Creatures of the Night

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	A zombie put down a box, the glasses inside clinking together loudly, “Be CAREFUL with that!” The woman shouted at the hired help, “My drinkware is made of the finest glass! It would take four of your paychecks to replace just one of them!”
	“Miss Gastov,” The necromancer pleaded, “I can assure you that nothing will be broken by my movers. Shouting at them only upsets them further.” 
	Raphislavia Von Gastov looked down at the necromancer, “I hope you are right. For your sake. I will leave you to your work then,” She brushed her long black cape aside, letting it billow beside her before sauntering off, deeper into her recently purchased castle. The castle was said to be haunted, perfect for a woman like Raphislavia, a powerful vampire with gorgeous flowing white hair, piercing and powerful red eyes, frighteningly sharp teeth, and a wardrobe full of fine, red and black clothes. Today she wore a raven black uniform with red trim and a red tie. She stepped through the stone hallways and admired the gothic architecture. Skulls of stone lined the arches and pillars that held up the ceiling in larger rooms, Iron spikes lined the fences outside, and ghoulish gargoyles lined the highest parts of the castle roofs, “A bit more blood and some furniture and this will feel just like home!” The vampire cackled, “How wonderful it is to finally get away from it all. No more so-called ‘heroes’ will find me here and I will not need to lord over a tiny, insignificant village any more,” She breathed a sigh of relief as she went up a few flights of stairs to the bedrooms. The wooden floors beneath her feet creaked every so often. Soon enough, she was at a gorgeous wooden door, and through it was a masterfully crafted, large bedroom with its own fireplace and bathroom attached. The vampire could envision her coffin tucked neatly in one corner, the walls lined with bookshelves, a little table and a few chairs to give her somewhere to drink and read, and the thickest blackout curtains available covering the windows. She moved on to the other bedrooms, wondering how she would fill them with little trinkets she had collected over the many years of her unlife. 
	Raphislavia stopped as she spotted something by the entrance to one of the bedrooms. A waxy red substance had been scrawled across some of the otherwise pristine stone walls, “An effect of the haunting,” The vampire mused before opening the door next to the scrawls. This bed chamber was much smaller, but still had its own fireplace. More waxy substance had been drawn all over most every surface. With a scowl on her face, Raphislavia stormed into the room, she had been promised an immaculate castle, albeit a haunted one, why were there children’s doodles all over one of the rooms?
	As a quiet noise reached the gloriously pointed ears of Raphislavia Von Gastov, they twitched and perked up, tuning in to hear the sound. An echoing humming coming from the chimney had piqued her curiosity. She leaned down to the opening and cupped her hands in front of her mouth, “Hello? Is there someone in there?”
	“Huh?” A voice yelped before a small form crashed landed at the bottom of the fireplace. Black soot shot across the floor, coating Raphislavia’s shoes.
	Engraged, the vampire snatched up whoever had fallen and held them in one clawed hand, “Who do you think you are? Hm!? Living in MY chimney?”
	The small person coughed up the soot they had breathed in and stared at the vampire. Two black pupils stared back at her. In her hands was a little girl with a head of curly black hair, a pair of little horns and stone grey skin wearing an ill fitting hoodie covered in soot, “Your chimney?” She scoffed, folding her arms, still being held by the scruff of her clothes, “This is my chimney. I live in it.”
	“Gargoyle… did you just… talk back to me?” Raphislavia was wholly stunned. A fellow creature of the night had denied her?
	“Gargoyle? I’m Cathlyn, lady!” 
	“Cathlyn?” The name rolled off of the vampire's tongue in an almost pleasurable fashion. She let a chuckle escape her lips, “You amuse me, small one. How old are you? Two years of age?”
	“Two!?” Cathlyn hissed, “I’m six! Are you blind!?”
	This time, the vampire laughed loudly, “My, you have quite a bit of spice in you. Eugh,” Raphislavia looked at her nice white gloves, now covered in dark soot, “Child, you are filthy. One moment, Cathlyn,” The vampire cleared her throat, “Fiodora!” She hollered, her voice echoing throughout the castle. She scowled as she didn’t hear the sound of heels on stone floors, “Fiodora!” She shouted again down the halls, “Where is… ah. Right. I am without help for the next few days. Where are your parents?”
