When I shared the cover of my forthcoming novel, Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order, I also shared the back cover text. The last paragraph of that text reads: “Three vampyrs, traveling the world by moonlight—one woman and two men who forge a bond made in love and blood. Together they form a band of mercenaries called the Scarlet Order, and recruit others who are like them. Their mission is to protect kings and emperors against marauders, invaders, rogue vampyrs, and their ultimate nemesis—Vlad the Impaler.”
Vlad the Impaler was more properly Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, also known as Vlad Dracula, which means Vlad, Son of the Dragon. He was Voivode of Transylvania on three separate occasions and fought to defend the Balkans from invasion by the Ottoman Empire. He earned his nickname “the Impaler” because of his reputation for impaling his enemies. Of course, Vlad Dracula achieved worldwide celebrity when he became the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s vampire Count Dracula.
Vlad Dracula is also central to the 2005 novel The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova in which the narrator traces the history of Vlad Dracula and discovers he may have been more than inspiration for Bram Stoker.
A year before the release of Kostova’s novel, I also had the idea that Vlad Dracula played a role in the development of the vampire legend. In my post Desmond, Lord Draco earlier this year, I recounted the scene from Vampires of the Scarlet Order where the vampire Mercy explains to Daniel how Desmond’s history intertwines with Vlad’s. What we learned was that Desmond fought with Vlad the Impaler.
So, how does Vlad the Impaler go from being comrade to “nemesis”? Well, that of course is part of the story Dragon’s Fall tells. But, I foreshadow some of that story in this snippet from Dragon’s Fall where Draco tells about his first meeting with Vlad. He has gone in to rescue the boy, who is being used as a puppet ruler for the Turks in the Balkans.
I quickly scanned the room. Against the far wall was one of the short beds that were fashionable in those days. A half-asleep boy, about fifteen or sixteen years old, reclined against pillows, rubbing his eyes. As his vision adjusted to the darkness, his gaze fell on Roquelaure, just as he pushed back the red hood of his cloak. The boy opened his mouth to scream. I dashed across the room and covered his mouth with my hand.
“Boy, we are here to rescue you from the Turks,” I whispered.
He tried to bite my hand and smiled as I pulled it away before he drew blood. “I do not need to be rescued.” His smile turned into the cocky sneer of a teenage boy who thinks he knows everything. “I am the prince. These disreputable Turks are my servants. They do my bidding.”
“You are a puppet,” I said. “The Turks pull your strings. If you want real power, then come with us. We’ll take you to your uncle in Moldavia, and you can rally the people to your cause. You can rise up and defeat the Turks.”
He looked at me, then looked at the body on the floor. His eyebrows creased as though from a memory of pain. He seemed to consider something he had never considered before. “The Turks tortured me and my brother….”
The way he said “Turks” felt like the way I may have once said “Saxons.”
Roquelaure stepped up and knelt beside the bed. “Here you think you have power over those who brought you pain.” He looked toward the door. Like me, he knew it wouldn’t be long before Rosen retreated from the front gate and the other guard returned. “Go to your uncle and you can have revenge on the Turks.”
The boy’s eyes flashed from Roquelaure to me.
“How do I know I can trust you?”
I peered deeply into Vlad Dracula’s eyes. For a moment, I felt like I was gazing at a reflection of my younger self. I quieted his mind just as I would quiet the mind of my prey. “I can give you no reason to trust me.”
Just as I said that, the image of Vlad’s father—throat slit and bleeding out—came to my mind. I hoped the boy could not see into my mind as I could see into his. “I simply give you no choice.”
I stood up and looked at the boy, who stared slack-jawed into the darkness of the room. He would not remain that way long. He’d soon wake and we needed to act fast. I went to the window and threw it open.
Behind it were bars. I nodded, thinking how much the boy really was a prisoner.
Reaching out, I grabbed the bars and pulled them apart—wide enough for the boy to slip through. Looking out, I saw Alexandra and Nabila, waiting just as planned. Roquelaure scooped him up and brought him to the window, then unceremoniously pitched him out. Alexandra caught him deftly, just as the boy began to recover his senses. Fortunately, he seemed too shocked to scream.
Not much longer to wait now for Dragon’s Fall. Remember, you can pick up a copy of Vampires of the Scarlet Order at the following sources:
Order the print edition at:
Order the E-book edition at: