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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 99

The next day Vasile led a group of men from Vallaya into the forest.  Besides him walked Anton, armed with a bow and carrying on his back a full quiver of arrows.  Anton’s father had his firearm, a long arquebus, loaded with powder and shot, along with extra bullets and a horn of gunpowder.  Cornel, the blacksmith, clad in his leather apron, bore a heavy axe and a large crossbow armed with one of Vasile’s bolts and touted several more in reserve.  They all wore what heavy leather clothing they could find as armor, making some effort to guard their chest and neck.

They met, on schedule, Flaviu, leading his troops, who trailed behind him in an informal clump, without any order.  Cezar was there besides him, carrying his own arquebus, along with nine others so armed.  The rest were armed with crossbows and longbows.  All of them were armored with helmets, skirted by a chainmail aventail for the neck and wore a chainmail hauberk to cover their torso and thighs.  A team of horses and carriages in the back towed along their two cannons, with several cannonballs and the three barrels of gunpowder.  In the front of the team, the small black figure of Lina led the way, unarmed and covered head to toe in her black cloak.

The two groups silently greeted each other, each simply nodding in the other’s direction.  Flaviu asked, “Where’s Andrei?  Tending his shop?”

Vasile replied guardedly, “He’s ill actually.  He wanted to come, but we wouldn’t let him.”

Falviu looked up and saw the sun high in the sky and whispered to Vasile, “God be thanked, she’s on our side.  Do you think they’ll be expecting us?”

“I think so, but they won’t be expecting this,” Vasile said, pointing to the gunpowder.  He also told Flaviu, “If any soldiers here want to pay their last respects to God before our battle, let them do it now.”

All of the men bent down on their knees and said a few prayers and took a few moments before they were ready to continue.  Only Lina didn’t join in, looking around her over the praying crowd with curiosity, like a foreigner observing a strange custom.

Some minutes later, the whole band of soldiers was on the move, Lina walking at the front of the pack, at a pace that was to her maddeningly slow, though to the soldiers was uncomfortably fast.

As the band approached half a league from the coven, they started to come into view of the nearest vampire sentry.  In the direction from which the band approached, they were visible by Tam, who at the moment reclined in his tree, trying to relax and catch some sleep, just to stave off the boredom of sitting for hours in the burning sunlight in this tree.  He resented being reduced to such menial duty.  He secretly fantasized of Asha apologizing for having put such a great soldier on such a trivial assignment, when his ears pricked up at the sound of motion.

He almost fell out of the tree, as he tried to sit up straight from the relaxed position he’d been in.  Once he turned his eyes and looked in the direction of the sound, he could see it as clear as day, even through the haze of the black cloth that covered his head: some thirty armed men, walking in the direction of the coven.

His orders were to flee back to the coven as soon as possible and raise the alarm.  At the speed he could run, with the head start he had, he knew they couldn’t catch him, not even Lina, who was far too young.

But he smiled to himself when he thought: “You know what would be even better than sounding the alarm?  Carrying a dead Lina in my arms.”  He would be showered with praise and worshiped as a hero.  He could imagine Asha’s emotions as she was torn by remorse for putting such a degrading task on such an unparalleled soldier, but also delighted that she had because his skill had led to such a fortuitous result.

It would be easy: Lina was young and weak and could be effortlessly subdued; she was so far ahead of the troop that he could snatch her and run without being shot; not to mention that along the trajectory she was walking, she’d be close enough that he could leap right at her, landing right behind her; he’d pick her up and run away before they could even get a shot off.  Even a far lesser soldier could pull it off with ease.

All he had to exert was a little patience while he waited for her to get close enough.

<-- Go to Part 98         Go to Part 100 -->

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

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