The sun was directly above. It was almost midday. Palaiologos raised his sword slowly and watched the sun dial. When the shadow slid into place, he dropped his arm and ran forward silently. The people and the armies and the generals ran after him.
He slammed the palace door with his foot and it burst open. There were some who had brought mirrors with them, to reflect the sunlight onto the demons. Although they wouldn’t be much help when they actually got into the palace; not many of the rooms had windows for the sun to shine through.
They entered the palace and spread out. Palaiologos, Aurelian, Caius and his small army headed towards the study and the dining rooms.
They reached the study. The door was open a crack. Palaiologos peered through the gap. There was a young woman sat down at the desk. Her back was to the door. There was a man leaning against the wall.
“What happened to the two survivors?” asked the man.
“Who cares? If they tell anyone, nobody will believe them,” replied the woman.
“Are you sure you have the Emperor?”
“Of course. I’m not stupid. If he got away, he might have a chance of bringing the Roman people against us. We have him.”
“How did you get the others to attack the palace? They shouldn’t have revealed themselves.”
“They all have lead poisoning. And they are newly transformed; they are power hungry.”
“Lead poisoning, how?”
“The lead in the Roman water pipes. It gets into the water and drives them mad.”
“Now we control Rome, and most of the known world.”
That was when Palaiologos struck. He shoved the door open. The woman spun around just as the man grabbed Palaiologos’s neck and held him against the wall. Aurelian slammed the hilt of his sword against the man’s head.
He stumbled back and Aurelian took the chance. He swung the sword sideways and it hit the man in the ribs, puncturing both lungs. The man fell to the floor and didn’t get up. Palaiologos was on the floor too.
The woman was gone, as well as all the other creatures. Those who had stormed the palace were dead, save Aurelian.
And so the tale of vampires began and Constantine Palaiologos was dead, signalling the end of the Roman Empire. No one has ever discovered why the Roman Emperor’s Laurel crown was left unclaimed. This is just one of the many mysteries that surround human history.