The vampire, Jakub Petrescu Christian, sensed the sun’s movement toward the horizon. Only a few nights old, he ached for blood, but it would be another hour before sunset. The covered cart’s layers of canvas lined with wool and silk tapestries protected him and his beloved wife from the immolating sun.
He ignored his thirst with dreams of the Empire of France. In his previous life as a cavalry officer of Christendom and vassal to both Stephen the Great and Bogdan, the One-Eyed, he had spent more time in battles than home, but he had never seen France. He remembered the drawings of the chapels in Toulon, Nice, Paris, among others. Of the majestic Gothic castle at Boules. He thought of the praise he had heard from French crusaders and mercenaries for the beloved Louis the Twelfth. Jakub could serve the King of the People.
As a boy, he had read Livre de chevalerie by the knight, Geoffroi de Charny with great interest and vigor. Before their journey, he reread the treatise to prepare. Though the great knight was captured and killed in the great Battle of Poitiers in 1356 shortly after the book was released, it explained the ethos of the French fighting class. To be a Brother of the Sword with such great warriors was the highest honor Jakub could imagine.
“Did you hear that?” Agata Artuescue Vidraru whispered beside him.
It was strange to experience the road caring for his wife — or any respectable woman. De Charny advised knights to live an austere life and seek basic Spartan accommodation rather than sleep in a soft bed, however as a knight also must care for his lady, Jakub ensured the cart had some comforts for her.
He rolled over and looked her in the face. By the pronounced look of exhaustion, she had not slept again.
“I only hear Castor and Pollux, my love,” he said, speaking of the horses, who were outside grazing.
“I am glad you are awake. I feel … unsafe,” she said.
He might only be a few nights old compared to her months of existence as a vampire, but he had familiarity with the road. She never criticized their newly-purchased wagon, but greener than the youngest squire, his poor wife had little experience on which to draw during this adventure. Agata’s first sixteen years were spent in her father’s town. After they married, she spent the next sixteen raising their five children, running the manor, her dairy, and performing midwifery. Jakub had believed his wife and family were safe in their thickly walled city. He had been wrong.
A dark, furious place in his mind whispered: I fought for both God and princes. Yet, God allowed a vampire to rape my wife. His own representative murdered her. The nobility dared say I ought to set her aside.
Away from me, Satan. I shall not dwell in these thoughts. We are leaving Moldavia so we may have a new existence.
In truth, they couldn’t stay. Peasant stories claimed vampires were evil and must be rooted out. However, as an important and beloved lady, their town had overlooked Agata’s state as long as she remained quarantined, with their eldest bringing her weekly rabbits. She had only killed the man who killed her. No one else. Once Jakub returned home and decided to join her in death, they had to depart.
“Touch your earth, my love, and let it comfort you.” He pushed the soft black locks away from her shoulders and kissed her bare neck.
Agata reached for a crock. She rubbed the earth from her garden between her fingers. She took a deep breath.
“Yes, my husband. The earth helps me see our children’s faces.”
The children again. Each dusk their four surviving children were first in her mind, and all five never left her heart.
Jakub thought of Job. Is it God’s will that my wife suffers the loss for eternity, and I suffer her sorrow? “The children are fine. You gave them a bright future.”
He kissed her brow. She smiled without opening her eyes. Calmed, she cuddled up to him again, her raven hair spilling across them.
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CHIVALRY AMONG VAMPIRES
"Themes of religious tyranny and sexism are woven effortlessly into the engrossing narrative, and the setting of the medieval period adds intrigue to the story... Guizzetti delivers a gripping, thoroughly enjoyable tale." -The Prairies Book Review
Principality of Moldavia
Newly transformed vampires, Jakub and Agata, depart their beloved village to protect their children. Inspired by the country’s famed knights, the two travel to France to find adventure and bask in their eternal love. However, ancient predators roam the land and the road is long, treacherous, and expensive.
Empire of France
Oppressed by their bloodlust and attempting to govern their enigmatic powers, Jakub and Agata join the French court. France is reeling from the last war and in the middle of another, and the King has greater concerns than protecting an unimportant rural community where it is rumored that three witches steal livestock and children. Jakub is tasked to conquer the fiends. Soon, he discovers another beast, more hideous, dwells under the Earth.
Agata and Jakub are characters from The Paper Flower Consortium Universe, first seen as a secondary characters in Immortal House.
Published by ZB Publications
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-950708-09-3
Ebook ISBN-13: 978-1-950708-10-9