Rascal Drama 'Writing about someone else's cowardice, he did not notice his own.'
Dark ages Fantasy Beyond the crumbling gates, lonely anguine alleys make their way through entangled greenery, leading to the dark castle. The wind flings up leaves which, so it seems, cover all around slowly... They fly into the castle and are deposited on the windowsills or settle on the cold floor slabs of the long cloistered gallery of the upper part of the castle, in which a small gazebo supporting an old cast iron bell is situated. The approaching sound of female heels violates the sense of abandonment of this structure ... no, she isn't walking ... she is running. The clicking of heels clearly chop on the stonework. A tiny figure in a dark burgundy coat emerges into the wind. Blond curls flow escape from under a huge hood that covers her face. She carries a dark wax candle in her aristocratic fingers. The incredible white skin of her hands contrasts with her striking dark red nails, long and carefully sharpened.She crosses the corridor and stops suddenly in front of the gazebo before slipping inside it. Inside it was dark, thick with fog. She headed resolutely to the darkest corner, where he was waiting for her. Her white hands dug into the magnificent naked male chest, on which gold ornaments in the form of magical pendants hung. The gold emitted heat. "I was waiting for you," he said. Instead of answering she raised her pretty little face, and their lips met hungrily.Sixteen years earlier: The Castle of Count Baugmer Early in the morning, an hour before sunrise. The dark sky with burgundy glimpses of the rising sun is barely noticeable… A giant, black bird, its wings flapping gracefully, approached ever closer to the side of the manor. It had an odd shape for a bird ... a mounded, muscular body resembling a human forma gargoyle! Not a bird, but a ravenous, flying creature of the dark forces that seeks to maim and kill. It slowly circled above the manor, gripping something resembling a basket... it quickly descended, and, without touching the slabs of the yard, it left the basket just outside the entrance to the castle, the home of Count Baugmer. It returned like lighting to the sky and disappeared into the predawn twilight ... retreating. Henry's roomTwilight shrouded the large bedroom, except the desk, on which a candle was burning, in the corner of the room, a bit further from the huge, dark wooden bed. The wallpaper of the bedroom, golden in color, lent a feeling of warmth and comfort, and the edge of the crimson quilts dropped onto the beige floor covering, lying next to the bed on the stone slabs. Henry slept peacefully ... he dreamed about a field bathed in sunshine, breathed in the scent of wildflowers, saw a clear blue sky ... but then the picture began to change ... in the field, he saw a black figure approaching him. The closer the man in black approached, the more unpleasant the feeling of fear that overpowered him became. Simultaneously, with the approach of the man, he noticed how the changing sky acquired gray tones and was getting darker and darker. The clouds were gathering at a high speed. Now he was close!!! His black clothing reminded Henry of a priest's attire .... Oh, the horror! His face was old and ugly, shrouded in deep wrinkles... stop... time seemed to have stopped, all that was happening seemed stuck... frozen... the person in black froze up... instantly! They were face to face. "You are responsible for her life!" He snarled furiously. Oh! Henry, white with terror and in a cold sweat, awoke, half-sitting in bed, while his senses gradually came back to him. He remembered that terrible day, when his father's mauled body was found. Green vegetation was abundantly spattered with blood. Bloody body parts seemed to be everywhere. His memories were interrupted by a baby's cries... a child? Where is this crying coming from? …Henry hastily climbed out of bed, throwing a sheepskin cloak over himself. Peering through the dusty glass of a window, he tried to determine the source of the crying. He was sure that the crying was coming from the courtyard below, so Henry ran down the stairs and threw open the heavy front doors. Stepping over the threshold, Henry saw a small basket, from which the uninterrupted sound of a baby's crying was coming. Bending over the basket, he heard his brothers, Stefan and John, approaching; they also were in disarray. Stefan's face was anxious and sullen. Henry looked at the basket with his brothers, or rather at the miserable clump inside, torn from crying. While Henry and John were leaning over the child, Stefan suspiciously looked around the yard and exclaimed, "I do not like any of this!" Henry and John, meanwhile, brought the basket and baby into the castle and gently placed it on a table. All three were astonished that the child stopped crying and observed its new acquaintances. The baby had unusual eyesthey were purple. Henry had never seen such an extraordinary eye color. Stefan broke the silence: "I think we need to carry this baby to the nearest village. Surely there will be some good family or a woman who would take care of her." "But what do we do with her right now?" responded Henry. "She must be hungry... I do not even now how we will be able to feed her," Henry continued in confusion, looking for support from his brothers. "I'll go and find some milk," Stefan muttered, dissatisfied, and he departed. "We should take it out of the basket," suggested John, while anxiously looking at Henry. "No... I can't, really" Henry said hesitantly and even discreetly tried to take a step back from the basket. Sighing heavily, John approached the tiny baby, but his hands quivered as soon as he got close to it. "I can’t either," said John. Resigned, Henry gently took the little body in his hands and carried the child to his bedroom. The child was a girl with light, fuzzy hair. "Let's call her Anna, after our mother," suggested Henry. John did not say anything and just shrugged his shoulders. With the noise of flapping wings, the gargoyle landed on the floor of the already decimated chapel. Opening its powerful hand, it looked thoughtfully at a gold pendant of extraordinary beauty, set with dazzling, bloody garnets. The time will come, and again, the magical amulet will come back to life, yes ... as soon as it is returned ... With the strength of the amulet clutched in its palm, the gargoyle froze, and its body gradually turned to stone. Sixteen years have passed. A thunderstorm raged without ceasing for three days, and the once blue sky was dragged under a dark, gray cover. . Suddenly, a knock came on the door ... Henry hastily donned his sheepskin cloak and opened the door to Thomas the teacher, who had been hired to tutor Anna . Staggering over the threshold, wheezing, the teacher tried to get rid of his heavy cloak, soaked with rain. "Well, the weather has taken a turn for the worse. I was starting to think I might not make it ... Have you heard ... all of these ... hmmm ... concoctions .... of the village bystanders? They say that they heard strange screams coming from the woods at midnight! Oh, and by the way, a few women who went for herbs are missing in the forest. And a shepherd described how, at midnight, he saw indecent maidens at the lake ... nude! The shepherd... wanted to get closer ... to stare at the wonder, but at his approach, the maidens billowed into the sky like birds! Incidentally, Mr. Henry, how are things going with your brother, John?" said Mr. Thomas. "Same old, same old, Mr. Thomas! Nothing's changed ...," Henry uttered dejectedly. John had claimed to have seen a bird of enormous proportions periodically during the evenings, circling over the roof of the castle for the past 16 years. John described it at the window of Anna's room, clinging with its claws to the stone walls of the castle. And John thought it was trying to get in! He, with bated breath, watched it lurking around the corner of the stables ... he was impressed by what he saw! But suddenly ... this bird turned its head sharply toward John ... Oh, the horror! He felt dizzy with