Today’s Sneak Peek is from Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order (paranormal/historical) by Lachesis Publishing author David Lee Summers.
What it’s about:
Three vampyrs. Three lives. Three intertwining stories.
Bearing the guilt of destroying the holiest of books after becoming a vampyr, the Dragon, Lord Desmond, searches the world for lost knowledge, but instead, discovers truth in love.
Born a slave in Ancient Greece, Alexandra craves freedom above all else, until a vampyr sets her free, but then, she must pay the highest price of all . . . her human soul.
An assassin who lives in the shadows, Roquelaure is cloaked even from himself, until he discovers the power of friendship and loyalty.
Three vampyrs, traveling the world by moonlight—one woman and two men who forge a bond made in love and blood. Together they form a band of mercenaries called the Scarlet Order, and recruit others who are like them. Their mission is to protect kings and emperors against marauders, invaders, rogue vampyrs, and their ultimate nemesis—Vlad the Impaler.
From the writings of Desmond, Lord Draco.
The years 558-560:
As I continued through the Germanic lands, I began to hear legends that people told of dead friends and relatives that would die, and then come back to life—to drink the blood of those left behind. I heard the word neuntoter a few times, but I also heard new names: nosferatu and vampyr.
After leaving Lucilinburhuc, I continued along the Moselle until I came to the Rhine. There I turned south until I came to a land called Mainz.
Winter was rapidly approaching, so I decided to stay there for a time. I learned that the Graf of Mainz, like the Prince of Lucilinburhuc, was a rather benign ruler.
Soon I found and occupied a small wattle and daub hut not too far from the fortress, but deep enough in the woods that no one took a strong interest in my presence.
During my first nights in the region, I heard tales of a nosferatu that was hunting in the region. In the years since Wolf’s death, I began to despair of ever meeting another of my kind. I was still new enough to the region and careful enough on my hunts that I doubted any of the rumors I heard were of myself.
I discovered there was a small tavern near the fortress of Mainz and I began to frequent it so I could hear what stories I could of this nosferatu. As it turned out, the ale at the tavern was quite good and I found that if not for the debilitating effects of the alcohol itself, the rich malty liquid came close to sustaining me.
As I listened to stories, it became clear to me that there was a pattern to the nosferatu’s attacks. They seemed to occur most frequently near an old burial ground in the vicinity of the fortress itself. As such, most people tried to avoid the fortress in general—and that burial ground in particular. I decided it was time to investigate the burial ground.
I found the place easily enough. It was in soft earth on one side of the fortress. Crude stone markers had been erected to mark the places where the departed lay. I found a place near a tree and waited. As the moon began to rise—about two hours after midnight—my keen ears caught the sound of shuffling footsteps on the grass.
Turning toward the sound, I saw a creature who, at first glance, reminded me of Wolf. He was bald and his skin was very gray. I tried to hail him, but the figure ignored me.
Standing, I ran to him.
As I approached, I discovered he had a very earthy smell and his clothes were a shambles, much as mine became when I dug down in the earth for shelter from the sun’s rays.
“Hallo,” I tried calling in the strange Germanic tongue that people of the region spoke.
The creature turned and, as though seeing me for the first time, bared its teeth and hissed like an enraged cat. His eyes were bloodshot and open very wide.
I opened my mouth, revealing my own fangs to the creature.
Becoming very agitated, he ran at me and knocked me to the ground. “Halt, halt!” I cried. “Ich bin Nosferatu.”
The creature lunged at my neck, but I put my hand up under his chin and slammed his jaw shut. A terrible growl-like noise came from somewhere down deep in his throat. He reached out to grab the wrist that I had on his jaw, and that movement, in turn, caused him to unbalance himself.
With my free arm, I pushed him off me. I stood and brushed myself off. “I am like you,” I tried to say, but the creature pushed himself to his feet and rushed at me again.
This time, prepared for his attack, I dodged to the side, then ran for a nearby tree. It was clear to me that this creature—though a neuntoter or nosferatu like me—was quite mad. The cause—living alone or whatever else—I did not know.
I grabbed a tree branch and pulled with all my might until it snapped off. As the creature ran at me, I swung the branch and knocked him to the ground. Before he could get up again, I forced the branch through the creature’s chest, pinning him to the ground.
I dropped down beside him and sat there panting. Tears came to my eyes as I looked at that poor, mad creature that I truly believed had simply been defending himself.
The sound of running footsteps came from the fortress. I looked up to see a pair of guards. They looked at the body on the ground and then they looked at me. “You’ve killed the nosferatu,” one said.
“I think the graf would like to see you,” said the other.
I sighed, but pushed myself to my feet. “Very well.”
The Graf of Mainz proved to be quite impressed with the story of my nosferatu slaying. He offered to let me remain on his lands, rent-free as long as I was willing to defend his realm from such creatures. I kept my composure as best I could and accepted the graf’s offer. I was already prepared to stay in Mainz. However, I did find irony in the idea of being a nosferatu that slayed other nosferatu.
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