The Count suddenly recoiled and shrieked as though his very flesh was being torn from his body. The sound ripped asunder the dreamy fantasies he has painstakingly instilled in her mind. The last traces of holy water on her neck burnt his lips and mouth. Jacquelyn shook her head rapidly, trying to dispel the last of his hold over her mind. She ripped opened the draw and grabbed the stake, spinning on her heel to face down the vampire. The bite stung sharply and she desperately fought down the pain.
The Count was overcome with the burn from the holy water. In his agony, he turned away from her, gripping his face. Jacquelyn unleashed all the fury she had suppressed. She clenched the stake tight and raised it high above her head. Using her free hand, she grabbed his hair and yanked back. The vampire arched backwards and toppled to the floor, still clutching at his face. Jacquelyn saw her opportunity and took full advantage. She brought down the stake with all the force she could muster, driving it into his chest.
He let out a soul searing cry that made even had Jacquelyn taken aback. She watched as he clutched at the stake that was partly embedded in his chest. Needing more force, she frantically searched for something to drive it in. Jacquelyn spied the table and grabbed it, fighting the urge to become lost in her reflection as she glanced briefly at the mirrored wall. She raised the table and spun it, levelling the flat surface with his chest. She looked into his eyes, watching as the realisation dawned upon him. She took a little perverse satisfaction from that look as she brought the table down with all the force her tired body allowed.
Jacquelyn heard the thunk as the table connected with the stake and saw his body shudder. Jacquelyn collapsed to the ground, her strength failing her as exhaustion took hold. She felt the pangs of pain from the bite on her neck and pressed her hand weakly to the wounds. She looked over towards Yvonne, remembering that she existed. “Yvonne…” she called out weakly, “are you alright?”
Yvonne remained on her knees, seemingly oblivious to what had transpired. Jacquelyn could see her lips moving and she knew what words were being whispering.
The gamble had been successful. The very last shard of her resistance had played its hand and won. Jacquelyn tried to stand, but her legs were weak and gave way. She crawled over to Yvonne, each movement felt draining. She could hear Yvonne’s soft voice, chanting away and she did her best to not focus on the phrases. She could feel herself wanting to join with her sister...the word stuck in her mind. His influence was still there. Jacquelyn reached out and touched Yvonne’s shoulder, “Yvonne, can you hear me?”
She did not respond, her gaze remain transfixed on empty space. Jacquelyn shook her and barked at her, “Yvonne! Snap out of it!”
The handmaiden blinked for a moment and looked at Jacquelyn, her gaze slowly focused upon her. Yvonne looked at Jacquelyn for a moment and her eyes went wide as the realisation struck her. The handmaiden broke down and wept. She slumped against Jacquelyn. “I am so sorry sis..” she caught herself mid word and corrected, “milady, I had no choice…He forced me to do so many things. I was puppet.” She sobbed into Jacquelyn’s shoulder.
Jacquelyn tried to push out with her legs to crawl closer to Yvonne. She held her neck and whispers to the handmaiden, “Yvonne…” she started before she was cut off.
“I know milady, but I have done so many terrible deeds in his name. Can you ever forgive me milady?” She sobbed and begged of Jacquelyn.
Jacquelyn felt almost heart broken for Yvonne as she cried. Although she wanted to comfort her, she was exhausted and injured. “I do not know how I will live with the shame of my actions, milady, I…” Yvonne began and this time Jacquelyn cut her off.
“Yvonne…I am wounded. Please, help me...” Jacquelyn implored.
Yvonne suddenly noticed the blood that had begun to seep between Jacquelyn’s fingers and gasped. She quickly dashed off to retrieve something for Jacquelyn's wounds. Jacquelyn closed her eyes and tried to block out the pain as she held her neck. She could hear her heart beating inside her head. The scenes of her gambit played out in her mind, over and over.
Yvonne skittered back after a short time and quickly pressed something against Jacquelyn's neck. Jacquelyn winched as held the material to her neck. She looked to Yvonne somewhat questioningly when she opened her eyes and realised what the handmaiden had brought to her. It was her discarded ball dress. Yvonne flushed a little, but said nothing. Although the Count had bitten Jacquelyn, thankfully the wounds were not deep. She closed her eyes once again as she tried to relax. She was almost completely spent. Her body twitched involuntarily, which annoyed her. Adrenalin still pulsed through her veins and her muscles were tense.
