Chapter 1 - The City of Arabel
The street was quiet.
Small wisps of fog could be seen gathering about the moist gravel strewn pavement. An occasional noise could be heard as some drunk dropped his bottle for the night in unconscious bliss. The piercing sound of the bottle striking the ground soon faded into nothing for there was no one out this night to hear it.
The usually busy streets were eerily vacant this night. A very unusual sight, for Arabel was a metropolis of over 30,000 residents and the nightlife of the city was well known throughout the land of Cormyr as wild and extremely active. Something had caused the people to stay inside.
That something sat unnoticed on a darkened rooftop overlooking the lack of activity on Ragnard St .
The street often called Tavern Row had a rich history of intrigue and often had a famous visitor or two come down to take a visit. The most recent one was the famous performer and Dancer Arianna Browin.
She was a very beautiful human girl in her late 20's. Her long red hair was but the beginning of her exquisitely attractive attributes. The athletic body of a dancer with a very full figure sent most men home crying to their spouses who were plain in comparison.
The woman had it all. Even the full thigh tattoo of some unknown magical bird only made the woman that much more desired. Whenever Alainnia wore her trademark purple dress that had a high slit up to her hip, people would come running from miles away to see the show. For when the dress parted, the elusive tattoo would come into full view. Most men's imaginations couldn't stop thinking of where the tattoo ended and heaven began.
The watcher had taken an interest in the woman. His heart beat so hard every time he saw her that he thought it would jump out of his chest. Infatuation was a new feeling for the condemned vampire. Could it be that he might have found his eternal love?
He had heard his master say that love was a feeling that would consume the thoughts and desires of the afflicted. It would tear the everlasting soul to shreds if a vampire began to love.
His master was wise. For he had been afflicted with that same love Randell now thought he felt toward Alainia. And now look at his master. But a shadow of his former self after his wife had been killed by a group of vampire slayers. Now, he sat in his mansion staring away into the unknown thinking of nothing else but his lost wife.
Now, Randell was free to see to his own affairs. No longer watched like a hawk by his master, Randell had some freedom to do as he wished. However, he had no idea of the mistake he had made.
Just three nights before, on this very street, he had fed on the beautiful virgin blood of a merchant's daughter. She had been but 15 yrs of age and oh how wonderful the taste of it was: Powerful, intoxicating, and addictive. The experience had taken the Vampire by surprise. His master had never mentioned the difference in the blood. He had never been told of the effects virgin blood could have on a young vampire. But the mistake had been made. Randell had deposited the body in a field, miles from the city so the vultures could dispose of it naturally. Randell had no idea the merchant had access to a mage who divined her location but hours after the vampire had disposed of it. And so the merchant hired some men to go out and retrieve the body. It had been recovered before the vultures had finished their job. And so the news of a vampire attacking a citizen of Cormyr was being spread.
Randell was inexperienced and stupid. He had only just been newly created four years ago. He had been enslaved to his master by his own father's words. Left to fend for himself as the master vampire began to wear down his defenses. His master Pushing his hate and revenge upon the young lad, convincing him after 5yrs of being a prisoner that his father should pay for what he did. And pay with pain.
So good was his master at turning the wild emotions of a teenager into the hatred he had, and still held toward his father, that the young Randell willingly let his master change him into what he was today; a lord of the undead and a slave of the night.
His sight and strength was increased 10 fold. He could see a rat from 100 feet in the dark, and could also smell it too. His hearing was also unbelievable as well. For on top this roof, he was listening to the conversation of this Alainia Browin and her troupe of performers in the tavern next to the one he perched upon. Oh how sweet her voice was. If only he could go down there and see her. Perhaps talk to her like a normal person. Maybe they might hit it off. Even like each other without Randell using his charming magic on her.
The charm was the first power the vampire had learned. It only worked on the opposite sex, but it left Randell with an empty feeling. He wanted someone to like him without using his charms; someone like Alainna. His master had told him about seeking out a mate. The possible rejection would be unbearable. It was the curse of the Vampire. But none of that mattered to the impatient young man right now. The blood he had drunk pushed him toward this meeting with Alainna. It had to be done, no matter what. He couldn't live with himself otherwise.
