Chapter 4: A Servant Becomes a Savior

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 77

The Veil falls over the Sight.

The Veil falls over our ways.

The Veil heralds the end of us,

The Veil has numbered our days.

--Seer’s Lament, Lucienda Trimas

 

Their family had been very poor. Stacenia and Varadem Stonemaker could not afford to feed themselves, let alone their child. Once, the stone had spoken to Varadem. Once, he had been the best-known stone worker in all Lineria. Once, Varadem could carve any image into stone that anyone requested, no matter the complexity. That was no more, however. Varadem had begun to lose his sight two turns before, and slowly, with his sight, left his will to work stone. What was the use if he could not see his creations?

It was for this reason that Stacenia stood before the King of Lineria and asked him to take her daughter as a housemaid. The king looked at the child, nearly five turns old. She had long brown hair and pretty blue eyes.

“You realize that according to our laws, any child given to the castle’s care must remain here for the rest of their life?” the king asked. “You will be giving up your daughter forever.”

The woman’s eyes brimmed with tears. She slowly nodded.

“I have no choice, my lord,” she whispered. “I would see her a servant to the castle before I would see her starve to death.”

The king nodded. “So be it, then. You and your husband may come to the castle and find work here. Though if your husband is losing his sight, I am not sure that I can find anything suitable for him to do.”

Stacenia nodded. “I understand, my lord. We will try.”

She turned, and looked back at her daughter one last time, her own blue eyes filled with tears that she no longer held back.

“Remember I love you, Lena, and that is why I do this,” she whispered and left the small girl with the King.

King Meitan turned to the child and looked her over. He summoned one of the maids to take her to be dressed for her station, and told to assign the child to Sealla, as Sealla was of the age to begin training a maidservant. Perhaps they could be playmates, and later this child could be a lady in waiting for the King’s second daughter, who would one day be the palace wizard. The king smiled. She had already begun her training in magic with Master Elifen today. His daughters were making him very proud.

Lena wore simple clothes, and her hair was cut short. Only those that did not have to work could wear their hair long. Lena became a hand servant to the budding wizard, Sealla. Sealla seemed like a good person, though she had cold, gray eyes. For a few years, Lena enjoyed her work.

When she met Keiara for the first time, she shook. Lena stood before the older girl and was afraid of her. Then she found that she was sweet and kind, and the two would play games together, even though she was much older than Lena. Sealla was nice but they never played games. Sealla said she would not play with a servant.

Then, Sealla turned twelve. It seemed like with Sealla’s womanhood, came a new person. Lena was eight at that time. Suddenly, Sealla was not so nice. She told her not to visit Keiara anymore, and if she asked for her, to tell her that she was busy doing things for Sealla. She wasn’t to talk to anyone about the things that Sealla did, and if she did, Sealla would find out and hurt her. Lena did as she was told.

It was around this time that her visions began. At odd times, Lena would just stop and close her eyes, and see strange things and hear strange voices. Sometimes they would reveal small things, like the location of something that she was looking for, or past the enchantments that Sealla had cast. Sometimes they would show her things she did not understand at all. Soon, Sealla noticed that she had the Sight, mostly because the mark of the seer would appear over her eyes from time to time when Sealla was near. She would grab her and ask her questions she wanted answers to, and when she could not tell her, lock her in a room by herself and tell her when she found the answers she wanted, she could come out.

The King spoke with her of her sight one time. She was ten at the time, and he asked her what she saw in her visions.

“I see a lot of things, my lord,” she said, holding her head down steadily as she stood in the grand hall.

“Like what sort of things?” he asked, softly, but with a command in his tone that was unmistakable.

Lena licked her lips. “I sometimes see where things are that I’m looking for.”

The king smiled. “A seeker, it seems, a very useful seer for a kingdom, indeed, but in one so young, it is a strange thing.”

“Sometimes I see through magic,” she said softly, continuing, thinking the king would want to know everything.

The king started a bit and turned his eyes back to the girl. She could see more than one type of thing. “Go on,” he said.

