Book III of THE LEGEND OF DRACULA
Drawing on my research and studies of authentic supernatural lore, world history, and the finest of fantastic literature, I give you tales that resonate with authenticity—because no horror is scarier than horror that is believable! My tales feature real people who practiced Black Magic, committed unspeakable atrocities, and performed unholy experiments! These include Vlad the Impaler, Doctor Faust, Ivan the Terrible, Countess Erzsébet Báthory, the Vermilion Phantom, Robespierre, Jack the Ripper, and many more.
Here you will read of Dracula’s dealings with the forces of Darkness, his promised reanimation, and his enslavement to the wizard who revived him. You will stand beside him in his struggle against those myriad vampire lords who had ruled the Night for centuries—even millennia—prior. You will see him expand his fledgling kingdom, and increase his unholy flock.
This book chronicles the origin of Dracula, his reanimation, his battles with the Vordenburg barons, his climactic efforts to escape Abraham Van Helsing.
You will see the destruction of Dracula. And you will see beyond…
Excerpt from "DRACULA ARISEN"
HALF A MONSTER, Chapter 2...
Slobodan the dhampire retrieved his horse that morning and left the village, happy for the gold in his purse, but little else. He cursed that interfering Austrian prick, Vordenburg. He had a good living with his show. The villagers did all the digging and paid him with whatever gold and silver they could muster, and afterward they showered him in wine and food and gifts. Some of the gifts were soft and round and—
Slobodan stopped his horse and looked about. He listened for a moment, and then continued his trek along the rutted road. A moment after he left, another figure continued to follow him.
Soon after he passed the fields of the village, Slobodan was in a forest, surrounded by tall pines, sturdy oaks, and groves of cypresses. Through this mass of trees no light passed and he was scarcely aware of the setting sun.
On he trudged, at last reaching the main road. Here it was more open and he could see the light of the moon, above. As he heard wolves howling in the distance, he knew it was time to stop for the night.
Slobodan unsaddled his horse and tethered her to a pine. He had hoped he would make it to the next village before dark, but he did not know the region. Still, he had camped out in the wilds before. One thing he was not worried about was vampires. They dwelt in cities, even villages, but not the wide open countryside. After all, they needed to be close to their food.
Werewolves, on the other hand…
Slobodan made a small fire, hoping it would scare away any wolves. The horse had grass, but he had only a single biscuit in his pocket to eat.
Slobodan had just laid down on his bed roll and shut his eyes when he suddenly bolted upright, clutching his chest. The fire showed every tree and rock clearly for maybe thirty feet. Beyond that, an army might march by unseen. But it was no army he sensed—it was something he sensed once before… in Belgrade.
Then he saw the shadowy figure, approaching the camp. He saw the pale face and the eyes that reflected the red light of the fire.
“Stay away!” he screamed, jumping up, “Take the horse! I can always buy a new horse!”
Slobodan ran into the darkness, stumbling through the brush. Branches cut his arms and jabbed him in the face. He dare not look behind him, for he doubted not it was close behind, untempted by the mare’s blood.
He entered a wide clearing, lit as bright as day by the full moon. But the specter was already there, standing on the other side, still half-hidden.
Slobodan collapsed, exhausted. The specter stepped out of the shadows.
She was perhaps beautiful, but pale and gaunt. She was dressed all in black, with long, stringy gray hair unbound on her head and shoulders. He knew instinctively her hair was not gray from age, but from hunger.
“Leave me alone! What do you want?!”
“I am Kaschka, of the House of Lupesky,” she said, and her voice was as one dead.
“You are undead! Stay away from me!”
The vampiress glided closer to him and looked down at him. She hissed in disgust.
“What was Dracula thinking?” she said to herself, “It is one thing to whelp a changeling, another to let it live.”
Slobodan cringed, covering his head. Tears rolled down his cheeks.
“I thought I would continue to let you play your games and maybe one day I would bring you into my coven, instead of Dracula’s. But now you have destroyed my little Sevar. I will make you pay for that!”
“Crawl to me, dhampire! Crawl and beg for the mercy you do not deserve! You will die this night, but first you will crawl! Crawl, do you hear me!”
“No!” Slobodan cried again and scampered to his feet. He tried to run, but he stopped as a second figure stood before him.
“It seems you have no power to control the mind of a dhampire,” said the tall man, looking past Slobodan, “Perhaps you should attempt your mind tricks on me.”
“You?!” said the startled Kaschka, “Who are you?”
“I am Hans Vordenburg,” he said, drawing his saber, “My family destroys vampires.”
Kaschka looked fearful. She drew back. But Hans dug into his pocket and hurled a handful of garlic cloves at the fiend. They landed all about her and Kaschka gasped. Garlic could not hurt her, but the stench did assail her, made her senses reel. It confused her.
And most important of all, it delayed her long enough for Vordenburg to cross the clearing with sword upraised. Kaschka screamed as the sword sliced through her undead flesh. Normally, steel can not harm the Undead, but Hans had rubbed a clove of garlic on the blade. It did not hack the vampire asunder, but it stung her.
Lady Kaschka wanted to flee but she saw she had no chance, so she reached out, hoping to throttle the young Austrian officer. Instead, she screamed again as Hans pulled out a small crucifix and pressed it against the vampire’s face. It burned.
Screaming still, Kaschka fell to her knees. Hans held her in place until he could get behind her. Then he raised the sword and lopped off the vampire’s head.
“May God our Savior have mercy upon your soul!”
Kaschka’s head rolled over the uneven ground and came to a stop before the feet of Slobodan. Slobodan looked at it for a few seconds then fainted.
* * *
A common criticism of Bram Stoker’s “DRACULA” is that the first few chapters are great… and then Dracula disappears! That’s because the novel, despite the title, is not really about Dracula—it’s about how people respond to Dracula. I would argue that Stoker spends those first few chapters introducing Dracula—and showing us that he is, simply put, pure evil. But the heart of the book is about how, for example, Jonathan Harker, broken by his experiences, eventually recovers and triumphs. It’s about Lucy Westenra and the madman Renfield who each allow themselves to be seduced, in different ways, by the vampire Count. The novel is certainly about Mina Murray who is tempted, even aroused by Dracula, but ultimately leads the men to destroy him. But the novel’s real hero is Professor Abraham Van Helsing, who realizes what’s going on and unites all the others into an Army of Light—united with the goal of destroying Count Dracula, once and for all!
Somehow, a minor technical error (boo-boo) made its way into the last draft of "Dracula Arisen". In the story, "A Slice of the Pie", the name György Rákóczi came out as GyPrgy RakNczi. Somebody somewhere just can't handle diacritical marks.
Retelling the short story "Dracula's Guest" from Vlad's point of view, and also the climax of "Dracula" with the race back to Transylvania to the castle while being pursued by Van Helsing and crew, this portion is told in the first person and makes for an interesting twist on the originals which are recounted in diary-form from five standpoints. Nice to have the protagonist's viewpoint for a change.
Tony-Paul de Vissage,
Author of "The Night-Man Cometh", "Shadow Lord", and more
Mr. Lake is a wonderful writer. The novel presents itself in a semi-chronicle form and written in the style of the times. When you read it, you get the feeling Dracula has arisen.
Author of "Alien Agenda" and "The Island Builders"