Blogophilia 20.10 – Daniel Part 3
It’s time again for Blogophilia, the cool blog group where Martien gives us prompts to use in a weekly post. This week’s prompts are:
Of note – the person I don’t like is Clara. I hated her as companion on Doctor Who. Is it the same Clara? Why not? Who says they didn’t cross into the Amaranthine Universe in their Tardis after they (thankfully) left the doctor.
They slept in the house, their cloaks hung over the small windows. When the sun set, a quick hunt in the dilapidated garden yielded enough blood to get them on their way. With every mile that passed, Daniel’s dread grew heavier. Malick would be displeased, and when he was displeased he turned into something cold and terrifying, capable of anything. And he could do anything he wanted to them. The True Council in Germany might be over him, but they were separated by months of travel. In the end, Malick was like their Lord – his word and whims were the ultimate law – leaving them as little better than his vassals.
It was near sunup when they reached their destination. The building lacked the grandeur and menace that Daniel knew lived beneath it. Simple, with a large wooden door, it was guarded at night by a vampire and in the daytime by one of the human slaves. A stable and other outbuildings provided the things necessary for everyday life, but it was that heavy door that drew Daniel’s eyes again and again, even as he unsaddled his horse and put him away.
Privy to his thoughts, Kateesha rolled her dark eyes. “What do you fear he will do? Destroy us for disobeying?”
“Not us, but me,” he admitted.
“He wouldn’t dare.” She took his hand and tugged him towards his doom. “Come. Best to get it finished and ease your mind.”
Though it was the last place he wanted to go, he allowed Kateesha to drag him to the doors and then down the stairs. The rooms below had been dug from the earth and lined in rock, giving it the appearance of a medieval dungeon turned palace. Candelabras threw light over heavy drapes and opulently carved furniture. Embroidered hanging hung on the walls, and rugs made of thick fur covered the floor. Doorways led to Malick’s even more lavish chambers, and to rooms for staff, guards, and storage.
A throne sat in the center of the room, unoccupied. To the right, a table was set up with paper and watercolors. A vampiress, more girl than woman, stood from a stool. She moved towards them in a rustle of expensive silk. With pale skin and a turned up nose, Daniel had to admit she was attractive, though vexing.
“Greetings, little Clara,” Kateesha purred with false friendliness. “I see Father has kept you busy with more baubles?”
Her reply was clipped. “You’ve returned.” Brown eyes said she was better than they were; worth more, as if that was why she remained there as Malick’s plaything dressed in silks while they rode horses through the rain. “Master is in his chambers.”
“As is obvious,” Kateesha replied.
“He expected you to return with a prisoner.” Clara sniffed. “No matter, I’ll speak to him first, if you wish, and soothe him.”
Kateesha snickered. “While your offer of intervention is…sweet, it is unnecessary. I can deal with my father on my own terms, as I’ve been doing since before you were born, or made immortal.”
Clara sniffed again and resumed her seat. “Good luck to you.”
“And to you,” Kateesha leaned over her shoulder, and squinted at the picture. “Perhaps when you’ve finished it will be easier to determine what it is.”
“It’s a garden!” Clara snapped, then wadded her hands into fists. “No matter. I refuse to be drawn into your game.”
“How clever of you.” Kateesha motioned the conversation away, already bored with it. “Come, Daniel. We must make our report.”
She took his hand again and dragged him towards one of the doorways. Malick’s presence washed out and Clara – and the petty competition of two women – was forgotten.
He’s going to be furious.
Dry laughter sounded in his head, followed by a whisper, “Do you think so?”
Daniel cringed. One of Malick’s talents was the ability to crawl inside your mind not just to see your thoughts, but to leave his own. Being in his presence was like being naked and defenseless.
“As if you have any defenses that would work against me.”
A short hallway turned into a large room decorated with couches and paintings by masters; mostly paintings of plants and gardens. The portals into imagined greenery helped alleviate the oppressive atmosphere of the underground chambers, but they did nothing against the presence of the master.
Kateesha wound through the room and into the next where a large carved bed was surrounded by tables and wardrobes. A silk bedspread was rumpled and the vampire master rested in the center, a book held aloft in the light of a single candle. His long silver beard glinted, and his dark eyes sparkled in the firelight.
Kateesha stopped at the foot of the bed and bowed. Daniel quickly did the same, staying bent until Malick cleared his throat, signaling them to stand.
He closed the book and set it aside, then drew into a sitting position. “I would ask after the success of your journey, but it appears that I am looking at it. Muddy cloaks and a few odds and ends pilfered from the dead. Have you nothing else to show for yourselves?”
Daniel swallowed hard. He tried to think of an excuse, but the words ran together in a stream of pointlessness. Malick would see anything he had to offer before he could utter it.
“There was a storm, Father,” Kateesha said.
