Letter 12: Adrien

Thank you, sir, for stopping by and telling me your brief story. I didn’t expect your visit. Not after I didn’t hear from you, guys, for over six months. Looking forward to see you more often.

To put it on the timeline it would go back to 1493+ to the moment of Adrien’s change. Do not copy or repost my work, since it’s my original.

Age restriction: by continuing reading you agree, that you are mature enough.

Tags for your consideration: Original Character, Mature, Romance, Vampire, Supernatural, Blood.

Words cca 4,556.

Episodes

Adrien’s story

I hurt them. They hurt me and now I have closed the vicious cycle. They’re my children after all. The blond one showed a lot of restraint, yet attitude. He was desperate to uncover some knowledge he didn’t have.

But who am I to give him such trust after what we have been through? And what secrets does he think I acquired?

My own journey to eternal life was as uninteresting as it got to be.

I was born to a rich merchant family in the very city of Montpelier. My Spanish descendants gifted me with very long hair, rich and as black as raven. For an era of the end of fifteenth century quite a tall stature of six feet, which was fairly uncommon. In a city of the trade world, as Montpelier became, with all the various nations intermingled, I wasn’t anything special.

As a young man I received some education in fine arts, fencing, which is an art on its own, and I chose to follow the path of a man of medicine as we were granted the freedom for all to teach medicine from William VIII of Montpelier back in the twelfth century. The University grew famous since then.

My hot Spanish-French blood gifted me some temper though, resulting in many sword fights in the narrow streets of the old city. I provoked some of them and I became a notorious swordsman. My father wasn’t overly happy about the latter development and tried really hard to speak some sense to me. He even broke his cane by doing so.

After one of such arguments I finally stormed off our vast mansion. Having my sword with me I ended up in some infamous tavern, drinking my angst off.

I caught the eye of a woman back then. She was of a pale complexity, slim and her long brown hair touched the small of her back. She wore men’s garments, tailored to suit her needs. Fabrics show some wear and tear from travelling. She also possessed a short sword at her side and reminded me of the infamous pirate folk from the town of Maguelone.

She simply aroused my attention. Her eyes were as blue as my victim’s and now progeny’s. A rich girl of adventurous nature I might say. Suddenly I forgot the previous argument with my father and with that also an art of speech, nodding towards her to see what comes from it.

She was the only gem among some raw brutes drinking their brains off. And, oh, I was one of them, wasn’t I?

Her mesmerizing eyes probed me thoroughly. It felt like a frail touch of an olive leaf on my face and then she smiled slightly, turning her head towards the innkeeper, ordering a carafe of white wine. Yet I stood vigilant. I didn’t want to end up as a slave on some ship or worse.

„What worse could it be?“ She asked me in sottovoce, puckering her pink lips in a mischievous smile.

„I apologize. Did I say it aloud?“ My tongue felt quite numb in my dry mouth and I thought that I didn’t make a very good first impression. And I didn’t even notice her approach. As she startled me I did my best to stay cool, watching her.

Her black leather jerkin was closely fitted over her small chest and laced in front, covering thoroughly the clean shirt with a gathered neck. Her dark stockings peeked from knee-long breeches also of black colour, as was her wide brim hat and combat cloak over her left shoulder. The shoes were worn, though, but not much. I truly thought she got lost from her way to port Lattes, where the folk of hers were common.

„What does a man of your status do in a place like this anyway? Aren’t there better places up there to be in?“ She asked me shamelessly and put the wine carafe on the heavy wooden table in front of me. She sat down beside me. I moved away a little to provide her more space.

„I might ask you the same thing, but…“
„We won’t get anywhere…“ She finished.

I poured some wine in my ceramic cup and offered it to her. She rejected it by gently touching my hand with hers, clothed in a perfectly fitting soft leather glove. Her hand was petite as her whole frame.

She pulled off her gloves and offered me her hand. I willingly took it. My manners were non-existent since I was drunk already, but in that moment her soft white skin touched my bronzed hand and I felt something surging through my guts, leaving a pleasant aftertaste. I held onto her longer than was socially acceptable, drowning in her iceberg-blue eyes, which glistened with inner light.

„Adrien d’Aumont, medical faculty student.“ I said, finally.

