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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 27

Early that night, Anton’s first night hunting, Vasile led him deep into the forest, to a thick stretch of trees nestled at the bottom of a gentle slope, where a small creek drained downhill.  Vasile had been most successful finding vampire prey in this region and came here often.

Vasile walked up to a tall sturdy oak, which looked like a good holding point.  He explained to Anton, “We’re going to climb this tree and wait up there.”

Vasile hopped up and grabbed a branch, easily pulling himself up and subsequently raising himself up between the branches.  Though Vasile was several decades older than Anton, he seemed to have the sprightliness of a teenager.  He was strong, quick and agile and was already a few body-lengths up the tree when Anton tried to follow behind, with considerably more struggle.

When the two of them finally settled into a pair of branches, Vasile explained, “We must do this so that no vampires are able to get the jump on us.  Though I’d get more kills if I could be mobile, the vampires are much better at tracking me than I am at tracking them.  They can hear me when I walk and could be at my throat before I’d have a chance to react.  Thus, we have to wait somewhere, hidden, for them to come to us, to avoid becoming prey.  Caution, my boy.  Caution is the reason I’ve survived so long.  You’ve decided to engage in something very dangerous, and caution is what keeps you from taking one step too far.”

And there they sat in silence, Vasile’s eyes surveying the forest in all directions while the hours passed.  Vasile said almost nothing to Anton.  When Anton got bored and tried to relax, Vasile would nudge him and say to him, “You cannot relax.”

“A vampire-hunter needs only two things: patience and deadly aim,” Vasile explained, “Especially since we will not see as many vampires as I used to, when I would see them every night and would have my choice of prey.  Now I wait days before I see any.  We may have to wait a very long time.”

But immediately after he said this, he suddenly stopped and froze.  A faint sound of movement was audible in the distance.  Anton heard the sound too, the sound of quickly moving footsteps, and he grew nervous and excited.  In the distance, they saw two shapes running.  The two vampires were Bai and Sim, returning at a leisurely pace from their rendezvous with Madalina.  The vampires usually darted across the forest at night in blazing sprints, but these two moved at a moderate jog, clearly neither in a hurry nor afraid.

Anton immediately reached for his crossbow and raised it, but Andrei stopped him abruptly, and indicated for him to be silent.  Anton silently mouthed, “We can’t take two of them at once.  Be Silent.  Let them pass.”

Anton froze and slowed his breath, trying to be as quiet as possible.  But when the wind blew through the trees, he was temporarily jolted and had to grab hold of the tree’s trunk.  In this hasty motion, his foot scraped against a branch and his crossbow bumped against the tree.  Neither sound was particularly loud, but it caused the two vampires to suddenly break off their run.

Sim gestured to Bai and nodded in the general direction of Anton and Vasile.  Sim  and Bai both raised their noses to sniff the air.  Sim silently questioned Bai whether he smelled anything, and Bai shrugged his shoulders.  Nonetheless, they decided to cautiously approach the direction from which they heard the sound.

Vasile slowly pulled an arrow from his quiver and strung it on his longbow.  He silently mouthed, “Arm yourself.  Don’t shoot until I do.  Aim for the legs.”

Anton picked up the crossbow and began to aim it, then he lowered it, and looking at Vasile, he silently mouthed, “Let me have the longbow,” miming with his hands at the same time.

Vasile took a deep breath, looked at the longbow contemplatively, and then relaxed it and handed it to Anton, raising one of his crossbows instead.

Bai and Sim continued to move in the same direction, moving heedfully and sniffing the air.  Anton leaned over to point his weapon directly at them, his bow taught, eager to fire, but Vasile cautioned, silently, “Patience!”

Anton’s heart started pounding in anticipation, and as his body warmed up, sweat started to leak from his pores, releasing his human odor into the air.

Vasile knew from experience that they could not kill them both, especially since the two appeared to be fairly old, maybe some sixty years old, he guessed.  A sixty-year-old vampire would prove much harder to kill than the youngster he’d just killed a few days ago, and the two of them together would be well nigh impossible.  A single, well-aimed shot could kill a vampire, but he didn’t want to risk it from this distance unless necessary, especially since he didn’t know how precisely Anton could fire.  Their only hope was, if necessary, to injure the vampires and then run with every ounce of their stamina.

But even better would be for the two vampires to disperse on their own, for which Vasile fervently waited.

<-- Go to Part 26         Go to Part 28 -->

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

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