The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 20

That evening, as Vasile prepared for his nightly hunt, Andrei told him about his visit from Anton: “We had a boy named Anton who came in and said he wants to become your apprentice if you’re interested.”

“Who is he?” Vasile asked as he put on his boots and cloak and strapped on and armed his weapons.

“He’s Josif’s son,” Andrei answered, as Ileana entered, bearing a glass of boiled wine, seasoned with cinnamon and apple.

“This should keep you warm and keep your senses sharp,” Ileana said, handing him the wine.

“Josif I know,” Vasile said to Andrei, sipping from the wine, “A hot-headed man.  I don’t want an apprentice like that.  He has to be calm, calm as a statue, and patient.”

“Anton is not like his father,” Ileana said, “At least not in that way.  He’s got a cool head.  He’s a bit arrogant, but I think he’ll learn his place.  He’s used to having a father boss him around.  I’ll bet you a gold coin he’ll make a good vampire hunter in no time.”

Vasile shook his head at Ileana’s bet, but conceded, “We can give him a trial run.  Don’t know for sure about anything until we try, right?”

“And I can’t imagine there’ll be kids flooding you with requests,” Ileana said, “The farmers around here don’t have the stomach for danger.  They prefer to hide when it rolls over the horizon.  Though they’re happy to have someone, like you, face it for them and willing look up at you in awe.”

“Tell Anton exactly what this job entails,” Vasile said to both of them, “Exactly what you do here and I do out there. Don’t do it to discourage him, but be honest.”

They both nodded in agreement.

Mihai, Josif’s landlord, had been demanding many days from Josif recently to work on Mihai’s manor, with the approach of harvest.  Josif had limited time to work his own farm, and thus, Josif had wanted to take a careful account of his stores and see what he could expect for the winter.  He inspected his grain supplies while Anton was feeding their livestock.

“When you inherit this land and your father’s serfdom, then it’ll be up to you to labor away all your strength for that swine Mihai,” Josif grumbled.

“You make it seem as if I have no choice,” Anton said, as he dropped a bale of hay next to one of the cows and it began to eagerly pick away at the block.

“It’s inescapable, boy” Josif said in his gruff and surly voice, “For men like us, who aren’t born into this life with privileges, our future is written.  We are Mihai’s puppets.  This is the way it’s been and the way it’s going be.  It’s not this life that God has set out for us for bliss.”

The wood beams of the barn creaked under the pressure of an early evening wind, and Josif saw it as a prompt to get inside.  He was eager to get his aching bones back to the warmth of the house, while Anton dispensed oats for the horses.

“I think you underestimate the possibilities open to me,” Anton said.

“I don’t,” Josif said, turning back to his son, with rising anger, “I’ve lived a life.  I’ve seen what’s there, and what happens to a man.  I’m no longer a dreamy-eyed youth like you, who doesn’t know what’s coming.  The only happiness I’ll get waits for me after I’m dead.”

Josif then left the barn without another word, while Anton finished up.  After his father left, Anton kicked a barrel and screamed in frustration.  His father was a stubborn and difficult man to work with, but he was most difficult to work with when he was right.

“But he’s not right,” Anton thought to himself.  He looked at the horse that munched impassively away at its food and he said, “No, father, I refuse to accept it.”

<-- Go to Part 19         Go to Part 21 -->

You can see what's been written so far collected here.

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