Jun. 25th, 2011

I don't like Janosh very much. Need to fix that.

Janosh and Georgi ran through the streets of Stuvitze. When Vlad the Undying grew hungry, he liked to hunt for his food. When he hunted, he and his pets streamed down the glacier from his ghostly castle and stalked the streets of Stuvitze for his prey. Getting inside and under cover, with doors locked and windows shuttered, was the only defense. But the defense wasn't perfect. It hadn't been for Janosh's mother.

The breeze pelting down from the heights brought with it a flurry of snow. Janosh turned his collar against the icy wind and forged through the streets with Georgi staggering behind him. Over the howl of the wind came another sound – the baying of wolves. Vlad was master of a pack of the abominations, and he liked to bring them with him during his expeditions. His dogs sniffed out prey, and Vlad came to collect it. Mu wolves could run more quickly than horses, and they would be in town soon.

They were three blocks from Janosh's apartment, with its stout iron-bound door and its lack of large windows, when a scream cut through the night. "Oh, mercy," groaned Georgi. "They're here already."

"More killings," said Janosh. Something inside him chose this moment to snap. The hunts of Vlad, the random killings in the dark; these things had been part of Janosh's world for his entire life. And he wasn't alone; nobody in Stuvitze, or the entire Great Valley for that matter, had been untouched by Vlad's reign of blood. Everybody had a relative or a close friend who had been killed. It was just part of the normal chain of events.

But Janosh had had enough. With the killing of his father still fresh on his mind, and the image of his mother's snow-white body lying sprawled on the floor, utterly drained of blood, never entirely absent from his memories – Janosh had had enough. He stopped dead in the street. Georgi pulled at his hand.

"Come on!" hissed the Piper. "Don't give up! It's not too late!"

"Exactly," said Janosh, nodding. "It's not too late."

Janosh drew his sword. It was still hard to think of it as his; it had belonged to the Meister. It was a beautiful thing, long and slim, with a basket shaped like a pair of leaping horses. Janosh brandished it, and the starlight reflected on its blade made it gleam with a cold sheen.

"The past is the past," whispered Janosh. "But it's never too late to do something about the present." With a trot he began running the other direction, back towards the center of town.

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