Chapter Nine: Dark Reunion
Immortal Rose's Journal
Once more I am among familiar surroundings. A room designated as mine, yet not. Still, I find comfort to be back within these walls. Measures have been taken to place blankets and a small bed close to my writing desk. Apparently the addition of security outside the wooden door has left peaceful repose an attainable possibility. I am grateful for it, yet it is unlikely that I will allow another lapse into the blissfully ignorant world of the dreamer.
There is a sharp, stinging sensation upon my head, but I welcome it as a means to keep alert. I cannot help but smile, even in such uncertain and dangerous times. The small bat of earlier has become bolder in my absence, going so far as to alight upon my shoulder with a seemingly concerned nuzzle. It gave me a measure of ease, that such a small bat would become brave if only for a moment to console me in a most fearful time.
I took a moment to glance up from my writings as a knock resounded at the door. One of the guards entered, setting a small cup of hot tea by my side. My expression must have been quizzical, for he made a bow, offering an explanation.
"Tuomas' orders. He is the physician here. He asks that you drink it, and try to rest. There is a small amount of medicinal herbs mixed into it to aid in relaxation."
I frowned, not recalling having met many of the others whom supposedly reside within these walls, and most certainly not a doctor. Still, I thanked the guard kindly for his gesture, and he withdrew from the chamber after another bow. The tea and medicine mixture still waits, cooling upon my desk. I can smell chamomile, honey even. Yet there is an unfamiliar scent hidden within those comforting aromas. One that I am wary to discover.
Ah, my head still pains me with a mysterious throbbing. Perhaps just a small sip or two will relieve it...
Have I slept? It must be so! I pray, beg that it is so, for what I have seen! Such horrors must be barred, forever shackled to the bonds of imagination. They cannot belong to the realm of the conscious mind.
That accursed tea! That accursed physician!
If not for that...I...I...I cannot continue in this vein. The shrill screeching of the bat, the shards of glass that litter the floor. All signs that not even a fool could rightly ignore.
If I am to pen the occurrence, I must do so swiftly. The sound of the guards is close at hand, and the Lord surely follows after.
For how long I had dozed, I still cannot recall, yet I felt more that saw the shadow that hovered in the window, blocking out the moon's light. My eyes felt heavy, even now they still retain such heaviness. Yet as I carefully took in the sight of that silhouette, my body reacted, leaping up and fleeing for the door at the opposite side.
I had no chance of making it.
In an instant he was there, barring my path. I stumbled backwards, a single word escaping my otherwise dry throat.
My recognition seemed to have pleased him, for a wide grin appeared on his countenance. Sharp, and fanged. It crept, writhing like a serpent over his features, even into the depths of his golden eyes.
They pulsed, and I was frozen.
No matter how I tried, it was impossible to move, to look away. He kept his unblinking gaze, voice resonating in a deep, commanding tenor.
"That thou knowest me only offers further proof. Truly, thou art she. Rose of Immortality, and reincarnation of mine enemy."
The accusation sank low, a hiss to stab at my heart. To say that I attempted to move, to blink is not enough. I plead with myself, to blink, to even raise a single hand in defense. Even my voice failed me in that moment as he stepped closer.
"How long hast it been? Four, perhaps five or more centuries since last I beheld thine form. Yet thou remainest still in youth, in splendor. Thine beauty is the same as that night so very long ago, and I am but a mere specter in comparison. Thine curse hath made me weak, mine powers dwindling even now."
Dwindling? Yet he held me captive without effort!
He continued, almost as though my thoughts were visible and easily read.
"Ah, thou art correct in thine assumptions. Mine true powers extend farther than even this, and I shall have them once again. Yea, the remedy is close."
He stepped forward once more, maybe two inches away. The breath of his lungs was ice as he spoke.
"Dost thou come to the realization only now? I am here, truly. As real as thine chamber stands round about us. Mine existence in this realm is as solid as thine own."
He maneuvered away from my frozen gaze until I could no longer see him. Still, the cold of his breath lingered in the air close by, drifting about to chill my throat as he continued a dark soliloquy.
"And it shall be even more so. The blood is the life, is it not? Thus thine blood, thine life so close at hand and so easily snatched away, shall restore me to the fullest..."
I faltered, scrambled to plead my voice back into existence. The urgency to alert the guards. They were just outside the door. Could they not hear his threats?
A deep laugh as he once more read my mind.
"They will not come, nor shalt thou be spared once again by meddlesome company. Tis the very same as our first encounter in the ancient gardens. Doest thou remember that night? So it shalt be once again. Yet this time, thine blood will serve MY purpose."
I felt the ice upon my throat, the sharp fangs graze my flesh.
And then, the sound of a large crash and the shattering on glass.
- Immortal Rose