Bonus Story: Vampires

Hey kids, sorry for the break in my weekly updates, I have had some personal things to deal with. Hopefully next week we’ll be back to our regular schedule. In the mean time, here’s a little short snippet I wrote. Enjoy!

Jonathan Percy, heir to the House of Percy, once a great noble house now fallen on somewhat harder times, sat in a run-down tavern, in a poor part of Scotland, at three o’clock in the morning, feeling sorry for himself. An untouched pint of beer sat in front of him, now lukewarm. The people he had met with, the reason he had come to this god-forsaken place, were gone, no doubt heading to sleep now. The only other person in the tavern was the bartender, cleaning up at the far end of the large, smoky room.

Suddenly, there was a man sitting in across the table from him. Percy jumped, just a little. It was hard to startle him. For years now, since he had…changed…he had become faster. It had taken years for him to even notice, but it was as though the world was slowing down, just slightly.

So when he blinked, and before the blink there was no one else at the table with him, and after the blink there was, he had some reason to be startled. He calmed down quickly, of course. He had seen many stranger things over the last few months; some things he could not deny made him start to truly believe in magic. So, someone appearing out of nowhere… well, he took it in stride.

Percy stared at the man across the table. There was something off about him. Something…and suddenly he could feel his blood boiling, the rage of the beast within him as it recognized a rival, an equal, in the man across from him. Well, not man, then. Vampyre. His beast recognized its own kind.

He it wanted him to fight, or to flee, but reason won out once again, and he crushed the impulse. He was a nobleman, and he would damn well act like one. The man was dressed like a monk, with his hood up, even inside the tavern. It cast shadows across his face, making it hard for Percy to work out the details.

“I see your companions were not convinced,” the man said, his voice warm and familiar, but strange somehow.

“Well, not tonight. They may yet come around.” Percy forced a smile. “So you overheard, then? Are you sympathetic to the cause?”

“Hardly.” That voice, familiar, but strange…it raised the hair on the back of Percy’s neck. “The only law is the Word of God; the idea that sinful commoners should create laws of their own… preposterous.”

“I see,” said Percy leaning back in his chair. “So have you come to warn me off? Tell me of the wickedness of my ways?”

“Again, I am afraid you are mistaken.” Brother Minor leaned forward, the light of the small candle on the table revealing more of his features. He was blond, with light eyes and handsome, but stern. So familiar. “I am here on behalf of my superiors, who do not share my opinion of your…crusade.”

“Alright, what do you want then?”

“My superiors find your work to their liking for several reasons, but I doubt you care. I think you are the kind of man who will take his allies where he can get them, and will not ask too many questions.”

“Well, the cause comes first, if that’s what you mean. But…”

Brother Minor waved his hand dismissively. Even his hand was…familiar, somehow. “It does not matter. What matters is why I am talking to you now. There are some people who do not like you spreading talk of revolution in their city. You have come to the attention of the mortal rulers of this city, and they have sent men to kill you. They are on their way now.”

Percy shoved back his chair and stood. “Let them come! I will not be frightened by threats!” He drew his dagger, which, despite looking like nothing more than a decoration was hardened steel, completely combat-worthy. And it had seen blood before. Still, he was regretting his decision to leave his sword in his room at the inn. A dagger was better than nothing, but it was hardly ideal.

Brother Minor stood as well, somewhat slower. “Yes, you are quite an opponent, I am sure. But still, I am here to make sure you survive this fight. My personal opinions of your quest notwithstanding.”

At that moment that the door to the tavern burst open and a large man in chainmail barged inside. The bartender made a yelping sound and dived behind the bar. The man walked into the room and looked around, calling out “Jonathan Percy, if you are here, show yourself!” Then his eyes focused on Percy, and he smiled.

Percy grimaced. The man was wearing the crest of the local lord, and as he walked into the room more men followed behind him.

“There you are. You have spoken out against Baron O’Brian for the last time.” There were seven of them in the room now. Mortals all, but trained fighting men, and, well, seven of them. Percy readied himself, holding the dagger in guard position, as though it were just a very short sword.

“I could probably convince you all to leave,” Percy said, more calmly then he felt. “But you would just be back. I think you need a more powerful lesson.”

“Take him boys!” The leader charged, and Percy lifted the dagger, but even as he did the hilt of a knife sprouted from the man’s eye, and he hit the floor hard, twitched once, and was still. Percy blinked, and look to his side at Brother Minor. He had not even seen the other man move. But now Brother Minor was holding a slim throwing knife in each hand, and grinning.

And with that, the battle was joined. It was short, and bloody. Much of the blood ended up on the floor, and very little of it had started out in either of the two vampires.

Percy wiped his blade clean on the trousers of one of the humans, and looked at Brother Minor, who was retrieving one of his knives from the eye of another human. “Thank you. That could have ended differently if you had not been here.”

“You may well have survived without me. I think my superiors underestimate your skill with a blade. But in any case, do not thank me. I did not do it for you, I did it for them.”

“Well, thank you just the same. I am in your debt.”

“Yes, yes you are.” Brother Minor smiled. “Now go. I will take care of the bartender.”

“What do you mean, ‘take care’?”

“He will be punished for his sins. Now go. The sun will be up soon, and you need to make preparations to leave the city before then. They will come for you again, and if they do so in the daylight it might go badly for you.”

Percy swallowed. Brother Minor was right, of course, but he was not sure about the man’s intentions toward the innocent bartender. And there was still something nagging him about Brother Minor’s face, and voice…

He brooded about it as he walked through the predawn streets of the city. It was not until he happened to catch a glimpse of his reflection in a watering trough that he realized why Brother Minor’s face had been so familiar.

It was exactly, down to the last detail, his own face.

He shivered. There were stranger things in the world, but few that hit quite so close to home. Still, he was a nobleman, a Norman. He would not let it get to him.

He hunched his shoulders as if against the night’s chill, and walked on.

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