When vampires venture out into the world, wreaking havoc on innocent citizens, it is up to Harry Keogh's twin sons, both possessing their father's powers, to stop them. By the author of Necroscope. 35,000 first printing. $35,000 ad/promo.
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Brian Lumley is the author of the bestselling Necroscope series of vampire novels. The first Necroscope, Harry Keogh, also appears in a collection of Lumley's short fiction, Harry Keogh and Other Weird Heroes, along Titus Crow and Henri Laurent de Marigny, from Titus Crow, Volumes One, Two, and Three, and David Hero and Eldin the Wanderer, from the Dreamlands series.
An acknowledged master of Lovecraft-style horror, Brian Lumley has won the British Fantasy Award and been named a Grand Master of Horror. His works have been published in more than a dozen countries and have inspired comic books, role-playing games, and sculpture, and been adapted for television.
When not writing, Lumley can often be found spear-fishing in the Greek islands, gambling in Las Vegas, or attending a convention somewhere in the US. Lumley and his wife live in England.
PART ONE:LOOKING BACKIMorning. Sunrise. Sunup!The sun had risen up fifteen times since the battle for The Dweller's garden; risen up over the southwestern horizon, travelled a predestined path according to its cycle, sunk down again into the southeast. Fifteen times that low, warm, oh so lazy golden arc across the sky, making for a like number of sundowns.Sundown: night, darkness, peril!Sundown. A time of terror since time immemorial: when the last yellow glints would slip silently from the high crags of the great barrier range, until its topmost peaks turned a pale ochre, then ashen, finally wolf-grey and silver under the stars of Starside. A time of terror, yes ... but no longer. For the battle in The Dweller's garden had been fought and won, and the near-immortal masters of Starside's aeries, the Wamphyri, were immortal no longer. Indeed, they were either dead or flown into the Icelands. Of the latter, only a few had survived to flee.Sundown, and nothing to fear from it. Not any more. It was strange ...On the one side of the mountains, that closest to the sun (Sunside, with its forests and rivers, and, to the south, its pitiless furnace lands), daylight would persist for a further twenty-five hours; but on Starside the barrier mountains shut out the sun's life-giving warmth, leaving only the stars and the aurora over the Icelands to light the rugged land. So it had always been, so it would always be.Except upon a time there had also been the Wamphyri! ... But now there was none. Not in Starside, anyway. No vampires here but one, and he was different. He was The Dweller.And at the beginning of that new night, that fifteenth sundown in the New Age of Starside, The Dweller had called for Lardis Lidesci to attend him at his house in the garden high over Starside's boulder plains.Lardis was a Traveller king, leader of one of Sunside's Szgany tribes. He was short, barrel-bodied, apelike in the length of his arms; his lank black hair framed a wrinkled, weather-beaten face, with a flattened nose and a wide mouth full of strong, uneven teeth. Under wild eyebrows, Lardis's brown eyes glittered his mind's agility, even as he himself was agile despite his stumpy shape. Yes, he was Szgany, and it showed."Szgany": in fact the word had two meanings. Starside's trogs, cavern-dwelling neanderthals, likewise called themselves Szgany. To them it meant "The Obedient Ones"--obedient to the Wamphyri! As for the genesis of Traveller usage, that was lost in time. Now when the Gypsies used the word to define other than a trog, it best described themselves, their way of life: tinkers, music-makers, seekers after refuge (often in deep caverns, like the dwelling places of the trogs), wandering metalworkers, fey people: Szgany.Travellers. Ah, but upon a time--an oh so recent time--there had been reasons aplenty for the nomadic existence of the Gypsies! And each and every one of those reasons monstrous, and all of them inhabiting the stone- and bone-built aeries of the Wamphyri! But the Wamphyri were no more.It was strange; Lardis was not yet accustomed to it; the sun was setting for the fifteenth time and still he shivered, longing for the misted valleys, wooded slopes and forests of Sunside. Across the mountains it was still twilight and true dark many hours away. Plenty of time to find sanctuary in one or another of the many labyrinthine systems of caverns, there to wait out the night until ... But no, all of that was yesterday. Yet again Lardis must remind himself: Fool! The yoke is lifted. The Szgany are free!Pausing where he made his way through the garden, Lardis looked back and up at the topmost crags. They were ashen now: charcoal dusted a pale blue-grey from the brightening stars, the colour of a wolf at twilight. Soon the hurtling moon would be up, half golden in the sun's reflected light, half blue as Icelands sheen. Then the wolves of Sunside would sing up from the dark forests and down from the pine-clad mountains, and those of Starside would hear them, yawn and stretch, emerge from their treeline dens and answer with songs of their own. For the moon was mistress to all the grey brothers.Shivering (from the chill of twilight?) Lardis glanced all aboutin the dusk. At trog workers, leathery, shuffling, nocturnal, already up and about and seeing to their various duties; at the dim but reassuring yellow lights of Traveller dwellings huddled