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It was late fall in 1506, the sun had just started setting and she could see clearly to the village below her home. A young woman with violet eyes caught her attention. The young woman’s dark hair hung well past her shoulders, and seemed to also keep passers by from gazing into her eyes. Katherine was intrigued by this and knew that she had to know her. But finding a way to bring the young one to the house was going to be difficult, Katherine never left the confines of the mansion and those that did never returned. She knew that the villagers feared anyone that came from the mansion. Finally she decided that it had been a good many years, none had ever seen her, and she ventured into the village. A long dark red cloak keeping her features hidden from those that would look at her.
“Welcome.” Katherine said, her Irish accent apparent.
“Thank you. I’ve seen many around this village and yet I’ve never seen you before.” She replied looking at Katherine.
“I do not come to the village often.”
“Why is that?”
“I feel that it is such a bothersome place. Many of the towns people are unkind.”
“I’ve not noticed this. My father and I have only been here for a short time.”
“There are a lot of things to take in, the towns folk here are very close knit.” Katherine replied.
“ I am Bianca, I came from Spain with my father.” Bianca said extending her hand to the taller woman.
“I am Katherine,” she replied looking at the young woman. “Why did you father bring you here? Spain is a long way to have come.”
“Yes I know, but the people of our village feared me, my violet eyes and blood red lips made some think I was cursed.”
“ That is no reason to make you leave your home. But I fear that there is something more troubling you, Bianca?”
“Yes that there is. Father was to return to Spain in a day’s time. But his health has taken a grave turn; I fear he will not return to Spain and my mother.”
“Is that so bad?” Katherine asked.
“My mother is a wonderful woman, and my father is only doing what he feels is right for the family. I have two brothers and a younger sister. They all wished I would stay home, but father insisted that I be gone before the next new moon. It seemed that my family was in danger if I remained in our home. So I did what he felt was right.”
“Then come stay with me. My home is large, and I am alone in It.”
“But are you sure it is all right; we’ve just only met and I do not wish to impose.”
“Far from it, I live alone in the large house and have wished for companionship for a great many years.”
“Why have you lived in the home alone? You are a kind woman.”
“I live within the large iron gates of the mansion just beyond the village.”
“I’ve heard the villagers speak of that house being haunted by a demon.”
“I am no more a demon than you are child. It is stories of the old folk within this village; it tends to scare off newcomers. But come I shall show you to my home.”
She said taking Bianca’s hand in her own. Bianca waited and could feel a strange power that seemed to almost flow from Katherine’s fingers.
“Tomorrow, for tonight I shall return to the inn where my father lays dying and wait.”
“He will die even if you are not there child.”
“Yes I know, but I will not allow him to be alone. Mother would have never wanted that.”
“All right, I will come to this very place again tomorrow night. I will be waiting.”
“A few days.” Bianca insisted.
“A few days then,” Katherine answered with a smile. Katherine watched as Bianca walked away, then she too walked back toward the mansion, hearing every whisper that was said as she passed closed doors and windows.
“You fear the demon that lives within the confines of that Iron Gate; fear the one that shall become more powerful with my help. The one that shall help me destroy your very lives.”
Katherine seemed to notice, that Bianca came to her daily, no matter how bad her father’s health had become. She had become almost entranced by Katherine, the stories that she told, and the life that she had lead. Yet there seemed to still be an air of mystery about Katherine. Bianca had asked in the village of Katherine, many knew nothing of a Katherine; others said that Katherine was a spirit that would appear to bring children and men to the house to feed the spirits that lived within, but this still didn’t stop her visits. Bianca seemed intrigued by the life of this woman and wanted to know more about Katherine and how she came about having such a lavish lifestyle and such a beautiful house. The house seemed to be over a hundred years old, even seemed to be something that Katherine would be unable to afford. There were people that lived within the home, within the large stonewalls. She had been told Katherine lived alone, but it seemed that was not the case. Yet when she arrived at the gate, it seemed to open on it‘s own, allowing entrance only to her. The unmanaged grounds and garden worried her. For someone that lived within this beautiful home should have never let such things go to waste. She saw a huge black carriage sitting just beyond the mansion and two black horses. The huge Iron Gate separated the mansion and it’s grounds from the village below. She wished the townsfolk below would come to the home, and see the woman that she had heard many call a demon. Looking from the village far below, made the large house seem under kept and haunted, but what was on the outside held the secret of what was held within its walls.
