To My Dearest Teresa,
If you’re reading this letter, it means that my message has safely gotten behind enemy lines. How are you doing in Windenburg? I hope that the servants have been performing adequately even without my presence. Life here on the front of the revolution has been bothersome because it always pains me that I am not there with you. I miss the times we paint beautiful sceneries of Windenburg’s vistas and the walks that we have out in the country.
I’m glad that you’re not out here in the woods with me. The Paragon Movement has amassed more than 5,000 supporters, which includes people from all walks of life. Former aristocrats, lawyers, butchers, cobblers, rogues, and even slaves are united as brothers-in-arms. We’re all fed up with one thing; the current monarchy in Windenburg that slowly sucks it dry.
We were able to capture the Von Haunt Estate in the hills, but the mansion was burned by the Royalists as they retreated. Unfortunately, the Von Haunts who resided in the property perished in the blaze. Although we were left with nothing but rubble and scorched earth, we now have a good view of Windenburg from atop the hills.
My servant Miguel has been a wonderful student; he has been helping me treat the wounded well, and I was amazed that he was able to learn various languages at such a great pace. At this rate, he might even surpass me. Like me, he is now fluent in Windenburger, Lutecean, and even the language of that upstart country in the west called Simlish. A country declared independence from the Simland Empire as of late, calling itself the Federation of Simia. Although they are upstarts, they have inspired revolutions sweeping the world nowadays.
We will be attacking the final defense line of the Royalists soon. Windenburg has thick walls to breach and a cannon fort near the castle, so it will be a challenge. Once the monarchy has been overthrown, peace in Windenburg will be restored, and Simocracy will reign. Then I can finally open a clinic in our home, and we can all live happily ever after.
Long live the Paragons.
The letter has no signature this time.
It has been a few days since I was abducted from my home, and when I woke up, I was in this dark cell. Reading the letters from my grandmother’s chest have kept me occupied, and it made me more interested in my family history. I didn’t listen much in history class back then, but I do remember the Paragon Movement being a revolutionary group that attempted to overthrow the Windenburg Monarchy. It ended in failure with the Paragons getting routed in a pincer attack from both the Royalists and their strong supporter, the Lutecean Empire.
I want to know more about the person writing these letters. His last letter is the one before he got executed, and there were no more letters with dates farther than that. The other letters compiled are really mundane ones that discuss daily life back then. One thing in common about these letters is that they are always addressed to a woman named Teresa, who happens to be my great great-grandmother.
“Still reading that, child? It’s getting late.” My train of thought gets interrupted as the voice of the old man in the other cell talks to me.
“There’s nothing to do here, Pastor Ramirez.” I address the old man by his title and move to the bench near his cell. Pastor Ramirez is the Head Pastor of the Vampire Hunters Guild in the state. He attempted to excommunicate Pastor Westfall formally in his mansion but got captured. One of his bodyguards was killed, and the other one was dragged off to another area in the prison.
“I’ve only been thinking of escape.” the old man says with a sad tone. “You’ve also heard those disturbing sounds, haven’t you?”
I just nod at what he said. The noise started a few days ago, like snarling of some sort. Then there was a lot of banging, scratching, and clanging coming from somewhere. It has been very unsettling that I couldn’t get some sleep lately.
And just then, we hear a loud snarl coming from somewhere. It resonated throughout the whole prison.
“That’s how feral vampires snarl, child.” Pastor Ramirez says. “I’ve dealt with them throughout my whole life as a hunter.” he adds and beams with pride.
“I sure don’t want to meet any feral vampires, Pastor.” I tell him. “The noises are becoming more frequent each day.”
“It’s best if you don’t. If I were ten years younger, I would have gotten us out of this prison by now. Unfortunately, my back has been aching more often these days.” the old man says as he taps his hip.
“Don’t push yourself, Pastor. We’ll find a way out somehow.” I reassure him as I look around the impenetrable cell that reeked of human excrement.
Then someone opens the door of the hallway outside. The figure enters and stops in front of Pastor Ramirez’s cell.
“You…” the Pastor looks at the figure who entered with anger on his face. “Have you come to laugh at me again you bastard?”
“Gosh, no! Just came here for a little friendly chit-chat.” Pastor Westfall speaks in his usual gregarious tone. “Just tryin’ to make sure that I get some sweet revenge, that’s all!”
