Dark Symphony


Chapter 1

This book was written, with love, for my youngest daughter, Cecilia, who has managed to inspire more than one character for me! And also for Beverly Gladstone and her son, Tony.

Wishing you both all the best in the world.

Author's Notes and Acknowledgments:

Special thanks go to Alicia Miller, owner of Kat Avalon Habit of Perfection FCH, daughter of Celt. She is a member of the Borzoi Club of America and was invaluable to me in the writing of Dark Symphony. Alicia was so very generous with her time and knowledge and support. Without her, I would never have discovered the incredible breed of the borzoi.

CH Avalon Celtic Cross is owned and bred and very much loved by Sandra Moore. Sandra Moore is the owner of the real Celt, a wonderful borzoi with outstanding qualities. She is a member of the AKC, the Borzoi Club of America, and many regional clubs as well. She also has had nationally ranked borzois for many, many years.

Last, but not least, I must thank my daughter Denise, for coming up with the lyrics for Josef's immortal rap song!

Fog, thick and dense, blanketed the sky, muffling every sound. Muffling the sound of conspiracy. Of murder stalking the night. Of dark, ugly intentions hidden within the white, swirling mists and the deeper shadows. The fog was the perfect cover for the predator as he moved silently across the sky, searching for prey. He had been alone too long, far from his own kind, fighting the insidious call of power, of evil, that whispered to him every waking minute of his existence.

Far below him were the humans, his prey. His enemies. He knew what they would do to one of his kind, should they discover him. He still woke choking from his slumber, trapped for those first waking moments in his past His body would always bear the scars of torture, though it was nearly impossible to scar his kind. He was Carpathian, a species as old as time, with tremendous gifts to hold dominion over the weather, the land, even animals. He could shift shape and soar high, run with the wolves, yet without the light to his darkness, he could so easily give in to the whispers of temptation, the call for power, and turn wholly evil. He had the potential for becoming the undead, as so many of his kind had chosen to do.

He traveled the world, hunting the vampire, seeking to maintain a balance of life in a world of bleak loneliness. Seeking to maintain honor when he felt he'd lost it. And then he heard the music. It was playing on a television set in one of the stores he passed late in the evening, and the music caught him as nothing else had. Ensnared him. Mesmerized him. Wrapped his soul in golden notes until he thought only of the music. He could only hear the music playing in his head. It was so powerful it even dulled the relentless hunger that was ever present in his life. He traveled to Italy, drawn by the music. And he stayed for other, much more compelling reasons.

He flew across the sky with silent stealth, pulled in the same direction on every awakening. With his acute sense of smell he caught the scent of salt from the sea and the fuel from a boat tossed about on the rolling waves. The wind also brought him the scent of man. For a brief moment his lips drew back in a silent snarl, and he felt his incisors lengthen in hunger. In distaste. Most humans had become his enemy, although he sought their protection. Humans used him as a trap to draw others of his kind, nearly succeeding in killing the lifemate to his prince.

The stain of shame would always be on him. Would always keep him from being completely comfortable in his homeland and with others of his kind. He would never be able to bear their forgiveness. He could not forgive himself. His self-imposed penance had been service to his people. He actively hunted their mortal enemy, the vampire, engaging in battle after battle when he had never been a warrior. He went from country to country in a relentless, merciless hunt, determined to rid the world of the evil stalking his kind. Every kill brought him closer to the edge of madness. Until he found the music.

The night enfolded him, embraced him as a brother. In the darkness, his eyes glowed the fiery red of