Author's Notes: Hello everyone, just an idea I got and thought we could see how it goes. I am drawing inspiration, from Warhammer novels, The Nights' Dark Masters from Fantasy Flight Games and elsewhere, such as the Ulrika Warhammer novels. I own nothing but my own thoughts.
The music reverberated through the ballroom of the Von Gladischer Altdorf estate as the party-goers moved to it. Elsa Von Gladischer, wineglass in one hand and a feathered fan in the other, watched the dancers with a calculated eye though seemingly uninterested eyes. While it appeared that she was watching the graceful dance, in reality she was watching two dancers in particular; Lucretia Klemperer and Marius Behner. Lucretia had been Elsa's rival for some time, had she been of a philosophical bent Elsa was have said they were fated to be foes as their families had been at one another's' throats for years. But for Elsa and Lucretia that was of little consequence. They had hated each other for most of their twenty years, each trying to outdo the other in all matters.
Elsa had recently scored a victory when she had successfully seduced Marius, whom Lucretia had been courting. Just then the man in question came into view and smiled at Elsa as he whirled past and she returned the gesture. In truth, she found him rather boring and could not for the life of her see why Lucretia had wanted the man. He was selfish, vain and obsessed with his own wealth and looks, both of which he owed to birth and not to any effort of his own. In truth Elsa was the same and perhaps that was why she found him so boring, they were simply too much alike. She had really only wanted him because Lucretia had been pursuing him, now that she had ruined him for her rival she doubted that she would keep him around much longer. She doubted he would care, it was a not uncommon practice among those of the noble class of Altdorf and he would soon find someone else. His wealth would ensure that he had no shortage of women pursuing him and men could indulge in far more desolate lifestyles than women could.
The thought of him moving on was the only part that annoyed her, not his leaving but the fact that he could. She would have preferred him to be poor, not too poor of course as she had little use for peasants, but she would have liked to have held the power of the purse-strings over him. That was what she found truly pleasurable, to have power over others, to force them to bend to her will or be crushed by her. Fortunately, the Empire was filled with impecunious nobles to provide her with amusement. It amused her to see those she had tired of following her around like a puppy begging for scraps, knowing if they failed to pleas her she could cut them off. The Von Gladischers had always been wealthy family and as the sole heir Elsa had inherited it all and as she was the last of her family it was all for her enjoyment. She had no children and wasn't planning on having any. When she was gone, it would be over and she did not care, the money was more than enough to last the rest of her life and she had no care of what came after.
With that in mind, she cast about the hall looking for a new conquest. To her displeasure she found that the pickings were on the slim side. Most of the men she would be interested in were either those she had dallied with before or who had sufficient funds to be able to ensure they would not be at her mercy for money. Just as she was about to give up, a new face caught her attention. He was a tall men, not slim but not burley either. He had light brown hair and gray eyes. His face bore the haughtiness of most nobles but it was his clothes which truly intrigued Elsa. They were clean and well-cared for but anyone could tell at a glance that they were at least a year old and therefor hopelessly out of fashion. To the trained eye it was clear what he was, an impecunious noble hoping to wheedle money from those present. Perfect. Just then the music stopped ending the dance. Taking advantage of the opportunity Elsa started to walk toward the stranger. To her delight her path took her past Lucretia. As she walked by her rival she leaned in to whisper in Lucretia's ear.
"You may have Marius back. I'm done with him." Smirking at the look of rage on the other woman's face Elsa continued to walk on towards her new target.
The stranger had moved from the dance floor to the entrée table, he had ignored the food but had taken a glass of wine. As she drew near Elsa slowed as she approached and considered her options. This was always the tricky part, how to approach a new conquest. She knew that she was beautiful woman; though only of average height she had an exhalent figure. A lifetime of sleeping late and enjoying parties long into the night had given her the pale look which was all of the rage at the moment and completely free of freckles, despite her bright red hair which was her favorite feature. Her eyes were a bright green and, she had been told full of life. Still looks were not enough, men could be so picky about how a woman presented herself. Some like a bold, out-going woman while others preferred a woman to appear shy and demure, it gave them a sense of power. As it happened, the problem was solved for her when the man started to approach her. As he came up to her he executed a graceful bow.
"My lady, if I am not mistaken I have the honor of addressing the Lady Elsa of the illustrious Von Gladischer family?" Elsa gave cheerful and completely false laugh, even as she noticed his voice bore an accent.
"You do indeed Sir."
"Then it is your hospitality that I must thank for this wonderful evening I am enjoying." At this he bowed again. Elsa gave a slight curtsy in acknowledgement of the complement.
"I fear Sir that you have me at a slight disadvantage. You have my name, but I do not have yours." He made a quick bow and gave a small chuckle which was as false as Elsa had been.
"Oh forgive me, I am Niklaus De Mont, late of Carcassonne."