So the young Vampire jumped down into the alley behind the tavern he had been sitting on. The thirty-foot drop was no problem for the creature. However, the thief in the alley that had been lurking there counting his recently acquired cash was very much intrigued by the sight. The thief had no idea his quick intake of breath had been heard by the unknown roof jumper. So the words of Randell were surprising when he said, “Come out thief or suffer the consequences of your trade.”
The rogue, Jelok by name, considered those words for a moment. Could the man in the alley be bluffing him...? No, he was looking right at him like he had been watching the rogue for the past hour, so he stepped out of his hiding place ready to run.
Jelok's heart was racing. For some reason he was all of a sudden very fearful of this man. Jelok was an experienced rogue, easily making a good 150-200gp a month from his exploits. He had been chased by city guards, perused by mages, well, apprentices. He had also fought his fair share of summoned creatures that protected things he wanted very much. He was not a man given over to fear.
Randell looked over at the thief and smiled. “Drop your gold and be gone before I get angry.” The vampire looked at the man and gave the pickpocket a stare that told him that he was perfectly capable of carrying out the threat.
Jelok knew this had to be the one the rumors were about: a vampire in Arabel hunting humans and feeding on them like cattle. The man knew not to be so bold as to challenge the vampire, so he dropped the money pouch and took off as fast as he could. Jelok never heard the vampire approach and snag him by his cloak and turn him around. The thief thought death was sure to come; instead, he found the grip of the vampire's hand around his neck forcing the frightened rogue to look into his eyes.
“I know you will tell no one about our little… confrontation.” Randell smirked, as the thief nodded his agreement. The little man wanted the vampire to let go for the touch of the creature was beginning to drain his life away.
So Randell dropped the weakened thief to the ground and walked over and picked up the money and inspected it. Over 50 imperial gold crowns, and a few small jewels and gems were found inside the medium sized pouch. Perhaps Randell had been too hard on the thief, for that kind of reward required some amount of skill to acquire. When the vampire turned around to speak to the thief, he was gone.
Probably for the better, Randell thought, and he walked toward the Inn of the Winged Serpent, the place where Alainna was going to perform this night.
* * * * *
The heavy wooden door opened. The inn was hazy with the smoke of many a pipe as the reveling inside made quite a contrast to the quiet of the streets. Randell knew there would be allot of noise in here for the dance was about to begin. The main attraction, Alainna Browin, would soon be out for all to see.
A young woman, quite dirty from the hard nights work came up Randell and asked if he wanted something to drink. She could have been pretty if she had some nicer clothes on. Surprising that this barmaid was so poorly dressed in such a fine inn.
The vampire smiled at the woman and shook his head. "I am not yet thirsty," he began, as he looked over toward the stage entrance, obviously distracted by what was going on over there. "I will, however, have a glass of your finest wine."
The woman stared at her patron as he pulled out a small bluish gem out of his pack. She was quite interested in the wealth that gem would give her, so she asked him, "What is it you really want?" Her voice betrayed the fact the she was intrigued as to why this man would offer her such a treasure. She had slept with men far less handsome than this one for a whole lot less.
The vampire smiled at the bar maid with a little respect. "I am glad you are so perceptive. I wish to meet the Lady Browin after the show, in private."
The maid was not surprised at the request. It was the 4th one of the night, but his offer was the most generous. "You should know that I cannot do that, I don't have the authority..."
Randell stopped messing around with the woman and looked deep into her eyes. His will reached across the space between them and took hold of her desires, wants, even fantasies.
The woman came closer to him overcome with a longing to be held in his arms, to be squeezed, touched, kissed... "I could ask the owner..." She began, breathing heavily, almost reaching up and kissing the young man herself. She was so hot, almost sweaty, as she looked for this mans acceptance. It was the most important thing in her world right now, the approval of this young, handsome gentleman.
Randell, still looking in her eyes, told the young lass, "Please do, and tell him that I have another blue one just like the first gem if he could arrange the meeting."
The woman nodded her head and rushed off to talk to the owner. She almost ran over many patrons on her way, even ignoring some that asked for another round at their table.
Randell felt nothing but disgust for the woman. How weak they were, and how frail. Alainia would be different. He was sure of that, for she was not as weak as these...others.
