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, July 15, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 113

Andrei turned back to say his last goodbye to his home and business.  The solid stone walls and sturdy new back door stood like a bulwark against the night, with the moonlight reflected off of the stones.  After a moment’s look he turned around and walked into the forest.

He had learned from Anton and Vasile approximately where the coven was located, and he strode in that direction, slowly passing through the trees.  He could feel the last remnants of sickness leaving his body as he breathed in the cool air of the night, and he basked in the darkness.

After a long walk through the woods, he arrived at the crater.  He stood at the edge and looked inside.  Aside from the obvious destruction – the hole in the ground and the fallen columns and fractured walls – there were few remnants of the battle that had taken place: some arrows and crossbow bolts lay on the ground next to bullet holes and bloodstains, but there were no bodies.  All the bodies had been cleared away, making it look like a somewhat deathless battle.

Andrei found the entrance that led down into the coven.  He didn’t know if he would find the remaining vampires there, though he suspected that there weren’t any other caves of sufficient size for more than fifty leagues from here, meaning the vampires would be unlikely to try to go anywhere else.

He entered the remnants of the Great Hall, which was now bathed in moonlight and still bore traces of its former splendor.  He stole a torch from one of the walls and was able to light it using a small fire he built on the floor.  Entering the hall, he was presented with the line of doors inset into the wall.  One after another he opened each door, inspected it to make sure no vampires were hiding inside, and then moved on to the next.

The vampire’s wealth was on clear display in these rooms: the luxurious beds, the beautiful decorations and the elegant furniture.  He didn’t know for sure, but could only assume that these fineries were the result of generations of raids, stealing the wealth of the wealthy, perhaps in exchange for (or in addition to) their blood.  But Andrei found no vampires in these rooms.  In fact, most of them looked undisturbed, as if the occupant was simply stepping out for a few moments and would be returning shortly.

When Andrei finally arrived at the barred room, he realized that this must be where the humans were kept.  He entered the kitchen, which was empty and looked like an unremarkable room.  He saw the door to the pen, and fortunately found it unlocked.

What opened up for him on the other side were only more caves, extending further and deeper into the underground. The quality of the caves had clearly changed.  For one, the smell was not as pleasant, and for another the caves appeared poor and dirty.

He continued walking cautiously, though now the caves began to branch out in multiple directions, and it became more difficult to follow where he was.  He realized that he would have to mark his way.  He used a stone to mark on the floor with an X sections he’d travelled through, and marked arrows on the wall to indicate which passages he’d travelled down.  He quickly discovered, he was walking around in circles, as rooms connected back to other rooms which connected back to the first via branching passages that led back to where he’d arrived from.  It took a great many trials and wanderings before he was able to narrow down the places where he’d been and find new rooms to explore.

But his explorations were successful, and he finally saw a dim light in the distance.  He snuffed his torch and walked in the direction of the light.  His eyes were surprisingly capable in the darkness, and as he was able to see everything clearly even in the light of a distant candle.

He tiptoed slowly, raising one of his crossbows in preparation.  He turned a corner and could see the candlelight through the open doorway of a room.  He walked to the doorway as quietly as possible, and once the interior of the room became visible, he could see the unmistakable form of three vampires inside talking with one another.

Two of the vampires he could only see obliquely, but he had a clear view of Lina, who was assisting one vampire who was lying on the bed and speaking with another.

Andrei decided to kill Lina first, since she was the one he least wanted to kill.  Better to do the hardest task first.  So he pointed his crossbow at Lina, took aim and let the bolt fly.

<-- Go to Part 112         Go to Part 114 -->

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

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