Thousand Year Old Vampire: Guillaume d'Orléans

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Jamestown, 1635

Perhaps the Piagnoni would have found someone else, if they hadn't found me to be the spark of their war against the Florentine vampires. They certainly turned out to have enough enemies.

In the years after I gave the information to Alessandro, vampire hunters raided the lairs of Medici vampires around Tuscany. Other vampires from around Europe, having long suffered at the hands of Il Chiarissimo, seized the moment and attacked Medici vampire holdings around Europe.

Soon, vampires were in open war with one another and both Catholic and Protestant vampire hunters leapt at the chance to destroy the weakened monsters in their midst.

I decided it was time to leave Europe, before someone eventually decided to do the same to me.

I had been a ship-builder once and could be again.

Thousands of Englishmen and women were sailing each year to their colonies in Massachusetts and Virginia. It was a dangerous journey of weeks or months at sea, where passengers regularly fell ill and died and where one was unlikely to be surprised by visitors aboard another ship. No one was surprised if some passengers grew weak over time or fell overboard when no one was around, their bodies never to be seen again.

I paid my captains well to ignore my eccentricities, sailing with them back and forth across the Atlantic as we ferried colonists and goods. On each visit, I would scout out what the colonies were like. Although Massachusetts Bay was crawling with religious fanatics of one kind or another, the Virginia colonies were more focused on commerce and expanding into the New World. I began making investments there, preparing for the day I would leave my shipbound life in favor of a life thousands of miles away from vengeful Medicis.
Prompt 57 + 10 - 3 = Prompt 64

Prompt: Vast numbers of humans are migrating around the world. What group becomes easy to feed upon? How do you capitalize on their helplessness? Create a Resource.

William French

Skills
:
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast (checked);
Skilled merchant (checked);
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledgeable of medieval medicine;
Knowledge of vampire anatomy;
I can draw the shadows in around myself, creating supernatural hiding spaces (checked);
Visionary;

Resources:
Diary: A leather-bound German-made ledger book
An ever-beating heart, which magically will not die
Allied with the Piagnoni, a 17th century group of Italian vampire hunters
An English shipping company, based in Southampton

Characters:
Juião/Julian Black: a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (Immortal);
Meresankh, an ancient Egyptian queen who has lived 3,000 years as of 1472, and whose still-living heart I have in my possession (immortal);

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (five, up to three Experiences each):
1: I am Wilhelm Black: Brought into the society of the Nachtvolk of Cologne, I watched their leader slowly dismember a vampire, leaving him alive for hours, just in agony; with the help of the mortal Itzig family, I become a rich merchant, with investments across Europe.
2. I am Wilhelm Black: Julian, now a violent enforcer of the Nachtvolk, gifts me an ever-beating heart; Meresankh, the immortal woman whose heart that is, confronts me in Florence, but allows me to keep it in my safe-keeping for now;
3. I am Guglielmo Nero: After Florentine banks collapse during the 100 Years War, I move my banking operations from Cologne to Florence; poisoned by Averardo de' Medici, I wake up in Florence 100 years later, the Itzigs dead, my banking empire dismantled in my absence; setting myself up in Florence, I come to own and operate out of a fencing school.
4. I am Guglielmo Nero: I awake in the rubble of my Florentine fencing school, war having destroyed the building; I traveled the Ottoman Empire, searching for the origins of vampires before being sent to Cyprus on a mysterious errand, and there I erected a magical structure atop Mt. Olympus; I ally with an Italian vampire hunter to kill Averardo de' Medici, the vampire ruler of Florence.
5. I am William French: Fleeing a vampire war in Europe, I run a shipping business ferrying colonists from England to the New World, preying upon them during our voyages.

Diary (four memories, up to three Experiences each)
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other (DAMAGED) were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead.
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
3: I am le Passeur or "the Frenchman": The Portuguese (DAMAGED) Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on (DAMAGED) as I tend to them.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Las Vegas, 1970

Vampires did not create Las Vegas, but we flocked to it soon enough.

It is possible to never see the sun in Sin City, in casinos that are designed to prevent gamblers from ever realizing how many hours they've wiled away at the tables. Clocks are forbidden and it is the rare casino where natural light can be seen from the craps table or slot machine.

And so naturally, my money flowed here as well, first as a silent partner in others' casinos and, once Las Vegas was clearly going to be a thriving enterprise, through my various investment groups. Seemingly every gaming company is already run by reclusive millionaires who hand control of the group off to their sons once they reach their 80s. The vampires fit right in.

Today, I have my own penthouses atop three different hotels, each with glass so dark that no sunlight ever penetrates inside.

And at night -- it pays for vampires to wear watches in Las Vegas, even if no one else needs to -- I can take my pick of inebriated gamblers from all over the world, many of whom would get into trouble even without me, and whom no one is surprised to see turn up dazed and battered in the drunk tank.

