Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Visitor

With the email dispatched, Vladimirescu moved from his desk to the only other item of furniture in the room – a large comfortable armchair where he could rest his weary body. Life, as ever, had other plans.

As he settled himself in the armchair and closed his eyes, he was disturbed by an insistent hammering on the door. He drew what was left of his strength and made his way through the house to the front door, with the hammering becoming louder as he did so.
“Alright, alright,” He said as he went through the laborious process of drawing back the large bolts and fishing about in his jacket for the keys. The hammering stopped as suddenly as it had begun and Vladimirescu threw open the large door.


A man, looking to be in his early fifties, was crouched on the doorstep, one hand on his chest trying stem the flow of blood that issued from a wound. Vladimirescu quickly got the injured man to his feet and helped him inside.

The man coughed and spluttered as they made their way through to the large drawing room, which was empty save for a few bits of furniture covered in dust sheets. Throwing off one of these sheets revealed an elegant Victorian couch which was used as a makeshift bed.

Vlad rushed to the bathroom where he kept a well stocked first-aid box, and tried to ignore the smell of fresh blood filling his nostrils. He grabbed at bandages, gauze and antiseptic and ran back to the bleeding man, his body racked with pain as he did so. It was not at all normal for him to be up at this hour and his body was telling him so in no uncertain terms.
Once back, he discovered that the man slumped, his arms hung down and his eyes closed.

“No!” Vlad shouted at the man, “You must stay awake, can you hear me?”

He tore open the dying mans shirt and discovered the source of the blood, something had pierced a large hole in the chest, clearly aiming for the heart. A slither of wood left no doubt that this was an attempted murder.

Thankfully the strike had missed the man’s heart, and after a period of convalescence he would recover to full health, but it had been a close call.

Vlad, now relaxed and moving swiftly, administered to the wound. He now had time to ponder just who the man was – the fact that he asked for help in Romanian told him he was from the old country.

Then he noticed on the floor a Romanian passport that had clearly fallen when he had helped the stranger to the couch. He picked it up and flicked to the photo. He was staggered when he saw the name: Count Tudor Antonescu, better known as Trojan1422.

What was he doing in London? The last Vlad had heard he was leading a small resistance movement in Constanţa – this meant that Trojan must have been attacked on his way to see him. If someone had been following the Count then he would have to abandon the house entirely – he could not risk allowing the data he held here get out into the open.

“Wake up,” he called again, and as he did so the eyes of the prone man flickered open. He tried to speak, but he could not seem to form words.

“Who did this to you?” Vlad asked.

Trojan opened his eyes fully now, and spoke two words before closing them again: “Old Kingdom”.

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