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By King Ulrik Flamebeard
Draco watched as the inhabitants of the small inn blew smoke rings lazily into the stuffy air, the smell of burning coal mixed with the usual tavern smells; unwashed people, spilt ale and smoke. Though for him there was one more smell and it touched the back of his throat, daring to bring forth his hunger. Dark patches on the floor, layered with dust and other stains were the smells source; though it was old and dry he could still smell it and even see it. Briefly his lips curled back into a snarl but he quickly regained his composure. He sat alone in one of the corners of the inn, people gave him a wide birth â€“ whether it was due to fear of his looks or of his supposed title he did not know or even care. But the peace and space suited him well, he was never one to mix with the lower classes until that time was upon him. Lifting the goblet of red wine to his lips he sipped a mouthful or two, the liquid slid down this throat but he no longer cared for it. To him wine had no taste, it was dull and flat but more over it did not sate him and he could not get drunk; now there was only one thing that could sate his thirst. Tonight he would need to feed but who would he taste, he asked himself.
His dark eyes glided across each of the patrons of the small inn, none looked his way but he knew they fought with themselves not to. His looks marked him out as being different, the colour of his skin was pale; so much so that when light reflected off it it seemed to warm to merely a healthy hue. His long dark hair hung loosely around his head, making the skin seem an even more stark contrast than it otherwise would; his eyes were of a dark hue and though none had looked directly into them all could tell they were either black or a dark brown. His high cheek bones and his silken clothing marked him as a noble and thus the innkeeper spared no expense in seeing to his needs, including the sending of his beautiful daughter to wait upon Draco. And such beauty Draco had not set his eyes upon for some time, her long auburn hair fell down her back like a flowing river of copper, her looks defined beauty and her demeanour was one that people could not help but smile as she closed. It took Draco much of his will to stay himself, he could smell her sweet virgin blood and he wanted to wallow in it â€“ but to wantonly slay and slake his thirst was not the way of the Von Carstein bloodline. And to do so would draw attention to himself, attention he could do without. But as he gazed upon her figure he knew who would spend eternity with him.
As it were he sat in silence, watching; waiting as one by one the inhabitants became more inebriated before stumbling off to their little hovels and into an ear bashing from their wives. Soon there was but himself, the innkeeper and his daughter along with two men who had drunk themselves to sleep â€“ these were placed on the floor near the roaring hearth. Deciding it was time to retire for the night Draco stood and in a accent that none were accustomed to, requested he was taken to his room. The innkeeper nodded to his daughter and gave her a candle ; a smile briefly ghosted across Draco's pale features. The young woman, no more than twenty summers at the most, led him up some old stairs and into a landing area â€“ five rooms were present.
â€œThis one is yours my lord.â€? she politely intoned, bowing her head slightly as she spoke. Draco enjoyed playing the part of the aristocrat and curtly nodded towards the other rooms,
â€œThis the best in the house? For I desire nothing but the best.â€? his words were slow and slightly slurred, an effect he had perfected over his hundred years of existence.
â€œIt is my lord.â€? she stammered but then halted and as if the information was forced from her, â€œWell the best we hire out. My fathers room is the one at the far end and mine is the one next door, we can only hire out three. But I assure you sire this is the best of them.â€?
â€œVery well. I do not wish to be disturbed until dusk, it has been a long journey.â€? With this Draco turned and entered the room, leaving the slightly stunned woman outside with the candle. He was slightly intrigued as to the fact the young woman had told of where she slept, he would visit her tonight. The room was in fact to his liking, dark and with no window to let any stray beam of light in. A small set of drawers with a mirror on top, was set against one side to the left and opposite was the bed; between the two sat a small table with a bowl and a pitcher of water. Draco removed his cloak and outer garments until only his shirt and legging remained, removing a small packet from a hidden pocket within his cloak he stooped to his knees. Opening it up he revealed it was full of dirt, laying it flat upon the floor he slid it underneath the bed and attempted to evenly spread the contents across the packet. Finally he stood and for moments he was still, if someone was present they'd have sworn he was a statue carved from marble. Then he opened his eyes;
â€œIt is time.â€? he muttered to himself before swiftly moving towards the door. Placing his ear to the wooden portal he listened, from the other side he could hear no sign of living being except the scrabbling claws of a few mice. Silently and quickly he ghosted down the hallway â€“ despite his size the floorboards beneath him barely even registered his presence before he was gone again. He halted at the second to last door, the innkeeper's daughters room. He lifted the latch and entered. As he entered a breeze caused the solitary candle to flicker, casting a dancing shadow across the room. The candle gave off little light now, the wick was almost gone but enough light was shed to reveal the drawers it sat upon and the girl in the bed beside it.. She stirred and rolled over onto her back, exposing her pale throat. Again he forced himself to quash the urge to pounce upon her to rip open her throat and gorge upon the warm blood, instead he slowly walked over to her and sat on her bed.
