Fan Fiction Fling Entry #3

fanfic vote

 

I’ll post each of the eight fan fiction entries, one a day, and then on August 15th we’ll vote on our favorites! (Voting will be anonymous – no one will know who you voted for!)

Today we have a crossover between the Amaranthine Universe and Barbara G Tarn’s Vampires Through the Centuries:

Indian Moon by Barbara Tarn

“What’s the problem?” Verchiel asked, feigning lack of interest.

He had noticed something was wrong as he stepped into the Guild’s restaurant. Looked like the Guild had just awakened to some sort of problem by the gathering of Executioners around a table.

Ark glared at him, but Jamie was kind enough to explain.

“Looks like there’s been a coven war between unaffiliated vampires. We didn’t even know there were vampires over there, to be honest.”

“So how do you know it was vampire activity?” Verchiel asked.

“They called them with local names, but they still sound like vampires.” Jamie shrugged.

“It’s not the Guild’s business to investigate on some so-called demons,” Ark snapped. “I don’t want to go to India to check on somebody else’s mess!”

“But they’re vampires! If they left all those fanged bodies out in the open, our secret will be discovered!” Jamie said.

“Unaffiliated, unknown vampires?” Verchiel’s attention perked up. “India? Would you like me to go have a look and report back?”

Ark and Jamie stared at him. He wiggled his eyebrows and smiled innocently. Ark scowled even more.

“Try not to make a mess as usual,” he muttered, looking away.

“Of course, Ark!” Verchiel made a mock military salute as Ark stormed off.

Jamie shook his head, amused. “Verchiel, you might be in over your head this time,” he said. “Here, read the article.”

He offered his phone open on a web page of the Hindustan Times that cried out “Rakshasa bodies found at Chittorgarh” with even a picture of charred remains with obvious fangs.

“Wow!” Verchiel commented. “And it’s not the Guild’s business? Damage control and all that stuff?”

“Technically it’s not close enough to any of our guilds to be a problem.” Jamie shrugged. “They think it’s their legendary demons, not vampires… So if you want to put your nose in it… I didn’t tell you anything.”

“Of course.” Verchiel grinned.

“Good luck,” Jamie said before leaving too.

Verchiel had a quick breakfast, looking for that same article on his own phone to read it all, then headed for the Guild’s transportation offices. He needed a flight and a driver. Ark had probably warned them that he’d show up, because they didn’t object to his request.

The closest airport was in Udaipur – the Maharana Pratap or Dabok airport, where the Guild’s plane could land better than at international airports. The airport was relatively new, having started operations in 2008, and quite small, with only one asphalt runway, one boarding gate and four check-in counters. It could handle up to six hundred passengers during peak hours of touristic season, but it was empty and closed at night.

Verchiel drove to the Guild’s airport and climbed on the private jet ready to take off. He spent his in-flight time researching the place.

The former capital of the Kingdom of Mewar was now only a tourist destination, with most buildings in ruins across the length of the fortress. It looked like there were still a few nice things standing – those sculpted towers and some temples – but the fortress closed at night and had the opening times of a museum.

Verchiel imagined the first morning tourists finding those bodies and chuckled. Maybe someone even posted a “selfie with the rakshasa“! The article said that the fort was closed after the findings and he’d probably wouldn’t find much when he got there.

The bodies had probably been taken somewhere in the city below the fortress before being sent to some bigger place to be examined, but he could see the battleground and look for clues up there.

The flight took about nineteen hours. It had to cover over 7800 miles and at some point it became daytime for him, so he drifted off to sleep.

The crew awoke him with a glass of blood, saying they were almost there. He checked the time – 2pm Iowa time, but it was half past midnight local time. He wouldn’t have to wait in the plane and could get to Chittorgarh immediately.

The only person waiting outside the airport building was the driver hired to reach Chittorgarh. A skinny Indian man with closely cropped hair and mustachios opened the passenger door of a classic white Ambassador.

Verchiel sat on the back seat inhaling the smell of the old car. It was a beauty and a blast from the past. Clunky and dependable and somehow romantic.

