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|Alright, take 2, this time censored correctly! Go me! Anyways, yes, more of the moody vampire and his poor little fledgling that really doesn't want to be a vampire. It's been hard deviding this one up because the days are too short to make into their own pieces, but I don't want to make it too long. Bear with me, I'm trying to find a happy medium. Uploaded: 8/29/04||
It was fully two days before Delphy could move out of bed. With Aurora’s help, Asherohn watched over her every day and brought victims for her to feed from every evening. It wasn’t until she began to comprehend her surroundings and what she was that Ash had any sort of problem.
On the evening of the third night, he slunk into the kitchen. Aurora could positively feel the anger radiating off of him. “She’s awake?” she asked needlessly.
“And still at it.” He collapsed at the table, a snarl fixed upon his lips.
“What’s it now?”
“I believe it’s ‘evil heathen creature from the very farthest depths of Mecharat’. It’s not quite as good as ‘demon spawned son of a devil whore’, but it definitely ranks up there.”
Aurora turned back to the soup she was making to prevent him from seeing her smile. She schooled her tone into indifference. “She thinks it’s you who snuck up behind her. She doesn’t realize that you’re the one who gave her the choice between life and death.”
“I wish I hadn’t,” Ash growled.
“Ash…” Aurora turned to face him once more.
“I know, I know, **** it. But she won’t even listen! She just starts spouting off names that there’s no way in hell she should know every time she sees me, and I don’t even have a ******* chance to explain to her, and-”
“Ash!” Aurora slapped him across the face. Without even thinking, Ash surged forward and shoved Aurora back into the stone wall. He pinned her there with his body, growling like an animal and silver eyes feral. The only thing that stopped him from draining her dry was the sudden feel of cold steel against his ribs. The knife bit into his skin, and the magic on the blade came to life. The wound burned and festered.
Ash pulled back, blinking and shaking his head. His eyes returned to creamy-brown, and he winced as the wound on his side bubbled slightly, laboring to close. He righted his chair and sat back down. Aurora stared at him carefully, knife still in her hand. “Finished with your little temper tantrum?” She was completely unafraid, even though a vampire had just attacked her in a full-out blood rage.
Ash peered down at the cut. “That’s gonna leave a scar, you know.”
She sighed and put her knife away. “You deserve it. You nearly knocked down my barriers and almost made me burn my soup.”
“I’m sorry, Aurora. I’m just so pissed at Delphy. How am I supposed to help her at all if she won’t even let me get a word in?”
Aurora walked over and pressed her hand to his side over the cut. A sharp pain lashed through his skin, but when she drew back, the cut was gone and the skin was unmarked. “Apology accepted. I think it’s time I tried talking to her. Mind my soup, and if you let it burn, you’ll think that scar you have now is nothing.”
Ash grumbled, but rose to do as she asked. Aurora strode through the house to Delphy’s room and entered without knocking.
Dlephy sat with her back to the door. “I told you, you vile creation of some demonic fit of boredom, you aren’t to even approach me, much less talk to me. You’ve already condemned me to death, why will you not let me meet my fate in peace?”
“I’m not the vampire.”
Delphy whirled around, and Aurora felt the other woman rake over her aura. Her face set into hard lines of anger. “Is he holding you captive?”
Aurora scoffed. “Hardly. Ash wouldn’t even dare try.”
Delphy squinted, confused. “You know that evil creature by name, Cousin?”
Aurora smiled and walked to sit next to Delphy. “Considering I saved his life, yes, I do.”
“Why would you do such a thing?”
“It’s my job. I’m the only one on the Council willing to take it, but the vampires don’t scare me. You just have to know how to…persuade them.”
Delphy’s eyes narrowed even further with her suspicion. “You seduce them?”
Aurora laughed. “Heavens no. They have fangs, so I created my own.” Aurora showed Delphy the knife. Delphy studied it for a moment, then nodded and returned to staring at the wall.
“I assume you tried to save me, also, Cousin. What was it? Was I brought to you too late?”
“My name’s Aurora, so you can stop all this ‘Cousin’ nonsense. And as for too late, as soon as a vampire’s blood enters you system, it’s too late.”
“So I had no chance. That fiend had me from the moment he snuck up behind me and took me like a coward.”
“Well, some fiend did. But it wasn’t Ash.”
Delphy’s head snapped around to stare at Aurora. “Explain yourself.”