But it's early in the evening -- just after 11 p.m. -- as I'm swimming in the private rooftop pool of my most recently built hotel when the phone rings. One of my girls -- it doesn't do for someone in my position to not have girls around; that would raise eyebrows when nothing else would -- brings the phone over to the edge of the pool for me.

"Boss?" It's my receptionist downstairs. "There's a Brazilian here to see you."

"What do you mean?" At some point, my accent has drifted into American gangster, fitting a stereotype that the living are comfortable seeing me as. "Do I have any appointments scheduled?"

"Not tonight."

My staff is used to my hours, which are shared by plenty of both the living and the dead in Las Vegas.

"What does this Brazilian want?"

"He says you two go way back. But boss, he's a kid."

I said nothing for a long moment, then lifted myself out of the pool, taking the phone from my girl and waving for her and the others to knock off for the night.

"Boss, are you still there?"

"Send him up," I said, pulling on a robe and unlocking one of the fridges where I kept "the good stuff."

I was waiting by the pool when I heard the elevator chime.

"Out here, Julian."

"Everyone calls me 'Junior' now," he said, stepping outside.

Hundreds of years dropped away in an instant. I sighed, feeling a weight I did not know I had been carrying drop away.

"It's good to see you."

I would have recognized Juião or Julian or Junior anywhere, although he had updated his look to match modern times. He dressed in the flashy manner of the newly rich, with heavy gold chains and an expensive-but-not-tasteful suit. He looked like he'd attract the attention of every thief in the city, which I suspect was the point.

"I'm glad," he smiled and there was no anger in his eyes, which looked almost as tired as I'm sure mine did. "I didn't know if you'd remember me, after 600 years."

"Not everything," I admitted. "But enough. It's good to have someone who understands."

I slid a glass across the table. It was dark out here, but I knew he could smell the blood.

"I don't think there's anyone left on Earth who knew me before I called myself a Brazilian," he said, after drinking. "Before there was a Brazil."

We talked for hours. I told him about Florence and the Mediterranean and then Virginia, Savannah, New Orleans, Chicago and Las Vegas.

When the vampire war had come to Cologne, Julian had already been gone, having been on the losing end of a power struggle between the Nachtvolk. He had returned to Portugal and followed their colonists to India, Sri Lanka and Macau. Today, he split his time between Macau and Brazil, switching whenever there were too many questions about why the boss' son still looked so young.

Like me, he had discovered that casinos were ideal for our kind, and had come to that realization a century earlier than I had, in Macau.

"But eventually it gets ..."

"Lonely," I finished for him.

"Yes," he nodded. "I have been betrayed by so many over the centuries and wanted to find someone who never had. And at last, I remembered you. And I had guessed you would have discovered casinos as well."

"A vampire haven, in the middle of the sunny desert."

"It would be easier for me if there was someone I could trust, so that my gaming companies didn't always have a young boy hanging around. There have been questions too many times."

"And I have never been to Macau."

"So, partners again?"

"Partners," I agreed, and we clicked glasses and drank long into the night.
Prompt 64 + 6 - 1 = Prompt 69

Prompt: You bond with an ancient enemy Character over your shared past, finding in it something more comprehensible than this modern world. Check a Skill. You become friends. Share a Resource and gain a Resource that is shared with you.

Will French

Skills
:
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast (checked);
Skilled merchant (checked);
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledgeable of medieval medicine;
Knowledge of vampire anatomy;
I can draw the shadows in around myself, creating supernatural hiding spaces (checked);
Visionary;

Resources:
Diary: A leather-bound German-made ledger book
An ever-beating heart, which magically will not die
Allied with the Piagnoni, a 17th century group of Italian vampire hunters
An English shipping company, based in Southampton
Joint custody of a gambling empire in Las Vegas and Macau;

Characters:
Juião/Julian Black/Junior: a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (immortal);
Meresankh, an ancient Egyptian queen who has lived 3,000 years as of 1472, and whose still-living heart I have in my possession (immortal);

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (five, up to three Experiences each):
1. I am Wilhelm Black: Julian, now a violent enforcer of the Nachtvolk, gifts me an ever-beating heart; Meresankh, the immortal woman whose heart that is, confronts me in Florence, but allows me to keep it in my safe-keeping for now;
2. I am Guglielmo Nero: After Florentine banks collapse during the 100 Years War, I move my banking operations from Cologne to Florence; poisoned by Averardo de' Medici, I wake up in Florence 100 years later, the Itzigs dead, my banking empire dismantled in my absence; setting myself up in Florence, I come to own and operate out of a fencing school.
3. I am Guglielmo Nero: I awake in the rubble of my Florentine fencing school, war having destroyed the building; I traveled the Ottoman Empire, searching for the origins of vampires before being sent to Cyprus on a mysterious errand, and there I erected a magical structure atop Mt. Olympus; I ally with an Italian vampire hunter to kill Averardo de' Medici, the vampire ruler of Florence.
4. I am William French: Fleeing a vampire war in Europe, I run a shipping business ferrying colonists from England to the New World, preying upon them during our voyages.
5. I am Will French: After centuries apart, Julian finds me in Las Vegas, where I am now a casino magnate and we merge our Las Vegas and Macau gaming empires;