“Yvonne, do you think I can return this dress to the tailor who made it?” Jacquelyn joked as she forced her eyes open.
“I very much doubt I will be wearing it against after this slaying.”
There was a long pause as the pair sat quietly in the hall. Eventually Yvonne placed her hand gently on Jacquelyn’s shoulder. “Milady, the Viscount was the rival the journal spoke of…Lady Il’ldais traded me as cattle to strike a deal with him. She was always the real threat here, hiding behind the facades of others to throw off suspicion... I am sorry milady. I was compelled to lie to you to avoid you learning the truth.” Jacquelyn’s heart dropped and dread swept over her, she looked at Yvonne in disbelief.
“No…she cannot be the vampire. It makes no sense…” Jacquelyn started before a sharp pain from the bite interrupted. She regathered her thoughts for a moment and suddenly little realisations began to dawn upon her. The unbinding ritual involves relatively few items that would be harmful to a vampire. And the Lady Il’ldais did not show her eyes after the ritual, nor did she touch the silver cross. Jacquelyn cursed at leaving such a valuable protection with the Lady now. Her mind raced as she tried to make sense of everything. She believed she was finished, but now was thrown back into the fray. “What of the physician? Is he a vampire as well?” Jacquelyn asked Yvonne, hoping with all her being that she did not have two vampires to contend against.
Yvonne shook her head. “No, he is a physician of some renown and has been attempting to treat the Lady of her sleeping illness. He has been almost driven to his wits end by the lack of progress he was making with the Lady, which is why he is so exhausted and protective of her. I do not know however, if he is her thrall.”
Jacquelyn remained silent, weighing up the options in her mind to decide her next course of action. She was exhausted and injured, nearly having lost herself to the Viscount had taken a toll on her mental fortitude and she was at her limits. However, the Lady Il’ldais was now aware of her and being in a place of such wealth and power, Jacquelyn would likely find herself quickly hunted should she escape the manor tonight.
Jacquelyn looked to Yvonne and saw the look of hope in her eyes, the expectations that Jacquelyn would end her nightmare and make the world safe. Jacquelyn sighed for just a moment as she knew what she must do. She tried to muster her will to rise to her feet again. “Yvonne, please find me some travelling clothes. I hardly enjoyed slaying this vampire while half naked, so I am not keen on performing more slayings in this…minimal attire.”
She watched as Yvonne gave her weak smile and hurried off down the passageway. Jacquelyn gritted her teeth and willed herself to rise up, focusing all her strength into standing. Slowly, she rose to her feet. She was unsteady, not having fully recovered from her exertions. Jacquelyn propped herself against the wall, feeling the cool surface pressed against her bare back. It felt so nice, so refreshing to her. She let her eyes close again, as her other senses focused. The cool feeling of the wall against her hot skin was most prominent in her mind. Her neck ached in dull throbs as her heart beat slowed. She breathed in and listened cautiously but there was only the sound of her breathing. The night was still and silent now. Jacquelyn wrinkled her nose as she caught the soft scents of arousal, blood and sweat on her body. She remained resting with her eyes closed for a few more moments before Yvonne returned.
Jacquelyn heard Yvonne’s steps across the tiled floor and forced her eyes open to see what she had managed to find. “Here, sister…milady, some travelling clothes. They may be a little tight.” Yvonne lowered her gaze, a little colour coming to her cheeks.
Jacquelyn looked at Yvonne and smiled a little, “It is okay, Yvonne. Even I still feel those compulsions he gave me.”
She propped herself up and winched a little, “Could you retrieve my stiletto, I need to make a bandage for this wound.”
Yvonne nodded and quickly fetched it. Jacquelyn noticed that she was a little nervous approaching the Count’s body. Yvonne returned, knelt down and eyed Jacquelyn carefully. Jacquelyn was a little puzzled and watched cautiously as the handmaiden cut away at the sleeve of the dress, making long ribbons from the material. She gathered up the strands she cut and brought them up to Jacquelyn’s neck. Jacquelyn moved her hand and let Yvonne wrap the stands firmly around her neck, weaving it around to secure each loop. Jacquelyn felt the material wrapped around her neck, it was firm enough for her to be aware of it, but not to constrict her breathing detrimentally.
She gave Yvonne a smile in thanks when the handmaiden leant back. “Thank you, Yvonne. Do you think you can tie the straps on my back? I don’t want to run around and risk…falling out of these clothes when I put them on.” Jacquelyn quipped as she shakily rose to her feet.