“Like when Sealla is practicing enchantments, I can see through them.”

The king nodded. He’d never heard of a Seer that received both finding visions and magic visions.

“Lena, let’s just keep this all between you and me. Don’t tell other people about the fact you can find things and see through magic. Don’t tell others that you hear voices and see visions. Let’s just keep all of that between us,” he said smiling and stood.

He put his hands on her shoulders and kneeled to look her in the eyes. “And if you see anything about the kingdom or my family, come and tell me, no matter what I’m doing. I’ll listen to you.”

Lena smiled and nodded and returned to her duties at Sealla’s side. For some reason, though from that point on, Lena’s life with Sealla grew steadily more violent. It seemed as Sealla’s strength in magic grew, so did her cruelty.

The king lost a piece of jewelry of his deceased wife one afternoon, and though Lena did not know of it, she found it without realizing it. She took it to him immediately where he thanked her.

Lena returned to Sealla’s quarters. Sealla was waiting with her hands on her hips as Lena opened the door.

“Where have you been?” she asked.

Lena shook her head. “I had an errand.”

Sealla was on her in a second, grabbing a handful of hair and yanking her head back. “You lying little bitch. You went and saw my father. What about?”

“He asked to see me about my duties. He wanted to see if I was doing them correctly. If I’m to be your lady in…” Sealla cut her off by throwing her to the floor.

“You will never be anything of the sort to me, you little freak. I’ve seen you. You have the Sight. One day you will use that Sight for me, and only me.”

Sealla turned and left the room, slamming the door behind her. Lena rubbed her head and began to cry. She didn’t know what to do. Somehow, Sealla knew what she did. She was, for the first time, afraid of her.

Turns passed once more. Sealla grew older and grew crueler. Lena hardly saw any of Keiara now. When she did, she avoided talking to her; for fear that Sealla would see her and lock her in her special room that she’d created. Lena shivered at the thought of going there again. It was a room of horror for the young woman. Somehow, Sealla had constructed a room that brought to life the nightmares of the person inside. Lena didn’t know how she did it, because her magic was of the four points, not the psychic sphere. Needless, she had done it.

Sealla increasingly began to treat Lena like the lowest servant, and that was how she began to act. Lena did whatever Sealla asked, because she knew if she didn’t, the punishment would be strong. Luckily, she had not had any more visions that needed to be taken to the king. She feared the repercussions of another visit with him.

Then Sealla’s power seemed to mount. At night, Lena could hear her speaking strange words in the room next to her. Strange black mist would curl under the door, and it smelled strange. The high priestess of the Nightmare Walker came to visit nearly every week, and she would sit up and talk to Sealla deep into the night. Some nights, Lena could not sleep, and she would overhear some of their whispered conversations.

“But what proof do you have Sealla?” whispered Ashelane.

“The nightmare room is all the proof I think you need. No one else has managed to manifest such powers over nightmare in many years,” Sealla whispered back.

“There will be questions.”

“There are no questions, Ashelane. When the time comes, you will back me because your forgotten Rhen speaks to me in my dreams. She lives, and she wishes you to follow me.”

“But why would she not come to me? I’m the last high priestess left. Why would she come to royalty that has only ever paid lip service to any of the gods since the Abandonment?”

“Question me not. If you do you question Rhen.”

“Very well. I will do as you ask. When?”

“Solstice Eve. I’ve put things in motion. The only loose thread is that ‘hand maiden’ of mine. I can guarantee that she’ll stay out of the way. She’s a seer though, and she must not be killed, Rhen wills it. She must be captured alive on the Solstice when I send the order.”

“Yes, my lady, I will make preparations and do what I can.”

There was movement and Lena rolled over and began to breathe deep as though in sleep. She heard the door open and saw the light wash over her as the light from Sealla’s room spilled onto her. Then it shut, and Lena began to worry.

