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Save the Children.
Rescue the Clones.
Kill the demon.
In order to do those things Autumn needs to wake up the cranky, old-fashioned Dragon Lord and get him to help. She is going to rock his world!
“She knew exactly what she wanted in life. She had a list. Nowhere on that list was there room for an overbearing Dragon Lord.” ~from the journals of Autumn Dracore
Autumn started at the top of the castle and worked her way down. It was a big place. She was beginning to regret telling everyone that she had to do this alone.
She didn’t know why she felt that way. But the sensation was reinforced by Vlad’s reaction. He insisted that she go by herself.
When Matei and Yousef tried to argue with him, Vlad simply locked them in the dungeon at Dragon Home. Which was quite a feat. Normally the Dragon Witch castle answered only to them, but when Vlad waved his hand the floor literally dropped out from beneath the two lords and they were sucked into a cell in the bowels of the caste.
Autumn closed her eyes and sighed. She didn’t even know there was a dungeon at Dragon Home. Not the type with small cement rooms and magically enforced metal bars.
The shocked look on Midnight’s face made her believe that their coven leader had no idea either. Which meant there was more to Dragon Home than any of them realized, or…their magic allowed Vlad to hijack it and create the dungeons.
She wasn’t sure which made her more nervous.
Then she sighed. Yes…yes, she did. Vlad having any control at Dragon Home made her way more nervous. But so did the thought that somehow the Witch’s castle knew they would NEED a dungeon and lockable cells.
So, here she was. In what appeared to be the deserted Dracovin Castle. So far, through all the dozens of rooms, and halls, and keeps or fortified towers…she hadn’t found a hibernating Dragon Lord.
For the first hour she had simply sat in the Knight’s Hall on the main level and searched the internet for floor plans, or history on this very impressive castle that was surrounded by high battlements, a long bridge over a moat, and a draw bridge.
Midnight had been so impressed with the moat and drawbridge, that Dragon Home had magically added those features to their castle as a wedding gift for her and Matei. The Coven leader had been nagging about them for decades, so Autumn figured their magical home did it for its own sanity.
She knew the large edifice had feelings and a sense of humor. Which is probably why it allowed Vlad to lock the Dragon Lords in the dungeon.
Okay. That made Autumn feel better for some reason. She didn’t want her home to turn over stewardship of the Dragon Witches to the Vampire. If the house thought this was a good joke, it was okay.
Dracovin Castle was nothing like Dragon Home. For one thing it was steeped in human history. Dragon Home was secluded from the human world in a magic bubble. She grinned. And looked out one of the windows.
From where she sat, she could see one of the three-pointed towers guarding the perimeter of the castle. In the hall where she worked, there were marble columns that surrounded the room and stood about four feet from the wall. This is the room Matei used to hold the fledglings when he captured them.
Autumn grinned. Thinking about that made her more positive that Dragon Home put the Lords in the dungeon for its own reasons. It used the vampire to have a bit of its own revenge.
During the hour she spent on the net she discovered that one of the most famous figures connected to the castle in the town of Hunedoara was Vlad. There were conflicting reports. One source said he’d been imprisoned here. That several hundred years ago, a man named Matthais Corvinus had been an ally turned enemy of the man many called Dracula. Another source claimed that was a lie.
The rest of the information had more to do with Vlad’s territorial expansions. That he wanted to be obeyed in all things and was extremely power-hungry. Autumn snorted. Nothing new there. She did learn that Vlad valued honesty however he enforced his values and idea of loyalty by extreme means. Basically, if you were his enemy or disagreed with him—then he would make an example of your death. The reason given behind Vlad’s supposed imprisonment, was that Matthais had been friendly with Vlad and when he changed his mind, he figured he needed to put the “The Impaler” behind iron bars before he confessed to that change of heart. If that truly happened it would have been a good idea.
Autumn spent exactly ten seconds wondering if she should call Vlad and ask him if he knew about any secret rooms, before realizing if he’d known anything, he would have told her before she left. The rumor of Vlad having spent any time in this castle had to be false.
She breathed a sigh of relief. She really didn’t want to talk to him.