December 20 at 12:00 AM
Photo courtesy of Photos8.com
Lawson stroked his perfectly trimmed moustache; compliments of the hot bath afforded him before meeting with Lord Vangley. "All right," he agreed.
"Excellent." Vangley polished off his glass of wine.
"So tell me more about Enura. Is she a vampire from a rival clan?" Lawson asked.
"Not exactly," said Vangley.
"Then what is she? A demon? A witch?"
The elder and his son exchanged looks.
"Perhaps all those things, perhaps something more," said Vangley, "It is not my intention to be deceptive. I will take you to her, this time tomorrow, and you can give us your assessment."
"Very well," said Lawson. "So what has worked thus far? Have you tried driving a stake through her heart?"
"We have not been able to get close enough to try. Enura does not appear to sleep; I have seen it with my own eyes. She hunts in daylight and nightfall, and her spirit does not wane."
"Intriguing," said Lawson. "You also mentioned in your letter that you will grant me access to your archives?"
"Some of our archives," the elder corrected, clearly uncomfortable with the idea.
"Then I shall start there. In my experience, all successful endeavors begin with solid research. Where was she last spotted?"
"The old vineyard in the woods," Vangley replied. "She seems to have taken a liking to it. Although the manor and servant quarters are in shambles, I guess one could scrape together a crude existence."
"Good, then I shall begin my preparations at once." Lawson stood.
"Before you go, leave with me any instruments of faith in your possession, starting with that gold cross around your neck."
Lawson hesitated, and then took it off.
"My apologies. I do not ask this because it brings harm to myself or kin." Vangley picked up the gold cross and chain. "A vampire's aversion to holy symbols is pure myth, just like the hypocrisy you hold so dear."
Lawson exhaled. "Then why is it important?"
"Because vampires are a ludicrous bunch," Lord Vangley replied. "There are souls in this town that date all the way back to the crusades; soldiers who have fought on both sides of the war, and occasionally in the same battle. I would rather them see you for who you are, before judging you by your choice of faith."
The chain sparkled in the candlelight. "I sense this is of particular importance to you," said Vangley. "If you do not mind me asking, who gave it to you?"
"It is nothing…an old gift to me." Lawson looked away. "Is there anything else?"
"Indeed there is. Clearly I do not expect you to risk your life without offering something in return. I can do better than just ink and paper, Lawson Parker, but you must tell me in your own words. What is it you seek?"
Lawson could not bring her name to his lips.
"I know where she is, Lawson, the one who gave you this trinket." Vangley set the cross aside. "She is alive, and still remembers who her real father is."
Lawson's heart froze. He needed to hold her. Now.
"She is safe; that is all you need to know. I need you focused, Lawson. Help me capture Enura, and I will see to it that you are reunited with Elena." He poured himself another glass. "But if anything should happen to me or my family, she will be lost to you forever. Is that understood?"
"Yes." Lawson nodded. "That is more than I could have wished for."
"Excellent. Laurent, show Lawson to the archives, and secure any additional weapons he may have snuck in. Dinner will be in an hour."
Lord Vangley stood a second time, an act largely unheard of. "It is a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Parker."
"Please sir, call me Lawson." He shook his icy hand.