Darren was looking at a book. Not just any book. An illustration book, full of pictures of vampires drawn by Gavner during his stays at the mountain. Surprisingly, the mischievous general was a rather good artist.
For example, on this page was an excellent portrait of Paris Skyle, although he looked a bit younger. He had the beard exactly right, and the robes matched the garb he wore today. It was almost perfect down to the facial features. Each picture was complemented with a caption, like a name, date, or words about the people in the drawing.
Darren saw various pictures of people ranging from Vanez to Kurda. But, rather surprisingly, there were none of Mr. Crepsley or Arra. This was odd, seeing as Mr. Crepsley and Arra were probably Gavner's closest friends. As he glanced over the other pictures, he kept a sharp eye out for pictures of the pair.
He was about three fourths of the way through he book when he came to a page covered in writing.
"To my friends. Because God knows they deserve it."
The first showed Mr. Crepsley, scar-free, with thick hair. He looked younger and carefree, so Darren moved to find the caption. "Larten Crepsley. Half-vampire. Seba Nile's Assistant."
The next showed Arra, her face relaxed in a peaceful expression as she watched what was apparently the sunset. This one was colored, from her hair to the pale orange on the horizon. "Arra Sails. Half-vampire. Vanez Blane's assistant."
The third showed Gavner, Arra, and Mr. Crepsley plating cards. "I did this for our first festival of the undead. It's difficult to do self-portraits." Darren had to laugh, partly at the note and partly at the exasperated expression on the drawing of Mr. Crepsley's face.
The fourth was another of Arra. She was on the bars, fighting with a vampire Darren didn't know, her brow was furrowed in concentration. "Arra in her element" was all the note said. As Darren regarded the portrait he realized that these were the closest he would ever come to a picture of any of his vampire friends. It was a bit odd.
The next showed Mr. Crepsley. He was swimming in what Darren could guess was a lake. His red hair was wet and plastered to his forehead and his red clothes were drenched. He looked very angry. "After Me and Arra pushed him in".
The next showed again all three of them, talking to Seba, it was a good picture even though it wasn't colored. "A discussion", was all it said.
As Darren turned the page he was rather shocked at what he saw. It was Mr. Crepsley and Arra, holding hands in the light of a brilliant orange moon. They were both wearing fancy clothes and were smiling broadly. "Larten and Arra's mating ceremony".
The next was the same setting as the previous one. Only this time it showed them kissing, with Seba and Vanez standing a little to the left of them, clapping. "Finally. Gods, we thought he would never kiss her". Darren had to admire the work Gavner had put into this, and how much attention he had paid to detail.
The ninth showed Arra and Mr. Crepsley sitting, holding hands, watching the sun rise on the dawn. It was a beautiful picture, showing all the wonder you can feel watching the day break. "The dawn of their first day".
The next one showed Mr. Crepsley, Arra, and Gavner, standing together, smiling. They looked more like they did today, Mr. Crepsley scarred, Arra with stress lines, Gavner with a few white hairs in front. They looked natural. "We were talking. After not seeing each other for a long time. It was interesting."
Darren thought this was all of them but he turned the page to find one last picture. A picture bearing an incredible likeness to himself. "Larten's new son", it said, and Darren thought that fit just right. He went to find Gavner, to tell him what he thought of his artwork.