* * * * *

Keiara looked down into the main cavern of the cave that she and Myrstand had found the previous night. They had left the small cave where her powers had awakened to find something closer to the ground, and closer to Niliern, where she was sure things would begin to happen. The cave was large and had several high chambers that only she could get to by her flight. Myrstand was sleeping now, lying in a sleeping bag, curled into the fetal position on the floor. Keiara couldn’t help but smile at him. He had not one idea about the truth of his potential and the real reason he was here. But he would understand soon. Someone was going to need him soon, and she would leave him to sleep for now.

She sensed one of her blood growing nearer. The second. And as she closed her eyes she felt the third, and not far behind that, the fourth. The fifth and sixth were further away, but they grew nearer each moment, making their way steadily toward her. She knew the next to join her, it would be the fae born child.

Thinking of her reminded her of her sister. The seeds had been planted long ago in Sealla. She sighed. She hated to admit that her sister had become someone else and she’d never noticed. At first, Keiara tried to believe that it was a sudden change. But now, viewing the past Sealla’s life with the clarity that only the dark phoenix could give her, Keiara realized that it was something that had not occurred recently. It had been coming for many years. And it made the part of Keiara that was yet human cry for the soul of her sister.

She stepped out on the ledge and saw that Myrstand was no longer asleep. He had sat up while she had been thinking of Sealla and was now thumbing through an old book of some sort. Keiara leaped off the ledge and landed beside him with a soft thump. He looked up and a ghost of a smile lit his lips, no longer surprised at the strength and grace she had.

“I have found the one you will be seeking today,” she said, laying a hand on his shoulder.

“Oh?” he said and looked up at her.

She sat on the ground beside him. “This will test your faith in me, Myrstand. You must trust me, and you must return with her.”

Myerstand looked at her. “What do you mean?”

Keaira smiled. “She is a sweet girl, nearly eighteen turns, who was a servant in my household, but when you find her, she will be in grave danger by the servants of the dark.”

“I will do this for you, where is she?” he asked, though, never thinking twice more about it.

* * * * *

The mists curled around the castle in the damp of the early morning. The guards were not as vigilant as they should have been after the long Solstice Eve celebrations the night before. Many of them had become incredibly drunk and then come in at the morning dawn for their duty watch. Some wobbled at their stations. Some slept against their spears as they looked out across the world of white. The dawn captain was in similar state and did not chide his men for being somewhat lax at the hour it was.

Some noted the absence of one of their captains, the third watch captain, Jovan. He had been there during the night, and Bartholomew had been on watch with him. Bartholomew, however, did not seem to know what had happened to him. At least if he did, he wasn’t telling anyone about it. He simply left at the dawn and headed to the barracks. Truth be told Bartholomew did not know what to make of what had happened. After Jovan had taken to the wind, he had simply thought about what he said. Then he thought of the night, beginning with a blood moon, and then this night, when around midnight, there was supposed to be an eclipse, according to the last palace Seer. Perhaps portends that his mother had told him about as a child would indeed come true. Then, before he slept, his thoughts slipped to Mina, the dear sweet girl he wanted to marry, and he remembered what Jovan had said to him the night before.

Bartholomew was well asleep by the time Queen Sealla made her first edicts. He would only hear about them that night before he went on duty, and once more, he would remember Jovan’s words of the night before. Bartholomew, unlike many of his fellow young guards, knew more about things than anyone would guess, and no one would ask him. Bartholomew, though he acted surprised at what Jovan had to say, already knew what was to come to pass. His mother had been a powerful prophetess and would slip into nearly comatose states of sight and ramble on for hours, series after series of prophecy and vision. Despite the fact that Bartholomew did not have them written down, he remembered well many of the things she said in her high, lilting sing song voice.

He remembered well one time she spoke of the blood moon. “The queen shall rise from the ashes of the withered tree, rising up like something that no one will ever be able to see, after the blood moon rises full on the horizon, and the night of the hidden moon has come to pass us all. Then there shall come the daughter and son, who will rise up strong and true, never to fall. First though the false shall rise and take hold, and everything will wither grown old.”

