy by the way." He was feeling nonchalant again. Ever since their seer had spoken that sentence, he would hear the whispers behind his back. He had settled here because Elves did not hunt down vampires like the rest of the world, they treated them respectfully knowing their true origin and even hired them as guards (or in his private opinion nursemaids to the royal family).
"It could be anybody."
"It's you, there is no one else."
"Not that you know of."
She smiled and put a hand to his cheek. "Stop being stubborn. It is you."
Her touch caused him to stand stock still, just enjoying the touch, the feeling of her fingertips on his cheek. Cupping his hand over hers he smiled down at her. Could stare into those eyes forever, he thought. "I have to go, love. Patroling to do, things to kill, elves to protect. No being caught out with the vampire after dark."
Saraisen smiled and withdrew her hand. "Be careful."
Her name meant twilight and it suited her. Her long dark hair trailed down her back and her skirts still swished as she walked away growing fainter with the distance.
Feeling the world was just a bit duller for lack of her presence Atli, shouldered the crossbow and checked his sword. "I hate prophecies," he muttered to himself, "always getting in the way of living. Get you killed and what not."
Of course he had other things to worry about. Getting caught with Saraisen, the kings second daughter was likely to get him killed. He was always respectful to her, even alone, and he still could not believe of all people she could have chosen to look at, she chose him. And she always knew where to find him. A vampire of all things, not to mention his lack of ethics, mannerisms of the elves, and he could go on.
"Sar," he muttered as he sauntered out into the gloom, "you are my impossible dream. Bloody unlikely but I can't help it."