History prefers legends, to men
It prefers nobility to brutality
Soaring speeches to quiet deeds
History remembers the battles, but forgets the blood
However history remembers him, before the war began. It shall only remember a fraction of the truth.
Adrian Dunrai grunted in pain as his back slammed into the pillar. He hissed and drove himself upwards, forcing his legs to straighten and hunching his shoulders as he prepared to meet the charge. Fear filled him but also a strange kind of exhilaration. This was what life was about. Living on the edge. Daring to death to try and take you into his cold embrace.
He felt the impact shudder down his body and saw the feet of his assailant leave the floor. Then he straightened fully, raising his sword as he felt the triumph course through his veins. This irritating fly would finally be swatted. But the man was gone.
He took the moment to assess his wounds. A bruise on his face, nothing too bad, it would be gone within the day. One or two broken ribs, he hissed in pain as they grated against each other, they would take rather longer to heal. Burns on his right arm from the fire brand his assailant had previously wielded. Bloody coward, attacking with fire. A true man would have faced him down sword in hand
A knife, thrown for his head, whipped in from the shadows and he threw up his left arm. He cried out in pain as the weapon embedded itself to the hilt in his forearm. Rage filled him at the attack. He felt the rage building into a crescendo.
“Where are you,” he snarled, back to the pillar and eyes darting around the room. He ripped the dagger free and dropped it. It fell with a clatter. A figure leapt from the shadows and Adrian spun, trying to drive his sword into the shape. He lunged, and his blade passed harmlessly through the shadow. The magic dissipated and Adrian was left with nothing for his troubles but a wisp of darkness being swiftly devoured by the light He felt a sting on his left arm and glanced downwards, seeing the cut just below the sleeve of his leather breastplate. It began to heal, new skin growing over the wound even in the few moments since the blade had cut him. An arrow flew for his head and he caught it, snapping the shaft with no more effort than he would use to pluck the petals from a flower. He howled; a terrible wolf like howl and his fangs flashed in the light. He felt contempt in that moment. The mortal had enraged him and now he would pay.
Adrian Dunrai, Vampire of the blood court roared his defiance as his assailant darted from the shadows. He lashed out, finally drawing upon his Vampiric powers and caught the man by the throat. He raised the struggling man high. “You mortals are such fools; you really thought you could challenge me?” The vampire laughed aloud at the thought. He looked closer at the cattle. “You’re hardly more than a child. Who did I kill? Was it your mother? Or your father, trying to revenge his honour after I bedded her? You should have left me in peace fool. Then you could have grown up and chosen to fight when you were old enough to offer a real challenge.”
“Actually, fighting you now was my idea.”
Adrian’s eyes widened and he began to turn. He was fast, faster than a striking snake, his cloak flying out behind him as he spun. But even that was not fast enough, no where near fast enough. He felt cold as the sword slid through his back, severing his spine and continuing, through his heart until it burst from his chest. The blade, clean of any blood withdrew from the Vampire’s chest. He fell to his knees, looking at the cattle he had been about to kill with shock on his face. Then the man stepped closer. In that moment, an immortal realised his own mortality. Fear filled his unbeating heart and he opened his mouth to plead for mercy. The sword flashed as it swung and Adrian Dunrai knew no more,
“You could have come a bit earlier,” the man said bitterly as he tossed the dead Vampire’s head into the brazier where it burned. “Bloody creature almost had me there.”
“I wanted to see how you handled yourself against a Vampire. All things considered, you did pretty good John.”
“Oh finally, some praise.”
Leaning back so that the wide brim of the hat shrouded my face, I smiled a wolfish smile.
Back then I was young and foolish. The heir to a vast fortune running around killing Vampires, Daemons and Werewolves and a whole host of other creatures regarded by most as fairy tales. Back then, I couldn’t have imagined that I would one day become Emperor. Or that one day all I loved would be cast down by something I did...