Like all prophets, it was hard to know what exactly the meaning of the words was. But all seers saw the truth, encrypted or not. The words when he woke brought him no surprise.

At early morning the announcement spread throughout the kingdom that the king had died during the night. It seemed that he had finally succumbed to the long and now fatal illness he had contracted. A strange thing, since the king had always been a healthy man. Sealla had made the announcement, or rather Queen Sealla the first. Apparently, Keiara had left the castle shortly after her father’s death and had not been seen since, but was accused of murdering her father and trying to kill Sealla when she was caught in the act. Since Keiara was guilty of regicide, she would have been put to death anyway. And Sealla’s job as the next in line to the throne was to take her place, of course.

Many in the castle did not believe that. In fact, most of those in the castle did not believe that. However, that did not matter anymore. She was no longer here. For whatever reason, she was gone, and they were left under Queen Sealla’s rule.

The first order, on the first day of winter, was simple. Any with a Mark of Sorcery were to be brought to her immediately. No matter how poor their skill, how young or old, any who showed a mark were to be brought to her. Normally, those with the Mark of Sorcery who had never shown awakening power were allowed to remain with their family, but those that showed awakening power were sent to the Forge with the rest of those with the natural powers. The order was not explained, only given, and all over Lineria, the few remaining people with a Mark of Sorcery were gathered. They were told they would not be harmed if they did not resist them. Strange guards worked for the kingdom now, ruffians and villains all, and they were not always as gentle as the people were used to, so fear spread out among the kingdom. Some ran. Some hid. Those who were caught trying to run were killed by the guards for trying to escape the Queen’s edict. Treason was the charge, and a charge that carried a death sentence. Some escaped to find the mountains a wall of dark mists that they could not penetrate and found the mountain night too much to survive.

The spell was a rather simple one. It constructed a nearly solid wall of mist and fog that penetrated everything from the sky to the ground, through the leaves and through the bushes; it forced its way through and blocked all travelers. The magical bonds that had once connected Lineria to other lands were severed as well, making special movement impossible. But no spell is perfect.

Among the barriers of fog and solid darkness, a group of tall rocks stood. They had been, at one point, a religious place, but that had been lost to the mists of time to those of Lineria. The ironic thing about the rocks was that it had been a place to worship Pherome. Pherome had been the Great Hunter, and closest servant to the Keeper of Nature. None used the stones anymore. There were seven stones, standing in a perfect circle. After thousands of years, though, some had fallen, and two or three of these stones were at the place where the barrier around Lineria had formed. One had fallen on the stone next to it, and formed a small triangular gap underneath it, just big enough for a small person to squeeze through. And that was exactly what the small girl named Lena did. Unfortunately, the Lineria Calvary had a way of tracking those like her, and was right behind her, using a magically crafted rod to open a gap in the barrier that Sealla had created.

* * * * *

The thunder of hooves was loud behind her. She ran as hard as she could, but her speed was nothing compared to the Calvary that chased her. She’d gotten out, and their job was to make sure she was duly punished by death for her treason. She had, after all, run from the Queen’s edict because she was sure that they would find her powers were awakened now. Her breath came in ragged gasps as she slipped and slid down the falls and drifts on this side of the mountains she’d just come through.

She was neither quiet nor hidden. She simply ran. Her small size allowed her to go places where the mounted war horsemen couldn’t, but they could go around and over, eventually finding her. Her dark gray shift was ripped and torn nearly to shreds from the scrub brushes that populated this side of the mountains. Her hair was matted tight to her head, and her eyes reflected only fear.

Tears ran down her face at a frantic pace, though not out only of fear, but also out of what she knew would come to pass.

She didn't know what to do, she really didn't. She'd never had to make this sort of choice, she either had to run after Keiara’s disappearance, or she would die at the hands of the new Queen. She crashed through some grass and nearly ran over a log. She slipped and spun, skidding down an embankment to a stop at the bottom. Her breath was heavy, and she could smell the fear on herself, it was so strong. She was sure the horses would come. But she heard distantly a scream, and then the loud whinnying of a horse.