A man stepped out on the stage during the time Randell reflected on his opinion of women in general. The man, obviously one of the troupe, for he was dressed in a costume of a dirty peasant and had some kind of makeup on his face, stepped forward and spoke loudly to the audience, "I regret to inform you that Alainna will not be dancing tonight."
The groans and general voice of disapproval could be heard all over the tavern. Several men were beginning to fight over in a distant section of the bar. So the man quieted down the crowd with another announcement.
"She will, however, be putting on a play that reflects the times in which we live. So please welcome the most desired performer of our day, Alainna Browin!"
The crowd roared with glee as the beautiful woman came across the stage. Her gown was a light brown, almost an evening dress by the way it was almost see through. The dancer had enough undergarments on to keep her most private parts hidden from prying eyes, but left enough showing to give every man his fantasy.
She made her way to the center where another couple entered at the other end of the stage opposite her. A man in jet-black clothing and a red and black cloak across his back stood there with a woman. He was handsome and the woman in her arms, pretty. But there was something wrong with this man. Randell was shocked to the core when the man opened his mouth and revealed his fangs to the crowd and plunged them into the neck of the maid he had in her arms.
The woman made a choking sound, struggling to get away. She soon stopped her efforts and whimpered for a bit before finally going limp in his arms. Blood could be seen flowing from the holes in her neck.
Randell snorted at the display as he realized it for what it was, an act, which gave him the angry looks of a few of the closest patrons. What a joke! Who do they think they are fooling! All that whimpering around and crying by the woman was a hoax!
The vampire's thoughts were interrupted by the scream of the woman Alainia, for she had seen the attack of the supposed vampire.
She began to run across the stage and the man who was playing the vampire turned into a bat and flew across the stage to block Alainia's retreat. He then came back to form and grabbed her and ran off stage with the woman.
Randell knew the actor had to have some sort of magic to do that! He wasn't a real vampire. He heard back stage the congratulations of several others giving the acting vampire on his cloak of the bat being so useful. One thing that Randell had was the most outstanding hearing. His senses once again told him what was really going on. He was disgusted and he feared he would have to watch this whole play just to get to see Alainia?
Unfortunately for him, his thoughts played out to be true. So he gritted his teeth and watched the rest of the parody of a vampire's life in Cormyr. When it finally got over, he was relieved, for he couldn't think of Alainia in this context of being a victim to a vampire.
So what was he doing here? Why did he want to put her through the same thing this play enacted? He was about to turn and leave, when the bar maid came up to him. "You can go back and see her. I gave the first blue gem to the owner so you owe me one now."
Randell looked at the hungry smile on the face of the barmaid. She had played a part in the play as another of the victims. That was why she wore the dirty dress. Ah well, sometimes vampires are not all seeing.
So he pulled out the other blue gem and let the helpful maid guide him to where Alainia would meet him. When she got to the place behind stage, Randell placed the blue gem in her hands and told her, "If you would like, I could meet you after work and we could have a talk to get to know each other better." Randell's smile awakened the lust within the young lady and she hungrily kissed him and nodded her agreement.
After she left, he spit on the ground trying to loose the nasty taste the woman's saliva left in his mouth. "Why do they have to do that!" the vampire said angrily to himself as he went toward the door of the famous dancer to knock.
"Because they like you?" Came the reply from behind him. Startled, the young vampire turned around eagerly, for the voice was one he recognized as Alainna's.
The vampire thought he had been overly distracted by the unwanted kiss from the tavern girl. That had to be the reason he didn't hear her. But it didn't matter, there she was, and here he was, just like he had wanted from the start. Now, he didn't know what to say. His tongue was tied and he just looked at her beauty and wondered...
"Are you just going to stand there or are you going to talk?" Alainna was smiling at him, knowing what her beauty did to most men.
"I understand you gave quite a price to come back and see me tonight. I must say, that I appreciate the attention and hope you are getting your monies worth." She stood there in a provocative pose trying to entice the vampire into some sexual encounter.
Randell stopped and looked around. Was this to good to be true? Does she want me for me? But that brought him back to reality for a moment. Randell wasn't looking for a one-night stand. He had grander thoughts in store for the two of them. So he spoke to her quietly, "Please beg my pardon madam, but are you trying to seduce me?"
