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Chapter 2 - Chapter II

All the main characters are vampires, but not the blood-sucking, evil kind. It’s more from they’re point of view. Anyway, you’ll find out more as the story progresses.

Chapter 2 - Chapter II

Chapter 2 - Chapter II
Chapter II

Vlad didn’t rise until a little after midnight. Wulfric was still asleep, his paws and ears twitching as he dreamt. He nudged the wolf lightly with his foot until Wulfric opened his eyes.
“Yes, Master Vlad?” asked Wulfric sleepily.
“Actually I am a little hungry now.”
“And I suppose you vant me to go hunting for you?”
“That’ll work” smiled Vlad.
Wulfric pulled himself up onto his feet.
“As you vish, Master Vlad” said Wulfric, more than happy to comply to his master’s needs.
“Only something small, mind. I’m not that hungry.”
“I’ll see vhat I can do” replied the wolf, leaving the room for the dark world outside.

As the days went by, August rolled into September, and September into October. During this passing of time, a routine built up in the castle. Vlad and Wulfric would sleep the day though, rarely rising before midnight, despite the lengthening autumn nights. Wulfric would then go hunting most nights, more often than not returning with a catch. He’d always been a good provider for his family, catching rabbit, mountain hare, pheasant, and in the spring, red deer fawns, as well as various other prey. Although human blood was necessary for the survival of all vampires from time to time, for the most part they could live off the blood and meat of other animals, and Wulfric made sure that that was quite possible.
While Wulfric was away, Vlad moped about the castle, spending the majority of his waking hours reminiscing over the events of the last few months, trying to work out just how such a tragedy could have happened, and whether there was anything he could have done about it. More than anything he blamed himself for not being there when he was needed most. Worried for Vlad's state of mind, Wulfric searched out the old wireless radio, the only piece of technology in the house, to keep Vlad occupied while he was away. The radio did it’s job well, and Vlad began to spend all his time huddled in his father’s armchair, in front of a roaring fire, listening to the news coverage alongside various topical debates, radio dramas and whatever else he could find so late in the schedule. The news was of greatest interest to Vlad as it allowed him to stay in touch with the world outside. As callous as it may sound, Vlad particularly enjoyed the reports which involved human death and suffering. The more painful the events, in every sense of the word, the better. After all, it was only fair considering the ruthless way his own kind had been killed off. If they would celebrate the death of his species, he would celebrate the same of theirs, although he could never quite understand why humans where so eager to kill other humans. They could certainly learn a lot from vampires on that subject. In the whole of their existence it was almost unknown for a vampire to kill another vampire for any reason.
Like the domestic dog, Wulfric was unable to understand the human language. He picked up a few words off the radio, but for the most part it made no sense to him. Vlad himself did speak human English, but, as a vampire, Wulfric was able to understand him, the same way Vlad was able to understand Wulfric’s speech. No one really understood how that worked, or why it only worked for certain animals, but that’s the way it was and few vampires gave it much thought. Vampires tend not to have the curiosity or lust for knowledge that humans have. So, when the radio was on, Vlad would repeat anything that may be of interest for Wulfric’s benefit.

One morning, while Vlad slept, Wulfric woke up not long after he’d gone to sleep, his stomach growling for food. Content to oblige, Wulfric rose to his feet and padded silently out of the room, down the stairs and out into the fresh morning air. The temperate autumn sun warmed his old bones, and he raised his muzzle skywards to enjoy it further. His stomach growled again, prompting Wulfric to get himself moving in search of food. As he started off, he felt an invisible force pulling himself towards the castle gates, and out into the world beyond. Wulfric hesitated for a moment, before deciding that it couldn’t do any harm. Maybe there'd even be some better prey out there. Exited by the prospect of quarry other than rabbit, Wulfric changed direction and headed towards the track he’d taken with Vlad on their return home back in late summer. This time, however, Wulfric walked through the trees, rather than on the path. Like any wolf, he favoured the protection they gave over the exposed nature of the open pathway.
With his swift trotting pace, Wulfric reached the castle gates in no time. They towered menacingly over Wulfric, and looked no less foreboding than they did at night. Anyone with the foolishness to pass through them without fear was truly mad and deserved everything they got once they‘d passed through. Wulfric himself did not need to fear the imposing gates, and went through them with barely a thought other than to remember to tell Vlad to close the gates lest intruders stopped by. Outside of the castle grounds, everything seamed pretty much the same. The forest of Scot’s pine continued and the finches and crossbills flittered happily from one side of the wall to the other as if the boundary didn’t exist at all. This was very strange for Wulfric, who felt a definite sense of change in the atmosphere on the other side.
Wulfric trotted around the forest for a while, unsure quite why he was there, and what to do now he was there. After an hour of aimless travelling, a thought, although it was perhaps more of a memory than anything, struck him. He lifted his nose, searching for something he knew should be nearby. It took some time, but he found what he was looking for, and headed in the direction as dictated by his nose. Wulfric soon found he was closer than he had at first thought, as a vast expanse of water appeared before him. Wulfric skidded to a halt as he left the safety of the trees. A pair of red deer hinds, startled by the sudden appearance of such a formidable predator, bolted in the opposite direction. Lucky for them, Wulfric had forgotten his hunger, and now stood, awe inspired, before the great loch.

