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DescriptionLady Dorn is anything but a lady, she’s a vampire. A former member of the imperial guard and ennobled for saving the emperor’s life, she gave up on life and retired to her airship home. Now, the person responsible for the attacks on the vampire population has resurfaced, and Lady Dorn may be the only one who can stop them. Or will her luck come to an end at the hands of her most treacherous ally?
Reader Rating: (4 Ratings)
Excerpt:The streets of London shone brightly from the full moon overhead. Its beauty completely unmarred except for well trodden paths and the ruts left in the road from steam powered carriages. I rested my hand against the cold faceted glass separating me from the rest of the world and smiled. I loved winters in the British Empire, and London had long been my favorite. Two hundred years I have spent here, hunting, living, and hiding. I planned on spending many more.
"Lady Dorn?" Gerard, my manservant, made my name a question. The sun had set not long ago and he knew I didn't like to be disturbed until I had dressed and exited my chambers. Whatever he wanted, it must be important.
"What is it, Gerard?" I tossed my question over my shoulder not taking my gaze from the streets below.
"You have a call on the looking glass, my lady." He bowed, begging forgiveness for interrupting me.
"Tell them I shall call them back, Gerard. Get out."
"My lady, 'tis the emperor," he said by way of explanation.
I sighed in exasperation. Vampires ruled the world, but whoever had made a child vampire and how he had become emperor of the British Empire lie beyond my comprehensible thought. He should have been destroyed centuries ago. Having the mind of an immortal trapped in the body of a child had driven him quite insane.
"Tell the child I will be with him in a moment. Tell him I need to make myself presentable for his magnificence. That ought to quell his impatience."
Gerard bowed again and left through the parquet wooden doors separating my chambers from the rest of the rooms of my airship. I gazed longingly toward the London streets far below and spun, heading to my wardrobe. I quickly stripped my wispy nightshift and donned my thick velvet and silk gown. Normally, I would have worn a basque or corset under my gown, but I hoped my impropriety would keep the emperor on edge. It gave me a distinct advantage. Nor did I bother with shoes. I didn't have the time nor would the emperor be able to see my feet through the looking glass. I wanted him on edge, not pushed over the precipice.
My quarters had hardwood floors laid over the metal decking of my personal dirigible home. The hallways connecting the various rooms however, did not. My feet made soft padding noises on the cold floor leading to the communications room. I opened the metal door to see Gerard kowtowing before the circular screen of the looking glass.
"Where is she, worm? You said she would be right here and yet I wait. Find her!" My visage darkened at the voice coming through the copper horn affixed to the side of the unit. Gerard looked up and saw me standing off to the side and I saw relief pass through his eyes. My recognition surprised me. Humans were so hard to read sometimes.
"I am here, my emperor," I said, and stepped in front of the portal allowing Gerard the opportunity to make himself scarce. "I apologize, I had not yet dressed for the day and I doubted my emperor would want me standing before him in naught but my nightgown."
I looked up from my brief bow at the miniscule vampire sitting on his throne before his own looking glass. His image faltered every second or so as the steam turbines in the bowels of my airship struggled to supply enough current to power the miraculous contraption. I gazed at it lovingly. Very few non-monarchy humans (the few who remained) and vampires could afford the technological wonder. I resisted running my hand over the copper coils, the vacuum tubes, and the antennas vaguely sparking with energy and focused on the emperor instead.
"It took you long enough, Lady Dorn. I need you at the palace at once! It's happening again."
I didn't need to ask what he meant by "It." The room faded away and I stood in the very chambers of the emperor again, my mind reliving the horrors of a century ago. I started to shake as I held the dying, undead body of my love. I relived the horror of ripping the brass clockwork spider-like contraption from his dead chest. I relived the sound of it smashing against the wall after I threw it with all my might.
The clockwork spiders had been the brainchild of an evil scientist. Their sole purpose was to steal the very magic that animated vampires. Twin needles pierced the heart of the vampire, draining them of their essence, and collecting it in a glass vial in the underbelly of the mechanical beasts. The one I ripped from my beloved Winston's chest had been meant for the emperor. Winston had saved him.
I cursed Winston for dying, and the emperor for living.
Reader Reviews (2)
Submitted By: Firewolf on Apr 12, 2011Lady Dorn by Sean Hayden is set in an alternate steampunk world where vampires rule. Lady Dorn is a former member of the imperial guard and made a noble by saving the emperor’s life. Growing weary of the court and still aching for the loss of her husband, she retires to her airship home. Unfortunately the persons responsible for the attacks on the vampires all those years ago comes back and starts killing again. Lady Dorn is called upon to stop them. This short story is a great read.
Submitted By: jen_wylie on Mar 3, 2011A fantastic tale, superbly written in the steampunk genre, with vamps too of course. I loved Lady Dorn, but strong women are always my favorites :) Despite being a short the world is very well evolved and described, the characters are unique and wonderful. Beware Haydens works... they will draw you in and never let you go. Looking forward to more from this author!
Lady DornBy: Sean Hayden