I ran a Vampire: the Masquerade LARP set in the Providence of H.P. Lovecraft for many years. Called In Providentia, the chronicle was the primary focus of my creative fiction from college right up until the first publication of the Psychic Vampire Codex. I still miss those days where I wrote for the sheer fun of the story, watching the characters come to life through the acting talents of my closest friends. In return, they would get full, personalized tales, like the one reprinted here. This scene takes place between the long-standing character of Luciano Giovanni and his sire. I think this piece dates to 1998 or so.
Luci’s head began to clear as the soul-rending scream reverberating through the Skinlands and the Shadowlands subsided. In its place was a low mewling barely audible even to Luci’s keen vampire senses.
Shakily, the master necromancer rose to his feet, trying to focus his awareness upon the room around him. Before him on the floor lay Dominick, naked. The blood and bones of the circle were scattered and all the candles had been snuffed. Dominick curled in the midst of it, huddled a tight little ball, trembling like a newborn. The mewling sound was coming from him.
“Dominick?” Luci asked, his voice seeming harsh in the hushed aftermath of the ritual.
Dominick didn’t immediately respond. Luci wasn’t even certain that his sire could hear him.
Gingerly, Luci moved toward Dominick, reaching out to touch him. He must touch him. Three years have passed since he saw his sire destroyed. All those long years of struggle, searching for a way to bring him back. One touch to prove it was no illusion.
At the merest brush of Luci’s fingertips, Dominick convulsed. Startled, the master necromancer stumbled back, a cry nearly escaping his lips. If his heart had been beating, it surely would have stopped in that moment. Everything he’d seen, everything he’d done, and still Luci felt both amazed and terrified by what lay before him.
Dominick raised his head, his face a rictus of pain. He drew a huge, shaking breath – surely nothing more than an instinctive response, because even before his destruction, Dominick’s lungs had not demanded air in nearly two hundred years.
Luci hung hesitantly back, uncertain how or even if he could help his sire. As he watched, Dominick slowly tried to get to his knees. Every motion was agonized and ungainly, as if the elder vampire’s muscles no longer remembered how to move.
“Dominick?” Luci asked, finding his voice once more. “Are you ok?”
Forcing himself to his hands and knees, Dominick raised his head, opening his eyes for the first time since his resurrection. With a voice like the rattle of dry November leaves, he rasped, “Do I look ok?”
Luci couldn’t respond. He was lost in those eyes. They were every bit as unnerving as Dominick’s voice. Once a dark, rich brown indicative of his Italian heritage, it was as if death had washed their color away.
Dominick took another breath, shuddering. “Get me some clothes, Luci.”
The voice was not so dry this time, nor so strained. Still full of gravel and phlegm, it still held hints of the fluid, cultured tone from Luci’s memories.
“Clothes, right,” Luci managed. How had he overlooked such a simple necessity? But perhaps he had not believed that it would work, even after all the effort and research he had invested in the rite.
After a moment’s hesitation, Luci turned to search the store rooms not far from his lab. There had to be something appropriate. As he headed down the hall, he found himself haunted by those strange, pale eyes. Had he done the right thing? Dominick’s death had been unfair, a wrong to be righted. Finding a way to restore the elder vampire had consumed Luci for many years. But now … was it a triumph or an abomination that Luci had magicked up in the other room?
There were always several changes of clothes for everyone in storage down here. In the Giovanni line of business, there was no predicting when something would go wrong and someone would need a suit free of bullet holes and blood stains. Luci went automatically to the closet that used to hold Dominick’s effects. Most of the shirts and pants hanging up now were tailored for Antonio, who had replaced Dominick as the head of operations in the Providence branch of the family. After some digging, however, Luci managed to find a few items more suited to Dominick’s leaner frame. There was even a pair of old leather shoes. They were a bit scuffed, but they would do.
Feeling suddenly awkward, Luci knocked on the door to his own lab before walking back in. Dominick didn’t answer, so Luci just went in, then stopped in the doorway, the pile of clothes clutched to his broad chest as he looked around for his recently resurrected sire.
Dominick had dragged himself from the circle and now knelt in the shadow of Luci’s massive oak desk. He hugged himself, shivering as if in the grips of a terrible chill.
Wordlessly, Luci went to his sire’s side, holding out the neatly folded clothes. Dominick’s head whipped around and he locked eyes with Luci. Once again, the master necromancer found himself nearly drowning in those strangely pale orbs.
For years, he had prayed to have his sire returned to him. Dominick had been his friend, his mentor, his constant companion through the long nights of undeath. With unwavering courage, Luci had delved into the darkest corners of his art, tirelessly seeking a method to restore the other vampire to some semblance of life. Pouring through endless numbers of dusty scrolls and forbidden texts, Luci believed that he finally knew enough to accomplish the impossible. But now, staring into those colorless eyes, he realized he had known nothing at all.
“Let me help you, Dominick,” he said gently, then stooped and tried not to think too hard about dressing his naked sire.
Dominick twitched and gasped at each little touch, biting back a cry as the fabric of the shirt settled across his shoulders. It was as if he felt nothing but pain. A little guiltily, Luci wished that Reynaldo was there. The aged revenant had dressed each and every one of them at one time. It was hard to imagine Dominick, who had been a vampire longer than Luci had been alive, even Dominick a small, naked child in Reynaldo’s arms.
Some truths about the family were too strange to contemplate for very long.
Finally, dressed and a bit more coherent, Dominick stood with Luci’s aid. His legs were still trembling and uncertain and the ground beneath his feet felt ungodly strange.
“I should take you back to meet the others,” Luci managed to say, guiding his sire forward as the other man leaned heavily against him. It was strange to realize how small Dominick was. At this point, Luci was used to the burly bulk of Antonio and Menecrites. Even Karl, from such a distant Giovanni line, stood like a mountain. Yet Dominick had more of Reynaldo’s lean frame, almost effete.
They walked together unsteadily down the hall, the sire relying each step upon the childe. And then they were out in the night, the autumn leaves skirling about them. Dominick gritted his teeth against the feel of even the wind upon his risen flesh. Everything was pain – but at least he was alive again, after a fashion.