	The gargoyle looked down at her feet, “I-I don’t know… I’ve been waiting for them to come get me…”
	“What!?” Even if it was for only a moment or three, the vampire was speechless, “I may be a horrible monster, but even I know a child should not be abandoned! Oh, when I find out who is responsible for this, I am going to,” She glanced down at the gargoyle who gazed back up at her with big eyes full of wonder, “have… such… a talk with them,” With a strange, almost uncomfortable look on her face, Raphislavia tried to avoid violent language as she spoke to the child.
	“Okay!” Cathlyn nodded.
	“For now, you need to get cleaned up…” She set the child down and looked over her small form, “And your clothes need to be washed. Fiodora--” Raphislavia had to hold in her curses. She was on her own. Her mamano nature would not allow her to ignore a child in need but she didn’t know the first thing about how to care for another person, much less a minute gargoyle, “Yes…” She peered back toward her own room, “To the bath with you,” She set the child down and watched with glee as it followed her willingly. 
	In the bathroom, Raphislavia stared at the brass knobs that she assumed turned on the water. Despite being an old castle, it had been upgraded with modern amenities some time ago. She grumbled and turned the knob marked with an H and watched as the steaming water started to flow, “What’s your name, lady?” Cathlyn asked as she stared with her big black eyes.
	“My name is Raphislavia Von Gastov. I am the Lord of all creatures of the night! The matriarch of darkness! The--”
	“I’m gonna call you… Raphi,” Cathlyn decided with a big grin and a giggle.
	If any other creature had nicknamed her or interrupted her, Raphislavia would have been furious. But, something about how the gargoyle smiled and giggled made her undead heart flutter, “As you wish, Cathlyn,” The vampire grinned, showing the gargoyle her sharp teeth, “Now disrobe, you need to clean yourself.”
	“Myself…?” Cathlyn stared at the bath water, “There’s no soap…”
	“Must I do everything?” Raphislavia muttered before opening her mouth to shout for one of her aids, only to hastily remember she had none at the moment, “Wait right here,” The vampire left the child alone and found where the hired help had left her things. She dug through a box labelled toiletries and procured some simple bars of soap and a bottle of shampoo. Hurriedly, now ignoring the jostling of her fine eatery, she returned to find Cathlyn already stripped down and in the water, soaking in it up to her chin, “Here, I have found some soap for you.”
	“Could you, uhm, help me, Raphi?” Cathlyn pleaded sheepishly, sinking a little deeper into the water.
	Raphislavia sighed, “Of course,” She pulled off her soot-covered gloves and soaped up the child, making sure to scrub the dirt and soof off of the gargoyle’s soft skin, “How long have you been here, Cathlyn?”
	“I don’t really know…” The gargoyle frowned as she thought about it, “I just remember I was waiting for my mom and dad.”
	“Hmm… have you been eating? Please tell me you have not been catching and eating rats,” The vampire gagged just thinking about it.
	“Ew! No!” Cathlyn laughed, “I go into town and the nice lady, um, Anya, would give me leftovers. She even gave me some of her kid’s old clothes.”
“I see,” Raphislavia made sure to cup her hands and carefully pour the water over Cathlyn’s head to make sure no soap got in her eyes. The vampire found herself humming a sweet tune while she worked, finding working for this child to be enjoyable, unlike most other labor she had been forced to do in the past. 
	Raphislavia’s pointed ears perked up as she heard rapid steps on the stone floor. She thought nothing of it, thinking it was just one of the workers. As the bathroom door burst open, she whipped around, a glare on her face, “Lady Gastov!” A maid cried, before bowing, her head rolling off of her neck and being caught expertly by her arms as if she had done this a thousand times.
	“Fiodora. You are early,” Raphislavia scowled.
	Fiodora, the blonde dullahan with pale skin, nodded her detatched head before putting it back on. Cathlyn thought being able to remove your head would be cool. She could imagine all the fun pranks you could pull with it, “Yes!” The dullahan exclaimed, “I expedited my arrival as I could not stand the thought of you being alone in this big… castle. My lady, where did you acquire this child?”
