Oliver staggered against the cage behind him once the zombified monstrosity fell under their combined assault. His side was rent open, blood soaked his leg and collected in a pool at his feet. Immediately he was made aware of two things, (neither of them pain): the Dhar he had collected to sustain his spirit in its shell was working to repair him, and, more importantly, it was woefully ill-equipped for the task. Dark magic had a way of repairing flesh not unlike that of child painting a sunset with only three colors of paint.
Ziegfried seemed to shimmer in the dim light nearby and was all at once clean and whole. “How,” Oliver wondered aloud. The Von Carstein deftly adjusted his golden-thread cloak, surprised and aloof in his response, “Blood, Necrarch. You should try it sometime.” Oliver looked down at the staunched wound at his own side and back to his comrade, then nodded.
“Oh, I didn’t mean mine,” Ziegfried snorted. “I’m sure the Gorgon has plenty enough for all of us.”
“But he didn’t offer,” Oliver said, hoping for a fresh insight, “and besides I doubt you would drink that.” Ziegfried took a deep, unnecessary breath and exhaled through his teeth. He glanced piteously at his confused necromancer, then produced a silver cup from his cloak which fit snugly in his palm. Even his untrained eye could see the Necrarch was barely standing.
Ziegfried raised his wrist to his lips and from behind it came several pops and wet squishy sounds. Blood poured from the bite wound into the cup in his palm, filling it as the wound closed itself within moments. He proffered the despoiled cup to Oliver who drank eagerly…..
….deep in the bowels of Drakenhof, Oliver poured over a red leather-bound tome in the candlelight. Untroubled by the former needs of his physical shell, he had long ago lost track of time. The ancient writing, scribed in cracked blood barely clinging to flimsy pages, washed over his consciousness and recessed itself into his memory. Generations of vampires had come before, sire begetting kin. A diluting. The power which held their spirits at bay from the Aethyr was in that blood…
…“Oliver, we are leaving.” Rollo’s unyielding voice broke the Necrarch’s reverie, bringing him back to the tower. Somewhere above was Greghor, and in him, a reservoir of power that Oliver hadn’t realized could be at his disposal. No wonder he was known as the Surgeon!
The power of blood was instantly made clear to Oliver. As the group mounted the next set of stairs he could only give a cursory examination of the bookshelves they passed. Withered, worthless, tragically lost words to the chaos of this place. The real treasure was above, somewhere, pulsing in Greghor’s veins yet…
Oliver stood over the desiccated corpse of Greghor attempting to gather his rage. The gem-encrusted rod in his fist was coated with the dust of his former master’s skull.
“I want his femur,” intoned Dagomar suddenly. Wasting no time, he began to rummage for tools to dissect the dead vampire’s thigh.
It was more than Oliver could further bear. The loss of not only his vengeance, but the power of his former master’s rich blood was devastating. He left Dagomar to his defilement, stalking out of the room to hunt Greghor’s disembodied spirit.