“Welcome, sir. My name is Santosh, and I’m your driver.” The old engine started with a sputter, then died, then started again. “You are lucky to have found one of the last commercial cars in use! This classic beauty has been handling Indian roads dependably for many years!” The engine roared and the Ambassador slowly started moving away from the airport. “So, you want to visit Chittor?”

“Hell yeah, I am very interested in the history of that place,” Verchiel answered, looking outside at the darkened landscape.

“Ah, plenty of history, sir! Rani Padmini and the jahuar, Maharana Pratap, the greatness of the Kingdom of Mewar… will you want to visit our capital too, sir?”

“If I have time when I finish my business in Chittorgarh,” Verchiel answered.

“Ah, yes, we will reach Chittor in a couple of hours. At night I cannot go very fast. As you can see there are no lights and the roads aren’t very well kept… Have you booked a hotel in Chittor?”

“Not really, why?”

“The fortress won’t open until 9.30am, we will be there long before that…”

Verchiel shrugged. “Yes, well, just drop me at the main gate, whatever the time will be. Do you have a phone number? I’ll call you when I’m done.”

Ji, sir.” The driver looked puzzled, but stopped talking. The radio was playing some local song in the background.

“Can you pump up the volume?” Verchiel asked. “This sounds bouncy!”

“It’s a Bollywood song, sir. Do you know Bollywood?”

“Er, no, I’m afraid I don’t.”

Then the bouncy music filled the Ambassador and Verchiel sat back, his head bobbing with the catchy rhythm.

The car was cruising in the dark when suddenly it hit something. Santosh braked with what sounded like a curse and got out of the car to check.

Curiosity won and Verchiel opened the passenger door to see a black cow sprawled on the asphalt.

“I killed a cow!” The driver was desperate. “Sacred animal!” His frenzy was comical in Verchiel’s eyes.

He approached the animal and noticed it was still breathing, albeit clearly very close to actual death. Why let it suffer? Verchiel was hungry and he decided it would be nice to have a snack and spare the cow some pain.

He dipped his fangs in the cow’s neck and sucked. Delicious. Then he realized two things: one, the cow was now definitely dead and two, the driver was speechless and wide-eyed. Verchiel hoped his whispering abilities wouldn’t fail him now.

“Get in the car,” he said gently. Santosh gaped at him. Verchiel concentrated some more and the driver snapped out of his state to sit at the wheel like a robot. Verchiel pushed the cow to the side of the road and climbed back in the Ambassador. “Shall we go?” he asked, cleaning the blood on his chin with the back of his hand.

Again Santosh seemed to snap out of some kind of daydream and quickly glanced at him before putting the car back in motion. Verchiel relaxed again in his seat. The snack had showed up at the perfect time!

***

Chittorgarh slept under the moon when the Ambassador stopped at the first gate at the base of the steep hill. Verchiel got off the car and waved Santosh good-bye. He’d call him when he was done.

The Ambassador wouldn’t go well up the long ramp, but Verchiel got lucky. He saw an auto-rickshaw that had probably dropped someone at a nightclub and was still around at 2am. Verchiel waved him to stop and asked to be taken up to the fort, burying the driver’s protests for the ungodly time with green banknotes. He didn’t have rupees, but dollars seemed to be even better.

The tuk-tuk climbed at it maximum speed the long ramp, which made Verchiel hold on where he could has he was shaken and bumped on the back seat, laughing out loud for the exhilarating ride. But the driver stopped after the seventh gate, near Rani Padmini’s palace. That was where tourists were dropped and got their tickets to visit – during the day. The driver spoke a very bad English, but it was obvious he wouldn’t go any further.

Verchiel sighed and got off the auto-rickshaw, hoping he wouldn’t need the rest of the night to cover the 700 acres area and find the place where the battle had happened. He was a Windwalker, but if he had to sniff his way around… should have been a Tracker instead! He waited until the sound of the tuk-tuk vanished down the road bend and looked around.

