Title: Excerpt from Sweet Tunes from Hell
Characters: Alexander Rader von Blair, Adrian Cross, Solara, Vanessa
Adrian stared at Solara for a long, hard moment, then abruptly turned away and left the room. He stepped out into the hallway and followed the gentleman to the foryer where stood a young man dressed in a white, calf-length tunic with the emblem of a Knight of Urran. A black cloak drapped about his shoulders to keep out the chill that was common to Urran, the inside lined in a dark, rich red, like wine, gold trimming the edges. On the back of the cloak was the crest of Chalcedony, emblazoned in deep cerulean blue. The young man stood with his hands clasped behind his back, as was customary for military personnel.
At Adrian’s approach, the young man turned to face the prince. Midnight black hair hung loosely about the fine-honed features of his face, gray eyes sweeping across the foryer with a practiced eye, taking in his surroundings. With a brief flicker of his eyes, Adrian noted a sword of interesting design strapped to the young man’s side, well-worn black traveling leather boots adorning him rather than riding boots. He also noted that the young man chose to wear the tunic in the colors of ivory white, velvet black, cerulean blue, and blood red.
The young man bowed respectfully to Adrian. “Your Highness, I am Rader von Blair.” He straightened and clasped his hands behind his back again. “I was sent by King Drogo to deliver this to you personally.” The knight pulled out an ornately earned wooden carrying tube with the crest of Urran at the top and offered it to Adrian.
“His majesty wishes to know if the terms held within it are changes. Also, his majesty wishes to know if there are any issues you would like to be addressed as soon as possible.”
Adrian opened the tube as Rader spoke and scanned over the contents of the papers that had been within it. He looked up at Rader as soon as the young knight finished speaking and regarded him for a long moment. The knight looked human and yet… Adrian smiled knowingly. “Dhampire,” he said quietly. He was pleased with Rader’s reaction of surprise.
“How did you-” Rader began, his eyes wide in awe and surprise.
Adrian tucked the papers back into their protective casing and tucked the case under his left arm. “Come. Walk with me,” he said with a pleasant smile. He began walking down the hallway, pleased to note that Rader did not hesitate to follow him.
“I was once a Knight of Urran, myself…Rader, was it?” Adrian asked absently.
“Yes, your highness,” came the prompt reply.
Adrian nodded in approval. “I saw…all sorts of people, all sorts of races, from all walks of life. I was proud to be a Knight of Urran; however, I began to fall into bad habits: drinking, gambling, women… I was dishonorably discharged from the knighthood for my aberrant behavior. My father, the late Prince Cross, could not abide by my behavior and he sent me away in an attempt for me to learn.” He paused for a moment, glancing at Rader to see if the young man was still paying attention to his story. He continued with his story as he lead them both out into the garden. “I…did not learn in quite the fashion my father had expected of me. You see, I had been Tempted…” He waited for a reaction and he was quite with what he heard.
“You are vampyre?” Rader asked in hushed tones. “But, that would mean that you are-”
Adrian held up a hand to stop any more comments. “Yes, I am,” he replied calmly. “We can tell our own, unlike the other races. We can almost sense each other, so to speak.” He smiled ever so faintly.
Rader blinked, still standing at ease, his hands clasped behind his back. “Oh,” was all he could manage to say.
“Please. Relax. Your business has been concluded. There should be no reason for you to act as Sir Rader von Blair, but rather as the Marquis Alexander Rader von Blair, heir apparent to the Barony of Chalcedony.”
Rader opened his mouth to say something.
Adrian merely laughed. “You have made quite a name for yourself, young man. Disinherited and discharged, unwilling to bend to your family’s wishes, traveling abroad to another country to make something of yourself, earning your father’s forgiveness…the list goes on and on…and you have yet to see your third century, yes?”
“Yes, your highness.”
“There are many things in store for you, young von Blair. I look forward to seeing what you will do with your life now that you have been accepted back into the arms of your homeland and the knighthood that once cast you out.” He smiled faintly again as he regarded Rader once more. “Why don’t you stay until I have written a proper response to our dear King of Urran?”
“I would be honored, your highness,” Rader replied gravely with a deep bow.
“Good. Then I shall see you at dinner.” Adrian smiled pleasantly and left the young knight in the garden, the young man wondering if perhaps he had embroiled himself in a situation he didn’t want to be in.