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.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 53

The next day Nicoleta witnessed a person being removed from the pen.  She first noticed Mir stalking through the room covered in a heavy, hooded cloak with leather gloves to protect his hands and boots to protect his feet.  As he walked through the halls, quickly looking from person to person as if in search of a suitable subject, people stepped aside, and many tried to avoid his eyes.  They seemed to believe, perhaps quite reasonably, that if he didn’t see them, they might escape, but, in fact, it appeared as if he was looking for someone. When he saw a woman who was trying o discreetly hide her wrists, which were stained with two red X’s, he grabbed her.

The woman in question appeared to be past middle age, with grey hair on her head and traces of wrinkles.  Mir quickly reached out and grabbed her from behind, restraining her arms, which almost immediately began to flail about.  The woman screamed and cried and pleaded for help, but no one moved.

Nicoleta herself was at first afraid to move, but she finally gathered courage and ran at the vampire with all her strength.  She expected that if she knocked him down to the ground, others might follow and help. But, knocking into Mir’s body was more like running directly into the trunk of a tree than knocking into a person.  Nicoleta painfully thudded into Mir’s side, and he nonchalantly kicked her away, sending her skidding across the ground.

Seated on the ground, defeated, Nicoleta shouted at the other humans, “Why don’t we all attack him?  Together we can overpower him.”

By this time Mir was gone, dragging the screaming woman out the door into another room, where the distant screaming accelerated into a crescendo before it was abruptly stopped.  Though for the other humans this was a daily experience, for Nicoleta it was the first time she’d ever seen such a horrible thing, and she could do nothing but cry several tears as she sat upon the ground.

Oana stepped forward to comfort Nicoleta, at which point Dragomir finally spoke up in answer to Nicoleta’s question, “Don’t you think we’ve tried before?  We’ve attacked them.  We’ve ganged up on them.  We’ve lied in wait and ambushed them.  It never works.  It takes so many of us to overpower just one, and then another vampire comes to help and all we get for our efforts are bruises and broken bones and a few more of us dead and eaten.  The faster you learn to give up, the better things will work out for you little girl.  Just be happy that young girls are more valuable as baby-farms than as food.”

Oana and Nicoleta together went to the kitchen where food was being served.  The pen had its own kitchen, where several of the humans acted as cooks, with the raw ingredients being regularly supplied by the vampires.  The food was an almost unremitting monotony of the same meal day in and day out: large batches of stew, made from onions and potatoes, and a bit of bread and cheese on the side.  The chefs prepared cauldron after cauldron of stew, intersected with a continuous chain of loafs of wheat and barley bread.  There were several hundred humans that had to be fed multiple times each day, from an almost completely unvarying supply of raw ingredients, leaving very little room for creativity.

After Oana and Nicoleta sat down with their food, a woman decided to join them as they ate.  She introduced herself as Crina, a young woman with blonde, wavy hair that rolled down her shoulders.  Her eyes narrowed with defiance as she spoke and her smile spread wide as she told Nicoleta, “Just ignore Dragomir.  He’s right that we’ve tried many times and failed, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up.  He doesn’t want us to try to escape because he prefers the life he’s made for himself down here.  But there’s quite many of us who haven’t given up.  I’ve always found that even after every disappointment, there’s always just a little bit more hope, even as you think you’re scraping the bottom of the bowl,” Crina said, as Nicoleta ate up her last spoonfuls of soup.

“I want to believe you,” Nicoleta told her, feeling somewhat better.  As Nicoleta sat in the arena and recalled all these events, from her kidnapping up to the conversation with Crina, she still wanted to believe.

In another part of the coven, Lina cleaned, pushing a broom through the hallways to capture all the accumulated dirt and dust that settled throughout the floors of the caves.  It was an endless task, but Sim only required her to do it for an hour or two at a time.  Every vampire had their assigned task and she, as the least senior vampire in the coven was left with sweeping the floors.

She finished up a careful sweep of the upper floor and sat down for a break.  While seated Sim appeared around a corner, and she immediately picked up her broom and pretended to sweep.  But he told her to put down her broom for the day, explaining, “There’s a meeting in the Great Hall.”

She walked with him to the Great Hall, where a large crowd of vampires was already assembled, quietly waiting for Asha to speak.

<-- Go to Part 52         Go to Part 54 -->

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

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