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 23, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 48

Lucian’s announcement brought a sudden clamor of speech from the crowd.  Many people had already anticipated this development and it only confirmed that the rumors were true.  Yet still, to hear it now from Lucian’s lips made emotions begin to pour out.  Many of the citizens cried out in celebration, including Josif, who cheered on the news with a vociferous shout.  Others among the crowd, more quietly, expressed silent disappointment.

“No longer will we have to fear them stealing our children at night,” Lucian jubilantly announced, trying to ride the wave of excitement from the crowd, “No longer will we have to fear them raiding our towns.  The threat of the vampires is over, from hereon and in perpetuity.  One day in the future we will look back on this era with a quaint reminiscence, and wonder what it was that made us once so afraid.  We will say to ourselves, ‘What could’ve made us cower in fear?  These vampires are our neighbors, and our friends.’  For, from now on, the monsters of the night are no more monsters but companions.

“From now on anyone caught murdering a vampire will be treated the same as any other murderer.  No longer will vampire killers be excepted from our rights and laws.  And we no longer from theirs: we shall be given the privilege to punish vampires who commit crimes against us, the same as if it were one of our own.  Today we leave behind those old fears and embrace a new prosperity in which progress will no longer be hindered by fear and in which possibilities will reach higher than we once thought possible.”

“When will this agreement take effect?” Andrei cut in at this point.  It appeared as if Lucian had quite a bit more words to say, though not really any new information to convey.

“We will make an official announcement at Terem, in three days.  A binding agreement will be signed before all present, and our town’s practice of vampire hunting will cease to be legal, and, to the great power of God be thanked, will cease to be necessary or desirable as well.”

Anton looked at Vasile, who gripped Anton’s shoulder to comfort him.  He quietly told Anton, “We’ll continue to hunt until the agreement is signed.  I promise we’ll bag you another kill before you have to go back to farming.”

At the end of the meeting, Andrei’s only response was to quietly tell Ileana, “We’ll have to raise the prices on our vampire wares to control supply.”

Anton, though, could not react so calmly, unleashing the full passion of his disappointment and despair once back to Andrei’s.  He pounded the walls, he wept and cursed himself for his stupidity.  “My father was right and I was such a damn fool!” he told himself over and over again as he hurled tears from his eyes and fell to his knees.

It was only with great difficulty that Vasile was able to coax him into attending the hunt that evening.  Anton’s stubbornness tried the patience of even the infinitely patient Vasile, who told him, “Our time is limited.  We must get out there and do our work as soon as possible.”

But Anton could only moan and complain, “What’s the point?  It makes no difference.  I might as well just go back to father, concede that he was right and give up this whole business.”

Eventually Anton did concede and followed Vasile out that night, though they found no success.

The next afternoon, Anton went to Andrei’s and purchased the vampire medicine that he had promised Constanta.  Andrei had a dizzying variety of different products, which Ileana explained for Anton, “We have medicines for bones, skin, liver, brain, eyes, and others.  They’re made from the respective parts of the vampire’s body: the bone formula is made from vampire bones, and the skin formula from vampire skin and so on.  Just make a request.  We also have a general formula, which is a mixture of most of the varieties together.  It’s not quite as potent as the individual medicines, and if you’ve got a particular problem, I’d recommend getting something specifically for that.  But it is our most popular product and good for overall general health.”

Anton indicated he’d like the mixture.  Ileana brought to him a small wooden box, that was tied closed with a string.  Ileana carefully opened it to display the contents inside.  Wrapped in a red cloth was a brown mixture, ground down like grains in a mill to a course powder that emitted an awful stench.

Ileana continued to explain: “Our products are of the finest quality.  My philosophy of business is that reputation is as valuable and easily swept away as gold dust, and the only way you’re going to weigh down your reputation is with consistent, high quality.  We could dilute our products with dirt or chalk or human remains, but we don’t because they wouldn’t work as well; some of our customers would notice and our reputation would be trashed.  I might be able to sell, but I couldn’t continue to demand the same high prices without the reputation, which means I wouldn’t make nearly as much money as I do now.”

Anton brought the medicine to his little sister, who was glad to see her brother, and happy to receive presents, but looked on this particular present, with mixed emotion.  “It’s very kind of you, brother,” she acknowledged with a forced smile.  Anton pressed her to eat some immediately, to see how her body responded.

<-- Go to Part 47         Go to Part 49 -->

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

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