The Blood Kiss had afforded Heinrich many gifts, from supernatural speed and strength to unnatural resilience and healing to rarer gifts like limited flight and hypnotic speech. It came with curses as well, the Hunger that never ceased, the pain a creature of the night suffered in the light of day, and the insidious stoking of his own hubris and temper. What remained in doubt as either blessing or curse was the large part of Heinrich’s nature that survived his deaths. While there were rare cases like Neferata and Abhorash where the vampire curse left its victim the same, most vampires—even the sires of Bloodlines like Vashanesh—abandoned their humanity seeking only their own power and pleasure from the moment they rose.
Was it the nature of Heinrich’s bargains? Each time the former shepherd entered into a pact it was at some level sacrificial. He offered up his own damnation for the life of his wife and son. He made a deal with the chaotic powers of the Warp with the understanding that the ruination he would bring could be directed to spare the innocent and, indeed, punish his own parasitic kind. Or there were more secrets to be uncovered about his Making. Elize had been revealed to have been a servant of Isabella all along. Isabella, in turn, served Kyuss. If the Worm that Walks had designs for him, however, Heinrich could not divine them.
When Isabella had first revealed herself to them in Altdorf and revealed the secret natures of Rollo and Ziegfried’s rebirths she had made no mention of Heinrich. Indeed, she seemed as fooled by the Gorgon persona as everyone else. So, another application of W’Soran’s corrupted Elixir of Life seemed unlikely. Had it been random chance that led Elize and her thugs to the small pub outside of Templehof? What were they doing there? Having seen them in lavish comfort later in Waldenhof it seemed incomprehensible that they would enter such a low tavern.
And then there was Neferata. Among men and monsters, spirits and gods, she alone had made known to Heinrich that his plots were not entirely obscured. Her station as the broker of all information within the Old World was legendary, but was that all it was? Or did she have some other stake that led her to directly inquire about his plans? Was his blunt response what she already expected? If so, why transfigure his ruined corpse? A gift given unasked with no price named was suspect and it puzzled Heinrich.
But no answers were forthcoming. The Warden of Templehof, if such a title could
exist when the city itself no longer did, rose once more having finished
convalescing after being shattered in the battle with the ancient Durthu. The Battle
at Nine Daemons was about to begin and lacking any alternatives Heinrich would
need to ensure that Nagash was reborn.