Diary (four memories, up to three Experiences each)
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other (DAMAGED) were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead.
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
3: I am le Passeur or "the Frenchman": The Portuguese (DAMAGED) Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on (DAMAGED) as I tend to them.
4: 1: I am Wilhelm Black: Brought into the society of the Nachtvolk of Cologne, I watched their leader slowly dismember a vampire, leaving him alive for hours, just in agony; with the help of the mortal Itzig family, I become a rich merchant, with investments across Europe.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Las Vegas, 1986

The Fiero squealed away, fish-tailing onto Desert Inn Road and out of sight. The police would later catch up with the drunk driver but right now, there was an employee of mine at my feet, bleeding out on the sidewalk.

"Lisa! Someone help Lisa!"

I dropped to my knees, trying to figure out what to do. It was just before dawn and Lisa had been heading home to make breakfast for her husband and kids before they headed off to work and school. And then the car had come around the corner, jumped the curb, and slammed her against a stone planter before speeding off.

"I can do this," I told myself, looking down at the battered and bloody girl. It had been centuries since I had worked in the Portuguese field hospitals, and I only knew about those days from my diary, although I could feel what I had learned then, about bile and phlegm and blood, still tickling around in the back of my brain, unconnected to how I had learned it.

Graveyard shift employees from my hotel were starting to crowd around me, although one had ducked back in to call for an ambulance.

"Boss, I can do this," said a voice in my ear -- a bartender, I think.

"No, I just need to balance her humors."

"Uh, what?"

I looked up and the man -- it was a bartender -- had a shocked look on his face.

"I was in the Army," he said, gently elbowing me aside, covering Lisa's abdomen wound with his wadded-up shirt and putting pressure on it. "I can do this."

I stepped back, feeling every minute of the centuries between Portugal and now.
Prompt 69 + 2 - 5 = Prompt 66

Your knowledge is now outmoded. Lose an unchecked Skill that is now useless.

Will French

Skills
:
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast (checked);
Skilled merchant (checked);
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledge of vampire anatomy;
I can draw the shadows in around myself, creating supernatural hiding spaces (checked);
Visionary;

Resources:
Diary: A leather-bound German-made ledger book
An ever-beating heart, which magically will not die
Allied with the Piagnoni, a 17th century group of Italian vampire hunters
An English shipping company, based in Southampton
Joint custody of a gambling empire in Las Vegas and Macau;

Characters:
Juião/Julian Black/Junior: a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (immortal);
Meresankh, an ancient Egyptian queen who has lived 3,000 years as of 1472, and whose still-living heart I have in my possession (immortal);

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (five, up to three Experiences each):
1. I am Wilhelm Black: Julian, now a violent enforcer of the Nachtvolk, gifts me an ever-beating heart; Meresankh, the immortal woman whose heart that is, confronts me in Florence, but allows me to keep it in my safe-keeping for now;
2. I am Guglielmo Nero: After Florentine banks collapse during the 100 Years War, I move my banking operations from Cologne to Florence; poisoned by Averardo de' Medici, I wake up in Florence 100 years later, the Itzigs dead, my banking empire dismantled in my absence; setting myself up in Florence, I come to own and operate out of a fencing school.
3. I am Guglielmo Nero: I awake in the rubble of my Florentine fencing school, war having destroyed the building; I traveled the Ottoman Empire, searching for the origins of vampires before being sent to Cyprus on a mysterious errand, and there I erected a magical structure atop Mt. Olympus; I ally with an Italian vampire hunter to kill Averardo de' Medici, the vampire ruler of Florence.
4. I am William French: Fleeing a vampire war in Europe, I run a shipping business ferrying colonists from England to the New World, preying upon them during our voyages.
5. I am Will French: After centuries apart, Julian finds me in Las Vegas, where I am now a casino magnate and we merge our Las Vegas and Macau gaming empires;

Diary (four memories, up to three Experiences each)
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other (DAMAGED) were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead.
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
3: I am le Passeur or "the Frenchman": The Portuguese (DAMAGED) Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on (DAMAGED) as I tend to them.
4: 1: I am Wilhelm Black: Brought into the society of the Nachtvolk of Cologne, I watched their leader slowly dismember a vampire, leaving him alive for hours, just in agony; with the help of the mortal Itzig family, I become a rich merchant, with investments across Europe.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Las Vegas, 1992

"What do you mean, you sold it?"

When arguing with Julian, we move back and forth between English, Portuguese and German. It's not intentional, but it serves to keep anyone eavesdropping from knowing what we're talking about. And, at my end of the call, it's the signal for any of my employees to discreetly excuse themselves.

