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.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 36

From their vantage point, the sentries saw imperfectly the action taking place within the forest.  The vampires gathered beneath the canopy of the trees, and the sentries could just see movement through the leaves.  They launched several arrows in the direction of the vampires with blind hope, but no apparent success.

A moment later the vampires were gone; the attack was over; all three persons were lost.

Cezar related to the nuns, with disappointment, “They’re all gone.  They’ve all been taken by vampires.  I’m sorry.”

Quiet weeping crossed the eyes of several nuns as they bowed their heads.  Whispered prayers were heard and several made the sign of the cross in petition for the souls of all those lost.  With a slow and solemn step, they finally retired to their quarters, many wiping away the tears that dripped on their cheeks.

Sister Elisabeta led Dorina and Mirela back to their room.  As they passed down the hall of the novitiate, doors were being pounded from the inside, with voices asking, “What's happened?  What's going on?”  Every novice in the building was awake and wanted to know what they'd missed, but was not permitted to leave their room.

Sister Elisabeta helped the two girls into bed and said, to console them, “The fate of Madalina and Nicoleta is in the hands of God now.  And God is a benevolent being.  We will pray for them, all of us.  Please try to sleep.  It’ll be alright.”

After Sister Elisabeta left the room and locked the door, Mirela hopped out of bed and opened the window.  She leaned out over the windowsill and called out to the novices in the neighboring rooms in a whisper, “Psst, Camelia, Andreea.  You there?”

Several windows opened on either side of her with various young faces poking out of the window to look towards Mirela.  The narrow gap between the outer wall and the novitiate was dark with no moonlight reaching down into it, so that the faces only looked like vague silhouettes of the various girls.  “I’m here.  What happened?” Camelia asked, the first to speak up.

“Madalina, Nicoleta and Sister Oana are all gone — taken by the vampires.  It looks like Madalina kidnapped Nicoleta, and Sister Oana chased her down.  Then they were all captured by vampires in the woods,” Mirela whispered in Carmelia’s direction.

“What!” Carmelia responded in a surprised whisper, “All three?  Why did Madalina kidnap Nicoleta?”

“That’s all I know,” Mirela responded, “Pass it on.”  Mirela then retracted into her room and closed the window, as further whispers relayed the message to others.

Dorina sat on her bed clasping her knees in her arms and looked up at Mirela with eyes on the verge of tears.  When Mirela leaned in to hug her, she began to bawl onto Mirela’s shoulder.

“Oh it’s so horrible,” Dorina sobbed, “Horrible.  Why Nicoleta?  She never did anything?  Madalina was asking for it, but Nicoleta…  She was nice; she always prayed; she always followed the rules.”

“I know” Mirela comforted, “It’s just not fair.  I’m going to miss her so much.”

“Did we do wrong?” Dorina asked, “Should we have told Sister Oana Madalina got out?  If we’d told her, we would’ve been punished, but it would’ve prevented Madalina from leaving.  What’s any punishment compared to getting Nicoleta back?  If only we could just do it now, and have her back.  I’d scrub every corner of that church.  I’d live inside the crypt for the rest of my life, if only it’d bring her back.  Will we be forgiven?”

“God will forgive us,” Mirela assured, “Though we erred and acted from ignorance, God will forgive us.  If it’s any comfort, remember that these are just steps on the way to some divine plan.”

“How?” Dorina leaned back and looked at Mirela with a skeptical frown.

“I don’t know,” Mirela said, “But that’s what they tell us, anyway.  And I want to believe it.”

While the young novices talked in this way, though, Anton and Vasile pursued.  They ran through the forest toward Terem in pursuit of the vampires that the signal had led them to expect.  They weren’t sure if they would ultimately reach Terem still under siege from the vampires or if they would, if fortune were on their side, encounter the vampires somewhere in the forest.  Ignorant of what was going on, they plowed forward in the hope that they might be of help, and that they might bag a vampire or two in the process.

And fortune did smile on them that evening.  Right in the middle of their run, Vasile suddenly grabbed Anton by his cloak from behind and yanked him downwards, pulling him towards the nearest bush.  As he did this he whispered with the profoundest urgency, “Down! Now!”

As they collapsed to the ground and the previous sounds of the two men subsided into silence, the faint sound of approaching vampires could just be heard.

<-- Go to Part 35         Go to Part 37 -->

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

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