Jun. 17th, 2013

The ground we walk is well-traveled, a path laid less by intention than by habit as the multiplication of hooves, feet, and wheels turned tracks through the woods into a trail, which became a wide-spreading road. It's verging on noon when Bel indicates we must turn from this to a newer and narrower path, albeit one scarred with deep ruts from wagon wheels.

"Does this path lead anywhere beyond Father Toma's dwelling place?" I ask my lovely guide.

"If you kept walking I'm sure it would eventually, but I've never heard it called anything but the way to the hermitage," she says.

"Well, even a hermit likes company, I suppose."

"Determined company, at that," she says. "To drag that heavy wagon... whatever load it may be carrying... without any horses."

As she says this, I see what she sees... there are no hoof prints or other passing evidence of horses on Toma's track.

"Something just struck me," I say. "About what you said earlier, when you were telling me what you know about Father Toma."

"What's that?"

"You said he doesn't drink," I say. "But of course you didn't mean that strictly literally, what you meant was that he doesn't drink wine or beer or whiskey or other drinks with alcoholic spirits in them. All of which is a rather long way of saying..."

"He only drinks water," Bel says.

"If he were already tainted when he attempted the blessing, that might go a long way towards explaining why it didn't work," I say.

"You think he's the one pumping water at night?" Bel asks.

"Well, it would explain the delay between sundown and showtime," I say. "He can doubtlessly cover this ground much faster than we have by himself, but if he's hauling a wagon and barrels... I don't understand why he would be a full vampire now while everyone else is just looking a bit anemic and sun-shy, though. And I don't yet know why he would be stockpiling the tainted water."

"You said vampires don't make evangelists," Bel says. "But what happens if an evangelist became a vampire?"

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theonecalledwander

June 2013

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