"I had no idea it was special to you," his voice comes over the cordless telephone. "Did you see what we got for it?"

"It doesn't match because I got it when I lived in Florence."

"Well, it made no sense for the new hotel."

"It's the point of the new hotel!"

"An cast Italian renaissance bronze statue of a naked shepherd boy? The new hotel is a giant black glass pyramid with a giant beam of light at the summit shooting up into the night sky. The theme is Egyptian, not Italian pedophile!"

"The statue contains Meresankh's heart, Julian!"

Silence from the other end of the line.

"I guess that explains why they were so eager to get it," he said finally. "You haven't seen her for centuries. Maybe it won't be a problem."

"We underwrote the creation of a giant black glass pyramid topped with a giant beam of light to get her attention, Julian. It's going to be a problem."
Prompt 66 + 2 - 3 = Prompt 65

A possession turns out to have financial value as an antique. Trade your oldest Resource for two contemporary Resources.

Will French

Skills
:
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast (checked);
Skilled merchant (checked);
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledge of vampire anatomy;
I can draw the shadows in around myself, creating supernatural hiding spaces (checked);
Visionary;

Resources:
Diary: A leather-bound German-made ledger book
Allied with the Piagnoni, a 17th century group of Italian vampire hunters
An English shipping company, based in Southampton
Joint custody of a gambling empire in Las Vegas and Macau
10,000 shares of IBM stock
10,000 shares of General Electric stock

Characters:
Juião/Julian Black/Junior: a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (immortal);
Meresankh, an ancient Egyptian queen who has lived 3,000 years as of 1472, and whose still-living heart I have in my possession (immortal);

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (five, up to three Experiences each):
1. I am Wilhelm Black: Julian, now a violent enforcer of the Nachtvolk, gifts me an ever-beating heart; Meresankh, the immortal woman whose heart that is, confronts me in Florence, but allows me to keep it in my safe-keeping for now; unknown buyers purchase the heart (hidden inside a bronze Renaissance sculpture) through Julian.
2. I am Guglielmo Nero: After Florentine banks collapse during the 100 Years War, I move my banking operations from Cologne to Florence; poisoned by Averardo de' Medici, I wake up in Florence 100 years later, the Itzigs dead, my banking empire dismantled in my absence; setting myself up in Florence, I come to own and operate out of a fencing school.
3. I am Guglielmo Nero: I awake in the rubble of my Florentine fencing school, war having destroyed the building; I traveled the Ottoman Empire, searching for the origins of vampires before being sent to Cyprus on a mysterious errand, and there I erected a magical structure atop Mt. Olympus; I ally with an Italian vampire hunter to kill Averardo de' Medici, the vampire ruler of Florence.
4. I am William French: Fleeing a vampire war in Europe, I run a shipping business ferrying colonists from England to the New World, preying upon them during our voyages;
5. I am Will French: After centuries apart, Julian finds me in Las Vegas, where I am now a casino magnate and we merge our Las Vegas and Macau gaming empires;

Diary (four memories, up to three Experiences each)
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other (DAMAGED) were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead.
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
3: I am le Passeur or "the Frenchman": The Portuguese (DAMAGED) Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on (DAMAGED) as I tend to them.
4: 1: I am Wilhelm Black: Brought into the society of the Nachtvolk of Cologne, I watched their leader slowly dismember a vampire, leaving him alive for hours, just in agony; with the help of the mortal Itzig family, I become a rich merchant, with investments across Europe.
[/quote]
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Las Vegas, 1992

Julian and I had the pool area to ourselves.

"It's called the Ritual of Pythoness," Julian said, opening up the leather case and spreading its contents out on the poolside table. "We only have a few weeks before it's too cold for it to work until spring."

He put out a great stone shaped like an egg, with faded Greek letters etched on it. I picked it up, running my fingers across it.

"What is this?"

"The Omphalos of Hekate, We will need to get that back soon."

Julian put down a sealed ancient clay jar, from which the sound of liquid sloshing could be heard.

"Blood of a naiad. Very little of that left in the world."

He set out a bundle of laurel branches, a knife of a design far older than either of us, a leather pouch full of clinking coins and a weathered stone tablet inscribed with the letter E with three phrases written in Greek letters written below it. They joined a folded purple cloth he had taken out of his jacket pocket, which had letters or perhaps symbols sewn into it with gold thread.

Nearby, the young goat he had brought up in the elevator earlier, to the amusement of guests and the hotel staff, nibbled at one of the small palm trees in the planter boxes around the pool.

"I think this should be you," Julian said, surveying all of the implements before looking up at me seriously. "After what happened to you in Sibiu, I think you will be a better vessel for the ritual."

I didn't like to think about Sibiu. Too often over the centuries, I would wake up exhausted, with the feeling that I had been doing things for hours while I had slept, although I had never found any evidence that I had actually left my sleeping chambers. Still, I had to admit that Julian was right.

