Sigrid was a tall, Norwegian beauty. Her shoulders were narrow, her legs long, and her posture rigid as a runway model. Draped in high-end, well tailored clothes, no one would suspect that she seldom had anyone to impress. Most days, she worked in her pajamas while lounging in her sparse apartment in Vardø. Her small group of friends included a smattering of artists and radar technicians; people that wouldn’t care that she could read a sentence and be able to devise everything about the person who wrote it.
The IGPS categorized her as a Bibliomancer, though she hardly considered herself kin or kith to those strange fortunetellers that used books to forecast the future. She knew that she was much more than a garden variety con-artist that spouted vague statements and claimed they were visions from beyond.
She walked down the Champs-Elysees, peering at the tall, colorful window displays of Louis-Vuitton, and considered stopping in. She had plenty of Euros on hand, and a lot more in the bank. She had a reputation for honest work; she had managed to salvage ancient spells from the hands of Islamic extremists and transcribed Atlantian texts, but it was her illicit doings which lined her pockets. Black mail came as second nature to someone that found secrets as easily as she did.
She considered the shabby satchel that hung limply over her shoulder. It went with her ensemble as well as paint splatters went with fur. It looked worn and worthless, but it held a priceless treasure: The Vampire Folio.
At a glance, it was a simple document about vampire attacks during the Middle Ages, but it was truly much more than that. It secretly held the names of many powerful vampires, several of whom would be willing to pay handsomely to keep their lives and ages hidden.
Most world governments had long placed restraints on vampire society. Each vampire was required to register with the government. Every hundred years or so, they were required to change identities, often losing their lifetime of accumulated wealth. Seeing as a vampire didn’t worry about many mortal expenses, it wouldn’t take much for them to amass gigantic estates. In order to keep the mortal economy moving, it was prudent to keep wealth moving from the hands of vampires, where it would normally stagnate.
With the names of a few choice vampires, Sigrid would be able to amass a gigantic estate of her own. First, she would need to let her targets know what she had, and that she was not one to be trifled with. However, she needed powerful allies in order to bring her scheme to fruition.
Sadly avoiding the entry to Louis-Vuitton, she kept her eyes facing forward. There would be time for fashion later; she had the most important meeting of her life awaiting her in the Metro station across from the Arc de Triumphe. As she carefully crossed the street, she eyed Emperor Napoleon’s monument with its trumpeting, triumphant angels. Soon, the angels would trumpet for her success.
She made her way underground, leaving the light of day at the top of an incredibly long flight of stairs that seemed to lead up to Heaven and down to Hell. She slowed her stride, glancing swiftly from side to side, visually sweeping the narrow tunnel. She could hear the sound of a guitar in the distance, but it drew closer. The playing was melancholic and hypnotic as the chords progressed from D to E flat, then to A. It sounded familiar, and it sounded evil.
“You are her then?” asked a man draped in a long, black shroud. His pallid fingers strummed his guitar dexterously. His hands continued, as though possessed of an intelligence of their own, as he spoke. “You are her, and I am him. Let us see the book then.”
“What is the word?” she asked.
“Word?” he asked, “There is no word. She told me of no word. Who are you? Perhaps you are not who I was expecting.” A fanged smile never left his face.
“There is no word. None, save Tabitha. She sent us to meet each other.” Sigrid pulled the Vampire Folio from the satchel. “She said that once I was done with it that it was to go to Camille and leave it with him.”
“Lucky for you that I am he.” His playing stopped abruptly. “The Gypsy chose well when she picked you. You are punctual.” He adjusted his guitar on his gaunt frame, letting it hang by his side. “If you will put it in your bag, I will take it away.”
“First, I need answers. I need to know why you are my contact instead of Quaashie. He and I have a past. You aren’t a player in this.” Her tone was sharp and accusatory.
“Quaashie is dead. Gunned down by an American. We will have revenge on him soon. Do you have news about the witch and her man?”
“They survived the night. I’m meeting with August this afternoon,” she smiled grimly, “Ironically, it was my guarantee of safety. If I don’t meet him at the cathedral by four, he’ll have no trouble finding where I am.”
“Using the enemy to protect you from an ally? Are you sure you aren’t a vampire?” asked Camille, amused.
“No, but I learned from one,” replied Sigrid, “and he will pay for what he did.”