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Ghost meets his first vampire

[cross posted connery_bq and were_ghost]

He was back in the bayou; there was something primitive, alive and full of memories of a time before. Sighing, the Ancient sat on a moss covered tree stump, idly wondering what his man would say about the soiled clothing when he returned. Dismissing the thought, Sean closed his eyes and listened to the world around him, his senses on full. There was … another near.

The wolf moved through his territory in the guise of a man. A very big man, from his full mane of brunet hair and well worn leather pants to the soles of his combat boot shod feet. This was the piece of land that he had carved out for himself. He might have an unspoken agreement to share it with the local pack, but inwardly he ruled here. Ghost moved silently through the tangle of vines and brush. He scented the air for prey and other “guests”. There was something here. Something he had gotten a mental glimpse of before but he couldn’t identify. It wasn’t human and it wasn’t were but it was definitely.... old. There was another choice in his mind, but since he had never knowingly come in contact with one he couldn’t be sure. It wasn’t threatening in any way so he carefully circled it, trying to stay out of sight though he had the oddest feeling that it knew he was there.

Sean stopped, his body motionless as a corpse, and listened. Hearing sharp, there was the softest and indiscernible to human sounds of footfall. “I mean you no harm. Come to me.” Whisper quiet, the sound carried, the breeze carrying it through the trees to hopefully awaiting ears.

Ghost heard the call and decided stealth was useless. He could disappear, but then whoever this was might take offense and give chase. He worked his way steadily toward the source of the call. What he saw when he rounded the next crop of cypress amazed him. It was a distinguished looking gentlemen sitting on a tree stump. It was almost comical but he didn’t dare laugh. This was one of great age, that was far beyond his mature form but not the least bit frail. This one emitted great power.

“Ahhh, there you are. Thank you for joining me.” Hunching down, Sean peered into the beautiful
eyes. “Were... lovely one at that.” Standing, he extended his hand, palm up. “I’m Sean these days...”

Ghost scrutinized the offered hand and the body attached and decided that if the man wanted him dead he would already be so. “Ghost.” He extended his hand. “Strange place for a civilized gentleman to be hanging out.” The were looked him over more carefully. “Don’t think me impolite, but you are not human, nor are you were.”

Grasping the warmer hand, Sean smiled. “Quite right. Vampire, actually.” Grinning to show his fangs - not a threat - he quickly lowered his lip again. “I enjoy the peaceful solitude from civilization now and again.” He looked around; it was very obvious there were no visible dwellings. “Not so strange a place for a were to be, though.”

The hand that clasped Ghost’s was cool to the touch but not unpleasantly so. The gentleman didn’t hide anything from him, even showing his fangs. What bothered his dear Réne so much about these creatures? Ghost surmised that like weres or humans, there was good and bad. Personally he sensed no malice from this particular one. “You just seem a bit out of place. The swamp could ruin such a fine set of clothes.” He cocked his head to the side. “The solitude I understand; it’s why I picked this place for my home.”

Releasing the other’s hand, Sean nodded. “I find solitude worth the price of a piece of cloth.” Peering around, he brought his silver-blue eyes to the were. “My name is Sean... and I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t see your home....”

“Some of us will pay anything for solitude.... or safety.” Ghost took a step back and leaned comfortably against an adjoining tree. “Sean is a good name. Some legal papers somewhere declare me to be Stefan Volkov, but I have always gone by Ghost. As for my home, it is about a mile west of here. My wolf needs a very big home.” Ghost played idly with a piece of Spanish moss. “Is it natural for vampires to seek solitude? You are the first of your species that I have had the pleasure of meeting. I did some research on the subject, but I’m afraid that modern literature and film is rather biased on the subject.”

“I suppose it depends on the personality of the vampire. I’ve been on this planet for... a very long time, and once in a while enjoy a reminder of what life was like when I first took breath.” Copying the move, Sean rubbed his shoulder against the rough bark before settling. “Is it normal for a were to not be with pack? From all the previous experiences I’ve had, it seemed opposite of what you live now.”

“Valid question. My ancestors lived in a pack and probably still do, but my forefather was abandoned in the New World with no family ties, no idea of what he was or how he was supposed to act. He adopted a solitary life for the most part, and a lot of us have kept up the practice. I was born pack but my father took me away when I was still a cub. He raised me as his father raised him - alone. I prefer the lifestyle. It seems contrary to the normal life of a wolf, but then I’m not exactly pure wolf, am I?”

