She wore red: Part III

A story from the world of the Cursed Eight

By

Accipiter G. Goshawk

The story continues from where we left it in She wore red: Part II

“Let us start again, shall we?” the shadowy figure said amicably as it strode towards her. In her dazed condition, his shape was indistinct, but large.

With a sweeping movement of his arm, he bowed low.

“I am Ambassador Abraeg Vanar, Count of the Frozen Peninsula in the north of Vort. Welcome, dearest lady to the Vortian Embassy. We are, of course, at your service.”

The rich voice was now mocking, and as her vision cleared, she could see that the thin-lipped smile was ten times more so.

His long dark hair fell over his shoulders, complimenting his pale skin and patrician features. He strolled over casually and before she could get up, placed a booted foot on her shoulder, pinning her to the ground.

“Although I am not against a little thievery from time to time, I’m afraid I cannot let you leave with the contents of that bag…it belongs to the Vortian State, and thus, its people. Stealing that Barahdrium would be equivalent to robbing an old woman’s savings…and I can’t tolerate that sort of behaviour.”

She gasped as his eyes shone ruby-red in the darkened study.

“Also, I would appreciate it if you found it in your heart to return my mother’s ruby necklace,” he growled dangerously, as the shadows around him lengthened.

His foot twitched, finally enabling her to roll to freedom.

She jumped to her feet and glanced at the door hidden behind the count’s massive frame.

“There is nowhere to run, my lady,” he articulated calmly, as he brought his hands up in a beckoning gesture. She resisted the hypnotic pull of his eyes and instead fished around in her pack for the one thing that could save her.

“I doubt any of your fancy tricks will do much good against me,” he said confidently, placing one foot forward with a movement half between a dance move and a panther’s stalking gait.

“Actually,” she cut in triumphantly as her fingers closed around a little glass vial, “you will find that I am anything but harmless. And I always do my homework.”

She unstoppered the vial and threw it at Vanar, its contents spraying all over his chest and face.

“Do you really think that-”

He howled in pain as the liquid began to burn his flesh, causing great red welts to appear all over his features.

“Water blessed by one of the last followers of Aurora…hard to come by, but more than worth it. He assured me it would be most effective when dealing with a vampire. Turns out he was right.”

The count screamed, as his figure dissolved, leaving only an expensive suit behind. Blue smoke filled the room, and for a while, Lady von Kairn remained completely still, waiting to see if any other inhabitant of the embassy would come and investigate the ruckus.

After she had waited for fifteen minutes, she moved to the window and threw it open, letting the fresh air penetrate into the study.

“Another job well done,” she murmured shakily as she hopped on to the marble rail lining the balcony.

Two points of cold pierced the flesh above her shoulder and she lost her footing, falling back into darkness. Slender arms held her, as cold turned to heat and she felt the world melt away into a mirror of crimson.

*          *          *

“About time! I was beginning to think you’d skipped town!”

Sharp leaned back in his chair, as Lady von Kairn elegantly descended the rickety wooden steps.

“So, do you have the merchandise?” he asked surveying the thief’s person, searching for evidence of his quarry.

Uncharacteristically, she was wearing a red velvet dress, trimmed with white lace. It clung to her rather fetchingly, and the half-troll couldn’t help but lick his lips.

“I’m afraid I have to abandon the contract,” she said. “Here is your advance back,” she added casually, dropping the money purse back on his desk. She turned to leave.

“Now hang on just a second! We had a deal! Do you think I’m just going to let you walk out of here?”

She turned, and he shivered as her eyes turned red.

“No, I suppose not. Very well, then I would like you to meet a friend of mine.”

The door above them creaked open and a second woman descended into the dingy room. She was fair-haired and wore a gentleman’s clothes. A dark smirk adorned her face and Sharp couldn’t help but notice the two canine teeth protruding from her upper lip.

“This, Mr. Sharp, is Countess Mila Vanar, Ambassador to the Vortian embassy. She and I have become close friends. She was wondering as to why you have been demonstrating such an interest in her property. Isn’t that right Mila dear?”

The blonde-haired vampire smiled.

“I have been, my sweet Ariana, I have.”

Nobody heard the screams, and it was many days before anyone found the bodies in the old warehouse. By that time, Lady Ariana von Kairn had joined Countess Vanar in her winter estate, far away from Astralia and any suspicion of murder.-

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