Pleae go read the newer version.
Over all title: The Servant’s Journals
# 1 The Rare Rose
Notes: I’m making my own sandbox, with a few bucketfuls of sand from Abril’s sandbox to get started.
The Rare Rose
Rose worked as a tavern drudge at the Running Rabbit Inn, a rather shabby place, on one of the main roads in and out of a large city. She was the bastard daughter of the inn’s laundress. The inn had generously taken the pregnant and unmarried girl into their employment. Fourteen years latter, Rose was free labor. She got to do all the mean, dirty, and unpleasant chores that no one ells wanted to do. It also meant that Rose, willing or not, was an available bed warmer to any customer who paid the innkeeper a few coppers for her.
She had white hair; it was not light blond or gray, but a true white that she kept in a braid that reached her waist. What really made her different was her eye; they were a light blue with the pupils slit like a cats. They had given her no end of grief by the local bullies or superstitious people sneering at her convinced she had evil eyes.
Christopher Hillock had paid for Rose’s services several times in the past month. But he hadn’t been bedding her, he had been drinking her blood and using the control that gave him over her to fog her mind and make her forget what he did. For the two hundred, year old vampire, paying a few coopers for a wench, was and easy and cheep meal. He had every intention of killing her before she could turn into a vampire herself.
Vampires always kill the humans they drank from, if they don’t the human will change into a vampire themselves. So unless the turning is being done deliberately, the unlucky victim is killed at the first sign of changing.
Kit had been feeding from Rose for well over a month, he kept waiting for her to show signs of changing. But she never did! He could taste the change in her blood. It just wasn’t having any effect. She still ate and drank and walked in the sun. Another month passed and Rose seemed healthier than before, she wasn’t even weak from his regular feeding from her. This had never happened before. He had never heard of a human who didn’t start changing from the vampire’s bite.
He had to know if she could be changed. He decided to try the more direct and sure method of bring about the changing on Rose. Fogging her mind, he fed her a small bit of his own blood. He was prepared to kill her immediately if she started felling sick or sun shy.
It had no effect at all on Rose. Kit had found a treasure unheard of before in vampire lore, and Rose’s fait was sealed. Kit decided to keep her for himself to feed on at his convenience.
He asked Rose if she would be his housekeeper. Offering her an official position sounded more diplomatic than telling her I’m taking you to be my slave whether you liked it or not. He really did want her to come willingly. He didn’t want a prisoner and kidnapping just wasn’t his style.
Rose was surprised by the unexpected offer. She knew Kit well enough; he had always acted like a gentleman with her, and she liked his looks. He had long black hair which he wore in a tail down his back, his eyes were blue, and he had a pleasant smile. Also and most important to her, he had always bought her dinner before taking her upstairs. Being officially a housekeeper with an annual wage, even in a small one, was than she had hoped for. She accepted the chance to escape the drudgery of the Running Rabbit after thinking about it for less than two minuets.
The fat old innkeeper, on the other hand, wasn’t willing to let her just walk away. He started ranting that some upstart young man couldn’t just walk in and out with his help, where was he going to get another scullery maid, and that Rose owed them for letting her stay there all these years out of the goodness of his heart. He went on and on, blocking the door and threatening to call the authorities about a kidnapper if Rose tried to leave.
When the old buzzard started ranting, Kit told Rose to get her possessions quickly, she ran out of the room in tears, narrowly escaping the innkeeper when he tried to grab her. Kit angry at the innkeeper, but he had come prepared. When Rose was out of the room he dropped a bag of silver coins on the bar. The innkeeper stopped shouting at once and the bag of coins disappeared. He only grumbled when Rose came back carrying her basket and Kit escorted her out the door.
In a dark corner of the kitchen her mother cried.
Rose didn’t look back at the Running Rabbit as Kit led her into the night.
They walked to Kit’s home in silence, each in our own thought.
His home was about an hours walk from the Inn. It was rather small compared to others houses in that area and the weak moonlight gave it a sad and abandoned feel. There was an overgrown garden in the back and a well for water. Several neglected nut trees grew all around providing cool shade in the summer.
Inside was one large room, with the hearth and fireplace taking up all of one wall. It had a real floor, not packed earth. Along the wall opposite the hearth, a privet room had been added, with a stout door that could be bared from the inside. There was loft space between the ceiling of the added room and the roof of the house.
The night before Kit went to the inn for Rose he had cleaned out the loft. He made sure the ladder was sturdy and laid down a thick straw stuffed mattress and a new feather pillow. He emptied out an old chest and stuck it up there with a warm blanket and a few candles. Lastly he hung a curtain from the ceiling to provide Rose some privacy.
Kit opened the door for Rose, “Welcome home Rose. Enter freely. I hope you will be happy here.” Once inside Kit built up the fire and lit a few candles so Rose could a look around. She was a bit dismayed at all the clutter. Kit was a pack rat who never put anything away. There were books in piles here and there; musical instruments lay on the table beside their cases. Discarded clothes were everywhere. One thing she noticed that she thought was odd was the absence of dishes, dirty or clean lying about. She would certainly have her work cut out for her.
Kit showed Rose the loft he had prepared for her. She was in awe, Kit thought it was cramped and plain, but to Rose it looked like a palace. She had always slept on the floor of the kitchen with her mother, the cook, and another serving girl.
Kit handed Rose a candle and told her to put her stuff away and join him by the fire.