He smelled something right there, but it was almost gone. Still, he’d have to rely on his nose to guide him to the place where a bloody battle between strange beings had taken place. It had been only 24hours, surely there was still something lingering in the cool night air…

He caught it almost immediately and started walking on the narrow streets of the fort. Luckily he had to cross the narrow side of the fish-shaped fortress instead of having to cover the whole length. Almost at the other wall he found a small temple built under a tall tower covered in sculptures. Checking the monuments on his phone, he realized he had reached the Kirti Stambh, where the smell of blood was still filling the air.

There were no charred bodies in the grass around the two buildings and monkeys seemed to avoid that place, but there were a dozen people seated on the staircase that took to the temple entrance with a couple perched at the high entrance of the tower.

None of them smelled like mortals, but not all of them had the same smell. One had graying hair, and a couple looked Chinese. Some looked European, others were definitely Indian. An interesting bunch of mixed night creatures who only seemed human.

“Hello there!” Verchiel greeted cheerfully, startling them.

One jumped up immediately and bared his fangs threateningly. “Who are you?” he asked. He wore modern Indian clothes and had strange yellow eyes.

“Name’s Verchiel and you?” the redhead answered, unfazed by the display of strength. Yes, they were definitely vampires, but they weren’t all of the same brood, and definitely not of his own.

A brunette came forward and put a hand on the man’s shoulder. She had blue eyes and wore a long, colorful gown and a short-sleeved shirt that made her look like a hippy.

“I think he is another bloodsucker,” she told her companion. “But I cannot tell where he comes from. Mixed blood, I presume.”

“I come from America,” Verchiel answered. “You?”

“I was born here seven hundred and fifty years ago,” the man answered. “My name is Rajveer.”

“Care to tell me what happened here last night?” Verchiel asked, glad to finally getting answers.

“Why?” Rajveer retorted. “None of your business!”

“Actually, it’s everybody’s business when mortals find vampires’ bodies,” Verchiel said. “Did they take whatever was left from your battle?”

Rajveer exchanged a glance with the woman. “Yes,” he admitted, looking uncomfortable. “But we will retrieve them.”

“Good! Still, I’d love to know what happened. I belong to a Guild of vampires and we’re trying to keep our existence under wraps. We can’t really afford to have rogue bloodsuckers, like she said, making a mess around the world.”

“There is a vampire guild?” The brunette looked surprised. “In America?”

“All over the world,” Verchiel replied. “There’s one in Europe and…”

“We never heard of them,” Rajveer snapped. “We came here because Menka issued a challenge to me. She waited for nighttime in the basement of Rani Padmini’s palace, where my wife died centuries ago.”

“Who the hell is Menka?”

“She’s an Asian vampire,” a pretty blonde came forward, followed by another Indian young man. Both wore jeans and a T-shirt. “They are different from us.”

“So the battle was between your coven and this Menka’s coven?” Verchiel asked, skeptical.

“We’re not really a coven, but when she challenged me, we asked for reinforcements. That’s why other fledglings of our maker came from all over the world,” Rajveer explained.

“And the survivors are all from your side?”

“No, we spared some of them,” Rajveer said flatly. “Even though they’re venomous demons.”

“They do not speak English,” the brunette said. “Thus thou cannot ask them anything.”

Verchiel stared at her. “Shakespearan actress?” he asked.

The blonde giggled. “No, that’s real Elizabethan English! Although she’s much older than that!”

“Ah, I see. And where are you from?”

“The Netherlands. I’m a baby in this second life compared to them.”

“The Netherlands? I know a guy who was also born there – a few centuries ago, that is!” Verchiel chuckled. What would Jorick think of these people? He should have asked him and Kately if they wanted to tag along. Although they were so busy, what with Kately turning…

“Will you leave us alone?” Rajveer asked with a worried frown.

“Of course! Unless you need help retrieving those bodies, that is.”

“How old art thou as a vampire?” the brunette asked, skeptical.

“Er… it’s not nice to ask. Just be aware that I’m vampire security, so if you need anything… I’m not really a Whisperer, but I can get by…”

“A what?” Rajveer stared at him wide-eyed. After some explanation, he relaxed. “Oh, I’m a mind-reader too.”

