My bad. I’m working on my Eastern European accent; still working on my Transylvanian history, too, since visiting the Romanian province nestled in the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe.
If memory serves me, your castle, Bran Castle, was built for the King of Hungary sometime in the 14th century by the Saxons of Brasov in what was then known as the province of Wallachia.
Friends in high places, I see; literally.
You were a Knight of the Order of the Dragon, huh.
Bram Stoker never mentioned you were a knight, although he did bestow you the title Count.
You know Bram Stoker, the Irishman responsible for your worldwide fame, right?
He got it all wrong?
Why, that literary loaf!
Hey, call it what you will; I’ve known my share of people with a predilection for sucking the life out of me, sans fangs. Apparently, so has Stoker.
So the Irishman took a few liberties with your name and your reputation. Try living with social media.
That’s the 21st century’s version of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press sans paper.
It’s complicated. Suffice it to say, you can tarnish a reputation in the time it takes you to suit up in all that fancy armor.
Ah, yes, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword; and fact is often stranger than fiction.
The facts suggest you were quite the blood-thirsty despot in the 15th century. Your fondness for impaling your enemies (80,000 or so) is legendary.
Hey, intimidation is half the battle, right?
I give you credit, Dracula. Christianity might have fallen by the wayside, not to mention your homeland, had the Ottomans succeeded in conquering Eastern Europe.
I still can’t get my head around your name without conjuring images of a vampire.
Yeah, you mentioned you were a Knight of the Order of the Dragon.
Followed in your father’s footsteps, huh.
So let me get this straight. As a Knight of the Order of the Dragon, and prince of Wallachia, your father, Vlad II, became known as Vlad Dracul. Dracul is the Latin word for ‘dragon’.
And dracula is Latin for ‘son of the dragon’?
Son of a gun!
No, no! I get it.
Dracula, son of a dragon, not a gun.
Okay, Stoker was bad, at least in terms of sticking to history, but he was a master when it came to stirring up mystery, a relatively easy task with Romania as a backdrop.
Yours is a homeland of strange and often supernatural beauty, a culture of myths and legends as pervasive as the numerous villages still steeped in the Middle Ages.
Okay, what they've done to Bran Castle. It now belongs to the Habsburgs. Yes, the Habsburgs; it’s a small, royal world when it comes to Eastern Europe. So small, I once shared a toast with Princess Anita Hohenberg, great granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (a Habsburg) and Duchess Sophie.
The Habsburgs have done a wonderful job of redecorating after the communists seized and ransacked the castle in 1948; a wonderful job of preserving Bran Castle’s history, a history I discovered includes a medieval fortress, a royal residence, and Dracula.
I do so love history delivered with a touch of mystery.
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