Nestled into the Northwestern corner of Acadia we’re gathered at the joint headquarters for the Arcadian Bureau of Demonic Affairs and the Council of Seven, which is located at the former University of Anchorage Research facility. Here budding agents train, redevelop old technology to work on steam, and build new advancements.
The massive, five-school, former campus once specialized in Aviation Technology. In the engineering quarter, we’ve caught up with one of the scientists. Today, we have a special guest, the one and only Petre von Baron—now a transportation engineer, who was born, raised, and died in Romania in the 1800’s at the young age of twenty.
Except he didn’t remain dead. Petre isn’t a normal vampire. After witnessing his brother murder another and covering it up, the servant girl’s father, Hestin, a warlock, curses them both.
For those who wish to know, his brother was sentenced to live as a demon horse, but Petre’s curse was immortality. Only a pure, true love can break the curse.
Rae: “So, Petre, whats it like being dead?”
Petre runs his hand through his long black hair and laughs. In his Romanian accent he replies, “Of all the things you could possibly ask that’s what you lead with? You of all people should know.”
Rae: “Well, of course, I know, but readers might like to know more. Can you lighten up a bit?”
He takes a moment, staring over into the dark corner of the hangar where a group of agents have gathered to watch. “At first, it sucks. Then it gets better as you realize the freedoms. After the first hundred years, everyone I knew had died.”
Petre glances back to me. “When you have nothing to live for, life loses its vibrancy.” His pale hand waves in the air. “I was a monk, by choice, living a simple life before Hestin cursed me. All I knew was family and brotherly love and religion, but without them, I found myself tumbling into a dark abyss with my brother. For the next two hundred years, I fought to break the curse, so to answer your question, at first I feared it, but then I loved it before I despised it. After Kori, I had a reason to live again.”
Rae: “What about your faith?”
Special Agent Dorian Fox coughs into his hand and shakes his head off to the side.
Petre: “They say I’m not allowed to talk of that.”
Rae: “What? Who’s stopping you?”
Petre: “The Arcadian Bureau of Demonic Affairs…” He pointed toward a large airship and the agents surrounding it. “Agent Fox and Gabe warned me earlier, so no spoilers.”
Rae: “Fine” I turned the page and shook my head. Wow. This is the thanks I get for creating the lot of them. “How many women did you go through before you finally found Korri?”
Agent Westcott: “We can here you, Rae.” Korrigan’s brother tapped his head.
Petre: “More than the stars in the sky. And we’ll leave it at that.”
Rae: “That’s vague. Do you care to elaborate?”
Petre: “I care and therefore will not. You might have young eyes perusing pages, and they don’t need to know of my misdeeds, exploits, and misfortunes.” He leans forward. “I’m not a role model. I’m just a man, who was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and I’ve paid dearly for it.”
Rae: “Fair enough. Wow, I forget how humble you are for a vampire. So out of those you found, how many of them knew your secrets?”
“None.” He stares at Agent Fox again, but his rigid pose has relaxed.
Rae: “But you would have told Korri, right?”
Petre smirks before turning his steely gaze on me. “The thought had crossed my mind.”
Rae: “If there’s one thing you could do differently with Korri what would it be?”
Petre: “I can only choose one?” he asks, leaning backward.
Rae: “Yes, only one.”
Petre: “But I have two.”
Rae: “Fine. Give me two.”
Petre: “Knowing what I know now, I would’ve killed Jules sooner. I would’ve found a way to discover Korri earlier, right after Veric dropped her off. Oh, and I never would’ve left her alone.”
Rae: “That was three.”
Petre: “And?” His brow cocks.
Rae: I clear my throat. “About the letter. Jules Garland told you never to leave her alone, yet you did. Why?”
Petre: “I’m asked this a lot, and I’m more surprised people haven’t caught on. But the letter never stated that I had to be with her at all times. She was never alone. I left her to my trusted servants, so how was I supposed to know that Jules meant me when he wrote alone?”
Rae: “Fair enough. So, is there anything you really don’t want Korri to know about you?”
Petre: “She knows all about me, but I’d prefer she didn’t know about my less than scrupulous tactics of attaining information, know-how, and knowledge from humanity before the Sundering.”
Rae: “Care to elaborate?”
Petre: “No.” His gray eyes fleck with yellow.
Rae: “What was your favorite era to live in? (and you can’t say the one with Korri)”
Petre: “The best is yet to come. She taught me that.”
Rae: “Last we saw of you, Korrigan thought you were dead, but your eyes opened. So, what are your plans for the future?”
Agent Fox coughs and his steps echo in the hangar. “Excuse me,” he says and approaches Petre, handing him a slip of paper. The two converse in hushed tones as I tap my foot. Agent Fox turns and flashes a sheepish smile before tipping his hat. “Apologies.”
Rae: “Do I need to repeat the question?”
Petre: “No. The Arcadian Bureau of Demonic Affairs says that I have to be careful of spoilers, but I’m allowed to say my story unfolds behind the scenes of Altered, where I meet my future brother-in-law, Cain, and the Archangel of Death, Agent Dorian Fox. However,” he peeks at the paper, “the story isn’t for Korri or me to tell. We will make a reappearance soon in a companion novella titled, Afflicted.”
Rae: “Thank you for joining us, Petre.”
He flashes a dimpled smile and stands. Before leaving he says, “Don’t lose yourself in the battle of good or evil. You have to look deeper to understand what’s really going on. It’s more than lives at stake, bigger than you, the Angels, demons, or me.”
You can meet Petre in Constricted.