Back when Vlad’s grandfather had been owner of the castle in the early 1800’s (vampires live much longer than humans), a bitter dispute had been had over ownership of the loch. At that time, the castle wall extended to the far side of the loch, and Wulfric had spent many a happy hour around it’s edge, walking or hunting with the master or mistress or playing with the children, one of whom was Vlad’s own father. Local landowners, however, wanted access to the loch for fishing, and sportsmen wanted to hunt otter, osprey and wildfowl which where common there, as well as the red deer who resided within the forest. In the end, Vlad’s grandfather agreed to sell the land, more than anything to have some peace from the local residents. The land was sold to a Mister Chippingham, a wealthy local landowner, who wanted to open up the loch for fishing and sporting parties. Wulfric had been sad to see it go, and this was the first time he’d been back to it since it’s sale.
Hunting had decimated the wildlife in and around the loch, but since it was purchased by the National Trust in the 1970’s, the wildlife had returned, and the loch now looked much as Wulfric remembered it.
Wulfric walked leisurely towards the waters edge, where he stood and surveyed the land, keeping an eager eye out for any sign of humans. All seamed calm and safe, so Wulfric stooped to lap at the fresh water. It was cold and refreshing after his mornings activity. As he lifted his head after a long drink, he eyes caught movement out in the loch. As he watched, it soon became apparent that the movement was that of an otter, splashing and diving playfully as only an otter can. Of all the creatures in Scotland, the otter is by far the most elegant and beloved out of all of them, and Wulfric found himself mesmerised by it’s skill in the water and it’s reckless joy, something unique to the otter. After a while, the otter saw it had an audience, and, unable to contain it’s curiosity, swam over to get a better view of the wolf. Wulfric, who didn’t fancy being gawked at by a mere otter, got to his feet and walked off in the opposite direction, continuing along the edge of the loch. Disappointed by such a rude reception, the otter decided to have some fun at Wulfric’s expense. It caught up to him within seconds, leaping out of the water a few yards in front of Wulfric. Then it began running around Wulfric, jumping in the air, rolling around and whistling in delight. Wulfric tried to ignore the otter, so in return it started running under Wulfric’s body and nipping at his legs. Wulfric snapped at the pesky otter, but it was much to swift and agile for him. In the end, the only thing he could do was to retreat to the trees. The otter followed him up the bank for a while before returning to the water and swimming away. After that, Wulfric decided he’d had enough for the day, and promptly headed home, catching a satisfying meal of black grouse on the way back. There was still many hours left before nightfall, and Wulfric was back in the castle without Vlad knowing he’d even gone.
Over the next few weeks, Wulfric often woke up during the day and went to sit by the lake. He just couldn’t seem to keep himself away. Wulfric kept his daytime adventures to himself for a while, and it wasn’t until Vlad started to question him on where he was catching mallard, pochard and pintail ducks from that Wulfric revealed his secret.
“Sorry I never mentioned it before” said Wulfric after explaining where he’d been going.
“Well I’d rather you stayed in the castle during the day. It’s just that if a slayer where to come to the castle, who’d be there to warn me?” said Vlad in a concerned voice.
“I’m so sorry, Master Vlad. I didn’t sink about sat.”
“It’s ok, just let me know if your going anywhere, ok?”
“Of cause, Master Vlad. Vhy don’t you come down to sa lake vith me next time? It’s a stunningly beautiful place, I’m sure you’d love it.”
“I don’t really feel comfortable with the thought of leaving the castle grounds.” replied Vlad.
“I’d be sere to protect you. It’s perfectly safe anyvay, humans almost never go sere.”
“I’ll think about.”
Vlad did think about it, and in the end he agreed to go late one afternoon. It took Wulfric a while to coax Vlad past the castle gates, but once Vlad was by the loch, any trepidation he’d felt was completely forgotten.
“You where right Wulfric, this place is amazing.”
Wulfric simply nodded in agreement.
The pair sat down on the bank together, and Wulfric recounted past memories of the time he’d spent around the lake. As he was speaking, a magnificent osprey floated down over the lake, circling slowly in search of fish. She was one of the last remaining birds of her species in the country, a product of the survival of a handful of ospreys in Scotland after years of over hunting. Now she was protected from harm, and free to live and breed in peace. The only problems that she now faced where egg collectors, eager to steal her precious brood. During the breeding season, a 24 hours watch was set up close to her nesting site, but the breeding season was no over, the humans where gone and nobody tried to bother her.
“Sere used to be many more ospreys and eagles avound sa loch from vhen I vemember it. You couldn’t come down hear vithout seeing vone or sa oser.”
“Another victim of man’s ruthlessness” said Vlad bitterly.
A silvery fish below the surface of the water caught the osprey’s attention, and with years of skill behind her, she dived down, catching the fish effortlessly in her long talons. Once she’d caught her prey, she sailed away on the breeze to find a spot where she could eat in private. Vlad followed it’s progress until it disappeared into the trees.
A pair of otters splashed playfully in the shallows further downstream was next to catch Vlad‘s attention. Vlad, as Wulfric had been, and as most other people watching otters for the first time, became mesmerised by them. Wulfric watched with only a vague interest now that he’d seen their less appealing side, and hoped secretly that they’d go away, or at the very least stay where they were and not cause any trouble.
As he watched the pair of otters, a strange feeling came over Vlad, almost as if he’d seen such a thing before, or something very like it. He began to wonder if he’d been to the loch before, but this didn’t seam very likely as he had no memory of ever having been there. Nothing about the loch seamed familiar to him, and yet he couldn’t shake of this nagging feeling that he’d seen it all before, rather like deja vu, just more abstract. Frustrated that he couldn’t figure out why he had this persistent feeling, Vlad racked his brain to try and remember something, anything that would enable it to make sense. He was aware of something teetering at the edge of his mind and at once he felt sure that that was where the answer lay, although he couldn’t quite grab hold of it. Desperately he grappled for it, but every time it managed to elude him, slipping back into the blackness of his mind. Vlad was close to giving up on the memory altogether when all of a sudden it hit him like a speeding freight train. He had been there before and he knew exactly when and with whom.
Wulfric saw the change in Vlad’s expression immediately and knew something was up, although he couldn’t tell quite what.
“Are you alright, Master Vlad?” he asked.
A long silence followed before Vlad was able to answer.
“I remember” was all he was able to say, his gaze still fixed on the otters.
“Vemember vhat?” asked Wulfric, eager to find out.
Another long pause ensued, but Wulfric remained patient, sensing that it must be something important.
“I remember” he repeated. “I remember being hear before. I remember the loch and the otters and everything.”
“It’s quite possible you did come down hear vhen you vere younger. I can’t vemember it myself sough.”
“And I remember her” Vlad continued.
“Her. My mother.”
“Ahh, now I understand.”
“I can really remember her Wulfric. It’s like it was just yesterday, or maybe even today. I feel like I could just reach out and touch her and she’d be there. I can’t believe I never remembered this before.”
“Memories are hard to keep hold off. Sey have a habit of slipping avay, and sometimes it takes a certain event or place to capture shem again. I’ve alvays sought sat sa more precious a memory, sa harder it is to vemember as it’s sa kind most likely to get avay.”
“Well I’m never letting this one go. Not ever. Oh Wulfric, I do miss her. Now more than ever. I do wish she was still hear. I wish everyone was still hear. I’d do anything to have them back.”
“So vould I, Master Vlad. So Vould I.”


