December 22 at 12:00 AM
Photo courtesy of Photos8.com
Lawson stared at the flesh on his plate.
"The things a man has do not make him rich." The elder broke the bread in two. "By the same token, the loved ones he loses over time do not make him poor, either. Tell me, Mr. Parker, which are you?"
"Neither." Lawson gazed at his plate.
Vangley took a bite, and then washed it down with burgundy. "How many vampires do you intend to kill before losing everything? Trust me, there is still much to lose."
The three sons listened intently.
"Elena may still find her way to you," he continued. "But what then? You do not want to be the cause of her demise. Is the gift of life yours to give, or the shadow of your persona?"
The two locked eyes.
"This reminds me of a tale of a young man who was beside himself with what he had become. He did not feed for a hundred years, or so it is claimed, and lived off the scraps in the sewers. To his surprise he did not die, though surely he wished to. Those close to him chuckled at the charade. Sadin the Saint, they called him. What virtuous years those were."
Olivia passed a basket of rolls to Lawson.
"The next hundred years were something else entirely." The elder took a bite from his plate. "Mad from hunger and near death, he fell into a dark rage and tore Eastern Europe apart. He struck down everything in his path; a fool's errand to be sure. Massadin the Saint he was later known, until his good name caught up with him."
Vangley finished the flesh on his plate, and then continued. "Had he continued living off door mice and cadavers, he would have perished; and his hapless torrent eventually led to his demise. Living at both extremes got the best of him. Will it get the best of you?"
Lawson was silent.
"Clearly I do not advocate the killing of my own kind. Rarely does it benefit us, but you cannot simply walk away. You must allow time for your reputation to wane, or the clans will pursue you from every darkened corner. To fade gracefully, you will need some assistance. Perhaps there is something more I can offer once Enura is gone, but it will require an additional sacrifice on your behalf."
Lawson nodded. "A generous offer, indeed; but first, there is a witch to kill, and she will require all of my thoughts to defeat her."
"Very well," Vangley nodded.
Lawson's eyes gravitated back to his plate.
"What is wrong, Mr. Parker? Afraid it may get up and bite you? My wife made it especially for you. It is an old Italian recipe; and the Italian who gave it to us was delicious too."
Dionte and Deverell giggled.
"I would, my lord, but I fear I just found the poor Italian right here." Lawson stuck his fork into his plate.
Giggles soon became laughter.
Laurent continued staring at Lawson.
"I think you know me a little by now, and surely you do not think I am the least bit serious. Truly, what do you take me for?"
"A vampire," said Lawson.
"Even vampires can have class--even honor, if he so chooses. As I have always said, whoever or whatever you are, carry yourself with dignity. So I must insist, have a bite or you will offend my wife."
Olivia looked aside, stroking her fiery hair.
Reluctantly he shaved off a chunk, and stabbed it with his fork. He took it in his mouth and chewed. "I must confess, it is quite good." He swallowed. "What is it?"
Vangley and Olivia looked at each other and smiled.
"A young hare," said Dionte.
Lawson looked around the table.
"Rabbit." Vangley smirked. "Care for a little garlic?"