fear! Dreadful! The ugly face with fiery red eyes! It was not a bird! Never before had John seen such a figure! At that moment, the winged being flung itself upwards and was enveloped by the night. John lost his peace of mind ... was having nightmares ... waking up in a cold sweat, he made plans to track down this vile creature. Every day in the early morning before dawn, once again, waking up from nightmares, he would leave the castle, wandering around and peering into the night sky of twilight. Stefan, the middle brother, has long since moved to a neighboring village and rarely visits them, he has started a family of his own with children. Upon visiting his brother at the time, Stefan proposed to Henry that they should invite a priest to take a look at John, whose behavior alarmed them very much. As the priest visited, John became enraged: "All this time ... you pretended to believe me!", John roared. "Yes! You think I'm a madman!", bursting into loud hysterical laughter, with his face in a distorted grimace of such bitter regret ... frustration that Henry placed no confidence in him. Henry sensed both fear and pity towards his brother and endless despair that nothing could bring back the old John, whom he had known before. For a second, a memory from the past presented itself in his eyes: they are in childhood, all three with their father at the pond ... their father is knee-deep in the water ... trying to catch a fish with his hands ... Henry and Stefan were flooded with laughter, watching how older brother John, who always assumed an air of seriousness, even with certain moodiness, imitating his father awkwardly. In reality, Henry returned from the rumblings of his brother's laughter, leaving to his room, accompanied by Stephen, who cautiously tried to hold his brother's arm. "Yeeeeah ....", said the priest pensively. "Demonic possession!", hardly thinking, he concluded, while his face expressed fear, his eyebrows raised, and it seemed as if Henry's face acquired a shade of great concern. Henry awoke from his memories, which seemed to last an eternity. Teacher Thomas had said something and spoke .... with horror, Henry realized that he had not been listening to Mr. Thomas for quite a long time. "Demonic possession!", the voice of the priest was all in the head. "Mr. Thomas!", he said at last: "I'll take you to the reading room where you can get acquainted and present your teachings to our Anna!", "With pleasure!", teacher Thomas said. Climbing up the staircase, they found themselves at the crossing of two corridors - to the right, they passed the brothers' bedrooms and a peculiar reading room, where their late father, Earl Baugmer, enjoyed spending some time, the master bedroom of the father was situated in the left wing of the castle, which now belonged to Anna. Faced with the oak door of the reading room, Henry seemed as though he had froze for a second, turning and looking at Mr. Thomas, he raised his hand, ready to knock on the door.Anna. Anna pensively looked at the trickle of rainwater, slipping down on the other side of the glass like a snake. The rain gradually faded, the dark sky took on shades of lighter tones. Autumn is the rainy season ... She softly touches her fingertips to the windowpane, as if she was playing with the falling raindrops on the glass, wanting to follow them quicker than the drops will stream down. Interrupting her uncomplicated game, she turned her gaze away ... out of the window. The windows of the reading room, overlooking the rear courtyard of the castle, gave view to the stables, an old well, a huge old oak tree and slightly to the left, a small slope leading down to the pond on the other side could be seen from which the forest began. Oh! Now it resembled a mix of colors ... gray trunks ... green ... yellow ... crimson leaves seemed to merge into one. A small haze of mist gently hung above the waters of the pond. But of greater interest to Anna was the old black castle, which was very far away, there in the distance. She could only see part of it protruding over the forest. This castle, seemed to beckon her, call her, sometimes she even dreamed about visiting it ... At this point, there was a knock on the door. Turning, Anna saw Henry and an overweight, aging man with a puffy and unpleasant, so it seemed to Anna, face. "Perhaps this is the teacher ... yes, it seems that it is ..." thought Anna. "Oh my God!", Mr. Thomas was just amazed at the beauty of this young lady. The gentle oval face, such white skin, plump mouth, small rounded pretty nose. Oh! and her eyes ... violet in color, unusual purple eyes, all this framed by magnificent blond hair, gently streaming down her shoulders, down Anna's petite figure. Anna was in a beautiful dark dress, she was very fond of beautiful things ... very. She herself directed the styles of dresses to her dressmaker, dictated to exactly how Anna would wish for. "Anna! I would like to introduce you to Mr. Thomas, he will now be your teacher!", said Henry, "Mr. Thomas is a good friend of Stefan's, who has kindly agreed to visit us". "Good evening", Anna uttered. Her voice somewhat surprised Mr. Thomas, it was not exactly childlike, voiced ... velvety ... stringy, like honey - flashed through Mr. Thomas' head. In the meantime, Henry, approaching the big oak writing desk, motioned to Anna and Mr. Thomas to sit down. Anna graciously walked across the room and sat down smoothly with the same grace. Mr. Thomas, in turn, approached the table and collapsed into the chair heavily and, with a glance at Anna and then to Henry, he began to pull out books and written sheets of paper from his bag with some haste.... "Well ... I think I'll leave you to it" uttered Henry, hurrying off.The evening darkens...the powerful gargoyle sat on one of the oak tree's branches. It did not take her fiery eyes from the reading room window, observing how Anna and the teacher are getting to know one and other, its snout expressing some uneasiness. Yet again opening its powerful palm, it once again frowned wistfully, looking at the pendant. Sharply holding it in her claw, it flung it up like a flash into the night sky and by first making a circle around the castle, and darted off into the woods. The Black Castle, oh what a legend there was! The young Countess Gabrielle was the holder of the castle a very long time ago and had quite a close friendship with all the old witches and the evil spirits of such dark intentions. She loved to entertain herself on the rich celebrations of dark forces, often by arranging such things in her castle. A rumor went round that at exactly the stroke of midnight, dark swarms of huge winged creatures circled above the castle of the Countess in the night sky, touched by the light of the moon, flying through the highest tower of the castle one after the other. Terrible cries, laughs, shouts and groans would then be heard coming from the castle. All of this very much frightened the local villagers, that is to say, as soon as the sun started to set, not a single soul would dare to come out onto the village streets. People just vanished... The rumor was that the witches and vampires just picked whatever villagers came in their path while on their way to their orgies, and simply carried them to the castle under terrible uncertainty. Countess Gabrielle was noted for being a real beauty; magic light, gold, gloss just radiated out of her natural blond curls. She had such a beautiful face, plump mouth, unusual purple eyes, magnificent body, a big bustling bosom. She was the embodiment of beauty and sexuality. It was often said that those who even managed to see her in passing, were enchanted by her alluring beauty. The legend goes that she had a close connection with a Dark Prince - Aratron. The prince possessed a magnetic appearance, his dark hair was cut short, his skin had a touch of olive, his black eyes were passionate, he had a taut nose, sensual lips, which he would so often love to shift into an impudent grin. His powerful muscular body was simply extraordinary. He had a frenzied force, fiery temperament, flash-like judgment and was