Erkan looked down at the paper in front of him. “Type?”
“Ah, just put ‘human’,” Savina replied as she looked over his shoulder at the next page, “Looks like you should check ‘no’ on everything on the next page, I guess. I don’t know, I never had to fill this stuff out.”
“Because I was born into this.”
“Wait what? You were born… as a vampire? Not like… made into one?”
“Oh, yeah.” Savina nodded, “Vampires can also be ‘made’, but we aren’t actually undead… unlike Justin.”
“Justin’s undead? But he looked so… non-rotten.”
“Of course. If he was actually rotting, he would fall apart and be gone in no time. Well, relatively.”
“So is he a zombie or something?”
“He’s a ghoul. So basically yes. He just eats meat instead of brains… though I suppose he could eat brains if he wanted to. And no, he doesn’t eat humans.” Savina scratched her cheek, “Err… probably. Mostly.”
“Well I think he bit a big chunk out of one guy’s throat… actually, will he become a ghoul? That body.”
“… I don’t think so. Justin probably knows how that works and would avoid it. If it happened, they probably wouldn’t be sane and would be hunted down.”
“This is a whole lot of stuff…” Erkan said.
“Yeah, it can take a while to take in.”
“I mean, progenitor and/or parent’s name, if applicable? How many pages do I have to fill out?” Erkan shook his head, “Also all this supernatural stuff. Not that I’ve actually seen much yet.”
Besides his name and address there wasn’t really much that was applicable to Erkan. He was just a normal human, after all. There was an interview, but that happened immediately. There was nobody else in line for anything. With only a few thousand people in the area, it made sense. It’s not like people would be inducted into the supernatural community en masse. In a way, it was rather odd how few supernatural creatures were around- though if he had been told a few weeks prior that there were five hundred vampires in San Francisco, he might have thought that alarmingly high, if he thought it real at all.
The whole process went rather smoothly. Instead of having to wait weeks to get some special form of ID, Erkan was surprised to walk out with just his driver’s license. It was just enchanted.
“They can look up your information with the enchantment there…” Savina explained, “But there’s no physical documents or anything. It’s not conducive to keeping secrets if we walk around with IDs saying vampire, werewolf, etc. If anyone can tell it’s enchanted they’re not a problem so… it works well.”
“Can I learn magic?” Erkan asked.
“I mean… you probably… can?” Savina shrugged, “It’s just that most people are pretty secretive with their magic. It’s also not cheap.”
“Well, I do have some money. Can you teach me?”
Savina shook her head, “I only know blood magic.”
“Yeah that’s what I meant.”
“You want to learn blood magic?” Savina raised an eyebrow.
“Why not? The only times I’ve seen it it saved me from bleeding to death. That’s something I’d like to know how to do.”
“A fair point. Well, I can’t teach you. I mean, I could… but not as well as uncle Nico. He’s the one who taught me, and he has a lot more experience. You should ask him.”
“Right. Give me his number.”
Erkan stared down at his phone. Calling people could be very difficult. What was he supposed to do? Say, “Hey, I’m that guy you saw almost die, also maybe your niece’s boyfriend, can you teach me blood magic?” Actually, that was probably it, but it seemed a little… strange. He felt like he should at least climb up the stairs of a tower or something.
A week later he found himself in an elevator on the way up to a fourteenth floor apartment. Or thirteenth, since they didn’t have a thirteenth floor. Except it still was, but just wasn’t numbered that way. Superstitions were stupid. Probably. Erkan needed to ask about that. He found the door he was looking for and knocked. When it opened, he asked, “Is thirteen cursed?”
Nico Nervetti smiled, “Well hello to you too, Erkan. Come in.” He waved him in, “No, thirteen is not cursed. Nobody is able to curse a number in and of itself, and it didn’t come that way. Anything that says otherwise is just confirmation bias and a poor understanding of statistics. Or people doing it on purpose. Better to save all of that effort avoiding real curses. Optimally by making it so nobody wants to curse you.”
“I’ve heard that works pretty well. Though I also thought I was doing a pretty good job of nobody wanting to kill me until it happened twice in a month.”
“An unfortunate circumstance, to be sure. But you are still alive, which is more than the gunman can say.” Nico shook his head, “As for the second, he wasn’t technically trying to kill you, though he’d certainly still be convicted of attempted murder. Unfortunately, he seems to have gone into hiding. And he has help, though of course everyone denies any association with him. We did find his name, though. Vittore Rugiero.”
“That’s comforting, I guess. This is a nice apartment, by the way,” Erkan commented.
“Technically a condo. Old family business paid for it, and my work pays for the upkeep.” He opened the door to a large room, flipping on the lightswitch. One corner of the room was furnished with a small library. The rest of the room was mostly concrete, though there were targets and a stone table as well. “Welcome to the training room.”
“Hmm. It’s very… clean. I had expected… different.” The room was indeed quite clean, though the concrete was damaged in a number of places.
“What? Like dried blood everywhere?” Nico shook his head, “It smells disgusting. There’s no reason not to clean it up, and it’s good practice. Now then… we start here.” He brought Erkan over to the library, where there was a pair of desks with plastic guards down the middle. Next to the desks were buckets filled with ice… with a large bottle of blood resting in one. At least, Erkan assumed it was blood- he couldn’t quite read the labels and the plastic wasn’t completely clear. “This side of the desks is where all the blood goes,” he gestured to one side that was covered in plastic and had small walls. “You are right handed, correct? If not, we turn it around. Either way, your off hand will be exclusively for turning pages on the other side of the shield, and your primary hand for writing only. If you spill, you clean it up… and out of the carpet, once you learn how.”
“Right… uh…” Erkan tilted his head, “We’re just directly starting with blood? Not ink or something?”
“Of course. You will be working with blood, because ink doesn’t flow the same. Besides, you’re not penning a book and blood is cheaper.”
“Oh. That makes sense.” Ink really was quite expensive.