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Our Story Begins

  One night while sitting in a tavern, hidden by shadows the gypsy watched as a stranger walked in. He looked out of place as he walked to the bar. He looked like one who had traveled some distance. He ordered a drink. When the tender set the drink before him, he thanked him and then asked if he knew a gypsy that goes by the name of Raven. This caught her attention and she moved to the end of the bar, though she remained hidden in shadows.

  Lifting her own drink to her lips she studied the man over the rim of her glass. No she did not know him. The tender knew better then to give information to anyone. He drew the stranger into polite conversation, asking him for more information on this gypsy he sought. It turned out that the man had never met her but sought her on behalf of a client. All he was told was that she was like no one he would ever meet and that she frequented this realm.  It was then that the tender excused himself and came to the end of the bar where she remained hidden in shadows and refilled her drink. Raven only smiled at the tender and gave him a knowing look, letting him know she was listening.

  He returned to the stranger and continued the conversation. Raven smiled as she listened. “We get a lot of gypsies in here, can you describe her.” he asked as if this was a daily occurrence. The stranger thought for a moment. “Well I was told she goes by the name of Raven. Tall and slender, long black hair. Eyes that change between silver to a deep blue.” he replied taking a sip of his drink. “This client of yours, why does he seek this gypsy” the tender asked. The stranger eyed the tender, not sure how much information he should divulge. “That sir, is confidential. But I merely seek to give her a letter.” he replied.

  It was obvious that he was starting to find the questions odd by the way he started considering his answers. It was then that he finished his drink and stood as if to leave. “I'm staying in the inn if you happen to see the one I seek.” He turned towards the door and as he did he found the gypsy blocking his path.

  Silvery blue eyes studied him with open curiosity. “Who seeks me?” she asked, her voice drifting around him like sweet music, sending a chill down his spine. Ravens feathers adorned her long black hair, framing her face, setting of those stunning eyes. Her skin was exotic, sun bronzed. He let his eyes roam over her, taking in every inch of her. She was indeed tall and slender, and not a sight he would easily forget.

  She wore a silk shirt of the deepest sapphire, tied in a knot at her breast. A single sapphire dangled between those breast, suspended from a silver chain. He let his eye linger there for a moment before traveling lower. Her slender mid drift was bare and at her hips she carried three unique daggers. Black leather pants hugged her curves and disappeared into thigh high black leather boots.

  She was not at all what he expected but he could now see why his client had said he would know her when he found her. Energy seemed to radiate from her and it caused his skin to tingle as he drew his gaze to her eyes once more. The smile that touched her lips made him feel as though she had read every thought that had entered his mind as he had looked her over and he actually blushed.

  Realizing that he had yet to answer her he cleared his throat. “Lady Raven?” he asked, though he already knew the answer. She held out a long slender hand. “I am the Raven. Raven BlackRose.” she greeted him. “Taking her hand, he could feel her energy. He bowed low, brushing his lips over her knuckles before raising and reluctantly releasing her hand. Once again he cleared his throat, as if trying to remember why he was here. “I'm Sir Philip D'Montage and I am here on behalf of Lord Alaric Blackwulf.”

  Raven raised a dark brow, she knew the name and it brought a sadness to those silvery blue eyes. Why did he have the sudden urge to wipe that sadness from her eyes. He visibly shook his head, as if trying to clear his mind. He reached into the breast pocket of his coat and retrieved a letter and handed it to the gypsy. She took it with shaken hands, running a finger over the wax seal of a wolfs head. Her eyes looked at him questioningly and he motioned her to a nearby table to sit down. She took the seat and with a deep breath broke the seal on the letter and unfolded it. Her silvery blue eyes deepened to a clear blue as she read.

My Dearest Raven;

   I hope this letter finds you well. It has been almost a century since you found your way to my humble door. Not a day has passed that I do not look out over the valley in hopes of seeing a colorful gypsy wagon, making it's way along the winding road. I still listen to the wind in hopes that I will hear the sweet music of your song drifting on the breeze. But alas, I now know you will never return.