Again the girl stirred, her eyes began to flicker open but Draco muttered a few words and they drooped once more. Looking at the woman he slowly pulled back her covered exposing her nightgown and her full figure, if Draco was mortal he would have felt his blood pumping elsewhere at the sight. As it as it was, he was not and he carefully lifted her gown up; rolling it back to expose her legs. Sliding his hand between her thighs he parted them, then leaning closer he put his lips to the inside of the leg and bit down. Years of practice had taught him the places he could feed without drawing attention to the markings, the inside of the thigh close to the sexual organ was one such place â€“ few were willing to expose themselves as such to show the marks. He drew his attention to his meal, her virgin blood flowed into his mouth and he swilled it about as if it was a fine wine; he felt the warmth of the living worm its way through his corpse cold body and touch his heart. For the faintest of moments it beat once more, the thud-thud filled his ears but then was gone once more. He pulled back from her thigh, a slight dribble of blood rolled down his pale chin and using his finger he wiped it off before sucking the red jewel off the finger. He savoured her taste for a few moments before closing her legs and pulling down her gown once more, before covering her and leaving the room as quickly as he came in. Returning to his own room he slipped under the bed and onto the dirt, as a creature of undeath he needed soil of his homeland â€“ Sylvania. Finally he covered himself with his cloak to ward against any stray light and he cast himself into a slumber.
As dusk approached Draco withdrew from his sleep, dressing himself he entered the smoky confines of the common room once more; the hearth had a roaring fire in it; the patrons were merrily chatting way, blowing smoke rings lazily into the air; in the far corner two men sat arguing heatedly; in the middle a game of cards were taking place. Draco once more slid into his seat in the darkened corner and without seemingly attracting attention to himself, he found the young woman from last night was stood at his table waiting.
â€œGood evening my lord, I trust you stay was to your liking?â€? she asked, all the while she seemingly attempted to scratch a hidden itch on her thigh. Draco smiled wolfishly;
â€œYes, it was fine thank you.â€? Looking at her thighs rubbing together he raised an eyebrow, â€œSomething a matter?â€? he asked.
â€œNo sire. Just an itch.â€?
â€œI see. I will have wine again.â€? he said in a flat tone. She gave him a slight bow and left to make his drink. â€œAnd tonight I shall taste a much finer drink once moreâ€? he added breathlessly to himself. Throughout the evening he lavished his attention upon the girl, his eyes followed her movements; her grace was quite fine for one of low-born birth. The more he watched the more he knew she was the one for him, his eternal lover. Even now after the one feeding part of her belonged to him, each time he needed a wine refill she was there as if called by him â€“ a slight vacant look in her eyes before pouring more wine for Draco. One by one the patrons departed into the night, bound for their hovels . And again Draco was the last to leave, in the dark he seemingly floated up the stairs to his room and waited. He did not wait long before his enhanced senses picked up the father and daughter returning to their beds and a short while there after he could detect the sleep in them both, the man snored so loud he could have heard him from downstairs.
Once more he repeated his act from the previous night, as if a ghost he slipped into the girls room and spread her legs for feeding. Such was the placement of the bites that if disturbed people would think of him performing a sexual act upon her; a fact reflected upon her features. As his teeth broke the scabs formed over his previous touch she stirred, her breath caught in her chest and she loosed a slight moan. Her features twisted into a look of pleasure for Draco's touch was light and sensual, as if a kiss from a lover. Again he withdrew without taking too much but he knew come morning she would have a slight pale pallor to her skin; this could be put down to a tiredness of the day to day routine. Covering her again he sat on the bed and watched her in her slumber, she was quite beautiful and he had already discerned her father's actions. He desired Draco to take her as his mistress, to take her away from the inn for a better life. Now looking upon her as she slept, her features serene he readily agreed with his decision to do just that. But not yet, she must become his willing servant before he would take her beyond death. Each time he fed upon her she lost a bit more of herself to him until she could no longer refuse him and would do as he asked willingly, then he would take her. Take her life and give her a new one. Reaching out with his hand he stroked a loose wisp of hair from her face, feeling the warmth of her blood racing beneath the skin - at his touch she moaned slightly in her sleep. Smiling he rose and returned to his dirt covered sheet under the bed.
