December 19 at 12:00 AM
Photo courtesy of Photos8.com
"Thank you for coming so quickly, Mr. Parker." Lord Vangley rose from his chair. This is Laurent, my eldest son."
Lawson kept his arms to his side. "A pleasure."
"Please, have a seat." Vangley gestured.
Cautiously he eased into the cushioned chair. Two guards in burgundy coats followed Lawson into the room, and bracketed him like bookends.
"That will not be necessary. Leave us." The old man sat down.
Laurent shut the door behind them, and then locked it.
Knots formed in Lawson's stomach. He tried to conceal his discomfort; besides, it was not the first time he had been stuck inside a room full of vampires.
"Rarely do I rise from my chair, especially for a man whose occupation it is to slay my kin." Vangley crossed his legs. "But this is a very special case, Mr. Parker, and we are in desperate need of your service."
Lawson nodded, still unsure why he had been brought in.
"I would offer you a glass of wine, but our vintage is made from human blood, a point that I am sure does not sit well with you, but no matter." He waved his hand. "Is there anything I can get for you?"
"I am well. Thank you," said Lawson.
Vangley nodded to his son, who plucked a bottle of whiskey from the wall. Laurent poured Lawson a glass and set it on the table next to him.
"I did not summon you here to discuss ethics. We are what we are, and often do things that we do not entirely comprehend. But this has gone too far." The elder's face darkened. "A malevolent has crossed into our lands. A pest, if you will."
"Forgive me, my lord. I am a bit confused." Lawson interrupted.
"Go on." Vangley took a sip of his crimson burgundy.
"I was brought in under the pretense of hunting vampires, but at the door, your guards confiscated my weapons, and told me that I would not receive them back until I left Vissorouy. Has there been a change of plans?"
Lord Vangley chuckled. "When it became obvious that I was out of my league, I joked with my sons that I would hire a professional vampire killer. Your presence here underscores the seriousness of the situation. We have already lost a dozen souls to this abomination, and I do not intend to lose the entire town.
"I want you to come in and observe. Tell us what you see, what we need to do. We will take care of disposing Enura." He leaned back in his chair. "Since you will be managing the hunt, weapons will not be necessary. Believe me, in this town, you will gain a significant amount of support, if not trust, if you leave the fighting to the soldiers enlisted to you."
Lawson did not like the sound of this. "No weapons at all?" He shook his head. "How will the others know I am their ally? What is there to stop them from killing an unarmed vampire hunter?"
"Did you find such trouble when you entered the city? Certainly you went looking for it, but none obliged. Perhaps you thought it was your repeating crossbow or your artillery rifle that struck fear into the hearts of passers by. No. It is because have the blessing of the Vangley family, and mine exclusively. No harm shall come to you in this town or the next as long as you are under my crest.
"But to guard against the occasional hooligan, I will assign a protector to you while in Vissorouy: my son, Laurent. He will ensure that nothing befalls you, even when you and I disagree."
Lawson looked at Laurent, and then the old vampire.
"He is better than any weapon you can wield, Lawson. And apart from him, you have an entire army of vampires at your disposal."