She remained alongside the famous Roman historian’s house, next to the Salarian Gate. The house of Sallust was empty and darkened as the rest of sleeping Rome.
She peered around the corner, watched slaves gather at the gate. The slaves were a gift, a gesture of goodwill from the army laying siege to Rome.
Alaric gave the Roman Senate a gift of three hundred beardless slaves. He was impressed by their loyalty to the beleaguered Emperor in the West. Loyalty deeply admired by Alaric as displayed by the Senate during the long siege. Alaric’s armies made camp outside the walls, but did not advance. He ordered attacks to cease.
How could Alaric besiege those showing such fine bravery and conviction, his emissary stated.
The fearsome general, over the last few days, continued his overtures to leave the city unmolested and in peace. Rome was desperate to believe.
The slaves, who should be at home with their masters, began to consolidate. The Gate sentries suspected not a thing.
Fools, she thought, all of them.
She glanced down. The slave lay motionless between her bare feet. She slid a toe into his ear. She shoved it in deep, jiggled it about. The slave lay still. She kicked hard enough to break a rib or two and yet he lay still. The slave was dead.
She cursed silently. It was such a waste. The teenage boy was a gift of Alaric, one of the three hundred the Senate was so grateful for. The boy spilled his guts in exchange for a quick fuck. She had to kill him when wet garbled cries erupted from the slave as she fed on him.
She had her mouth clamped tightly the boy’s bleeding groin. She neglected to enrapture him.
The vampire had barely enough blood in her mouth to swish and taste before she was forced to kill him. She shut up his cries by squeezing his throat shut.
He died, the blood turned foul and vulgar. It was worse than a rabid, dying dog.
The vampire planned to never be that destitute again.
Up until this night, that desperate and unpleasant thought was far from her. She hadn’t pondered the ugliness of her past in a long while. Now it rushed forefront as she sucked bloody teeth clean, counting the slaves’ growing numbers.
The slaves were waiting for darkest hour, she knew. The dead boy at her feet told her so. He didn’t know she was more than a concubine of the Roman Senate. She also spied for the Emperor in the East.
Theodosius was the Roman Emperor in the East and the vampire girl’s master.
She was starved out of her mind. She attacked Roman soldiers returning from campaign. They had cart after cart piled high with spoils and plunder wrested from some barbarian land.
The vampire was barely a teen and had not fed in days of wandering. She could smell them from miles away. She found them as a migratory bird locates its winter home, by instinct and a drive to live another day.
She hid by the rode-way, saw them. She saw hundreds of bleeders marching through the dust. Theirs was blood that was hot and rich. She slobbered at the thought of all that blood. There were drams and drams of it, enough to save her life a thousand times over.
She could hear them. Those strong hearts all beat, squeezing out fluid red in abundance. It was more than she could bear. She lost her head and attacked.
Weakened by hunger and travel, the Romans captured her before anyone was pierced by her fangs, the talons harmless. She was forced roughly to the ground beside the Emperor’s conveyance. The door banged open and the Emperor appeared.
The vampire was explained to Theodosius. The Emperor ignored his first instinct to destroy the monster. But instead he looked deeper and noted how comely this drinker of blood.
She lay unconscious, bound and secured. Theodosius called for a prisoner to be brought to him. The boy, almost a man, never made it to full adulthood. The Emperor had his men slice open the boy’s throat. The prisoner held by ratty shift, lost his hot, fresh blood as it spilled the vampire’s face. She enlarged her mouth far beyond explanation and fed on blood spilled.
The prisoner emptied, body tossed aside. Theodosius closely scrutinized the vampire girl. He noticed that when she was flushed with blood, her skin deepened and pinked. Her breathing ceased. Long predator teeth slipped up in gums and her talons retracted, closing into scarred fingertips. Her face smoothed. Her body, the Emperor noted, was seasoning nicely into her fullness of time.
Theodosius was inspired.
He knelt beside her. He spoke softly while undoing her restraints. She gave him her hand. He lifted the girl to her feet. The Emperor led her to his four-walled, roofed transport.
He had her clean herself as best she could, then lounge and rest. Theodosius gave the day’s orders to his generals. When finished, he went to her. She was ready.
