The rules are simple. No guests may attack any of the staff. They are here to provide a service and killing is strictly prohibited. No fighting over mates or lovers. Should a fight break out, all damages will be recovered regardless of who the guilty party is. No shifting or using of magic within the building or surrounding premises. Vampires go to the second floor and the rest is on third and fourth. The top floor is off limits to all guests. It is a private suite for the owner. The first floor is for medical staff and patients only, along with close family.
When the renovations to the hotel started, it was the talk of the town. There were plenty of threats, slaps on the back and attacks, but we are still standing, and business is booming. I think it is because of the protection that we receive from the Supernatural Council and the Chairman, Lord Bolton. You see, the Slate Hotel is no ordinary hotel that gives a bed and serves breakfast to ordinary people. We provide a safe house to all creatures of the night and serve those that is misunderstood most of the time. It serves as a pack house away from a pack house, a home away from home. These guests are extraordinary and need extraordinary care.
Situated in the main street in the town called Windy Acres, we try our utmost best to avoid conflict, but that is not always achievable. Shoulders do rub from time to time and the place turns into a war zone in the blink of an eye. Since we are situated on the edge of the desert, bordered by the ocean and wedged in by a huge overgrown forest, and overlooked by a mountain range, this makes the place quite diverse. Hotel Slate is on top of a Supernatural Crossing and serves as neutral ground to all, both human and creature alike.
Windy Acres is situated on the edge of the Bell Desert in the North, home to the Desert Wolves Pack. The Cypress Ocean in the South, where the sea fairies take refuge. The Hallow Forest in the West, mostly home to vampires where they can lurk in the shadows and the Callous Caves in the East. Home to the witches. It forms a playground for all kinds of fascinating creatures and humans alike. Well, apart from the wind that is constant, the climate is pleasant all year. Rogues, humans, vampires, werewolves and fairies alike, also showed interest in Windy Acres. A center territory, a small goldmine for business. And everybody wants a piece of it, whether they are good or bad.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Christy Slate, daughter of Christina and Dimitri Slate who were both Healer Mages. I was born in Windy Acres and an only child. My parents came with a human gang, The Blood Gang. They were brought, rather forcefully, to serve as healers to the leader and his minions, but their services were over before it even began. The citizens weren’t too happy about the newcomers or the trouble that came along with them. The leader of the Blood Gang disappeared without a trace along with his minions. Christina and Dimitri were approached by the “Mayor” of the town. The powerful vampire king, Lord Lance Bolton, who appointed them as the healers of the town. Once I was born, the vampire prince, William, appointed himself as my guardian. He treated me like a little princess, wrapping me in cotton, afraid I would break if not handled with care and he became the protective big brother.
William and I became inseparable. He stood at a staggering two meters. Broad shoulders, every inch of him, lean muscle. His face a blueprint of a god framed by dark waves of hair that hung just beyond his shoulder blades, deep blue oceans for eyes one could drown in. Perfect, full lips and a masculine jawline. I got how young women could throw themselves at his feet, but he always remained a true gentleman.
He would sneak me out at night and the next morning all hell broke loose, because I was missing. They would then find me sleeping peacefully in William’s library where he would read or tell my stories about the supernatural and mysterious worlds of Windy Acres. I was captivated by the fascinating world of vampire princes and Lycan Guards. I’d wake the next morning with a blanket covering me, but it never occurred to me that he was part of the many stories he told me about vampires, werewolves, witches and Lycans. I always took them as just that, stories and fairytales. Until one night, when I was about six years old. I’ll never forget the terror and vulnerability of the mere mortals that we are. I got my first taste of the world William told me about and the dangers that lurks just beyond the shadows.
I was playing outside, but it was rapidly getting dark and my mother called me because dinner was ready. So, I ran for the backdoor, and a shadow came over me, making the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I turned around and looked into a pair of burning red eyes. The rogue vampire towered over me with his fangs dripping and his face smeared with blood. Before I could even blink or draw a breath to scream, he had his hand tightly wrapped around my neck. His long fingernails digging into my skin. My mother called again, a bit irritated this time and she came walking to the door.
A piercing scream echoed through the night and she laid on the ground, in a pool of blood. The vampire ripped her chest open. Eyes wide, my breathing became shallow as fear set in. Unable to wriggle myself loose, my thoughts were reaching out to William for help. My father came running down the hall, but I silently begged that he would stay there. But then I heard his footsteps on the wooden floor towards the backdoor. I just started to cry and begged the vampire to spare him, but all I could manage was small squeaks. I only got a soulless glance and a wicked smirk. “Daddy, NO!” was all I got out before his throat was ripped open. I saw the light dim from his eyes as he drew his last breath and collapsed next to my mother’s body.
I knew then that I was next, and I struggled with all my strength as a cold shiver went down my spine as he looked at me with a sadistic smirk on his face. Tears started welling up again and obscured my sight. The next moment I was dropped on the ground with a thud as the vampire was yanked backwards. I crawled backwards, trying to avoid being stepped on. When I looked up, my breath caught in my throat. William towered in front of me holding the rogue by the throat, his feet dangling in the air. “Why are you here, Rogue?” William’s voice boomed and ragged and I cowered under its power and fierceness. “WHY!” he screamed. The rogue swallowed hard.
