Archive for Vox compulsum

Vampire Practicum

Posted in Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2010 by vampirony

I’d like to be able to describe firsthand what a well-trained, well-motivated Carpathian half vampire looked like attacking a 500 plus year-old vampire of questionable origins and mysterious new issues but I didn’t actually see anything.  Best I can figure, Lucy attacked, Jesper stepped to while pushing me back out of the way, and the next thing I saw was Lucy flat on her back on the floor, missing her weapon.

I think I yelled, “Don’t hurt her!  She’s one of mine.”

I finally saw what manner of weapon it was when Jesper turned back towards me.  It was a gleaming silver short spear two feet of which were sticking out of Jesper’s chest.

“One of your what?” he asked, voice clearly elevated but strangely, much less strained than expected.  What with a silver spear sticking out of his chest and the vampire girl that attacked him doing a flip up from prone like I’d seen in many Jet Li films.

Depending on the vamp, wooden stakes may or may not do anything at all but huge holes in one’s chest, that normally slows a guy down, at least for a bit.  Jesper turned as if it were nothing; grabbed it with one hand, ripped it out, and swung it in front of him.  Not at the advancing Lucy, I might add, just in front of him to ward her off.  Then he threw it on the floor.

She kept moving, her face all fanged out, reached behind her back and tumbling for the spear, while Jesper moved to stay in between us.  The movements were just blurs to me most of the time, but time started to slow down, making their actions more distinct.

It wasn’t some special ability I’d been granted; it was the adrenaline pumping through my body, making everything run in slow motion.  Unfortunately, I was in slow motion too.  By the time I got to speak again, Lucy had resumed her attack with spear in right hand, a new strangely bent long bladed and very shiny shorter weapon in her left.  A kukri. 

The sense of profound dread settled over me like a oppressive cloud.  I couldn’t allow that weapon to touch Jesper.  Somehow, I just knew it.  Just at this point, maybe six seconds into things, Morena made her first move, reaching behind her back for her gun.  But I knew by the time she drew it, this might very well be over.  Class turns into Practicum just like that.  SNAP!  Nick, thankfully, had flipped over the back of the settee to hide this one out.  Good kid.  Smart too.  He knows better than to take up a profession without skills.  But he was throwing a look towards Morena, one I’d take no time deciphering later, and was clearly going to head her way.  Crap!

I needed to end this.  Now.

Jesper was, as he should be, one step ahead of me.  In Vox Compulsum, he commanded, “Stand down.”

Nick and Morena froze in that unnatural way when their bodies and minds have been disjointed from action.  They wouldn’t fall over, merely powerless to do anything.  For a moment, I had thought his plan had backfired as Lucy pushed through the Vox as if it were nothing.  Later I would get it: He meant it to be broadband, to catch everyone in the room, even me, especially in the event anyone else, namely human, thought they should get in the middle of two vamps fighting it out.  ‘Cause that would be stupid.  Sign me up.

But for some reason, Lucy was unaffected and I, well, Jesper hadn’t known the Vox didn’t work on me either.

I scrambled across the floor, trying to find my legs and then my feet, all of which was taking too long.  Strangely, Lucy and Jesper dodged and parried like matched sets, he could obviously overpower her at any moment but she was just capable enough to keep him from disarming or grappling her.

And it was frustrating him.  I had to help.

“Lucy!  Stop!  He’s a friend!”

I wasn’t exactly sure of the sentiment but at this moment, Friend might have way more weight than Patient.  Especially given my current client list.  Will all the crazed vampires in the Seattle metropolitan area please stand up and be counted?

Lucy ignored me as if she’d heard not a word.  She feinted and whirled a spin kick at Jesper’s chest, catching him off-guard because of his injury.  She must have seen him favoring just enough.  But I didn’t have time to be impressed.  The one good thing about how good a fight she put up was it forced Jesper back towards me, by which point I could stand.

I felt rather than saw Jesper sense this, this feeling of alarm coursing through him (was it flowing through me too?), dividing his attention just as the spear came in again.  He turned toward me, I think to again get me out of the way, felt the spear puncture his chest again, thought better of pushing me, and focused all his energy on Lucy, slamming her with both palms, keeping the spear from penetrating further.  He hadn’t had the time to pull his punch and Lucy went flying.

She crashed into the bookcase next to Nick’s leaning body, then disappeared in a poof of black smoke.  Jesper’s command would not let Nick get out of the way.  Two entire shelves of books went flying and hit him, dropping him in a heap to the floor. 

I finally was going to get my chance to break this up.  Jesper moved his head for an instant to me and I saw his eyes were glowing with that strange amber light again.  I hesitated.  Something tugged at a memory.  Distant sands, mosaic tiles, strong coffee, call to prayers.  I stepped toward him.

He hesitated too, too long to prepare a more subtle defense against the sudden reappearance of crows solidifying into a two handed swipe with the kukri.  I know what it looked like to see death through decapitation flying on glossy raven wings because I was standing right in front of it.

“Neilza!”

Behind me, I felt rather than saw light, a wave of it, carried almost like Vox Compulsum, crash into me flowing all around me and hitting Lucy wherever I didn’t give her cover.  The force of the strange light smacked me hard into her and instead of my normal fading black circle of consciousness, this time light seemed to burn me up from the outside in.  All the while my neck at the base of my throat was burning.

I closed my eyes with the impact and felt dark, cold sand between my fingers, underneath my nails as I dug.  Then everything went familiarly black.