Dressed in a white suit that had been in my closet since the mid-1980s, I wore the purple cloth over my face as a veil, pulling it aside to drink most, but not all, of the naiad blood, which tasted like fresh flowing water. I took the tablet and read out the pronouncements on it -- which Julian had taught me phonetically.

Julian handed me the sack of coins and then danced and intoned something he said was ancient Greek, beating himself and brushing the concrete around the pool with the branches, which he then sprinkled with naiad blood.

When he was finished, I pulled off the veil and we placed the goat before the altar we had made of one fire pit, in which the omphalos blackened. We sprinkled the last of the naiad's blood on the goat, then Julian and I watched it carefully. At last, a shiver ran through it, rippling up from its hooves.

"OK, we can continue," Julian said.

With a motion too quick for the kid to be aware of it or be afraid, the knife was in Julian's hand and he slit the goat's throat, letting the blood pour into the fire pit. I poured the last of the naiad's blood into a brandy snifter and leaned over the fire pit, gazing at my reflection in the naiad's blood and breathed in the smoke rising from the goat's blood.

The fumes overcame me and I felt myself drifting away. I was conscious of my mouth moving and sounds coming out, but it was though it was happening to someone else and I could neither understand the words, nor had any desire to.

When I stopped speaking, the goat's corpse was blackened and charred and the horizon was beginning to turn pink.

"... back?" I heard Julian say, with a hint of exasperation. "Now are you back?"

"I'm back," I said, my voice a dry croak. I would need to visit one of my special refrigerators before going to sleep. I was drained and weak. "What did I say?"

"I need to research some things, but I guess we're going on a trip."

Schloss Karnstein was nestled in the deep woods above Graz. Although it was historic, it had never become a tourist attraction, because it was privately owned and appeared to be in poor repair. Which was, of course, how the Countess Karnstein wanted it to look. It also meant that no one nearby heard the commotion when we attacked.

She and Lord Strongmore apparently expected us to set the castle on fire, because moments after a security guard sounded the alarm, pipes began filling the rooms with halon gas. This, in turn, caused the guards' guns to misfire, and Julian and I tore through them like paper.

Karnstein and Strongmore eventually barricaded themselves in the countess' panic room.

"What are you doing?" the countess snarled at us through closed circuit television. "We paid you for the heart!"

"We've changed our mind!" I roared back, trying to block the camera's view of Julian working on the electronic lock behind me.

"You weren't doing anything with it," Strongmore whined. "Don't you understand its potential?"

"'Potential?' I understand that I'm going to dismember you while you're still alive, you child!"

"Be sensible, William," the countess said, changing tacks. "She has eternal life. If we can harness that, we can eliminate our vulnerabilities, prevent memory loss from age. We could conquer this world!"

"We already have, you idiots!"

"No, openly," she grinned, showing her fangs, looking not in the least bit human, "Think of it: We could create a whole underclass whose only purpose was to serve as our food, and the remaining humans would do anything to seek our favor, so that they and their families would never ..."

Julian rammed a stake into her heart before either she or Strongmore knew he had gotten the door unlocked.

But true to my word, I kept Strongmore alive and conscious as I dissected him, until finally, his head and most of his torso told us what we wanted to know, which was where the heart was now.

We found a field that would get an unobstructed view of the sunrise in a few hours and left what was left of him there.

Less than a week later, the southern stars lit the ocean like a million tiny Christmas lights as the boat rocked to and fro. The captain, not naturally one scared of the sea, seemed unnerved to be out so late at night, at these coordinates especially.

"You could drop Mt. Everest here," he said, "and you'd have to descend two kilometers before you reached its peak."

"Good enough," I said, and tipped the concrete sphere over the side. It dropped into the black water with an unpretentious plop and plummeted 35,000 feet.

We were no sooner back to our hotel room in Hagåtña than the front desk forwarded a call to our room.

"Were you out there doing what I think you were?" Meresankh's voice crackled on the phone, sounding even further away than a call to Guam would be expected to sound.

"I was keeping it out of harm's way. I figure you're the only one on the planet who could easily retrieve something from down there."

Meresankh gave an ironic laugh.

"That's why I have people keeping their ears open in port. Now there are two of my body parts at the bottom of the trench. Thank you, Mr. French."

"You're welcome, Meresankh. I hope you'll come and visit us some time in Las Vegas."

"Maybe I will. Maybe I will."
Prompt 65 + 6 - 6 = Prompt 65

You experience intense regret over a Resource you have given away or lost. Do anything to get it back. Lose two Resources or check two Skills and get back one lost Resource.