She let her fingers gently run along her neck, feeling the velvet material against her skin. It felt strange to have something around her neck. Suddenly, she felt a dull ache from the bite and furrowed her brow. Inwardly, she noticed that it felt like she was wearing a collar or choker. She could even feel little beads along the material that Yvonne had chosen. It was oddly comforting in a way. “Yvonne, are these beads on the material?” She decided to ask out of curiosity.
Yvonne nodded mutely. Her eyes were busily surveying what could be done to keep Jacquelyn's modesty mostly intact. Jacquelyn watched their reflections. Yvonne was behind her, binding the ends of the straps once more.
An odd thought crept into Jacquelyn's mind. She thought about how nice it would be to have her as a servant. She thought about having Yvonne at her feet, head bowed down. Jacquelyn could feel the wound in her neck throbbing as her mind wandered through scenes of using the pretty young handmaiden. Jacquelyn envisaged Yvonne kneeling naked, her eyes closed as she softly panted. Jacquelyn was leaning in close to her, her own body exposed. Jacquelyn gaze moved upwards from the ground, following along the girl's curves. Her gaze meandered across Yvonne's chest and along the curves of her breasts. Yvonne quivered and let out a soft gasp, causing her hair to tumble from her shoulders and over her chest, only partly obscuring the sight of her pointed nipples. Jacquelyn moved in closer, the heat growing inside her. Her eyes were drawn to Yvonne's lips, soft and parted. Jacquelyn reached out and gently cupped the handmaiden's chin. Another soft little half moan escapes those delicious lips. Jacquelyn moved in, her nose just brushing past Yvonne's. Jacquelyn's lips were about to touch.
Then the thought was broken as Yvonne gave a small giggle, pulling tight the straps of the corset. “I thought you might like to have a little bit of style in your new slaying apparel. Functional and pretty, sister.” Yvonne beamed a little.
Jacquelyn could not help but laugh a little, even though it hurt. Yvonne helped her into the travelling clothes and Jacquelyn felt more at ease. The clothes were a little tight fitting, especially around her chest. She levelled at gaze at Yvonne in the reflection of the mirror. “It was all I could find milady. It does flatter your figure though…” Yvonne tried to sound convincing.
Jacquelyn could not help but roll her eyes and smirk, “Well, if nothing else, let us hope my quarry is as distracted by what little this leaves to the imagination as I am.”
Jacquelyn prepared herself with Yvonne’s assistance and drew herself up. She assessed the best course of action in her head, going over the many possibilities. Jacquelyn gripped her stiletto firmly, a reassuring presence is what she needed right now. She looked to Yvonne, reading the worry in her eyes.
“I want you to go somewhere safe and hide until morning. I do not know if I will succeed, but if I do not, you will need to alert another slayer. Move only when the dawn breaks and do not wait for me, understand?” She spoke resolutely to Yvonne, trying to sound confident while addressing the reality of the situation.
Jacquelyn drew out her necklace and held it on the end of her fingers. She gazed at it for a long moment. She slowly traced her thumb along its edge, remembering the significance of it and looked back to Yvonne.
“I want you to take this, it will keep you safe. Wear it with you always and remember me.” Jacquelyn bade her quietly.
Yvonne nodded and tears welled in her eyes as she moved forward to embrace Jacquelyn. It was hard for Jacquelyn not to feel for her and she returned the embrace. She felt the soft warmth of Yvonne’s body and it stirred a mixture of emotions. The bite on her neck stung as Jacquelyn felt a small touch of arousal well inside.
“Take care, sister.” Yvonne whispered in her ear.
“You too…sister” Jacquelyn returned after feeling a dull throb from her neck.
She waited and watched as Yvonne hurry across the great hall and through the doors. Although it felt strange to call her that, it was true now. They were bound in a way few others could understand.
Jacquelyn heard a low rumble and gazed out the arched windowed. Dark clouds had blanketed the sky, smothering out the stars. She saw small flashes which told of a coming storm. It seemed that even the elements were turning against her this night. Jacquelyn made a few steps across the tiled floor before a soft voice stopped her.
‘Are we going to slay Master’s rivals? Master wants us to be his obedient tool and we want to obey Him’ the docile, softer voice spoke in her mind.
Jacquelyn grumbled to herself inwardly, ‘Master…no, He is dead. He no longer has any hold over us. We are a tool of no one and the other vampire must be slain.’ She sternly chided her softer half.