When Vlad and Wulfric went in Romania, it was agreed that they'd stay with his father’s brother, Magnus, who had a castle in a remote area fifteen miles outside Transylvania. Magnus had never got on to well with his brother, having been jealous that he, as first-born, would inherit the castle in Scotland. Now that he was doing well for himself, he was able to put any family rivalries behind him, so that when a letter arrived from his brother asking if Vlad could stay with him, Magnus was happy to agree.
Magnus’s castle was modest in comparison to what Vlad was used to back home, but it was no less homely or comfortable to stay in. Magnus also had a family of his own, a wife, Eliza, and two daughters under ten years old.
While staying there, Vlad and Wulfric spent most days by themselves, exploring the forests and visiting all the local towns and villages. This was rather a risky business, as vampires where not uncommon in Romania, and therefore locals always had their wits about them, looking out for anyone who could potentially be a vampire. Magnus was careful to warn Vlad of this, and made sure that whenever Vlad was outside the castle, Vlad was to ditched the tradition cloak and dress in ordinary, local clothes so as to blend in. Magnus also told Vlad that if anyone asked about Wulfric, Vlad was to reply that Wulfric was merely a rare breed of dog, bred to resemble a wolf, for a true wolf as a pet would seam very suspicious indeed. It was also obligatory that they didn’t go out after dark, for anyone out at that time would be suspect as a vampire. This became a particular nuisance to Vlad, but it was all a necessary nuisance, and eventually it simply became routine, and Vlad didn’t even have think about it.
Vlad had planned to stay in Romania for between nine to ten months, but after only six, a terrible tragedy occurred, one that was to change everything as he knew it.
That fateful day, Vlad and Wulfric returned to the castle just before dark, as per usual, expecting everything to be the same as when they left it. As they entered the drawing room, the whole family where sitting there, looking very grave indeed.
“Is anything wrong?” asked Vlad as he walked into the room.
Unable to answer, Magnus simply stood up and walked over to where Vlad was standing at the doorway, and handed him a sheet of crisp, white paper with typed letters on one side. Vlad instantly recognised the heading as being from the desks of the Vampire Council, and started to feel worried. The Council only ever sent letters that where of the utmost importance. Hesitantly, Vlad began to read the words typed beneath.