Lena of Lineria leaned back against the bank and forced herself to catch her breath. She was scared, and pain radiated from her ankle where she’d fallen. She looked down and noted the swelling and knew it was hurt somehow. She was done for if one of them came this way, she could no longer run. She began to crawl away, looking behind her until she impacted with something. She turned and looked down seeing a pair of boots. She sat back, avoiding her ankle and looked up at a tall darkly cloaked man. Her eyes went wide. Had they found her?

For a second before he spoke the world exploded before her eyes, and to the man standing before her they went totally white for a second. To Lena, she saw the future, or at least a piece of it. It was a difficult thing to interpret, for she saw a large black bird rising up and eclipsing the moon, and then something brighter than anything she’d ever seen flashed before her eyes. Then it was gone. The moon will rise full on that night, and then the two will take flight. Dark will eclipse the silvery moon, and then light will follow ever so soon. The words echoed in her mind as the world swam back to existence before her eyes. Her visions were like that, both in pictures and words, making her a very rare Seer. Unlike a Prophet, she could only receive visions pertaining to those that she was seeking, enchantments, or a specific person. That meant the vision was about this man before her. She turned her eyes, now heavy-lidded back to the figure.

The man paused for a second, recognizing that she had the sight. A strange thing for a girl like this to have, he thought. Especially now. The sight was dying. Perhaps the girl saw her death at his hands. Well, he wasn’t sure now that he stared at her that he wished to kill her.

"So, this is the fierce beast those horsemen were after," he said, and Lena found that she could not move on her own. She was frozen.

"Come with me," the deep voice commanded, and she did, as though her body was moving of his accord. The moon was bright, but she could not see. She limped on her injured foot which hurt so much she thought she'd scream, but she found she could not scream.

She followed the cloaked figure silently and as she walked she saw three men laying in a pile, all dead it would seem. She could only move her eyes, and she saw blood splattered all over the ground. She was scared despite the fact that whoever this was had rescued her. If he could kill three men so easily, what would he do with her?

The world shifted away again, this time though with less force, and she felt the impact of the world onto her body as though she’d fallen a great distance, and then she stood. She turned and faced herself, and bared thick long fangs, dripping with blood. Her own eyes stared back at her lit with some sort of black fire. The frail and weak shall ascend and become strong, and then shall rise up to right the wrong. The fury of death shall rise in her veins now, and then she will speak the vow. She swallowed hard and the world swam back. She hated visions of herself. Sometimes the sight was fickle and let her see her own future. But nothing had ever disturbed her like this. She continued to walk and suddenly she felt the weight of destiny.

Soon they came to a cottage and she followed him in. The inside was devoid of light and she could see nothing, but soon she felt hands on her, undressing her to her waist. She was frightened but still she could not move. She felt him there, by her neck. He moved in front of her and she saw his face for the first time. He was so handsome. She could not see his eyes, but the cut of his jaw was smooth and square, and his nose was proud. His long black hair hung down past his shoulders.

"Such a beast to need three men to chase her down…" he whispered. He could not help but breathe in her life. It was a thing of beauty and she so delicate and frail. He’d intended to make her his meal this night, but he’d had his fill. The ones that chased her had been enough for that. No, there was another place for her.

“What do you have there, Devon?” a female voice spoke from the side where Lena couldn’t see.

The man, Devon, raised his face from the hollow of Lena’s neck. “Tres, look at this sweet, tiny morsel I have found…”

The woman walked in front of her frozen form. She reached behind her and turned up a lamp and Lena could see her finally. She was eerily beautiful, pale and almost glowing in the dim light. Her eyes were yellow like a cat’s, or a demon’s, and her face was angular, with an almost sharp chin and nose. Lena swallowed as she leaned in close her and deeply breathed of her like Devon had moments before.

“Oh, Devon, how lovely. She smells…different…she’s human?”

“As far as I know, but I haven’t taken a sip yet,” he said, smiling.