The column of Roman soldiers resumed its march. The Emperor fucked the vampire girl for miles. Hymen ruptured. She drenched the Emperor’s plush couch with purplish blood. He shouted for another slave and she healed as she fed again.
The Emperor took the vampire girl in every way. She was strong and took direction well. She was a good girl.
They camped that night beside the water. Theodosius ordered his royal tents erected. The Emperor meant to stay a few days. She joined him. She slept, fed again, and slept some more. She did not try to escape. There was a purposeful lack of guards, but no attempt. She might be the one. Indeed.
Night fell and Theodosius sent for his best men. The vampire girl sat naked upon the couch and did watch them. She knew what was to happen. The man in charge will keep her as a pet, but first she had tricks to perform.
The Emperor stood beside her, his men stared. He spoke softly to her. She gazed back at the staring men. She slowly spread wide a leg and showed the men her flower. She reached down and peeled back petals to display her pink. It was enticing and fresh.
Theodosius studied his men. They have not enjoyed the softness of woman for a time and were enthralled by her. He whispered again. She fixed her gaze on a soldier that stood apart. He was a truly brave and worthy soldier. He was honorable by any standard. The soldier loved his children, the Emperor knew, and worshipped his beautiful wife.
The vampire girl, not uttering a single word, brought the honorable man before her. He knelt and lapped at her cool thighs, worked lustily up until he did taste of her.
The dagger point she used on his neck brought blood to the surface. The honorable and worthy man could not tell how he came to be before the vampire girl. He only believed he tasted the sweet because his Emperor confirmed it. The soldier remembered nothing.
Theodosius was pleased.
The Emperor sent the honorable and worthy man away to dream of his family. Those remained were treated to favors. She rode them all, without complaint. The daylight burned away the dark and she then slept.
He sent his men away and he watched her slumber. It was akin to the interned. Her sleep appeared eternal. She did not stir, nor did she breathe. She was cold to the touch. Watching the vampire girl sleep was like watching the dead.
She didn’t look a demon in this state. When she wasn’t feeding, when there was no blood upon her, she looked to be simply a girl on the verge of becoming a woman.
She was clever, though, deadly and quick.
The vampire girl could learn things of import. If he got her used to safety and comfort, this urchin could be a courtesan of highest station. She could be taught which anxiously spilled information was drivel and which was gold.
The vampire girl could keep a sharp eye on Rome for him. Learn what plots were being hatched and by whom. Through her judicious use, the Emperor would strengthen and consolidate power. She could kill for him, when needed.
He had to laugh. The vampire girl could assassinate whoever got in the way. It was perfect. Romans were, mostly, too sophisticated to believe in blood drinkers. Especially a young shapely one they regularly fucked.
The vampire girl could help Theodosius greatly. She could foreshadow his march on Rome.
The vampire solved so many dilemmas. She fit so perfectly his plans. He decided she fell into his lap as divine providence. She must be a gift from the Son.
Theodosius took a small contingent of guards, trod down to the river. He went into the water. He immersed himself in it, as mandated by his new and interesting religion. He kissed a cross of burnished wood and thanked the Nazarene for all. He asked for forgiveness of sins. The Emperor especially thanked Him for the vampire girl. Mysterious workings, most assured.
The Emperor finished the Christian ritual and made his way to the tents and the vampire girl. The thought of her slender budding body stiffened him. Theodosius smiled to himself as he entered the tents. She was awake and waiting for him. She was a good girl. He disrobed.
The Emperor stood naked. He spun an index finger in a tight circle. The vampire girl rolled over onto hands and knees. She looked over her shoulder at him. Smiling, she arched her back and spread her knees.
The Roman Senate, he thought, won’t know what hit them.
The vampire girl grew under the Eastern Emperor’s guidance and tutor. Except for the simple wooden idol kissed as he prayed, she was comfortable and secure as promised. She had her own quarters and fed on slaves at will. The idol made her hands burn, so she averted her gaze whenever near.
She made ready and sent to Rome. She was a gift to the Senate from Theodosius, the Emperor of the Eastern Empire.
