by Matthew D. Ryan
We vampires do not make easy prey. Our weaknesses are few, our strengths many. Fear is something we do not know, and death but a distant memory. So tread softly, pray to your god, and gird yourself with silver when the moons arise and night’s dark prince awakens. We fear not the wizard, nor the warrior, neither rogue, nor priest; our strength is timeless, drawn from darkness and we know no master save the hot lust of our unending hunger. We long for blood, your blood and no blade, nor spell, nor clever artifice, can keep us long from our prize. Feel our teeth at your throat, your life ebb from you, and know as darkness comes to claim you that the price of your folly is your everlasting soul.
I change shape and take to the air. It is a clear, cold night, with no clouds to hinder my vision. Below me, the dark canopy of the forest bears an even darker scar; the trail of the old river and its sister road to town and Arcalian.
Despite my near limitless power, I am cautious about openly wandering in a human city on a clear night. I have had run-ins with them before and I have no wish to draw undue notice. I soar in a long gliding circle to free my mind for concentration.
It takes but a moment.
Then the storm begins to build, drawing in clouds from the distant sea. They roil and churn in the darkening night, reaching forth with long writhing tendrils as if to grasp the town with a shadowy hand. A chilling gust of wind sweeps through the forest trees and the mists boil forth from the valley floor. All told, I spend an hour circling the town while the storm gathers its strength. Then, as the first lightnings begin to flash and the rains begin to fall, I descend on shadowy wings into the heart of Drisdak, the city on the Sea of Sorrows.
The mages guild is easy to find; its rancid stench of magic can be smelled from blocks away. It’s a tall building, made of stone, looking more like a miniature keep than a guild house. Five circular towers loom up from a central stone edifice. I have no doubt that Arcalian can be found in the highest tower in the room of the guild master, undoubtedly basking in the luxuries my services provided.
Guest Post: Zombies vs. Vampires
The question of the century has been posed: mythical plagues ravage the human race and there is a New World Order coming. Who will claim the world for their own? The rising might of the vampires, or the horrible scourge of zombies?
An interesting question to be sure. What does each side have going for it? I think strength, intelligence, wit, and a larger array of special powers go with the vampires. Depending on how true you want to be to the original folklore, vampires have shape-changing ability, control over weather, and are exceptionally difficult to kill. They are also exceptionally strong and virtually immortal unless slain. Zombies tend to be construed as mindless killing machines that are very difficult to destroy; their animated flesh can keep going, no matter how much you damage it, unless you zap it in the head.
What about weaknesses? Here, going by most modern accounts, zombies have the edge. They really don’t have weaknesses, except that they can be killed by a blow to the head. Oh, and they are also quite stupid. Vampires (again, if you follow the folklore) cannot enter buildings unless invited, are incinerated by sunlight, and are repelled by holy objects. Modern accounts of vampires usually do away with the invitations and the holy objects and leave only the sun as a weakness. Regardless, that is a very serious weakness indeed, limiting the vampire’s activities to just one half of any twenty-four hour period.
So, who would rule the world? Assuming that neither one’s bite affects the other, I’m afraid I must go with the vampires. No matter their weaknesses, they have the great gift of intelligence, and a more telling advantage would be quite difficult to find. They could understand and manipulate science and technology, if necessary. They could organize their forces and use military tactics. Zombies usually attack via a mindless swarm. Intimidating in numbers, but not useful in the long term. There is also the fact that vampires have the potential of ruling an orderly and disciplined planet with thought and planning. There could be a vampire government that issues decrees, gathers humans to be farmed, and generally maintains order for the purpose of continuing its legacy. Zombies usually don’t show such restraint. If the zombies were to win control of the planet, things would quickly degenerate into chaos. There would be no government, no controlled human farming, and no restraint. The humans would be wiped out until there was nothing left but zombies. Zombie rule would lead to annihilation of pretty much everything; vampire rule would simply lead to slavery. I’m not sure that’s necessarily preferable, but that does seem to be the final outcome of each.
Finally, one on one, a zombie could never defeat a vampire, simply because the zombie wouldn’t be cognizant of how to kill its foe. Even if it were lucky enough to ram a stake through a vampire’s heart, it wouldn’t think to do that again, if it encountered another one. The mental capacity just is not there. So, actually, with that in mind, I think vampires would be the clear winner, unless the zombie’s bite affected them. In such a case, all bets are off.
Matthew D. Ryan
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Matthew D. Ryan is a published author living in upstate New York on the shores of Lake Champlain. He has a background in philosophy, mathematics, and computer science. He also has a black belt in the martial arts and studies yoga. He has been deeply involved in the fantasy genre for most of his life as a reader, writer, and game designer. He believes he saw the legendary Lake Champlain Monster (a.k.a Champy) once and he has a cat named Confucius.
Author’s Smashwords Page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/matthewdryan
Author’s Book Page: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/131156
Author’s Blog: http://www.atoasttodragons.com
Author’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000038781652
Author’s Twitter Handle: @MatthewDRyan1
Author’s Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/579148.Matthew_D_Ryan
Author’s Shelfari Page: http://www.shelfari.com/matthewdryan/shelf
The book is available on Smashwords and elsewhere for no cost.
Matthew will be awarding a package of metal miniatures of vampires/vampire hunters to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US/Canada only).
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: