The Vampire and the Witch (Spirit Walks Part 8)

‘You think I instructed the sprites to create this body?’ Auberon said icily. ‘I had begun to judge you of higher worth than most mortals, but clearly I was mistaken.’
‘But, if you didn’t tell these green bastards to make Gabe’s body a vampire, why’d they do it?’
‘Why don’t you ask them?’
‘Probably because the little slugs won’t answer me,’ she muttered as she marched up to the door-sprite. ‘You!’ she said, stabbing her finger at the sprite. ‘What the hell’s wrong with you? Why’d you make him a vampire body and not a human one?’

The entire sprite workshop broke into laughter, and Sama glared into the room. Finally the sprite standing in front of her stopped laughing enough to answer. ‘To teach you a lesson. Now you know that you shouldn’t mess with faeriekind, as we are your superior, and will always come out on top.’
Sama was fuming, and tried to speak, but failed. Instead, she slapped the sprite across the face, and the stinging blow knocked him to the floor. The laugher from the workshop stopped instantly, and the low buzz of their dragonfly wings slowly filled the air.

Sama was beyond caring and could have screamed in frustration. After all that she had gone through to rescue her brother from his death at the hands of demented priestesses, all of it was now wasted effort. She still owed a large, and potentially life-long debt to the ancient Horned God, and it would be a debt she paid for no good reason, as her brother was still dead. He was no longer a ghost, but he was not human either. How could she love a blood drinking, sun-fearing, cold hearted, dead thing? And it was all because these stinking little sprites had decided to use Gabe as the final word in an argument.

She stared into the sprite workshop, watching the swarm of hostile faeries, all of them baring a mouth full of needle-sharp teeth. She pulled the heavy workshop door shut, trying to buy herself a moment to think before she was shredded by sprites.

The lone door-sprite had taken to the air as well, and circled around to attack Sama’s face. She put her back to the door and looked frantically for a weapon, but found nothing. The sprite flew in confidently, and Sama swung a desperation fuelled punch into its face.

She felt her knuckles sink into the green skin, sending the sprite spiralling up and away down the corridor. It corrected itself in midair and started back towards Sama, confidence replaced by fury.

It had barely moved when a blur surged up from the shadows. They had all forgotten about Gabe, the mortal reborn into the magically-created vampiric body. He leapt up from the floor and snatched the door-sprite out of the air. They sailed a little further before gravity took control, and Gabe crunched onto the stone floor with the sprite beneath him. He sank his new fangs into the faerie’s neck and sucked hard at the flow of unnaturally shimmering-red liquid he unleashed.

Sama watched in shock, until the workshop door behind her began to move. She gripped the door handle and held it in place, holding off the dozens of other sprites. Auberon had not moved to help or hinder since they had arrived, simply standing off to the side with his arms folded and a smile on his face.
‘Can you help us, Auberon?’ Sama yelled at him. The door was now shaking with the force of sprites behind it trying to pull it open, and she could not move away without letting them out.
‘There’s no need,’ he said. ‘You’re both doing very well on your own.’
‘What?!’ Sama said in amazement.
‘Yes, just look how quickly your brother worked out that sprite blood would restore him to his mortal temperament, removing any predatory desires.’
‘Really?’ Sama looked at Gabe. He was sitting back from the broken sprite and looking around with a clarity that had been missing from his gaze earlier. The wings of the sprite were scattered in pieces across the floor, its head was twisted awkwardly, and its throat was in tatters.

‘Yes, he’ll be like this for the whole day.’
‘Is that all? What happens tomorrow?’
‘He’ll awake to the night as a starved predator, seeking blood from the nearest source, regardless of whether it’s a friend or stranger.’
‘So we’ll need a source of faerie blood every day for eternity?’
‘If you want him to be like your mortal brother, yes.’
‘Crap,’ Sama said and sighed. She didn’t notice that the attack on the door had stopped. ‘So this is what happens if a vampire drinks the blood of a faerie?’
‘No. This is what happens if they drink the blood of a sprite. Every different faerie has a different result.’
‘Riiiight,’ Sama said thoughtfully. ‘So we need a ready source of sprite blood. And I just happen to have a room full of them trapped behind me.’ She looked at Gabe and they both grinned.

Gabe wiped the blood from his mouth and went to Sama at the door. ‘Thanks for coming for me, sis.’
Sama’s chin started to quiver, and she threw her arms around him.
‘I’m sorry that these bastards made you a vampire, Gabe. But we can use them to help you.’
‘Sure. It’s strange, but blood’s not like blood to me now. That ugly green thing was full of blood that tasted better than anything I can ever remember. If I’m stuck like this, I’m keen to take a few of them for the road.’
‘And next time I tell you something to help you out, you’d better bloody listen to me, right!’ she said, punching him in the arm, and they both laughed.

‘Auberon, how much blood do we need to get this effect?’ Sama asked.
‘Not much, I’d expect.’
‘Excellent,’ she said, and opened the door of the sprite workshop.

The sprites had fled to the back wall of their workshop, and saw the silhouettes of the mortal witch and her undead brother outlined in the doorway.
‘Sprites!’ yelled Sama. ‘I want to make a deal. Come over here to negotiate.’

There was silence for a moment, and the murmuring of subdued talking from the dark. Finally the buzz of wings rose up and a sprite flew over, but it stayed close to the ceiling and kept a safe distance back.
‘What do you want, sprite killers!’ the dark shape hissed.
‘You were the ones who thought it’d be fun to make a vampire, so this is no-ones fault but your own!’ Sama snapped.
‘You started this, witch!’
‘And now I’m finishing it, maggot! You’ve got two choices, so shut up! We come and harvest sprites to feed him until there’s no more sprites left to wring blood from! Or, you’ll make him another body, and this time you’ll do it friggen’ right! So what’s it gunna be?’

