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.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vampire Wares pt 114

The crossbow bolt lodged itself in Lina’s upper arm, causing her to leap with surprise.  Andrei was a poor shot with the crossbow and had missed the opportunity for a fatal single shot.  After the bolt entered her, Lina was reminded of the great pain she had felt the last time she’d been shot.

The difference was that now she did not feel so helpless as she had before.  It only took her a moment to look out the door and identify the source of the arrow: an indeterminate shadow that stood just outside the room.  The first suspicion that crossed through her mind was that it was Suma, since she was the only one of the four of them not present in the room at the moment.  She ran towards the shadow and knocked it to the ground with her shoulders just as Andrei was firing off the second crossbow.  It harmlessly soared over her head as Andrei was knocked backwards.  She pinned and restrained him on the ground with her knees and finally had a chance to see the face.

“Andrei?” She blurted out.

He looked up at her pathetically as she grabbed the arrow that was in her and pulled it out with a profound wince of pain, leaking some of her blood onto her arm and onto Andrei.

“Why are you here?” she asked, “Why are you shooting at me?”  Andrei struggled to breathe a bit under the great weight of Lina’s body pressed down against him, and he gave her no response, keeping his mouth stubbornly closed.

“Something’s different,” she then noted.  She took several sniffs, leaning close to his body and taking in his aroma.  “You’re a vampire,” she said, “I can smell it.  You’re infected.”

“It’s true,” he nodded, the sad look on his face only intensifying.

“What are you doing here, then?”

“I’ve come to kill you, all of you,” Andrei admitted.  Bai and Suma were both hovering over Lina as he spoke, “It looks I’ve failed.”

“Why?” Suma on behalf of the others.

“To put an end to the infection,” he said, “I would’ve killed myself after I killed you all.  I have nothing but repugnance at the thought of living the rest of my life as a vampire.”

“What would happen, then, if we let you go now?” Lina asked.

“I’d kill you,” he admitted, “Or try at least.”

“Is there no way I can persuade you otherwise?” Lina asked.

Andrei shook his head, and Lina grew quiet and stared despondently at her two companions.  Neither of them knew Andrei as anything but the man who made and sold vampire wares, so for them, Lina’s emotions seemed inexplicable.  She didn’t appear to want to kill him.

After many long moments of hesitation she leaned down to bite his neck.  But she whispered something in his ear before she bit.  “I would’ve paid you back tenfold for what you’ve done for me,” she whispered, “If you could just join with us.”

She still waited for him to say something, but he remained silent, so she finally opened her mouth and bit.  She drained and drank the blood, while Bai and Suma looked on.  Andrei groaned with pain at the first bite, but as his body was sapped, he settled into death, eventually closing his eyes and passing into unconsciousness.

Lina cut herself off in the middle of the process, realizing that she should share her boon, and dragged the still living body to Sim’s bedside.  She woke Sim from a slumber and coaxed him to take a drink fresh from Andrei’s neck.  It took him a moment to realize who he was drinking from, and he finally pulled away and looked at the face, saying, “Andrei?  How did you get him here?”

Lina let Suma and Bai finish Andrei off, and finally the deceased corpse was handed over to Suma, who began to prepare it for processing.

“It’s not a bad way to go is it?” Lina asked to no one in particular, “To die by having your blood drained.  Probably something like drifting off into sleep.”

As Suma stripped off Andrei’s clothes and shaved off the hair, Lina asked her, “How much food do we have?  I mean, how long will it last the four of us?”

“If it was the whole coven of sixty-one vampires, what we have might last three or four weeks.  So, I would imagine that, for just the four of us, it would last a year or more.”

“Then what?” Lina asked.

“That’s a long way off,” Suma said, laughing slightly, “We needn’t worry about that for a while.”

“We’ll have to do something for food then.  What’ll we do?” Lina repeated her question.

“I suppose we’ll have to hunt for more food,” Suma said.  Lina nodded in agreement as she returned to Sim’s bedside and to the process of nursing him back to health.

Ileana made no effort to search for her husband when she found him missing the next day.  On his own, Anton tracked Andrei’s path through the woods, but when he saw Andrei’s footprints descending into the cave, he pursued no further.

They both attended the funeral for Vasile and the other soldiers and both got their chance to say goodbye.  They lay Vasile’s remaining weapons with his body, a longbow with arrows resting on top of his body, a crossbow at his feet and a dagger beside him.  After solemn words, they carried the four coffins down into the crypt.  The four coffins were pushed into separate slots within the walls of the crypt beside other former members of the convent, where they would be left to wait until the Second Coming of Christ, their names and dates chiseled into the stone

Ileana never remarried, but she was joined by Nicoleta, who left the convent and was adopted into Ileana’s household.  She brought in Anton as a business partner.  Their first step was to liquidate their stock of vampire wares as fast as possible, and remove the “Apothecary and Vampire Wares” sign that swung in front of the shop and replace it with a smaller sign that simply read “Apothecary.”


<-- Go to Part 113         Go to Postscript -->

You can see what's been written collected here.

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