to the gently sloping walls of the saddle; at the misty silhouettes of greenhouses, the glitter of starlight in a shimmering geothermal pool, a creaking wind-vane atop its skeletal tower, turning in the breeze off Starside. And then he shivered again, and started out more urgently for The Dweller's house----Only to slow his pace in the very next moment. No need for haste. It was sundown, yes, but there was nothing hurtful here. Not anymore. So ... why should he feel that something was wrong?Lardis trusted his instincts. His mother used to read palms, and his father had seen far things; all of the Lidescis had been fey. And tonight Lardis was jumpy without knowing the reason. Could this be why The Dweller had called him, because something was wrong? Well, he would know soon enough. But one thing Lardis already knew: that he had heard the call of Sunside, its rivers, forests and open spaces, and come what may his stay would not be long in The Dweller's garden.Three acres in a row front to rear, the garden was--it had been--a marvellous place. It was a small valley in a gently hollowed mountain saddle. In this region Nature had flattened the barrier range somewhat; thus when the sun stood at its low southerly apex, it somehow managed to shine between even the highest peaks and down the long slopes, glancing off the crags to light here. From twilight to twilight, the aching light of Sunside struck through the pass in a great warm misty wedge.A long, curved dry-stone wall defined the garden's forward boundary, beyond which the ground dipped sharply towards frowning cliffs, weathered shelves, more declivities, gentling foothills, and finally Starside's barren plains. Encompassed by the wall, the slopes of the saddle, and a narrow pass at the rear, were small fields or allotments, greenhouses, wind-vanes, sheds and storehouses, and clearwater ponds. A number of pools were astir with trout; others bubbled with thermal activity. Lush with vegetation, much of it crushed and ravaged in the battle but already sprung up and growing again, a surprising number of the garden's vegetable species would have been at home in The Dweller's own world. Hardy, improved or developed by TheDweller himself, they had grown accustomed to Starside's long nights and longer, occasionally dreary, days.Repairs to the garden were nearing completion. Even stones slimed by exploding gas-beasts or evaporating Lords and lieutenants had been cleaned, or removed to the rim and avalanched down onto Starside. Vampire debris had gone into a crevasse, been drenched with The Dweller's fuels, burned up with hideous stenches. Eventually the last taint had been expunged. Broken dwellings had been mended, flattened greenhouses re-erected, The Dweller's generators repaired. Many of the garden's systems were fragile, requiring frequent attention; tending them was how The Dweller's people earned their keep, and the work served to instruct them in his ways.His "people": trogs sent by the Wamphyri to work mischief against him, only to be converted to his cause; a few Travellers from tribes other than Lardis Lidesci's, grateful for The Dweller's sanctuary; and Starside's grey brotherhood, the wild ones of the mountains, who hunted under the moon. These latest of his volunteers were wolves, but it was as if he were their brother--which indeed he might well be. For The Dweller's vampire had been passed to him by a wolf ...A vampire, aye--indeed, Wamphyri! For he carried a true egg. And if he were not The Dweller, with his own place here in the garden, what then? On Starside's boulder plains, east of the shining hemisphere portal to lands unknown, there stood the last great aerie of the Wamphyri. In its prime it had been the property of the Lord Dramal Doombody who, upon his demise, gifted it to his heir the Lady Karen. Might not The Dweller, himself Wamphyri, feel the aerie's alien lure, make it his own, take his machines there to light that monstrous stack as now they lit the garden?As for the Lady Karen herself:In the battle for the garden, Karen had sided with the defenders; moreover, she had brought first warning, and with her hybrid warriors had fought like a wildcat against the vampire Lords! Engaging Lesk the Glut, she'd opened his chest with her gauntlet, cut through the pipes of his heart, torn it smoking from his body while yet Lesk stamped and snorted! The Lady Karen: she had been something! But now ...Some said she lived in her aerie still, though Harry Keogh (called Hell-lander, and sometimes Dwellersire) would doubtlessdispute it; if he were fit and well enough to dispute anything. Harry Keogh: The Dweller's father, his bloodsire.After the battle, Harry had sojourned a while with Karen in her aerie; who but a magician out of the hell-lands would dare? She was after all Wamphyri! But upon his return to the garden he'd reported Karen's demise: how, in order to avoid some dark, unspoken fate, she had killed herself. Perhaps it was so, but mention her name to The Dweller and he would only smile. Except ... these days he wasn't much given to smiling.Lardis arrived at his destination: a white stone bungalow with round windows and a chalet-style roof, situated close to a hot spring. An exterior staircase of yellow-varnished pine zigzagged up to a small balcony under projecting eaves, which fronted The Dweller's bedroom in the hollow of the red-tiled roof. After the battle in the garden, when the house suffered exploding gas-beast blasts, only its shell had been left standing. Trogs and Travellers, working