“But can you influence people?” Verchiel asked.

“I haven’t tried yet. Probably.” Rajveer shrugged.

“How did you get here?” the blonde asked. “Do you have a private jet?”

“The Guild has one. Where did you spend the day? Inside the temple?” He pointed behind them at the quiet group still sitting there.

“It’s too small to hold us all, and it’s still in use. No, we went inside the Kirti Stambh,” Rajveer snapped. “After we’ve honored our fallen companions, we will leave. And we don’t need your help.”

“Rajput pride,” the blonde said, amused. Rajveer glared at her, but she chuckled.

“Sorry, I’m a bit ignorant of Indian history,” Verchiel apologized. “I have no idea of what you’re talking about.”

“Never mind.” Rajveer huffed. “We will retrieve the bodies before the mortals start studying them. And I will try to control or wipe the minds of whoever saw them from up close.”

“And delete all the pictures on the internet?” Verchiel asked, skeptical. “You really need some help with that…”

“The pictures were taken care of.” The voice startled everybody, but made Verchiel snort.

“Sorino, what takes you to India?” he asked, bored. “Are there any treasures buried in these ruins?”

“Maybe.” Sorino stepped forward, followed by Kai. “He has taken care of the online proofs,” he waved at the scarred boy who simply nodded. “If they get rid of the bodies and wipe the minds of the witnesses…”

“We will. Somehow.” Rajveer said, determined.

“Are you a Sisodia?” Sorino asked him.

“I’m a Guhilot of Mewar, why?”

“Do you have access to the Maharana of Mewar?”

“I haven’t asked. We went through Udaipur on our way from Mumbai but I haven’t tried to get in touch with the descendant of Rana Ratan yet.”

“I’ll help you with that mind-wiping if afterward you come with me to Udaipur…”

Verchiel rolled his eyes.

“What’s in it for you, Sorino?” he asked. “Really, what are you actually after?”

“Since you ignore Indian history, why should I tell you?” Sorino replied with his usual contempt.

“I know the Koh-i-noor is in England. Therefore you can’t be after that.”

“The Koh-i-noor is bad luck for men,” the blonde said, amused. “Although you’re already dead, therefore it can’t kill you again.”

“It’s in England, not here,” Sorino snapped. “I want Bappa Rawal’s lance. It holds the same power as the lance of Longinus.”

“Who is Longinus?” Rajveer asked, puzzled.

“The Roman centurion who pierced the side of our lord Jesus on the cross,” the brunette answered. “Bappa Rawal had a lance? Did we miss something about the origins of the Guhilots with Bran?”

“The founder of our dynasty obtained the lance, bow, quiver, arrows, shield and sword that made him invincible from the sage Harit Rishi,” Rajveer said. “But his weapons were lost! Nobody has them!”

“They surfaced again during the struggle with the Mughals,” Sorino said. “Not all of them, but the lance and the shield have been in Sisodia hands since the 17th century. I have no use for the shield with its embossed sun, but I want the lance.”

“Don’t you have enough with the Spear of Destiny?” Verchiel snorted. “Besides, you’re a Whisperer, you could convince anyone to give you that!”

“Since there’s an immortal descendant of the first owner, I’d rather have his cooperation,” Sorino retorted. “Do we have a deal, Rajveer?”

“If you help me finding Bappa Rawal’s sword,” Rajveer answered, determined. “I’d love to have that!”

“Deal.” Sorino offered his hand and Rajveer clasped it, making Verchiel roll his eyes.

“We’ll never get done in time,” he muttered.

“Let’s go to the place where they took the bodies,” Sorino said. “Time to do some mind controlling work!”

***

As dawn approached, they all went back to the fortress and the Kirti Stambh. The 72-feet tower was closed to tourists. There were six floors, but only the third and fifth had very small windows, so they stayed mostly on the staircase away from the scorching October sun. Verchiel counted fifty-four steps to the top, then went back down before sunrise.

