Steve froze. The door closely heavily behind him. Armani the Imp crouched low on his shoulder.
"This is bad boss." The imp had faint wisps of steam oozing from his wing tips. "Very bad."
Steve nodded. Ahead of him stretched an avenue of green and mist caressed trees leading to an idealised farmhouse. If he had come into the correct faerie domain he should be looking at a stern stone corridor with an iron bound door leading to the court of Lord Ragnar. "I think we've been diverted. This feels like a magical domain, just the wrong one."
"We went through the right portal." Armani shifted nervously from foot to foot. "It stinks of leech here. I'll have a look."
As Armani silently flapped ahead, Steve started cautiously moving forward. All the vampires he knew were more than capable of creating a magical domain for a few hours, just long enough to trap an unwary traveller through a portal. Steve swallowed as he felt fear crawling down his back. Vampires were fast, strong and very, very ruthless. He pulled his stake out from his pocket and held it for an overhand thrust. Nothing behind the first two trees facing each other across the deceptively rustic pathway. Steve breathed deeply. He glanced quickly behind him. There was no way out there, the door had vanished and gentle fields of corn rolled into the distance.
Armani was using the trees' canopy for cover as he hopped from tree to tree. Apart from the soft cooing of woodpigeons, the faint rustle of his progress was the only sound.
Steve took another few steps, stake ready. Why did it have to be a vampire? If it had been a boggart or a werewolf they would have just tried to rip his head off in a straightforward way. Vampires played games. The next two trees were clear as well. Steve checked his pocket with his free hand. He still had the package for Lord Ragnar. That was probably what this was all about. He wished he knew what was inside but he wasn't risking looking. The ground felt soft and springing under his feet. The next two trees were clear.
"Over here, boss."
Steve strode over to where the imp was pointing. At the far side of a tree was a vampire bound with wire. He was cut almost to ribbons trying to get out and his eyes were wild. His lips dripped with froth. "He's on dragon's blood. It looks like it has rotted most of his brain. There's no point in asking questions."
As Armani finished the vampire off with the stake tucked thoughtfully in the wire at the side, Steve looked around for any further clues. There was nothing. The trees wavered and dissolved and then Steve and Armani were standing in the reassuringly spartan stone corridor looking at the iron bound door of Lord Ragnar. "I owe someone a favour." Steve said thoughtfully, before knocking with the great iron knocker.
Written during v chaotic time here, sorry for any typos.