remorseless; he would play the most fearsome games with the souls of men. Nevertheless! He had just one passion and a burning love for only one being in his wicked heard - Gabrielle. This woman was driving him crazy.The thought that she is not part of the legion of Dark creatures, who do not know of death, forced him into the decision to reincarnate her and make her one of them, to give her eternal life using black matter, in which the strongest legion of darkness gathers, but there was still something, that only Araton and the magician Tamerlan were aware of. Meanwhile... he left one of the reliable and most dedicated of his servants with her - the gargoyle Bethor. With the noise of its flapping wings.... the gargoyle landed on the window sill of a large, open window... the very one... located on the highest tower of the Black Castle. The wind gave forth to a howling sound, it was stronger than usual at such a height. After jumping down from the window sill inside, the gargoyle broke the silence of the tranquil castle with its noise while moving around, the sound of its claws on the marble slabs tapped away. Having crossed the small room, it approached the open door leading to the stairs, which meant it could go down them... to the heart of the castle. After making a couple of hops down, it was faced with double doors leading to the throne hall in which, long ago, the darker celebrations and all the various gatherings of the Legion of Darkness took place. A bedroom designed for guests of the castle could be found to the left down the corridor, as well as the bedroom of the landlady of the castle herself. Pushing the double doors, the gargoyle entered the throne hall. Black marble lined the floor of the huge hall, sparkling clean in its day... and now, fragments of mangled artwork, broken furniture, gold and silver cups, shards of mirror, everything was covered with a thick layer of dust like a grey veil. The hall was dead ... The golden walls of the hall, on which magical symbols were applied, were smeared with dark patches of red blood, together with black blood which belonged only to the Dark servants. The deep scratches on these walls were claw markings of gargoyles and markings from glaives. The gargoyle slowly moved around the hall deep in thought, taking it all in. Approaching the point of elevation, where three luxurious thrones once rose, it stopped... two seats were completely broken and one was whole, it lay a little more turned. These three luxurious seats of the thrones were decorated in gold and opal stones, once belonging to Aratron, Gabrielle and Tamerlan, the black magician. The gargoyle's eyes were drawn to a small piece of broken mirror covered with dust among the fragments of glass, by taking it into its clutches, the gargoyle attempted to examine its reflection, when suddenly... all the dust found on the mirror gradually began to slide to the center of the mirror, gathering in a small pile... in an instant... a small trickle started to spiral counter clockwise forming what could only be described as a cycle funnel... Anna. After Henry left the reading room, Anna was left alone with teacher Thomas. "Ahem, Ahem", teacher Thomas exclaimed, clearing his throat, his eyebrows moving to flicker a serious glance. "Soooo" he extended, "Where would you like to start Miss Anna?"... "Maybe with arithmetic, or calligraphy, and maybe you are interested in history?" he continued. "Let us start, Mr. Thomas, with history..." Anna uttered pensively. As he had promised, Mr. Thomas spent three days a week in the castle of Count Baugmer. Anna was an excellent student, she took to science with ease, Mr. Thomas was taking so much pleasure out of discovering Anna's ever expanding talents... yet there was one... the teachings of the faith of religion, the gospels and holy scriptures... Anna simply did not seem interested in anything to do with it all, Mr. Thomas took to this with great horror - himself being an overzealous Catholic irritated her. Anna's very strange behaviour made Mr. Thomas uneasy, and frankly speaking, even scared. Nevertheless, seen as though Mr. Thomas was getting paid quite generously, he preferred to keep quiet. On one occasion, Mr. Thomas suggested Anna listen to St. Ambrosius…while reading a few lines, Anna's face suddenly adopted several strange looks, her wonderful purple eyes darkened so much that they virtually changed to black, having noticed such a change, after stopping reading, he asked Anna if she felt alright, yet Anna responded that she felt tired and wanted to retire to her room. After some time, Mr. Thomas decided to once again return to religion and touched upon the Roman Catholic movement, but this time Anna retreated all of a sudden, saying that she had a terrible headache, but as she was leaving, Mr. Thomas felt as if she gave him a look full of irritation and some hostility. As soon as Anna left the reading room, slamming the heavy door at the same time, Mr. Thomas felt genuine fear. "Well, that is that.... I have to secretly visit Lugdunumsky (The Council of Lyon), to arrive there and tell the abbot about all this - just to take such a decision, toiled Mr. Thomas. Returning to her room, with anger, Anna tore off her velvet choker adorned on her graceful neck and threw it on her bed. Motionless for a moment in the midst of the room, she felt like just retreating into herself..., returning to reality, she took a step to the mirror and stared at her reflection, she liked to ponder over herself. Through her own eyes, she seen a different Anna standing opposite her in the mirror. She remained pleased within herself. All the unpleasant memories from Mr. Thomas' teachings began to evaporate, when suddenly... her slender body gained the shape of a more mature woman, she had a noticeably rounder shape. Anna's reflection in the mirror was Anna, but, at the same time, not herself! This blonde beauty in the mirror struck some huge similarity. Anna stared at her with a sinking heart. Those beautiful purple eyes stared at Anna with defiance. In an instant... everything vanished... No, she's not afraid... Anna came across very calm in her appearance. She had already met this blonde beauty, but only in her dreams. Anna thought about her dreams... they seemed so familiar, as if she had seen it all before... but where? The allure a to the black castle ... and this woman so similar to herself.A couple of years had passed. Henri was finishing his trip on one of his horses, along the paths of the forest, basking in nature. Many years had already passed since that moment Anna had joined their family. He frequently thought about her, having mysteriously appeared, she, who he had practically nursed, he spent an innumerable quantity of sleepless nights above the baby's bedspread, he had replaced both her mother and father… she nevertheless remained a riddle to him. An inexplicable interest in that… for which one would be sent to the gallows, she was interested in terrible legends, which told of witches, sorcerers, evil spirits, she both did not hide her sympathy for these black servants of the Dark, but was also filled with admiration for their talents and capabilities. All this greatly frightened Henri, but he did not dare share his fears or speculations with a single soul. He greatly loved her…. as a loving father… he tried to safeguard her at any cost, fearing to lose his Anna, who had become one of his own and dear to him. He recalled that winter day, when he and seven-year Anna went for a walk on the still pond. She collected pieces of ice, lying on the frozen pond ... "How beautiful they are... if you look really close, you can see the extraordinary patterns." said Anna, holding them in her palms, pink from the cold. "Yes, the patterns of nature." replied Henri. "Can I take them home?" asked Anna. "Of course you can take them, but they will melt into water." answered Henri. "And if they don't, I will save them and we will remember this frosty day and our walk. What a surprise it was, when Henri walked in to tell her a story before bed, and saw the pieces of ice completely