(Lucien is first on the scene, looking dark, breath-taking, and determined. As Linda and Tony-Paul trail with the others behind them, he raises his glass in a toast, downs its contents in one swallow, then tosses the goblet into the fireplace, listening to the crash of broken glass with a satisfied nod.)
Lucien: No talk of killing tonight. Let’s speak of romance. (Sarcasm gilds his tone) Our Tristan here has a mortal concubine, a former Black Swan, those lovely mortals who donate blood for ecstasy and incredible sex. (Casts a black look at Morgan) And Morgan has a penchant for human females. Marek, can your species breed with humans?
Marek: Aventurieri consider themselves studs, and they have an enormous capacity for love-making plus enormous—
Linda: Gentlemen, this is a PG-rated blog. Let’s not be too graphic.
Tony-Paul: Wait, I want to hear this.
Marek: Mistress Linda, I bow to your charming request. (looks at TPV) You—later, we’ll have a barroom boasting session.
Domingo: Let’s get back to the subject, compadres. Not breed, perhaps, but love…? In California, where I now make my home, I met the human woman I married and that stopped my roving ojo. I’m now a widower—but I helped raise my stepdaughter, and I’d never thought of fatherhood until I saw that little muchacha. Such una angela! (reaches into his hip pocket) I have baby photos… (Tony-Paul shakes his head.) Bien, perhaps later. I went to PTA meetings, was a soccer dad…all went well until I attended a parent-teacher conference and took a couple of nips out of my daughter’s teacher, and… Well, fortunately, she didn’t remember that.
Damien: I’ve loved only once as a vampire. My Konstancza, who was so endearingly mortal. She died trying to protect me and I’ve never found another to take her place…but I’ve certainly had fun looking!
Marek: Again, I’m out of place here. To answer your question, Lucien, not only can aventurieri breed with humans, but our religion recognizes this and has made it unlawful to do so. Nevertheless, some of my people willingly break the law and face death because humans are so attractive. What are your views on that, Maestru Lucien?
Lucien: According to our laws, mating a vampire to a human is strictly forbidden. (Glares at Morgan who gives a cavalier smile)
Marek: Then you and our Prince are in accord. Unfortunately.
Morgan: As they say, forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.. I understand you can fly, Marek. Would it be indecent of me to ask if we could see your wings?
Marek: Not indecent, perhaps, though a little impolite. Aventurieri consider their wings another body part, and quite frankly, nothing makes a male prouder than preening his wings--before his female, and to have her touch them-- while we make love in the air… Ah! (shakes himself slightly). Excuse me, Mistress Linda. I think that might have been a touch crude. Tony-Paul, do I need to beg your forgiveness, too? Or is this one of those manly American moments?
Damien: You mean where one nudges the other and winks?
Domingo: No, I think that’s a British gesture.
Lucien (ignoring the Spaniard): Marek, do you also have a human concubine?
Marek: Not a concubine, no. I’ve someone I wish to marry, once I can figure out a way around that death-sentence legality, because even to think of marrying a human is illegal. I believe she’s the reincarnation of my beloved wife, Lily-Magda. I was devastated when Lily died and I refuse to put Maggie in danger, but I worship the girl! Law is sometimes so damned inconvenient. To answer your question, Morgan. My wings are hidden in internal pouches on either side of my spine, so to unfurl them, I’d have to be naked. Therefore—No, you won’t be seeing my wings—not in mixed company anyway. If this were a locker-room moment, I’d be more than happy to break them out and flaunt them—they’ve a combined total of 12 feet, you see. Size, you know. (smirks) If you need a description of them, check out Tony-Paul’s novel The Shadow Lord.
Domingo: I’ll put in a word here about los libros de nuestros. Damien’s story is told in Night Man and I have my own little epistle, the Legends of Sleepy Hollow, a play on mi nombre, de Leyenda. Sleepy Hollow is a quiet little subdivision, or at least it was until my stepdaughter and I moved in.
Tony-Paul: Our English guests, what novels are you featured in?
Tristan: My story is Black Swan.
Morgan: Lucien stars with Tristan in Black Swan. Our story, mine and… Mine is Sinners Opera, as yet unpublished. (cocks an eyebrow at Lucien).
Lucien: Though you are shielded and I can’t read your mind, I know what you’re thinking. I have not prevented Sinners Opera from being published. Why don’t you tell us a bit about Isabeau?
Morgan (a muscle in his jaw jumps): I refrain from answering.
Tristan (sensing tension rising): As the sun is rising, the only one of us who can continue this interview is Marek. Though crosses, garlic and the other accoutrements to ward-off or kill the vampire do not affect the Vampyre, the sun will immediately turn us to crispy critters.
Marek: (bowing slightly) Don’t let me keep you from your…tombs? Coffins? Murphy beds? It’s almost time for my restaurant in the French Quarter to close and my brothers and I have to be there to lock up.
Tony-Paul: I think this would be a good place to close our interview, also, don’t you, Linda? (bows elegantly) By the way, if you’ve nothing better to do, I’ve talked it over with Marek, and he wants me to invite you and the others back to his restaurant. We can pull the black-out drapes across the windows. There are still a couple of bottles of dark wine to kill, and I’ll find a nice Pinot Noir or something for you. I’ve just received a crate of True Blood Orange which I’m eager to try. If you won’t mind being the only femme at the party, that is
Linda: Who could refuse dinner with seven handsome men? Mind being the only female? Not in the slightest. I look forward to getting to know Damien, Domingo and Marek as well as I know Morgan, Tristan and Lucien. And you can fill me in a little more about your own life, Tony-Paul. Gentlemen, shall we adjourn to Stryker’s?
(Exit Stage Right, Linda and her entourage.)
PHOTOS: 1) A castle in the mist from Tristan’s Ireland; 2) Marek’s restaurant “Styker’s” in New Orleans; 3) a Transylvanian churchyard
(These Series of interviews have been brought to you to promote Linda Nightingale's novella Black Swan, available from The WIld Rose Press, and Tony-Paul de Vissage's new novel Dark God Descending, available from sams dot publishing.)