Listening to the words, Sean pondered them but kept most questions to himself; others he’d ask. “Are any of us pure anything? I was once human, so if you use simple logic, I’m half vampire, half human.” Screwing up his mouth in a rueful expression, the vampire sighed. “There are those amongst my kind who would have all believe that once vampire, their human nature dies. It does not die; they let it wither away, becoming nothing but a memory and an excuse for their less than acceptable behaviour.”

Ghost nodded in agreement. “It is no different with some of the ‘pack animals’ I have known. They feel that since they were born were, it is useless to rein in their darker nature. Some stay in their animal form so long that they forget that they can have the best of both worlds The weres are a noble breed. They live much longer than humans and have a chance to shape society.” Ghost sighed. He wasn’t usually this morose. “Excuse my negativity, Sean. Most of the recent interaction with my own kind has warped my opinions. I came to this place for some peace and to get away from such. I will leave you to your thoughts.”

“Do not worry yourself, young one. It is the nature of our beasts and some simply enjoy it.” Pushing off from the tree, the Ancient gave a small smile. “I hope we meet again.”

Ghost was about to leave the vampire in peace when he realized that this would be a perfect opportunity to learn something. “Wait, don’t go yet. I must ask you something. If one of your kind enthralls another, do they remain in that state? Does a vampire have the right to claim them forever?”

Pausing, Sean gave the were an inquiring look. “Are you Thralled?” Waving his hand, the Ancient ‘tsked’ at his own question. “Irrelevant. To answer your question, there are several ways to end enthrallment. One is of course if the master vampire dies. Another is if the thrall is set free - and of course, if the master vampire weakens, his hold will also.”

“No, I am not. I just heard the term and wish to understand. Can a master reclaim one that is set free?” Ghost truly wanted to learn about vampires, and if this was the only one he could find, then he would learn what he could from him.

Fully facing the younger being, Sean crossed his arms and lowered his head, deep in thought on how to answer the question. “Enthrallment is usually against the other’s choice. It is, in essence, enslavement. There are of course different levels; there is enthrallment by choice too. A human wishing the protection of a vampire can willingly become their servant - the enthrallment there is of mutual boding without the commitment beyond master/slave. The human in those circumstances is still free to make their own decisions and life choices, but their loyalty is first and foremost to their master.” Finally lifting his gaze from the ground, Sean looked at Ghost. “Released or free, any thrall can be ‘reclaimed’ simply by force. It is not something I condone, it was not the way of things when I was first turned, and I find the practice abhorrent.”

Those words troubled him greatly. Réne had spoken of a master and there was no endearment to it. He was genuinely terrified. Ghost would not let this happen to his sweet Réne. He would do what he could to keep the young human safe. He needed to hear more of this enthrallment from Réne so he would know how best to protect him. He had straightened up and started pacing as he thought about what the vampire had suggested. He didn’t even realize he had reacted so. He let loose a rumble low in his throat.

Unperturbed, Sean watched the night creature pace, “Not you, but someone you know?”

“Yes. I should not tell you more, for I don’t completely understand the rules of your society and I could be breaking a confidence.” He halted in his tracks. He didn’t look at the vampire but set his gaze on the swamp. He didn’t want to appear threatening. He knew age when he smelled it. “I will not endanger him further but... I will protect him... if I can.”

“I would no more expect a werewolf to break a confidence than I would a human or vampire; rest easy. I will not press you, Ghost.” Choosing his words carefully, the Ancient took a step closer. “There may be little you could do against a master vampire, but if your courage was equal to your ability, your friend would have no concerns.”

Ghost swung his head to the side and watched the vampire move slightly closer. “I hope you are right. I’ve never met another vampire except yourself, so I don’t know how our powers compare, and I have no desire to test the theory on you. You have been nothing but kind since we met. Besides, I have a feeling I would not fare well in such a contest. Even I know age when I see it.” Ghost turned to meet the vampire head on. “I thank you for your information, Sean.” Ghost extended his hand to say his farewells. He suddenly had an overwhelming desire to see Réne and know that he was safe.



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