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"They never knew youremained?" I asked
"Staked, headless vampire Drained monk and robe An uncommon couple, yet the only two-plus-two their superstitious but holy medieval minds needed They burned the bodies and ravestone for me on an empty plot"
"What name did it read?"
"None of your business, Delilah Street I have lost everything ofI am pleased about"
"After all these centuries? At least you have an identity to guard Even my name isn’t really my own," I admitted
His thumb stroked e name?"
"I said I was a reporter, not an actress"
"Could have fooledto distractit
"I was an abandoned infant supposedly found on Delilah Street, only there’s no such address where I grew up, in Wichita, Kansas You want to forget who you were and I want to find out who I am"
"‘Aren’t we a pair’?" Sansouci quoted theback in the velvet banquette
He was showing so his tale of his si, of his virtual virginhood lost He was the usual cynical Sansouci again Maybe
Eitherhis tale had returned Sansouci into the deceptively laid-back persona he automatically used to lull human or olf fears He’d had centuries to perfect that I could see how ot hooked on the tension between his sensually knowing exterior and deeply dangerous needs It was tantalizing
He licked his lower lip without being conscious of the fact, considering me "No more questions?"
"Dozens How did youlive?"
"Anie supply of victims ouldn’t be missed I’d chosen God as ato any teuess? We’re talking the fourteenth century here"
"You’re talking the fourteenth century I can’t believe the changes you’ve seen Frosters"
"That breed has changed the least of all, Delilah What did I do with ht hundred years?"
"I have no idea"
"You’re an inquiring reporter You pride yourself on putting two and two together You tellme to "undress" his mind-set, even his soul, to dissect his va, naive, obedient, chaste monk of an unthinkably alien tio I’d let Sansouci unnerve me It was time to reverse the situation
"The Irish then were disenfranchised in their own land," I said "First by the Norlish They became wanderers, like the Jews Bards andall lands even into the nineteenth and twentieth and twenty-first centuries Even today, a lot of the freelance journalists braving the Mideast wars and meltdowns to report for the American news networks are Irish Still, you didn’t crave pay or treasures to live, but blood Do you play an instru clues
He considered, then said, "Only women now"
His voice, the tone, the implications were meant to distract me They did
How did aback to my Our Lady of the Lake convent school classes allowed ious history
I closed my eyes and recited "It was the end of four of five hundred years of rabid Viking butchery and terroris nations were seething ar, even to sending knights on crusade to the Holy Land, the Middle East"
My fingers tapped on the table
"What instru?" Sansouci taunted ers pantolass
"Castanets," I said, realizing what e by Moors in that period Wait" I sat up straight "Yours isn’t a night’s tale, like around the caht’s tale You joined the ht to hold Muslims back from Europe and reclaim the Holy Land"
"Battle was butchery then Blood was everywhere Your liquid diet would go unnoticed"
"More than that, we battled for the cause of heaven Our foes deserved to die"
"Maybe their leaders did, not the foot soldiers"
"It arrior to warrior then, knight to Saracen Drinking their blood only further eradicated them from the face of the earth"
"You didn’t turn any?"
"Never Why? A vampire turns a human only from desperation"
"What makes a vampire desperate except lack of blood?"
"Utter hatred or revengeor establishing a link with a mortal he or she can’t bear to lose It’s always beauty that destroys the beast, Delilah"
"Then you never had any human connection in all those centuries?"
"Only brothers at arms, and they came and went, as the wars came and went"
"Why were you turned in the first place? You were already dead and out of the way"
"The most common of the seven deadly sins Greed"
"Greed? You were a penniless nized my assailant after I staked him, a trusted retainer of my elder brother’s Apparently Gowan feared I’d tire of the abbey and take what mere happenstance had earned hi but order of birth"
"I don’t doubt it He’s long ain "How did youconvert from battlefield to bedroom?"
"The times did it for hteenth century Then I looked for ‘just’ wars on the side of the foot soldiers, not the rulers, and finally I realized by the mid-nineteenth century that as just war, no ‘justice for all’ in them at all I hadn’t chosen to be a vampire but I could choose to dine froe made it clear they weren’t to be found on a battlefield"