Jacquelyn wondered why this half of her yet remained. The gamble was not without its own consequences. Breaking out of her defences was an all or nothing. Either complete surrender or be in control of her mind. Perhaps in time, this side of her would fade.
‘No, Master is not dead, He’s alive and we serve Him.’ her submissive side whined.
Jacquelyn fumed and grabbed a lit candle from its holder. She carefully moved back to the body of the Count, holding it close. She leaned down and examined him closely, looking at the vacant emptiness in his eyes.
‘See, He is dead. Gone, no more. We do not serve a corpse.’ She retorted, hoping it would silence her other half.
‘Master is alive, we feel it deep down. Please, let us serve Master and feel complete.’ The soft voice whispered in her mind, as if pleading.
Jacquelyn clenched her jaw as she felt pain from bite. Despite this, she stood up and stepped back before tossing the candle upon the corpse. It looked as though the candle may have flickered out, but after a moment the flames took hold. Her softer voice gasped in shock in her mind, but Jacquelyn did not react. The flames licked at the clothing of the Count and started a hissing noise as the materials of his clothing caught ablaze. The fire took to the remains of the desk. It happily crackled away at the wood, devouring it as it glowed brightly. It flickered and danced, casting wispy shadows on the walls. Jacquelyn contemplated adding to the small fire. She watched for a few moments and dragged the some chairs and another desk over. She heaped them on and let them catch alight in their own time. Her submissive side let out a small cry and once again, but Jacquelyn did not react. She was not particularly worried about restricting the flames as the high ceiling and tiled floors would see to it.
The glowing embers pulsed as the heat of the fire waned after consuming the wood. Satisfied with herself, she finally turned her thoughts inwards. ‘Now, ‘master’ is dead. No more delays, we have a task to accomplish.’
Her soft side did not protest, just remained quiet, as though it was sadden by her actions. As Jacquelyn turned towards the doorway, a brilliant white flash lit up the walls as a thunderclap boomed, shaking the room. Jacquelyn could hear the rain pelting the roof, causing a constant drumming as they struck the windows. The winds that had brought the storm were slipping into the hall through any gaps it could find, making eerie howling. The very air around her changed, becoming cold, filled with dread. It chilled her to the very core, yet she needed to press on, no matter what awaited.
Jacquelyn spared no time in retracing her way back to the Master bedroom of the manor. She weaved through the network of corridors and passageways, following her steps from before. The ball had ended hours ago now and all was very still and quiet in the manor. Jacquelyn could almost feel she was nearing the end of things now. A sense of dread and excitement were starting to creep into her soul. She almost wished for Yvonne to accompany her, even just to give her mind a different focus. Jacquelyn thought about protecting Yvonne instead of worrying about just herself. Despite her desires, it would have been far too great a risk to bring her along.
Jacquelyn cautiously approached the door to the bedroom of Lady Il’ldais. The large, darkly stained oak doors stood impressively as guardians, blocking her path. She reached out and grasped the handle, the cool metal chilling her hand. She could hear muffled voices from within and gently laid her ear against the door to listen. Another thunderclap boomed above and it startled not only Jacquelyn, but those in the room. She strained her ears to listen above the sounds of the rain, yet could not clearly distinguish the words. Pulling the handle down slowly, she pushed lightly against the door, feeling for resistance. The door remained firm and she slowly released the handle. At least this time she did not attempt an entrance that would fail so spectacularly.
Jacquelyn thought for a moment and she improvised a pick, having borrowed a few long rods of metal from a sculpture in the hall. Jacquelyn slide in the pick and the tip of her stiletto and felt for the tumblers. Although not one of her more developed skills, she has few troubles manipulating the tumblers. Using her stiletto for tension proved to be a poor decision. Jacquelyn slowly twisted the hilt, yet she could not did not move the chamber as thought has hoped. She carefully applied more force, feeling it starting to give. Placing more force on the hilt to rotate it, Jacquelyn’s hand suddenly jerked as her hand twisted and she heard a metallic snap. She cursed quietly; knowing those inside must have heard the sound. She had broken the tip of her stiletto. It has proven to be just a little too shallow-angled for the lock.
Thinking quickly, Jacquelyn banged on the door.