“Why don’t you bring your father here, you spend more time here than you do with him. Then I shall summon the doctor and have him treated.” Katherine offered suddenly, over an evening’s supper. Bianca nearly dropped her fork as she looked at the older woman, she had never thought of ever asking to bring her father to such a wonderful home.
“Are you sure?” She asked hesitantly.
“Yes I am very sure. I’ve enjoyed the time we’ve spent over the last few weeks even if it has been far after sunset, I’ve enjoyed the happiness this old house is seeing again.” She answered extending her arms; the warmth of the house had changed since Bianca had started coming to it.
“But my father is very ill, are you sure?” Bianca asked again hesitantly.
“ Yes I am very sure. Bring him and I will make sure my doctors take good care of him. We know that his health is far worse than he says and it’s only a matter of time before god calls him home, why not let him enjoy that time with his daughter.” Katherine said, her voice sweet. She could almost feel the excitement of the young woman, the blood seemed to almost pour out of her, Katherine could only delight in the happiness, for now.
“Are you really sure?”
“Yes I am, this house has been quiet far to long. It would be nice to have others around, even if it is for a short time.”
“All right. When I return to the inn tonight. I will let father know and we will return tomorrow.”
“Please let Harold know when you will be returning, I usually request not being undisturbed during the day.”
“Just something I request.” She answered with a smile.
“All right.” Bianca didn’t want to upset her new friend so she didn’t ask any further questions.
“If there is any trouble getting your father here tomorrow send Martin back and he shall gather a few of the others to help you.” Katherine said.
“The driver. Harold and Martin may be the two that will be most helpful in getting your father back to the mansion tomorrow.”
“Thank you so much.” Bianca said with a huge smile. Katherine was pleased, but would Bianca feel the same way in a few days. The new moon was about to rise and with it the chance she had of bringing such a child across, she knew of Bianca’s talents even if she didn’t. She watched as dawn approached and Bianca said her goodbyes once again.
“What do you want done mistress?”
“ Miss Bianca will be returning later this afternoon.”
“Yes Mistress. Would you require anything from the village?”
“Not this evening.” Katherine said with a smile. “Martin, be sure that Miss Bianca arrives safely, we do not wish any harm to come of her because the townsfolk know she’s been here.”
“Yes mistress. There is a priest seeking to sleep within the walls of the mansion, saying he can exercise the demons that reside within the darkened hallways.”
“Let him try, and he shall become as the others have.”
“Then I will allow his entrance into the mansion while you sleep?”
“As long as he remains away from my chambers, yes. But if he ventures there, the lord will not be able to save him.” Katherine replied as she turned and walked down the long hallway.
Katherine waited, she could hear as the horses made the way down the cobblestone road that lead to the village below. She knew that the townsfolk would talk, they would whisper, but she also knew they wouldn’t dare ask the child what she had ventured into the creatures halls.
“Yes?” Katherine replied looking toward the door.
“I mean no disrespect in disturbing you, but it seems Miss Bianca and her father have arrived, do you wish to greet them?”
“What is the time, Martin?”
“The sun is still high in the sky Mistress.”
“Tell Bianca, I shall see her and her father over dinner this evening. I am not to be disturbed.”
“Yes Mistress.” replied Martin as he returned to the foyer.
“ I am sorry but mistress Katherine is unable to greet you this afternoon, but promises she’ll be at dinner this evening.” Martin said. He looked toward the door to see Harold bringing in several bags, and another guest.
“You must be Father Darcy.”
“It’s just Darcy McDaniel, I have long sense left the church. To find my own way I told them.”
“Well welcome then. Mistress Katherine will greet you at dinner this evening. Please let me show you to your rooms.” Martin said. Bianca looked at him and then nodded.