Mr Vladimir Kovács

We are sorry to inform you that during your absence Mr Irving Kovács and Miss Magda Kovács where unfortunately captured and murdered by the well known and prolific vampire slayer, a Mr Reed. As he has the backing of human law behind him, these killings must be deemed lawful and there is nothing the Council can do in the way of justice or compensation for your loss.
As the only living close relative of Mr Irving Kovács, the Kovács ancestral castle and estate automatically transfers into your possession.

Yours sincerely

Mr Phillip Joyce
Deputy leader and head of the investigation and intelligence department.

Vlad had to re-read the letter many times to make quite sure he had read it right. It just seamed so hard to believe, and it didn’t help that he had so many eyes staring at him and waiting for a reaction. Wanting to be alone, Vlad simply turned and walked away. Eliza went to stand up and go comfort him, but Magnus told her to leave him and allow for him to deal with the news in his own way.
Vlad retired himself to the guest room where he had been staying for those last few carefree months. He shut and locked the door before reading the letter out loud for Wulfric’s benefit, who up until that point had been in the dark as to what was going on.
“Sat’s just awful” sighed Wulfric after it had finally sunk in.
“What am I going to do, Wulfric?”
“I veally don’t know, Master Vlad. I just don’t know.”

Vlad spent the next month trying to decide what was best to do, and how to continue now that he was, for the most part, all alone in the world. He desperately wanted to return home, although the fear of returning to an empty castle terrified him. He started to wonder whether it might have all been a big mistake, and when he returned everything would be the way he left it, but deep down he knew this just wasn’t true. Vlad knew he couldn’t stay with Magnus and his family for ever, and after much deliberation decided the only thing he could do was to return home.