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Case #13 – Jesper: You Make Limoncello…

Posted in Fiction, Vampirony with tags , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by vampirony

Ok, stay calm.  Vampires don’t faint from lemons.  I wave her away, look down at Jesper the Vampire…who’s face is frozen in awe, eyes now closed lightly, mouth gaping, fangs still partly retracted.  He takes a shaky breath.

“He’s coming around.  Ease up there, killer, he’s going to be fine.  Just give him some room.”  Lucky accident that I’m blocking her view and she can’t get around us.  It gives me time to think.  But as I’m drawing a blank, his eyes open to slits, golden light leaking out.  Ohhhhhhhh, not expected.

“Was that expected?” Morena demands, gun still pointed.

I lie.  “A little more intense but yeah.”

Intense my….I have to figure out what to do to keep her from seeing his eyes.  It’s flipping me out so no telling how many times she’ll shoot me for it.  This is soooooo not normal.DSC02644

Jesper the Vampire, laid low by a lemon, suddenly smiles.  “That’s quite a punch.”

My exhale is half-laugh and all relief.  “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Those things should only be taken under care of a, um, vampire psychologist.”

He laughs, grinning deeply, his fangs over his lips, pinching him just there.  Even partially retracted, they’re the longest fangs I’ve ever seen.  Damn, that sounds dirty.

“How do you feel?” I ask, probably with little of the scientific decorum I’d like to think I still have.

His head shakes slowly from side to side.  “No words.”

Ok, so maybe it’s all over and fine now.

I can’t help myself as I peel open one of his eyelids.  His entire eyeball is radiating, like the light was coming from inside his skull.  I let his eyelid slide back and brush an errant lock of hair off his face.  His pallor seems almost human.  Was his hair always so…golden?  Maybe I’d thought it auburn in darker light?

“Have you already fed tonight?”

Jesper’s fangs retract and he licks his lips, seemingly savoring the odd sensation of light.  He made no move to move at all, was just stillness.  “Hmm, yes.”

“Good.  Your feeding will be a bit more intense for a few days, your fangs will be extra sensitive.  Like you’ve gone to the dentist.”

He laughs, open mouthed.

“Jesper?”  Morena.  She sounds scared and yet calmer.  Probably from hearing him laugh…well, most of the time, hearing a vampire laugh is more frightening than their growls.  It means they are totally at ease.  And as a human, you never really want that.  But I remind myself she’s a rookie and doesn’t know enough to know to be afraid of it yet.

I take his wrist, feel a pulse, which isn’t entirely uncommon for recently fed vamps.  I notice a signet ring on one finger and a silver ring on another.  The silver ring has a raised circle with a dot in the middle.  It makes me feel…uneasy.

“Yes, Morena.  I am….unharmed.”  He opens his eyes and for a moment, I get caught full faced with glowing amber orbs.  Then he blinks and blue-grey eyes are appraising me.  “Am I not?”

Uhhhh…..

“Morena, if you’re not going to shoot anyone, can you put that thing away and help me get him to the couch?”

She safeties her weapon and puts it back in its place.  Then she helps me move Jesper over to sit on the couch.  He’s lighter than he should be for his height and weight.  He slumps there, head resting on the back of the couch.  As Morena begins to lean over to him, I butt in her way and sit next to him on the couch, arm resting beside his head.  The next part is tricky.  A large part of me, probably the more rational part, wants to call this a night.  But I’ve not yet shied away from a client in need and regardless of my reaction to him, he has no one else to work him through this….whatever this is.  And my curiosity..well, yeah, cats and all.

He moves his head to look at me, smiling still, like he’s going to ask me for a cigarette.

I forestall that.  “I need to ask you some questions.”

“As I do you.”

“Uh-uh, not how this works.  You’re the patient, remember?”

“You already have my utmost attention.”

“Good.”  I think.  Of course, vampire senses being what they are, he can probably sense…ok, let’s not go there.  I turn to Morena.  This is going to sting.  “He’s fine.  You can leave now.”

“What?”

“Patient privilege.  Can’t have you standing here while I consult.”

She looks ready to get her gun back out.  “You listen here you little—.”

“Morena,” Jesper says softly and I can feel what’s coming.  And so can she.

“Don’t,” she asks of him.

bubblesIn Vox Compulsum, he simple says, “Leave us.”  I’m immune to the voice but even I can hear the ripples of suggestion guided by champagne bubbles and jasmine in his voice.  I watch Morena.  She’s strong, very strong.  She begins to step backwards, toward the door without a word but her face shows every ounce of anger she possesses at this moment.

“Bastard.”  There’s no passion there in her voice; it’s all in her face.  But she backs all the way to the door, then gives up fighting it and hastily leaves, slamming the door. 

I notice the complete quiet and still in the room, his influence gone as easily as waves brushing away writing in the sand.  He’s very powerful and very old to use his abilities with such grace and ease.

“She’s angry,” he says.

“She’s upset.  There’s a difference.”  I turn back to him, see him sitting upright now, all visible effects of the lemon gone.

“You’re a psychologist to human servants too?”

“You’ve heard of me?”

“I suspected she might contact you.”

“First off, she’s a companion, cohort at the worst, not a servant and I expect I’ll never have to explain the difference to you.  Second, it doesn’t take a psychologist to see how worried she was that I’d harmed you.”

Oh, and the sheer jealousy on her face as she left?  We gonna leave that out of the discussion I hope.

“My relationship with Morena is definitely…progressive.”

“We’ll get to that all in good time.  But first, I have more questions for you.  About these dreams.”

He settled into the couch, making himself more comfortable, his arm going up on the back as I moved mine down.  His mouth curved in a half-smile, possibly from the movement.  “Then ask away.”