whole, peacefully lying on a piece of velvet next to the crib. Noticing Henri's surprise, Anna playfully said, "And so they did, I told them not to turn into the water and they listened to me!" Having laid Anna to sleep, Henri long considered this, having taken one of the shards in his hands in confusion, turning it in his hands, he warmed it with warm palms ... but it did not thaw. He also remembered Anna's first trip to the nearest big city... Henri took the then 13-year-old Anna with him, they were to visit the huge market, buy some groceries, buy velvet for the next of Anna's new dresses from the store, and it was time to show her life outside the castle. A team of horse-drawn carriages carried them along the village roads, they drove to a nearby village. The locals were surprised to see the small open carriage. Many recognised the family crest of the counts of Baugmer from the coat of arms that adorned it, the. In one of the villages on the road while travelling, local people had gathered in a crowd, beating not a young woman, she was a local wise woman-healer, who lived at the edge of the village. This woman had a gift wherein she could heal with herbs, exorcise livestock disease, prepare different potions, many, in the strictest confidence from her neighbors and relatives, still used her services regardless... but now, an angry mob was close to killing this woman. "Witch!" "Damned servant of Satan!" people were shouting. "Beat her!" The team of horses with Henri's carriage stopped. "What's going on over there?" shouted Henri to the coachmen. "We cannot to move any further, Sir!" shouted the coachmen. "People have blocked the road!" "There's something happening over there!" "And now ... clear the way!!!" roared the coachmen and for persuasiveness he flicked a long whip a couple of times. "Drag her to the side of the road!" yelled someone in the crowd. "Let the landlord through!" Grasping for clotted hair, they pulled her out of the road. The woman howled in pain. Having cleared the road, they continued to beat and insult the wise woman. Driving by, Anna tried to see what was happening there. When finally the carriage drew level with his coach... something happened with the horses ... They stopped, coachmen whipped, yelled, but they seemed to have frozen. Anna, having sat up in her carriage, calmly watched the bloody woman ... the woman, despite her departing spirit, it seemed to Anna as she stopped moving, that her eyes widened significantly, she tried to pronounce something indistinct ... People did not pay any attention to what was happening. They kept screaming: "Put her on a stake!" "On a bonfire with her!" In an instant... and having been close to houses, flames blazed... "Fire!" Stupefied, the mob scattered, as people rushed to save their so simple dwellings, forgetting all about the witch. The bloody woman could not avert her eyes from Anna. It seemed as though their meeting continued for minutes - eye-to-eye. "Leave," said Anna slowly. " You know ... where to go." Anna finished. The woman nodded, and when the coach took off, she shouted in a weak hoarse voice at the departing carriage, "I recognized you!" "You came back!" The blood-soaked lips tried to display something like a weak smile. Henri could not recollect himself after seeing that ... The coachmen, cautiously looking around, had a very fearful look, he had long served the counts of Baugmer and was marked as a devoted and not a talkative servant. Almost all the way to the town, Henri could not bring himself to say a word. And Anna spent the journey into town in a sort of reverie. All the way, Anna could not remember where she could have seen this woman before. Henri's memories were interrupted by the cry of a bird, that had flown close . Gargoyle silently watched a little circle, which seemed to be gaining more and more force. At that moment... There was a repeating sound, reminiscent of a clap, and a smattering of dust was spread and disappeared. In the reflection of a mirror there were deep wrinkles slashed across the face of the mage Tamerlan. "Bethor!!!" thundered the powerful voice of the magician. Slowly lowering her head, the gargoyle nodded as if expressing her respect, and after raising her head, she looked at magician in the eyes. "The time approaches, Bethor!" "Aratron has been away for 16 years, and he will return again! His barrier of entry into this dimension will soon lose power!" with these words the image of the mage disappeared… and the gargoyle now saw her own reflection in the mirror. "Aratron!" The gargoyle dipped into her recollections of her previous owner…. Claps of thunder tore up the sky,… the luster of lightning… the black viscous clouds of enormous sizes pulling in even more and more until there was no peaceful sky. The legion of Aratron approached ever nearer to the black castle, and inside the castle the following happened... A black marble floor, in which the guests of the castle sat in honor, was set with black candles. The combination of black marble and black candles created the invisibility of the latter, and it seemed the flames were floating independently in the air. In each corner of hall there were black crows. The guests of the castle; rare talents, the strongest magicians, sorceresses and witches; were prepared for the great rite of dedication of the young mistress of the castle, in whom would awaken supernatural abilities, will bestow eternal youth and immortality, she will become one of them… such is the will of Aratron! Along the hallway a whisper of many voices wandered … the intoxicating smell of potion, which the witches prepared, travelled everywhere… there was one local young sorceress Teresa here, that had attended with the students of one strong witch, who attended this area only in the Autumn… At the end of the hall there was a slight elevation, on which stood three high thrones. In one of these sat in glory the black mage Tamerlan, vested in long black clothing resembling the robes of a priest. To some degree in fact, he was a priest… but only of His Black World! His face was old and ugly, slashed by deep wrinkles. Next sat in glory the blond beauty, was the mistress of the castle, the magnificent Gabrielle, a smile wandered across her perfect lips… she thought now only about Him! Oh!!! how she loved him, … a feeling of passion overfilled her soul… Hot, reckless, passionate love - intoxicated… it simply drove her crazy! "He is already near!" thundered the voice of the mage Tamerlan. "I feel him! Drink! Eat! Celebrate! Since he is already near!" shouted the mage. An incredible noise and chaos engulfed the room. Guests enjoyed themselves to the utmost extent…. The clinking of crystal goblets, filled with wine and blood, resounded everywhere. Behind the semicircle, where the main guests of the castle sat in honor, were also sat in a second: gargoyles, wolves, different lesser demons and students of the main guests; they also enjoyed themselves in this black celebration. The mage Tamerlan observed all proceedings at the celebration. However, Gabrielle uninterruptedly looked into the opposite corner of the hall, as though from there at any minute Aratron would appear… and so he did! … Oh! Madly did the heart beat in Gabrielle's breast… her breathing as though it had stopped…. He… Aratron haughtily visited with his retinue. Stopping in order to listen the respects of the guests, he answered something to each of them, but his eyes… they uninterruptedly looked at her… at Gabrielle. How he was excellent, his beautiful sinewy body, which was decorated with a multitude of gold magic pendants. Aratron did not wear a tunic, his golden torso was always exposed, velvety black eyes, a cheeky smirk on those sensual lips never seemed to leave them. Gabrielle, not being able to bear it, arose, and slowly moving through the crowd, went to meet him. When they did meet … Aratron tenderly touched her chin, having thus raised her small face, steadily lowering his head in order to kiss her, looked her in the eyes, and in her eyes he saw everything…, tenderly touching his lips to her lips, as though he would