Drake Sainte-d'Aignaux, Lord of Dacia, stared off into the distance…toward the thick forest in the north that marked the border between his province and that of another Lord. The setting sun was casting a vibrant orange over the western sea, the sky filled with deepening purples and blues. This evening Drake had kept his end of the bargain with a demon…the leader of the vampire clan that had, for the last year, terrorized his and nearby lands. For centuries his generation and others before had been able to defeat, or at least hold back, the vampire attacks; but recently the tide had turned on the humans and elves. The vampires had seemed to grow stronger and more bold until it seemed they controlled everyone’s lives.
It had not been an easy decision to do what he’d done. But putting the safety of his people and lands…and yes, deep down he knew, his wealth and power…first had been his only choice. And it wasn’t only himself that had been part of this agreement, several of the other Lords had also sacrificed something important.
In exchange for the promise that the vampire clan would leave their lands, Drake and the others had given up a daughter to the vampire leader. In secret. A secret the powerful men had all sworn to keep to their graves. Right now his youngest, Celestria, was on her way into the forest. The eighteen year old girl had been set up by her father for a “kidnapping” while on an errand—something that would explain her disappearance—and spirited away to the far off forest.
No one would ever know. Drake would console his family, especially the two remaining sisters, while his youngest would be…Drake shook his head sharply. No. He wouldn’t…couldn’t dwell on that. Everyone made sacrifices in this life. This had been Celestria’s…and his.
* * * * *
The plain wagon rolled quickly through the forest, bumping over the dirt trail. The old man at the reins had only been told to drive the wagon to a certain spot then walk away. The coins jingled in his pocket…more money than he’d ever seen. He never peeked under the tarp over the back of the wagon. Something scared the old man and he only wanted to be done with this.
He pushed the serving girl away from him and wiped his mouth…..then jumped down from the covered wagon and walked into the encampment…..he and his men were a few hours ride from the home of Drake Sainte-d'Aignaux…if his sources were correct tonight was the night that Drake would sacrifice his youngest daughter, Celestria, to the band of vampires that had been terrorizing his lands for the past 13 years. Samael, Lord of Marche smiled to himself……over the last 12 months the vampire clan had grown in numbers and strength, there had been a war, a war which the humans were losing….he had remained an observer for the duration of the war….he had sent human slaves to aid Drake but never joined the battle himself, he could not risk exposure, Drake was unaware of his true nature and that suited him, he had been granted land in NE Aquitaine in exchange for men and gold….land where he could rule as he saw fit, land where his nighttime activities went unnoticed…..for nearly two decades he had been comfortable, safe, he had a steady food supply, more gold and treasure than he would ever need….but now the familiar feelings of ennui pressed on him…it was time for him to act…
He had sent a scout to track Celestria, not with the intention of rescuing her, but simply to discover the whereabouts of the clans lair….he had told no-one his true intentions, not even his trusted advisor Mikhail…..his men, his followers, his servants, all thought he was seeking to form an alliance with the clan…..it was safer that way…many of his men were young, recently turned, easily read by an older vampire….if anyone probed their minds they would find only what Samael wanted them to find.
As the sky darkened from purple to black his scout returned, he stopped in front of Samael and bowed
My Lord….he handed Samael a crudely drawn map…..they are heading for the forest….we will be able to track them easily
Samael put his hands on the scouts shoulders and smiled, the tips of his fangs showing…
You have served me well
Realization dawned and the scout tried to run….Samael snapped his neck before he could take even one step, he dragged the body across the camp and threw it onto the fire.
Mikhail, ready the men, we leave in one hour.
Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 23 June 2008 - 10:43 AM.