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, July 11, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 111

Anton came to visit Andrei’s again the next day.  He pounded on the door, and after a few minutes he heard Ileana shouting on the other side, “We’re closed!”

“It’s Anton,” he shouted back at her, “I’ve come to see Andrei.”

When she opened the door, her eyes were red with recent tears and her cheeks were pale and flushed.  She looked down at Anton, who told her, “Rumors have been flying around own about Andrei.  What’s going on?”

She ushered him in and closed the door, before telling him simply, “He’s sick.”

“Can I see him?” he asked.

“You probably shouldn’t,” Ileana said, but there was a shout from upstairs, calling out in a hoarse, hoary voice, “Bring the boy upstairs.”

When Andrei reached the top of the stairs and entered the bedroom, he found it in near darkness and saw Andrei in the bed beneath the sheets.

“Come sit here, dear boy,” Andrei ordered him, with a voice that had begun to take on the screeching quality of a vampire’s.

After Anton sat down, he said to Andrei, “Vasile’s dead.  I’m sorry to have to be the one to say this.”

“I feared as much,” Andrei admitted, “When he didn’t come to visit me after the battle, I suspected the worst.  It’s really too bad.  He was a good man, and a great hunter.”

“There’ll be a funeral for him and the other soldiers who died tomorrow in Terem.  It’d be great if you could come.  But I can see that you’re quite ill.”

“Not ill.  Not exactly.  I’m becoming one of them, I think,” Andrei guiltily admitted, “Did we kill them all?  Every last one of them.”

“Yes,” Anton nodded, “Though we spared Lina, and a few of her companions.”

Andrei frowned, “How many?”

“I think two others besides her,” Anton said, “They’re friends of Lina, so we needn’t worry about them.”

Andrei pounded his hands on the bed several times, thrashing about in great frustration as if he was in a fit.  All the while, he shouted, “No, no, no.”  Ileana stepped forward and grabbed hold of him to calm him down, taking his hand and touching his forehead, while she soothingly whispered, “Shhh, shhh, my dear.  Calm.”

After Andrei settled down, his heart still palpitated quickly and sweat poured from his pores.  His pale skin red with heat, he sat up in bed, breathing heavily and said to Anton, “It’s not the vampires that are the problem.  It’s the infection.  It spreads.  Even if some of them die, it still spreads and grows.  I don’t want to have to kill Lina after all she’s done for us, but I want the infection to be killed.  Now it’s got me.  And whom will I infect?  I don’t want it to go any further.”

“Don’t talk like that,” Ileana urged, rubbing his hand affectionately.

“I think it’s best I go now, sir,” Anton said, now standing up.

“One more thing before you go,” Andrei added, and he turned to Ileana and said, “Vasile’s hoard.”  Looking at Anton again, he explained, “He wanted you to have it, should something like this happen.  And, well, since it has happened, then it’s now yours.”

Ileana led Anton downstairs to the workroom, and then took him aside to a small closet.  Hanging on a hook on the wall was a metal ring, with a round protrusion like a crude key sticking out at one end.  She took the ring and stuck the protrusion in a small hole in a large flagstone that was among the several stones that comprised the floor.  Turning the ring half a turn, it became a handle, which could be used to lift the stone.

“Cornel designed this for us,” Ileana noted, asking Andrei, “If you could.  The stone’s quite heavy.”

Anton understood and grabbed the ring to pull the large stone from the floor and set it down to the side.  A few other stones beside it also had to be lifted and put aside, exposing a broad trap door beneath the stones.  Ileana opened the trap door, which lifted a cloud of dust as she swung it open and let out a moldy cool air from below.  She led the way, by climbing down a ladder into the space with a candle in hand.  Alone she nearly filled the tight space, and once Anton was beside her, they were cramped, their shoulders bumping against the cobbled stones that formed the walls.  The walls were round, like the interior of a well, and Anton suspected that Andrei must have filled in an old well to make this space.

“It’s hard to imagine how long it seemed when Nicoleta and I were down here while you and the others were defending the place from the vampire attack.  As you can see it’s quite narrow,” Ileana said.

On one side of the room was a metal door, with a single keyhole that Ileana filled with a key she drew from her pocket.  Swinging the door open, she exposed a small, low-ceilinged room filled with gold.  Crates and bags of gold coins lined the walls, and a stack of gold bars stood high in one corner.  She pointed to a chest by the door brimming with coins and said, “That’s Vasile’s gold.”

<-- Go to Part 110         Go to Part 112 -->

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

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