tease her, he knew what she now felt, he knew how passionately she wanted his kiss. Gabrielle, not being able to endure it, literally stuck herself to his lips with force. Having left the paved floor, they were as though suspended in the air… The black crows, that had peacefully sat on the corners of the hall, flapped up and, holding in their beaks an enormous black cover, embroidered with different magical signs in golden thread, they accurately placed it in the center of the semicircle, consisting of the main guests of the castle. Through the room swept waves of heat and cold … Aratron and Gabrielle - congealed in a passionate kiss, they floated gently through the air, in the centre of a semicircle.... hovering around the magical bedcover, Aratron, broke away from the kiss, unclenched his strong powerful palm, and extended a gold pendant of extraordinary beauty to Gabrielle, all studded with garnet mastery and blooded. After putting on the elegant white neck pendant, Gabrielle raised her beautiful little face and their eyes met passionately. Slowly, dropping to the magical black and gold bedcover, Aratron defiantly ripped the dress from Gabrielle ... exposing her magnificent body, and took her, in front of all the guests. All gathered, they continued their feast, they now waited for the full moon to pursue an increasingly important part of the ritual. All this rushed through the head of the gargoyle. Bethor within a few minutes. Who is she? A loyal surviving servant in this terrible ruthless battle?.... waiting for the masters. Night was falling… Anna... Henry, teacher Thomas and Anna gathered at a large table, they dined peacefully. Teacher Thomas convened with Henry after dinner to visit the Abbey, located 100 miles away, to pay a visit to John, which a priest had already went with him there several years ago on the request of Stefan, to find whatever was causing John's mad behavior. Demonic possession! In due course, he singled out and took John to the walls of the monastery. "Well... its time" said Henry, "We'll get away and be there in the morning". The horses were already, shifting from feet to feet, snorting away, they were all set. "Anna!", said Henry softly, "The first time that you are left alone in the castle... I don't even know how to calm the anxiety... I fully understand... you are not a little one... you are already, thanks to God's will, old enough, and the cook-woman will certainly be in the castle". "Henry... don't worry yourself...everything's going to be fine! Just go and don't give me a second thought... OK? Give all my respects to John" - said Anna softly. "Mr. Henry! Everything's ready!", said Mr. Thomas. "Well... OK then", Henry, throwing on a dark cloak, nodded and departed, accompanied by Mr. Thomas. Anna heard the hoof beats of Henry's retreating carriage and the gnashing wheels. Having risen to her room, Anna perched on the edge of the bed and observed the candle flame, how it burned peacefully on the table laden with Anna's ornaments and gold jewelry. Anna loved her jewelry, she liked to sort through them and look over them again and again. Suddenly she remembered her dream ... a dream in which she saw the extraordinary beauty of the gold pendant decorated with darkish, red stones. She also remembered the huge unexplainable strange creature with wings, so often did she dream that she wasn't even put off by the frightful appearance of this creature. What kind of creation is it? Why even, does she feel some kind of sympathy towards it? "It seems to me that I have seen it in one of the pictures... in some book" thought Anna... "I think it was one of John's books... yes... I need to go down to his old room...". Taking the candle, she was about to leave the room when suddenly ... she heard a knock at the front door which was situated downstairs. "Could this be Henry back?" thought Anna. There goes the knock again. "Yes, but where on earth is the old cook-woman ? Why hasn't she opened it?" such thoughts passed through Anna's head. Going down the stairs, she seen the front door open ... the cook-woman standing near the door, she was a touch aloof. "Miss Anna! I... didn't open it... it done it itself... just flung open!" She quivered. An old man was standing there, he was dressed in a long black cloak with a hood from under which an ugly old face threaded with deep wrinkles glanced at Anna. Meanwhile, the stranger began to approach Anna, his deep eyes never took their gaze away. For some reason, Anna felt no fear, the closer he got, the more Anna tried to look at his face, the more she tried to understand how there was something vaguely familiar with such a face? Anna just couldn't remember this person, but she was convinced of the fact that she had seen or even met him before. Just like a dream, Anna heard her own voice - "Leave us Catherine!", "Sure, Miss Anna", the cook-woman murmured, hurrying off. Having come face to face with Anna, the old man in the black paused, his glance looked towards Anna's frozen face and he continued on his way to a small room, he silently sat in a chair beside the fireplace... the extinguished fireplace blazed into a bright flame again in an instant! Anna's body seemed to appear like she had no control over it, much to her surprise... as if she was in a dream, she followed the strange old man... she approached the old man who was sat down and sank to her knees. "Gabrielle!", the authorities voice of the old man thundered. She wanted to say that her name was Anna, but the old man went on - "Do you know who I am?... Yes, you know me.... you are plagued by those questions that you don't have the answers to... I'll help you find them... and remember everything, Gabrielle! Your dreams, Gabrielle - it is your past that is making itself felt... the time has come that you must know who you actually are! At this point he handed Anna black agate beads with a large inverted cross. "Kiss it!" thundered his commanding voice... so she kissed it. Her body flushed hot and cold... her visible dreams merged into one, pictures passed before her eyes at a furious pace, a voice, whispering everything in her head like a whirlwind. Glancing her purple eyes towards the old man, she faintly uttered "Mag Tamerlan...". "Gabrielle! We have been waiting a long time for this moment where you have come of age, being able to understand and accept who you are, we must revive your strength and finish what they could not finish. I knew your mother... she was a good witch, she brought many benefits to our world, but her strength was not so great. They burned her at the stake! We didn't manage to save her! I owe it to her, I promised to take care of her child. I took you to the black castle of Kain, and I was like a father to you... your love with Aratron, was to bring you eternal life. But we were able to revive you and most importantly, Gabrielle! - Aratron!", not Anna, rather Gabrielle pronounced thoughtfully. "He'll return soon! - "Such an expression of strength demands itself!" Tamerlan said, at this point standing silently turning to leave. Anna - Gabrielle remained, however, sitting on her knees beside the fireplace. In deep thought she looked at the flames, raging in the fireplace. She saw everything in this fire place - the life, love, death of Gabrielle and her revival, Anna pondered. Henry's carriage raced along the roads of the local villages. It was getting dark ... and occasionally they could meet local settlers with torches.. Mr. Thomas was peacefully snoring. When the wheels of the carriage bumped into the next stone or a bump then he wake up and fall back to sleep again,. Henry, on the contrary, could never relax and fall asleep. Passing through one of the villages, he looked out of the carriage stumbling across a woman with a torch in her hands, her face seemed vaguely familiar to him. "Where could I have seen her?" Henry thought, trying to remember, but he just couldn't. The carriage sped on, and the landscape was changing, one piece of scenery after the next. Teresa, the wise woman, stared after the retreating carriage. The string of villages ended and the track