Chapter 2. Introductions

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Chapter 2. Introductions

Post  Rowanna on Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:09 pm

Chapter 2. Introductions

Dr. Kelly followed Radu down a steep stairway into a long, dimly lit hallway. He could hear the shouting and howling of someone enraged echoing throughout the passage, but Radu didn’t seem overly concerned by it, so Kelly assumed he should do the same. About ten feet down the hall, the place opened up into a grand drawing room, much like the one he’d been waiting in upstairs. In fact, it almost seemed as if the entire home above had been rebuilt below as well.

The corners of Radu’s mouth twitched slightly as the man’s expression. “His room is this way, Doctor,” he said after a moment, giving Kelly a chance to regroup.

“Does he actually live down here?” Kelly asked, his brow furrowing.

“We all do by turns,” Radu answered as he led the way. Noting Kelly’s confusion he assured him, “You will understand it well enough in time, Doctor.” Finally he paused before a large metal door, behind which it seemed the ranting and howling originated. He paused a moment, his hand upon the door, and lowered his head. All at once, the ranting and howling ceased. Only then did Radu open the door. “Stay beside me, if you please.”

The room was dimly lit, but well decorated. Exquisite paintings hung upon the walls and copious books filled the shelves which lined the walls. The bed was large and made up nicely with silken sheets and a downy comforter in rich patters of deep burgundy and dark forest greens. At the table in the center of the room sat a man with features very like the rest of the Prince’s the doctor had already met, save visible scarring around eyes that seemed almost devoid of any color at all, save the ring of palest blue outlining where the color should have been and uneven black pupils. He sat wiping his hands upon a cloth already stained red, scowling disdainfully at the doctor, an interloper in his midst before turning to Radu.

“Another?” he growled, glaring up at his brother. “Have we not had enough of this farce for one day? Look at you,” he pulled out a chair beside himself, eyes narrowing at Radu. “So fatigued by it all you can hardly stand. It pains you so. It must be splitting by now. Why not just do as I’ve asked and end this?”

Kelly’s expression was one of surprise. The man certainly sounded sane enough in that moment to him. “I have offered analgesics and an end to the search.” He spoke up. “I will be tending to you all and he will rest once we’ve properly met.”

“NO,” Mircea lunged for the man, stopping only inches before him, held tightly in his brother’s grasp. “Fool! I CAN HEAR YOU! Beating and flowing, blinking and swallowing, and breathing! What right have you to do this in my presence?”

“Mircea, he can no more change what he is than we can,” Radu reminded his brother gently. “He is competent, however, and up to the challenge. Only speak with him civilly a moment. Please.”

The laugh that issued for from Mircea as Radu returned him to his seat and took his place beside him was not comforting in the least. He smiled slowly, very slowly, baring his teeth in a manner that made Kelly pause, then allowed his fangs to show as well, leaving no doubt as whether or not they were real.

“Um. Nice,” Kelly answered, opting for a show of bravado rather than cowardice.  Seating himself on the other side of Radu, he added, “I hope you remember to brush those well. It would be a shame to lose them.”  

Mircea looked surprised for a moment, then tipped his head back, laughing uproariously. “He’s got jokes, this one,” he said to Radu, though he addressed the doctor before his brother could reply. “I could snap your neck this instant and feast upon your blood, or rip your heart out and hold it out to you, still beating in my hand. Does this not frighten you?”

“Of course it does,” Kelly replied honestly, but knowing a test when he heard one, he added, “but I’m still not going away. You need a doctor, and I’m curious to know more about you. Never pique a doctor’s medical curiosity, Mister Prince. You’ll never get rid of them that way.”

Again Mircea lunged for the doctor, and again Radu caught him just shy of his mark. 

This time, however, Kelly didn’t retreat. Instead he leaned forward, looking Mircea in the eye and scowling at him, “Do that again and I’ll make sure anything or anyone sent in here to feed you is spiked with Ex-Lax for the next month. Got it?”

Radu smiled, his eyes registering shocked amusement as Mircea once again roared with laughter. “Very well,” the mad Prince said at last. “I will let you live for now." 

Rolling up his sleeve, he exposed a deep cut, with an odd sort of burnt appearance surrounding it, partially healed but still quite painful looking. “Tell me what caused this and how you will treat it, boy, and perhaps I will accept your aid.” He smiled again as he added, “Answer wrong, however, and I may get past my brother and eat you yet.”

Kelly considered quickly all of the vampire lore he’d ever heard, trying to think what might have caused the injury before him. Finally, he asked quietly, “A silver blade?”

“I said tell, not ask, man. Try again,” Mircea growled impatiently. “Tell me.”

Kelly nodded, repeating, this time without hesitation. “You’ve been cut by a silver blade.”

Mircea nodded. “Go on, now, how will you treat it?” Mircea demanded.

“Do you have a preference for traditional or herbal medicine?” Kelly asked, looking carefully at the wound. It appeared clean enough, though he’d want to use an antibacterial just in case. He had no idea what kind of infections their kind were susceptible to, so the edict of better safe than sorry seemed especially prudent at the moment.

“If I wanted an herbalist I’d have called for Rowanna,” Mircea began, only to be interrupted by his soft-spoken brother.

“She has passed, brother,” Radu reminded Mircea calmly. Something in his voice suggested this was not the first time he’d had to remind him of this fact, yet there was no remonstration or impatience in his tone at all. “Centuries have we seen since she last walked among us.”

Kelly looked at Radu, stunned.  Centuries? The man looked to be in his early to mid 20’s. Mircea’s visage was aged somewhat by the scarring, but even he looked only slightly older than his brother.

“Ah yes, of course,” Mircea sighed sadly. He turned to Kelly, seemingly tired of his games already. “It matters not which path you take, so long as your answer is correct, doctor, now come. Wipe away that surprise. Our nature is known to you. Surely you realized how ancient we might be. What is your answer, then?”

“Clean it carefully with witch hazel, ensuring that no silver remains, suture it and bandage it well to prevent infection, and give you a liter of O negative to suck on to help you heal faster,” Kelly answered, half joking. When Radu nodded his approval, and Mircea held the wound out to be tended, Kelly just shook his head. Prescribing old midwife-style remedies and the drinking of blood. This could take some getting use to. Ah well, he thought, it beats the boring day to day crap he usually treated.

“Though, if you wouldn’t mind,” Mircea said, smirking at the bewildered expression in Kelly’s eyes, “I’d prefer B positive instead. O negative gives me terrible indigestion.” He winked then, leaving Kelly to wonder whether he was serious or not.
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