This story is part 3 in the Northern Vampire: Answers series. The previous instalment can be found here, and if you'd like to read it from the beginning, please go here.
So there I am, propped up in Lucien's armchair, feeling like shite while he regales me with more of his story. I'm not really sure I'm up to this, it feels like my brain's in danger of dribbling out of my ears. As I was to learn later, much later, there's no stopping Lucien once he's got a bee in his bonnet about something, of course I'd don't know this yet, for now it's like having to sit through your Auntie's holiday snaps in a single sitting, all of them.
Anyway, Lucien's still speaking, banging on about his Conversion...
...my brain finishes the thought for me with, “...on the road to Damascus” and I nearly get the giggles. Thankfully Lucien doesn't seem to notice, so wrapped up is he in his memories.
'I lay in cellar for two days and nights while the Purge was upon me, and was close to immolation when, on the third day I attempted to leave my sanctuary during daylight. It was not until darkness fell that I gathered my courage and left that accursed cellar. I fervently prayed--'
'Prayed I would not be discovered by the Infidel, and I was not. I know now that I had some power over their minds even in my weakened state, though at the time I concluded luck, and God must be on my side.'
Lucien pauses and sips his drink.
Is that red wine?
'Passing through the enemy lines proved a more simple task than I had imagined. My senses tingled, I was alert to everything. I presumed this was because of my fear of being discovered, of being captured, I know now it was my body's natural reaction to my new state of being.'
I don't think that is red wine, you know. And it ain't fecking Ribena either.
I'm having trouble following this. Feels like someone is blowing a high-pitched whistle right in my ears. I lean over and puke my guts up into the bucket.
'A crippling weakness came upon me suddenly as I neared the camp of my Order, and had the shepherd's hut not presented itself I fear I may have died lying in the desert when the sun rose.'
Lucien pauses again, staring over my shoulder with a glazed look in his eyes.
Is that a tear rolling down his cheek?
'What I did to Marzuq and his family that night...I regret to this day, especially to little Basim. A lovely boy, he seemed to have no fear of us despite our sickness, he often assisted me with the care of Mistral--'
He gestures at the horse in the glass case.
'That I should repay that kindness with death has haunted me to this day.'
'You killed...all of them?' I croak.
Lucien takes a moment before replying. 'I did not wish to, but once the urge to feed comes upon us, only a supreme effort of will prevents us from feeding at the first opportunity. You have yet to face the Urge,' he says with a wry smile and my guts turn to ice.
'When I stumbled into camp, my fellows took my being covered in blood to mean I had been attacked and carried me to my tent where I lay in a stupor for what seemed like days, unable to rise or to speak.'
Lucien wanders over to the French doors, slides them closed, staring out through the smoked glass for a while. I concentrate on trying to stay upright in the chair.
'Most of the camp was sure I had been struck down with the plague and would come nowhere near my tent, though after two days with neither food nor water two of my brother knights ventured to see if I still lived. As they approached the pallet on which I lay I was seized by the Urge once more--'
He's a bloody maniac! How many people has he killed?
Lucien glares at me. 'I know not what was different, but suffice to say my two brother knights and I left our camp under cover of darkness three days later and made for home.'
I fumble through the maths on my fingers.
That means there's...
'Three of us. Yes, you are correct, though only two of us still live.'
Lucien looks genuinely sad and for the first time I feel a sense of pity for him.
'Do not pity me, boy,' he roars and I nearly jump clean out of the chair. He's next to me in a heartbeat, his face inches from my nose.
'Never pity me,' he hisses. I make a mental note never to pity him.
'Enough!' he says, 'You need to rest. We will talk again once you have regained your strength.'
Lucien produces a blanket from somewhere, chucks it over me and stalks off into the hall. I just sit there, dribbling.