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Saturday, 26 August 2006
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Part Three: Nemesis and Ally
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Brenguard finished rolling up his bed roll which he had loaned to Lady Vilhelm. His back hurt from sleeping on the ground, and he wished for a horse to give his legs a break. He could travel large distances on foot, but Lady Vilhelm’s pace was unbearable, it was just short of a jog. Of course, he couldn’t very well ask her to slow down, he’d never hear the end of it if his men found out.

“Ready captain?” called Lady Vilhelm coming back from the steam with a freshly filled canteen.

“Of course m’ lady,” answered Brenguard with a forced smile.


“What?” asked Brenguard, confused from the short retort.

“My name, it’s Aliena. Stop with all the fancy titles,” she answered with a sigh. Brenguard was taken aback. What time he had spent in Wurtbad taught him that you always used titles for nobility.

“Ah, yes, well, Aliena. I think we got on the wrong foot, I’m Brenguard,” he answered, offering his hand.

“Just Brenguard? Don’t you military types have first names?” asked Aliena with a laugh as she shook his hand.

“Ah, well, Brenguard is my first name. I dropped my father’s name so people wouldn’t respect my just for being his son.”

“Hmm, that’s interesting. From what I’ve heard of you, you love glory more than anything else. Funny you’d give up some just to re-earn it.”

“Ah, well, glory’s no good if it’s not yours. Wait, you said you’d heard of me?” asked Brenguard proudly.

“Oh, yes. Every town we stopped in people referred us to you as the best guide and guardian in eastern Stirland. Although, often they put it less tactfully.”

“Such as?” inquired Brenguard.

“The only one foolish enough to go into Sylvania,” Aliena answered with a chuckle.

“I would have to agree,” answered a voice from behind them. Brenguard spun around, already with his sword and pistol drawn.

“Put down your weapons captain, you know they are of no use,” laughed the figure. Before them stood a well dressed aristocrat, dressed in black. The figure was extremely pale however, almost revoltingly so.

“I’ve killed one of your kind before, and I’ll do it again,” answered Brenguard as he stepped between Aliena and the vampire.

“How rude of me, I know your name, but I’ve failed to introduce myself, I am Count Vandenberg. Now, if you’ll please just put your weapons away, we can talk like gentlemen.”

“I don’t think so. I’ll keep my pistol up, and you’ll talk, how’s that?” answered Brenguard with a sneer.

“Fine then, have it your way captain. I think you’ll find my offer to be rather generous. I recently had an apprentice run away. I think you can sympathize with that, I hear you recently had a desertion yourself.”

“How did you...?”

“I know more than you could ever hope to captain. Now please, don’t interrupt, it’s rude,” answered the vampire, slightly annoyed. “My apprentice stole a very important book, the central work in my library. Your deserter has it, and I need it back, so it seems our fates are intertwined.”

“And if I don’t bring it back to you?” asked Brenguard hesitantly.

“She dies, that simple really,” answered the vampire with a smile.

“I think not,” answered Brenguard. Besides, I’m already ahead of you. One of my men already has the book,” bluffed Brenguard, hoping Kurt was already close on Peter’s trail. The vampire looked shocked. He obviously hadn’t expected that. He looked a little uncertain.

“If that’s true, then the trade ought to occur as soon as possible. Now, if you’ll hand over the girl, you can go and retrieve my book for me,” answered the vampire smugly.

“New plan,” said Brenguard. A shot rang through the forest, and Aliena screamed. Brenguard watched in awe as the bullet tore through the right side of the vampire’s face, blasting off pieces of the creature’s skull. Then, as if the entire thing was going backward in slow motion, the skin and bone of the vampire’s skull grew back before their eyes.

“I don’t think you understand captain, the thing you killed before was one of my thralls, a simple creature new to the undeath. I am older than your family line. And I will not be outdone by some upstart captain!” roared the vampire, causing the color in Brenguard’s face to drain.

“I may not be able to kill you, but I won’t let you take the girl,” answered Brenguard, reholstering the pistol and readying his sword.

“I’ll kill you and take the girl captain. Think carefully before you throw your life away,” warned the vampire, drawing his own saber.

“Then kill me, you’ll have to if you want to get to her,” retorted Brenguard more bravely than he felt.

“So be it Brenguard. I had looked forward to a worthy adversary, but it seems your destiny and mine are but intertwined for mere days.”

The Vampire made his way toward Brenguard, a grin on his face.

“Aliena, run as fast and as far as you can,” whispered Brenguard, “I’ll try to keep him busy for as long as possible. Just keep going west until you get to a village. Tell them I sent you and they’ll give you a horse to get back to your father.”

“Thank you Brenguard, I’ll never forget you.”

Aliena sprinted off, and the vampire made to follow her, but Brenguard intervened with a blow directed at the vampire’s neck. Vandenberg deflected the blow, and moved to better engage Brenguard. Brenguard’s next blow contacted with the vampire’s leg, hoping to limit his mobility. To his surprise, the sword passed straight through the leg without severing it. Brenguard’s spirit sank as he realized there was no way at all he could win.

The vampire brought his sword down on Brenguard’s shoulder, but Brenguard managed to dodge enough to have only the blunt edge of the sword hit him. The blow still caused a white hot pain in his shoulder, and he suspected it had fractured a bone. The vampire, seeing Brenguard was distracted by the pain, kicked his legs out from under him.

As Brenguard looked up at the vampire towering above him, he reflected that this wasn’t a terrible way to go, at least it was a noble death. Just then, as the vampire lifted his sword into the air to deliver the killing blow, Vandenberg let out a shriek. As the vampire turned and fled off into the forest, Brenguard saw the sun coming up over the canopy of the forest, and passed out from the pain.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 August 2006 )
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