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.Suddenly, Maria appeared in front of him.He stopped dead in his tracks, showering her with dirt.Roconn forced a small smile; it was not easy to make his new muscles to work like this.Inside he was dying – not physically, his new and perfect body would not allow such things - but mentally.She hissed at him with irritation, baring her fangs.It was odd that she had adapted to vampirism so easily, as though she had been this way for a while.In that moment, it dawned on him that he would spend eternity with her.She would be his, forever, on their quest for justice.The PriestRoconn opened his eyes.It had been more than seven hundred years since the forest fire, yet he remembered that day as if it was yesterday.He sighed slowly, revelling in his memory.‘What’s wrong, dear?’ asked Maria inquisitively.‘Nothing really,’ he admitted.‘Do you remember the day we were turned?’‘Of course, the day I will never forget.’ Grief seeped into her face as she closed her eyes to the memory.The sound of her voice echoing through the empty stone hall.Roconn looked around the windowless room.It was roughly one hundred feet square.The only light came from several sconces which adorned the walls.The ceiling was impressively high, giving the room a church-like appearance.Although the time he had spent in churches was gone, he could still remember the feeling of safety he had experienced within them.But that had ended when the roof of his own church had given way, killing his children.He had not forgotten his vow.Admittedly it had taken longer than expected, but that didn’t matter, he had eternity to fulfil it.He and Maria had been the first vampires, turned by the Devil himself.The fact that he had been turned in order to destroy religion didn’t bother him.Together they had searched all over the world and infected many people.These vampires, who were weaker, served Roconn and Maria as loyal subjects.Over the years, Roconn and Maria had become vampire royalty and all who opposed them had their heads torn from their bodies.The two of them sat on solid gold thrones, stone-like, at the end of the hall.Their bodies looked pale and gaunt.The only other furniture was six plain, wooden, benches which stood to one side, used only by the council during court sessions.Roconn wore a long robe which closed around the chest.It was embroidered with golden stitching in the shape of two vampire teeth.Maria’s robe was almost identical.Hers was more feminine, giving the impression that she was wearing a dress.‘It is time; bring in our guests.’Though Roconn’s voice was but a whisper, a tall, wide man appeared as if from nowhere, acknowledging his order with a nod.The man was dressed in an exquisite suit and had a goatee on his chin.He strolled with confidence towards two huge wooden doors with thick metal locks, pulling them open.At once a line of twelve cardinals, dressed in crimson clothing, filed in along red carpets that adorned the stone floor, behind them.The sound of the door slamming shut reverberated through the hall.The twelve cardinals walked towards the thrones and bowed deeply.A short man, whose face was hidden in shadow, spoke first.‘My lord, we have received word of a priest who is held in high esteem.He loves to travel, and will be arriving in a little under three hours.He is under the impression that a miracle has been witnessed.I’m sure you will conduct your business with him once he has arrived, my lord.’Maria noticed another cardinal, beside her feet, shuffle nervously and start to shake.‘Naturally.This information is most useful.I’m sure he will be of great help to our cause,’ Roconn responded.‘You may return to your posts.Inform me of any activity.I trust that anyone who learns of our plan will be…taken care of?’ He looked triumphant when the cardinal spoke.‘Of course, my lord.’Maria stared at the quivering cardinal.None of the others had shifted an inch.They remained motionless as Maria spoke.‘You!’ she snapped, pointing to a cardinal.‘Y-y-yes your highness?’ the cardinal replied.Even without looking, he knew that she was addressing him.‘What’s wrong? Do you not wish to serve us any longer? You know full well the price of treachery I’m sure,’ said Maria, a wry smile playing around the corners of her mouth.‘Of course, your highness.M-m-may I speak my mind?’‘Please do.’He stood up, facing Maria.The other cardinals looked at him and gasped.‘Traitor!’ another whispered.Roconn was not taken aback at the sudden dismissal of authority.In fact, he looked pleased.‘Well?’ said Maria.The cardinal spoke at once, and from the tone of his voice, it was clear he had been wishing to say this for a while.‘You force us to risk our lives and our afterlives for you! You have no respect for anyone’s lives but your own.You are arrogant, pretending you are royal, and for what? You depend upon us to help you.Without us, you are nothing, and you treat us like dirt [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]