Daniel rose from his warm bed, exposing his naked flesh to the harsh cold of Brennenburg. The 16th-century castle had seen countless storms, wars, and deaths. All through the same eyes time and time again. With a soft sigh, Daniel cast open the window beside his bedroom. The young man doubted anyone would be looking upon his exposed body at this late hour. Provocative silver streaks sliced across Daniel's chest, the full moon peering out from a veil of stormy clouds. To the far east, another more foreboding set of clouds approached the ramparts. A crimson storm was soon to be upon them, its violent red lightning illuminating the outline of the beast. A distant roar echoed across the pine trees, awakening animals and startling birds. Daniel looked away from the symbol of his demise to gaze at the moon and its pesky cloak.
"Perhaps one day those bloody clouds will leave the sky. How I miss the sun, its warmth on my skin."
Another all too familiar tugging in his loins brought Daniel back to why he had woken up at such a dark time. Alexander had promised him so much yet provided no visible price-tag. He didn’t want to believe the old baron to be a dolled-up snake-oil salesman. With only forty-eight hours until his fate was decided, Daniel couldn’t bear the thought of betrayal. He slammed his fist down in frustration.
"Why can't anyone tell me the truth? Why does everyone in my life use me so! I deserve better than all of them damnit!" His voice rising in volume and desperation. Hands shaking, Daniel snatched up a bottle of laudanum. The bitter fluid raced down his parched throat, causing the boy to tear up. It mattered not what the dose was, only what it could cure. Still quivering, Daniel turned to the wooden door leading into the back hall. Whether Alexander was lying to him or not, Daniel had to see what he meant by a price. Cursing his curiosity and throbbing manhood both, he grabbed his clothes and lantern. Things were do or die, and Daniel wasn’t in a position to negotiate.
Alexander tidied up his nest for the final time that night. His tail pushed aside some haphazardly placed torture devices to the side while he hauled a massive eagle statue out of the way. If things were to go in his favour, he would have to minimize the number of hiding spots. The nest itself had been neatly arranged. Pillows had been placed along the rim of the hole, the blankets carefully splayed throughout the inside. Each crease and bend in the fine mahogany crown had been polished and lacquered to perfection. Alexander was proud of his organizing skills as it was something that kept the castle from collapsing into rubble. Petting his ovipositor in anticipation, the baron held a wine glass of vitae to his beaked maw. The memories of countless battles and long nights of mating were both equally etched into his hideous face.