Will French

Skills
:
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast (checked);
Skilled merchant (checked);
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledge of vampire anatomy (checked);
I can draw the shadows in around myself, creating supernatural hiding spaces (checked);
Visionary (checked);

Resources:
Diary: A leather-bound German-made ledger book
Allied with the Piagnoni, a 17th century group of Italian vampire hunters
An English shipping company, based in Southampton
Joint custody of a gambling empire in Las Vegas and Macau
10,000 shares of IBM stock
10,000 shares of General Electric stock
Meresankh's ever-beating heart

Characters:
Juião/Julian Black/Junior: a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (immortal);
Meresankh, an ancient Egyptian queen who has lived 3,000 years as of 1472, and whose still-living heart I have in my possession (immortal);

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (five, up to three Experiences each):
1. I am Wilhelm Black: Julian, now a violent enforcer of the Nachtvolk, gifts me an ever-beating heart; Meresankh, the immortal woman whose heart that is, confronts me in Florence, but allows me to keep it in my safe-keeping for now; unknown buyers purchase the heart (hidden inside a bronze Renaissance sculpture) through Julian.
2. I am Guglielmo Nero: After Florentine banks collapse during the 100 Years War, I move my banking operations from Cologne to Florence; poisoned by Averardo de' Medici, I wake up in Florence 100 years later, the Itzigs dead, my banking empire dismantled in my absence; setting myself up in Florence, I come to own and operate out of a fencing school.
3. I am Guglielmo Nero: I awake in the rubble of my Florentine fencing school, war having destroyed the building; I traveled the Ottoman Empire, searching for the origins of vampires before being sent to Cyprus on a mysterious errand, and there I erected a magical structure atop Mt. Olympus; I ally with an Italian vampire hunter to kill Averardo de' Medici, the vampire ruler of Florence.
4. I am William French: Fleeing a vampire war in Europe, I run a shipping business ferrying colonists from England to the New World, preying upon them during our voyages; we discover that a pair of European vampires are behind the purchase of Meresankh's heart and attack their Austrian castle and take it back, before dropping the heart into the Challenger Deep;
5. I am Will French: After centuries apart, Julian finds me in Las Vegas, where I am now a casino magnate and we merge our Las Vegas and Macau gaming empires;

Diary (four memories, up to three Experiences each)
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other (DAMAGED) were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead.
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
3: I am le Passeur or "the Frenchman": The Portuguese (DAMAGED) Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on (DAMAGED) as I tend to them.
4: 1: I am Wilhelm Black: Brought into the society of the Nachtvolk of Cologne, I watched their leader slowly dismember a vampire, leaving him alive for hours, just in agony; with the help of the mortal Itzig family, I become a rich merchant, with investments across Europe.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Antarctica, 2022

And the years went by.

Julian and I had another falling out, and it became clear our relationship over the centuries to come would be like this: A few decades together, and then decades or centuries of estrangement before reconciling once more.

Meresankh did visit and we behaved like young lovers for a few years, memorably celebrating the turn of the millennium in multiple cities on one heady, jet-set night. And then, one moment, she was gone again, leaving me a note written cheekily in hieroglyphics that I had to get a very confused Egyptologist to help me translate.

I was alone again, in a world slowly filling up with vampires, but who largely kept their distance from me. Although I have never focused on it much, over the centuries, my abilities have grown ever stronger. They are not, I regret, the strengths Hollywood would have given me, although I'm told the Roman branch of our family tree -- the Lupi di Roma -- possess some of that, as do those descended from the Sibiu school. But I am incredibly hard to kill. Stronger, more durable, more resilient than any mortal being ever could be.

And I am resilient in my aloneness. Where once, I know, I feared loneliness, and am still aware that there are those I loved deeply who are long lost to me, even if I cannot remember their names, like feeling the gap where a tooth once was with my tongue, today, I am fine. I have found a balance that Carnutes never did. Perhaps he would have, if he had lived.

So now, I am following in Meresankh's footsteps, literally and metaphorically, and seeing the world. The "cougar city" she once spoke of is now ruins in the South American jungle, but I have come to the far end of the Earth to see green fire in the sky.

It is difficult, but impossible, to be alone in Antarctica. All the methods of reaching it include warnings about its dangers and hostility. I could not step off of a cruise ship and walk into the wilderness without causing an international incident. Nor could I join a research expedition and do the same.

But money and power can purchase the services of those who are less scrupulous. In the free port of Punta Arenas, I found a ship willing to drop me off and, in return for even more money upon delivery, pick me up when I called them back with my satellite phone.

We sailed along the eastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Although standing there, too, would have meant visiting Antarctica proper, something in me wanted to explore the interior of the continent on foot. The Petrel dropped me as close as they dared to the great ice sheets where the eastern peninsula met the rising land.

They watched me walk away, into the Antarctic winter night, under-dressed by mortal standards, clearly never expecting to hear from me again, although I expected the promise of a million dollars would keep them waiting by the phone.

This far from cities and the masses of humans, the sky was brilliantly lit with stars, with the Milky Way seeming to hang just feet over my head. To the west, there was an orange glow where a volcano on Deception Island lit the sky. But I was headed inland, my feet crunching on dirt and ice and snow that had been stepped on by hundreds, perhaps thousands of humans and untold millions of penguins.

