February 27 at 1:00 PM
Photo courtesy of Cynthia Berridge
Though day, the hunter knew Lord Vangley would be restless, toiling over the day's affairs, and surmising what he would have done differently. As Lawson approached the door to his office, Laurent excused himself to tidy up.
"My lord, if I may have a moment." He tapped gently. "There is an urgent matter I wish to discuss."
The clanking of furniture greeted him, followed by the sound of hurried hands over paper, a thump followed by a groan, and giggle of a woman.
"Come in," came the elder's voice.
Lawson stepped inside, and pulled the door shut.
"As I was telling you, Ms. Davenport, your squabble with Mrs. Clark is over a chicken, nothing more. Since she sold you a bird that cannot lay an egg, bring it in, and we shall make a meal of it." The old man leaned back in his mahogany chair. "In return, I shall give you one of my own, one that may better service you," he choked.
"How gracious of you, my lord." Ms. Davenport traced a finger through her long, dark hair, and cast her electric gaze on Lawson.
"Brianna, this is Lawson Parker, special counsel and defender of Vissorouy."
"I've heard of you, vampire hunter." She offered a hand, but pulled away before he could kiss it.
"A pleasure, madam."
"Thank you for straightening this out for me, my lord." Brianna rose, brushing off her lavender dress, and plucking the matching hat from the brass veneer. "I look forward to the night when you slay that troublesome hen, and make a feast of it." She licked her lips, briefly indicating the fangs underneath.
Vangley stood, and kissed her outstretched hand.
"Counsel." Brianna tipped her feathered hat and exited.
Lawson exhaled, releasing the swell in his heart.
"She puts the wood in trees, does she not?" Vangley grinned as he watched Brianna stroll down the hall and wave.
"Oh, right." Vangley shook it off, and shut the door.
"You must not torch the woods before I speak to Enura." Lawson took a seat. "I understand the need to burn it down, but Vissouroy is ill prepared if the forest retaliates."
"Lawson, I do not disagree, but I'm afraid we do not have much time. We are better off risking it before the threat grows any larger. Delaying more than a day would be foolish; two, madness."
"Do we have enough ships if forced to evacuate?" the hunter asked.
The elder fell silent.
"Then I shall need a day to coordinate the town's defenses, and another for its evacuation."
Vangley entertained the stubble on his chin. "I shall give you one; we will reassess the situation thereafter."
"Very well." Lawson hesitated. "In addition, I am going to need a few things: optics for a housing." Lawson placed a lens on the desk.
"Why are you toying around with this nonsense? Take my Galiliean." Vangley pointed to a telescope in the corner.
"And a room with a view of the forest, unimpaired."
"Take any room you like."
"And any maps or plans of the town."
"Done," said Vangley.
"I'm going to need the laborers from the Black Swan, and volunteers who are willing to work through the night. And various other materials...I shall make a list."
"Lawson, take whatever you need. The town of Vissorouy is behind you. Keep her in good favor, that is all I ask."
"Of course." Lawson stood. "And my lord?"
"Yes?" Vangley replied, slipping on his ring.
Lawson shook his head. "Nothing."