The Hidden Will of the Dragon

General Fiction

By Charlie Courtland

Publisher : In Association with Treasureline Publishing

ABOUT Charlie Courtland

Charlie Courtland
Charlie Courtland is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a Master's in Forensic Psychology and Bachelor's in English Literature.  She works as an investigator in cooperation with AG office in Seattle. Bad habits include expensive coffee, cigarettes, shopping by phone a More...



The year is 1628, Vienna, and the aging Lady Amara Borbala has collapsed before fulfilling her promise to Count Drugeth to record the historical truth about the infamous Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory.  In her last entry, Amara writes, "It'd been nearly 130 years since Vlad Tepes, known as the Dragon, arranged the secret agreement."  Was it truly possible that the kin of his ancient advisor would honor the contract?  And if so, how would it change history?

In the sequel to "Dandelions in the Garden," the journey of history's most intriguing noble female murderer continues. Come following Elizabeth and Amara through the canals of Venice and high into the Carpathian Mountains to discover the inevitable.  How the story of the Blood Countess really ends!

Author Note Erzsébet Báthory was born in 1560 at the castle of Ecsed in Hungary. The Bathory family was a wealthy and powerful Protestant family. Members included: war heroes, a cardinal and the future King of Poland. However, the family tree also had a shady side, and their defects were believed to be the sad consequence of constant intermarriage. The less reputable half included an uncle who practiced rituals of satanic worship, and Aunt Klara, a notorious bi-sexual who enjoyed torturing her servants. Erzsébet’s own brother Stephan was a drunk and a lecher. Many members of the Countess’s family suffered from epilepsy, madness and other psychological disturbances. As a child, Erzsébet threw frequent fits, which might have been seizures or a psychologically disorder. It was reported that she would easily be overcome with rage and lash out with uncontrollable and often, severely harmful behavior. At the age of six Erzsébet witnessed an event that possibly triggered her future habits. A band of gypsies visited the Bathory home. During their stay, one of the men was accused of selling his children to the Turks. With no evidence besides the word of gossiping royals, the gypsy was declared guilty by Erzsébet’s father and sentenced to death. Also during her eleventh year, Erzsébet became engaged to Ferenc Nadasdy, the ‘Black Lord’ of Hungary. He had a reputation for being a cruel and ruthless warrior, which made him a prize asset of the crown. At a young age, Erzsébet was sent away and was surprisingly, and for the most part, left unsupervised. During one of her unattended excursions, she met a local peasant, Laszlo Bende. She was smitten and continued a secret romance with the boy. Unfortunately, this lead to a pregnancy and urgency by her family to cover up the incident and rush a marriage to Ferenc. Erzsébet gave birth in secrecy and was forced to leave the child with an adoptive family. On May 8, 1575, at the age of fifteen, Erzsébet married the twenty-one year old Ferenc Nadasdy, at the Varanno Castle. Since Ferenc was a solider and the leader of the ‘Unholy or Black Quintet,’ he spent very little time with his new bride. In his absence, Erzsébet relished her freedom, power and ran the estate with an iron hand, often personally delivering torture as punishment. In 1585 Erzsebét gave birth to her daughter, Anna, and over the following nine years two more girls were born, Ursula and Katherina. However, it is speculated that Ursula died as a baby. Finally, in 1598, Erzsébet gave birth to her only son, Paul. With the heir born, the family was satisfied. However, Erzsébet grew bored and restless so she decided to visit her aunt, Countess Klara Bathory. It is rumored that during these visits, and through the urging of her aunt, Erzsébet participated in orgies and bondage. She also developed an interest in the occult. Soon thereafter, she became associated with Dorothea Szantes, a black magic witch who encouraged Erzséebet’s sadistic tendencies and helped her refine acts and devices of torture. In 1603, Ferenc became ill. He fought for his life and held on until January 4, 1604. Accounts suggest he was poisoned by an enemy spy or his wife, while others think he was stabbed by a scorned harlot. Four weeks later, Erzsebét moved to a townhouse in Vienna. Also sometime during this year, Erzsebét added another member to her intimate circle, Anna Darvulia. The woman claimed to have been in the service of Queen Catherine de’Medici and was familiar with potions that prevented aging and enhanced beauty. One day, Erzsébet lashed out at a servant girl and slapped her violently across the face. The assault produced a splattering of blood. Thereafter, the Countess was convinced that the spot where the blood touched her skin appeared more youthful. She concluded that the ancient claim that the taking of another’s blood could result in the absorption of that person’s physical or spiritual qualities was true. Eager for more blood, Erzsébet recruited the help of her faithful servants, a dwarf named Ficzko, and her old wet nurse, Ilona, along with Dorothea to kidnap and kill more young girls. This continued for nearly ten years. Eventually Darvulia went blind and died. Without her trusted chemist, Erzsebét found herself aging again. Seeking opportunity a sorceress by the name of Erzsi Majorova appeared on Erzsébet’s doorstep. In order to gain the Countess’s trust Erzsi added a spin to Darvulia’s take on eternal potions. She told Erzsébet that virginal victims must be of noble birth. The purer the substance, the better the benefits. However, getting noble girls was problematic so Erzsébet’s crew procured peasant girls and before presenting them to their mistress, they made the girls wash, scour and dress in finery. Erzsébet’s lavish hobby and beauty potions created an enormous drain on her finances. She was always complaining about money and demanding a larger allowance. When she was refused, she had no other choice, but to sell two of her estates. This alerted the family and they called a meeting. During this meeting, the men agreed that it was time the widowed countess be sent to a convent to live out her remaining days. However, just days before the plan could be carried out, the Bathory family learned that the Impre Megyert had registered a formal complaint against Erzsébet with the Hungarian Parliament. For three days, the Parliament would listen to testimonies and accusations against the Countess. From March through July of 1610, testimonies of witnesses were recorded. Some think it was the crown’s interest in Erzsébet’s property holdings that inspired the trial. At this time, if a noble was found guilty all their property would be confiscated and most important all the claims to debt, which the crown might owe to a certain noble family (which they did), was void. On the night of December 30, 1610, Castle Cachtice (located in Csejte) was raided. The investigation was lead by Count Thurzo and his men. It was noted that a soldier discovered a body of a young girl that appeared to be cut and torn. The search continued leading the party down 150 stairs into a damp dungeon where they found Erzsébet. She was immediately taken into custody. Erzsébet’s trial began on January 2, 1611. When the public learned of the accusations against the Countess they labeled her the, ‘Blood Countess.’ The story grew more and more fantastic making it difficult to know what was true and what was silly folklore and superstition. Gossip spread from every mouth about bathing in blood, draining blood and drinking blood – and forevermore, the association with vampirism and the Countess Bathory was born. Erzsébet was condemned to a life of imprisonment. It is recorded that on July 13, 1614, Countess Erzsébet Bathory dictated her will and testament. She left everything to her children. Countess Erzsébet Bathory was supposed to be buried at the local town church, but the townspeople rallied and refused. Instead, her body was reportedly sent to the town of Ecsed, the original home of Erzsébet and where she spent her brief childhood. Most characters in the story are based on historical people. They were either known family members or those likely to have crossed paths with the Countess during her lifetime. Although reports have labeled Erzsébet Bathory as the most prolific female serial killer in history, evidence of her alleged crimes is scarce and her guilt an ongoing topic of debate.