Chapter 10 - Fable
Rowan lingered near the entrance for much longer than they dared, but she pivoted on her heel as the sunlight gained strength and night gave way to day.
Alena watched Rowan intently while she fought the emotions stewing inside her. She wanted to confront Rowan about the past, but Marcus forbade the subject and would tolerate no more insubordination from her. She had so many questions, but she didn’t think it would be appropriate to ask about the human woman who became her father’s weakness. She also doubted if Rowan knew much about the mother who died minutes after her birth.
They moved further into the protective darkness of the cave: as a made creature, even the suggestion of daylight irritated Marcus’s skin, more than it did Alena as a pureblood. His prowess lay in other areas, and her superior breeding didn’t compare to his age or the strength his sire gave him. If she lived, she would one day be far more powerful than him.
They discovered the long-forgotten torches and provisions of some miner and settled in a small antechamber. The dense darkness in the cave prevented their night vision from functioning properly, and they found some comfort in the light illuminating the shadows. It wasn’t a castle, but much more than they expected and they were grateful for it.
“I believe you owe me an explanation,” Rowan appeared calm, relaxed, but they could sense her tension when she spoke, and recognized it in her watchful, hooded expression.
“Two years ago Alena’s grandfather, Albertus, disappeared, shortly after that Victor and Sara also went missing. The only thing they had in common was how it happened,” Alena didn’t know if Marcus noticed the way Rowan almost cringed when he mentioned Victor. She frowned at the involuntary reaction.
“Their blood covered the walls, and it was all that remained. They were older than most and more powerful. It wouldn’t have been an easy feat to take them or kill them. They left no trace,” Marcus unobtrusively watched them both with worry in his eyes; the distance between them was a divide wider than the ocean and deeper.
“Alena became obsessed with her father’s disappearance, but frustratingly could find no answers until she remembered something from her childhood; a book in the library at Rosenbaum,” Marcus half expected Rowan to glance at Alena, but she didn’t, while Alena stared fixedly at nothing. Her expression betrayed that she found his choice of words to describe her efforts, lacking.
“She took two months to find the book, and I didn’t believe Alena at first, not until the riders came. I’m a man not easily convinced of inexplicable things,” Marcus mocked himself with those words. Rowan discreetly glanced at him, and she would wager he could be a little rigid if he chose. Foolishness would not amuse him.
“When humans mentioned the first of our kind in obscure texts and documents, there was a myth. A legend about one of the first pure born vampires and those ancient humans claimed that this creature was immune to daylight from the moment of his birth. They said he looked like an angel and but was more of a monster than anyone could foresee,” Marcus frowned as he told this story and it was his pensive attitude compelled Rowan to listen.
“Someone murdered the mother when he turned five, his sister died on the day of his twelve birthday, but only as he finally came around to killing his father, did everyone realize the horrible truth. He killed off his entire family, but there were many deaths in the vicinity that only made sense once this revelation came about,” Marcus kept glancing at her as he spoke, almost as if he wanted to see if she found anything about this story familiar.
“He grew more powerful with each kill as he searched out vampires with singular traits and slew them one by one. He absorbed their strengths, power and life force from their blood. He saw the rest of us as inferior and came to believe that we were a scourge that needed eradication. He wasn’t like us, and he could see the world without us in it and with him as sole ruler,” Marcus watched Rowen’s frown grow as she wondered about the relevance of this story to their situation.
“He dabbled in dark arts and made humans into something else, neither vampire nor human. Soldiers without blood hunger that felt no cold or fear, killed for sport and obeyed him alone. They were like dogs, but they never lived long, and he kept experimenting. At first, they lived only a week or two, then a month or two, years, but inevitably, they always died,” he saw the moment his story made sense to Rowan. Her attention focused on him, and she listened more intently.
“Carcus, one of the first elders, led this monster into a trap. They devised a potion to put him into slumber, but it could not kill him. They buried him deep beneath the earth in a location only one in any generation knew. He had many names given to him with as many faces, but where he first started out and why only the one document of him exists, we don’t know,” Marcus concluded, and Rowan hadn’t expected him to volunteer as much information.
“As interesting as I find the origins of this beast and his minions, I still don’t see how this involves me?” Rowan asked him, and she watched him struggle with some decision in his mind.