You will no doubt call me a liar, a cheat and a madman. You will shake your head in pity and snort in disbelief. But I promise you, I swear by all the gods: everything which you shall read in the pages to follow is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I met the vampire of which I write years ago, in an inn in Beauclair. He introduced himself to me as Regis and said he was a barber and a medic. Since he looked in every aspect like a mortal man, I might never have even suspected his true nature – had not a fire broken out shortly thereafter in the establishment in which we were residing. This Regis, if that truly was his name, stood completely untouched by the flames, whereas my own clothing quickly caught fire. The vampire carried me out of the burning inn, saving my life from certain death, then treated my numerous wounds.
At first Regis refused to answer my query as to how he had miraculously survived the furnace-like temperatures inside the burning inn without so much as a scratch on his body or a hair singed on his head. Eventually, however, he must have sensed I was a man of the world, one who would not jump to hasty judgments based on appearance or species, and revealed his identity – along with a great number of highly interesting facts.
According to Regis, not all vampires are alike. This vast family contains both mindless katakans, fleders and ekimmaras, who in form resemble overgrown bats far more than humans, as well as alps and bruxae, who look remarkably like comely maids. In addition to these, there are the even more powerful higher vampires, to which genus belonged my unexpected acquaintance.
Not even a witcher can discern a higher vampire from a mortal man. Contrary to popular belief, they cannot be killed by pounding aspen stakes into their chests nor by cutting off their heads, nor, as I can vouch for based on personal experience, by fire. They do not fear running water, garlic or the symbols of any creed. It might be some consolation to learn a vampire's bite does not turn a human into one of their number, and they do not in any way need our blood in order to survive – to them, it is merely a delicacy in which they indulge from time to time, like men do with fine wine.
Regis asked me to keep his tale to myself. But now, as I lay on my death bed, I feel that I must share this secret knowledge, even if it means breaking my word to this most noble individual...