The mansion shook from the roar of the Hydra as it smelled fresh blood. Marcus slipped the crimson-tipped fountain pen into her hand and wrapped her fingers around the implement.
"Sign it! Now!"
He guided her hand to the bottom of the parchment. A trickle of blood spread a red circle over the sleeve of her silks. The front archway of the mansion crumbled, giving way to rows of deadly fangs as the Hydra battered itself against the structure.
"SIGN IT!" Marcus screamed, barely audible over the din. Marcus freed both hands to gesture wildly, tracing glowing sigils in the air as desperation furrowed his brow. The serpent's head slithered through the shattered side of the structure, racing towards them. Marcus saw the beast's maw stretch wide to envelop him...
...and just as quickly disintegrate into ashes, swirling like a thick gray blizzard in the chamber. Marcus looked down at her trembling hand, the tip of the pen still pressed to the parchment where she had signed her name.
A silent gesture by the new Count Marcus, and the ashes picked up on a cold gust of air, spiraling out of the remains of the front wall. The Countess released the pen, letting it roll to the floor as she wrapped her arms around herself. The Count removed his ascot and wrapped it around the wound on her bloodied arm. He then removed his jacket and covered her in it like a cloak.
She did not remember dawn being so close, but the familiar shades of pink and orange tinted the heavy snow that had begun to fall, dispersing the thick heavy smoke that hung in the air all of that horrible night.
Seeing that the red ink had dried, Marcus rolled the parchment into a metal tube and secreted it into his satchel. "Go get some rest." he said. "I'll survey what's left of our island." He broke a smile as he stepped into the snow in his shirt and vest. The Countess could hear him singing as he vanished in the wall of white tinged with morning's gold.
At first light, lay proud Foundations...