“Lady Il’ldais! Open this door. I must speak with you urgently!” She was taking a risk announcing her presence, but there remained few other choices. There was a pause in the voices in the room, undoubtedly Jacquelyn had surprised them. Her body tensed up and she listened, hearing soft steps approaching the door. Staring intently at the handle, she watched it for the slightest movements as she heard the lock click over. Then handle came down and at that instantly Jacquelyn kicked at the door with great force. The unfortunately body on the other side had not expected such an entrance and heavy door stuck them soundly, bouncing back after the strike. Jacquelyn heard a cry of pain and pushes the door open. A very shocked Lady Il’ldais was revealed, standing next to the bed and a rather indigent physician on the floor, trying to scurry in retreat.
“What is the meaning of this!” blasted the Lady as the scrambling physician clambered to his feet, standing next to her.
Jacquelyn levelled a cool gaze at Il’ldais and spoke calmly.
“I am here to finish the slaying I began. You may have deceived me with your demonic tricks, but I now know the truth about you.” The physician puffed himself up and scolded Jacquelyn.
“Have you no respect girl!? Do you know who you speak to?” Jacquelyn could not be completely sure if the redness in his face was from anger or the door, but she did know he was in great danger if he was siding with the Lady.
“I have no respect for creatures of the night. The Lady Il’ldais is a vampire and you are in danger. You need to step away from her and let me perform my duty.” Jacquelyn hoped that reasoning calmly with him may work.
He and the Lady looked at each other, aghast. “The Lady is a patient of mine and I can assure you, that she is no different to you, or I. She has recently been struck down by an illness. With how you are making accusations, I would be confident in saying you have been stuck with an illness yourself!” The physician threw at Jacquelyn.
She was about to retort, when she felt a sharp pain from her neck. Hissing a little as she drew in a breath from the pain, she noticed bite marks on the physician’s neck. She was already too late. The Lady had claimed another as her thrall.
Steeling herself, Jacquelyn quickly accessed her situation. Although a relatively large bedroom, there would be little space and opportunity for manoeuvring and retreats. The physician was shielding the Lady with his body as they backed up towards the far wall near the bed, nestled between the bed and a closet. Jacquelyn needed to force them to break away from the wall. Her fingers felt along the hilt of her stiletto, inching slowly towards the broken blade. Although an advantage even while broken, it would help little with trying to slay a vampire. Jacquelyn drew back her arm and let her stiletto fly, aiming it for the physician’s heart. She hoped that perhaps Fortuna might smile upon for the first time tonight that her stiletto might hold its aim. Sadly, it did not.
The broken blade caught his shoulder, cutting him and causing him to turn away, clutching the wound. Jacquelyn advanced, taking advantage of the momentary distraction. The Lady gasped in horror and grabbed the ornate candelabra from the nearby chest of draws. Pushing past him she threw it at Jacquelyn in desperation. Jacquelyn spotted the Lady’s actions a little too late and was unable to react quickly enough to avoid being stuck. She brought her arm up defensively and tried to angle her body, but was still hit in the side. Jacquelyn cried out in pain and crumpled over as some of the breath had been knocked from her. She took a moment to breathe and felt a sharp pain in her side. Looking up towards Il’ldais, Jacquelyn saw the physician lunging at her. Instinctively she kicked out, catching him in the face, but it did little to the momentum which carried him onto her.
He landed heavily upon her and the weight crushed her side. Jacquelyn fought back the scream as a piercing hot pain struck her side. Throwing him off, she summons up her mental strength to block out the deliberating pain. The rain intensified and the sounds of it roared up as torrents of drops blasted the roof. Disorientated, Jacquelyn tried to scramble to her feet, but the physician held legs, trying to climb on top of her. She tried to pull herself out of his grip by kicking at him, but he had too strong a hold. He gripped her legs and pulled her down, trying to pin her down with his body. Jacquelyn cranked her neck, looking for anything she could use to against him. The vial of holy water she had left earlier was lying on the ground near by. Jacquelyn reached out for it and she felt a tug on her legs as the physician dragged her back, the vial slipping away from her reaching fingers.
She tried to struggle forward, clawing at the ground, yet could not get enough grip. Jacquelyn looked down at the physician and drew back her arm back, letting him drag her down just enough to strike. Locking her wrist, she thrust forward, connecting with his chin and he recoiled. It was just enough for her to scrambled those few precious inches to grab the vial. In one swift moment, she swept up the vial and pushed her body up, smashing it against his temple. Her hand stung sharply as the glass cut into her hand but he pulled back, crying out in agony. Jacquelyn pulled away from him and sprang to her feet, watching as he shielding his face with his hand.
