Drake has no time for humans. This new world that they have built in his absence - with its garishness and its glitter - holds no interest for him. Humans are as they have always been to Drake - nothing more than prey.
He studies them as they study that which they hunt, but beyond that they are beneath his notice. He simply marks how they move, how they hide, how they wheel and turn in their packs, seeking to escape the inevitable.
He is the inevitable, and they fail to escape him. He does what he has always done - he thins the herd, but not for him the old and the weak, those that fall away and are left behind. Such meagre prey is for the others, the ones who followed after him and are but echoes of his glory.
Drake takes the kine which are prime, whose blood is all the sweeter for the chase.
Danica does not understand this, but then Danica is half-formed, lacking grace, like all of his descendants lack grace. They scrabble around in the dark, these vampyrs, afraid of their own shadows, reduced to scavenging at the edges of the human world when they should be ruling it.
They are consumed with hunger, these pale, pitiable shadows of what once was great - pitiable if Drake were capable of feeling pity. That is a weakness that he, at least, does not possess. He can summon up contempt, and a faint desire for this female who found him, with her sharp angles and her sharper tongue, but even that is faint and washed out, a spark without a fire.
There is greed in the hearts of these descendants of his, a yearning pit that can never be fully fed. They are never sated, never satisfied, and hunger always, but that is because they seek solace in the wrong things. They think that they hunger for blood, that if they drink enough, drink for long enough, that emptiness in the very centre of them will finally be filled.
Drake knows the nature of that ravenous emptiness, and it is not hunger for blood that consumes them, nor the desire for the faded power provided by the trinkets and baubles they gather to them and hoard so tightly. No, it is the need for conquest, for carnage that lies unsatisfied beneath their feverishly beating hearts.
They are not fit for it. They will never be fit for it, these pale reflections, these vampyr barely better than kine. He has sired a race that has been sundered, rendered foul by their own decadence, and it bores him.
Even Danica's feeble plans to deal with Blade do not concern him. They will meet - Blade and he - and one will triumph while the other will fall. There is a clear, ringing truth in that but Danica fails to see it, and so Danica's plots and schemes do not entice his interest.
King is human - almost remarkably so - and that means that he is in full possession of all of his human weaknesses, all of his delusions that there is salvation to be found in his 'humanity'. But he was a vampire too, once, if Danica is to be believed, and Drake does not doubt her. She is too weak to deceive him, too caught up in her own delusions of what she means to Drake and what Drake means to her to think to try.
King was a vampire once - one of these weak, pathetic creatures that are nothing more that a faded reflection of the true glory of their ultimate father, Dracul - but King, unlike Danica and her ilk, has tasted the darkest of gifts and found it wanting. Found it wanting and rejected it, throwing it back in Danica's face and spitting in her eye for good measure.
And that fascinates Drake, he who was Dracul and will be again.
Drake does not know yet how King rid himself of his vampire nature, or how he regained the humanity he mistakenly holds so dear. It was unheard of in Drake's time, and Danica will not speak of it in this, but that simply means that it is something new, something tempting, far more interesting than the tawdry, superficial existence that Danica has offered him.
There is nothing superficial about King. He is real and present in a way that such creatures seldom are, filling up all of the space around him in spite of his chains. He does not cower, and he does not back down - when there are no weapons in reach, he simply uses words instead.
There is a passion in King, and a passionate hatred of Danica that is both intriguing and amusing. Drake cannot remember the last time he witnessed such tamped down rage, barely held back by the words King hurls, the insults he lobs at Danica like the sharpest of arrows, the most tempered of blades. He watches King closely as he continues to taunt Danica, taking in the flare of King's nostrils, the rebellious jut of his lower lip, eyeing the cant of King's hips, and the long, lean power of him, barely leashed and dangerous. There is fear in King, yes - Drake can taste it in the air, and it is sweet and heady - but it is not the fear of death that drives the man.
It is the fear of being cast into that mould again, of being a half-breed and starving childe with nothing but emptiness at his core.
He does not realise that Drake could fill that emptiness, and Drake is almost tempted by that ignorance. It helps, of course, that King's form is fair - lithe and strong, a warrior's shape. He is full of the grace that Danica lacks, full of fire and fury, and he has a beauty to him that is missing from Jarko Grimwood's bloated, self-indulgently muscled form. Only Asher comes close to King, but King was right - all of Asher's fire is for his sister, and his sister smothers it, stillborn.
Drake has slumbered for thousands of years as the world stagnated, become fat and complacent. Now he is awake and hungry - hungry for blood, for conquests, for the sheer glory of destruction.
But those thousands of years have been spent alone, and he hungers to satisfy other appetites, too. Appetites that Danica, with her brittle, sharp form, cannot sate. Perhaps it is time to take a true consort, someone fierce and fair to satisfy his needs. Someone to take into eternity, at least until Drake tires of them, and he cannot imagine tiring of King as quickly as he has of Danica.
Yes, it is time to take a consort, and it will not be Danica Talos he raises up. That much is certain.