The Estate had stood in its present form for nigh a hundren and fifty of years, though you couldn’t see the faintest hint of the massive renovation that took place in the East Wing.  Death by fire, tis a cruel thing, and the mansion had witnessed the death of many that long ago night.

Much before that, the history, tis shrouded.  Talk says twas an underground for convicted criminals, or maybe twas persecuted religious heretics.  By some calculations, both were about one and the same.  Whispers of labyrinths filled with weapons and armory kept the local lads attempting time and time again to penetrate the walls of the Estate. 

But to no avail.  The Estate refuses access.  Doors remain unmoving, though handles turned willingly enough under eager hands.  Windows shattered by flying rocks sealed themselves over before a body could knock out the rest of the glass.  One local bragged he’d lost three of his fingers due to the glass shearing through his flesh and bone.  If one could gain access, one might find the shriveled remains of his appendages lying beneath the window casings.

Twas the sightings on the grounds themselves that drew the most curious. And that was a fair amount of ground to cover.  Some twenty five thousand acres, all of it belongin’ to the Estate. Manicured lawns, lavish gardens, a Vineyard that boasted the finest grapes your palate could dream of tasting, creating such wines that rivaled most French and California Houses. 

The sightin’s were something the new residents tried hard to see for themselves.  Those folks rarely were granted the visions they sought.  The locals, well they didn’t need reaffirmin’ of their other-than-human neighbors.  They knew well enough, had always known, and perhaps always had seen.

Two legends vied for attention.  Two women.  Of such enduring power that the rumours were as rich and colorful as they’d been during the grandest days of the secluded town.

Lacy LeFey, and her advocate … Sari Faire.  No one could rightly say what Lacy might have been.  She was more than human, though, and dared to challenge even darkest of nights creatures.  Sari Faire, perhaps drawn to the strange phenomena that Lacy presented, appeared one golden-cast day at the Falls of Darby .  Whether witch or faery, none could rightly say.  She extended her boundaries and drew the Estate, and parts of Darby, into her protective circle.

Woe to the man, woman or child who hunted those grounds.  Twas said that Sari Faire wreaked great despair upon any who knowingly assaulted her children that resided within the massive forests that bordered the Estate.  Hunters disappeared; youths returned home with festering wounds created by their own crude weapons.  When the lads recited tales of blue lights that spun with dervish intent and gleaming midnight eyes, nods of understanding would be forthcoming.  The lesson, well taught, would prevent the wee ones from becoming a missing hunter in the future. 

Faeries, witches, demons and dark angels.  And the darkest creature of all.  The drinker of human blood, and the taker of innocent souls.  The word, always whispered in hushed tones, could still send shivers racing down the spine of all folk.

Vampires.

The new residents scoffed, even after living within this environment most of their lives.  The locals knew and believed.  Newcomers and tourists were amused and delighted, taking their instant pictures of the lovely grounds and gardens.  They adored the quaintness, and the hint of menace from the looming Estate.  The tiny, soft thrill of danger enhanced their experience.  Ye wouldn’t be catchin’ them there after dark, yet they did not truly believe.  Not much, anyways.

I believed.  And this was the first time in my life I had set foot in the town of Darby.

My goal was simple - to pierce the mists of time ... to find the legend herself.

The Journal
Merry Anne Dresden