With that Lena gasped as he sunk his fangs into her neck. She wanted to scream but she was frozen in place. Just as suddenly he let go and sighed so deeply.

“Amazing. Faeblood. She’s a changling. Oh my, I haven’t had such a taste in hundreds of years…” he said.

She felt his hands release her and the woman leaned over from in front of her and sank her teeth in the other side of her neck. A feeling of coldness was creeping over her as she stood there. Then she heard a shout from outside. She released her and then stared into her blue eyes with her own yellow ones.

“Sit down, don’t move,” she commanded, and Lena was powerless to disobey.

The door opened, and another woman came in, this one with long blonde hair and vivid orange colored eyes. She was smiling, her fangs dripping with blood and she dragged a male figure in through the doorway. He was tall with blonde hair, shaggy and unkempt. He wore metal armor, and there was a sword at his hip. His hands were bound in front of him and she was dragging him by a short lead attached to it. His mouth was gagged, and his eyes covered with a silk sash.

“Aiya, what is this? Why is this one tied up?” Devon asked.

The blonde vampire smiled broader. “It is wonderful! He’s a paladin, I found him wandering around the woods near here. I can’t charm him! I’ve never met someone I couldn’t charm, so I thought I would share such a rare feast. I see you’ve thought the same.”

She tied the lead rope to a ring on the wall and sat beside Lena. “Aw, but you started without me,” she whined and lapped at the blood dripping down her naked chest. She shivered.

Tres slid the blindfold off the newly arrived paladin and he locked eyes with Lena. Lena blushed deeply, though how after they’d drained so much of her blood she wasn’t sure how. Myrstand knew this was who he’d come for. Oh, if Keiara had just mentioned he’d be saving the victim of a vampire attack who would turn into one in a week if not treated properly…

The female now, the one with the dark and short hair began nuzzling around his neck. He swallowed and knew that if he didn’t break free he was doomed. The closest person who could treat the bite of a vampire was in Darna. And there was no way to get there in time. The male touched his face and he jerked away.

“Aiya, take a drink, that one is amazing. She’s a changling and something else, but it is delectable. Don’t drain her, she’s mine,” he said, petting Myrstand’s struggling head. “We’ll save this sweet morsel for after she’s drained. Been a while since I’ve had my fill of holy blood, they don’t have many of them anymore.”

Myrstand ignored the two who were touching and petting him, though it was getting difficult to ignore the female demon as she tugged at the waist of his pants. They’d already stripped him of most his armor, and he stood in his white shirt and tan breeches. Her hands were like ice as they forced their way into his clothes. Unfortunately for him, the male was no better. He ignored them as best he could and struggled fiercely as the one that had captured him sunk her fangs into Lena’s neck. However, she moved away from her when she did. He was curious about that because she shouldn’t have been able to move at all after they’d used their power to paralyze her.

“Oh, my Devon, so sweet,” she said as she stood and traded places with him.

Devon sat down beside Lena and petted her face gently and then roughly bit into her chest just above her heart. Lena gasped, realizing that slowly whatever he had done to her was wearing off. She felt her blood draining from her and her head became light, but it wasn’t really like she was dying. Something was rising in her.

Myrstand had seen it before, the taking of the human soul across the threshold to undeath, but never had he seen it take so long. The two female vampires left him alone and stared as he continued to feed on the blood from her body.

“Devon, she should be drained by now,” Tres said softly.

Devon moved backward and stared as blood flowed out of the wounds they’d each given her still. She shouldn’t have had blood yet to bleed. In a second, Devon realized his mistake. Water began to pour out of his nose and mouth at a torrential rate suddenly. Aiya and Tres both went to him and dropped to their knees beside him. Lena was flexing her fingers and her toes as they did so, their attention no longer on her. Myrstand couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Her wounds were also slowly healing right before his eyes. Then, to his complete shock, her eyes flashed red for a moment, like a vampire, and she leaped from her seat and bolted across the small room, pausing only to rip the hook from the wall that Myrstand’s hands were tied to. She got him outside and then pulled apart the bonds with a hand and Myrstand removed the gag.