“I…. I was thirsty.” He managed in a strained voice. I just stared at him, wide-eyed. What did he mean by thirsty? “So, you thought a little, defenseless girl was going to satisfy your thirst? Maybe an easy target? Well, you chose the wrong girl and the wrong town, Rogue!” The next moment, William ripped the man’s chest open, crushing his heart in his hand and I saw him go limp. William’s eyes were a crimson blaze and his fangs lengthened as he spun around and looked straight at me. I just screamed.
Silence fell and William calmed down. I flinched, staring at him with wide eyes. A single tear escaped and rolled down my cheek. My throat raw from screaming. William stepped closer and I retreaded deeper into myself as fear took hold of me once more. He hesitated as I was sitting between the bodies of my parents hugging my knees, their blood soaking through my clothes. He gently placed his hand on my head. Kneeling to be on my level, he stroked my hair, pulling me into a close, protective embrace. A calming gesture as I closed my eyes and blacked out.
Dimitri and Christina Slate were still a very young couple, when they were captured and imprisoned by the mortals to act as Healers. I had to admit; they were the rarest of their kind. Mages and wizards with healing abilities was not a common sight and I understood why Father decided to make them the offer to stay.
While standing behind my father listening to their conversation, I could swear I heard a feint heartbeat, but was unsure and kept quiet. Yet, as soon as it all became quiet, it was as clear as day. The rhythmic beating of a tiny heart. I felt an instant tug in my heart listening to it. I looked at Christina and could tell instantly that she was expecting. Her skin was glowing, but she kept her hands protectively clasped in front of her while looking at Dimitri, fear imprinted on her face. I didn’t say anything until we turned and walked off. When we were out of hearing distance, I turned: “Father, did you hear it?” I asked. “Yes, I did.” My father said as he smiled. It confirmed why he took them in. Not because of pity, but the promise of a new life.
My father is a kind and fair man. He ran his coven by the book and is respected by all, human and creature alike. He holds the balance between the two worlds perfectly. He had his fair share of loss. During the last great battle, he lost both his beloved wife and daughter. He came close to losing me as well as my injuries were quite severe, but thanks to a healer, I pulled through. We were still in Castalena, across the ocean, when the Great War broke out. I was very young and only remembered snippets of what went down on that fateful day at the castle. I still, however, feel a deep sense of loss when it comes to the memory of my mother and baby sister. I miss them dearly.
The werewolf packs and witch covens were at each other’s throats over territory and power. The vampires, humans and fairies were dragged down with it all, forced to make allies and enemies along the way. Our castle and town were attached by the witches as an act of vengeance against the reigning Alpha of the Windlass Pack, who took refuge in the Castalena Region. The Lycan guards fought with all their might but was overpowered in the early morning hours. Father was still at the front lines when he got the news of the attack.
Even though he used his speeding ability, it still took him about two days to reach the town. They were ambushed along the way as well but came out unscathed. When they reached the town gate, he was met with absolute chaos. The village looked like a disaster zone. Dead and dying were everywhere. Smoke was still rising from the hot timbers that once was a roof, door or stable. Houses were in shambles and screams filled the air as people called for help or searched for loved ones among the smoldering rubble.
Where the castle once stood proud, there was only heaps of rock and smoking timbers. The surviving Lycan guards tried desperately to get the survivors out, but it was a tedious task as fires were still raging in some parts. General Collard barked orders; his voice booming across the yard. Every abled man, woman and beast assisted where they could. When he saw the king, he approached and bowed low. “Milord.” Waiting for a response he slipped a tired glance at Father. His handsome features were contorted with worry, exhaustion and underlining anger. “This war needs to end…” His voice a ragged whisper as he observed the scene in front of him.
My father cleared his throat, gathering his emotions before looking the general in the eye: “A full report, General Collard.” Ivan Collard stood tall. He has a powerful built and his grey eyes leveled with Lord Bolton’s as he responded. “Most of the buildings are damaged beyond repair. We will have to start from scratch. All the livestock pens, gardens and fields are in ruins, but we might be able to save some of the brick buildings. As for the Castle. Sire, it’s gone. There is still fire ripping through certain parts that we are struggling to contain.” As he finished, he saw the king’s jaw clench. “What of the Queen and my children? Were you able to get them to safety, General?” The Lycan general looked down to the ground, pain evident on his face, shaking his head. Father’s worst nightmare became reality. He sighed and lowered his gaze. Grace, though human, was the love of his life and the mother of his two children. Her heart was kind and the people of Castalena loved her. “How?” Was all he could manage. “The second-floor gave way beneath her, little Ashley and the servants before we could get them out. There was nothing we could do. The flames reached them before we could. I am so sorry, Lance”
“What of William?” The king’s face somber as tears brimmed his sky-blue eyes. “Sebastian is still looking for him, Sire. We can’t find him. Maybe Your Majesty might be able to try mind linking him…? My apologies for asking, but I am at my wits end. The past few days was tough on all of us. Our sense of smell is also useless with all this smoke.” Father just nodded and closed his eyes. “He is close, but his pulse is weak.” With the glimmer of hope, the king walked to a heap of rubble where the entrance was. “Try here. His presence is stronger in this area.” I sensed his distress, but was almost too weak to reply at first
“William, talk to me…” Father reached out to me in a desperate attempt, hoping for a reply. I gathered everything I had to communicate back.