"Ah, a Bretonnian." Elsa said; "One sees far too few of your fine countrymen in the city. Have you been here long?" Men, Elsa knew, always liked to talk about themselves."
"Not for some time I fear. My father is a baron there and I fear some harsh words were spoken and I thought it best to visit the Empire, something I have always wished to do and let both our heads cool."
So. Elsa thought contemptuously. You made Papa, the local tyrant, angry and had to run for it before he had you disemboweled or whatever it is you backwater savages call justice. Looking at him she began to think this might be more trouble than the entertainment was worth. He would either be too proud to ask for help, which would make her do all of the work of forcing him to take it which would make it no fun at all. Or he would practically beg on hands and knees. While this was satisfying in the short run it grew boring very quickly. Her thoughts were interrupted by De Mont talking again.
"I feel I would be a complete failure as a guest if I do not have at least one dance with you." He gave another bow and offered her his hand.
"Might I have the honor of this dance?" Elsa suppressed the urge to groan. Having decided he would provide her with any amusement she was eager to get away from him as quickly as possible. Still, she could not simply refuse, that would be seen as very poorly bred. She would have to be more gracious about it, fortunately she had an out in the form of Marius.
"You honor me with your request De Mont and I would but I promised this dance to Marius Behner. I fear that where I not to keep my word I would wound him deeply." She turned to go but to her surprise he took her hand as she tried to leave.
"I insist on having this dance with you." She turned back to give him an angry retort when her eyes locked with his.
She had not realized how deep his eyes were, like twin pools. She tried to look away but found that she could not. The longer she looked into them the more the world around them seemed to fade away; the music and sounds of revelry all seemed to fade away, leaving only Elsa and De Mont. Elsa felt dazed, as if she had not slept for some time or if she had drunk too much wine. She felt her will to resist fade away and she found that she wanted to give in to his demands.
"Very well." She said, her voice sounding dreaming and her mind having difficulty focusing.
They whirled through the dance as if in a dream, nothing seemed real but De Mont, everything else seemed to slid around in her mind like a half-remembered dream. She was a magnificent dancer but he made her feel like a clumsy child and his grip was firm and strong. She found that she could not take her eyes away from his and it was he who broke contact. Once that was done things slowly began to slide back into focus, though she still felt dazed and confused. As she tried to shake off whatever it was she had been experiencing De Mont scanned the room.
"I do love these social interactions but they bore me after a while. Come, let us go somewhere private." He was being incredibly impertinent and forward but Elsa found herself nodding in agreement.
He took her hand and led her from the ballroom, through a set of double doors and out into the gardens. These were extensive and well-maintained by a small army of gardeners. There were numerous bushes and shrubs and as they passed some of these the sounds of couples taking advantage of the privacy that these afforded. At these sounds De Mont smirk in way which was half amusement and half contempt.
"They do seem to be enjoying themselves don't they?" He asked her. She smiled at him and nodded. In truth, even without whatever it was that was effecting her she would have shared his view. While a roll in the bush was something she had done herself it had always been to profit her in some way, to steal from a rival or to cement her position. The thought of doing it merely for pleasure was an alien concept to her and she found herself looking down on those who indulged themselves thus.
"Rather like cattle aren't they?" She whispered theatrically in his ear. He responded which a laugh which both chilled and thrilled her simultaneously.
"I knew you were a woman after my own heart. Yes, your assessment is an accurate one. Peasants of course are little better than cattle, in both looks and intelligence. But I find many nobles are just as bad. They think so small and have no vision, many of them aren't even true nobles but moneyed peasants who wormed their way in among their betters."
"I feel the same way." Elsa said truthfully. "They think their money is a substitute for breeding and class. One must tolerate them I know, but when you see them prancing around in their silks and velvets I always feel the urge to order them to mop the floor or fetch me a drink." Again he laughed.
"I see you are a women of imminent good sense. It is so rare in this age to find a noblewoman who has proper pride in her class. Yes, you are exactly what I need and perhaps even more."
Their walk had brought them to a secluded spot and he drew her close to him and in leaned in as if to kiss her. She had lost control of the situation but she found she did not mind and she closed her eyes in anticipation. Her last sensation was not his lips on hers but his teeth in her neck.
Author's Notes: Hey everyone, what did you think? I want to try something a little different with this story, so we will see how it goes. Who did you dislike the most of this chapter? Till next time please pray for the Christians being persecuted in Pakistan and elsewhere, including girls and woman kidnapped and forced to convert and marry. The miners in Pakistan trapped from a cave-in and everyone else who needs prayer. For those of you who have read my other stories and who prayed for Pastor Saeed and the Pastor who was shot but they say will pull through, Jesus saw fit in his plans to answer them in the affirmative. Thanks and may Jesus bless you.