Jun. 26th, 2011

Janosh, Georgi and Esmer stared at Vlad. The vampire was smiling, but his face didn't wrinkle or seam when he changed expression. He was like a creature carved from stone.

Vlad looked at the wolf that Janosh had nearly decapitated. "You have hurt my pets," he chided. Vlad's voice was a mobile thing that could vary between a basso rumble and a fluting tenor. He spoke expressively, but there was no emotion behind what he said. Vlad could just as well have been talking about the weather.

Janosh swallowed. What did one say to the boogieman of everybody's nightmares? "I'm… I'm sorry," he said. "I don't want to die."

Vlad nodded, a mockery of sympathy. "Yes," he said, "that's commonplace." He had a strange accent, a peculiar way to shape words, that complimented the otherworldliness of his appearance and poise.

Vlad spotted the fallen bodies of the caravan's driver and crossed to them. He lifted the first Gypsy's head by the braid, sniffed, and dropped the corpse again. "Just a bit too late," he said. "If the body is only dead a minute or so, it is still potentially of use. But these poor fellows' hearts have been still a shade too long. The blood, it clots; it cloys. Bah."

"Stay back," demanded Janosh. He brandished his sword. Vlad watched him appreciatively but made no move to approach.

"I've seen that blade before," said the vampire. "You're the Meister's son, are you not? News of his passing has reached our ears. You must be overwhelmed with grief."
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September 2012

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