Disclaimer/Author's Note:

It's been more than three years since I finished my first fanfiction. When I found out about Trinity Blood a year ago, I wondered, why had Radu really joined the Orden in the first place? What would life be like if Gyula and Maria had a child, a half-breed accepted by neither side? Thus Kamaria was born. I own nothing but her; all else is copyrighted by original creator of TB.

Chapter One: Mother's Promise

It was late out that night when Mother didn't come home.

This wasn't unusual for her to not come home until very late, particularly on the holidays when she'd go down and bring the candy to the children of Istavan. Or enquire of a busy housewife if her child was any better.

But this night it was different.

There'd been a fever in our city for three months. Father had ordered me confined to the castle when it began. Perfectly fine with me. I didn't want to go out, not after my best friend Hans was one of the first deaths.

Perhaps that was why I was worried. That morning, when she had told us she was going out there to deliver medicine, I burst into tears. Highly unusual. My parents were shocked. I flew to her and clutched her around the skirts.

"Mama, don't go!" I wailed. "You'll never come back to me; you'll leave me and Papa, just like Hans!"

My father flinched. Mother shook her head, and bent down to my face, swollen with crying. "I won't get sick, dear. I've had the vaccine. So have you."

"The vaccine is experimental, Maria," Papa reminded her. "If you must go, promise you will be careful. I've heard there is unrest in the city."

"I will be fine, love. I will come back to you and Kamaria both. I promise." She kissed him, then tilted my chin up. "Listen, Kamaria. Do you know why you are named that? Do you know what Kamaria means?"

I shook my head, still tearful.

"It means 'like the moon.' No matter what, my little moon, I will make my way back to you and Papa in our castle of the night. I promise. Here." She removed her necklace, a round green stone set in a dark metal on a ribbon and placed it around my neck. "Keep this safe for me until I come back, okay?"

I clutched the jewel, stared at it for a moment, then nodded. "I will take it off when you return, mama."

I have never removed the necklace since that night.

Count Gyula Kadar went out in the morning to the church of St. Matthias and inquired of the sister if his wife had stayed the night. There had been a bad storm the night before, which might have excused her from not coming home. The sister told him that she had not seen Maria, but the medicine had been found placed on the doorstep.

Maria, however, had always made such deliveries in person. Something was wrong.

The Count went home, pale and worried, to find his silvery-haired daughter, small enough to be three years younger than she actually was, waiting for him. Her face became confused when she saw Maria was not with him, changing when he told her her mother was missing.

"You'll find her, right, Papa?" Kamaria asked, worried. When people went missing, her papa could usually find them if he tried. But he looked so upset.

"I'll do my best, sweetheart," Gyula told her, not willing or ready to explain the sick feeling in his gut.

"You—you mean you're not sure you can? Papa, what happened? Where is she?"

"I don't know, Kamaria. I have to find that out first."

Looking back, Kamaria wished she'd kissed her mother more, been better behaved, learned more from her. But it was such a short time—she was only ten.

By the time three months were gone, Kamaria knew her mother wasn't coming back.

After that, the half-Methuselah sort of raised herself. Kamaria studied as hard as she could, learning every language of the remains of Europe and of the new Empire. She became a computer programmer, learning Lost Technology and many other different branches of the cyberworld. She made it a special point to learn as much as she could about healing and surviving. And of course, about both Methuselahs and Terrans.

One thing that particularly worried both her father and her was how late her power would awaken. Blood tests had showed that Kamaria had the virus, but in a different stage than her father's. They had no idea how soon her power would awaken. Or in what form. Would she even be able to handle it?

Only time would tell.

Kamaria was sixteen when she made the decision to go to the Empire. Her power had still not awakened, and she was getting worried. Only two other half-breeds were on record at having survived to this age. There was still no sign for her; hell, she didn't even know what kind of sign to expect!

Her father, of course, was not happy with her decision. And he liked it even less when Kamaria told him she wanted to investigate the place on her own.

"Until your power awakens, you may well fall into danger with no way out," he warned.

"You have to let me grow up sometime," she answered. "Besides, the Empire will have the best technology and coverage about something like this. And I want to know what the outside world is like! I want to make friends without them being some kind of alliance. I want to live."

Gyula never completely agreed to that journey, but he seemed to realize at last that this was something his daughter needed to do. He gave her some money and a large supply of blood pills, and taught her what things she would need to know to prove who she was if she needed to get the Empress or the boyars to help her.

Kamaria set off early one morning after saying goodbye to her father, carrying his gifts and some food and wearing her mother's necklace under a high-collared traveling coat.

Neither of them could know that it would be the last time they'd see each other.

Two months later, Kamaria arrived in Empire Territory. She didn't know how she knew she had, but she did.

One final recheck of her supplies and Kamaria began the climb uphill. Maybe now she'd finally get to see what was happening. The Empire was always a mystery to her. But now she'd finally get to see it…

Her vision went black, then normal.

What?

Kamaria frowned, passing a hand across her eyes.

Then the sky went dark, and she felt herself collapse, becoming unconscious just as unbearable pain wracked her body.

As the sun was going down, two figures rode down the path on horseback. The light was now faint enough so that they didn't have to worry about the UV rays affecting them.

Ion Fortuna and Radu Barvon were taking a well-deserved break at the Earl's country house. Radu, after finally awakening two years ago, had inherited his father's position as Baron of Ludor. Since then, he had to deal with his responsibilities as a newly full-fledged Boyar without a break.

Worried about his friend's health, Radu had pleaded with the Empress, who had allowed him to drag Radu away from his desk for three months of undisturbed, untroubled fun. Hopefully, when he came back, he'd be able to deal with things more easily.

For now, they would be boys again, racing over the hills. Ion laughed as he moved to kick his horse into a gallop, just as the animal reared up, neighing loudly. Fortunately his training kicked in and he didn't fall off.

Seeing what had happened, Radu reigned in his own steed. "What's the matter?" he called out, dismounting.

"Something on the path ahead," Ion told him, also swinging down. "It frightened Dancer."

Radu looked in front of them to notice a small dark shape. He frowned. One of the reasons they had chosen to ride this way was that there were usually no people and few animals around at this time of day.

He stepped forward, and gasped in shock as the moonlight shifted from behind a cloud to expose a slender, petite silver-haired girl.

"Who on earth—" Ion whispered, also seeing the girl for the first time.

Radu stared at the girl, wondering who she was. She did not wear the usual clothes of the Empire—quite the opposite in fact. Running through his class lessons, he quickly identified the clothes as those worn by Romanian or Hungarian Terran males. But never could this girl be a Terran, not with hair the same color of the moonshine.

Kneeling, he placed a hand on her forehead, and gasped at how warm it was. No question about it, she was sick and running a high fever.

Looking up at his friend, he raised his eyebrows.

Ion nodded. "We'd better take her back."

"Ion…I think she's Awakening."