„Alessandra de Ricci, of Florence. You see I’m not a raider, Adrien.“ She got familiar with me pretty quickly and I, for once, didn’t mind. I tend to believe the stars lead our footsteps. I liked her way too much to be thinking straight.

„Alessandra…“ I pronounced it carefully. „Can I be of service to you?“ What does a lady of Florence want with a merchant’s son like me?

„To be my guide in the great city of Montpelier. It was raised from the ashes of Black Death and I wish to see its wonders and gems.“

„A guide?“ I asked bluntly.

„Yes. Let’s begin with that and see where it takes us.“ She gave me one more sweet smile.

I tried to read her out, but I failed to see beyond her subtle but ethereal beauty. My inner alarm remained dormant and I’m a good swordsman after all. I can defend myself, eventually protect the damsel.

I picked up the torch at the tavern. Once we leave the infamous streets and ascend to the city walls, guarded by countless watch towers, built from natural stone, I’ll take her to a small arboretum behind the University walls. Many young couples strolled there whenever they could. Our mansion with vaulted ground floors lacked the luxury of having a garden as there was not much space for it.

„I’m your servant, my lady.“ I bowed while looking silly in my long dark blue tunic, girded with a leather belt with a sword harness.

„Be my friend instead. I insist.“ She said.

Very thoroughgoing. She knew what she wanted. I never met someone like her. And she’s Florentine? Alessandra…

I followed her out as a stray dog and then took a lead. The night air felt colder than usual, the sky was bright, glistening with stars. Narrow passages were scarcely lit with torches and oil lamps at the entrances to various houses. It got better once we reached open space behind the city walls. To get to the arboretum took us no time. I noticed we were there just by ourselves due to the very late hour. I’ve got the feeling that my father is going to smash some more things over my back. I have to stop that… stop.

„Adrien, where are we?“ She stopped then and turned to face me. The flowers, carefully shaped olive trees and little stone benches were scattered all around us. I lost myself in bad thoughts and I was glad she brought me back.

„This is my university arboretum, we are in the orchard. Sometimes I study here and sometimes…“

„You chase your friends with a sword in pretended fights.“

I blushed to the tips of the ears as I suddenly felt the shame of our childish games. I should be a man, not a child!

With that said she withdrew her sword. The thing looked ancient yet was very well balanced. She stood in an en-garde position, extending her arm with her sword towards me. I noticed a few sharp cuts in its blade, glistening in the flickering torchlight I still held in my hand. As I stepped back a little she just laughed warmly and lunged at me in two-step movement, then retreated, not even touching me with her weapon. How thoughtful.

I withdrew my sword, while putting down the burning torch, then I attacked her from right in a quarter turn aiming downward, which she parried and attacked my open side quickly. Her steps were silent as cat’s and her movements as elegant as I was staggering around.

I deflected her blade several times as she forced me into lateral parry. I was hoping for an opening and then she hit me higher up, stopping her sharp blade from cutting my neck in half. I grabbed her by her wrist and pulled her closer. My blade carefully placed at her collarbone, her hair entangled at her side, flowing in the wind. The torch went out.

I kissed her the very moment. Her lips were soft and responsive to me, pressing against mine. She dropped her sword and put her arms around my neck. How petite she felt in my embrace.

„Adrien, you are a child no more.“ She breathed out, when I picked her up, her feet end up above the ground.

„Why me, Alessandra?“ I was drunk with wanting. My weapon across hers. I held her close and my heart was drumming inside my chest.

„I chose you for your fierceness, intelligence and, oh, looks also.“ She whispered.

It was quite plain. She picked me from many, but for what exactly?“ That’s where my mind returned from sky-heights, where it floated until now.

„Choose me?“ I was unsure where we were going with that.

„Yes. Kiss me once more…“ And I kissed her once more. Deeply. We retreated to the bench under the tree. I touched the nape of her neck gently, smoothing my lips across hers, teasing her for one more, while my other hand held her around the waist shyly.

Part of me wanted her right on the top of the stone bench, part of me – the more decent – wanted to invite her into our house and show her around properly.

„Maybe tomorrow night will be better for that.“ She told me once I let her catch her breath.

