Queen of the Night
To see even three vampires together was rare enough. Now to see this multitude was sufficient to send any mortal slinking back to their home. There they would lie shuddering under their covers trying to forget the awful memory.
Vampires hardly ever collaborated with kindred, and it was no wonder with their churlish tempers. The mood was very discordant already as they jostled one anther harshly to get the best place. But they had called and armistice because of the imperativeness of this proclamation.
The reason for this gathering of bloodsuckers was for the prince to declare his heir. Vampires were not immortal; they actually aged at about one-tenth of the rate of humans. Now the most recent prince was nearing his end and had only a daughter. While women can be vampires, they are not placed highly in vampiric society. Though they are a solitary lot, vampires must have an avowed leader. Without a leader vampires are even more deadly and dangerous than in the worst mortal legends. A single full-grown vampire can invalidate a human in less than a minute. Without a leader they wander the earth leaving wanton destruction in their path.
This is best described in the legendary mortal story Dracula, a true story about a vampire who came to power in the wake of anarchy. He amassed many vampires under him and wreaked havoc on the human race, leaving many areas still devoid of human life today. Luckily the longevity of Dracula's reign was cut short by the present prince's father Maluth.
Now that the time had come to pass on the throne, elite vampires vied for the spot, trying to put themselves first in the prince's eye. But there was one mistress of the night who was almost a nonentity: his daughter. She was the only recourse to her father, yet she went unnoticed.
That night she stood there staid and composed. Yet inwardly she deplored all the frivolous males who had obsessed over the idea of the prince's throne for years. Carthal knew that none of these naïve fools who dared to call themselves vampires would be chosen by her father. Her father had already described to her the person whom he would name. She perused the crowd for someone who embodied his description. But that person was not there, for little did she know that the person he had chosen was her.
And he had started to address the teeming mass in a voice almost inaudible, but somehow heard by even the lowest plebian at the back.
Now he had come to the end where he would announce his choice. Carthal stood there, ready to accept whomever he chose. Then she realized the meaning of what he had just said. She was to be the next leader.
To anybody watching she asserted herself promptly and easily. She looked on those in proximity with haughty disdain. Inwardly she was aghast. But Carthal was resolute, if her father had chosen her, she would lead.
The wise old prince knew quite well what he was doing. He melted away. She was born to rule, it was her heritage. Not once did the new Queen of the Night stumble. She was forthright and aloof, and dealt quickly with anyone who opposed her leadership, instilling a fear in the vampires watching. Soon enough there were no more contenders left alive. As the sun rose, she retired for the day.
Over the next few years she traveled the earth making sure everyone who might have plotted against her was dead. But she knew there was one who held it against her that he had not become prince. His name was Draculae, a descendant of the usurper Dracula. It was common knowledge that he belittled Carthal, but he would swear to her when confronted.
Carthal knew she would have to deal with this threat. He exasperated her. She hunted him like the predator she was. For a decade she hunted, he barely one step ahead.
Eleven years after her coronation, the haggard Draculae walked into a bar to find her waiting. She unassumingly led him to the door, unwilling to let their enmity be seen by the mortals inside. She fervently trekked with him in tow to the place where he had first challenged her. He was relatively stoical, pretending to have no idea why his queen would want him.
Vampires had once again been gathering for months at her proclamation. When they had arrived at their destination, they rested for a week. Carthal endowed Draculae with every thing he could want, letting him see what he could never have.
After the seventh day, when every vampire in the world had gathered in that area, that deadly shadow their queen, who had proven herself aptly, demanded that every single vampire down to the last fledgling declare himself openly to either herself or Draculae. It chafed at her how many were brave enough to claim allegiance to Draculae.
The vampiress then decreed that she would fight him to the death and if she lost he and his heirs would have her title for eternity. But if he lost, every single one of the turncoats who had defiled the name of the vampires would be sentenced to death by drowning. This was the death of a traitor.
As they prepared to fight, Draculae shouted insults, scoffing her. Carthal accorded him nothing but a curt nod of the head. This vexed him deeply.
They began the fight. Carthal was extremely dexterous and avoided every one of Draculae's crude attempts at striking her with his knife. He quickly found out that he would do nothing but tire himself out and quit his antics. The milieu was quiet as the vampires watched the duel. For a while Draculae looked as if he had a chance, until with one swift motion, Carthal ended Draculae's life forever. The ensuing chaos could have been calamitous if not for Carthal cutting it short. The traitors realized that his death meant theirs also.
The Queen of the Vampires bestowed on the traitors one month to prepare for their deaths. On the night of the executions the mood was caustic. The river's appetite was voracious, swallowing traitor after traitor. Even for the hardened queen, it was nauseating.
But this was a pivotal point in her reign. If the vampiress showed one sign of regret, it would negate her whole sovereignty. She might as well have abdicated right then.
Not once did the Queen of the Night falter. She did not loiter after the last traitor died. A pithy speech was made about the necessity of loyalty in her minions. And they were left with a sense of foreboding. She would do whatever it took to hold her throne. You do not cross a vampire and live to tell.