James’s Note: I grew up watching a lot of police procedural shows, and I loved CSI. I’ve always thought a fantasy crime scene investigator would make an awesome TV show premise. THis is me trying my hand at that idea.
The body hadn’t turned to dust like the popular novels would have you believe. It was desiccated, a skeleton covered in mummified skin. When a vampire like Conchobar Moragain dies, he reverts to looking like the several thousand year old corpse he is.
As I looked around the room, I saw signs of a struggle. Some of the furniture was knocked over, everything was in disarray, and there was blood spatter in places that weren’t consistent with whatever had practically painted the walls in it.
The thing is, there weren’t enough signs of struggle. If a master vampire had engaged in a fight for his life, this room should look like a bombed out World War II German bunker. Not to mention the chunk of the city that may or may not be missing too. So that was interesting right there.
I had talked to Anton when we got here. Apparently the master vampire’s servants had come to bring him his cornflakes and O negative or whatever it is servants do for a vampire first thing in the evening when they found him like this. His security had been crawling around the building like flies on a roadkill possum when I had showed up, but Anton was able to wave them off easily. He and all the assorted lackeys were waiting outside, at my insistence.
Supposedly no one had entered the room after they realized that their master was dead. Supposedly. I had a few tests that would verify that.
The mundane CSI portion of my job done, I got ready for the fun part. From my bag I took my shambles, a construct made of string and various occult doodads. It told me that they had actually been telling the truth, and a minimum of fiddling about had been done to the scene.
A few tests performed with my portable alchemy kit showed that all the blood belonged to the victim. If the victim had been human, that would be truly remarkable. There certainly appeared to be more blood spread around the penthouse than a human shaped body could reasonably be expected to hold. However, since the victim was a vampire, and an old one at that, this was actually about right.
You see, the vampiric drinking and metabolizing of blood is a semi mystical process. While a vampire does swallow blood, and it does travel to their stomach, after that the physics get a little funny. As near as I’ve been able to tell from my studies, the blood suffuses their entire being, apparently up to and including their aura. What this actually means is that as a vampire grows in power, so does how much blood he can hold. This blood is then used for all sorts of things, from healing to fueling all those neat vampiric powers they’re so proud of.
This means that if an ancient vampire wants to operate at maximum power, they need quite a bit more blood than your average young fang-banger who just wants to get by. It also explains why our victim was as blood bloated as a tick on a Basset Hound.
I used a glass of water and an egg from a duck who has never flown to check for magic. When I cracked the egg into the water, it was shot through with black, spider web-like lines. That definitely confirmed that some kind of magic had been used here, although I still wasn’t sure what type. The vampire’s inherent magic was muddying the results. If I hadn’t been careful to exclude the vampire aura that suffused the room, the egg would probably have been full of blood when I cracked it.
I repacked all my bits and bobs into my messenger bag, and went to go talk to Anton in the hall.