Chapter 9: A Formidable Opponent

Vlad makes an enemy.

“Me miserable! Which way shall I fly, Infinite wrath and infinite despair?”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost

Vlad pounded harder on the keys of the pipe organ. It didn’t improve the sound but it did make him feel slightly better about the day. Translation progress was slow-going. The number of sims who knew olde simlish was small, but the number who knew ye olde simlish was even smaller. 

There were older vampires, of course, but he didn’t trust a single one of them with this information. No one could know what he was looking for. The risk was too great. Instead, he sent William and Caleb out to survey university professors under the guise of assessing the coven’s recruitment efforts. This mollified Bloodvein and Miss Hell (somewhat) and kept the rest of the vampires where they belonged: out of his business. 

The downside to this method was that he was bored out of his mind. In 544 years, Vladislaus Straud had never been bored. If there wasn’t the sheer work of survival to do, there were wars to plan, funds to secure in order to fight those wars, and then the work of establishing his empire. 

The Forgotten Hollow vampires had not wanted to be ruled. They were made to bow by force. And by great sacrifice. It took a monster to rule the monsters, and Vlad had become, through great personal sacrifice: the greatest monster of them all. 

For them or for you? his conscience wondered. Vlad slammed his fingers down on the keys, banishing the thought. 

For centuries, the Forgotten Hollow vampires had run wild through the woods—alternating between hunting in the Windenburg countryside and hills of Granite Falls. Distance did not present the same problem for vampires that it did for mere mortals. Vampires could run at top speed for hours, travel as bats or, if they were truly powerful, simply dissipate into a mist and reappear miles away. There were limits, of course, but when sims wondered how bloodsucking creatures of the night could seem to be everywhere at once, the answer was simple: 

It took a monster to rule the monsters, and Vlad had become, through great personal sacrifice: the greatest monster of them all. 

They were. 

Vlad broke the will of those vampires on the battlefield and then, in a long campaign of starvation and imprisonment. It took centuries, but by 1797 they had been brought to heel. Almost 300 years it took to be crowned king, and that was followed by the hard work of ruling. There were always tasks. Always

But not recently, his conscience added. 

It was the sort of thing Vlad didn’t want to admit. Had he been bored before the curse? Impossible! And yet, something told him that he might be wrong. 

A knock sounded and Vlad leapt out of his seat and sped to the door. 

Once there, he froze. He was a fucking king, for sages sake! He didn’t answer his own doors and he certainly didn’t run to them. 

Though, with Caleb and William still down at Windenburg University, there really was no one else. Few ever came to Straud Manor unless it was for something truly important. Most vampires feared him and Bloodvein and Miss Hell found his gothic manor depressing.

“I should have built a bloody castle,” Vlad growled. And it was the first words he had spoken aloud all day. 

That did it! He was answering the door. He flung it open expecting to find some young vampire groveling and asking for a favor. Instead, he looked out and saw nothing. 

A throat cleared. “Excuse me, I’m down here,” the small voice declared impatiently.

Vlad looked down and bit his tongue to keep the surprise from showing on his face. It was a child? But what was a child doing at Straud Manor? And where were her parents? And why was she dressed in that ridiculous uniform? 

“Is there a problem?” she demanded. “Do you own this house or is the person who owns this house at home?”

Vlad was speechless. He stared at her dumbly. 

She sighed and rolled her eyes. “My name is Gwendolyn Barrister and I’m here with the scouts raising money towards our college education and a field trip to the Museum of Modern Art in Newcrest. Just one box of cookies can help us achieve our goals. But purchasing three boxes not only earns you a discount, it covers the cost of my museum admission.”

Vlad recovered slightly, “I own this house.”

“Yes, well we’re past that now. It doesn’t matter who owns the house, we’re talking cookies.”

“Cookies?” Vlad answered, bewildered. He was a vampire. He clamped down on necks and drained plasma straight from the source. If he wanted to feel like a mortal, he might have it in a glass. He didn’t eat cookies!

“Yes cookies! Keep up! Is there someone else I should talk to?” she peered around him into the house. “You have a pipe organ! Sweet!”

And in yet another example of a vampire not being fast enough, Gwendolyn Barrister whipped around his legs and ran into the house before he could stop her. 

  • Dolly Llama
    Nov 11, 2019

    Gwendolyn teaches him to bake, GWENDOLYN TEACHES HIM TO BAKE. I know it’s not going to happen but I want it to.

    Incidentally, the Ye Olde Simlish line reminded me that my insurance company was lazy and asked me to pick a language from a pre-generated list. The list included dead languages. I picked Old English. There was also Phoenician and Sanskrit, but no Proto-Indo-European. So at least Vlad can have insurance, is what I’m saying.