„Tomorrow night then.“ I agreed hastily. I didn’t want to be improper in a situation like this. I stared into her eyes. She simply mesmerized me like that and I haven’t even questioned my psyché as the lady expressed her special gift of reading my very thoughts, or was I dreaming?

„I’ll be waiting for you here after sunset, I promise.“ And she kissed me good-bye. She picked up her sword, sheathing it swiftly and precisely, handed me my own weapon and with a light dance steps disappeared behind the wall of the arboretum.

I felt stunned, hoping she’ll keep her promise. If it was a test of my loyalty I will stand my ground. If it was a game, well, I’m a player too and I can play angles even if unhappily. I think I’m way too straightforward for that.

Swirling vortex of various scenarios made my head busy like a beehive until I reached our gates and entered our mansion. My room was on the first floor and I’ll have to sneak past the father’s study right next to the open staircase. It’s not going to be easy and I hope he’ll be asleep.

But once I approached the wide stone stairs, he appeared at the balcony above me. He looked down at me as a god of revenge in his long heavy tunic with wide sleeves of brownish colour. He stood tall and fierce. I saw a storm behind his eyes. His short black hair was turning grey and his belly grew wider than his shrinking shoulders.

I hated seeing him like this. He watched me, estimating my state.

„Our little Ganelon came back home, what a pleasant surprise.“ He insulted me as he neared the stairs, holding onto the stone railing.

I bristled at the sound of his voice alone.

„Marculfo, stop it!“ I refused to call him my father. His dark moods were always present in his household and everyone feared them. He let his darkness loose and I was like him and I hated that too.

„You’re drunk again, aren’t you?“ He spit out. „You little traitor, why do I pay for your schools, when you’re just drinking and whoring all the nights!“ He was channelling his frustration, coming from an old age and crippling diseases.

I bit my tongue hard, trying not to scream at him and spit in his face, which got purple with anger.

„Can’t you see? You are the reason!“ I asked him in a broken voice. He got under my skin again, still frail from the last fight before I left to numb myself in the worst of taverns from around the city. I understood that these traits are inherited through his bloodline and as I was trying to go against it, for the sake of my mother Justine, I was constantly failing to hold the reins of my own temper. I breathed in, breathed out and started to ascend the steps.

„You’re just an ungrateful bastard. This behaviour stops right now or I simply disinherit you, you little fiend!“ He announced it to me.

I couldn’t care less. I had some education and I could disappear in the New World forever, it would be easy to board some large carrack and leave everything behind. Oh, how tempting the idea was.

Once he could reach me, he grabbed my left shoulder and turned me to face him. Despite his age he was still quite strong, but I wasn’t a child any more.

His expression changed from anger to disgust. „As I said. Whoring.“ He droned rather to himself than to me.

I don’t know what gave away my little adventure and I didn’t care. I tried to push his hand off and slip around. I decided to leave the house once and for all, just needed some money and other necessities from my room. I felt sorry for my mother, leaving her with this abominable creature, made me uneasy and sad. Yet I didn’t wish to live my life under his despotic reign any longer.

As I was pushing through, he just stepped aside and I lost my balance. Trying to reach for a support I missed the railing by a hair and he didn’t help me either. He just stood there, watching my body fall from the stairs and as I was rolling over, dizzy, I landed head first at the sharp edge of the wall next to it.

It was a very unpleasant outcome. One second I saw stars, the other I felt the blood trickling from my left temple and then the darkness engulfed me. The last conscious thought – that I might not wake up again – felt somewhat peaceful. Father killed his only son. Marculfo, a wolf among humans.

No. I wasn’t that lucky. I woke up the next day in my own four poster bed with the worst hangover ever. My head pulsed with pain, swollen side carefully wrapped in bandages. Every, even the smallest movement made me horribly dizzy and sick and I heard myself moaning.

I don’t moan! I blinked several times to clear my view but laid motionless. Someone wetted my dry lips gently. It was my mother as I recognised her perfume of wild roses and citruses.

„My boy, lay still, what happened and who’s Alessandra?“ She asked me in a whisper. I bet she wouldn’t wish to be overheard by someone in particular.

I catch my breath. I have to be careful from now on as he can be nearby, hearing everything.

„He’s in the city, but the servants are in the house.“ She pointed out. She was dancing with the devil also and only he knew the steps.

