Nicholas Pherides was a British auctioneer working for the Altair Auction House. He conducted an auction of the personal effects of Vlad the Impaler, which he called the "most terrifying auction in history". Among the items auctioned off were:
- A door hinge (sold for $1300)
- A crossbow
- A pair of axes
- An iron maiden
- A statue of a hand
- A candelabra
- A spoon fragment (sold for $6500)
Every item was bought by the Middleman and his associate, Wendy Watson. However, Pherides had kept a surprise item in reserve: Little Vladdy, a puppet Vlad had made as an exact replica of himself. Though he noted to the audience that Vladdy's owners' lives had been "fraught with madness, fever, pestilence, matri-, fratri-, patri-, and sui-cide," he still tried the dummy on to entertain the bidders.
Immediately after donning the dummy, Pherides was possessed by the soul of Vlad, which had been damned into the puppet. He was forced to carry Vladdy out of the auction house, where they escaped the pursuing Middleman and Wendy when Vladdy turned into a vampire puppet and flew away.
Pherides was later taken by Vladdy to invade Middleman Headquarters, where they recovered Lizzie. Now wearing both puppets, Pherides was taken to the MacFarlane and Gray Hotel Spa and Convention Center, which was hosting a ventriloquism convention. Pherides was made to pass the two demonic puppets off to another man, and left behind, weakened and dazed. He had no memory of anything transpiring after he had donned Vladdy ("vampire puppet-induced amnesia"), and was unable to assist the Middleman and Wendy when they arrived moments later.