Dietlinde refused with a smile and walked outside with Septie.
"You don't like me very much." She said raising a hand before Septie could even respond. "No, don't deny it. I can tell. I'm a Vampire. Ve're people persons. Vhy not? I do not think it is because of vhat I am - you do not seem that type. So vhat is it?"
Septimie stared at her, stumped. She dropped her eyes after a second and leant against the walls, trying to think of the words to express how she felt. The silence stretched on, and she shifted, uncomfortable with Dietlinde's questioning gaze. "I-" She started, but couldn't get any further, and shrugged. "Why do you 'sink?" she asked.
"I don't know. It is not my habit to ask questions I alveady know the answers to. Unless I am being flirty. Vhich I am not vight now. Not that you aren't pretty in your own vay." She gave a little wink. "But I am asking, and my teachers alvays told me I vas a good listener. You tell me, and I vill listen."
Septim´e mulled this over, and nodded. "Eet's envy," she said bluntly, "You are..." she struggled, "you are a firstborn son to a firstwed wife. And I am, 'ave always been, ze firstborn whelp of a seventh wife." She shrugged, "In o'zer words; I 'ave always been worthless. Not good for marriage; ugly and runty, vis skinny leetle arms all corded vis gristle and muscle. And vhat else," she asked with heavy sarcasm, "is a woman good for?"
She took a toke on her fag, face hard. "And zhen I came to zis world. And am I worthless still?" She tapped a finger against her shoulder, emphasising her muscle. "As a veapon, I am useful. As a person?" She made a dismissive noise and took another drag on her cigarette.
"I am stupid, ignorant, unlovely and illiterate. I cannot read even ze language of my own people!" She paused, and dropped her butt to the ground, crushing it slowly under her heel. "And you," she said, "you are every'sing I am not, cannot be. Beautiful and intelligent, confident and funny. Rich. Powerful. A Baroness. You are a person who matters." She looked up. "I am living a short, pointless leetle life. I shall live and die an idiot, and I don't even have ze grace to be pretty."
After a pause she added bitterly, "You even 'ave her trust."
Dietlinde listened quietly, sadness on her beautiful, (slightly more so since they first met) pale face.
"I am sorry, Septie. Life is unfair. I have been very lucky most of my life, and it seems that you have been much less so. I am very sorry. The gods can be cruel, and people even crueler.
I vill not pretend that I am not more educated than you are, because ve both know that vould be a lie and I do not believe in lying to people if I can help it. But I do not think you are stupid, Septimie. I think you're much smarter than you give yourself credit for. I am sorry to hear that you cannot vead, but I think there are vorse thinks in life than illiteracy.
I am sorry I make you jealous. I truly am. I cannot help how the gods made me, neither can I help vhat benefits my blood-mother's gift have afforded me. I cannot help that you have lived an ugly life.
I'm not sorry for who I am, though. I vill not apologize for being who I am, or what I am, or for anything else vhich is beyond my control. All ve can do is make the most of vhat ve have in life. I have been lucky, and vhile I know I am not perfect, I have generally tried to do what I can for who I can. I vas always beautiful, but I vhas not alvays immortal, nor vas I alvays rich. My parents vere peasents, and I vemember helping out around the house because times were tough, and life vas hard. As I matured into a voman I vas afforded privilege, since my village had hoped I might attract the countess' attention and receive her embrace. And I did. But I vemember. I vemember who I was vas before. I could not vead then, and I vas scarcely more educated than you are. Then I got lucky, and now, vell, you know." She gave a bit of a shrug. "But I vas born a peasent girl, poor and illiterate, and vhile I am no longer such, I am now a vampire and most people do not see me as a person, but as a monster. I do not believe ve are as different as you think ve are." Another shrug.
"I am very sorry that you have lived such an awvul life, but that is not my fault. All ve can do is the best vith vhat ve are given. And I try. I am not perfect, I know this, but I try. I ask little of my subjects, and every harvest I send my undead servants to aid them vith their labors. I alvays am open for audience, and I do everything I can to help my subjects." She sounded proud. "I know you vill not believe me, but I vill let you in on a little secret. I do not kill vhen I feed. I have not for decades. I take as much as I can from each of my... ah... meals, and no more. I am not a monster. I vill not kill unless I am forced.
And it is unfair. I know it is. I did not ask to be born into a society vhere my beauty afforded me such privilege, but I vas. And I make the best I can of it. I vill not pretend it is not unfair, but it is much more fair than other societies. This is vhat ve tell the peasents, and this is vhat I believe. I know I cannot change the vorld, or even my society, and I accept that. I do vhat I can, vhen I can, for who I can.
I think you have let ugly, stupid people convince you that you are ugly and stupid, Septie, but I do not think you are. You vere not born a strong warrior, vere you? You became vun, through hard vork and effort, yes? That is vhat it means to be alive, Septimie. Ve can accomplish much if ve but set our minds to it. Vhen I vas younger, my mother told me that because I vas beautiful, I could do or be anything. I believed her then, and I believe her now. And if you ask me, I think everyvun is beautiful in their own vay. And ve all matter, Septimie. Everyvun matters." She gave a sad little smile.
