Tired of living a solitary existence for centuries, Dieri Bastiz sought peace from the Romani that had cursed him so long ago. The same ones that he'd hunted until he'd sated his thirst for vengeance. When Mirela appears into his path like a bird in flight, he finds the spark his life had been missing for so long. Yet all is not as it seems at this quiet faire. Can monsters truly be redeemed, or does loyalty reign?
What would you risk, to have it all?
Checking the time, he shoved his phone back into his pocket. They'd be throwing open the gates any moment now. While many tourists thought everything at the RenFaire was fun and games, few knew that there were actually quite a few “others” among them as the throngs of people paraded past decorated tents and stages. The first few centuries, he'd stalked Romani gypsies, feasting on their blood as terror made the taste so much sweeter. As the years went on, there had been fewer and fewer of them. He'd grown weary of his shitty afterlife, and even deemed Strigoi, he'd never harm an innocent. Only that hag's bloodline suffered at the likes of him. A rarity, for his kind, but he'd be damned if he'd allow himself to be a monster.
He'd damn near wiped them out. At the time, he hoped that he did. Now, it'd been decades. He simply wanted peace. He'd sought opinions from anyone who called themselves a diviner. His well-earned revenge in the past had come at a price. The only one who could lift his curse, supposedly, was one who came from the same line as the woman he'd bedded. Wasn't that the way it always went? Rash decisions rarely led to good things down the line.
He'd started hunting them for payback, now he hunted them for an entirely different reason. Centuries had passed. He'd met many Romani, but none from the bloodline he sought. It seemed for a while that every waking moment was spent trying to find a way to make it be the last. Many foolishly chased eternity. Immortality. If only they knew how much of a curse it truly was. He wouldn't wish it on his worst enemy. Dragged out of his morose thoughts by the sound of the locks beginning to click on the heavy gates to the fairground, he tried to arrange his expression into a neutral one. The crowd surged forward, all excitedly jabbering about what they were going to do first.
He did his best to shift out of the way as people went to barrel into him. Over the centuries, contact with the human, living scourge of his existence had been a constant reminder of what he'd lost. In that moment as his booted foot crossed the threshold, a frisson of what felt like static electricity wove over his flesh. Bright blue wards, normally unseen with the human eye, flared to life over the gates he'd just passed. His lips twisted in a wry grin. Finally. Someone here at this faire had power. True, unadulterated power. Those protection wards weren't meant to keep the likes of him out, no. They were however, meant as an early warning system. Somewhere, someone knew that a strigoi had just passed the boundary of the magic they'd woven.
Where was the bitch hiding? He'd checked the divination tents, the crystal jewelry tables. Hell, he'd even nonchalantly walked past the throughway where women in brightly colored skirts were dancing to jaunty tunes played by the small ragtag band. He knew she was here somewhere. Likely watching him prowl. He'd figured they'd be coming out of the woodwork to be the one to “slay” the beast that plagued them. That is, if she was one of the few family members left of the ones he'd done he best to wipe out. Hindsight and all.
Shoving his hands into his pockets, he groaned low. Perhaps she just wasn't here for the start of the show. He'd likely came too early. Giving up, he turned on his heel to head back towards the entrance. He'd try tomorrow when the bigger crowds were expected. As he went to dodge around the idiots with the instruments who weren't watching where they were going, he fell victim to his own idiocy. The slight female started up at him with huge gray eyes as she fumbled with the candles she'd been carrying. She was young, couldn't have been much past 25. To him, that made him feel ancient. Reaching out of instinct to help her up, he nearly gasped as her cape fell backward at the same moment, and his palm collided with soft, supple flesh.
It'd been so very long since he'd allowed himself such a luxury. The myth that Strigoi had no heartbeat and therefore had no bodily functions was just that, a myth. One he was reminded of again as she ducked her head, cheeks flushing slightly, making his gaze follow the downward path to the swell of her breasts trapped by the medieval style corset she wore. Her voice was soft, lilting. Almost musical as she spoke in a rapid pace that he could barely understand. Shaking his head in bemusement, he helped her to stand before he bent to pick up the basket she'd dropped, depositing her candles inside before handing it to her.
She was a beauty, that was true. His body had reacted in an uncomfortable fashion, but she wasn't for him. Her tousled blonde curls and light eyes were the fair opposite of the raven tressed vixens with bedroom eyes that he was after. Without responding to her queries, as he hadn't kept up with her inane flow of conversation anyways, he gave her a curt nod before he made a hasty retreat. Women were foul creatures, temptresses who made a man lose his mind. He had no use of them. Dallying in the sins of the flesh were what had gotten him to this wretched state. He simply wanted a way out. One that didn't include companionship and the gentle touch of a stranger, however his body may wish it so.