Chapter 6: The Owl of Undoing

After changing, they headed around to the side of the manor. William opened an old wooden cabinet packed to the brim with weapons. As Vlad recalled, they had built it when he turned 18. He was eager for such an important rite of passage. His younger sister had already begun drawing up plans for her own war cabinet and Vlad had been determined not to be bested by a younger sibling.

Over the centuries, it had been patched and rebuilt until now it stood creaking in the corner, barely holding together against the elements. Usually, William took him to task for being so careless about his weapons storage, but today he simply selected two swords.

For a man so large he should not be so graceful and yet, William moved like a leaf floating on the wind. That must’ve been what his father saw. Vlad was too young to understand what was happening, but every year King Josef would ride into the village and choose the strongest and fastest teenagers. They were taken from their families, brought back to the castle and trained for the Royal Guard.

“On your guard!” William shouted, interrupting Vlad’s thoughts. He leaned forward adopting a wide stance and they began to circle each other. 

“Caleb tells me that the witches have no cure, despite your attempts at persuasion,” William began, striking out to hit Vlad’s right flank. But Vlad was ready. He swung his sword, blocking William easily. 

His conscience prickled. True.

“A small setback. There will be another way,” Vlad said instead. He dove forward, intending to slash William right down the middle but his sword sliced through nothing.

In mere seconds, William had made a movement so small and so quick, mortal eyes would have missed it. 

Hell, Vlad’s vampire eyes nearly missed it.

“So you don’t accept it?” William teased now that he was just out of reach. 

Vlad tried not to give away how frustrated he was, but it still came out like a growl. “Of course not. Why would I?”

“Because maybe you’ve grown tired of who you used to be,” William replied, leaping back on his feet. He had Vlad on the defense now.

“Does a leopard change his spots? I prefer myself exactly the way I used to be.” Vlad sneered. He quickly pulled his sword back, guarding himself from William’s next move. 

That isn’t quite right, is it? his conscience tutted. Vlad slashed forward but William was ready for him. 

Sword fighting as vampires was different. It was a wonder they hadn’t broken the blades with both of them now going at full strength.

“This is always your mistake, Vladislaus. Since you were a boy, what have I told you? It’s not always about attacking first. Now, you have no way out,” he explained, the patience in his voice returning Vlad to a time when William was teacher and Vlad: the eager student.

Their blades clanged as they locked, the sound reverberating through Vlad’s body. Sword fighting as vampires was different. It was a wonder they hadn’t broken the blades with both of them now going at full strength. Vlad gritted his teeth and held his ground. “There is always a way out. You taught me that.”

“I wasn’t talking about life,” William huffed. “I was talking about sneaking out of a lover’s room!” 

“You always did seem to find your way into Tobias’s room and yet the head of the Royal Guard never caught you two. How did you get out?” Vlad asked as they continued to hold each other off. 

Suddenly, William slid back and let his sword drop. “I climbed out the window,” he replied, his grin wicked. 

Vlad laughed and spun, intending to regain his balance when he heard William’s sword whistling in the air high above him. 

Sword fighting as vampires was indeed different. 

Vlad turned just fast enough to see that William had leapt into the air and was bringing his sword down over top of Vlad’s head. 

Vlad swung out wildly, but as William landed and brought his sword down, it was clear that he had won.

  • Dolly Llama
    October 28, 2019

    Test time! Is the curse he wants to lift:
    (a) his vampirism
    (b) his conscience
    (c) his daddy issues
    (d) necromancy-related

    • feroshgirl
      October 30, 2019

      LOL Imagine what he could do with a little therapy hahaha

  • theplumbob
    July 3, 2020

    William seems like auite the character. I’m liking him so far (especially the line “I wasn’t talking about life, I was talking about sneaking out of a lover’s room!” made me lol. A smooth charmer with layers of hidden complexity underneath, sign me up).