“Yes, I can see that in your mind, and in his.” He turned the full force of his gaze on Daniel, and the vampire felt his knees turn weak. For a moment he could see the storm behind his eyes, smell the blood, see it painted across Kateesha’s naked breasts-
Malick’s voice rumbled like the thunder in Daniel’s memories, “A storm you call it, but an orgy would be a better word.” He stood, hands behind his back as he walked towards them. “To give into desire is not so much a sin, child, unless by doing so you must disobey.”
Kateesha raised her chin a notch, “We followed your orders, Father.”
“You know better, don’t waste time pretending otherwise. And this one,” he turned amused eyes on Daniel. “I see he tried to resist you. Ah, but how could he? To turn away from a dark angel? No.” Malick flashed back to Kateesha. “He is a not so secret admirer, and you knew he would do as you wished. Should I punish him for this – for being your willing slave?”
“He is no slave of mine,” Kateesha said. “But he has done nothing to earn punishment, and neither have I. We only did-”
“Your best?” Malick turned away from them to pace a small circle. When he stopped, Daniel felt the pulse of his anger die down, replaced with something colder. “You have disobeyed me, child, and dragged others down your rebellious paths. That you indulge does not concern me, but you must learn that there is a place and a time for such things. Guards!”
At his shout, footsteps shuffled from the adjoining room, bringing three vampires with them. They came to a stop before the master, saluting.
Kateesha scoffed. “You’re not serious.”
“I am. Guards, take her to the cell. A week or two without blood will teach a lesson my words cannot.”
The guards stepped toward her uncertainly. When she snarled, they drew back, and she pushed past to drop at Malick’s feet. Her upturned face and doe eyes spoke of innocence and remorse. “Father, we did our best – my best. I am only-”
He stepped back from her . “Come now, my child, such coquettish tricks are worthy of Clara, not you. You are not a feeble female who could manage nothing better. Do not pretend to be.”
Her face wadded in fury and she pulled to her feet. “A week?”
“Or two,” he added, then motioned to the guards. The vampires edged toward her nervously, and finally pounced as one, grabbing her arms.
“I don’t deserve this!” Kateesha shrilled. “Wait until Jorick hears what you’re doing to me!”
“Jorick is in Mexico and will be there for some time,” Malick said disinterestedly. “Besides, why would he aid you when your crime was taking another lover? Such rescue happens to the pure feminine flowers, my dear, not the hot wild women of the world. They are left to look to themselves, and they have the strength to do it. DO not look to your brother always to be your savior, or you court disaster and death. Now take her to the cell and chain her.”
The guards dragged her out o the room, kicking and protesting. As her cries dropped away, Daniel dared to look at the aster again. If such was to be Kateesha’s punishment, what would his own be?
Malick motioned him closer, and gave him a good once over. “The same to you. Kateesha is blood of my blood, but as such I know her well. Do not set stock in her words, or in the pleasure she gives you, for neither mean more to her than the wind. She will trade you for a shiny piece of glass if it pleases you, or for a glance from her brother in blood.” Malick moved back to the bed. “Go now. You may sleep in the guards’ quarters for the day. On the morrow you will leave for Mexico to join Jorick.”
Daniel released the breath he’d been holding. He nodded, bowed, and mumbled a handful of “yes, master, as you wish, master,” as he hurried out the door. When he hit the main room he caught sight of Clara smirking, but he knew better than to engage her. Instead he rushed to the guards’ barracks. The room was small, lined in stone, and plane, but it beat the cell.
A guard pointed him to a wooden box, which he took gratefully. As he slid the lid closed he caught the muffled sound of Kateesha’s cries; her demands to be released. Part of him wanted to help her, to save her from a week – or two – of hunger induced misery. All the same, the huger wouldn’t kill her, and once she was released and fed she would be no worse for wear. As Malick said, she would trade him for a piece of shiny glass. He had no illusions; the master’s words were true.
Still, her cries were unsettling. Daniel squeezed his eyes shut and thanked the nothingness that by this time tomorrow he’d be on his way to Mexico. Even dealing with who-knew-what and Jorick’s pompous authority would be better than days of guilt.
Better than listening to Kateesha scream.
Maybe he wasn’t as unlucky as he thought.
Thus concludes Daniel. Next week will be a quicky because I’ll be out of town, but after that we’ll start Dismas. OOoooooOOooooOOoo.
And now for guesses:
Bonus: Tyler & Stormy
- So Fluffy 2. Easter Bunny 3. Marshmallow 4. Peep 5. Fuzzy. 6. fluffy as a cloud 7. soft as a cloud 8. pretty 9. princess bunny 10. white rabbit 11. follow the white rabbit 12. down the rabbit hole 13. I’m late 14. into wonderland 15. where’s Alice? 16. floppy 17. cute enough for Disney 18. Thumper 19. flower in her hare 20. rabbit foot for luck