So how are you liking the story so far? Again, the character of Pasha belongs to the same artist that did that amazing picture of Reagan (I'll have that up on the front page soon!) but I think he fits very well into The Paladin universe.
So from here we get a peek into the mindset of the vampire Pasha as well as how his relationship with Sonia works. Take a look and enjoy!
Sonia spent the next day forcing smiles as she indulged the vampire, spending the evening dancing with him, listening to music, and, of course, listening to his tales of adventure from across the centuries. She had heard these stories many times, but Pasha seemed to have few people these days to share them with. In fact, when he was with her, whether it be dancing or conversing, he seemed to light up in a way she hadn't seen since she was a young girl.
"You were such a tiny thing back then," he mused as the pair walked beneath the light of the waxing moon. "I had no faith that you would ever amount to a hunter."
"Such confidence. I can't imagine why I had trouble," she replied, her black gown trailing lightly behind her as they toured his garden.
"You jest, but I will always admit when I am wrong. I have trained many hunters over the centuries and you have proved to be one of the most intriguing students I've ever had."
"Intriguing? Not talented or gifted?"
"No, far better. You captured something in me, Sonia."
The hunter shifted uncomfortably, turning her gaze away. "Why do you insist on speaking like that, Pasha?"
"Because I have lived long enough to ask for what I want rather than want in silence," he replied, pausing their pace. He stepped closer to Sonia, trailing his fingers along her cheek. She shivered and pulled away.
"You presume too much, Pasha."
"Do I? Surely you must be lonely since your husband passed. Wouldn't it be better to spend you days in the company of one like me?"
"My days are quite fulfilling as they are. When I'm not engaged in the destruction of foul hellspawn, I still have my Richter."
"Richter is as welcome here as you are, Sonia. Surely he would benefit from a father figure."
Sonia tensed up, turning away to hide her sneer. "My husband and my family are none of your concern."
"I meant no disrespect," he said looking toward his flowers. "Come, let us speak of other things."
"Like the formula?" she replied, stepping further into the garden.
"It is... coming to me."
"I'm quite sure," Sonia said, moving from planter to planter. Even in the moonlight, the garden was beautiful. She approached a stone fountain, topped with a sad angel. Here she paused, reflecting on her trip.
"I am thinking they are giving you something big, no?"
"Pardon?" Sonia asked.
"Your employers. For you to return to me after all this time, they must be offering something quite valuable."
"Perhaps. That is not your concern nor part of our deal."
"Would life with me be so miserable, my dear?" Pasha asked, placing a cold hand on her bare shoulder.
"It would not be a life, Pasha. I will never allow myself to become..."
Sonia turned to face him. "Yes," she answered firmly. "What you want from me I will not... cannot give." With these words she turned from the vampire and moved back toward the verdant plants that surrounded the fountain. Before her was a planter filled with camomile. Even in the moonlight, she could see the beautiful colors of these and all the other blooms, all carefully chosen and cultivated so that their owner might appreciate them even at night when other flowers closed their petals.
As she looked closer, she took notice of something out of order. Beneath the camomile where more flowers, a pale pink. She leaned closer. "Are these roses?" she asked.
"Wild roses," Pasha answered, moving to her side. "They showed up in my garden one day." The vampire smiled as he knelt beside the plant, reaching his hand out, halting just inches from the roses. "I cannot touch wild roses. I cannot disturb them at all."
"Why hasn't your servant removed them?"
"Because... they remind me of you."
Sonia stood, taking a deep breath. She looked up into the waxing moon. "You won't give me the formula unless I agree, will you?"
"I promise I will make every day a paradise for you."
"That's not a promise you can keep," she replied, turning to face him. "Still... I have my obligations and you seem to be the only solution I currently have. Let me have this contract and you may claim me after."
Pasha leaned closer, looking for deceit in her eyes. "When you have finished your contract-"
"You may come to claim me."
"I will hold you to this, Sonia."
"I know that full well."
"This... payment... it must be something incredible," Pasha remarked.
"That is not your concern. Do we have an accord?"
Pasha nodded solemnly. "Agreed."
"Thank you. Now, I need that formula. Time is running out."
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.