	“You are interrupting bath time,” Raphislavia hissed at her man servant.
	“Its okay, Raphi. I can wait here if you need to talk to the headless lady,” Cathlyn grinned.
	“Of course, child. Wait right here.”
	The two left the bathroom and Raphislavia closed the door behind them, “My lady, take no offence, but I am surprised to see you doing work,” Fiodora giggled.
	“Was I just supposed to let that poor child languish in her filth!?” Raphislavia scowled.
	“I suppose not. I always forget how kind and loving my lady can be. Where did you find her?”
	“In the guest room chimney. I am unsure how long she had been in there. Fiodora, I have multiple orders for you.”
	“Of course, Lady Gastov,” Fiodora revealed a little note pad.
	“First, prepare a warm meal for Cathlyn. Second, prepare a bed for her in the guest room near my room. Third, procure some clothes for her. Fourth, there is a woman in one of the nearby villages named Anya. She was feeding the child and I wish to speak to her. Fifth, I wish to locate Cathlyn’s parents. For abandoning her they must be punished. You may give any of these tasks to any other servants that show up,” Raphislavia watched Fiodora write everything down.
	“As you wish, my lady. I am limited on what I can prepare at the moment but I will make something scrumptious for you and Cathlyn,” Fiodora bowed again and held onto her head to keep it from falling off. 
	Raphislavia took a few minutes to calm herself and returned to the bath, “Am I going to have to leave, Raphi?” Cathlyn asked, sinking a little into the bath.
	“No, of course not. You will remain in my care until you get picked up by your parents. However long that takes means nothing to me.”
	Tears filled the gargoyle’s eyes, “T-thanks, Raphi.”
	“No crying, Cathlyn. When you are finished bathing we will go have a delicious meal.”

	Raphislavia Von Gastov sat at the head of her massive dining table. A large cut of expertly seasoned meat sat on her plate which she ate slowly. Cathyln’s meal had been cut up into little pieces which she struggled to eat with her fork. She knew she had to use the fork as Raphi had explained that it was good manners to use it, but she wanted all the delicious food as quickly as possible. Fiodora placed a glass in front of Rahpislavia and poured her a glass of dark red wine, “Cathlyn’s bed has been prepared as you had instructed. I also found her some toys and stuffed dolls she might enjoy, as well as some clothes as you asked and brought Anya here to speak to you. She runs a bread shop east of here. I brought some for you to sample,” She set out a basket of fresh bread in front of the vampire and gargoyle.
	“Your proficiency never fails to  surprise me,” As the scent of fresh bread gently wafted to her nose, Raphislavia smiled. 
	“Shall I send the kikimora in?” 
	“Ah, a kikimora,” The vampire tore a roll in half before eating the buttery treat, “She may put you out of work with bread like this. Cathlyn, are you done eating?”
	“Yeph,” The gargoyle spoke with her mouth full. She swallowed her food, “Yes I am.”
	“Take some bread if you wish but you should retire to your room for the rest of the night. The sun will be cresting the mountains soon.”
	“Okay!” She grabbed a roll before letting Fiodora lead her to her bedroom.
	Within moments, a timid kikimora walked into the impressive dining hall, “Ah, miss Anya, a pleasure to meet you,” The vampire smiled, gesturing to the seat across from her, “I am Raphislavia Von Gastov and I must thank you for answering my summons. I know you living folk sleep during the dark hours of the day.”	
	“I-It was no trouble at all, Lady Gastov,” The kikimora nervously sat in the seat at the very opposite end of the dining table. Fiodora appeared and set a glass of wine in front of the kikimora, “I w-wake up quite early to begin baking. W-what is the reason for these summons, if I may ask?”
	“Ah, you wish to get down to brass tacks right away. It is about Cathlyn, the gargoyle you had been feeding and clothing. I wished to thank you for that,” Raphislavia explained in a very polite fashion, “I shudder to think what may have happened to her had you not stepped in.”