The lowest floor was as sculpted at the outside, with statues in special niches formed to house them. The stone eyes of the Jain pantheon didn’t keep him awake, though. But he awoke hungry the following night and Rajveer and his friends took him and Sorino to feed on the colonies of monkeys that lived in the fortress, mostly Hanuman Langurs with gray fur and black faces. There were also goats and the some wandering cows, although Rajveer forbade them to touch the latter.

Then Verchiel announced he’d call Santosh and ask him to take them to Udaipur. The Ambassador could easily sit him and Rajveer and even Kai and Sorino.

“I have my own driver,” Sorino snapped, glaring at him. “I’ll take Rajveer to Udaipur.”

“I’m going with him,” the brunette said. She looked quite possessive of the yellow-eyed vampire and Verchiel assumed they must be a couple.

“So who’s coming?” he asked cheerfully. “We might as well pile up into two cars…”

The locals quickly consulted among themselves in a mix of languages that felt totally alien to Verchiel’s ears, then Rajveer turned back to face them.

“Only me and Kaylyn,” he said, taking the brunette’s hand. She looked quite proud of herself, which made Sorino scoff.

“You let your woman in command?” he asked.

“Elder sister. One century and a half older. She is more powerful than me,” Rajveer answered with a sheepish smile.

“Bran made thee for me, so we could live happily ever after,” she replied, blowing him a kiss.

Rajveer grinned and nodded. “Shall we go?” he asked, looking alternatively at Verchiel and Sorino.

Both took their phone and called their drivers at the same time. Sorino’s was called Pappu, which sounded weird. Verchiel glared at him.

“I found them first, I’ll take them to Udaipur.”

“They’re working with me, I’ll take them!” Sorino scowled back.

“We’ll see you there,” Rajveer said. “We are not too fond of modern means of transportation.”

“Meet you at the gate of the royal palace of Udaipur,” Kaylyn added with a smile.

Verchiel and Sorino gaped as the two of them waved good-bye to everybody and started running along the narrow street and across grass to climb on the walls. In a few seconds they had vanished beyond the battlements.

“Are they climbing down the walls?” Verchiel asked, shocked.

“Yes, they like to go in and out from the walls.” The blonde giggled. “They’ve been doing it for centuries…”

“Cool!” Verchiel was amazed. He realized that Sorino and Kay were already headed for the gates and their car and decided to get moving. “See you!” He waved good-bye to the local vampires and rushed back down, faster than the arrogant vampire.

“Take me to the royal palace of Udaipur, fast, fast!” he told Santosh, still chuckling to himself.

Sorino’s car was newer and faster, so it passed the Ambassador on the road to Udaipur. Verchiel cursed under his breath. Maybe he should just run ahead, or Sorino would leave him out of his deeds. And if Rajveer and Kaylyn could run from Chittor to Udaipur, so could he. Windwalker’s perks.

“Stop the car,” he ordered. “You’re free, I don’t need your services anymore.”

He quickly dropped some money on the front seat next to the driver and was out of the Ambassador before Santosh could protest.

He ran ahead along the road, not knowing an alternative, and soon passed Sorino’s black car. He met Rajveer and Kaylyn on the shore of Lake Pichola as they headed for the City Palace that towered over their heads.

Constructed across four centuries by the Maharanas of Mewar, the palace stood tall over the lake and incorporated several palaces and structures to the complex. It had numerous balconies, cupolas and towers that overlooked the lake, a mix of Indian and Mughal architecture that was the jewel of the Venice of the East.

“Sorino is coming,” Verchiel announced cheerfully as they headed for the Big Gate. “I’m faster. And I didn’t even kill a cow on the road!”

“Who did?” Rajveer asked, puzzled.

“My driver, Santosh, on the way to Chittorgarh.” Verchiel chuckled. “Black cow in the darkest of the night… Perfect timing for a snack!”

Rajveer glared at him.

“What? It was an accident! And it would have died anyway…”

Rajveer growled, then Kaylyn elbowed him and he looked away.

“Let’s go,” she said, grabbing Rajveer’s arm and resuming the stroll. They walked up to the gate chatting amiably.