“Ash wasn’t the one who originally tried to convert you. I actually asked him to convert you because you would have died for sure if he hadn’t. I felt that you deserved a chance to decide whether you wanted to live or die.”
“This is not living, Aurora. This is a half-life. I must kill to survive. I am little better than a murderer.”
“Well, if you’d like to die, I can always call Ash in here and-”
“If I wanted to die, I would die by my hand and not because that disgusting creature came in here and fed off of me.”
Aurora flipped the knife around and held it out to Delphy hilt first. “No one’s stopping you.”
Delphy looked down at the blade and seemed to contemplate it for a moment. Then she turned her head from it, and her shoulders slumped visibly. Aurora nodded and put the knife away. “Will you talk to him?”
“So will you at least let him into the room without hailing despicable insults at him?” She nodded and Aurora smiled. “Alright. I’ll send him in. And by the way; your name is Delphy now.”
She drifted back out to the kitchen and took over the spoon Ash was using to stir the soup. “You’re up.”
Ash mumbled as he walked off toward Delphy’s room. He opened the door and peered in. “What, no insults?”
“Aurora told me that the only reason you converted me is because she asked you to.”
“Basically.” Ash leaned against the wall near the door.
“I choose not to die at this point in time. So, that means I must be a vampire, and, as my… parent, you must teach me.” Delphy turned to face him. “So teach.”
Ash raised his eyebrows. “I suggest you don’t test my patience.”
“I don’t care what you suggest.”
Ash sighed and shook his head. “The first thing any vampire needs to know is how to feed. So, let’s go to a slum somewhere in the city and find a victim.”
“Are we to walk?”
“No, you’ll use your mind to bring you there. It’s like teleportation, Aurora tells me. Only, you see the place you want to go in your mind, and then you imagine yourself there.” Let’s try here, for the sake of staying together, he projected the image of a good alleyway in Aurora’s territory into her mind.
She pulled back. “Stay out of my mind,” she snarled.
“Well, what else do you want me to do? Paint a picture?”
“I don’t care, as long as it doesn’t involve you being in my head!”
“Whatever. Let’s just get this over with.” Ash sighed and brought himself to the place he’d shown Delphy. After only a moment’s pause, she appeared beside him. “That’s the hard part. From here, it’s just finding a victim and drinking. That I trust you can do by yourself. Just let instinct guide you. It’s a vampire thing.” He wandered off, well aware that she was glaring fiercely at his back, and refusing to care.
Ash had been back at Aurora’s house for fully an hour before Delphy reappeared. He took inventory of his fledgling. She had fed, there was no doubt about that. But rather than killing as a vampire usually did, she had only taken enough to keep her alive. While Ash commended her restraint, it wasn’t a smart way to live. Being on the edge like Delphy was a miserable and painful existence. “I suggest you kill next time, Delphy.” He rolled over in his blankets and closed his eyes.
She growled down at him. “You are not sleeping there.”
Ash’s eyebrows went up, but his eyes remained shut. “I’m not?”
“No. You aren’t.”
Ash sighed. “And why not?”
“Because I will not have some strange man sleeping on my floor mere feet from my bed.”
Ash rolled his eyes and stood up to face Delphy. “And you’re going to make me leave?”
“Yes.” Delphy’s eyes spit fire. Ash had never even had a chance to look into her eyes before; they were a pure blue that was entirely otherworldly.
“I doubt it. Besides, what’s the big deal? If I had wanted to do something to you, I would have done it a long time ago.”
“You had better not even touch me!”
“Too late.” Ash smirked at her.
Delphy’s lip curled. “You disgusting-”
Ash clamped down on her mind with his. “That’s quite enough of that.” Delphy’s mouth opened and she struggled against his bonds, but her vampric powers were too unfamiliar to her. “Now, you’ll finally listen to me, and you’d better listen well.” He held her a bit more firmly, and even her struggling ceased. “Like I said before, if I’d wanted anything from you, I would have gotten it a long time ago. Even if I still wanted it, you’d probably be pretty close to powerless to stop me, so I truly doubt if it matters whether I sleep four feet away or four miles away. You may have once been hot **** in the sorcerer’s world, but here, you are a fledgling. That means you know nothing, and are nothing, essentially. I strongly suggest you listen to me, and get over your little fetish with calling me foul names.” He had advanced on her slowly, like a predator stalking his prey, throughout his speech, and now he stopped mere inches from her. “I could kill you in a heartbeat, and it would be a lot less of a hassle for me. You can either make yourself an asset to my existence, and live, or continue to hinder it, and die. It’s all your choice, Delphy. Make it.” He released her, and she collapsed in a heap on the floor.