went into the forest. A vague sense of anxiety did not leave Henry for a minute and he firmly decided not to linger in the monastery for long and to immediately go the next day after paying his brother a visit. So with that in mind he without realizing himself, just drifted off to sleep... Henry was asleep and in his dreams he seen Anna, she was looking at him through her purple eyes and Henry just wanted to give a touch to her, when between them, the tall figure of a familiar dreadful old man in black grew between them. "Get away" - the dark old man yelled straight in Henry's face. Henry took a step back, horrified... The old man disappeared... But Anna! She looked at Henry sadly, slowly turning back, gradually moving away. "Anna! Anna!", Henry called to her, but she did not even turn around, moving into the distance. Henry returned from his sleep to reality and the voice of Mr. Thomas. "Mr. Henry!, Mr. Henry!! We're here!", Mr. Thomas tried to revive Mr. Henry. Oversleeping at that point when the carriage rolled to the walls of the monastery, Henry tried to get himself together. Finally, they stopped. Getting out of the carriage, they tried to stretch their bodies that were stiff after sitting for so long. John met them. "John", Henry exclaimed joyfully.... "Brother, I'm so happy to see you!", he himself was filling up with the joy of it all. "Henry, I am also very glad to see you" declared John with a sad smile. "John! This is Anna's teacher... Mr. Thomas, I am very grateful to him that he expressed his wishes to accompany me on this trip to see you. John's face was noticeably aggravated at the mention of Anna's name. "It is precisely about her that I wanted to talk to you Henry", John said grimly. "Well, do not just stand there Sirs, let's have breakfast and we can take a stroll around the surroundings of the monastery!", continued John, during breakfast they talked about everything, except for Anna. Finally they finished their meal, they left for fresh air and slowly, unhurriedly headed along a florid alley. John and Henry walked ahead, and Mr. Thomas kept a little distance, as if lagging behind, allowing the brothers to talk, but at the same time trying not to miss a single word that the brothers were uttering, as this topic was of particular interest to him, they talked about Anna. "Henry", John began with a sigh. "I've been wanting to tell you! My suspicions were confirmed, I have been thinking a lot... I realized this only here within the walls of the monastery! Anna is unique! Everything is not that simple, hear me out! I saw the portrait of Countess Gabrielle! The very same! With the black castle! Henry! This is the very image of Anna! Anna is a creature of darkness Henry!" Henry began to lose composure. "That's what you think! It just isn't possible! After all, that's just a legend! Perhaps there was no such thing as Gabrielle!", Henry was simply not himself. "You know yourself that there is something to all of this!", John was starting to get annoyed. "And this winged beast! Yes! I will not stop arguing that I seen it myself! I found a book in father's library! This beast is a gargoyle! Flying creatures of the kingdom of darkness! They reach a victim in a matter of seconds and break them into pieces! Before Anna appeared, I had never seen such a creature! All the more outside of our castle!" John concluded. Henry fell silent. "And her strange behavior! Henry! Don't pretend that you haven't noticed it!" - John wasn't letting up. "Gathering stones! Herbs! Her passion for expensive jewelry! And not just simple pieces! Gold! Precious stones! Where did she get her knowledge of precious metals and stones? Let me tell you more, my dear Henry", John uttered even bleaker. "In that picture ... Gabrielle is shown accompanied by the same beast - the gargoyle!" Mr. Thomas eagerly soaked up every word that the brothers were saying. "It is this case", he thought. "Anna and Gabrielle the witch - they are one of the same! This should be told to everyone necessary! Let them grasp it! And if she is indeed a witch... let them burn her! Nothing can be bred from such evil spirits! Hey, which religious material can she not bear? Oh, how it hurts the head! It horrifies! Just the mention of the All Mighty! The news has to be spread! I would be so grateful, it would be such a respect!", How Mr. Thomas getting to the bottom of it. "Henry!", exclaimed John. "I want to let you know that I'll be carrying on with father's affairs! I not only want to be a priest but also a good exorcist. The time has come for you to realize what I only found out not so long ago! Our father, Count Baugmer, kept the community in such secrecy, the purpose of which was directed at destroying the diabolism and the evil spirits! They burned a lot of witches and wizards in due course! The local villages were cleared of every sort of witch doctor, sorceress, that were impure minions! Father Sebastian, abbot of the monastery, was a friend of our father, and he told me about our father! This is a legend that is not fiction as our father was there! When five high-ranking exorcists dispersed all that evil! Aratron, the prince of darkness, was banished away by a spell of the cross and other mighty relics; he was not permitted to appear in this world for many years! A wooden stake was driven into Gabrielle too! The time has come to continue the work! Aratron's spell is expiring and he will be able to come back soon! The faith of Society's Purifiers is reviving again!" John's eyes gave off a sense of radiance, a sense of triumphant victory celebrations! The news about his father, that he was part of a secret society of Purifiers among the community, simply stunned Henry. But nothing could console Henry, he just could not believe that Anna, his Anna, is one of the same with this shady Countess Gabrielle character! Oh, all of this! There were some peculiarities to Anna's ways, yes, but Henry had always told himself that this was to do with nature, and even the work of the Almighty! No! Henry will not ever be able to hurt and betray his dear Anna, whatever she would turn out to be, or not - all of this was whirling around in his head, Henry was tired of such discussions. The ringing of a bell brought Henry back to reality. "John!", uttered Henry. "I've found out too many things from you here today. I am proud of you my brother! To continue father's ways is a very bold decision to take! You have always tried to be like father, John! Me and Stefan are more peaceful creations! Good luck my brother!", moving away from such a theme, they started on Stephen and his family.Anna -Gabrielle. …. Rising from her knees, Anna-Gabrielle decisively made her way to her room, taking a candle with her on the way. Rising upwards of stairs which lead to the upper part of the castle, her gaze fell on the family portraits of the counts of Baugmer, hanging on the walls. O!!! Her heart beat with such force, that her soul became numb! The old count of Baugmer! She remembered him! It was him on that bloody night! It was he who thrust an aspen stake into her heart! It was he who took away her life and separated her from…. HIM!!!! Not remembering herself during these minutes, Anna-Gabrielle let out a terrible, howling cry!!!! …. Composing herself, she found that she was standing near the wide open window of her room. A cool wind swept through her bright curls. She stood as if she were frozen, her gaze directed far into the distance… towards of the black castle of Kayn. "Bethor!" - She yelled. … The Gargoyle Bethor, sitting solemnly on the roof of the black castle of Kayn, whirled up with lightning speed into the twilight…she flew faster than the wind… towards to her…. Her mistress. As before, Anna stood at the window, looking intently into the night sky and at the dark figure hovering in the sky, which was approaching ever nearer. On her lips, wore a faint smirk. There was a noise of wings and Bethor smoothly landed to the stone windowsill of the window. Jumping onto the slabs of the floor, she respectfully inclined her head in front of her mistress. "Bethor!!!" commanded