    It’s interesting to see Vlad vulnerable, and spending time with friends. I never really saw him that way, needing others, but you’re doing a great job humanising him. And of course, it makes sense that somebody his age has a lot of preexisting relationships. I’m a huge fan of the Vampire Chronicles, and one of my favourite things about those vampires was the complexity of their relationships caused by their lengthy lifespans – they have enough lifetimes to go from love to hate and back to love again.

    It’s fun to see how our protagonists are slowly getting down the path towards each other. I wonder how the show ended up in posession of such an important relic. Are they aware of its power? They might be oblivious… though of course, perhaps they know exactly what they’re doing here and are hoping to draw in exactly the kinds of people that they are, for some higher reason. Hmm… (This is pure speculation, I don’t actually want to know! 😊)

    • feroshgirl
      July 4, 2020

      William is my absolute favorite! I love all my characters and I’m not supposed to play favorites, I know, but he just is. I can’t wait until you learn more about him, you’ve definitely picked up on something significant about his character – he is a charmer but that’s just the surface, a very deliberate mask.

      I’m such a paranormal romance/paranormal nerd I definitely got some of inspiration there. I figure long-lived creatures of any type would have messy relationships. On the one hand, they are incredibly strong connections just by virtue of time, on the other hand, they really fragile because of all the ups and downs they suffer. There’s another series I love – Immortals After Dark – that asks some similarly questions about immortality, relationships, and madness.

      I’m so glad he does come off vulnerable and almost human. I don’t like a one-dimensional villain and I certainly don’t think they make for a good love interest 🙂

      I love that you’re asking the question about how the show got The Owl so early in the story. There is an answer, but its a while before the characters even begin to get into it because they are all so focused on their goal, they haven’t really stopped to ask a lot of questions…

      That may come back to bite them…

      Your speculation is very interesting…

      • theplumbob
        July 4, 2020

        Haha I think it’s pretty natural to have favourites, even in your own story – we all do it. Question is, are you the kind that treats their favourites better, or the kind that makes things tougher for them than for anyone else? 😁

      • feroshgirl
        July 5, 2020

        Hmmm, I do like out my characters through the ringer in general. I just have a weak spot William that makes it hard for me to hurt him…

        Hard, but not impossible 😉

  • Yimiki
    January 5, 2021

    I wonder what happened to Miss Hell that she responds to the use of her name like that. It can’t have been good.

    LOL, oh gods, Vlad is going to participate in the baking show too, isn’t he? xD So that’s where the title of the story came from, haha. He’s trying so hard to end his curse that he doesn’t realize he’s gained his humanity through it. Or maybe he does realize, but just doesn’t want to acknowledge it.

    • feroshgirl
      January 5, 2021

      Miss Hell has been through some things, let me tell you!

      Haha, yes Vlad is desperate to undo this curse, but you’re right, he hasn’t even thought much about what he could be losing. What a journey of self-discovery our resident sociopathic mass murderer vampire love interest has ahead of him 😉

  • Ninja Pink Sex
    August 27, 2022

    Let out some tension with a swordfight *snort* oh gooooooodness. I know you didn’t know me yet, but I feel like that section was meant for me regardless. Yeah, that’s all I can think of at this time.

  • sirianasims
    September 26, 2022

    I love William and his smug face already. Also, having a gay man challenge another man to a sword-fight to release tension just makes my dirty mind read this very differently.

    “It was a wonder they hadn’t broken the blades with both of them now going at full strength” *snort*

    That being said, I do love their dynamic. I think William could be would be good for Vlad if he’d let him.

    “drawing his long gray coat around him as if it were some sort of talisman.” Vlad confirmed for autistic. Because 14-year-old me said so, while wearing my black jeans, black turtleneck sweater, and black combat boots in the middle of a July heatwave back in 1999.

    Nicolai Flamellius – did he also make a philosopher’s stone? 😛

    I am giggling like a lunatic at “ye olde simlish rather than just olde simlish”. Must be the lack of sleep.

    B’Ollathirnon (some long forgotten god of death or agriculture or some such activity).
    No! Ben is the God of Death AND resurrection AND agriculture AND fertility AND nectar! Get it together, Vlad!

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