The sprite flew back into the darkness without answering, and the murmuring started again. After some moments, the buzz of many wings sounded, and the sprites dispersed across the room, lights were lit, and work commenced. Two sprites flew to Sama. ‘We will make a mortal body for this one, as you demand, so you’ll leave us and never return.’
‘We’ll leave you alone, but I didn’t say anything about never returning. Never’s a long time.’
The sprites growled in irritation, but did not argue.
‘Oh, and one more thing. If it’s gunna take another week to make this new body, we’ll need a week’s worth of sprite blood,’ Sama said sweetly.
‘That was not part of the deal!”
‘We’ve got business back home, so you’d better work out how we can take some blood with us. I’ve got some ideas, but you might think of something more convenient than us sacrificing a sprite every night.’
The sprites growled again, and turned away.
‘We’ll be leaving a bit later, so tell us then whether it’s blood or bodies, thanks,’ said Sama, and the two of them returned to Auberon.
‘C’mon Gabe,’ she said, ‘let’s show you around inside this place until the sun sets.’

They had a few hours, so followed Auberon as they avoided the daylight and took in the inner workings of his castle. As the sun set, Sama had an idea. ‘Auberon, the arrangement we had for the nail gun never really worked out, did it?’
‘Of course it did.’
‘No. The deal was for Gabe’s body, and that didn’t happen. I had to deal with the sprites myself to get it. I’m thinking we still have something to sort out.’
Auberon thought for a moment, and then asked, ‘What do you want now?’
‘Some faerie magic,’ she said with a grin.
‘I have already loaned you some freely. If you wish, you may keep my cloak, and wearing it will protect you from the effects of the natural elements.’
‘Cool, but what about something to make me fly? Or invisible? Can you do anything like that?’
Auberon laughed, and nodded. ‘Of course I can, but I will not.’
Sama sighed in disappointment. ‘Oh well, it was worth asking. But what about another smile? Can I buy something from you with a smile?’
‘No. What I have to offer is worth more than a smile. I will need a kiss.’
‘Okay, sure!’ Sama said, her mind whirling with possibilities. She leant towards Auberon with her eyes closed, and he cradled her head in his hands and kissed her with warm, firm lips. Sama’s heart fluttered at the contact, and she though, I’m kissing the King of the faeries!

When he moved away from her, she braced herself for the same strange sensation she had felt when he took her smile, but none came. ‘Why doesn’t it feel like when you took my smile?’ she asked.
‘There is nothing I could do with your kiss except enjoy it, my witch,’ he said with a quick smile. Sama gasped in mock horror, and laughed. Gabe rolled his eyes and snorted in disgust.
‘So did I buy anything?’ she asked, linking arms with Auberon as they walked.
‘You will always see the hidden faeriekind in your world. Their magic will no longer hide them from your sight. The plants tended by faeries will be your companions for all time, and help you if they are able.’
‘Wow! Not as flashy as flying, but that’s cool.’

The sun had fallen by the time a sprite flew to the three of them walking in the moonlit gardens.
‘My Lord Auberon,’ it said, with a midair bob, ‘we have the goods requested by the girl to allow them to leave us in peace while we create a second body for the dead one.’
‘My thanks, my sprite. You may return to your task.’
Sama watched the sprite fly away, then asked, ‘Are they going to do something wrong with this body too? How can we trust them, especially since Gabe killed one of them?’
Auberon laughed and said, ‘You didn’t recognise him? That was the sprite that was killed. It is a minor inconvenience for them to raise their own, after all, that is their occupation. This body will be made as you desired.’
‘So they won’t hold a grudge?’
‘They will hold a grudge until the end of time.’
‘Oh,’ she said and sighed. ‘I guess there’s no helping that now. Can you take us home?’
‘The horses are waiting.’

They walked to front of the castle and found three saddled horses waiting for them, with two armoured faerie knights and three stable hands holding the horse’s reins.
‘Let’s ride, my friends!’ called Auberon, and the two knights swung into their saddles.
‘Gabe, climb on behind the nearest knight, and hold on. Sama, come ride with me,’ Auberon said, then mounted his horse and held his hand out for Sama. She took it, and was lifted back into her place on Auberon’s lap. With a gentle nudge of his heels, Auberon set his horse in motion, and all three trotted out of the castle gates and into the sky.

This time Sama felt no discomfort from the cold, and was thankful she had been allowed to keep Auberon’s cloak. She looked across at Gabe, and he was peering around quite contentedly. She remembered that he was still technically dead, so the cold probably had no impact on him anyway.

The ride was much quicker this time, as there was no Hunt to take them across the night, and they went straight to Sama’s clearing in the woods. The horses slowed and rode down from the sky, cantering into the open space and trotting to a halt on the ground. Sama and Gabe slid to the ground and looked up at their riders.
‘Fare well, and we will rejoin you here in six night’s time to visit the sprites.’

On to part 9.

Constructive criticism welcome.

© 2008 Damian Herde

The Vampire and the Witch (Spirit Walks Part 8)


Toowoomba, Australia

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Artist's Description

A continuation of a story that travelled across many of the groups in the Spirit Walks multi-group challenge.

Okay, so it isn’t finished yet! The story has a mind of its own, but it’s drawing near. I think there is just a concluding chapter to go, and all loose ends will be tied up :)

And now the comp time is up for new entries, I don’t have to keep it to under 1000 words ;)

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here

Part 5 is here

Part 6 is here

Part 7 is here

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