My name is David Talbot.
Do any of you remember me as the Superior General of the Talamasca, the Order of psychic detectives whose motto was "We watch and we are always here"?
It has a charm, doesn't it, that motto?
The Talamasca has existed for over a thousand years.
I don't know how the Order began. I don't really know all the secrets of the Order. I do know however that I served it most of my mortal life.
It was in the Talamasca Motherhouse in England that the Vampire Lestat first made himself known to me. He came into my study one winter night and caught me quite unawares.
I learnt very quickly that it was one thing to read and write about the supernatural and quite another to see it with your own eyes.
But that was a long time ago.
I'm in another physical body now.
And that physical body has been transformed by Lestat's powerful vampiric blood.
I'm among the most dangerous of the vampires, and one of the most trusted. Even the wary vampire Armand revealed to me the story of his life. Perhaps you've read the biography of Armand which I released into the world.
When that story ended, Lestat had wakened from a long sleep in New Orleans to listen to some very beautiful and seductive music.
It was music that lulled him back again into unbroken silence as he retreated once more to a convent building to lie upon a dusty marble floor.
There were many vampires then in the city of New Orleans --- vagabonds, rogues, foolish young ones who had come to catch a glimpse of Lestat in his seeming helplessness. They menaced the mortal population. They annoyed the elders among us who wanted visibility and the right to hunt in peace.
All those invaders are gone now.
Some were destroyed, others merely frightened. And the elders who had come to offer some solace to the sleeping Lestat have gone their separate ways.
As this story begins, only three of us remain in New Orleans. And we three are the sleeping Lestat, and his two faithful fledglings --- Louis de Pointe du Lac, and I, David Talbot, the author of this tale.
Excerpted from MERRICK (c) Copyright 2000 by Anne Rice. Reprinted with permission from Knopf. All rights reserved.