„Ah… forgive me… We were about to meet tonight in the arboretum, I have to be there…“ My head, oh, dear lord, my head. The pain was immense.

„You cannot go there, son. Doctor told so, he forbade any movement. He thinks that… that…“ And she lost her voice.

„Mum…“ I reached my hand blindly towards the voice and she squeezed it in her soft warm palms.

„Tell me what he said. I’m awake, I’ll be all right.“ I tried my best to believe that.

„I know he did that to you…“ She avoided my query.

„I fell. He was right, I was drunk again and everything was my fault.“ I confessed and tried to blame it on my own clumsiness. What an utter shame.

„No. I know. I’ll ask your Alessandra to come over.“ She told me. I felt better just on that prospect.

„Please, be careful, stay vigilant.“ I could not fight her any longer. The pressure within my temple felt overly strong. I understood it was bad and seeing Alessandra – if for one last moment – held me above the waters. I was unconscious when my mother put my hand under the blankets and receded into the house to make things happen.

Next time I opened my eyes I recognized a silhouette of a young woman leaning over me. We were alone and the room was lit by the soft light of oil lamps.

„Thirsty…“ I said to anyone in particular.

„I cannot give it to you, but I can give you the very gift I chose you for, Adrien.“ She said to me, palming my feverish cheek. My eyesight was veiled by my injury and I had trouble staying awake.

„Sandra…“ I called her. The only person I could focus on, the only name that remained in my memory was hers. I somehow knew I was losing my battle and I could only thank my mother for being brave enough to deliver the message to Alessandra and bring her over so I could say her good-bye.

„I’m here. I can make this right, trust me.“

I felt her lips on my lips as she kissed me tenderly. I couldn’t return the favour as I was weak. I have found love and I was about to lose her forever. I felt sorry for this bastard laying here, dying in his bed as if he was sixty and he’s hardly twenty.

Her fingers caressed my face, straying down to my neck and then she kissed me there. The last thing I felt suddenly sharply was a pain in that very spot. I gasped and squirmed in attempted rebellion. She was draining me, laying on my chest, holding both my hands pinned, sucking hard on the wound she inflicted.

A final betrayal? I didn’t understand why such a punishment fell on my head. I didn’t see it coming. As any young man I felt invincible until the very moment I wasn’t. I made some mistakes, yes. I even engaged in serious duels just for the rush I felt afterwards. I wasn’t a good son to my mother. My own father alienated me. A prominent merchant, indeed. What kind of life did I live?

The pain dissolved as I felt less and less. She must have withdrawn. I reached the brink of death. My heart kept going regardless of the blood loss and then she pressed her bleeding wrist against my helplessly open mouth.

„Drink!“ Her blood trickled in and I tasted it, sweet and warm. I never drank anything like this. The heat spread through my throat and pervaded into my system like a fire. Immense power rushed throughout my body, reaching every single blood vessel. I grabbed her hand to keep the source at my lips.

„Enough!“ She was still stronger than me and pulled her hand away easily enough.

Meanwhile the killing pain in my head subsided and I could see again. And what I saw. The colours of everything were so vivid. I could recognize the very threads within the threads in the bed canopy cloth and the Florentine lady herself beamed with blue halo around her beautiful head. And again I didn’t understand.

„Again.“ She said and without any further delay bit my healed neck.

This time she sunk her two sharp fangs so deep I almost choked at the abrupt pain as my senses were heightened by my change. She drained me so quickly I reached the threshold of consciousness in less than a few heartbeats. I hardly kept up with her.

Once she let me drink from her wrist I tried to drain her too. She only smiled at my poor efforts and disengaged. She jumped off of the bed and ticked to the other side of the room.

„You want it? Come and get it.“ She wasn’t playing.

She wanted to see me leave my deathbed and go for that exquisite mana on my own. But instead of letting me drink from her, she assaulted me once more. Her fatal kiss left me weak on the floor, sprawled over the thick animal fur rug right in front of the fireplace.

„Sandra…“ I cried, scrambling to my knees.

She approached me, touching my chin.

„You have to be dead to your family, there is no other way, do you understand? Leave at once, fake your death, do whatever is necessary to keep you safe from your past, do as I say and you’ll live ever after. Fail at your disguise and we are all doomed.“ She spoke to me in a resolute tone as if she was leaving without me.

