Book Teaser: The Confrontation

Despite the distance, I approached Dracul far too quickly and my heart pounded at sight of him. His skin was bloodless and translucent, revealing blackened veins beneath. His head, with only a few greasy tendrils of hair clinging to it, was topped with what appeared to be a rough leather turban, the fur worn patchy and nondescript. His body, lean and bony, seemed swallowed in a ragged cloak of the same material, tossed back over one shoulder in the warmth of the sun. His nails were longer than those of the other vampyr I had seen, less broken but filthy, and his eyes gleamed yellow like a wolf’s eyes. He had turned from the battle and watched my approach, lips parting in a feral glee that revealed yellowed but terrifyingly sharp fangs. Around him a circle of dead foliage that reached into the tree line and dimmed the sparkle of the crystals at the cliff’s edge testified of his nature.

“Ah yes, the little human,” he hissed, his voice slithering into my ears like a snake. His nails clicked against each other as he waggled his fingers in obvious satisfaction. “At last you have come to me. They always come, don’t they?”

I glanced around, startled, thinking to see another vampyr, but could see only the three of us. Confused, I faltered and hesitated, just at the edge of the dead circle. “Who always comes?” I asked. “And why should they?”

He cackled, an unnerving sound of dry leaves and branches shaken by the wind. “Who can resist my charms?” he hissed, stepping toward me. “My power! Who could defy me?”

“I know many who have not succumbed to you,” I argued, setting my chin. “And some who have broken free from your influence. Where is your power now?”

His lip curled and his oily brows knit together. “A pitiful satyr so unfortunate and witless to find himself caught? So young as to be swayed by the manipulations of a girl?” he sneered. “A giant king of a dwindling kingdom, unable even to hold his own daughter’s loyalty? What are they to me? Dead and buried in their own weakness.”

“They are not so insignificant,” I insisted, silently willing my heart to stop pounding so loudly. “They are the beginning of the web unraveling. You are stretched too thin.”

He sniffed. “Overconfidence is unbecoming in one so young,” he snarled. “What do you know of power, girl?”

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