Beyond that, though, and I was quickly in a place where previous travelers dropped into the hundreds, and then dozens.

I had fed deeply before leaving Chile, but the truth is, my need for human blood had been declining for more than a century. I could go long periods without feeding, unless I was injured or had been involved in strenuous supernatural activity. After Julian and I had raided Schloss Karnstein, we had fed on more than a dozen of the surviving guards, just to refuel for the flight home to Las Vegas.

But I did not expect any problems here in Antarctica, so long as I was gone before the 24 hours of polar summer days here began. I could exist, in peace and safety, almost indefinitely, my body having reached some sort of state of equilibrium. Perhaps it was the final state of a vampire's being. I do not know. There are, unfortunately, very few of us this old one can ask, and most of them are mad in some fashion or another.

I walked, one foot in front of another, toward the South Pole. There was a permanent base there, and had been for decades, so I would not approach close enough to be spotted by those stationed at Amundsen–Scott. After that, I might head to the so-called South Pole of Inaccessibility, supposedly the most remote place on Earth for humans to reach.

Walking 24 hours a day, it would take me about two weeks to reach the South Pole.

Although there were wisps of it earlier, about six days in, the aurora australis put on the most spectacular display, filling the sky with waving curtains of green, with hints of red, pink and even yellow. Although I now know what Meresankh centuries before did not, about solar particles and magnetic fields, it was hard to not feel that I was in the presence of something mystical, even a sign of a greater intelligence, there in this empty, ancient land.

That feeling was not lessened by the great earthquake that vibrated the snow and almost knocked me off my feet as the lights faded, hours later. Once relatively quiet, seismically, earthquakes have been growing in numbers in Antarctica in recent years, possibly due to increased volcanic activity or the globe's dramatic warming in the last few days.

Once the shaking stopped, I got my bearings once again and continued on to the pole.

Three days later, in the blowing snow, I heard a woman calling my name.

As I turned to see who it could be, the snow opened up underneath my feet.

It was a sudden shock, crashing through ice and snow and ice again and then into pitch-black liquid water, falling quickly into what felt like a mix of earth and ice that had been sheared in two. I was no danger of drowning, and was able to keep my head and claw at the rough walls I slid between as I descended. The water was incredibly cold, but above freezing, and felt slightly warmer below than above -- perhaps there was volcanic activity somewhere below me.

And then, I stopped, wedged into rock too thin for me to escape from. Looking up, I could see no hint of light and, even with eyes supernaturally prepared for the dark, could not see far enough above me to see a route out.

But I had to try.

No longer worrying about what the crew of The Petrel might think -- I felt the bag with my satellite phone ripped off of me as I had plummeted downwards -- I dug my claws through my mittens and into the walls on either side of me and pulled myself upwards.

I was moving, but slowly, and already I could feel the temperature of the water dropping precipitously. Whatever had melted the water -- a volcano, the friction from shearing earth during an earthquake -- was no longer heating it up, and the water was quickly freezing in the negative 63 Celsius temperatures.

I began to have to crack through the ice above me, and falling rock, as I ascended, and my progress began to quickly slow, even as I realized that my body temperature -- typically air temperature except when I had recently fed -- was rapidly dropping as well. I had been clearly using on the blood of Argentines to keep me warm during this journey, but now, I was running out, just as I needed a big reserve of energy to get myself free.

Meters of progress turned to centimeters and, in as much time as it takes to tell it, millimeters. And then nothing.

I was stuck, a frozen corpse inside a frozen vein of water buried hundreds of meters under the Antarctica ground and ice.

But I was conscious.

Hanging there, frozen in the darkness, I heard my name called again. Although I could not turn my head, visions swam before my eternally open eyes.

A fair-haired woman in medieval dress appeared before me, speaking to me in what I know must have been medieval French, but I could understand none of her words.

Then a raven-haired woman, also a Frenchwoman, but dressed in blacks and reds, appeared before me, smiling, speaking to me fondly, with a disappointed pout, again with words I could not understand.

And then Meresankh, dressed as though we were still on the beach in El Nido, ancient surgical scars over her left breast and on her stomach visible as she was wearing her bikini and silky wrap, reached out as if to touch my face, fingers stopping just short of reaching me. There was fondness in her eyes, but also reproach, and although I could not understand her words, I knew she was gently scolding me for something.

Finally, I was alone once more, suspended and lost, my tracks many meters above me being filled in.

I am now stuck here, waiting for however many centuries it will take for someone to dig me up or for the next volcano to melt the ice again or for global warming to eventually turn Antarctica green once again.

Alone in the dark.

Da solo nel buio.

Alleine im Dunkeln.

Sozinho no escuro.

Seul dans le noir.

