The full moon called a hail of stars down from the sky on the night the devil came. The wind blew with a force that made walking against it not unlike trying to push a boulder uphill. It sent the rain, sharp and cold, straight at you so that it stung where it hit bare flesh, almost as hard as if it were hail. This would have made it hard to see anything, even had the moon not already been buried by the thick, dark clouds. There was no clear divide between the sky and the land, the whole of it being draped in a shroud of black without end.
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.