“It was an accident that was beyond out of our control, Hugh.” Pastor Ramirez calls Westfall by his first name. “The ferals got out of the cage on their own.”
“Which resulted in my daughter’s death.” Westfall’s mood changes as he switches to a sad tone and becomes silent for a moment. He then speaks up while seething with rage.”I’ve been huntin’ vampires for a long time, too Ramirez, but it’s harder when the vampire that you have to kill is– used to be a loved one. She turned into a feral because of you!”
Pastor Ramirez doesn’t reply for a few moments.
“And all that trouble just to experiment on those damned things! You’re probably worse than I am, old-timer!” Westfall laughs.
“The medallion would have helped in the experiment.” Pastor Ramirez says weakly. “Finding a cure for vampirism with the medallion’s power could have saved thousands of lives. I had noble intentions!”
“You still planned to sell your damned cure anyway! Ain’t denyin’ that! I thought we were all about public service, you damn hypocrite!”
Pastor Ramirez just stays silent and looks at me after a few minutes.
“I’m sorry for deceiving you, Teresita.” he says as he looks at Westfall again. I try to say something but just remain silent at the revelations unfolding.
“If you want your damned revenge, just kill me here and now damn it. I don’t have many years left anyway.” Pastor Ramirez stands up from his bench. “Just let this girl in the other cell free; she ain’t a part of this.”
“I’ve got better plans for you, old friend.” Westfall grins. “We’re gettin’ your family involved in this, too. And I’ll make sure that you lose ’em the same way I did as well.”
“Is that why the feral noises we’ve been hearing…”
“You catch on pretty quick! Still sharp despite your age, I see!”
“Monster. So Alejandro…”
“Is now something that we hunt. He was a good bodyguard, I’d have to admit. Quite ironic to see hunters becoming the hunted.”
“You fucking bastard. I swear if I still had the strength I’d strangle you with my own two hands.” Pastor Ramirez attempts to grab Westfall from behind the bars but suddenly experiences back pain.
“My back! Dammit!” the Head Pastor reaches for his back as Westfall laughs.
“You can’t do a thing without your Guild equipment, old-timer.” Westfall mocks him. “Accept your fate.”
Pastor Ramirez tries to breathe deeply.
“I beg you, in the name of the Llama Almighty, just give me a peaceful death.” the Pastor tries to speak despite his pain. “And let young Teresita from the adjacent cell go. She doesn’t deserve any of this.”
Westfall just shakes his head. “Can’t do that, old-timer. Your time is pretty much up, and I made a deal with someone to get me that girl and the chest she had in her home.” That reminded me of my grandmother’s chest. Where has it gone? Did Westfall sell off the antiques inside it?
Just as I was about to say something, the door opens as two large plumbers enter.
“Looks like you’re next.” Westfall tells the Pastor as one of the plumbers opens his cell.
“Teresita!” Pastor Ramirez calls to me. “If you ever get out of this place, tell my family that I loved them.” He attempts to resist the plumbers but gets overpowered and dragged away. “VERITAS ET AQUITAE!” the old Pastor shouts as the door closes. Westfall then goes to my cell.
“Well then, Ms. Vivas.” he calls me. “How have been my accommodations so far? Have I been hospitable enough?”
I don’t reply as I see Westfall smile. “Your capture just helped me get revenge with the help of a friend I made.” As soon as he finished his sentence, the door opens as another figure walks in.
“Westfall.” the sharp-dressed man who came in approaches my captor. “So this is the girl who has kept the chest in her home?”
“Claims it’s a family heirloom, Master.” Westfall replies as I raise my eyebrow at the last word. “She’s in this here cell, unharmed and well-fed as you have ordered.”
“You have performed adequately, Westfall.”
The pale-skinned man walks up to my cell and inspects me from the outside.
“She looks just like her…” I hear the man say to himself in a soft tone.
“I guess I’ve finished my task. What do we do now, Master?” Westfall asks the man with a tone that does not suit him as a leader.
“Go exact your revenge upon that old man. I will deal with her personally.” the man smiles as Westfall nods and leaves obediently. “We need to have a talk, Teresita.” Then I notice the fangs in his mouth.
He’s a vampire.