„You’re leaving me.“ I said, fear crawled into my voice.

„I have to. You are not safe with me, but you are safe without them. Be vigilant and don’t let them get to you. They won’t understand.“ She warned me.

„Was I your intended victim… before…“

She gave it some thought. Her answer came in the form of her tongue in my mouth. I couldn’t resist that and I couldn’t let her go either. But she wiggled out of my arms skilfully and watching me in the eyes she sent my brain into oblivion. I lost my senses and when I awoke early in the morning I was alone and in my bed without any sign of her presence.

The last remaining shards of humanity – if I ever had any – fell apart and I locked my heart within very thick walls.

My disappearance was thoroughly planned. I wrote my stuff on my cousin of the same name. It wasn’t hard. I just paid a little more for special services.

I was about to die in a provoked sword fight. I gave my family the body to mourn for and then I left life in the Mediterranean city of Montpelier and moved into the vicinity of Scottish Highlands in a very turbulent times. I established myself in a mansion in the woods some miles from a lake and even more miles from an old Roman trade route.

There were some rough settlements around and another mansion at the lake shore. I avoided that place if possible, but I didn’t restrain myself from late night visits in those small villages. People living in my hunting grounds became the game ready to be slain.

I was yet again drunk with power from their numb blood and I ceased to be careful. Until one night. They arrived en masse at my doorsteps and in a fierce fight I fell. Once they sent an arrow through my heart I was done. I bled rapidly and with that I lost a great portion of my strength. I was no longer a threat.

I looked dead to them. Some of the most brave ones put me in the coffin under my house, which they burnt readily to the ground. The basement, though, remained unaffected. My mind was conscious some time after, but I didn’t desire to come back. I chose death again at the brink of the new century. I laid dormant until a lonesome explorer discovered my place. My shattered mind sensed him over a great distance.

My powers grew significantly during the past centuries, but my mind wandered in darkness and when he tried to open my grave I surprised him with some theatrics. I hurt him after he tried to kill me with a murderous weapon in his self defence. I was just too quick to avoid that blasphemy. He had not the tiniest idea of what kind of flame he ignited.

His blood was such an exquisite mana to me that I drained him almost to death. Something stopped me from the final blow. A flash of memory perhaps. I watched his throat shredded open, his blue eyes filled with pain, dying without answers to all his curious questions. It reminded me of someone I once loved and then want to forget about. It was enough of a stopper to confuse my tortured mind.

You would say I was quite off, showing signs of shell shock as he’s going to experience that too one day in the future because of what I did to him. I was only present enough to finish what I’ve started and I followed my maker’s example, only really less gently. I must admit that I was veiled by madness intermingled with fear. So, by my actions I inspired him to try to destroy me. Seems familiar?

And he almost succeeded where others failed. I was at his friend and lover when he shot me and then threw the dynamite on me. Only the blood of his human friend saved me from my final departure. I moved as fast as possible. The blast hit me anyway and again I slept in pain for quite some time.

My maker left me. My progeny tried to kill me. I had some time to think this situation out. I desired to teach them a lesson, even if we were all guilty perhaps. But I took my time. To heal, to plan and adapt. In the end I followed the young one through London streets. I observed his behaviour and attempted to establish a connection between our minds, but he resisted me. I have to say that I admired his determination to save his loved one.

This thought that she also saved her loved one… but was I really loved? No. Anyway, they were both very exposed, playing with fire. Saving people and avenging people. I felt envy in my heart and pain. My dark side wanted to destroy what they had. It wasn’t very mature. I plotted revenge until the final realisation that they are my family and I am about to hurt my family as my father hurt his.

The blue-eyed was so afraid when I took the young one, such an easy task, way too easy. To stop them from intercepting me I inflicted my hostage very serious injury. That very moment I decided to stop this vicious cycle of hurt and revenge. They were innocent as I was innocent. With his blood on my hand I recused myself as a participant in any further drama, leaving them to themselves. There was a lot of pain in their hearts already.

I finally reached some sort of enlightenment. You see, we can evolve, we can forgive, but we are dangerous once someone tries to touch my family or even think about it.

Adrien d’Aumont