  • lonecat82
    May 1, 2020

    Lol, this chapter was so great! I love how Gwendolyn outsmarted him! Hopefully, the cookies are worth all the trouble.

    • feroshgirl
      May 3, 2020

      Oh Gwendolyn is a little troublemaker. She is one of my favorite characters and she will definitely be back…

  • theplumbob
    Jul 5, 2020

    Lmao, this is awesome. Gwendolyn is like a sinister version of that kid from Up 😂

    • feroshgirl
      Jul 5, 2020

      Ahh yes! Honestly, she is my best attempt to pay homage to Erica Sinclair on Stranger Things who is hands down, my favorite child character ever.

      • theplumbob
        Jul 5, 2020

        Ohhh!!! Yes, I can see that!

  • Manny Likes Sims
    Mar 2, 2022

    thwarted by a child heheheh
    you enjoy that gold bar, Gwendolyn; you’ve definitely earned your Swindling Scout Badge

    • feroshgirl
      Mar 2, 2022

      Gwendolyn is a boss!! She’s my fave to write ❤️

  • Ninja Pink Sex
    Aug 30, 2022

    Vlad is melancholy af in this series. Goodness, heavy is the head that where’s the crown and depression, eh Vlad? Guess that was passed to Caleb in The Strouds, but now I’m curious, is it just depression that’s transferred to Caleb or does Caleb also get the responsibility? Obviously, different stories and anything goes, but I’m just uh juxtaposing here.

    Soooo here is the “meet cute” of Vlad & Gwen, and goodness is she a spitfire. Hell hath no fury like a miniature human cookie-peddler. I’m throwing “Human” out there with some caution b/c I know things and those things are VERY inhuman.

    Gwen barging into Vlad’s house reminded me of Goldilocks & The Three Dinosaurs (think unsupervised little girl who didn’t listen to advice about not barging into strange houses).

    I’m starting to worry for Vlad’s mental well-being. He is HUNDREDS of years old and he’s being bested by a little child? Dude, pull it together. Why are the hot ones always EXTRA? Anyways, He has this … what is even the term, it’s like a dick-measuring contest, but with a child, over his funds. Then he hands her a bar of gold. Holy shit dude, you really go out of your way to prove a point… to. a. child.
    Then he gets upset because he doesn’t have his cookies. That he won’t eat. Because he’s a vampire. What is he hoping to do with the cookies? Let them collect up space? Feed an infestation of rats and insects that will come to feast? Dude, you’re a fucking mess.

    Gwen calling him a M’er-F’er had me 0.0 – I did NOT see that coming at all!

    • Ninja Pink Sex
      Aug 30, 2022

      That wears* I swear I know words.

    • feroshgirl
      Sep 2, 2022

      Yeah…I wrote some real emo Vlad back in the day but holy shit, you’re so right, I did pass it onto Caleb in The Strauds! I hope this becomes clearer over the course of the story, but I think Strauds Caleb and BBD Vlad are both languishing under the weight of responsibilities they’ve created for themselves. They both have a tendency to martyr themselves. I mean Vlad is a king, but in the modern era, a king of what? And in The Strauds, Caleb is walking around carrying the mantle of his family’s terrible name even though everyone has long since moved on.

      Uh, you should be worried for Vlad’s well-being. Gwendolyn is a FORCE. This is early in the story for them, but he is simultaneously adoring of and steamrolled by her. Just like he is with Alice lol.

      • Ninja Pink Sex
        Sep 2, 2022

        Wow. That’s weighty. I just wanna give The Strauds Caleb a hug and sob.

        I may have done myself a disservice, but I read your character page (I think this is where I got the information from) and I also watched a video about a Sex God at a club. You can easily guess WHY I chose that video. Anyways, my point: I saw that Gwendolyn was a vampire? A WHAT? So my mind is boggled (I don’t require spoilers), but now I’m just like waiting for THAT explanation.

        Looking forward to more of Gwen/Vlad dialog in future chapters!

      • feroshgirl
        Sep 2, 2022

        HAHAHAHAHAH First of all the sex demon club fight was made in a lab for you and omg I forgot about that one. Yeah, my character page is spoiler-y. Maybe I will clean it up one of these days (sigh) but in this case I’m glad because its gonna be soooooo much fun to watch you get to that point!

      • Ninja Pink Sex
        Sep 2, 2022

        LOL YES IT WAS! I honestly think you might be clairvoyant. *mwah*!

  • sirianasims
    Sep 26, 2022

    GWEEEEEEEEN!!! ❤️❤️❤️

    Also I am falling off my chair with Vlad’s utter inability to resist extortion from a small child (and subsequently being conned by said child, holy shit)

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