Jeanne Kalogridis

CHILDREN OF THE VAMPIRE EXCERPT


May your own blood rise against you.
-- ancient Wexford curse

PROLOGUE

The Diary of Arkady Dracul
Undated addendum on separate parchment. Let me start, then, with the moment of my death, for it is there this record best begins.

I write this for you, dear son, dear Stefan, taken from me the day after your birth, taken from me the same day as your brave mother, taken from me the same day as my life. I will spare you no detail of evil; best you know the full truth of your heritage, that horror might compel you to escape it. I write this in full faith that it will someday find you - before he does.

For you are the mortal heir of an immortal monster: Vlad, known to some as Tsepesh, the Impaler; known to others as Dracula, son of the Devil. I, your father, am tied to him by blood and fate; when his evil soul perishes, so shall mine. He aims now to bind you to him, that your soul might purchase his continued immortality. And when you sire a child, he shall seek to corrupt that fresh innocent's soul and buy himself yet another generation of existence.

As for my demise: I perished in the grey light of pre-dawn, in the land beyond the forest, in the monster's arms while you and and your mother made your separate escapes. I came within a single expiring breath of destroying him, for I was as yet uncorrupted; but at the instant of my death, he made me as he is - a vampire, trapping my spirit between Heaven and earth and thus staying his execution.
I am now, like him, a monster. But I know not what has become of you, or of your beloved mother. I only know that I exist for the day I see him destroyed, and you freed from the family curse…