Septimïe regarded the vampire with flat grey eyes. "You are kind, Dietlinde. You are kind and good." She turned to go inside, "But you are wrong. Not everyone is beautiful." She looked away, and shrugged. "And not everyone matters."
She hesitated, then turned back. "But I 'sink, per'aps, I can. I can be a person vhere it matters eef I live or die. Vis a leetle bit of hard work-" she caught Dietlinde's eye, "and a leetle bit of luck."
"Also," she said as she opened the door, "For vhat eet is worth, you are not ze only one who has eaten people." She shrugged, "Vhat makes a monster is... relative. In ze North, ve are ra'zer more into recycling than you southerners. So no, ve are not so different. Fangs do not make a monster." Her grip on the door tightened, and what little colour she had fled her knuckles. "Monsters make themselves."
"Vell, I alveady think you matter, but I vill agree to disagree." Dietlinde gave a smile. Septie could tell she had always been beautiful, but the Vampirism added to it. She had a sort of effortless confidence and predatory grace about her that no mundane human ever did. And Dietlinde couldn't help it. It's what she was. Seductive, confident, charming, and graceful was to a Von Karnstein Vampire what scaly, large, and cruel was to a Red Dragon.
"Friends?" she asked with a smile, spreading her arms for a hug.
Dietlinde is the sweetest Vampire.
Septimïe nodded. "Friends," she agreed, but made no move to embrace Dietlinde. She smiled awkwardly, and made to go back inside. Full and frank discussions were one thing, but Septimïe considered physical contact a whole other level of uncomfortable. They could work up to hugs.
Irveska lurked the halls. Going out at night in a city like this was probably not the greatest idea, especially not without a cloak and her crossbow, so she just sort of paced back and forth within the lobby. Paced and paced, until weariness began to win out against her agitation.
Obsessing over the idea of revenge so often made it dilute down into a form of caustic self-pity. Taking a seat and observing her face through a pocket mirror, she repeatedly forced a smile, and desperately tried to suppress the feeling of revulsion she had towards the way her scar skewed in response.
It was getting difficult to even remember what she once looked like, now. Had it become a sort of idolization?... Or was it the scar constantly reminding her that this was exactly how that bitch wanted to make her feel?...
Damn Dietlinde for wanting to get so close. It was a selfish, cold blooded thought. But one that was easier living with than the reality set out before her. And damn Septi too...
If only I didn't have to give a shit, I could forget. I just want to forget.
The mirror crumpled within her enraged hands, splintering and jabbing into her finger tips. Her first reaction was annoyance at the fact that their vampiric visitor would probably be able to smell even such a minute injury, and the second was how ridiculous that concept was.
Feeling a little self-defeated, she just headed back upstairs and made as little noise as possible re-entering the room.
"Sorry. Just needed some fresh air."
RISE FWOM YORE GWAVE.
The next evening, when it was sufficiently dark out that Dietlinde felt comfortable enough that if she left the inn she would not explode and/or melt, the three women made their way together towards the city's castle and ergo to Rane, while Davlin prepared whatever tricksy magics it was he was intending to use to get there. Grila was left behind in the inn with enough food (Dietlinde was kind enough to pay) that odds are she'd either be too busy eating or too busy being asleep after gorging herself to wander off and get herself into trouble. Dat Grila.
"Mistress Rane is-"
"Do you know who I am?" Dietlinde asked, her voice and body language dripping with a literally superhuman charm and confidence. There was seductive and confident, and then there were Vampires. "I am the Baroness Dietlinde Muller von Karnstein of Blutwald. I demand an audience."
"You have the authority to let us in, yes?"
"Then let us in. I'm not asking. I'm telling."
"I.. uh... okay."
"That's a dear."
As they were taken inside, Dietlinde shrugged and leaned towards Septie and Irveska. "I didn't much like havint to do that, but you say ve are doing this for a good veason, yes?"
Oh, Dietlinde, you're too sweet.
The throne room was more like a tavern after a particularly wild party. There were Incubi throughout the room, all in various states of undress. Some were busy sleeping, others were busy having sex with eachother in a dizzying area of positions and number configurations. Some decided to pleasure themselves. The Incubi themsleves of course, also were wildly varied in appearance - save for all being supernaturally handsome. Some bore wings and/or tails, others had horns, and of course there was a whole rainbow of skintones present including many that were distinctly inhuman.
Even Dietlinde seemed more than a little turned on - and not just by Rane.
Rane was seeted lazily upon her throne. She was a stunning beauty, although she didn't seem to be much more than 18 years old. The redheaded teen wore a gothic styled dress that Dietlinde no doubt approved of for reasons beyond how much of Rane's figure it revealed, and a veil over her faintly glowing vaguely Draconic eyes. Her ears also hinted at inhuman ancestry, being slightly pointed.
"Whoa, check out the tits on the masked bitch!" One of the Incubi shouted before being struck in the head by a thrown goblet from Rane, who sat up suddenly. "Manners, shithead! Behave yourself! And don't call women bitches, fuckwit... And watch your godsdamned language! We have guests! She then turned her attention towards the guard. "Why do we have guests? How do we have guests?" She waved a hand and the guard beat a hasty retreat. "Who the Hells are you three?" She tilted her head. "And why the fuck is one of you Vampire?"