Sunday, June 1, 2008

Poetry Train Monday - 51 - Vampire Story Excerpt

Here's another excerpt from my vampire WIP. This scene takes place before the other two. You can follow the story if you missed them:
Excerpt 1
Excerpt 2

It's 577AD in Wales. Peredur is pulled from a battlefield which should have been his last. We join him as he makes the transformation from his human life to something else entirely. I've modelled Peredur after Gerard Butler. Enjoy!

The demon strode forward, standing before Peredur in all his terrible splendor. His face lit with a sinister smile. Raising a hand to indicate the newest member, the fiend said to the six, “Behold your Brother.”

He swept his hand wide to include the others. “Behold, these your Brothers. They have given freely of their blood to waken you from the sleep that transformed you. You have taken your first life and shared that freely with your Brothers. Now...”

The demon stepped closer, moving smoothly behind Peredur. “...the final step in your rebirth.” Iron hands placed themselves upon each of Peredur’s shoulders. “The brethren will taste of your essence and share with you this final act of becoming.”

He wondered too late what this essence could be that he must share. The demon pulled him to his feet in a smooth motion, as if he weighed no more than an afterthought. The others closed in as he felt the demon’s grip tighten, pulling Peredur’s arms behind him.

“I asked if you wanted another life,” the fiend whispered in Peredur’s ear. Two of the brethren knelt and sliced open his leggings, while the demon helped to pull his tunic off. Sharp nails dragged across Peredur’s flesh. He bucked and twisted, but the demon and brethren held him fast. Mouths descended on the beading lacerations, licking up the precious blood.

A groan escaped him. The power so newly won from the feast flowed out of him and into the others, racking his body with shudders. Each of the brethren sighed or moaned his pleasure, sipping from Peredur like kings from jewelled goblets. His energy ebbed so completely he sagged forward, hanging from the demon’s grasp.

The brethren raised him in the air. They turned him about in a slow arc, kneeling as one before the demon. Peredur felt displayed and presented like a stag before a banquet.

The fiend stepped forward into Peredur’s field of vision. Such a being. Power emanated from him in his every gesture. He smiled upon Peredur.

“Before I take your gift of brotherhood to myself,” he said, “I bow to your offering and receive it with humble thanks.” He swept forward in an elegant reverence. Raising his arms like a druidic priest, the demon cast his eyes to heaven. “You gave Yourself freely, offering to us what You held most dearly. You asked in return that we love one another as You loved us.”

Was this demon addressing the Roman God? Did he have no fear? Perhaps there was nothing to fear when the worst had already happened.

Pure crystalline dread took hold of him now. The fiend knelt before Peredur, turned now so that he faced the cavern floor and regarded the bowed head of the demon. “In our hour of death,” continued the fiend, “when we most needed Your Presence to guide us Home, each of us here cursed You instead.” The dread in Peredur’s gut grew worse. The brethren holding him in their grasp each shuddered as if they felt it, too.

Without warning, Peredur saw in his mind’s eye a series of battlefield deaths, each one featuring a member of this brotherhood:

One fell to a battleaxe, hurled from a distance. He never saw it coming.

One was thrown from a tower and impaled on a tree.

One slipped from a ship’s wreckage, no longer able to cling with numbed hands, within sight of the shore.

One writhed in the grip of poisoned wine on the eve of battle, served by an ambitious captain.

One shook with fever caused by festering wounds, left for dead by his own retreating force.

And the last, the demon himself, Peredur saw his death as well.

The demon had secretly loved the daughter of his king. Unable to keep one look of longing from escaping them, he’d been forced to watch her submit to cruel punishment. Then he was sent to his assured battlefield death in the knowledge she would be married to another. The curses that man had flung toward God. Peredur’s own surely paled in comparison.

He looked down now upon this demon/brother, upon the bowed head. He was filled with a curious compassion.

“We humbly beseech Thee,” the kneeling fiend continued. “Accept this new member into Your Brotherhood with our petition for forgiveness.”

“Forgive us,” the others intoned.

The demon raised his head and looked directly into Peredur’s face. The suffering, the longing Peredur saw there took his breath away.

Spreading arms wide to encompass them all, the fiend said, “Now you have seen us in our hour of damnation.” The demon no longer addressed the Roman God, but Peredur himself.

“God, in His mystery, has sent none of us to reside in the fires of Hell. We are compelled to walk amongst the living, though we no longer live as mortals. And as you can clearly see, we are not dead.”

Peredur felt a ripple of unrest in those who held him.

“You have shared your blood freely with the Brotherhood,” the demon continued, “as they have shared with you. In this way you are welcomed to this life.”

Peredur wondered just how freely he’d shared, when it was the brethren themselves who’d cut into his thighs and torso, helping themselves to his blood. He recalled the delirious joy as he’d sunk his own teeth into that poor boy’s neck. Even now the thought of it made him hunger for more.

