Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas and a Vampire - Part 23

"Thank you, Ma'am." He scored major points by kissing her arthritis riddled hand.
"We have your costumes for the ball," she said with a smile. "Things you can run and move in. We also fixed the masks so that they have anti-dazzle lenses built in. As long as you wear your mask, the flash can't blind you. This is a special material of our own design. It even helps against a nuclear blast."
"Thank you, Ma'am. I am honored to be among such fine people." His Southern accent which had been minimal until then, sweetened his words like honey.
The costumes were beautiful. Rafaela's was a ball gown, but the skirt could be easily removed and a pair of comfortable leggings were worn beneath it. Done in rich, deep reds and golds made it stand out in a crowd. The men were dressed rather like characters from Romeo and Juliet. They wore suede leggings instead of tights, boots and doublets over full sleeved shirts. Dirk's was black with silver trim. Seth's was slate blue with darker blue trim. They looked magnificent.
The Hunters carried them to the Vampire Lord's property. It was well guarded and warded, but the three of them were able to pass without difficulty, though their friends were not. They stayed outside the perimeter, waiting to back them up if necessary. Dirk wasn't certain how this would be accomplished, but he didn't ask. These people had been killing his kind since time began. He wouldn't insult them by doubting their abilities.
The door swung open when they arrived. A liveried servant ushered them in. He didn't call them by name, but it was obvious he knew who they were. No one accosted them, nor were they even noticed by the majority of the partiers. Everyone was drinking freely. Alcohol, which had little affect on vampires, flowed from fountains, surrounded by handsome young men and beautiful women. They were obviously drugged and complacent.
Rafaela bridled when she saw them. They were chained to the fountains and fettered around the ankles. Dirk took her hand, squeezing hard, when she walked toward the nearest girl. A dark haired vampire male had her by the hair, partaking more than was necessary. She mewled feebly, struggling against him, but that seemed to make him even more eager.
A liveried servant appeared at his side, taking him roughly by the arm. He jerked at the burly vampire, pulling him away from the girl. Two other attendants unchained her and carried her off.
"Some people can't set limitations," a smooth, cultured voice drawled behind them. "I thank you for not causing a scene, Brother. My little soiree has barely begun."
Dirk swirled around, bowing graciously to their host. "Glaive, so good to see you again, Brother."
The younger man smiled, but it was the coldest expression Rafaela had ever seen. He wasn't as tall as Dirk, but broader through the shoulders and chest. Although she knew he was several years younger, he looked considerably older than his brother. She supposed that overindulgence and debauchery took their toll no matter whether the man was immortal or not.
"Will you introduce me to this ravishing creature with whom you adorn yourself?" He held out his hand to Rafaela.
She took his hand gingerly, glad for the elbow length gloves.
"May I present Rafaela De Santos."
"The First Hunter of her clan," Glaive said with a snarling smile. "You must want something very much, to brave this nest," he said, bowing over her hand.
"Your head on a spike would please me," she replied with a sunny smile.
Glaive chuckled. It was a truly alarming sound. "Forgive me if I fail to accommodate you, my dear." He turned to Seth. "This remarkable specimen must be your nephew, Seth. Pity we can't turn your kind. You'd be a lovely addition to my stable."
Dirk frowned as Glaive awarded Seth more than a cursory glance. "Your tastes have changed some over the decades."
"Not really, I just may indulge myself as I choose, now. Don't let it worry you, Big Brother, I love the ladies more." He blew a kiss to Seth.
It was hard to tell which bothered the Hunter more, the sexual innuendo, or the fact it was a vampire.
"Are you here to kill me?" Glaive asked in a matter of fact tone. "Because that would be a hell of a way to ruin my party."
"I was thinking about it, yes," Dirk replied calmly. "Your pets grow too bold. You don't keep them under control as you should."
"I suppose you could do better?" This was the first time that Glaive had shown any real emotion. "You want all this for yourself, is that it? Your power play didn't work back then, it won't work now."
"I didn't want the power, or the house, or the nest, Glaive. I wanted my brother back, but you made it clear that you embraced this life, loved it, and wanted no part of me. You should have sought revenge for our family, but you chose not to."
"Oh, poor you. You always were the whiner when things didn't go your way."
Dirk laughed loudly, throwing back his head. The music had lulled, so all eyes rested on him and Glaive.
"I believe you've got the roles reversed. You were the whiner. I'm surprised Louis bothered with you, always wanting something more than you could have. But you always needed someone else to do it for you. I killed Louis so you wouldn't have to. Not because of this!" He waved his arms at the house and all it contained. "Because we're blood. Because I thought, I hoped, that meant something to you too. I came here tonight hoping like hell I wouldn't have to kill you." He drew a short sword from his scabbard. It glistened silver in the dim lights of the ballroom.
© Dellani Oakes 2017


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