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, May 11, 2012

Vampire Wares, pt 76

Lina quickly hustled up the tunnel to the exit and pounded on the wooden door for the guard to let her through.  The guard opened the door for her, and, after she told him she had permission from Asha, he lifted the rock for her.

She was surprised how overwhelming the daylight sun was.  Even under all the covering, it seemed to beat down on her like a rain of fire.  She walked around for a little bit, though this was just to make it look like she was doing something.  The reason she’d come out was to see whether she was genuinely strong enough to lift the outer rock on her own.

After what Lina thought was a sufficient passage of time not to appear at all suspicious, she returned to the rock and prepared herself for the task of lifting it.  She squatted down before the rock, rubbing her hands together and taking a few deep breaths.

After a few moments of hesitation, she put her fingers beneath the underside of the rock and began to pull upward at the weight.  Gradually, from the force of her strength, the rock began to move, began to rise.  It didn’t seem to float up by her strength the way the bed did, but it was achievable, with the full extent of her exertion.

When the rock was finally raised above her head, she saw the guard on the other side looking at her with surprise.  He actually held out his sword in anticipation, not really sure who it was who was lifting the rock, since she was the only vampire who was out.  When he saw Lina, her face red with exertion, and sweat pouring down her forehead, he dropped the sword and rushed forward to help her.  With the weight out of her hands, Lina could finally take the breath that she’d been holding through her whole exertion, which was followed by many heavy breaths.

“You’re already strong enough to raise the stone?” the vampire guard said, “You’re quick.”

Lina gave a shy “thank you,” and then hastily walked inside like one embarrassed.  She was soon back to her room and pulling off her heavy clothes, which felt hot and intolerable, while her body was still sticky with sweat.  Dropping them to the floor and changing into the loose garments that most of the vampires wore in the cave, she was soothed and relaxed by the cool of the cave.

She looked down at the muscles of her arms and legs and thought she could really tell the difference in how they’d strengthened, how they’d almost overnight improved in tone and seemed stronger, more adult, more healthy.

She needed rest, both tired by the heat and by the exertion and she lay down on her bed and stared up at the ceiling.  The thought of how to acquire the keys to the pen suffused her thoughts.

She recalled a conversation she’d overheard once.  Sister Elisabeta was once reproving a repentant former thief, who’d told Elisabeta about his former life.  At one point he said something like, “You’d be amazed that you can just snatch a purse right off of a person.  And they won’t notice because they’re paying attention to something else.”  Lina was skeptical and had considered trying her hand at pickpocketing while she was in the convent to see if it worked as he said — not money, which she had no use for, but something more relevant to her, like the keys to the novices’ rooms or some food.  Ultimately, she’d never made an attempt, since her fear of being caught was greater than her curiosity.  Now she chided herself, thinking that it might’ve been easier if she’d tried it in the convent, where the consequences were still relatively small.

She slept first to recover her strength.  She was willing to take her time.  Though she felt there was a certain urgency to getting Nicoleta out of there as soon as possible, she also knew that she would get only one shot at this at this and she wanted it to be done right the first time, which required measured prudence.

When the time was right, she grabbed the basket and placed it in the hallway near the kitchen.  It was conspicuous sitting there, something vampires would have to move to avoid, but she trusted no one would take it.  She then took her broom and again began to sweep around and towards the kitchen.

<-- Go to Part 75         Go to Part 77 -->

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

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