Memories of these warrior’s deaths swiftly pummeled him over again. His body twisted as they buffeted his consciousness. Worst of all was the image of that woman writhing under her treatment in the tormented memory of the one who knelt before him. Peredur and the demon locked gazes.

Inhaling sharply, Peredur saw the lovers’ reunion in his mind. The demon had joined with her after his transformation. Somehow he knew it was true.


The fiend nodded. If he shared his blood with this last of the brethren, he would one day hold Tanwen in his arms. For that he would gladly face this between-worlds purgatory. For Tanwen he would face anything.

“Peredur of Gwenydd.” Solemnly, the demon addressed him. “Do you give freely of your blood? In so doing, you will seal your fate to that of this Brotherhood.”

He felt the stirring amongst the others, a profound anticipation. “I asked once before,” said Peredur. “I must know - who do you serve?”

“The Brotherhood,” they answered in one confident voice.

“We merely serve ourselves?” he asked.

“The Brotherhood serves Him Who made us.” The demon gazed patiently at Peredur.

“To what purpose?”

“Who can say what purpose God sets down for us?”

Peredur looked again into those pale eyes. They gave nothing away.

“I can yet release you from this life,” the fiend offered.


“None must join the Brotherhood who do not wish it.”

“If I didn’t?” Peredur asked.

"Merging your blood with mine is the last step. After that, nothing will release you from the Brotherhood. Unless God Himself wills it."

The only thing that seemed real to Peredur was the borrowed memory of this demon and his wronged beloved. To reunite with Tanwen was all that mattered. He would give himself to this demon and pay whatever price was required of him.

Peredur took a deep breath. “I give myself. Freely.”

A collective sigh escaped those who held him. Peredur raised his head and saw an irresistible smile creep over the lips of the demon. An expression akin to gratitude filled his eyes before they began to glow in that hellish way.

Peredur felt the grip upon him tighten. He tried to still himself but couldn’t stop from rearing back against the others as the demon crept imperceptibly closer, then lay on the cavern floor directly beneath him.

Peredur hung suspended over the demon, whose gaze bored deeply into Peredur’s own. In a swift movement the fiend drew a sharp nail across Peredur’s chest.

The cut bit. Peredur felt a wave of disorientation and moaned. His blood dripped quickly onto the waiting lips of the demon. Peredur fought to keep his eyes open even as his head swam. The demon closed his, threw his head back as in rapture and bared his teeth. They gleamed white between the gloss of Peredur’s blood.

The brethren growled in approval. Peredur writhed in their hands. The demon put his fingers gently to Peredur’s wound, tracing it. Opening his mouth wide, he collected the blood and swallowed, laughing throatily. He looked up once more as if into Peredur’s very soul.

He knew that the demon saw Tanwen, that the broad bloody grin was for her. Peredur’s feet touched the ground as the brethren finally lowered and released him.

Peredur sank to his knees, breathing heavily.

The demon raised himself to kneel as well. He took Peredur’s face in his hands. “Welcome, brother. I am Melnak.”

Peredur tried to speak but could not find the words. Finally he managed, “What have I become?”

“Vampire,” Melnak replied, voice thick with emotion. “You are now a vampire. Welcome to the Brotherhood of Blood.”

- Copyright - Julia Smith - 2008


Addicted to crafting said...

Stopping by to say hello to you Julia!

Great entry! Hope you and yours are well. :)

Anonymous said...

Another fine excerpt. Leaves on anticipating what is to come next.

Amy Ruttan said...

Awesome Julia. And who wouldn't love a vampire that was modelled after GB? :)

Jill said...

I always like to see how one person visualise the turning of a vampire! And i like it more when it is like your transformation than the bitting, dying and waking up in the coffin! It is more romantic your way!(Yup, even if there is only men!)

Unknown said...

Oh this is wonderful!! I love your writing, hon. And I miss coming to your blog. I need to get "out" more.


Annette Gallant said...

This is definitely different than what I normally read, but you hooked me right away. Very powerful imagery. Well done, Julia!

Akelamalu said...

Excellent Julia, that was gripping!"

Rose said...

Love vampire storys.
Love everything you write.

Ann said...

Awesome post. More please? :)

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Ann - I can't put any more of the vampire story up. It would reveal too many totally cool things.

Ire said...

Enjoyed reading it...thanks for sharing.

How have you been?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I haven't had the time to read this yet, but I had to stop by and tell you that you're a winner at my place! If you'd e-mail me your address, I'll mail your goodies out to you!

Thomma Lyn said...

Excellent excerpt, Julia. You write very well!

Peredur is a compelling character, and the demon really comes to life, too. :)

Dara Edmondson said...

Good stuff!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

VERY strong, Julia. I can't wait to see where this goes now.

Anonymous said...

very vivid, powerful, compelling!