Screams were heard from the tallest tower of the castle as he ran, or rather practically flew, around the long dark halls and bolted the large, heavy doors and windows shut. The storm was raging, and the violent rain was hammering aggressively on the doors and windows of their ancient residence.

After all these years of fighting in wars, hiding from the public and trying to maintain a proper life, even with the villagers frightened of him, and his powers, this was the first time in several centuries, that he, himself felt fear.

He reached the last window and stared for a second, out into the darkness, in admiration that even the full moon, in all her glory, could not overpower the blackness of this storm. Never had he seen the night sky so angry. He slammed the window shutters, and in that same moment a bolt of lightning tore across the sky. For a split second, that felt like a hundred years (Trust me, he would know) everything was lit up as if the sun had suddenly burst out of hiding and bathed the castle in light. The thunder that followed, made every window in the castle shake and every plate and glass in the cupboards rattle. The sound of a thousand canons fired at once, roaring over the land.

Another scream, followed by loud crying was heard from the tower.

No doubt the weak-minded villagers would blame him for this extreme and frightening weather. And he couldn’t help but think they might be right. Maybe he was to blame for the weather. Maybe this was a punishment for what he had done. Or maybe it was a warning of what was to come.

He had sworn so many years ago that he would never love another. He had sworn to himself and to the gods, to never again court a mortal woman. But then he had met her. She was perfect in every way. And not at all afraid of him.

He was the lord of darkness. A monster. A murderer. A creature of the night.

She was the incarnation of light. A flower in the wind. The first flake of snow in the winter. The sun breaking through a rainy cloud. Her smile could warm the heart of even the coldest of the cold and lighten the soul of even the darkest of men. Even his.

He ran to the staircase of the tower. He had to get to her before it was too late. He had to see her again. Of all the power and riches, he possessed, he cherished her the most, even though she was a free spirit and he had no rule over her. He would trade all his gold, all his powers and even his immortality, just to see her one more time. Little did he know that he did exactly that.

He had promised this woman his life. He had gone out of his way to protect her from his less than fortunate life. He had been honest with her and showed her everything, so she would never feel fooled or lied to. And she had accepted him. All of him.

He was running up the stairs to the very top of the tallest tower of the castle. The tallest tower in all of Transylvania, in fact. The sound of crying had faded away now. Had it not been for the rain lashing against the walls and windows, the castle would have been completely silent.

As he reached the top of the stairs, he was just about to open the doors to their bedroom. He froze solid, when the bells of the castle clock chimed loudly. The bells drowned out the sound of the weather. Midnight. This day should have been the 29th of February. This day should have been the day for the miracle. But the 29th never came. It was quiet from the room, which could mean only two things. Either the miracle had come early, or, what scared him more, it never would.

He slowly pushed open the heavy doors, not knowing what he should expect to find in the chamber. Then he saw her, sitting on the bed.

She was crying. Cradling the tiny creature in her arms. She slowly turned her eyes to him. Through the quiet tears, she looked happy, though tired. She smiled at him, and then spoke, with her silk soft voice:

“Vino să-ți vezi fiica. Ea este frumoasa”.

To this day, she still is.