But first, on earth as vampyre sent,
Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt they native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from they daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life . . .
Wet with thine own best blood shall drip
Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip;
Then stalking to thy sullen grave
Go - and with the ghouls and afreets rave,
Till these in horror shrink away
From specter more accursed than they!

By Lord Byron from The Giaour (1813)

The first time I looked into those eyes, I knew there would be a price. I just did not know how high it would turn out to be.

The first time I saw them, it was just in passing. I was in my mother's garden, I had tended to it since her death. I saw him from across the garden way: tall, fair, commanding. He was the kind of man who would attract attention to himself no matter where he went; not intentionally, yet he wouldn't mislike it.

He was simply walking, but something about him made me uneasy. I felt cold, though it was the middle of the day, and June. But I was chilled, and did not want him to catch me staring.

But then, I caught his gaze and was lost. There were stars in those eyes, pools of shimmering light pulled me into their twilight depths, and there I gazed upon the heavens.

Then I turned away, and went inside. But I thought of those eyes for much longer than I should have. I still dream about them, even now, even when I know what wickedness lay hidden 'neath the stars. The wickedness of Hell.

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I had come to town on business, it was to be a short trip, and I was to return to Alris after a few days. We had to keep up pretenses and all, besides, even we needed money.

But once I saw her, I knew it would be much longer. I felt her pull before she ever saw me, felt the tug of power, and pulled her gaze toward me. It was the clear gaze of angels, innocent. I held it for just a moment, and then to my surprise, she broke contact, and disappeared into the house I knew to be hers.

A pale eyed, dark haired angel.

I felt the need to contact Alris, and I felt the need not to contact her. I felt more than I had in years. At least in this era, I did not stand out so much. In Greece, I had stuck out like a sore thumb, to coin a phrase I recently learned in these parts, and, to invoke an ancient term, was called Lamia. I didn't need to risk that again. England suited me, and it suited my purposes: cool, shady, secretive.

Now, I had another purpose. One that called for my best, and most intriguing, skills.