Tis thursday, and time for my weekly serial!
“Do you know what I miss about being mortal, Twiceborn?” asked Lazar Vintul.
I was tempted to say sunbathing, but it was uncalled for. Lazar was doing me a favourby seeing me, after all. “Anonymity?” I asked instead.
Lazar smiled. “An interesting response, Nordan, but I have never been one to fade into the shadows for long. I miss getting drunk, really drunk, off good liquor. I can get drunk by drinking the vitae of a drunken person, but its not the same.`Other than that I don’t miss a thing really. You’re here to ask me about the vampire you call Cinder.”
“I am,” I answered, unsurprised that he surmised the reason for my visit. I suspected that Cinder’s activities did not meet with the approval of his bloodsucker peers; life in Myrrhn was easy for them, and Cinder was rocking the boat.
The vampire’s features were almost elven, like depictions of the Aven of the first Empire, before that ancient people fractured, but I could not place his true origins. His hair was pale blonde, cut short, and his eyes were blue. He exuded a sense of easy menace, like a hunting cay lying in the shade, surveying its domain. I waited for him to speak, sipping the brandy.
“Cinder is a problem child,” said Lazar. “One of my old associates took him in because he was energetic and handsome. He made a good plaything, she thought. But Cinder is something else. He is a predator’s predator, Ragnar. After learning everything he could from his mistress, he killed her, somehow managing the transformation in the process.”
“If you knew he was a problem then why has he been free to roam Myrrhn?” I asked.
“We thought he was dead,” said Lazar. “This event I speak of occurred a long time ago. It was the beginning of a rebellion. Cinder stirred up old hatreds, old ambitions. He gained allies among my kind and made war upon his betters. It was an ugly time. In the end we saw him burn for it. He cursed us from the pyre and swore he would return.”
“Is he a Twiceborn?” I asked. The thought was both unnerving, and exciting. A vampire was a worthy foe, an ascended vampire was the sort of foe that would earn me a place in the greats sagas, if I beat him.
“If it is the real Cinder, then he would have to be,” said Lazar. “But, I do not know if he is. You see, from time to time among my kind the name of Cinder is taken up as an act of rebellion, an gauntlet dropped to those who uphold the status quo. It is a powerful symbol. Either way, I would see the vampire who bears this name hunted down and destroyed. I am willing to make it worth your while if you bring me proof of his demise.”
“Gonna kill him regardless,” I said, shrugging. “This is personal, Lazar. I just need information from you, and your help in avoiding any misunderstandings with your people.”
“I am glad you are so eager for the hunt,” said Lazar, smiling. “As for information, I have something that will help you greatly in navigating our world.”
“My daughter will accompany you in your search for Cinder.”