Anna-Gabrielle with authority: "How I have missed you all this time! We are together again, Bethor!" In turn, Bethor raised her terrible head and faithfully looked into the eyes to her mistress. Walking up to the gargoyle, Anna placed her elegant palm upon the head of Bethor. Unclenching its powerful claw, Bethor offered Anna-Gabrielle that which she had saved for all these years of time - a gold pendent with garnet blood stones. Anna-Gabrielle carefully took the precious pendent, her hands shook a little from nervousness…. this pendent was an engagement gift from Aratron, which was the sign of the fact that Anna-Gabrielle belongs now to him alone and is under the patronage of the one and only prince of the dark. The gold pendent emitted heat, the stones of garnet, as though scattered, thickening drops of blood, poisonously sparkled on blazing gold. All this revived memories connected to Aratron, intolerable pain pierced her heart, bringing feelings of love, loss and melancholy wildly and painfully merged into one. "Carry me into the castle!" - uttered Anna-Gabrielle bitterly, transparent droplets of tears slowly slipping down her cheek. Stooping and offer her powerful back, the gargoyle set off into the night sky with her mistress, and carried her to that place that had beckoned Anna for a period of long years. Henri. Having talked quite enough with his brother, Henri ordered the coachman to prepare horses for the journey. Mister Thomas was also in a hurry to leave the walls of the monastery. O! He saw himself as a hero, who exposed the strange family of Baugmer, vanity filled his petty soul. Here they stood in the carriage… Henri inspected the character of John, who had noticeably grown old, with sadness. "How similar he is now to his father!" - thought Henri. "Well…" - uttered John sullenly, "Good-bye, Henri… I was heartily glad of your visit! Do not forget, brother, visit, if you get the chance!" "Good-bye, John!" said Henri sadly. The two brothers embraced… Henry leapt onto the step of the carriage, and the carriage set off, gathering speed. Mister Thomas, usually with much to say, kept silent, in a way that seems somehow mysterious to Henri. They had only driven 5 miles from the monastery, as it began to drizzle. Henri thought about Anna, about his brother, about his father, about the association of the purifiers of the faith, about the mysterious dark legend of the countess Gabrielle, who gave away her heart and soul to the devil prince. All of this made his head spin. "But what if he knows everything?" thought Mister Thomas… Little was his surprise, when John declared Anna and Gabriel to be one person! "All of this is very strange!" - summed up Mister Thomas. The hooves of horses peacefully tapped. The old coachman, who in all likelihood had not entirely had a good sleep himself, continuously tended to fall asleep, his relaxed body slightly tossed from the unevenness of the road, with a clear view he could see far. After several miles still has passed, the coachman noted the approaching cortege coming toward them, and suddenly for no comprehensible reason, the devil knows what began to occur with the horses, they stopped, snorting and shifting from foot to foot…. - Come on now! - shouted the coachman, attempting to frighten them with a stroke of his whip. But the more he shouted and beat them with the whip, the more they thrashed about and tried to raise the racks. "What's happening out there?" - shouted Henri. "I cannot understand, Mr. Henri!" The devil knows what's happening!" - shouted the coachman in answer. Henri, with uneasiness, jumped out from the coach in order to see with his own eyes, however, what was occurring. It seemed the horses had lost their senses! They thrashed about and were into a terrible panic, were neighing, attempting to raise the racks, and were foaming from the mouth. The coachman continued to scream out profanities in the direction of the poor animals… And suddenly…. In all the confusion, Henri noticed a strange cortege was approaching them - the horses were struck with their force of beauty, six sleek black horses, whose sinewy bodies seemed cast. Harnesses of pure silver contrasted brightly against their black bodies. In that instant it even seemed to Henri that their eyes would periodically change into rubies, but what more greatly astonished Henri about their presence was that there was no coachman at all! From the window of carriage the profile of man was visible, whose head was covered with a black hood… something strangely familiar was in this profile… wait a second!!! The man turned his face to meet the gaze of Henri!!! Henri was astounded ..... That terrible person, who destroyed his sleep and rest, who turned Henri's life into a nightly nightmare, forcing him awake in cold sweat and to be tortured with guessing. For what and why does he come in his dreams, torment him, and frighten him? As if observing in his sleep, the carriage slowly moved with the man in the black hood, whose face struck him with disgrace and horror. After drawing alongside Henri's carriage, the strange cortege paused for an instant…. and suddenly… it was torn away from the place, leaving behind pieces of ashes steaming in the air. Henri watched, following the departing cortege, which seemed to have been taken away by the unknown force. The particles of ashes continued to swirl and to smoothly settle to the ground, Henri held out his palm and several ashes smoothly settled on his fingers. "Mr. Henri!" - The voice of the coachman returned Henri to the reality of events. Take a look on his own horses, Henri noted that they were perfectly in order. The coachman, chuckling, was completely surprised, however, what the hell has happened to the horses? "Oh! I cannot understand, Mr. Henri, what “ inflow” upon them? And now here, they calmly stand, wait already!" - the coachman continued to mutter. Henri in an uneasy reverie hurried to return to the carriage. Mister Thomas, who has been in the coach all this time, has as it seemed to Henri, a completely pitiful frightened look, having been forced into the divan at the back of the carriage, he was very pale. The carriage set off from the place. Henri silently examined the mysterious of Mister Thomas with surprise, who in turn looked fearfully at Henri and also kept silent. After a certain time, Mister Thomas first broke the silence "Horses…." - uttered Mister Thomas hardly audibly. "What did you say?" - ask Henri, being torn away from his own uneasy thoughts. "I said… horses…" - said Mister Thomas, a little more loudly. “You, surely, saw… those horses… the winnows coming out from them, with inexplicable horror, those black demons!" - said Mister Thomas. Henri with unconcealed curiosity looked at the still pale and frightened Mister Thomas. "Don't you tell me, Mr. Henri, that you didn’t feel it too?" - continued Mister Thomas. Henri, having stayed silent for a minute, replied: "I felt where it came from, and even more than that, I saw the very owner of this procession, a man from my nightmares, who has tormented me for a period of long years… exactly just enough , since that mysterious baby appeared in our family! - I do not know, who is he, this strange person!" And Henri described to Mister Thomas his nightmarish dreams and about the presence of that terrible person in black in his dreams. However that day everything changed! He saw him again, but no longer in his dreams, but in reality! Anna. The gripping feeling of freedom, incomparable to anything, Anna felt highly under the arches of the night sky, her luxurious curls of gold strands fluttered in the twilight of the night. She kept her eyes on the black castle Kayn, approaching closer and closer . The nearer they approached, the greater the feeling of the anticipation of the encounter with her past filled her heart. The black castle of Kayn been wrapped in a tender blue fog, partly illuminated by the full moon, had a bewitching mysterious form. Now they were flying to the highest tower of the castle of Kayn. After making a circle above the castle, the gargoyle Bethor smoothly flew into the