Twenty Sixth of the Fifth Moon, 413

Victory has been assured and tomorrow night will be the start of a new life.

Long after the moon had set in the east, I returned to Burgomaster Ulrich’s manor. Standing in the garden, I issued my silent call to Tatyana and waited for her to leave her prison. When she did not call, I began to panic. Luckily, I had been invited into Ulrich’s home and could enter on my whim. The cracks in the window pane offered mist an entrance, and I was able to see what prevented Tatyana from coming to me.

As I resumed my human form, I was hit with an oppressive wave of energy. I knew at once the source: the room was draped with holy symbols and gloves of garlic. Prayers had been furiously uttered in this room and their fading power disrupted my call. No doubt Brother Girgor had seen Tatyana’s weakening condition as what it truly was.

Opening the window alleviated most of the pressure, and upon waking Tatyana removed the holy symbol that had been placed around her neck. With my guidance, she removed all the garlic and other items from the room.

“Will you be taking me away tonight, Master?” she asked.

“Strahd,” I corrected, “not tonight, my love. Tomorrow night.”

“I’m so weak, Strahd,” she said. She did look like death, a death that was not far off.

“I know. And you must grow weaker still. But when you awake tomorrow night I will take you from here forever.” I assured her. She smiled at that. I approached her bed and she turned to offer me her throat once more.

I drank deeply. I drank past where I had stopped the previous two nights. I drank past the point when her heart started to flutter. And I drank past the point of no return.

I had to move quickly and while her heart was on its slow death march but before it beat its last. I held her fast with one hand and torn my shirt open with the other. Focusing my fingernail into a sharp talon, I drew the edge across my chest. Bright red blood welled up immediately.

“Drink,” I commanded her. She nuzzled into the wound and began to drink my power. I had never made another true vampyr; Leo had been one of the strigoi: a pathetic brute with but a touch of the true dark magic. That was fitting for him, as it was fitting for Tatyana to be the first to truly share the power of the night with me. I would finally have the bride I deserved.

Tatyana lapped at the blood, clinging to me with her growing might. I could feel her struggling heart filling with the vitae. I grew weaker as she grew stronger. Lest we both perish, I stopped her feeding. It took all of my might, but I dislodged my progeny and she collapsed onto the bed.

The wound in my chest healed quickly and I looked at Tatyana. She was already fast asleep; her last sleep as a mortal. Her heart would stop beating at first light and at sunset she would rise as a vampyr. I left quickly, excitedly thinking about the next and the endless pleasures of the nights to come.

I was concerned about Brother Girgor’s meddling. He would be concerned about “Marina’s” death and may take precautions to prevent her transformation. I could not allow this.

For a knowledgeable man, he was ill prepared for my arrival. I replenished my strength with his blood, but spared his life. It’s what Lady Ilona would have wanted. His weakness tomorrow, coupled with the hypnotic suggestion I gave him, would keep him far from the burgomaster’s house.

Tomorrow night she’ll be mine.

Twenty Sixth of the Fifth Moon, 413

Lost in the Mists ignatiusvienna