The smile on Alainna's face was even more sensual than previously. So the vampire continued, "I would have you to know, that I was hoping to develop a relationship, not a one night stand."
Alainna's face was full of amusement. She even chuckled at that thought. What a delightful young man, she mused; I hope he is as interesting in bed as he is in conversation. "I appreciate the offer young man, but Alainna doesn't do anything more than one night stands."
Randell was shocked. He thought she was a different breed of woman. Well, he hoped she would have been. Randell's mind knew that he had to cultivate a liking for him before he could ever approach her on the subject of eternal damnation.
Randell was slightly amused by his thinking. How could anyone be talked into eternal damnation? Then a cold chill went up his spine, he had been talked into it. Willingly giving himself for it. Why?
Angry with himself for having gotten into this position, the vampire turned to leave. Alainna, pulled down the shoulders of her dress revealing allot of skin and much more. "Stop!" She said, as he walked away. "I need you to be with me tonight."
That got Randell to turn around. He saw the half naked woman standing there imploring him to come. There was no doubt that Randell wanted her. Her body was the most beautiful sight he had ever beheld. And so he advanced on her taking her inside the room to her bed.
She stopped him for just a moment taking off the rest of her clothing. "Now I want you to get a full view of this and engrave it on your mind." She said this indicating the entirety of her body. "I want you to make love to me with your eyes closed and not to open them until I say..."
Randell was intrigued by this so he agreed quickly, taking in her body and placing the image in his mind. He then closed his eyes and felt the beautiful woman undress him. She whispered in his ear as she finished taking off all his clothing, "I am on top, you lay down and enjoy."
Just the thought of it excited Randell enough to comply eagerly. And so he lay there on her bed, eyes closed, imagining all the things he felt her doing to him.
It wasn't long before Randell felt himself coming close to ecstasy. Randell thought she felt it too for she started saying over and over again not to look yet as she pushed him closer and closer to the edge of bliss.
Then, right as he was 'going', she screamed, "YES! Now my young lover! Look at the ceiling!"
Randell opened his eyes only to see a large hanging mirror above the bed. He was in the middle the most wonderful feeling he could ever have, only to see no reflection in the mirror. He knew that a vampire's image would not reflect off any surface. But what was strange was the fact that no-ones reflection was in the mirror. It was like the bed was empty.
He then looked in horror at the beautiful face in front of him. Instead of a smile, she wore the hungry look of a feeding vampire. Her head moved quickly to his neck and bit hard, tearing open his jugular. She fed for a moment before Randell threw her across the room and slammed her into the wall.
The female vampire quickly got to her feet as Randell put his hand over his neck to stop the flow of his life's blood. "What in the 9 hells are you doing attacking me?" Randell Spat as the undead woman advanced.
"You blew my cover, you pathetic youngling!" she spat, as blood flew from her mouth. "You will pay for that!" And she flew across the room, reaching out for Randell's neck.
The bleeding vampire barely ducked in time, but the woman had expected that. So when he tried to maneuver under her flying body, there he met her other clawed hand tearing out the other side of his neck. Randell bled profusely, weakening at every moment. He knew he would be lost if he didn't escape now, so he became like the mist and began to float away through the floor of the inn.
Alainia watched him go, knowing he wouldn't make it anywhere in time to save himself. She laughed at the pathetic little vampire spawn. "What a nuisance." She said to herself as she cleaned up her room of all the blood and gore. "One less thing to worry about."
She said the last, as a great pain shook her chest. She gasped in horror as she looked down at a wooden steak in her heart. Her coughing racked her whole body as she wondered who could have penetrated her body with one push of the stake!
She fell forward groaning in anguish managing to turn her head and see her attacker. There, standing over her, was Deirshonn Wynet, master vampire and lone survivor of the slayers of Wynet Castle .
Alainia reached out her hand and gasped, "Why?"
Deirshonn looked at her sadly and said, "He's my son."
Then Alainia crumbled to dust and blood, only the skeletal part of her body remained with a wooden stake buried between two of the vertebrae, right behind where her heart would have been.
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