50 sentences about Vladislaus Dracula as he was and what he became.
The most powerful demons, he had read, were formed of blood and mud, hate of God and living creatures: it is a formula that continues to be very effective.
An ancient superstition holds that the wounds of a corpse will bleed afresh in the presence of its murderer, though Gabriel had not attended his funeral for other reasons.
It was impossible for one such as him to be alone for long, which might have contributed to his rapid resurrection.
"The apple does not fall far from the tree, Gabriel, though you may be right in saying that one rotten fruit does not condemn the rest of the basket."
Even infernal contracts signed in blood will burn as easily as ordinary paper, given a great enough fire.
It is only after the battle that he can afford to sit back and revel in the sight and sound of his enemies being impaled.
The crackling of the leaves underfoot is audible to even those without preternatural senses, but he does not try to avoid this inevitable meeting.
He had given Gabriel the ring once, then taken it back again, and he is the only one now who remembers why it is on Van Helsing's finger.
His children, and the means of their survival, have faces and forms that only a mother (or father) could love, but that does not make them any less precious to him.
He had thought that the only truth was to be found here; now, he knows better, but still regrets that he is unable to turn the pages without setting them on fire.
In their triumphant flight, he sees a different kind of immortality.
They work well as a team, though it is only when they are alone with each other that they are truly together.
In the scenes that he only vaguely remembers after more than four dreamless centuries, a voice calls him faintly but insistently to return, and his answer is always the same.
With the loss of the monster, he will have to put aside his plans temporarily until they walk into the trap, but the years have taught him patience.
Sometimes, he will fly over the forest by himself without the urge to feed, looking for the places where two once rode, and sparred, and loved.
"It is not for you to judge me, Gabriel; do we not all make mistakes?"
There was no one who could ease the stiffness from his shoulders, tense with fighting and worry, until Gabriel came to take part of the burden from them.
He is used to people shouting at the castle doors for his blood, since he has always taken theirs.
"I am not your son; he was murdered, as you well know."
The dead travel fast, but even he finds this mode of transportation thrilling, if only over short distances.
He had a mastiff once, a beautiful and powerful animal which he regretted having to put down when it showed signs of rabies, for the poison in its blood would have meant madness and death for anyone who came too close.
Gabriel had taken enthusiastically to the use of cannons; it amuses him to see that some things never change.
He maintains that he can tell the character of a man in his presence from the sound of his heartbeat: this means that he will never know himself.
"Is it that you cannot remember, Gabriel, or that you do not want to?"
Once he desires something, it is easy to convince others that it is necessary; so far Gabriel has been receptive to all his ideas except the last one.
The expression on Van Helsing's face is the same as Gabriel's several lifetimes ago, when Vladislaus asked his opinion of the rows of impaled prisoners stretching into the distance, further than the eye could see.
He had thought that a coffin would be oppressively heavy, but now it has become as essential as breathing no longer is.
When the heavy doors of the sepulcher were opened, three days after the first report of corpses drained of life, all they found were the prince's bloodied clothes neatly folded on the bier.
He bides his time as patiently and persistently as a spider spinning its web, and after hundreds of years, his time has come at last.
Sometimes he walked with one of them in the day, cloaked and shielded heavily from the fading autumn twilight, and he could almost imagine themselves as a happy village couple out on a stroll in the woods.
The water is crystal-clear, but Vladislaus can no longer see himself in it, or cleanse himself with its purity.
For him, deeds are as easy as words, but in the end, neither will save him.
Compared to them, she is rough and raw, but he is confident that Anna will be a fine consort with a little persuasion and training.
Early in his un-life, a lucky strike by a panicked priest had left him temporarily unable to see; deprived of his vision, he found his enhanced senses further heightened, and his only regret was that Gabriel was not with him.
The blood that courses through a man's veins is his life.
He always takes the lead with his women, and his soldiers never questioned his orders, but there are times when he prefers to relinquish the reins to someone else.
He drinks until the pulse has almost stopped, and is not sated until the faint echo of the last beat fades before the pounding rhythm in his ears.
Manna in heaven may be sweet, but blood on earth is sweeter.
The cold and the darkness here are unchanging; though Vladislaus once considered winter his favourite season, he has learnt that there can be too much of a good thing.
One of his regrets is that he neglected to appreciate the rare beauty of a clear summer sky, now that he is no longer able to do so.
It is a long time since he has been able to see himself for what he truly is.
This he remembers: the feel of hair between his fingers, soft laughter in the small hours, a radiant face turned to him in the lamplight, and his own lips curving involuntarily to mirror that smile.
In the first few months after, she tried to keep to a semblance of routine, weaving and embroidering as she had done during her mortal life; it is only when he snaps the thread and her work unravels into nothing, that she understands what she has become.
The majestic sweep of his fortress walls still delights his eye long after mortal architecture should have crumbled to dust.
If this were a true sleep, the thoughts that run through his mind would be thus termed.
Long ago, he had woken from a dream of a great and terrible winged creature and run screaming to his parents' room; his father had thrashed the childish fears out of him, and he had sworn that he would never again make the same mistake.
He had sworn loyalty to the Church, a long time ago; now, his allegiances are somewhere else, but Vladislaus Dracula always honours his vows.
Gabriel was the only one who could make him feel the insensitive calluses of his sword-hand.
A mask conceals many things, though he needs it only when he has nothing to hide.
He feels cold, though the blood spurting from the deep gash in his throat, flowing over him and pooling at his feet, is so hot that steam rises from it in the silent air, and he knows that this is not the end.