Lemma the Librarian: The Choosing One, Part 11 (Final)

After a while, I continued, “Do
you think she meant it, about coming back to kill us?”

“Probably,” said Iola.
“One drop of blood is all it takes to revive a senior vamp. There are ways
to make their deaths more permanent, but…”

“Yeah,” said Iason.
“With one this powerful, I don’t think burning her heart or chopping her
head off or even the garlic-crossroads trick would cut it. We could probably
reduce her to dust and scatter her to the winds and, as soon as one fleck of
that dust touched blood… fwoosh.”

“Seriously?” I said. 

“She must have been thousands
of years old,” Iola replied. “Maybe tens of thousands. Certainly the
oldest and strongest vamp in these islands, though I’ve heard of still worse in
the oldest, blackest forests of the mainland…”

“Point is, she’s probably been
staked before, by people stronger than us, and come back from it. She’ll be
back from this.”

“Hrm,” I said. “One
drop of blood…” I smiled as an idea hit me. “Does it have to be pure

Iason and I stood on the high cliff
once again. Far below, the sea crashed against the sheer face of the cliff, not
a bit of shoreline between them. This time, though, Iola was with us. 

The three of us swung Brea’s corpse.
There was a hole in the middle of her, where we’d carefully cut her away from
the tree; I’d used it to pack her full enough of rocks that it would take all
three of us to give her a good toss. I wanted to make sure she stayed

Iola counted to three, and we let
Brea fly. At the peak of her arc, I hit her with as much wind and force as I
could muster, to shove her that extra bit farther away. She tumbled slowly as
she fell, shrinking to a little black dot that vanished into the water. 

And there she’d stay, at the bottom
of the sea. Sure, some blood might be spilled down there, but it would be
diluted with seawater, useless to her. And we’d been very thorough about
making sure none of her was left behind when we pulled her out from around the
tree. I even worked out a finding spell for bits of her. There were none. 

So she would stay at the bottom of
the sea. One day, maybe, she’d float ashore, or the sea and land would swap places,
and blood would bring her to life again–but that would be hundreds or
thousands of years in the future, long after she ceased to be any trouble to

“Well,” I said. “Now

“You’re still going to search
for books, right?” Iason asked. 

“Yeah,” I said. “It’s
off to the mainland for me. Question is, are you coming with me?”

“That depends,” said
Iason. He held out his sword, hilt-first and still in its scabbard, to Iola.
“You killed Brea. Your stake finished her. This has always been rightfully
yours–take it.”

Iola reached slowly for the handle,
then stopped. “No,” she said. “My friends are avenged… But it
doesn’t change that I failed to protect them. Keep father’s sword, brother. I
haven’t earned it.”

“Not yet,” said Iason. He
glanced at me, then took a deep breath. “So come with us. That way, when
you do feel ready… I’ll be there, ready to give it to you.”

He kept looking at me, like he was
worried I would object. I shrugged. Far be it from the squishy wizard to
complain about an extra meatshield.

After a while, Iola nodded.
“There’s nothing left for me here. I might as well.”

“Great!” I said. “Now
let’s go find some food, and then a boat out of these crazy islands!”

As we walked away from the cliff, I
thought about what Brea had said. Something coming, she said. A choice between
freedom and an age of iron order, or something like that. And me in the middle,
with the power to change history. Maybe.

It was a lot to carry. Especially
since I only had Brea’s word for which side was the good one–and maybe a
vampire’s idea of a good future wouldn’t exactly be the same as mine. But on
the other hand… well, anybody can change history, really. It’s just a matter
of doing something different. And if I were going to place a bet on the
likeliest person to change history, I know my money would be on the
beautiful young magical prodigy on a quest. So really… nothing has changed.

Except I’m finally getting
out of the Tin Islands. Things are looking up!

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