tales of the daywalkers (week 24)
Weekly Feature…Vampire Fiction Serial (Click to read week 23)
“Stop being such a baby. Your throat is nearly healed.” I shook my head as Claude fingered the marks in his neck.
“Did you really have to bite so deep?”
My lips curved up on one side and I leaned back against the tree. “Shut up about your neck and start talking about the amulet. What did Elton say?”
Claude straightened his collar. “Not much.”
“But he said something, so start talking.”
“He said the stone reacts when sunlight hits it. It terrified him. He was too afraid to tell me more.” Claude dropped to the ground beside me and wrapped his arm around my shoulders. “You know, you’re very sexy when you’re angry.”
I laughed. “Is that so?”
Claude’s lips teased my earlobe. “What do you say we slip off into the woods for a while and experiment with that?”
“Not now,” I giggled. “I’m going to talk to my father. He wants the amulet for a reason and I have to figure out what that reason is.” I stood up, pulling Claude to his feet beside me. “I need you to talk to Sebastian and see if you can get him to divulge what he knows…at the very least, you should get two vials of the Daywalker serum. We’re going to need it later. If the amulet reacts to sunlight, we must to be prepared to step into the light at sunrise.”
Claude gripped my shoulder. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to take the amulet into the sun until we know what it does.”
“We may not find out until we do. Are you willing to spend the rest of eternity bound to Sebastian and my father? I’m not.” I shook out of his grasp and smiled. “Besides, I know you won’t let anything happen to me.”
“You certainly don’t make it easy.”
“I never said I was easy.” I flashed a quick smile and bolted for the trees with Claude following closely at my heels.
We covered the distance in silence, reaching the driveway simultaneously. “Shhhh,” I cautioned. “Listen.”
I could hear the muffled voices of my father and Sebastian inside. They were discussing me. And Anne? How long had it been since I’d heard her name spoken?
Not nearly long enough.
“I need you to get Sebastian out of the house. Get him to go feed with you. I’m sure you’re very hungry after…” I smirked at him. “Well, I’m sure you need to eat.”
Claude raised his eyebrows. “Won’t Sebastian wonder why I haven’t eaten already?”
“Just tell him there was only enough for one on the trail. He won’t be surprised you sacrificed your needs for mine.”
“Now go…get him out so I can talk to my father alone.”
I waited in the shadows while Claude reluctantly drew Sebastian out of the house before entering. My father was examining books in my library when I walked up behind him.
“It’s been too long Victoria.” He repeated his sentiments from earlier.
“Yes, Father…it has. Although, I’m saddened to find you’ve come after the amulet, rather than to see me.” I peeked over at the book my father held. “Interesting choice…King Lear?”
“One must appreciate the greats,” he smiled. “He was quite misunderstood…but I hardly think you wanted to talk about books, child.”
My eyes caught his and held them. “No, you’re right. I would rather know more about the amulet, and why it would have you so captivated you would see your own child dead just to possess it.”
“Such a complicated question.”
“Do take a moment to enlighten me.”
“In order to make you understand, I would have to tell you about the origins of the stone. It really is quite fascinating.”
“The stone once belonged to Theodora, wife of Justinian, emperor of Byzantine Empire. Justinian found himself unable to resist the charms of the young exotic dancer and made her his empress. But Theodora was not only beautiful; she was politically savvy, and completely obsessed with power and her looks. As she was getting on in age, she had heard stories about expeditions into the lands of the Amazon, by the Greeks, Egyptians and Phoenicians, in search of the fountain of youth. It was her goal to fund an expedition of her own.
“Theodora sent a small fleet of four ships complete with three triremes and a supply barge. They were gone seven months before a single, starving and dirty traveler on foot showed up at court insisting on bringing urgent news to the empress. This traveler was taken to the empress, where he gave her a crude necklace of sinew and a single rough formed onyx crystal, surrounded by a fired clay setting. He talked for hours about how the crew had met with many hazards, losing the supply barge in a storm, losing one of the Triremes on a shoal, having the remaining two attacked and burned by natives where they landed. He told a story of only one hundred soldiers and rowers escaping and fleeing overland where they were taken in by another rival tribe. The native people fed then and helped them rehabilitate but they were obviously from a different culture and started to wear out their welcome. One day during a religious ceremony, to the shaman was brought an ill young girl, one who acted like a wild beast…snarling and frothing at the mouth. In an early morning ceremony, the shaman had several large warriors bring the bound young girl to him and he placed the necklace around her neck. When the sun rose, the girl began to thrash and scream as the light burned her skin. When the sunlight hit the stone, a brilliant light swallowed the child whole.”
My eyes had gone wide as I listened to my father relay the story of the amulet. “What happened?”
“I’m sure you’ve guessed, that child was a vampire,” he closed the book he was holding and pulled out another. “Whatever transpired prompted Theodora to attempt the ritual, wearing the amulet herself. She stepped into the early morning sun wearing the amulet and the same brilliant light swallowed her for an instant. They say nothing happened immediately. Theodora appeared unchanged, but within days her health had begun to deteriorate. They say she died of a cancer not long after, and many believe she was already sick long before the ceremony. I believe it was the stone that killed her.”
I drew in a deep breath. “Why would you want to possess something destined to kill you?”
“You didn’t ask about the child.” My father smiled patiently.
“The child? You mean the young vampire? What happened to her?”
“She survived. Never aging. Never dying. Never again afraid to walk in the daylight.”
Until the next time…I’ll be getting the judging started for the contest, and counting comments for a bonus!