“Father, I’m here….” It was weak, but he sighed at the sign of life. “Just hold on. We’ll get you out of there. Stay with me, okay.” I drifted in and out of consciousness as I heard the people started sorting through the rubble a short distance from where I lay, pinned down by heavy logs. “Milord, please let us.” The people around him started digging and I saw him stepping back, a worried look on his face. “William! Are you still there?” Silence. He reached further. I felt his presence, but he knew that time was running out. “Please find him…” He whispered, desperation written on his face and his knees threaten to give in from fatigue.
“I found him!” Sebastian shouted as he stood over me. Father gave an audible sigh of relief and stepped through the gathering frenzy. At the far end of the wall, under a collapsed roof, they found me. My body was broken and weak and I was barely breathing. I lost consciences when I saw my father stepping closer. My abilities were not fully awakened yet, because I was still too young and needed training because I was only a halfling and healing took longer. Father stepped closer and scooped my up as carefully as he possible could. As he looked down at me, his tears rolled down his cheeks. Father lost his beloved wife and his baby girl, but at least his son is still alive. We left Castalena shortly after that and settled in Windy Acres. We were both broken and needed time to heal.
The promise of new life made Father smile. It could be a hidden blessing to have the two healers in our midst. I strolled beside him in silence for a while and then spoke: “Father, this might sound strange even crazy, if I may. But I feel a connection to the babe. Like she’s talking to me. As if there is a tugging in my heart. Can it be?” Father paused for a moment as if thinking: “Could this be Ashley talking to us?” He continued to walk without saying a word. “Time will tell.” He said and just smiled, leaving me more confused by the whole situation following him as he made his way up to the mansion.
When Christy was born, Dimitri gave her to me to hold. I was astounded by the gift of new life that I was holding in my arms. She was like a tiny porcelain doll. She reminded me of Ashley, my baby sister. Her eyes still dull and getting used to the light, but she stared up at me as a dimple formed on her cheek. A smile spread across my face. “She’s beautiful. Congratulations you two.” Pride was clear on Dimitri’s face as he looked over at Christina.
Never in my life would I have thought I would get this attached to anyone, let alone a mere mortal. I felt her every emotion and heard every heartbeat. Christy was my ray of sunshine. I vowed to protect her with all I have. She crawled into my heart and made sure to stay. Her giggles and smiles brightened my days as I was part of her first steps and heard her first words she spoke. She filled a gaping hole in my father’s life that I never thought to be possible. Never have I imagined that the day would come that the bond we had would be tested. It made me realize just how fragile a mortal life was. I was viciously protective of her. It was evident that we had a connection. Like she was my baby sister. My own blood family….
Christy was six and full of life, always running and exploring. They were home, since it was weekend. Located on the edge of town, their house was close to the Hallow Forest. I was attending a cocktail party at the mansion with a few acquaintances to talk business regarding trade routes and opportunities for the Chronos Coven. Suddenly my throat became constricted and my lungs burned. “William!” a panicked voice screamed in my head. Christy…! I excused myself and ran for the door. I caught my father’s eye. “Trouble!” was all I said as I passed him.
Tapping into my speeding ability, I stood in the backyard of the Slate house within minutes. A massive rogue was standing by the backdoor with Christy dangling from his outstretched arm, struggling with all her might as he had her by the throat. Christina and Dimitri laid sprawled on the ground. Blood everywhere and I knew instantly they were dead. Merciless. I loathed rogues. They had no souls or honor and they reeked of death.
I lost all dignity. He was not only going to murder in our territory, but he was going to take Christy away from me, the one thing that meant the world to me. Something precious to me. The rage I felt burned through my veins and I felt my fangs grow; my eyes turning a crimson blaze. I lunged at him and caught him by the throat, and he dropped Christy to the ground, and she crawled bewildered not to get stepped on. “Why are you here?” I yelled at him and I felt the rogue cringe in my grip. “WHY?” He tried to say something, but my thundering heart dimmed his voice in my ears. Before I could get a grip of my senses and actions, it was all over. The rogue’s chest was ripped open. His heart crushed as he went limp in my grip. I heard a shattering scream.
I turned around and saw Christy sitting between her parents’ bodies. My heart broke. She was so small, so young and totally bewildered. Will she ever understand what happened here tonight? She didn’t cry; she was terrified. I reached out to her mind, but her walls slammed shut. As I calm down, I reach out and rested my hand on her head. I tried to calm her and began stroking her hair as I slowly kneeled not to startle her. She looked up at me. Her eyes wide as a single tear rolled down her cheek. I saw fear. I held her close as she blacked out. I never told her the truth about us, of Windy Acres and I just couldn’t, but I never thought she would discover it this way. Shameful…I always just gave little things away as a story or a fairytale. Look what that did?