Three weeks ago in my post about historical vampire slayers, I mentioned the story of a group of vampire hunters from the island of Santorini in Greece who had a reputation for being experts in vampire hunting. This idea stuck with me, and the vampire hunters of Santorini have been a fixture of my vampire tales. Here we see an encounter in my short story “The Vrykolakas and Cobbler’s Wife” which appeared in issue 66 of Cemetery Dance Magazine. This story is set early in the 20th century and Marina’s husband has been turned into a vrykolakas, a kind of hybrid vampire and werewolf. A stranger appears in the shoe store left to her by her husband.
“Best of luck,” said the man, reaching out for the shoes that Marina handed to him. “Better lock up after I leave,” he said, darkly. “I’ve heard rumors of a vrykolakas in the neighborhood.”
Something about the man’s tone kept Marina from simply answering with her usual expressions of concern. “You seem an enlightened gentleman, sir—not the type who usually finds fear in such night creatures as the vrykolakas.”
“I would like to think of myself as enlightened,” said the man, simply. “However, I know all too well that vrykolakas are real. I’m from the island of Santorini, where many of us make a profession of vrykolakas hunting.” The man handed her his card. The name printed on it was Kostis Fasoulakis. “The Prefect of Ilia asked me to come here to find and destroy the vrykolakas that is haunting this district.”
A cold chill ran down Marina’s spine as she wished the stranger good afternoon.
Early on in my novel Vampires of the Scarlet Order, the vampires are discussing their upcoming raid on the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Suleyman the Magnificent. The vampire Alexandra brings dire news about the Hunters of Santorini.
“And, Suleyman is a real threat, given the weakness of Charles’ empire. As such, they call on us to keep the Ottomans contained,” said Roquelaure, turning and putting his hand on Alexandra’s slender waist. He kissed her on the nose, then spun out of her embrace.
Looking around at the ruins of his castle, Draco sighed. “At least this campaign should give me enough money to rebuild my home. The books I was able to save are moldering in the tomb. I need to get them back into dry air.”
As the vampires spoke, two others appeared from the ruins with a long table and turned it upright next to Draco and Roquelaure. Other vampires brought wooden chairs and rocks on which they could sit.
Once they were seated around the table, Rudolfo opened the meeting. “So, how do we proceed against Suleyman? He will be heavily guarded.”
“Indeed,” said Alexandra. “I’ve heard rumors that he will be guarded by the Hunters of Santorini.”
“The Hunters of Santorini?” Rudolfo’s eyes narrowed.
“The strongest league of professional vampire hunters we’ve ever met,” explained a stoic Egyptian woman at the end of the table. “You’re lucky you’ve not encountered them yet. Of course, they’ve yet to meet the force of the entire Scarlet Order. Those of us unfortunate enough to know the Hunters have only dealt with them one-on-one.”
“Years ago, there was a particularly imprudent master vampire on the island of Santorini in Greece,” explained Alexandra. “He created many vampires on Santorini and the surrounding islands. They were like a plague. Several humans using the resources of the Greek Orthodox Church made a study of our kind so that they could contain the plague.” Alexandra closed her eyes and Roquelaure pulled her close, protective rather than playful.
Last week, I discussed Larry the Exterminator from Vampires of the Scarlet Order. Later in the novel, the Hunters of Santorini make an appearance and warn that Larry and his wife are employed by forces even more frightening than the vampires themselves.
If you want to read more about the Hunters of Santorini, I hope you’ll read my novel Vampires of the Scarlet Order, or check out my story “The Vrykolakas and the Cobbler’s Wife” in Cemetery Dance 66. The hunters even have a cameo in my novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order.