Watching him for a moment, Jacquelyn was oddly disturbed by the lack of affect the holy water had upon him. She tried to comprehend the ineffectiveness and then she felt a sharp pain from her neck. She winched and focused her mind on the fight. Seeing the physician incapacitated for the moment, Jacquelyn looked to see that the Lady Il’ldais had picked up her broken stiletto and held it. She was ready to strike if Jacquelyn advanced. Jacquelyn half smirked to herself as she hooked the chair from the dressing table with her foot and picked it up. The Lady could do little to avoid the chair as it sailed through the air and struck her, forcing her to the ground. Jacquelyn rushed towards Il’ldais and picked up her stiletto with her left hand, raising it to thrust into her chest.
Suddenly Jacquelyn heard a yell from behind and was thrown off balance as the physician charged her. He slammed her against a chest of draws and grabbed the wrist holding onto the stiletto. He banged her arm against the edge and Jacquelyn held onto the stiletto tighter, only crying out a little in pain. He banged her arm down harder again and this time there was a crack and she felt an extreme searing pain. Jacquelyn screamed and released the stiletto, the pain quickly spreading along her arm.
He pressed into her, keeping her pinned against the draws. He leaned in, pleading with her to stop her madness. His words only set her more on edge, spurring on to fight harder. Jacquelyn feared he may try to bite her and she reared her head back sharply, catching his nose. She heard him cry out again and released her. Jacquelyn cradled her arm, stumbling backwards and nearly tripping over the step near the fireplace. Furrowing her brow, she pushed away all the screaming signals of pain and desperately assessed her situation.
The Lady had not recovered from the chair strike and was groaning in pain on the floor. The physician was stumbling around in pain, his back to Jacquelyn. Her legs felt a little weak as she tried hard to dull the pain she felt. Reaching back to steady herself, she grasped the fire poker and looked at the physician again. She grabbed it in her good hand and raced up to him, taking advantage of his state. Jacquelyn pressed the pointed end flat on his back and hooked the shaft under his armpit. He reacted, but she pushed against him, forcing his shoulder back as she pulled, levering his shoulder. He grunted, trying to manoeuvrer himself to stop her, but she kicked out the back of his knees, sending him forwards. She felt his shoulder dislocate and he let out a muffled scream as he fell onto the bed. Jacquelyn looked at him and pangs of guilt stuck deep within her. If only she could have realised sooner that The Lady was the vampire, he might not have been turned. She would not have needed to fight him and inflict such pain.
Her thoughts mere muddled as she tried to resolve all these wrong feelings and inconsistencies she encountered. Everything felt out of place. There were too many things did not make sense. Jacquelyn winched against as the pain in her neck flared. The vampires must be trying to distract her, play with her mind to make her doubt things, to gain an advantaged. Jacquelyn breathed heavily and looked towards Il’ldais, who was slumped against the wall, but at least upright. Jacquelyn levelled the end of the poker at her heart and stepped forward, just pressing the end into her chest. “This ends now, vampire.” Jacquelyn spoke with a tone of finality.
As she moved to use her body weight to force the poker into the vampire’s chest, the physician cried out. Jacquelyn spun on her heels and watched as he lunged at her, trying to save Il’ldais. Jacquelyn retreated a few steps and watched him hopeless stumble forward and fall, missing her completely. She moved to stand over him and watched as he turned and faced her. His expression was desperate and helpless. Jacquelyn felt torn inside. This was not the expression of a vicious hunter, the creature of the night that stalked humans. The bite on her neck throbbed again and the physician changed. His face became hard as he snared at her. Jacquelyn grimaced and clenched the grip on the poker and thrust down with all the strength she could muster. It sank into his chest and he convulsed once before his movements went still.
Jacquelyn drew a half breath and was left with a sense of regret. ‘If I had only gotten to him sooner…’ she thought.
She did not feel any sense of satisfaction in his death, only remorse. She cut her thoughts short as she heard the Lady Il’ldais shriek at seeing the body. She seemed in full panic and desperately tried to flee the room. The fury surged inside Jacquelyn, the anger at not saving the physician and the humiliation of being duped. Jacquelyn sprang across the bed, grunting as the pain in her side flared up. She tried to get to the Lady. She narrowly missed grabbing a hold of the Lady’s hair as she fled. Jacquelyn stumbled as one of her feet slid along the wood floor. She had caught the chamber pot, which thankfully for her, was empty. It did present one advantage and Jacquelyn grasped upon it.
