Doravenour has left me a few primers on reading Dracaa as well as reading modern Draconai. These have been added to my classroom subjects. As has French, Italian, and German. Today, we are expecting the arrival of Von Kroul. According to Truva, he is a German hunter with a superiority complex. Of course, he has been through every major upheaval in Germany’s past. Including the nasty thing with the guy named Hitler who was crazier than crazy.
According to Truva, Von Kroul is a legend. Almost mythical. During Hitler’s time, he was successful at hiding and secreting Jews out of Germany. According to Truva, he saved thousands of lives. All while killing vampires.
But he is much older than that even. Truva isn’t sure, but he believes that Von Kroul is actually one of the last Huns. However old he may be, our German visitor is someone special. Even if he does believe himself superior. But, then, maybe he is. After all, he isn’t just another hunter. He is a Guardian.
I can’t wait to meet him. I only hope that I am not a disappointment to him. I make my way to the arena. As I enter, I am met by Truva.
“Are you ready?” He is concerned for some reason.
“I am.” I try to assure him.
“He might try to kill you. After all, you are a vampire. And he distrusts all vampires.” He is worried.
“If she is all zaht Grady Says she ist, den she ist no wampire, she is the chosen one. Vot say you, Mein Italian Fruend?” He is definitely a German. Papa used to play pretend with me and would do different impressions. One was a German.
I step forward. Truva is next to me. The tall, lithe form of Von Kroul greets us.
“You haven’t changed one bit, Herr Von Kroul.” Truva bows in an ancient Italian manner that is lost on me. I curtsey.
“A voman?” The German grins. “A but ewen a voman can be deadly. And Truva, mein olt fruend! How you have–gotten shorter!”
“All in the name of preservation, Rutgar. Man, as a whole tends to get spooked if a guardian remains in one guise for too long.”
“Zaht ist why you remain hidden, mein fruend! und why you only hunt at nacht.” He is making a real effort not to say a ‘v’ in place of his ‘w’ on some words. I smile.
“Still. How did you ever get food to eat? Most stores were owned by normal humans. And in the middle ages, up to the 1600’s, they tended to burn people at the stake or cut off their heads for witchcraft if they remained alive for longer than the allotted time. I know. I almost met my end more than once before I learned to change.”
“Truva, you olt vindbag! quit lecturing me on things I already know. Ya. I changed more than a few times during my long life, but I have returned to my most belovet form. My olt self.”
He has watched me fly around the arena, marveling at my agility in the air. I have gotten better over the weeks between my first flight and now. Truva and McCall have been shooting arrows in the air above me as I fly and I am expected to dodge them. I am getting good.
We practice this for a while. then, as I tire, an arrow almost hits me and the pain begins again. The same pain I remember from when I turned into a butterfly. Of course, I was thinking at that precise moment, when the pain started, of how nice it would be to be a bee.
“Vehr’d she go?!?” Our German guest is obviously surprised. “I haff never seen a wampire do daht before!”
“I may have neglected to tell you of her shape-shifting abilities, mein fruend. And maybe that was on purpose.” Truva is obviously amused.
“Not Fair, mein fruend! I hat no varning on dis!” Von Kroul is not happy at all.
I only carry the shape of a bee until I am where no one can see me change back. Oh, the pain. I am kneeling beside the bleachers. I remind myself that I should never do that when I am so exhausted. I pass out.
I wake up in the infirmary. I look up to see three concerned faces hovering above me.
“McCall found you, Cris, and clothed you. He also carried you in here. What happened?” Truva is filled with emotion.
“I am sorry,” I reply weakly, “but that last arrow almost hit me. I was getting worn out and my mind began to wander. I settled on thoughts of being a bee. Not the best idea I had. Hurt like hell.”
“Ah. Then there really is a price for shape shifting. Not like regeneration. Daht ist vot Truva, McCall and I use to…disguise…ourselves from century to century. Not real shape shifting. More of a rearranging of features and bodily structure. Painful in its own right, it can actually cause us to freeze in some forms.” That deep German accent is still driving me insane. Coarse and grating at times, it still has a definite rhythm.
“Whereas shape shifting, true shape shifting, is a realignment of everything including the insides of the shifter. Very painful. And not a trait in any vampires I have ever seen.” Truva finishes the German’s thought.
“No, indeed. Which makes you something much more. And much different.” The German avers.
“Rest, child. Your day is over for today. Von Kroul and McCall will hunt together tonight. We will have to find out who to contact on this one so that they might be able to help you overcome the pain aspect of your shape shifting abilities. Or at least train you to ignore the pain.” Truva winks.
I hurt. That bee trick was like cramming a five foot body into a two foot suitcase. Just isn’t natural. I fade off to sleep and dream. I dream of horrible things. But I am locked in and cannot wake. Please tell me this isn’t real! I cannot allow it to happen! No!