Wing: 5

Challenge Day 5: Something orange

p (80)

p (83)

I went for more of a gold angle than true orange, but I’m going to call it artist’s discretion.

I went to visit Count Straud today. He left a note in my mailbox a few days ago, just saying that he knew I was here and maybe struggling and that if I needed anything I should stop by.

He has a beautiful home. It’s not hard to tell around here who is a vamp and who is just an open-minded human or a gardener looking for wolfsbane, because vampires are opulent. Bedecked in finery and jewels, their homes luxurious and overstated. What else is one going to do with centuries of wealth but spend it?

Count Straud is extremely generous. Though he’s quite content being unbound, he said he’d be happy to help me develop my abilities, as an elder in my coven would. When you’re unbound, he said, you learn to offer aid to whatever fledglings need it. Otherwise you grow stingy, become a hermit.

Count Straud doesn’t think much of hermits. He thinks that for vampires, who live eternally when done right, it’s intolerable to remain disconnected from the rest of the world. If you don’t have a coven, a tight-knit family by blood, then you must at least foster a family. Friends are invaluable, he says. In that, the only condition to him teaching me is that I try to be more social.

I admit, I’ve been hiding out a little. I’m afraid. For all that Forgotten Hollow is a land where vampires and hunters are allied, there is no accounting for a ruthless hunter breaking protocol to catch the one vamp that got away. It’s happened before. And I don’t know who to trust.

Count Straud understands, but thinks it’s foolish for the undead to live in fear. It would be just as foolish for humans to live in hiding, in fear of vampires. Live life as best you can, and worry about consequences as they come; you can’t escape destiny forever. But because Count Straud truly does understand, and isn’t just patronizing me, he arranged for one of his other apprentices to come visit me. He doesn’t get out enough either, Count Straud said. Maybe we’ll be good for each other.

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