  The beauty of my home drew you and your laughter brought life back into the walls of my castle. I knew then as I know now that no one can hold a gypsy in one place for very long and it was with a heavy heart, that I watched you leave. Though I knew I'd never be able to cage the Raven. You were meant to be free.

  But to get down to the business of my seeking you out. I have thought long and hard and have made my decision. After nine long centuries I grow weary of this existence. I have set my affairs in order and decided it is time to lay my weary bones to rest. You alone brought me comfort in those long, lonely years. I will never forget the night I opened my door to peer into the face of an angel. My only regret was that I could not hold you longer.

   This being said my beautiful Raven, I bequeath Blackwulf Castle and all it's holdings to you. I know that you will care for it and love it as I always did. Make it your home, a safe haven to come and go as you please. A place that no one can ever take from you, my beautiful wandering soul. This is my gift to you for the happiness you once brought to this tired old soul.

   Sir Phillip has all the necessary papers and will help you with anything you may need. He has been my adviser for many centuries and I assure you he will always look out for your best interest as he has mine.

  Remember me always my sweet gypsy, I am your eternal servant in this life and the next.

                                                                                                         With all my love;
                                                                                                         Lord Alaric Blackwulf

   She read the letter not once but twice then folded it gently and placed it in a pouch at her waist. When she raised her eyes to meet the deliverer of the letter, tears clung to her long lashes. She took a deep breath “Where does he rest?” she asked, already knowing that it was not only the castle he left in her safe keeping but something even more precious. Sir Philip cleared his throat before he spoke. “His tomb lies in the mountain, beneath Castle Blackwulf.” She only nodded and watched as he produced a leather bound folder. “I have some papers for you to sign Lady BlackRose?”

  Once everything was gone over and she had signed the necessary papers he took his leave. Assuring her that he would await her arrival and that he would go over the rest of her holdings then.

  Raven watched him go with a heavy heart. She had cared deeply for Alaric and had felt safe in his home. But the duties of the coven had called her away and she never found her way back to castle Blackwulf or his waiting arms.

  Had it really been that long she pondered, looking back over her own existence. She would set her affairs in order and return to the Blackwulf Castle post haste. She was about due for a change and had already been fighting her roaming soul. With a deep sigh she faded back into the shadows and disappeared from the tavern.

   A month later a gypsy wagon rolled into the village that rested in the valley below Castle Blackwulf. She left her horse and wagon at the local livery and acquired to the whereabouts of Sir Phillip D'Montage's office. Walking inside she was immediately greeted by Sir Phillip “Lady Raven, you arrived much sooner then I anticipated, please come in, sit down.”

  He was much more in his element here in the simple dark oak office, lined with walls and walls of books. She took a seat across from a large desk and smiled. “Shall we get down to business, I'm eager to see how the castle has fared.” she replied.

  They went over the holdings. It seems that not only the castle but the village as well as much of the surrounding land were part of her holdings. Much more then she had expected, she looked at him with confusion. “I know nothing of such things, Sir Phillip.” she sighed. Sir Phillip came around the desk and set in the chair beside her, patting her hand. “Lady Raven I have managed Lord Alaric's affairs for centuries and with your permission I would be happy to manage them for you as well. As you know he cared little about his holdings and spent much time away or at rest.”

  Raven nodded, her senses told her she could trust the man and trust was not something that came easily to the gypsy. “I'd like to rename the castle to BlackRose Manor.” He smiled at her “It was a grand castle in it's beginnings. Somehow I think manor would be more suitable in this time. I will draw up the necessary papers. I've already set to having the place cleaned and set to order in anticipation of your arrival.” he stated. She stood to leave and smiled as he stood with her.

  Holding out her hand to him. “I thank you Sir Phillip and appreciate your guidance.” then she left. Returning to the livery she gathered her wagon and made her way up the winding road to BlackRose Manor.

 

And so it begins......................


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