One evening in early November, Wulfric awoke a few hours after dark. Something strange was going on, Wulfric felt sure of it. Vlad was still asleep, and Wulfric wondered whether he should wake him early to warn him. He paced the room whilst trying to decide, and eventually came to the conclusion that it might be better if he went to find out whether anything was actually wrong first before waking Vlad, after all, he wouldn’t be to pleased if it turned out to be nothing at all.
Wulfric padded down the corridor to the stone staircase. At the top he stopped and listened for anything or anyone that might be in the castle, but he couldn’t hear anything. With silent, tentative steps the wolf descended the stairs, stopping every so often to check for disturbances. The further he got, the more intense the feeling became, although he was yet to find anything suspicious or out of place.
Once at the bottom step, Wulfric cautiously put his head round the corner and scanned the hallway which led down to the front door. At once he noticed the front door was slightly ajar as he could see a thin sliver of grass and trees through the gap. Wulfric knew Vlad would never leave the door open like that, although he could be a bit forgetful about actually locking the door during the day. Wulfric listened again, harder this time, desperate to find out who was intruding in the castle. Faintly he felt sure he heard footsteps coming from one of the nearby rooms, and without a moment of hesitation, he dashed back upstairs to warm Vlad.
As he ascended the stairs at full speed, Wulfric wondered whether he should have been more thorough about finding out who exactly was in the castle, and where they were, but so fleet of foot was he that before he had a chance to think it over anymore, he was back in Vlad’s bedroom. Once he’d woken him, Wulfric was quick to explain the situation.
“Do you think it could be a vampire slayer?” asked Vlad nervously.
“Sat seams sa most likely explanation. Perhaps it’s sa same vone who killed sa Master, come back to see if shere’s anyvone left. Whoever it is, sough, vere going to have to get vid of sem.”
“Err, right. I suppose I’m going to need a weapon of some kind” said Vlad who was less than enthusiastic about the idea of taking on a vampire slayer.
“If I vemember correctly, sen sere should be a collection of swords in sa basement.”
A look of horror spread across Vlad’s face. The basement was essentially his fathers room, and he hadn't been in there since his return home, nor had be ever planned to go down there again.
“It’s sa only option I’m afraid” said Wulfric, who understood Vlad’s reluctance.
“I know, I know” sighed Vlad. “Lets go then.”
Lucky for Vlad and Wulfric, there was a secret staircase that led right down into the basement. The entrance was hidden behind a false door in the stone wall at the other end of the corridor, and even Vlad who was all to familiar with the castle, struggled to find it.
“Lets just hope the slayer hasn’t reached to basement before we do” whispered Vlad anxiously as he closed the secret door behind him, shutting them both into the pitch dark stairway.
The pair went down the stairs as silently as possible, and once at the bottom, Wulfric put his ear to the door to check for any human activity.
“It seams empty” said Wulfric after a while.
“It better be” replied Vlad fearfully as he slowly pushed the door open.
As they stepped into the room, Vlad froze, overwhelmed by it all. Everything was as he remembered it, making it almost feel as if his father was still hear and hadn’t been gone at all.
In the centre of the room stood his father’s imposing, mahogany coffin. His more modest oak davenport writing desk stood in the nearby corner. Vlad found himself walking over to it, and on closer inspection found a letter addressed to him while in Romania, that had yet to be sent out. Vlad couldn’t help but touch the paper, running his fingers over the smooth ink words.
“I hate to say it, but sis is veally no time to be veminiscing. Best leave sat for more appropriate circumstances.”
“Your right, your right” replied Vlad, turning away from the letter to face to room again.
Vlad scanned the room and was quick to notice the collection of antique swords mounted on the opposite wall. He went over to them, looking over them carefully to see which would be the most appropriate to use. Vlad found himself drawn to an attractive Scottish broad sword. It was lightweight and easy to manoeuvre with it’s thin silvery blade and rounded handle.
“Alright then, lets go” said Vlad, turning to Wulfric after having make his choice.
Wulfric went first, keeping all his senses alert. As they were leaving the room, Vlad noticed his father’s best cloak hanging on the wall beside the door. Unable to resist, he went over to it. Without even being truly aware of what he was doing, Vlad carefully took the cloak down from it’s hook. He slipped off his own cloak, letting it fall silently to the ground, before putting on his father’s. Wulfric was rather shocked by this, for a vampire’s cloak is a very personal thing that should not be worn by anyone else but it’s rightful owner. And yet, somehow, it seamed to suit Vlad, so Wulfric decided not to comment on it.
As soon as he put it on, Vlad felt an instant sense of strength and determination. He felt ready to take on anything, even a vampire slayer.
The pair then continued on their mission. They crept warily down the corridor, with Wulfric listening in through every doorway in an attempt to find the elusive intruder. Vlad held his sword tight, ready to strike at any sudden movement, every sense alert for danger. After much searching, Wulfric eventually found what they where looking for.
“Sere’s somevone in sere” whispered Wulfric, pointing his muzzle towards the drawing room.
“I guess this is it then. It’s now or never.”


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