Seul.
Prompt 65 + 10 - 1 = Prompt 74

Prompt: You are physically trapped in a place from which you will never be rescued. What do you think about for the first thousand years? The game is over.

William French III

Skills
:
Bloodthirsty (checked);
Knows the secrets of killing vampires (checked);
I control the beast (checked);
Skilled merchant (checked);
Cook Portuguese seafood dishes;
Knowledge of vampire anatomy (checked);
I can draw the shadows in around myself, creating supernatural hiding spaces (checked);
Visionary (checked);

Resources:
Diary: A leather-bound German-made ledger book
Allied with the Piagnoni, a 17th century group of Italian vampire hunters
An English shipping company, based in Southampton
Joint custody of a gambling empire in Las Vegas and Macau
10,000 shares of IBM stock
10,000 shares of General Electric stock
Meresankh's ever-beating heart

Characters:
Juião/Julian Black/Junior: a Portuguese orphan turned my servant turned vampire (immortal);
Meresankh, an ancient Egyptian queen who has lived 3,000 years as of 1472, and whose still-living heart I have in my possession (immortal);

Marks: My eyes cannot stand bright light and I have to remain in shadows at all times; my touch is fatal to plants;

Memories (five, up to three Experiences each):
1. I am Wilhelm Black: Julian, now a violent enforcer of the Nachtvolk, gifts me an ever-beating heart; Meresankh, the immortal woman whose heart that is, confronts me in Florence, but allows me to keep it in my safe-keeping for now; unknown buyers purchase the heart (hidden inside a bronze Renaissance sculpture) through Julian.
2. I am Guglielmo Nero: After Florentine banks collapse during the 100 Years War, I move my banking operations from Cologne to Florence; poisoned by Averardo de' Medici, I wake up in Florence 100 years later, the Itzigs dead, my banking empire dismantled in my absence; setting myself up in Florence, I come to own and operate out of a fencing school.
3. I am Guglielmo Nero: I awake in the rubble of my Florentine fencing school, war having destroyed the building; I traveled the Ottoman Empire, searching for the origins of vampires before being sent to Cyprus on a mysterious errand, and there I erected a magical structure atop Mt. Olympus; I ally with an Italian vampire hunter to kill Averardo de' Medici, the vampire ruler of Florence.
4. I am William French: Fleeing a vampire war in Europe, I run a shipping business ferrying colonists from England to the New World, preying upon them during our voyages; we discover that a pair of European vampires are behind the purchase of Meresankh's heart and attack their Austrian castle and take it back, before dropping the heart into the Challenger Deep;
5. I am Will French: After centuries apart, Julian finds me in Las Vegas, where I am now a casino magnate and we merge our Las Vegas and Macau gaming empires; estranged from Julian again, I take a solo trip to Antarctica, to see the Southern Lights once described to me by Meresankh, but become trapped beneath the ice after a volcano liquefies the water and rock beneath me.

Diary (four memories, up to three Experiences each)
1: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: The night the other (DAMAGED) were burned alive, Carnutes fed upon me as I screamed in pitch black darkness; I confront Carnutes about him making me a vampire and he confesses he did it out of loneliness and tells me I will suffer in the same way some day; Carnutes possessed Raum and led the Archbishop of Tours' men to try and killed me -- but I used the Spear of Aeolius and killed Raum and Carnutes instead.
2: I am Guilliame d'Orléans: I rescue a dark-haired girl from attack and Constansia pledges herself to me, believing me to be a servant of Satan, and we soon wed; Constansia conducts her Satanic rituals and summons a demon, Raum, to serve me in the form of a raven;
3: I am le Passeur or "the Frenchman": The Portuguese (DAMAGED) Juião helps me after I am burned by sunlight, unafraid of my supernatural nature, and I take him in as my servant; Juião teaches me to cook with the seafood I catch underwater; at his urging, I prey on (DAMAGED) as I tend to them.
4: 1: I am Wilhelm Black: Brought into the society of the Nachtvolk of Cologne, I watched their leader slowly dismember a vampire, leaving him alive for hours, just in agony; with the help of the mortal Itzig family, I become a rich merchant, with investments across Europe.
 
Last edited:



I've a question about the ending, though. I understand your choice of story, which is rather depressing and going along with the climate, but I was wondering... you mentionned a few hooks that endend the story: is any of them suitable for a more upbeat ending?
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I've a question about the ending, though. I understand your choice of story, which is rather depressing and going along with the climate, but I was wondering... you mentionned a few hooks that endend the story: is any of them suitable for a more upbeat ending?
Well, it depended on what the final dice roll was. There are two endings in the book that are fairly upbeat: becoming human again and transcending to a higher plane. If I had landed on either of those, probably Guillaume's art project in Cypress and/or Meresankh would have been involved in those happening.

And, of course, there were also more negative endings possible, including vampires taking over the world, which I also seeded as possibilities with mentions of their rising numbers over the centuries.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top