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The Goblin

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Prologue: The Quest



I found the human realm to be such an odd place—despite the fact that my origins were in it. I suppose five centuries away from it had increased its novelty and its strangeness, but I was ready to return home: to Nenvia, the realm of the vampires.

A realm where the sun rose for only five hours per day.

A realm of peace.

A realm of sense.

Ironically, it had been the Fae, a race which had—in ancient times—been the mortal enemies of vampires, who had helped vampires find and establish Nenvia. And it had been they who had helped us to build our portals between the human realm and Nenvia. And in exchange for a homeland of our own, we had offered the fairies the peace they so greatly desired, too. Now both fairies and vampires could travel to the human realm, but we couldn't stay there indefinitely—nor did we fight there.

In fact, a treaty between all Supernatural creatures ensured that peace was kept among us.

As part of our traditions and the treaty, vampires were somewhat restricted in our travels to Terra—what we called the human realm. However, all vampires were required to "tour" Terra during their five-hundreds; I was 599 years vampire and had only a month left in to my "tour," which was called the Quest by vampires.

The Quest requirement was designed to educate us.

And to recruit.

Indeed, our questing was a chance for us to find worthy human companions to help us keep Nenvia well populated and infused with "fresh blood"—both literally and figuratively. Some of the humans—we simply took to Nenvia and "dropped off" before continuing with our Quests. These worthy folk lived among us as citizens of the realm. In turn for peace and the opportunity to escape the narrow confines of humanity in order to live up to their true potentials, the humans offered vampires a few feedings per week. Some of them eventually chose to be turned; others simply lived out their human lifespans. Some had families, and their children could stay in Nenvia or immigrate to Terra, where they would be glamoured to forget about vampires, but given a substantial amount of money to begin new lives.

None of the Terrans in Nenvia were blood-slaves by any stretch of the imagination! Such practices had been discontinued many, many years before I was born, chosen, or made.

During my own Quest, I had found three humans worthy of citizenship in Nenvia: a Persian scientist well ahead of his times, a Florentine artist who had been imprisoned for canvassing a nude male body, and a "witch" of Britannia, who was about to be killed for using herbs to ease a human woman's menstrual cramps.

On occasion, a questing vampire would also find a human suitable for turning during the Quest itself. The choice to become a vampire, however, was always left to this human—as was the choice of citizenship. If a questing vampire found a child, he or she would turn the human and begin his or her training even as the Quest continued.

I had found Pamela during the ninth year of my Quest. If the "pull" had not been great, I would have tried to ignore it, for being in Terra that long with a new child didn't appeal to me. However, I could not help myself and Pamela was incredibly worthy.

I had never regretted making her.

Pamela had visited Nenvia only when we had transported the citizens I had found. Not surprisingly, my child was anxious to settle in the vampire realm! Of course, she also wondered if she would truly love Nenvia since she had lived as a vampire in Terra for the greater part of a century. However, I had no worries in that arena. Though I had seen and learned much during my Quest, I never doubted the superiority of Nenvia compared to Terra, especially for vampires. The day stole too much of our time on Terra.

Like most makers and their progeny, Pamela and I had enjoyed the physical pleasures found in one another's bodies for a while, but we soon fell more naturally into a familial relationship. Contrary to my fears that having a new child would be cumbersome during my travels, she had proven to be an entertaining companion. We had journeyed this way and that across Terra, traveling through Asia, Africa, and Europe in turn.

While most of the humans we encountered still believed that Terra was limited to the lands that had already been discovered by them, vampires knew that was not so; in fact, Pamela and I had traveled to one of these "new" lands with a group of people related to my own human ancestors. After making sure the boat that would carry us had an adequate light-tight space—thanks to a little glamouring of the crew—Pamela and I traveled from Norway to Iceland to Vinland and finally to a land that had not been named, a land of people with unique clothing, customs, and languages. Like the people of the North, these humans believed strongly in the supernatural. Pamela and I were regarded with near awe by them; thus, they were quite sharing of their knowledge, and Pamela and I soon learned their language enough to function there. We stayed with them and explored part of that "new" world for ten Terran years. It had been an exciting part of our travels.

Now in the final month of my time in Terra, Pamela and I had made our way to London, which was the city of my child's human and vampire births. It was also within a night's distance from the portal that would take us to Nenvia.