Eloim stood in his room sorting through his wardrobes as Gary walked in.
“You not packed yet? You know you’re supposed to leave at nightfall.” Gary said as he took a seat.
“It’s not my fault, Dad has limited me to one travel case and warned me to avoid all of my favourite items.” Eloim said in disgust.
“You mean the more flamboyant clothes?” Gary asked.
“He said to take just black and simple and has banned me from anything that sparkles.” Eloim said sitting down on his coffin in defeat.
“You’re going before the High Council so you need to be dressed in a serious manner as befits the occasion.” Gary said. “Now I promised to tell you about the priest and why he wields so much power.”
“Please Gary, not another lesson, can’t you see I’m in crisis?” Eloim said in desperation.
“Shut up and listen and I’ll go get Karla to help you pack once I’ve finished.” Gary said. “Now the role of the priest is one that dates back to our most ancient times and there have been many priests during that time. They are not only our lore keepers but act as diplomats in disagreements between clans. As such the priest has the backing of the High Council to enter all citadels and nests and to refuse him is to break the covenant of the Council. Now this present priest has, it is claimed, powers he has gained from studying the most ancient of our lore. There are reports that he has also studied witchcraft to add to his dark arts but apart from some parlour tricks nothing is confirmed.”
“So he could be a wizard then?” Eloim asked.
“He could be a lot of things Eloim but what he isn’t is trustworthy. He is obsessed with his own self and the power he has. Stay close to Dad and Miss Penny on this trip and watch your back around the priest and the rest of the High Council.” Gary stressed and then with a smile added, “I’ll go get Karla, before you leave drop into my room, that sword you got is ready.”
“You keep it, it doesn’t really go with any of my outfits.” Eloim said with a shrug.
“You do realise that the witch gave you an ancient and valuable blade, it’s not an item to dismiss so easily.” Gary said in shock.
“I know but keep it anyway.” Eloim said with a grin. “I’d only put in some corner and forget about it.”
That evening Eloim boarded a coach with his father, the priest and Miss Penny to start their journey to the meeting of the High Council in Rome. The priest had insisted they avoid large clan citadels and take a quieter route to Rome. He insisted they had to avoid any large groups or clans so their first stop would be in a small rest house outside Paris operated by the Paris clan of Lord Luc. With some tensions running high in the vampire world over Eloim the priest wanted to avoid any confrontations until they were safely in Rome.
The coach had been especially altered by their father for use by their family with special ultra violet light resistant glass and under-floor coffins. Most of the seats had been removed and Eloim was steered by his father to seats and a table at the back. Meanwhile Miss Polly took a seat at the front with the Priest. Eloim’s father had totally ignored his former friend and she was sat as far away as possible from him.
As they sat down his father passed Eloim an old book from out of his bag.
“You will read and learn this book, tomorrow night when we restart our journey I will ask you questions about it.”
Eloim groaned and looked at the title on the front.
‘An illustrated guide to the putrefaction rates of humans immersed in marsh water, by Sir William D’Fen.’
“Where do you find these books dad?” Eloim asked.
“In our library, you know the place, downstairs where Junior hangs out all the time.” his dad replied.
“So am I supposed to learn something from this book?” Eloim asked.
“For that answer you will need to read the book.” his father replied.
Eloim looked up to see the priest walking down the bus towards them, he stopped in front of them.
“I thought it would be the right time to be introduced to your son as we will be spending time together. Can I sit down?” the priest asked.
After a moment Lord Vi nodded and the priest sat down opposite them at the table and looked at the book Eloim held.
“Oh dear, Sir William D’Fen, the only thing worse than his writing was his illustrations.” the priest said.
“You’ve read the book?” Eloim asked hopefully.
“Only the first couple of pages, it was worse than actually talking to him.” the priest said with a grimace.
“Stop the questions Eloim, you have to read the book yourself.” his father cut in.
“I was just trying to get some background on the author to help me in studying.” Eloim said sullenly.
“Oh this one is quick Lord Vi, an instant excuse for every occasion I bet.” the priest said with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.
“Too smart for his own good.” lord Vi said gruffly.
“It shows he can think on his feet, well I’d better leave him to his study. Maybe we can talk again later on.” the priest said standing up and giving a slight bow to Eloim’s father.
Lord Vi watched as the priest retook his seat at the front of the coach and then leaned in towards Eloim.
“What did you just learn?” he asked quietly.
“The priest talks nice to your face but there was something else behind his eyes, I can’t place it but the look in his eyes is almost unfriendly beneath the surface.” Eloim replied quietly.
“Anything else?” his father asked again.
“He came down here to test me somehow, I don’t think he was happy with what he saw.” Eloim said looking down the coach.
“Very good, he was trying to see where you fit into this world and didn’t like what he saw. Your time alone fending for yourself had made you very much older than the years that have passed since you were turned.” His father said.
“Does that mean I don’t have to read this stupid book?” Eloim asked hopefully.
“You still read the book Eloim,” his father said. “you let him know you can think on your feet and are quick minded, consider reading the book a punishment for not being more clever.”
To be continued.