The day after Miralys' birthday started normally enough, the adults had breakfast together
While Miralys and Menolly caught the school bus
Tamara put Cashew through a few more paces that morning
While Joshua tended the garden
After a couple of hours of training, Tamara rode Cashew over to the Equestrian Centre, now that Cinnamon & Thunder were grown, she could sell Cashew for a nice profit
Once he'd finished in the garden, Joshua began experimenting with his nectar making
After school Menolly went on a school trip with her class
That evening however, Tamara's sister Sofia arrived at the house unexpectedly in great distress and with her family in tow
Tamara, you have to leave Hidden Springs now! I can get you all away but please take Gary and Stacia away with you!
But, Sofia, why? Whatever has happened?
"I was visiting Mama and Papa when he arrived with two of his harem"
Tamara interrupted "He?"
"The Count himself, Dracula..."
Mama answered the door and he took control of her immediately
"He drained her dry so fast"
"Papa confronted him of course"
"But Dracula told him that it was his own fault for caring about a pet and keeping secrets from his overlords"
"He said that because Papa had tried to keep the fountain in Hidden Springs a secret the whole family had to die as a punishment"
"Oh Tamara, he killed Papa! And his witches killed Charles!"
"I ran, I'm ashamed, but I knew I had to get to Gary & Stacia before they did and then to you. The last thing he said before he killed Papa was that they'd take my little Stacia and make her their pet after they'd killed the rest of the family!"
"But Sofia, how are we going to get away? And where can we go?"
"You know Gary's adopted mother, old Granny Shue? She's one of several wood elves living here in Hidden Springs, it's their town really. Star, Gary's sister is one too and she's taught me a spell which can transport us all far away, there's only one catch - it'll kill any vampire who passes through it and I'll have to go through in order to close the gate"
"But what about Stacia? She's a born vampire, won't it kill her?"
"She's still a child, she hasn't come into being a vampire fully, all it will do is remove her vampirism, she'll just be an ordinary little girl"
"What about Gary's family? Will the Count go after them too?"
A new voice interrupted them then "We can take care of our own, your Count can't stand against us in our own place, but we can't protect little Stacia, not while she's a vampire"
Star then handed Tamara a box "this will cover the value of your house and get you started wherever Sofia takes you"
"We can't accept that, it's much too valuable"
"Don't worry, I married a Vanderburg, money isn't an issue. Besides, once you're gone my kindred and I will make it look as if you've all died, at which point the house will revert to the town as you'll have died without heirs. Since the town is basically owned by my husband's family the money will make it's way back to me eventually anyway"
Once Star had left to make her preparations, Sofia gave her daughter a hug and whispered "I'm sorry baby, don't ever forget Mummy loves you, but I have to get you away from here and this is the only way"
Sofia concentrated hard and the world seemed to dissolve away around them
The fog and fuzziness cleared and they found themselves standing on a beach somewhere
Sofia immediately doubled over in pain
And within seconds she had dissolved into ashes
As the family stood around grieving, the Grim Reaper arrived to take Sofia's soul