Aurora burst in the door and took quick stock of the situation. Then she slammed the door and stalked up to Ash. “What the hell is going on in here? Are you trying to knock down every barrier in this house?”
Ash smiled sweetly at the witch. “Only saying goodnight to my fledgling.”
Aurora continued to glare at him. “There’s a reason I don’t let you stay in here, Ash. Every time you’re here, I spend weeks strengthening the barriers. This place is not meant to withstand power outbursts from a full-blood Craige vampire. I don’t care if you’re an exile; you still have all your power. Watch yourself, or you’ll be the power siphon for the reconstruction of all these barriers, and believe me, that hurts.” She smiled at Delphy, who had managed to pick herself up off the floor, glared at Ash once more, and stalked back out.
“Good night, Aurora!” Ash called after her. He fixed a look on Delphy. “Good night, Phy.” He crawled back into bed. For several minutes, he was aware of Delphy staring at his back, as if in disbelief. Then, she finally gave up and crawled into bed herself.
Ash made it to the kitchen for breakfast about noon the next day. Aurora’s house was kept dark during the day by heavy blackout curtains, so it didn’t really matter whether he was awake during the day or night. He moved between them fluidly as it suited him. He seated himself at the table, yawning and stretching.
Aurora glanced at him. “How many times have I told you to dress yourself before you leave your room?”
Ash peered down at his flannel pants and bare chest. “Would you rather I came out naked?”
“That wouldn’t be dressed, now would it? You seem to be in a good mood.”
“Phy hasn’t insulted me yet this morning, even though we’ve both been awake and pretending we weren’t for at least an hour.”
“You sound puzzled, not pleased.”
“Well I am,” Ash leaned his head on his hand and drummed the table with his fingertips. “Why would she suddenly decide to be nice?”
“Because you showed dominance over her last night. She really hasn’t decided to be nice. She’s just realized you’re currently superior, and therefore worthy of respect, however grudging it is.”
Ash lifted an eyebrow. “If I’d have known it was that simple when I was a human, I would have had four times as many girlfriends. I was under the delusion that you needed to be nice to a woman to get her to like you.”
“I never said Delphy likes you. I said she respects you. And she’s not exactly a normal woman. She’s a sorceress. She was raised all her life to bow to the superior talent. It’s how their hierarchy works.”
“Oh good, so she’s scared ******** of me and only listening to me because she’s been brainwashed to pay attention to people who can push her around?”
“That’s not really it either. She’s by no means scared of you. And as for people who can push her around, she still has some discretion. If Hades were to walk in here right now, and she were to know who he was and what he did, I highly doubt she’d submit to him.” She sat across from him, a plate of food in front of her.
“‘Highly doubt’? Oh, that’s comforting.”
“I’m not here to comfort. I’m here to fix you up and kick your ass out. That includes interpreting strange new ideas, but does not in any way include making you feel better about them.” Aurora began to shovel food into her mouth.
“And from the readiness of said explanation, I’m assuming you had it all along.” He paused, and Aurora nodded. “And you didn’t offer this information to me because…?”
“You didn’t ask,” Aurora mumbled around her food.
Ash sighed and rolled his eyes, and then caught sight of Delphy making her way down the hallway to the kitchen. “Welcome to the daytime, Phy.”
Aurora waved over her shoulder. As Delphy entered the better-lit kitchen, Ash could see that she was feeling the effects of not killing the night before. Her skin was already going pale and her irises were shot through with silver. Delphy nodded to both of them and sat at the table. “Aurora,” she said in greeting to the witch. She turned to face Ash and paused for a moment, as if considering him. “Ash,” she conceded finally, even managing the slightest nod in acknowledgement. He nodded in return, then rose from the table.
“I think I’m going to get dressed, ladies.” He wandered off down the hallway, leaving the Cousins at the table.
As he wandered away, Delphy studied him. He was quite handsome, in some strange way. His features were rough and square, and his nose was slightly too large, but the general look of him was appealing. He somehow seemed to radiate life, which was entirely in contradiction to the fact that he was dead. “He actually isn’t that bad of a guy, you know.”
