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Lucius points the way
 

Dear friends, one of the reasons I recently traveled to Eastern Europe was to assuage my curiosity regarding the legends of sock monkey vampyres which seem to permeate that part of the world. As many of you know, I have a keen interest in the supernatural, and although I have met vampyric creatures in the past, I had not yet entered the Transylvanian region specifically to investigate the phenomenon. The following is an account of my excursion. As a companion to this piece, I have authored a short Sock Monkey Vampyre Primer for those less familiar with sanguinarian sock monkeys. It is available at the end of this tale. If one is interested, I recommend perusing the primer only after the present story has been digested.

I entered Transylvania during the light of day. The vivid green of the trees and the loamy smell of the earth massaged my senses as I traveled through the country. When the dark blanket of night enveloped the region, I quickly understood how vampyres could exist and feed here without molestation from the modern world. Outside of the major cities, life continued as it had for hundreds of years. It was easy to see why the local citizens had a healthy respect for the supernatural, for when the sun set, other-worldly energies permeated the land like a thick mist. I followed the trails left by local legends and interviewed knowledgeable townspeople. Needless to say, there was no shortage of vampyric tales. I searched the region's castles, first Poenari, and then Rasnov. I next went to Bran Castle, where Vlad Tepes, also known as Dracula, is alleged to have stayed on occasion. While Bran Castle is more of a tourist spot than a likely haunt of the undead, it was here that I first encountered the sensation that I was being watched and regarded by hidden eyes.

 

Watched at the well

A suprise attack from above
 

I had paused in one of the bedrooms of the castle to mentally scan for strong psychic energy. Immediately I realized that an incredibly powerful force was directly above me! I had been careless and let something slip past my defenses! A dark form launched itself at me. Its speed was amazing, its reflexes uncanny. A second before I was rendered unconscious by a skillful supernaturally charged blow, I saw that my quarry, a sock monkey vampyre, had indeed turned the tables on me.

I awoke in a coffin situated in the bowels of the castle. The vampyre was set to sink its fangs into my throat. I could feel his canines' needle sharpness scrape against my sock. A pinch of pain cut through the foggy stupor inhabiting my mind as his fangs attempted to pierce my neck. In another moment I would be lost. By supreme force of will I reached deep within and marshaled my remaining strength. I broke the vampyre's hold and leapt to the floor, assuming an offensive posture.

"How rude to interrupt my meal! I understand you wish to learn about vampyres. I will give you a lesson you will remember for the remainder of your short life! " The vampyre shouted from his coffin. "I will suck the stuffing from your body as you choke, wither, and die. When your lifeless empty sock sits pooled at my feet I will pick my teeth with your plastic eye" he continued as he flew from his coffin and confronted me on the ground. He lunged at me with arms raised. His viper-like fluidity and speed were astounding.

 

Lucius fends off the deadly bite

I narrowly dodged simultaneous blows to my head and torso. "Indeed, I believe you are mistaken. I shan't be your meal this eve, night walker. I have not come to injure you and I need not be your enemy. I only thirst for knowledge. However, if you continue to pursue your present course, I believe you will find this meal is more than you might be competent to consume" I responded.


The reverse spinning monkey kick
 

"I only thirst for your stuffing!" The vampyre screeched. "I care nothing for you or your intentions. The snake does not heed the frog's protestation as it slowly digests the frog. Nor will I listen any longer to you. Now I, Vlad Nosagoul, will feast upon your essence!"

Vlad rushed at me in a blur. I focused my energy inwardly and entered into a semi-trance state, the result of which was that for me, time seemed to slow. In my altered state, Vlad appeared to be moving at a more conventional speed, and I hoped that now I could successfully face this daunting foe. Concentrating, I waited until the last moment, then I sprung upon my hands and performed a reverse spinning monkey kick. My foot connected with Vlad's nose.

Vlad appeared stunned both from the physical force of the blow and by the fact that I indeed had been able to assault him. He staggered back two steps, let out a gurgling howl of rage and sprung at me with renewed vigor. I dropped to my knees so as to avoid Vlad's flying form. As he passed through the space where my head had been mere nanoseconds earlier, I struck upward with my fist into his midsection. A grunt escaped from Vlad's mouth as he glided over head and rolled to the floor. Vlad quickly jumped up and flew into the air.

"Next time I will feast on your insides!" Vlad yelled down to me. "You will never escape me, I will hunt you forever! Your mortal luck will not always be as strong as it was tonight, monkey!"

 

Lucius ducks as Vlad alights

"That's Lucius Monkey" I responded as Vlad flew from the room. I believed that Vlad, having been defeated and shamed once, would not rest until I was destroyed. I realized that I had to prepare myself for the eventual re-match that he would instigate.


Lucius arrives at Ihrin's house
 

While canvassing the local population for information on nosferatu, I had heard tales of an old woman who, in her prime, had fought vampyres. Although, several of the stories also mentioned that she was a bit of a trickster. She lived alone in a straw hut away from curious eyes. I spent the next several days making my way to her abode. I utilized all of the stealth I could muster in order to avoid Vlad until I was fully prepared. When I reached the woman's house I found her out front sweeping her dirt stoop. She appeared wizened and bent, but a gleam in her eye told me that her courage and cunning were not diminished by her age. I introduced myself and told her of my situation. She, in turn, introduced herself to me as Ihrin.