The Senate, once tasting of her, did thank the Emperor most profusely.
Theodosius, upon hearing the flowery proclamation, laughed his royal ass off.
The dead boy at her feet was no slave. He confided this as he grunted and sweated on top of her. He bragged about it. He told her none of the boys were really slaves at all.
Alaric, outside the city with his armies, was playing the Senate. The boys were soldiers in Alaric’s army. And now they were massed at the Salarian Gate.
Soon they would rush unsuspecting, drowsy guards and overwhelm them. After the guards are dispatched, the slaves will open the Gate. Alaric and his armies will pour through and sack Rome.
The vampire girl had to admit, a devil of a good plan. She learned about it much too late to warn Theodosius. Not in time, anyway. It would take days to send a message that far away, even if peace ruled. In a few moments, all will be chaos. There will be no message of warning from her.
A glut of slave/soldiers clustered together in the darkness. They hid from the guards. They had daggers cleverly concealed. The vampire could hear their plans.
It was nearly Dark Hour. She heard stirring and hushed movement from outside the walls.
She turned and disappeared into the dark night.
The sounds of men fighting, dying at the Gate came from a distance. She scaled the wall, peeked over the top. A soldier stood watch near a group of placidly cropping horses. The guard leaned against the wall, right below the vampire. She was a preying mantis anxious to savor his fluids.
Her eyes yellowed. The guard’s blood teased her. Fangs fell and talons pierced the wall. She went over, scaled silently downward the outer side. The vampire inched stealthily toward the unwary guard, creeping like a hunting spider.
The vampire halted inches above the crown of his helmet, eyes yellow and shining. Saliva, pink and slick, dribbled cool from her, splattered the back of his neck. The soldier reached the spittle and wiped some free. He brought it around and peered closely at it. He couldn’t place it, absent suitable light.
He felt he was being watched. The guard quickly scanned the immediate area. He was at the ready, but saw nothing save his brethren in the distance and horses beside him. Then, to satisfy a strange but insistent urging, he glanced upward. His breath caught at what he saw.
She smiled at him and his heart almost stopped.
Her talons split the anterior chest wall and gripped his ribs like handles. She pulled the guard off the ground. His heels hit the wall spasmodically as she fed.
When finished, she dropped him to the ground. The vampire girl remained inverted on the wall until the fresh blood suffused her core. Then it spread glowing warmth throughout her body.
She hit the ground. Vampire signs died down. Flushed and full. Inside, Rome erupted with violence and strangled cries. The vampire outside the walls, walking carefully away as the dying city was raped.
It was time for her to change loyalties.
She saw Alaric’s tents up ahead, not far. She smoothed her hair. She pinched up her nipples until the hard gems strained her tunic. She tightened fabric to accentuate the curve from waist to hip. She ran a finger between thick downy lips of her vulva. The vampire dabbed wet scent wherever her pulse pounded close to the skin’s surface: behind ears, base of throat, the soft sparse fur under her arms.
She wondered how many of Alaric’s men she would have to fuck. Did not matter, she wasn’t afraid of them. Theodosius, the Emperor of the Eastern Empire taught her well. He taught her to thrive.
The tents neared. She was mostly free of blood. She could hear men laughing with triumph. Rome, all knew, would now fall.
She saw Alaric emerge from the tent, surrounded by his men. The conqueror saw her. The vampire smiled seductively and came to him.
In Gaul, almost eight centuries later, the vampire finally died. She fed once too often in the same place. She paid for it with her long life.
Frankish peasants pinned her throat to a mud wall. She bled out around the farming implement impaling her. They curiously watched as she died without struggle. They piled wood and hay around her feet. The blaze set, fire raged. Still there was no struggle.
The vampire traveled vast distances, crisscrossing the centuries since leaving Rome. She witnessed and experienced many great and horrid things. She killed more humans than anyone could count. She could have lived many more years, could have taught survival as an art form.
But she tired of it, all of it. She grew weary from the living of life and the taking of it. She tired of it until she despaired. She was finished. What shall be done next, when all has been? There was nothing left for her, save the one.
She allowed herself to be captured by the Franks. Her suicide was all she had left to do.
And it was a triumphant one.