“He’s a vampire.”
“But as they go, he’s not bad. I know that very well. I’ve worked with them for over a thousand years, and he was one of the first ones I met.”
“I can’t see how any of them are truly better than any others.”
“You’ve had a few bad experiences. I really think you should give him a chance.”
“You said he was Craige, which I understand, but you also said he was an exile. Explain that.”
Aurora sighed, but it was obvious to her that she wasn’t going to get any further on the prior topic. “Craige kicked him out. Basically, he’s dead to them, even though he, obviously, isn’t.”
“That’s rare, isn’t it?”
“Very. Ash is Craige’s only recorded exile. In order to become an exile, you must first piss off the lines very badly. Then, you go to the Challenge. Basically, if you lose, the winner kills you. If you win, you get to be an exile, but you don’t get to kill the guy you beat. If you kill him, you get killed. And then once you’re an exile, all of the lines collaborate to take your territory, thus giving you no place to hunt and essentially sentencing you to death. It isn’t a happy existence. But, somehow Ash has managed to survive as an exile for 2000 years, which makes him the longest living exile ever. It’s not exactly something the lines like to admit.”
“What exactly did he do to make Craige so unhappy?”
“Well, that would be a question to pose to dear Asherohn himself. He’s the only one who really knows the answer. I’ve heard rumors, and when I took care of him when he was younger, I got a few bits and pieces of information he let slip in a delusional state, but that’s really it. He’s very hush-hush about it.”
“Understandably so. If I had made the most powerful vampric line so angry they declared me dead to them, I wouldn’t be bragging about it either.” In her own mind, Delphy considered Ash in a whole new light. She had wondered at the comment he had made, about her being a hassle for him. Now it all made sense.
Ash spent most of the day lounging in his room. Delphy had chosen to be a bit more active, following Aurora on her rounds to various shops for things the witch needed. As sunset approached and then passed, he went out and recovered the pack of clothes he’d stashed when the lines took over his territory. He had been unable to get it before because he’d been watching Delphy every waking minute. Now, with it in his possession at Aurora’s house, he picked out an outfit suited to hunting at various bars and clubs.
He heard Aurora and Delphy return, but thought nothing of it. If either one of them needed or wanted him, Delphy could find him. Even now, he could still remember the tugging feeling he used to get on the corner of his mind when he needed to find his sire. He hadn’t gotten that since Craige had exiled him. However, his sire wasn’t a very hard man to find.
He left the house and stopped his thoughts where they were. He would need every defense tonight, and couldn’t have his mind ambling down memory lane. He wasn’t hunting on Aurora’s territory, even though he should be. It posed no challenge to him. Instead, the club he had selected was one of his favorites. The fact that it was in the very heart of Craige territory, and he would be killed on sight if he was caught here, meant nothing.
He let his thoughts drown in the heavy music of the club. The crowd was already thick, and a quick sweep of the crowd revealed that a good percentage of the people there were already drunk or otherwise intoxicated. It also told him that there were no other vampires there. It was going to be easy pickings tonight. He allowed himself to relax slightly and ordered a drink to give himself something to do while he selected a victim.
He had many fond memories of this club. He had once won a small fortune here for drinking a supposedly unbeatable man under the table. After that, he hadn’t been able to enter the club undisguised for a good twenty years.
A particularly strong presence near him pulled him out of his musings. He looked around cautiously, feeling the vampric taint in the aura. Then he recognized it and turned around. “Phy, what the hell are you doing here?”
She sat down across the table from him. “I was bored.” She studied his drink. “What the hell is that?”
She raised her eyebrows. “Quite the hangover junkie, aren’t you?”
“It won’t do a thing to me. Cyanide couldn’t hurt me.” She stared at him in disbelief, and he slid the glass to her. “Give it a try if you’d like to. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but it’s not so bad. But back to the more important topic, what the hell are you doing here?”
She sipped it, coughed, and slid it back. “I told you.”
He studied her. Her cheeks were flushed and her skin had color, which told him she’d just hunted even if she once again hadn’t killed, but her energy was sadly lacking, which told him she hadn’t fed. “Have you fed tonight?”
He eyed her disbelievingly, but let it slide after one last warning, “Keep in mind, I can tell roughly how much you take, and whether or not you…finish.” I’ll watch her, he consoled himself.
