In the middle of the night, your entire party is roused by the distant din of battle. One of you stays behind to watch your sturdy pack mule Rudolpho; the rest of you take up your new silver weapons, mount your horses, and gallop toward the commotion.
You find Captain Teadora and a ragtag band of inquisitors in a melee with a pack of werewolves, easily outnumbered three to one.
She sees you and lets out an exuberant war cry. You join the fray without second thought, and begin laying waste to the werewolves. You fight your way over to Teadora, and are surprised to see the small child cowering behind her.
“We broke rank to save him,” she explains as you take her flank. “His father was taken by vampires, and we spotted him wandering off into the night.”
The battle does not last much longer; you manage to rout the werewolves with your new weapons.
Teadora and one of her inquisitors kneel by the child amidst the piled-up carcasses of your foes.
“It is over, Sasha. We can go home now,” she says.
The child stares back, blankly.
“His skin looks a tinge blue,” Teadora’s inquisitor points out. “Is it just the nightchill? Sasha, do you feel cold?”
The child doesn’t respond. The inquisitor reaches for his shoulder.
In a flash, the child turns and sinks outsized fangs into the inquisitor’s neck.
The inquisitor staggers to his feet, shaken and bloodied. Teadora swings at the child with her silver saber, but the little vampire dissipates into a swarm of bats that flies off into the sky. Before you can react, the inquisitor’s skin has turned blue and he too is upon Teadora, fangs seeking flesh.
Teadora’s saber is too slow to fend off this attack, but just when you think it might be over for her, her form shifts, and with one arm she sends the former inquisitor reeling. The rest of Teadora’s band surround him and finish him off.
Teadora hunches over, then looks up at you with bright red eyes. You see fur bristling on her arm where she made contact with the vampire.
“Please… kill me before I finish turning…”
Before you can decide whether or not to grant her wish, her own men bear down on her with torches. She howls as she burns, but her agony does not last long.
You return to your camp with heavy hearts. Despite having known Captain Teadora only a day, you feel like you have lost a close friend and ally.
You will remember her sacrifice.
The rest of the night passes without incident. On the third morning of your travels, you spot Castle Mitternacht on the horizon. A string of smoldering townships lines the way. A desire for revenge consumes you. You’ll take the castle by storm. You’ll burn the whole place to the ground. Every fallen comrade, every injury you yourselves suffer, will only bring you closer to your final confrontation with the Countess.
You spur your horses onward.
To be continued…