open window of the tower. After landing on the marble floor of the castle, the gargoyle has stopped , allowing her mistress to climb down from her powerful back. Heart frantically pounding in Anna's breast, she stepped out with a certain dread on the marble floor of the castle, all was familiar and native. Memories so flooded her soul that Anna's head began to spin. Slowly, as if in a dream, Anna approached the open door leading to the stairs, making it possible to descend down into the very heart of the castle.. Having descended the pair of staircases leading downwards, she turned back her head, having glanced at Bethor, as if searching for some certain support; their eyes met, and nodding, Bethor followed behind her mistress. After climbing downward, they appeared to be before an enormous double door, leading into the throne room; to the left went a dark corridor with numerous rooms, including the bedroom of Gabrielle. After stopping opposite the half-open door of throne room , Anna turned to the left, and slowly, step by step, moved to the side of her bedroom. Bethor persistently followed her. Approaching the closed door of her bedroom, Anna-Gabrielle extended for second and pushed it, stepping over the threshold of the bedroom. Like a puff of wind, all candles that stood on the perimeter of room simultaneously lit up with bright fire, and room was flooded by the soft light of golden candles. The red marble floor was flooded with sparkling reflections. In the center of the room stood a huge mighty crystal bed, covered with snowy luxurious linen and a bright red velvet canopy, which hung down above the bed, gave bright contrast to the snowy bed linen. The bed has remained unused since the moment of that fateful night, a thin layer of dust covered the snowy linen. Anna-Gabrielle approached the bed and with a slightly shaking passed her hand the crumpled sheets, remembering the time, when she and Aratron spent passionate nights here. This memories caused the ache in her soul . Rustling skirts of her dresses, she slowly fell and sat down on the marble slabs of the floor, pulling to herself the edge of the sheets. Anna brought them to her face for a minute, then sharply buried her face in the linen and quietly and sourly began to cry. At that moment the enormous window, draped with golden curtains, was thrown open with a noise, a whirlwind driving into the room… Bethor the gargoyle, completing an enormous leap and appear in the centre of the room in front of the window, froze, bared her teeth with burning fiery red eyes. A haze of thick fog gradually filled the room. Before Bethor appeared the old witch Annabelle, the same one, who on the fateful night of Gabrielle's dedication, was present with her sorceress student Teresa.“I am here at the request of Tamerlane!" - She said in her quiet, old aged, shaking voice. "Stop it, Bethor! I will not cause harm to Gabrielle!" - continued the witch.Still Bethor, without changing her stance, did not remove her fiery eyes from the old witch.The noise of the window that had been thrown open brought Anna back from the recollections of the past, carefully rise up, Anna observed surprisingly the scene of Bethor and the witch Annabel.Bethor, turning her head towards Anna-Gabrielle and receiving an approving nod from her, slowly moved away into the corner, scratching her claws along the marble slabs. Anna-Gabrielle, having taken a couple of steps towards the witch, stopped… the old woman Annabel did not take her colorless eyes away , examining Anna. The white, almost wax-like, face of the old woman was covered with a cobweb of small wrinkles; her long grey hair was disheveled and flowed along her long black dress. Extending to Anna-Gabrielle her bony, shaking hand, it seemingly invited her to approach closer, in her other hand the old woman held a long wood magical staff."Do not fear, Gabrielle! You must remember me! I will help you to remember everyone and everything! And so restore your former, unrivalled, magical abilities!Slowly, but confidently, Anna-Gabrielle approached the old woman, holding out her elegant snowy hand, she touched the palm of the old woman, so incredibly cold that it caused Anna-Gabrielle to shudder. The witch Annabel was the oldest and one of the most powerful witches of this world, she controlled supernatural abilities - she could gather the souls of the deceased and could become implanted in the body of the dead, she could see the past, present and future, concoct rare poisons and potions and she could assume the form of whomever she wished to be.“We must put your castle in order! At the same time, let us talk, my girl!" the witch Annabel told her in her quiet shaking voice. They left Anna's bedroom and went in the direction of the throne room of the castle. As soon as they stepped over the threshold of throne room, the witch Annabel brought down and hit by her wood staff against the marble slabs of the room… suddenly from under the hem of her dress flew up six black ravens, in a second they became six young black-haired girls, who immediately got to work. Thus far Anna-Gabrielle had been examining the proceedings with amazement; the old woman sat in one of the armchairs and wound a large ravel of dull-gray yarn. With a gesture inviting Anna-Gabrielle to sit down, she said the following: “I see, I see, about what your heart grieves! But about that afterwards! You must be filled with your former power! Restore your powers, Gabrielle! Restore them! I will help you!”From somewhere inexplicable, a large mirror appeared in an instant and in the old shaking hands of the old woman, from which slowly a light-gray smoke was being drawn, which in thin layers slowly slid over the surface of mirror, attempting to envelop it entirely."Take it in your hands, Gabrielle! Touch it and it will sense you! - said the old woman and slowly held out the mirror to Anna. Anna with great care took in her hands the mirror wrapped in smoke, and the thin streams of smoke glided along her hands.“Stare into it… and throw it at the marble slabs of the castle!" - continued the witch, all the while her dead colorless eyes seemingly revived. Intently she scanned the face of Anna-Gabrielle."Throw it!"Gabriel glanced into the mirror and immediately the thin streams of smoke glided away, opening up the entire depths of the looking-glass. Anna saw her own reflection, but then everything seemed to fade away and she saw familiar moments from life in the castle of the counts of Baugmer, then saw her encounter with the mage Tamerlane, the moment when she remembered about Aratron, but now pictures began to appear, forcing their way through, that were not entirely familiar to her. Yes! Here she saw herself on the day of her initiation into the legion of the dark: many guests, she saw herself sat solemnly next to the mage Tamerlane, the passionate embrace of Aratron. But now she saw Henri… Fire!!! Screams!!! The evil grin of gargoyles!!!! Everything began to turn, merging into one whole!!!"Throw it to the floor!!!" - the voice of the witch Annabel wheezed imperiously, and Anna, unclenching her fingers, dropped the mirror to the slabs of the marble floor, and when it fell to the marble floor, the mirror instantly shattered into pieces of different sizes. There was silence. Anna-Gabrielle, her spirit trapped, in a reverie looked at the pieces of the broken mirror, which were everywhere, sparkling on the black marble. The witch Annabel slowly approached Anna-Gabrielle and stood behind her back, speaking a certain magic incantation, she held out her emaciated hand, in which were ruby gemstones, to the back of the head of Anna-Gabrielle and pressed the stones with all her strength, through her old fingers blood began to run, which stained the Anna-Gabrielle’s white shoulders. After lowering the blood-stained hand, the witch began to breathe heavily, inclined her head and seemed to freeze, and after having been silent for a while, she said “I have returned to you that part of your power, which was there within you before, Gabrielle! Now, when you gather these pieces of mirror into one again, yo