She watched for half a moment, mentally focusing her aim as the Lady ran through the doorway. Jacquelyn kicked out, sending the chamber pot skidding along the floor after Il’ldais. It quickly caught up to the fleeing Lady and caught one of her feet. She stumbled forward as she lost her footing and flailed her arms trying to regain balance. The Lady Il’ldais tumbled to the ground and careened into the wall, hitting her head soundly. Lady Il’ldais lay there, motionless and Jacquelyn wondered if it was a ruse. Approaching cautiously, it certainly seemed as though the Lady was unconscious. Her breathing was shallow and Jacquelyn lightly kicked the chamber pot against the wall. It crashed into the wall, but the Lady did not react. Jacquelyn picked up the unconscious noble and headed toward the bedroom, her mind consumed with the thoughts of all the most fitting ways to slay this creature.
Jacquelyn watched as the Lady Il’ldais stirred. The Lady groaned as her head ached and her blurred vision started to clear. Jacquelyn stood directly before her and she jumped in startled realisation. Her instincts took over and she wanted to escape. She tried to leap to her feet, but sprang up no more than a few inches before jarring to a halt. Jacquelyn silently observed as the Lady felt her motions constricted, suddenly becoming aware of the weight upon her wrists. Jacquelyn has pulled back her arms behind one of the posts of her bed. Il’ldais felt they were bound by what felt like chain and try as she might, it did not break or give. Jacquelyn stared at her silently. She did not gloat or seem mad. Jacquelyn merely wore a grim, brooding look. Her eyes were a little dull as she knelt down to meet Il’ldais’ eye level.
“It did not take you long to wake,” Jacquelyn spoke softly and without compassion.
“I have bound your hands with silver chains. Escape will be rather difficult.”
The Lady watched as Jacquelyn strode over to the heavy curtains and slowly drew them open, revealing the raging storm outside. A bolt of lightning flashed across the darkened sky and thunder cracked. Jacquelyn watched the Lady tremble as she spoke to her. “Please, end this madness.” Her words gave Jacquelyn some pause and she stared at her.
“I will grant you any boon that you desire, please, release me.” Il’ldais begged.
Jacquelyn’s mind was in turmoil. This was very uncommon for a vampire. They were creatures of arrogance. They possessed nothing but distain for humans. They would not plead and beg. “I do not know what he has promised you or what he may have told you, but do not trust his honeyed. He will surely betray you.” Il’ldais beseeched of Jacquelyn as she stared nervously to her left.
Jacquelyn looked to the same direction and was puzzled by what held her attention. She could see nothing and the room was completely still. Jacquelyn felt conflicted by the Lady’s words. The details that seemed inconsistent before now returned to her. Jacquelyn was about to question Il’ldais when she winched and reached her hand up to her neck. The bite stung and Jacquelyn’s brow furrowed as she willed away the pains and aches of her injuries. The realisation dawned upon Jacquelyn that the vampire was toying with her, trying to get her to release it.
“A convincing effort, foulest of creatures, but your deception will prevail little upon me.” Jacquelyn stated softly.
She watched as the Lady’s expression and her tone changed completely, spitting curses at Jacquelyn and thrashing, trying to escape. “I have spent almost all of the night hunting you, vampire. I thought it only fitting that before you were to be slain, you could see the dawn one final time.” Jacquelyn relayed as she moved over to a chest near by.
“Yes, the light of the new day shall cleanse the Il’ldais manor of your dark touch.”
From the chest, Jacquelyn drew a large coin purse and loosened the ties before gazing at the Lady again. “I have always admired the currency of this realm. It reflects the values of the more common folk, being engraved with grain as symbolism. I am aware of your kind and a particular compulsion to count grain as well. I do think these coins will supplement nicely for actual grain.” Jacquelyn spoke coolly as she tipped the purse.
The coins rain down upon the floor, ringing out in a chorus of metal chiming. She emptied three bags upon the floor and looked to the Lady for one final time. “I do trust you will be able to occupy yourself until the dawn, Milady.”
With her final words, Jacquelyn turned and strode out of the room, turning only to grasp the handle of the oak door and pull it closed, leaving the Lady Il’ldais to her fate.