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, April 20, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 64

Uta was a small, arresting beauty, with a pleasant softness to her features – a curved nose and a round face with large, open eyes – and many eyes turned to look at her with admiration when she removed her head-covering.  But it was Asha who drew the most attention, eliciting a slight gasp of awe among the collected spectators as she exposed herself.  Asha displayed to them her creamy, soft skin, her high cheekbones, her long, thin nose and clear blue eyes, and they found it difficult to dislike her, even though many had lost acquaintances and family members to her coven.

She looked over the crowd silently like a queen surveying her subjects and the crowd stared back, drinking deeply of her beauty.  Lucian, who was waiting behind her decided to step forward to speak and break this silence.

“I thank you all for coming to witness this historic event: the end of the war between vampires and humans.  I hope you will heed me when I beg you to attend to every detail displayed before you today, since for generations to come your children and their children after them will ask you to describe how it was witness the forging of history.  I pray that this event may be retained in our collective memory for their benefit.  Just like many great events in the past, the full gravity of this event is not fully fathomable to us here in the midst of it, but in time to come it will be recognized as a great turning point that will define all future affairs to come.”

Asha had to interrupt at this point with a loud assertion of “Let’s get on with this.”  Her strident voice had an effect on the crowd quite the inverse of her appearance, and they recoiled a little to hear her assert herself with such force.

Lucian respectfully deferred to her and walked back to the table where sat the treaty that had been drawn up.  Expounded in standard legalese was a description of the conditions and penalties of their peace arrangement, beautifully inscribed in Beniamin’s excellent hand.  Asha examined the document perfunctorily, though she couldn’t read, trusting that Lucian had not tried to sneak in any provisions of which she wouldn’t approve.

“We will receive all of your capital criminals?” Asha asked Lucian and he nodded, adding, “And we yours.”

She picked up the pen, dipped it in ink and wrote, in a crude, barely legible script, “Asha.”

A whole line of officials and representatives, representing the various villages and landlords that controlled the region were standing in the front with Asha and Lucian.  They all, in turn, signed the document, with handwriting considerably more refined and polished than Asha’s, until the whole bottom of the treaty was crowded with a congeries of signatures.

No handshakes were exchanged, but Asha and her four companions gave short bows to each of the representatives after they signed.

When all was completed Lucian rolled up the document and raised it in the air in triumph while Asha put back on her head covering and hooded herself, the other vampires following her lead.  Without further formalities she left, walking down the center aisle and exiting through the front door.  Lucian and Beniamin quickly followed behind and led the vampires into the two carriages, which departed from the village as abruptly as they’d come, headed back to the coven.

Lina was meanwhile preparing to make a small, unauthorized excursion out of the caves.  The timing was ideal, since Asha was still away and Sim, who was supposed to watch Lina, was still infirmed.  For this purpose, she entered her room and found a head covering, gloves and a hooded cloak in her closet, all of which she folded into a sack.  Sack in hand, she travelled to the great hall, which was, at the time, mostly empty.

The sole entrance and exit from the coven was the passage leading up and out of the great hall.  To exit the caves required passing through the passage, to a locked wooden door at the end of this passage and then lifting the large boulder that covered the opening.

The region between the door and boulder was under constant guard.  A number of different vampires shared this duty and they cycled frequently among them, sometimes leaving the place unguarded for several minutes while one of them went out to fetch the replacement.  It was a job that wasn’t practiced with much seriousness since no outsider had ever actually successfully discovered the entrance and it was doubted that any ever would.  And, with a peace deal being signed at that very moment, it seemed all the more pointless.  For these reasons, it wasn’t uncommon for guards to be found in profound dereliction of their duty.

It was this failing that Lina was counting on, hoping to sneak through during one of these gaps of duty.  From the great hall she swiftly climbed up into the dark passage leading out, unnoticed by the few vampires present.

Upon reaching the locked wooden door, she put on her dark clothes, and then she waited.  She could smell the vampire on the other side and knew that it was only a matter of patience.

<-- Go to Part 63         Go to Part 65 -->

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

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