	The kikimora relaxed and sipped on the wine, “I would have taken her in if she had allowed it. But she was adamant her parents would come looking for her at the castle. But…” Anya trailed off, a look of distress on her face.
	“What is it?”
	“Well, Cathlyn, we have no idea where she came from. There were rumors of the previous lord and lady of this castle having a young daughter, but they were both human. Either Cathlyn monsterized shortly after being born, or her mother did. But the lord and lady died when I was very young and Cathlyn only appeared last month. I am not exactly and old woman… but…” 
	“I see,” Raphislavia nodded solemnly, “It falls to me to care for her, it seems. I will let her forget about her old parents as she hardly seems to remember them in the first place. I may have to tell her eventually, but only when she is ready,” The vampire drank the last bit of her wine and stared up at her chandelier, “Again, thank you, Anya.”
	“It was no trouble at all. I am just glad Cathlyn will have such a well off caretaker,” With a chuckle, the kikimora stood.
	“Oh, Anya. I wish to commission you for weekly bread orders. I will send someone to you with a list of what we desire. We have many mouths to feed here, you see. Of course I will be paying quite handsomely for the bread. Consider my business an extension of my thanks. I only ask that you to keep the garlic out of my bread,” The vampire smirked at her little joke.
	“Of course, my Lady. I will have it prepared as soon as possible!” Anya bowed before she was led out by Fiodora.
	Raphislavia sighed, her heart hurting for the poor gargoyle. She couldn’t bring herself to tell Cathlyn yet. It would need to be kept secret for now. She carefully stepped into the gargoyle’s room, noting that the crayon marks on the walls had all been scrubbed off. Cathlyn sat on the floor coloring a few drawings with her set of crayons on a few sheets of blank paper, “Hi, Raphi! Look!” With a proud smile, the gargoyle presented her art to the vampire. 
	She carefully took the drawing, “You should be in bed, little one,” Once she looked over the simple stick figure drawing of two people, the one in gray obviously being Cathlyn, and the taller cloaked figure being… Raphi.
	“But I wanted to draw you!” Cathlyn complained before yawning. 
	“May I keep this?” The vampire’s heart was fluttering again.
	“Of course you can, Raphi.”
	“Fiodora!” Within moments the dullahan appeared, eager to serve, “Please frame this wonderful art and place it within my chambers. I am sure you will find a good spot for it.”
Fiodora nodded and took the papers before exiting the room as quickly as she arrived. Cathlyn put up no fight as Raphi took her hand and pulled her to the bed. The gargoyle climbed into bed, letting the vampire tuck her in, “Will my parents be here soon, Raphi?”
	With watering eyes that she hid, Raphislavia nodded, “Yes. Until then, you may consider me your mother. Is that alright, Cathlyn?”
	“Okay, Raphi,” Cathlyn smiled and rolled over, getting comfortable. 
	“Sleep well, my precious gargoyle,” Raphislavia pulled the curtains closed to keep the sunlight out before simply sitting by Cathlyn’s bedside and stroking her hair until she drifted off to sleep.
	The vampire’s ears perked up as she heard numerous feet running down her halls. She frowned, wondering if the rest of her help had arrived. The door to the bedroom door burst open and a gaggle of adventurers poured in, “Fiend!” One cried, “We--”
	“SSSHHHH!” Raphislavia hushed them with a furious look on her face before pointing to the gargoyle who was thankfully still sleeping peacefully in her bed, “OUT!” She seethed in a hushed voice. The five adventurers, terrified of the vampire’s rage, filed out of the room and stood awkwardly in the hallway. Raphislavia exited the room and closed the door quietly before leading the intruders far away from her precious gargoyle’s bedroom. She stepped into the dining room and took a moment to straighten out her hair before turning to face the awkward looking human intruders, “Now… where were we? Ah, yes. You were calling me a fiend. I pray you have the steel to back up your words or you will not be leaving this place alive.”

One response to “Creatures of the Night”

  1. This is adorable. Its nice to see a Vampire as a nurturing mother instead of an ice queen for once. I hope we get to see more of these two in the future.


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