Once more his even routine was repeated and entered the common room, ordered his drink and sat watching her. He pressed more of his will upon her this time, placing the images of certain things in her mind or forcing her to speak differently â€“ including the change of her accent. That night he slid into her room for the third time and from the same spot he drank but this time he drank deeper than before, he drained much more than usual causing her pleasurable look to turn to a pained one. He collapsed into his 'bed' sated and satisfied that his plan was advanced enough for her to be brought to his will. The fourth night was much the same but this time when the father and child crept into their own beds the girl waited long enough to be sure her father was sound asleep and stepped into Draco's room. As if in a daze she stood before the waiting form of Draco and with a thought implanted from him she spread her legs and held her night gown up, exposing the wound. The vampire sank to his knees and with a slight kiss he once more bared his fangs and slid them into the wound; the girl was awake this time and the piercing of her flesh took her by surprise. A pained gasp hissed from her pursed lips but it quickly became a moan of ecstatic joy as Draco's 'kiss' drove her to pleasure, as he fed Draco became aware of her lips becoming moist and realised she had never knowingly been anything as intimate with a man as she now was. Gripping her thighs tightly he sucked deeper and stronger than before and had to forcibly part with her. Sitting back on the bed he began to lick the red fluid from his lips and teeth.
She saw the blood and drew a breath to scream;
â€œDon't.â€? uttered Draco as he wiped the last of the blood from his mouth. Startled she complied, dropping her clothing back down she simply stared at him â€“ unwilling or unable to speak. Draco returned her gaze before finally telling her to speak.
â€œWh-hat are you?â€? she stammered out, fear held her voice in its vice like grip. Her eyes gazed into the dark pools of his own, as he smiled she was drawn to the almost perfect white canine teeth that jutted from his upper jaw.
â€œYou know what I am.â€? he replied casually as if it was common knowledge.
â€œVampire.â€? she replied, the term seemed to have stunned her so; her fear forgotten. Draco nodded. Swallowing hard, â€œWhat do you want with me?â€? she asked.
â€œI am unsure yet. A bride or a meal. Lets see if you can convince me either way. Which would you prefer?â€? The question caught her unaware and she quickly attempted to decipher the meaning of his words, when she did her eyes widened and she gasped. Fear seeped from her like a smell, Draco drew deep breaths of it into long unused lungs and smiled contently. He could see her considering the question; eternal life or death but would such a life be better than death? These questions once ran through his mind over a century ago and now he decided to help her towards the 'right' choice. â€œThink my dear, your looks would be the same forever â€“ eternally young; stronger than any man and quicker than an elf. You would wine and dine with nobility and still outshine them in all ways possible, then feast upon their thick and sweet blood. It is true you would need fresh blood to live and may not see the sun any more but they are little prices for the great gifts in return.â€? he goaded her towards the correct choice. And he saw it work. She was happy here but knew this would be her only life, with Draco she would be a noblewoman â€“ beautiful and immortal. Swallowing hard she tilted her head to the side and brushed her hair aside exposing her pale neck. His seduction was complete.
He glided to her and gripped tightly, at his cold and clammy touch she tensed.
â€œThis will hurt for but a moment.â€? he whispered breathlessly into her ear, then he bit down upon her throat. A squeal of pain erupted from her lips but it slowly became a soft moaning and pleasure as Draco drew her life from her. He took her to the very edge of death, she teetered upon the brink. Withdrawing from her throat and bit his wrist, droplets of dark blood â€“ almost black in hue â€“ dripped from the wound. And as he cradled her in his arms he placed the bleeding wrist to her lips and whispered into her ear â€“ drink. At first she did nothing but allowed the vile blood to drip into her mouth but as the fluid slid down her throat she felt on fire and gripped the wrist â€“ drinking deep of her masters gift.
