November 28th, 1431
The clock which began to work in the tower across the way some weeks ago has started to strike 9 as my library’s door began to rattle from the stern knocking at it. Without even waiting for an answer, it swung open revealing the once child I had overseen for near three decades entering with his wife. The eagerness in his eyes was almost a defiance of the pain in hers as my eyes grazed down to the swollen stomach. And with the scent of fluid as it reached me, I knew that Vlad Basarab, younger brother to the duke of Wallachia, had acted in haste. As I sat down his bride of six years and checked, it was clear that Vlad was not the only one in a hurry.
“Vlad, lay that blanket down on the ground there. We do not have time to move her any further,” the command quipped from my lips as I helped poor Cneajna over to the floor.
She gripped me as another contraction hit her. I barely registered what would have hurt those of lesser stamina, the woman’s grip was as a blacksmith’s hammer blow. Vlad looked almost gleeful for this, as it was his first child with the princess. His older two children, one from his first wife and one from his mistress, were not as exceptional as Vlad himself. I fear that Vlad’s manipulations may have won him prized positions in the nobility, but had soured his own offspring. I feared my earlier investments in him would come to naught.
But, the moment was here. “Hush, just push now child,” the words came from my mouth without even considering. I could have been this woman’s ancestor so far removed even memory would have been gone. A smile would have crossed my lips had they remained considering that nobody would remember even her face save myself and the few other Cainites she may encounter in her lifetime. And here came yet another life in to this world, just as all before, bloody, screaming, angry at being thrust upon this world such.
“Well, is he coming?” Vlad lost his patience.
“You presume too much, we do not know if it is a he or a she, and no, not yet, another minute,” my irritation at my pupil remained. “And you never did thank me for the arrangement to join the Emperors personal knightly order. It cost me much influence to have that come to pass.”
“Yes, the ‘Order of the Dragon,’ which was to attempt to recreate the might of the Knights Templar anew. I do not hold out any hope of that to come to pass, but it was a nice ceremony,” the mustache moved with firm purpose.
Focusing on the task at hand, “Now Cneajna, this should be it. When the pressure starts, one more big push… and now.”
Without even a slight delay, out came the new life, a strong set of male lungs filled the room. Cneajna breathed a sigh of relief. “How is it?”
“He is beautiful my wife,” Vlad piped up. “Vlad is beautiful indeed.”
My eyes grew dark as I finished cleaning up the newborn and handed him to his mother. “Vlad, join me in my antechamber a moment.”
As the duke’s brother entered my mask flew off and my full fury was in his face. “You have a son named Vlad already, or had you forgotten?”
“Yes, but his mother is a commoner. My will is written such that my son, Vlad, would inherit my line should Mircea not make it to age. My new wife, she is nobility, and Vlad, this Vlad, will gain position as such. I cannot deny him fortune due to my indiscressions.” He never even grimaced at my appearance. Good, he remembers my lessons.
I backed off slowly. “Very clever posturing. In the evening tomorrow I expect to see the elder Vlad at my door. If you aim to send him off to the monastery, I will tutor him myself.” I raised one hand to silence his protest. “You cannot have it both ways young one. If your new son is to be your heir recourse, then the intermediary must be cared for in seclusion lest we put your new son Vlad’s position at risk.”
Mask returned, I looked in on Cneajna as she coo’d at the infant in her arms. “Now go to her and be there for her. I shall fetch for bedding, as it is too late to take to the inn.”
it was then that I noticed the infant’s cord blood was on my glove still. I had not time to put on my garb, it happened too fast. A taste, and a stern shock as I recognized the blood of a ghoul. Eyes turned to Cnaejna, and then the politics of the arrangement dawned on me. A revenant family, of course.
Vlad had indeed learned from me, and sought to give his child every advantage he could muster. Indeed, now it was clear, Cnaejna’s father Alexander was one of Radu’s get, his great-great-great grandnephew in fact. The dedication to the family, of course they were Revenants. And now, Radu had his claws in my own plans. The infidel will suffer for this.
But, not all was lost, for the bastard may be something to salvage. I wish I had figured this out before using what little ties to the Ventrue up north I had to give this little man the title and honors of belonging to the Holy Roman Emperor’s court.
A gentle sigh passed my teeth as I crossed the grounds of the new church, still under construction, and up to the dias, and the chair under which the Eldest’s remains stayed. “Your kin have taken what I had considered mine, fiend,” I spoke to the stone chair as if the ashes within could hear me. “Let it be their luck that he is their undoing. Son of the Dragon, Vlad Dracula indeed.”
And yet, at having said it, in the back of my head, somewhere I swore someone, or something, was laughing.