together under the direction of The Dwellers, had soon put it back to rights. Now it seemed The Dweller no longer took pride in it. Nor in any of his previous works.The Dweller waited in his doorway. He wore his golden mask, of course, and a voluminous yellow robe which covered his entire body down to his feet. Lardis paused before him, raised a clenched fist and uttered a customary greeting: "Tear down the mountains!" Customary, habitual, indeed instinctive, the ancient Szgany imprecation no longer had meaning. In return The Dweller nodded, took Lardis's elbow and escorted him to the long room which was his study. A circular window in an end wall looked out over Starside to the distant, shimmering horizon and the auroras of the far north. A second window in the opposing wall viewed the garden, the narrowing funnel of the saddle, the gaunt crags rising on both sides and merging into peaks. In the cleft of the pass the sky was a banded blue, where the sapphire in the well of the V shaded upwards into indigo to accommodate the first glitter of Sunside's stars.Seated on simple stools in soft yellow electric lamplight, the two men faced each other across a small pine table. Despite the fact that Lardis was The Dweller's senior by a good six or seven years, and a leader in his own right, he was ill at ease in the other's presence. He had felt this way, indeed increasingly so, almost from first arrival here. His discomfort might have its source in The Dweller's alien origins--the fact that he was abeing from an unknown world, commanding awesome weapons and powers--but that was only part of it. Rather Lardis sensed in him something of the ancient powers of this world (or more properly, of Starside), and for the most part his disquiet lay in knowing what stared back at him through the orbits of The Dweller's expressionless golden mask--scarlet Wamphyri eyes! Well, no secret there. For much to his credit The Dweller had disclosed all: the fact that he was the recipient of a vampire egg--from the bite of a wolf!Lardis, however, suspected that there was even more than this to his persistent disquiet. Gazing somewhat obliquely on his host, he felt that The Dweller's unseen eyes saw more than was their right, that they might even peer into a man's soul. Lardis's soul, like his conscience, was crystal clear, but his thoughts were never less than searching. He didn't much like the idea that perhaps The Dweller was also a thought-thief, a mentalist. Certainly the majority of the Old Wamphyri had had the power, in one degree or another.Finally The Dweller spoke. "You are silent." His voice was young, yet old with knowledge, with strangeness. It had a rough edge, a rasp of physical pain. Beneath his robe, The Dweller's burns were not yet healed. Not entirely.Lardis shrugged awkwardly, felt lost for an answer. "You sent for me. I came to discover your needs.""My needs?" The Dweller answered Lardis's shrug with one of his own. "I myself don't know what they are! But for the moment they are the needs of my people. Later ... we shall see."Lardis waited, and eventually:"I fear there are changes in the offing," said The Dweller, sighing. "There are several subjects to discuss. My mother, my father, myself. Yourself, and your people. The garden, and its future. If it has one."Still Lardis waited."The garden served a purpose, in its time," The Dweller continued. "It was a home, a refuge, even a fortress against the Wamphyri. Against their arrogance, anyway: their 'invincibility.' Well, they were not invincible. Nor am I. Nothing is. Also, the garden proved a point: that while a fixed, permanent home may be vulnerable, still it may be defended, and successfully. One of several things which made the Wamphyri strong was theirterritoriality. They would not suffer rivals within their spheres. Once they laid claim to a place--or to anything, for that matter--it was theirs forever, or as long as they could hold it. This was no weird idiosyncrasy; most creatures, once they have found their place, will not move lightly aside. And men are much the same. Which is how and why we held the garden and brought the Wamphyri down." He paused."In my father's country," The Dweller continued in a while, "in his world, they have this saying: 'An Englishman's home is his castle.' It may be translated as a warning: 'Make no threat against me on my own land, for here I am strong. Here, I am the master!" Again The Dweller paused, then asked, "Do you understand what I'm saying?"Lardis wasn't sure he did understand, but certainly he was worried. The Dweller's mode of expression sounded like nothing so much as a Wamphyri word game! And suddenly Lardis wondered: In the battle for the garden, was it his purpose to simply defend himself against the Wamphyri ... or to usurp them? If the latter, what did that make Lardis Lidesci and his people? Free men ... or thralls? Now that The Dweller alone held sway on Starside, how would he use his power?Finally Lardis found his voice. "Are these things applicable to me?""To you and yours, yes," The Dweller replied. "The Szgany fought for me and my garden. What they paid in blood has been returned in skill and knowledge; and in future, should the need arise, your people will know how to defend themselves. But for now ... what is there for you on Starside? What was there ever, but a threat? Well, the threat is no more. So go back to Sunside, quit your travelling, build settlements and live in peace--for as l...
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