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.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 38

There was no perceptible motion from the fallen vampire that Vasile and Anton approached, but Vasile put two more crossbow bolts into the vampire’s head and neck from a safe distance, while Anton, following his master’s lead, put one arrow through the chest, just to be sure.

Assured that it was dead, Vasile stepped forward and placed the two hooks under the shoulders to drag it.  Anton stepped forward to grab the rope and Vasile warned, “Remember, we don’t want to get infected.  Don’t touch him.  Don’t let any of his blood touch you.  Don’t even let his smell touch your nose.”

Anton nodded and began to pull, discovering that the vampire was incredibly heavy, especially for what looked to be a lean twenty-five year old male of only average height.

“They’re very heavy,” Vasile smiled understandingly with a small laugh, “And they only get heavier as they older.  This one’s probably as old as I am.”

“How can you tell?” Anton asked, looking with a puzzled look at the vampire, who only looked a few years older than himself.

Vasile strained to think of a way to explain this to Anton.  He finally said, “Vampires don’t age like you and I.  Once a person is infected they age towards their peak.  If they’re older than about their mid-twenties, they get younger; if they’re a child, they get older.  Once they hit their peak, they stop aging and just get stronger, heavier, leaner, and … well, to be honest … more beautiful.  You’ll be able to tell after a while.  It’s not something I can really teach you, just something you’ll learn by experience.”

Anton looked down at the vampire again, pierced through with arrows and bleeding from many wounds, and saw the image of a martyred St. Sebastian he’d seen in a book once, bound and writhing while arrows pierced his body.  The vampire was pale and slender like a sickly young adult, but strong as a horse and nearly flawless in handsomeness.  It was a figure that looked at once attractive, and yet also pitiable, because it looked so weak and vulnerable.

“You’ll find it’s a long slog to Andrei’s,” Vasile said, interrupting Anton’s musings, “And dangerous.  This is the time when the vampires would most love to catch us.”  Anton then they began to drag the body, while Vasile pulled with him alongside.

When they finally reached Andrei’s, Andrei was at the door in a flash, putting on his cloak, hat, mask and gloves, and opening the way for them to enter.  He openly admired the vampire as they dragged it into the cauldron, saying with pleasure, “This one is very ripe.”  He then explained to Anton, “The older vampires make better medicine.  The vampire-wares we get from them are more potent.  Whatever it is that extends the lives of the vampires, seems to accumulate in their body as they age.”

Vasile then removed his outer clothes, put them in a separate pot to heat and boil and instructed Anton to do the same, telling him, “This’ll remove any of the infection that might have been absorbed in your clothes. We take many precautions.”

Once he removed his own outer clothes, Andrei was eager to congratulate Anton on his first kill, rushing forward, shaking his hand and hugging him.  Andrei added with excitement, “And we’ll have to pay you of course.  Let me get the gold right now.”  Andrei walked away, continuing to talk, “I pay Vasile monthly, but you and I can work out whatever schedule you prefer.  For this first time we’ll pay you some gold up front.”

Andrei was still speaking while he was out of sight in the other room.  When he returned Ileana was besides him in her nightdress.  “Your first kill already,” she said to Anton and gave him a smile, then addressing Andrei, “You know what this means about me winning our bet.”

Andrei shook his head in disappointment at his wife, then dropped four beautiful gold coins into Anton’s hand.  Anton looked at the coins, silent and astonished.  In his hand was as much money as his father would earn in a year.

Andrei then explained the calculation, “This vampire weighed about two hundred twenty-five fonts, and I pay Vasile a font of gold for every five hundred fonts of vampire mass.  That adds up to forty-five hundredths of a font of gold for you two, which is seventy-one and one tenth of a dram.  Divide that by two and you each get thirty-five and fifty-five hundredths of a dram.  So, that adds up to three ten-dram coins, with a little left over.  But, as a gift for your first kill, we’ll round it up.  So, that adds up to 4 ten-dram coins.”

Anton had nothing to say, and Andrei tried to encourage Anton to smile, by spreading a large silly smile on his own face.

The only thing Anton could say was the understated comment, “My family will be pleased.”

<-- Go to Part 37         Go to Part 39 -->

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

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