â€œEnough!â€? he barked and snatched the wound away, with a thought he closed the wound. â€œNow you must rest and at sunset you must feed.â€? he said and with that the both of them slid under the bed and onto the soil. The next night the innkeeper was worried, he daughter had not shown all morning or even evening but yet neither did the strange nobleman. He smiled and hoped she had stayed with him all this time. He locked up for the night and retired to his bed with a satisfied smile upon his face. The two vampires â€“ master and acolyte - had remained under the bed awake at this time. During the passing of the hours Draco had taught his new thrall the basics; what could kill or hurt her, what she is and must do to remain as so, what to avoid and began to train her senses â€“ listening to conversations downstairs or heartbeats of people below. It was how he heard her father pass by and slip into his nightly slumber.
â€œI can't do it!â€? she wailed at him again. â€œNo! He is my father!â€?
â€œWas. He was your father. Now he like the rest, food. You need to feed and I cannot go outside to pick another when we have someone close by already. If you must think of this as a mercy killing, how will he cope with the lack of you there?â€? Draco's words sunk in slowly, they twisted and turned in her mind until she finally came to a decision.
â€œYou are right. And he is old anyway. Show me.â€? the pain in the newly immortals voice struck Draco's hardened persona like a creating wave upon solid rock, he showed little acknowledgement and merely gripped her hand leading her towards the death of her father. Draco led her to the bed and sat her down, then silently he whispered instructions into her ear before stepping back. Her father rolled over and she sat staring at his exposed neck, the old flesh seemed a little more taunt here; a flicker of doubt was cast over her features and she turned back to Draco.
â€œYou must or you will perish.â€? he said matter of factly. Turning back to her father's throat she gazed at it then as if seeing through the skin itself she watched as a red pulsing flashed across him, over and over again; the blood sang to her. A gasp hissed from her throat as a sharp pain struck her upper jaw, gingerly she reached up and found two overly sized canine teeth now protruded from among her teeth; again he gaze was drawn to the beating pulse of the blood in her father. It sang to her, it drew her and finally she could no longer deny it. Gripping his throat tightly she bit down, the two canines slipped into the flesh with ease. Unlike Draco with herself she was rough, at her first touch he woke and thrashed, trying to throw her off but now she was unmoveable as the ground. She drank deep and heavily, a warmth slowly spread through her now dead limbs giving the semblance of life again. Her head began to spin and a lethargy settled upon her, a smooth hand grip her shoulder and if from a distance she heard the owner speak;
â€œThat is enough. I said enough, Elizabeth! He is dead.â€? Elizabeth was roughly pulled from the cooling corpse, a wild exuberant look in her eyes and dark red blood trickling down her chin; her chest heaved in heavy gasps. The wide eyed corpse of her father lay cooling in the bed, the slight grey linen turned a deep maroon â€“ almost a shade of black â€“ as the blood from the ragged tear in his neck seeped into it. Draco had to hide the evidence least someone suspect.
â€œWait outside.â€? he ordered. Then taking the oil lantern that sat on the desk next to the bed he open it up and spread the oil over the corpse and bedding. Closing the door again he moved over to Elizabeth and tossed the lantern almost lazily onto the bed; the old man and bed were a blazing inferno in moments; soon after the room caught alight and the fire moved like wildfire through the dry wood inn. Meanwhile in the courtyard Draco and Elizabeth were seeing to a carriage that had previously born Draco to the inn, helping her into it he followed and with a knock on the drivers side the carriage set off at a trundle â€“ despite Elizabeth never seeing a driver.
â€œNow my love, I have lots to show you.â€? muttered Draco. Behind them the village had awoken and now fought to quell the blazing fire that had incinerated the innkeeper â€“ Karl and his daughter Elizabeth.
That's pretty good, Kuffy. It's got a fair amount of insightful narrative, and not too many distractions or non-sequiteurs. As we have discussed, its not a bad idea to have a kind of impressionistic 'stream of consciousness' narrative flow, and you have acheived that here.
There are some nice thoughtful details too, although I am not sure if it is established why the protagonist is waiting so long to 'aquire' this lass. Anyway, I'll have another read later. Good one!
Ryan Dancey, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, believed that TSR failed because of "...a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy." Are you listening, Games Workshop ?