A clearing. The smell of burning oil filled the air, distant but still thick and pungent. A yak raised its head, half-chewed cud sitting in its open mouth, as a woman wrapped in an old cloak, torn and muddy, sprinted past it towards the tree line. There was a bundle cradled in her arms, a squalling cry coming from it to pierce the peaceful quiet of the open space. Once the woman had passed the yak lowered its head to carry on eating. It never noticed the two men in red cloaks who followed, making far less noise, sometime later.
Laurent De Castelnau’s severed head sat in the centre of a cheap kitchen table, staring at the five captains gathered in front of him in accusation. In death his true face was now permanently on display. A yellow hue to his once smooth brown skin, sunken cheeks, two rows of pointed teeth and a ridged, protruding brow; the vampire face he had always been so careful to hide.
The full moon shone the deep red of spilled blood high above the ruins of Tel Megiddo. Gaspar glanced at it only briefly, thinking it somewhat unusual, before his thoughts went elsewhere. There were more important matters to worry about than the colour of the moon, after all.