From public pages of the Vampire Lord Wilard’s letters

Dear —

This day in particular was the most…exhilarating I have had in a long while. As you know, the village that I have laid claim to offers up their livestock in exchange for my permission to continue living in this area. We had reached this agreement when I had first moved here a year ago, after I had bled dry the few “capable” fighters that had attempted to drive me away. Since then, I was given plenty to sustain myself, and no peasant had dared to resist. Not until today.

As the sun was dragged back into the earth, the empowering feeling of the moons’ light washed over me. I grabbed my sword and inspected it for any weakness. The handle was of black metal, and the pommel contained three white stones. The stones were made in the likeness of the moons, so that I may always carry that strength with me. The crossguard curved sharply upwards, intended for catching and holding other blades. The blade itself was longer and thinner than an average sword of its size. When swung, it glows slightly, as though moonlight was being reflected in the metal. This sword was specially made for my style of fighting. I called this weapon Night-Sliver. I sheathed my weapon. It was time to receive the tax I was owed.

I left my home and saddled my horse. Her white coat seemed almost ghostly at night, and considering who I got her from, I wouldn't be surprised if she were some kind of phantom. I fed her an apple that I had taken from the orchard, and she chewed happily. It reminded me how thirsty I was feeling now. It's not that I can't eat whenever, but it certainly becomes more difficult when you are always hunting and provoking responses from the humans. I know you were initially against it, but surely you see the benefit of my methods now. Anyhow, after making my preparations, I began my ride to the village.

Night-Sliver hasn't been necessary against the villagers since I first arrived, but I felt it was important to remind them of who the humans were to me: means to a meal, or the meal itself if they were to get any bright ideas. The moons were high in the sky, illuminating the path to the meeting spot. I sniffed the air, and smiled. They had already prepared a cow. As I approached, I could make out the farmer. He was standing tall, but I could hear his heartbeat. Fast. Terrified.
One fresh cow is nice, but isn't the entirety of what belongs to me.

"Where's the rest of it?" I called out to him.

My friend, you would not have expected what came next.

The farmer smiled at me. He smiled in a way that said he knew something I didn't. If he wasn't just human, I would be disturbed.
I then realized his heart wasn't beating from fear; It was anticipation.

"Now!" He shouted. All at once, fifteen of the villagers ran out from behind bushes and trees. I was surrounded. I had let my guard down, smelling the bloodied cow, and was unaware of the ambush. Two reached me first, and swung for my head. My blood boiled. The surprise wasn't enough, and with my superior speed I was able to dodge.


My blood boiled.

They were armed with silver swords. But…I had watched their movements. Not as closely as I should've, I suppose. How could they have gotten the gold for it? It didn't matter, I needed to show them the price of their hubris.
Before the two men could go for a second attack, and before anyone else could get close, pulled Night-Sliver from its scabbard. In an instant, I scored a dozen cuts on both attackers; my sword a pale blue blur.

All action stopped. The only thing that moved was blood dripping. They clearly did not expect me to move as quickly as I did. So I decided it was my turn to surprise them. I raised my free hand up, then beckoned towards my face. The eyes of the two men rolled back, and blood started to flow from their mouth and nose. Their cuts dripped faster, then they too started to flow into a river. This river of blood fed into my mouth, nourishing me. After I've been holding back these few months, this drink was especially delicious.

I was prepared to attack again when suddenly a man appeared from nowhere, coming into my sight as though he had been there the whole time and I had just been ignoring his presence. He swung at me with a sickle. Instinctively, I jumped back, forgetting my surroundings. Two blades pierced my left arm, sending burning pain through me. I howled and swung my sword around, causing the villagers to all back away out of my range. I moved away from the silver circle, and faced this new enemy.

"You must be the one who armed these men," I said to him.

"Yes," His voice dripped with both confidence and complete disdain.

"The why is obvious to me", I responded. "To kill me. But what did they give you? Gold?"

"A pledge"

His mask hid any emotion in his face and obscured his eyes. It was difficult to get a read on him. His outfit was familiar, though I couldn’t say for sure where I last saw it. Something Imperial perhaps? If he was from Thacea, it’s possible he was recruiting these people against the undead. On his belt he carried pistols, a rarer sight. That sickle, however, is something I have not seen before. It had protrusions on the blade, as though it were carved. The blade itself seemed to be glowing red hot.

I weighed my options. I was unsure of the power of his weapon, and I was surrounded by silver-armed villagers. I was also hurt and my arm crippled. On the other hand, I’ve had plenty to eat and could fight back. One against fourteen; the odds weren’t bad. I finally decided to escape and come back when I have had time to prepare, or get thralls to cull them.
I turned to him, “you’ll have to excuse me, I’m done with this fight.”

I took a step backward, starting to turn to mist. I would disappear, go to my horse, and be off. Instead, the moment I left the physical realm, the masked man ran into the ethereal. He grabbed me and tossed me straight into the physical, and onto the ground. The impact of hitting the ground knocked Night-Sliver from my hand and into the dirt, out of reach. I was genuinely in danger. Because of my injured arm, I would not have been able to fly as a bat. If I tried anything else, the masked man and the villagers would fall upon me before I had the chance. I prepared myself to fight with tooth and claw as many vampires before me did, but I was very much aware that I was facing true death.

There was a scream from behind me. I turned and saw one of the men being dragged away by an unseen force. Then, a floating corpse emerged from darkness, the dragged villager walking behind it. A dagger sat in its ribcage, piercing withered flesh. It wielded a large staff that was red and brown, with a human skull on top. The skull had a marking on its head. A thick, green fog billowed from the skull’s mouth, and it fell as though it were water. This was a Liche. But why was it here?

The Liche moved towards the group, which animated them to attack it. I can’t fathom what led them to believe that was a wise choice, but most of them did not live to regret it. First, four charged wildly at it. The undead mage simply raised a finger, conjured a fireball, and scorched them. They all screamed until they gurgled on melted flesh. Another two tried to flank it on both sides at the same time. The Liche whispered something and continued forward, as the two men dashed forward and attacked one another. One killed the other, and then fell on his own sword.
It then let go of the staff, and raised an open hand towards the captured man. It then made a fist, causing the man to contort into bone breaking positions before he went limp, no light in his eyes. The Liche directed the life force from the twisted body into the staff. The staff’s skull began pouring the fog from the eyes as well, and instead of dissipating, it would settle on the ground, seeping into corpses. The men who tried to hold their ground still were greeted by the undead, and found out the fog was good at poisoning lungs as it was bringing back their comrades.
Out of the fifteen villagers who turned on me that night, only two survived. The masked man disappeared sometime during the slaughter, along with Night-Sliver.

I pulled myself to my feet. The Liche, along with its shamblers, approached me.

“Why did you save me?” I asked.

The Liche responded in a cold voice, “Deadhaus calls.”

So, that’s why I’m headed back south. Something big is coming.Something wants us gone. When you get this, head here immediately.
Alone, we may be wiped away. If all vampires were to come together, then by the Red Lady we will survive.

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