Rose put her shawl and winter scarf in the empty chest along with her comb and other odd and ends; she careful hid the tiny rag doll that had been her only toy on the bottom of the chest under the folded scarf. She tested the mattress and was pleased to find it thick with a good sturdy covering so that the straw wouldn’t poke through. Rose took the candle and went to join Master Kit by the fire.
Kit sat by the fire in his favorite chair. He pulled another chair to face him for Rose and waited for her to come down. He was unsure where to start the conversation without scaring Rose away before he got started.
Rose soon joined him at the fire, taking the chair obviously meant for her. Before he could say anything she said, “I want to thank you Master Kit for taking me away from the Running Rabbit. I’ll be a good housekeeper for you.”
“I’m sure you will Rose, but that’s not the reason I brought you here.” Kit replied.
“I know why ells you brought me here, Master Kit.” Rose interrupted before he could say more. “If I hadn’t been willing to warm your bed, I wouldn’t have come with you.”
Kit sighed; of course that was what she was gong to think. Just about anyone over the age of ten wouldn’t believe anything ells. “That’s not it Rose.”
Rose’s looked confused, “Then why?”
“Rose I have something to tell you and I want you to be calm and quiet until I’m done. Okay?” When Rose nodded her accent, Kit took a deep breath and began. “Have I ever hurt you Rose?”
“No sir, you were always gentle with me.”
“Think back Rose, what do you actually remember of nights I spent with you?”
While Rose tried to remember Kit watched her face, she frowned when she realized she didn’t really remember what he had done to her after they had gone upstairs and closed the door. She was starting to get frightened, wondering what she had gotten herself into.
“Look at me Rose,” Kit said, “I know I look abut twenty-five years old, but I’m really two hundred and twenty years old.” Kit said softly. He smiled at her briefly, fully exposing his sharp canine teeth and scaring the girl speechless. Caught between the need for flight or fight, Rose could do neither. Kit waited for her to get herself under control.
“Why didn’t you just kill me back at the inn?” Rose stammered, fighting to hold back tears of fear and frustration.
“Your life is in no danger from me Rose.” He said softly, “Think about it for a moment, why would I go to all the trouble of bringing you here if I was just going to kill you?”
Rose thought about what he said. She looked around herself again; the light from the fireplace was making the shadows dance on all the clutter, it really was a mess. “So you really only brought me here to clean your house?” she asked hopefully, knowing inside that it couldn’t be that easy.
Kit laughed softly,” You are welcome to clean my house if you want. It’s your home now too. There is another reason I brought you here.” Kit told her as simply as he could why she was so special.
It didn’t take her long to figure out why she was there. But she had to be sure, “So you brought me her to drink my blood?” she asked softly. While Kit had been talking she had shrunk back as far as she could in her chair hugging herself.
“Yes I did.” He said, leaning forward in his chair he looked her right in eyes, she found she couldn’t look away, “I will make you a promise Rose, that if you are a good girl and do as I ask I will always take care of you. You won’t go hungry or cold. But if you try to run away or tell anyone about me I will kill you.” Kit slumped back in his chair. “I know you are a smart girl and you understand what I am telling you.”
Rose did understand. She understood that she was trapped. She couldn’t go back to the Running Rabbit if she wanted to, and she had nowhere ells to go. If Kit was telling the truth and kept his promise this could be a good arrangement. Rose took a big chance, sniffing away her tears and gathering all her courage, sat up straight and looked Kit straight in the eye and spoke clearly, “I understand.” Then she looked around again, “Are you still going to pay me to clean? Looks like you could use it.” She said, sounding almost but not quite impertinent.
It broke the tension between and Kit started laughing Rose found her self smiling shyly. “Getting cheeky with me already girl? I think we will get along just fine.” Then Kit got serious again. “It’s getting late Rose and I’m getting hungry. I’m not going to spend energy on making you forget anymore. I’m sorry it’s going to hurt some, but I will be as careful as I can.”
Kit stood up and offered Rose his hand, she hesitated before putting her hand in his, letting him pull her up from the chair. The room was dark, the only light coming from the fire place. The only sounds were the popping and crackle of the fire and to Kit’s ears Rose’s heart beating faster as he stepped behind her. He felt her trembling as he gently moved the strands of her hair from off her neck that had escaped the braid. He held her firmly so that she could not shrink away, not that she tried; she was determined to be brave.
As brave as she tried to be, she still cried when Kit’s sharp fangs punctured the base of her neck.
To a vampire, drinking blood from another can be a very intimate act, but with Rose Kit tried to keep his feeding as impersonal and business like as he could. There had never been and never would be any sex between them.
Kit drank only enough to satisfy his hunger. When he was done he turned her around to face him, but she wouldn’t look up at him. He pulled a handkerchief from his sleeve and wiped her tears. “Thank you Rose. Go on to bed and sleep. Be here when I get up tomorrow at sundown and we’ll discuss me paying you to clean your home.” He handed Rose the handkerchief and a lit candle and sent her off to bed.
When she disappeared behind her curtain Kit sat by the fire. He was quite pleased with himself. He considered himself very lucky to have found Rose. After a while he looked for his lap harp, he found it under a discarded shirt and brought it back by the fire to play.
He played quietly for himself until he felt the sun nearing the horizon causing him to seek out his own bed. Despite of, or because of the night’s events, Rose wasn’t able to sleep. Her mind was chasing itself around and around in circles keeping her awake. She listened to Kit play the harp for a while before she heard him walking to the room under her loft, she felt the door open and close and heard the sound of a bar being put firmly in place. As the sun peaked over the horizon she fell into a dreamless sleep.