Chapter 74:

The Vampire Court (Part 1)

The Children of Eris

As Lord Ruthven had promised, there was an escort awaiting David and his party outside the gates of the Dread Keep the next day.Bookmark here

There was a pristine, beautifully crafted black wooden carriage drawn by two large horses along with several smartly dressed attendants awaiting them.Bookmark here

After a brief introduction, David’s party climbed into the carriage which was then teleported to a dirt road inside a forest.Bookmark here

They travelled for twenty minutes until they entered into a large clearing which had a beautiful, crystal lake at its centre.Bookmark here

Sat on the banks of the lake was a magnificent castle with strong grey walls. It looked to be almost three times the size of Castle Kelsey.Bookmark here

How did they manage to keep this place a secret for all these years? David wondered.Bookmark here

When they arrived at the main gatehouse, the attendants opened the carriage doors and extended a brand new ruby carpet for David and the others to walk down. Stood outside of the gates were guards dressed in full plate armour along with fifty tall, grey muscular winged creatures. Bookmark here

Further, alongside the carpet, were countless maids and butlers of all species, all bowing their heads respectfully. Finally, stood at the very end of the carpet was an elegantly dressed, and handsome, man with tidy black hair and dark green eyes.Bookmark here

“Castle Bathory welcomes the Demon Emperor,” the man said with a polite smile and bow. The guards and grey monsters dropped onto one knee. “We are honoured to have you here, Dark Lord.”Bookmark here

David couldn’t help but smile a little beneath his helmet. If they’re willing to go this far to impress me, then they really must want to be my ally.Bookmark here

David cleared his throat and stepped down from the carriage, closely followed by Hilda and the twins. “You truly know how to give a guest a warm welcome, Lord Ruthven.”Bookmark here

The man stood up straight. “It was only right that we offer you this much, your majesty. We have heard many great things about you.” Ruthven’s smile widened just enough to show his fangs. “And I can tell just by standing before you that those things must be true.”Bookmark here

“Oh?”Bookmark here

I’m guessing he sensed when I initially arrived in this world and then tried to track me down, David thought. That’s rather impressive, given how careful I’ve tried to be. Bookmark here

The carriage door closed as Rebecca, Fenrir, Eva and the other maids climbed out of it.Bookmark here

David, Hilda and the twins walked down the carpet first, followed by the others several metres behind him.Bookmark here

“If your majesty and his party would like to follow me, I shall escort you to your rooms,” Lord Ruthven said. “If there’s anything else you require during your stay, please, don’t hesitate to ask.”Bookmark here

David and his party followed Lord Ruthven through the interiors of the castle that would make royalty jealous and to their three bedrooms that had been specially prepared for them.Bookmark here

One was for David, the other was for his generals and also acted as a communal area between the three rooms, and the last one was for all of the maids to stay in.Bookmark here

“I’m afraid that I have some other duties to attend to at the moment, your majesty, but I hope to be able to return soon to discuss my proposal,” Lord Ruthven said. “Do forgive me and, please, enjoy your time here at Castle Bathory.”Bookmark here

With a bright smile and a bow, Lord Ruthven promptly left.Bookmark here

Once David could sense that there was no one else nearby, he nodded to the group who split into two; the maids and Eva went into their bedroom whilst the generals, Rebecca and Jessica stayed in the communal area.Bookmark here

“So, what do you guys think of our hosts so far?” David asked.Bookmark here

“It’s impressive how luxurious their castle is,” Rebecca added. “I knew that there were few places in the Holy Empire that could match the Dread Keep, but I never expected to find such a place in the Beast Woods.”Bookmark here

“Nor did I. The Vampire Court seems to be rather confident in their power and wealth.”Bookmark here

“The real question is whether or not it’s for show,” Scylla said. “For all we know, Master, the Vampire Court might not extend outside of Castle Bathory.”Bookmark here

“If it doesn’t, then their influence and power could be much lower than what the Dark Lord desires,” Charybdis whispered.Bookmark here

“They did address themselves as the Vampire Court of Themis in Lord Allaric’s letter, did they not?” Rebecca asked.Bookmark here

“Regardless.” A single word from David was all it took for the room to go quiet. “The plan does not change. I, Lady Rebecca, Hilda and Charybdis will meet with Lord Ruthven and negotiate with them. Scylla and Jessica’s team will protect Eva and the other maids. While we’re busy with the vampires, Fenrir will head into the woods and search for the werewolves and bring them into the fold.”Bookmark here

“What if they don’t want to join us, master?”Bookmark here

“You will make them. No matter the cost.”Bookmark here

Fenrir swallowed hard. “Shall I get started?”Bookmark here

“Go. Take as long as you need and be careful. Mimir told me about what happened at Stonefall.”Bookmark here

Fenrir firmly nodded, opened the window and ran out into the woods.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.