“Let’s get out of here before they recover,” he said in a whisper.

Lena stood still for a while then looked at Myrstand. “They won’t recover.”

Myrstand only paused for a second before he set out at a run. Vampires weren’t the only thing out this hour. His horse was tethered relatively close to the cottage and he quickly untied him lifted her onto Tarm, who bucked slightly at the strange smell. Myrstand soothed him with words of comfort. He settled down soon enough. He led the horse and let the woman-child ride as he walked beside. He handed her a cloak to cover with for the duration of the ride.

They rode in silence until they reached the cavern. Myrstand led Lena inside. Once inside, Lena sensed something overwhelming.

"Lena of Lineria," a haunting voice said. Lena started. "Or should I say Lena Darkfyre now."

The woman turned and despite the changes Lena knew Keiara. She fell to her knees in front of her, for Lena could still see Keiara there, for one with the sight always saw beyond appearances.  

Lena knew that Keiara would surly remember the trials she’d gone through because she was gifted with such powerful sight at such a young age. Lena’s sight had begun at the age of eight, and she had been hard pressed to understand what many of them meant.

"Stand child. Come to me. You are of my blood, now drink of my own blood and remove the impurities from you that the vampires have given you."

Myrstand stared at Keiara. Slowly, she pulled an arm from under her cloak and staring at the young woman showed her wrist. Lena’s eyes widened, and the red began to glow again. Myrstand was sure that Keiara was going to drive her mad with temptation. Keiara slid a talon-like nail across her wrist and blackish blood began to flow, dripping to the floor, and burning away in fire the second after.

Lena’s eyes burned red for a second and she latched onto her wrist. Lena suckled on the wrist like a babe at its mother’s breast. She kneeled and leaned back against Keiara’s strong form and drank deeply. She bore no concern for taking too much from her, only the need to drink. Myrstand watched, his face beginning to line with worry at the sight he was seeing. He started to step forward. Keiara raised her other hand, and he realized that her face was not in pain in the least, simply content, as though she were indeed a mother suckling a babe.

"Fear not, Myrstand," Keiara said with a smile. "I purify her with my blood, just as the fires purified me."

Keiara kneeled and wrapped her arms around the woman child. She was no more than eighteen turns of age, and Keiara remembered playing with the girl when they were both children. She though had remained small and childlike, and gentle. She looked no more than fifteen, and her demeanor was also that of a child. She felt the pricking of her fangs in her skin, but she let her drink her fill. She patted her hair gently with a smile on her face. Myrstand watched in amazement as the burning red of the girl’s eyes turned to black fiery fury.

Keaira spoke softly then. "The creatures that would find each other the most hated will gather to defend our world. The light and dark shall fight side by side to bring back those who’ve been stolen from us, and to restore the balance."

She looked up at the Paladin. "You are the light, and she and I are the darkness that falls, and she will kill with no remorse when you cannot kill because of your oath to goodness. And there are others we have yet to gather. The balance must be returned, but there will be time for that discussion later, we’ve not come to that yet.

“She’s more than she seems, so it may have been that the vampire blood wouldn’t have taken anyway, but I would prefer to be sure and speed removal of the negative effects. Because of what she is, she will retain the vampire’s strength and fury. She won’t be a vampire; she will be more than one.”

Lena stood slowly and stared at her friend. Keiara smiled and asked, "Do you embrace your fate, my seer in the darkness?" she asked.

It was always a free choice, no matter what, even after all of this. Lena closed her eyes and felt new feelings inside her. She stared into the infinity of blackness around her eye and saw the truth of what would happen if she did not join her.

"Yes," she whispered, answering the one person that she saw eternity in.


Submitted: May 13, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Beverly L. Anderson. All rights reserved.

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Dark and the Sword

The world of Avern has be abandoned by the gods, or so it appears. The Mother of Gods is reborn in the body of a dethroned princess and will do whatever it takes to save her children.

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