Ash glanced around, and noticed how everyone around them was noticeably walking out of their way to avoid their table. He swore. “Phy, hem in your aura. You’re scaring the humans.”
Delphy looked around her and saw the diverted flow of human traffic. “Oops,” she murmured. Her aura shrank rapidly. “Sorceress’ auras don’t do that…”
“You aren’t a sorceress anymore. You’re a vampire.” He thanked whoever had been watching over him that his fledgling was a sorceress. Usually, vampires had to learn how to control their aura. As a sorceress, Delphy knew already.
“So what the hell are you doing here? And don’t tell me getting drunk, because you just said you can’t.”
It was Delphy’s turn to look suspicious. “This isn’t Aurora’s territory.”
“You’re right, it’s not. It’s Craige’s.”
Surprise flooded her face. “Are you insane?”
She looked him over again, and then rose from her position. “Don’t expect me to come back and collect your body.”
He grinned at her wryly and toasted her. “Never did.” He tipped back the glass and downed the rest of the vodka. When he set the empty glass on the table, Delphy was gone. He searched for her for a moment, and found her safely back at Aurora’s house. He rose and chose a strong young blonde standing alone at the bar.
He approached her carefully, standing behind her until no one was watching. Then, he lashed forward and grasped the back of her neck. Sleep, he commanded, and the girl collapsed into his arms. In the blink of an eye, they were both gone from the club and in a secluded field in the middle of nowhere. He drank his fill, and then took them back to the alleyway alongside the club. He sliced open the vein in her neck and let the rest of her blood drain out so it would look, to the untrained eye, like a true murder. She had been dead long before he had faked her murder, and the minimal amounts of wasted blood didn’t worry him. It was much more essential that authorities didn’t get suspicious than to drain every victim dry.
He walked back to the club, satisfied and looking forward to an easy night out. As soon as he entered the room, he was confronted with a presence he knew all too well.
He hesitated for the barest fraction of a second, but he felt five heads all the way across the club jerk around. He brought himself back to Aurora’s house immediately.
Aurora glanced up from her book. “Back so soon? Phy told me you were on Craige’s territory. You usually like to thwart them all night long.”
“Your sarcasm warms my heart, Aurora. I ran into a few old friends.” He situated himself in the large armchair opposite her.
Aurora raised her eyebrows. “Oh you did, did you? Who?”
“Ah,” Aurora mused dryly, wincing.
“‘Ah’, indeed,” he murmured back.
“Did they know you were there?”
Aurora set down her book. “Well ****.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
Aurora sighed. “Why do you have to taunt them? Why can’t you just live on my territory and teach Phy how to be a vampire and be content?”
Ash shook his head. “That’s not how I work, Aurora. You of all people should know that.”
She closed her eyes. “Of course I know it. That doesn’t make it any easier.”
Ash grinned. “Is that compassion I hear?” Aurora’s eyes opened slowly and told him everything he needed to know. He glanced away, and when he looked back at her, his eyes were silver. “Remember who we are.”
Her eyes glowed blue in response. “I remember. That doesn’t make that any easier either.”
“In some other world, it might have worked. But not in this one.” He rose. “I’m going to take a shower.” He walked away quickly. Aurora ran her fingers over the cover of her book as tears slipped down her cheeks.
Five figures appeared before a darkened throne. The three women seated around the throne came to life, rising from seated positions to fighting stances. “Well?” inquired the man seated on the throne of steel. He motioned to the women and they relaxed, clustering around their leader. Two sat on either side of him, and one stood behind him, running her fingers through his hair.
The shortest of the five figures stepped forward. “He lives.”
“That’s most inconvenient.”
Three of the figures fidgeted nervously, although one was only faking it to appease the phony king. The one addressing the enthroned man remained calm. “Indeed.”
A second figure, the only other one who was not nervous, stepped forward. “He has a fledgling.”
The woman behind the supposed king tensed and hissed. The king stood and went to her. He shushed her tenderly before turning back to the five figures. “How new?”
“A few days, at best”
He nodded. “You know your job?”
The shadowed people nodded in response. “Kill him.”
The king’s face twisted into a vicious smile. “But bring me his fledgling.”
|Shaysiris 4||The Seven 4|
|Shaysiris 14||Shaysiris 18|