Echoes of Midnight

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‘There is nothing more fearful than a solitary man.’ High Lord Stefan is in need of a wife. A pure-hearted mortal to break a curse. Troubled from his haunted past and relentless search for a lost princess, he is a phantom. For the villagers of Bellevedere, his castle is a place of mystery; except for the High Lord who has secretly lived on it for centuries. What will happen if a young, sassy mortal crashes outside his castle? Will he be able to persuade her to marriage? Or lead her to a deadly fate?* *UNDER RECONSTRUCTION FOR FURTHER EDITING AND REVISIONS

Fantasy / Mystery
Lizzie Austen
4.8 38 reviews
Age Rating:


Perched atop a rocky cliff stood a majestic fortress.

Smug and peaceful to the villagers of Bellevedere, except that day when its portcullis opened with groaning arms.

An old man went out, juggling a handful of keys between his quivering fingers.

“A mortal?” he mumbled to himself while approaching a ruined automobile covered in tar. When he peered inside, the old man drew back in surprise.

An unconscious young woman sprawled on the driver’s seat. Her cheeks were stained red with blood.

Deliberate as the old man can tell, dropping his theory that this was not an accident but the works of something more sinister.

Pity consumed his senses, but he wondered about his master. What would he think of this untimely rescue?

The old man then carried the young woman like a burlap sack, her palms dangled midair and her lifeless form draped across his body. He brought her directly to the castle’s infirmary, if you could call it like that. Human-sized glass jars lined up its walls. Stone tables took up a larger portion of the mysterious room where dried plants were strewn in disarray.

The fray did not end there when a thunderous boom from the drawing room shook the old man from his reeling thoughts.

“Erik! What took you so long?”

“Forgive me, master, but I am rather preoccupied with something you might want to know,” he replied solemnly.

The master was not an ordinary man. High Lord Stefan learned for a long time how rumors were spun. He was known as the legendary phantom who graced Bellevedere with nonsensical horror stories and why no one should take a step inside the Mudwick castle. His face obscured with the same shadows slithering through the walls of his home, the High Lord was a difficult man to be crossed with.

Upon Erik’s approach, he uncrossed his legs from where he sat and stared at the old butler with anger in his eyes.

“Is it now? Tell me, a horrible tourist lost her way through the castle again?”

“It’s her, master, help is needed and I provided knowing that you would consider her, perhaps.”

“For what, Erik? I’ve lost more than once, I cannot take it anymore! Bring her back to the village where she came from and I can spend the night later in peace.”

“I learned how defeat can weaken a man, my lord, but is it too soon to let go of an opportunity as soon as you see it?”

The master sighed in contempt and considered his options. He could keep the woman, for tonight.

A little perturbed with the idea that a woman appeared yet again in his castle, High Lord Stefan could not yet pin the notion of strange introductions and ruining his reputation as a cryptic unknown duke.

Disturbed of his own thoughts, he said to the old man, “I’ll take a look on her in a few. Don’t engage in any small talk with her, Erik. She could be sent by them, and this castle would be doomed forever.”

“You have my word, master. She’s taking her rest now in the infirmary,” Erik religiously replied as he took his cue from the drawing room and returned to his duties in the kitchen.

Apparently, the said infirmary was not a healer’s room but something altogether entirely. The High Lord approached the door with caution and knocked once, then twice with a louder tap. Utter silence. The ornate door opened with a creak as he studied the woman intently. Seriously, Erik? He mused to himself.

She looked like one of those portraits the servants used to hang along the floor to ceiling walls, with a fine jaw and raven hair effused with a radiant glow he couldn’t quite figure out himself.

The master thought it delusional to find this woman worthy of his attention. He must share his sentiments as the master of the castle, not as a starry-eyed man looking for a wife.

When her body suddenly moved atop the table where Erik placed her, surprise covered his features as he hid himself in a corner, the shadows obscuring his face yet again.
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