“Are you going to climb the walls to get in?” Verchiel asked. “How did you do that in Chittorgarh?”

“It’s good exercise,” Kaylyn answered, amused. “Back in the day, the gates were closed against invaders and the only way in or out of the fortress at night was by climbing those battlements.”

“So you’ve been to Chittorgarh before?”

“At the end of the thirteenth century… we left after the first jahuar because Rajveer was mad at us.”

“We?”

“She was with our maker. I do not wish to talk about him right now.” Rajveer looked serious and even Kaylyn’s smile vanished.

Verchiel decided not to press on. Sorino joined them at that point, fuming.

“You wretched redhead,” he muttered, scowling at Verchiel who smiled innocently back.

“So, where do we look for the weapons?” Rajveer asked, brightening again.

“The Maharana side of the palace.” Sorino pointed beyond the gate.

Climbing and jumping and moving stealthily in the sleeping palace was a lot of fun. It was was just as beautiful inside as it was spectacular from the outside. Decorations of delicate mirror-work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silver work, inlay work and surplus of colored glass showed off the opulence of the era. There were a lot of interesting things in the living quarters of the local king, but Verchiel was very busy keeping an eye on Sorino, more than Rajveer.

The weapons of Bappa Rawal were kept in the Maharana’s bedroom. He was snoring softly and the vampires moved around him like shadows. Verchiel watched as Sorino and Rajveer quietly opened a carved wooden chest and pulled out a few wrapped items.

Kaylyn kept an eye on the sleeping mortal, ready to seduce him back to sleep with a bite while Kai waited in a corner. The thieves nodded at each other and stood, each holding something, while Sorino closed the wooden chest.

Verchiel waited until they were under the moon to express is curiosity.

“May I see what you got?” he asked.

Rajveer proudly unwrapped a medium length double-edged straight broadsword with a blunt tip, used principally for hacking, that looked ancient but also quite well preserved. Sorino showed him only the tip of a pointed steel head of a lance that had been taken off its shaft.

“What era did that Bappa guy belong to?” Verchiel asked, frowning at Sorino.

“According to the Ekling Purana, a text composed at the end of the 15th century, Bappa Rawal abdicated the throne in 753 CE,” Sorino answered.

“And they had steel weapons at the time?” Verchiel insisted.

“That’s why this lance is so special,” Sorino retorted. “Even that blade,” he pointed at Rajveer’s loot, “is too well preserved for an 8th century sword.”

Even Kaylyn nodded, impressed. Verchiel shrugged.

“Fine, whatever. Do we head back home?” he stared at Sorino who sniffed.

“You go report to your superiors, Guild underdog, I go where I need to go.”

“Sorino… I didn’t come here because Ark ordered me!”

“I know, you came here because you wanted to.” Sorino smirked. “See you, Verchiel. Bye, Rajveer.”

Verchiel watched him leave and huffed. “What an asshole! Do you have any of that in your covens?”

“Sometimes.” Kaylyn half-smiled. “Nice meeting you, Verchiel.” She offered her hand.

“That’s it? We’re splitting? Oh, man, that’s tough!” Verchiel pulled both of them in a group hug. “I’ll miss you guys! You seem to be quite nice to hang out with!”

“We may come and visit some day,” Rajveer said.

“Do you have a phone?” Verchiel asked them.

“Our fledglings do. Give us your number, we’ll call you if we come on your side of the world.”

Verchiel tried to learn more about who the fledglings actually were, but couldn’t get a straight answer out of either of them. They probably thought they had told him enough already.

“Fine, see you around,” he muttered, unhappy. He better head back for the airport if he didn’t want the sun to find him out in the open.

The lake glittered under the starry sky and he stared at it for a moment, as Rajveer and Kaylyn’s smell slowly vanished around him. Strange couple. Strange vampires. Maybe he should investigate more.

The sky started coloring with orange hues. Verchiel cursed under his breath and rushed back to the airport at Windwalker’s speed.

_______

Check back tomorrow for the next entry!

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