Vladimir Constantinescu kept his back to the wall behind the farthest corner table in the tavern from the door. This table was also the most poorly lit, being afforded only one small candle, rather than a lamp as were those more centrally adjacent to the long polished bar that dominated the room. But then, Vladimir, by his very nature was a kinsman to the dark and this arrangement was in fact, exactly how he liked it.Vladimir was a gentleman of means. Of that there could be no doubt. The richness of his cloak, the manner in which he bore himself, all bespoke of wealth, of power and of importance. Yet despite all that outward grandeur, Vladimir chose to inhabit this particular tavern, which was neither an effete establishment catering to a wealthy few, nor was it a raucous bawdy house jangling to poorly tuned piano music and prowling ladies of the evening. It was simply a safe and quiet place where someone might enjoy his bere in comfort and seclusion – or a meeting with someone very dangerous indeed.