What Was Lost
In the cold, stone chamber, screams echoed in agony. There was a moisture in the air from the heavy gasps and sweat. The scent of sex clung to the air along with bloodshed. If it were not for the soothing humming, one might presume this was a torture hall rather than a bedchamber. Another cry rang out after silence had almost fallen.
“Oh… our own sweet rose…” Eve’s calm voice whispered in Ruzha’s ear. “Doest ’t did hurt thee...?”
The vixen did not respond, only labored breaths. The humming buzzed in her head again, changing gasps to moans. Ruzha’s eyes were glassed over, unfocused and lost. The touch on her bare flesh hardly stirred much life in them either. Crimson seeped from her lower neck, mingling with her matching hair that clung to her slick skin.
“Thy voice coaxes our own lust. Thus maketh us yearn to heareth moo.”
Eve’s blackened fingernails sunk into Ruzha’s belly and between her breasts. The vixen yelped at the sharp sting, but her trembling hands gripped the ruler’s thighs, as if begging for more. Eve smiled with pleasure a moment before lapping at the blood still draining from the bite in Ruzha’s neck. A sigh of bliss escaped her.
“Ruzha,” Eve spoke with a commanding tone, “looketh upon our own visage.”
Ruzha gasped as her limp form struggled to comply with her mistress’ demand. Sluggishly, she rolled her stiff neck to gaze into the eyes of fine cut emerald. Her lips trembled as prey fixed in its predator’s sights. Eve moved a hand to cup the back of the vixen’s head as she rose to tower over her. Leaning down, she kissed the gaping lips, which Ruzha hungrily returned.
After a brief moment, Eve sucked Ruzha’s tongue passed her teeth, deep into her mouth. Biting down quickly, she drank as Ruzha clung to the blankets around them. Tears seeped down the flustered cheeks as her mind raced with fear. She never understood why she would feel fear of her beloved mistress, but as always, the feeling faded into numb as everything drifted away.
Eve opened her eyes slightly to see Ruzha’s eyes roll into her head. The fangs of a vampire never disappointed. The countess released her bite, pulling them both down to the bed behind them. Gasps of weariness and fulfillment filled the next few moments.
“Henceforth…” Eve reached up to brush Ruzha’s hair, whispering softly, “Forget… Forget Michael and the past… They are nothing to thee anon… our own rose…”
“Nothing…” Ruzha spoke hoarsely in response as her mind faded away.
“This is sooth, Ruzha. We speaketh the only sooth.”
“Only… mine… own… mistress…” Ruzha’s head slumped against the other’s breast at last.
Eve smiled down at the wreck she had left of the vixen. This was what she had wanted after all, an escape from one’s past pain could only be done so with pain. The glow still hovered in Ruzha’s face from their tryst. She truly was liken to a rose, radiating various shades of red all across her form. Widening her lips, Eve licked her fangs, craving another bite, another drink.
Leaning down to the exposed neck, a knock brought her to a pause. She blinked at the disruption, but she hissed softly, widening her mouth more. Another knock made her glare at the door to her chamber. A third shifted her attention completely, longing to bite out the throat of whoever disturbed her.
“Mine own countess?” a timid man’s voice carried from beyond the door. “I bring word from the sage thee desire.”
Narrowing her eyes, Eve back away from the helpless vixen. Taking a breath, she rolled gracefully to the edge of the bed. Her slender feet touched the cold floor without hesitation. Walking to a corner chair, she retrieved the black, lace nightgown she had discarded. It had been covering Ruzha’s garments. Pulling it over her head, the form-shaping, lace torso gave her breasts a generous lift. Waving her hand with a sigh, the shadows around the door pulled it open.
“Speaketh,” she said in an annoyed tone as she draped a black shawl across her shoulders. The vampire’s face flushed red at the sight of her. Realizing what he had interrupted, he dropped his head in fear of the gaze she turned to him. “Thee spake of word we did desire,” she said as she rounded her bed, dragging the long train of her gown behind her like a massive shadow. “We are listening.”
“M-Mine own mistress…” He stammered as he gathered his thoughts. The rich scent in the air was arousing, and he thought he had seen a form in the bed still. Why had he been sent now to fetch her? “The other… The sage has located the other.”
Eve’s dominate stance halted as shock covered her face. Her eyes softened with a mixture of relief and joy at the news. The young vampire glanced up at her face, stunned at how gentle she appeared. Once she noticed his eyes, her face settled into the hungry expression from before.
“We thank thee,” the countess walked up to the vampire, reaching for his jawline, “Thee shouldst beest thanked proper…” Trapped in her gaze, the vampire could not pull away as she pulled him down for a kiss...
“Someone… you held precious…?” Mara felt a lump form in her throat. Whatever could he mean by that?
“It was a time mine own heart could still feel.” His eyes fixated on the roses as he reflected on the past. “Though mine own heart might feel again someday.”
The idea was impossible in their current circumstances, but the more he considered it, he realized how much he was feeling now. Since the announcement of the awakening, he had been moved by several emotions, even if they had drifted away as quickly as they had come. That was when he realized it had started far earlier than that.
He looked toward the somber vixen beside him now. From the day he first saw her, sprawled out in her bed as a child, he had been feeling. Perhaps they were not concrete emotions, but he had been annoyed, irritated, disappointed, surprised, impressed, concerned, and even pleased with Mara. She was more than just his student or ward. She had been the first warmth he had felt in centuries. His little ray of sunlight in the dark night of his life. He wanted to protect her, to help her, to save her.
“Did they leave you?” Her solemn voice brought him back from his revelations.
“They did perish, for I was weak.” His tone was flat and empty as he remembered the event.
Mara gaped up at him in horror, regretting ever asking him something so personal. She tried to imagine the guilt he must feel, but at the same time, she wondered if he could feel such a thing. This was the first time he had ever actually said his heart could not feel, but seeing his eyes, she believed that regret was a burden even the emotionless could carry. He was always coming to this rose bush, so he must hold onto whatever was left to cherish inside his being. In her skull, a sting began to swell as she felt a sense of empathy with his revelation.
“I’m sorry,” she said sluggishly, looking away. “I didn’t want to bring back sad memories. Sad memories hurt, and I don’t want you to hurt, Michael.” She reached to touch the side of her head. “Sometimes, it’s easier to just forget…”
Michael watched how her eyes shifted as she said that. Easier to forget? Perhaps that was another part of the puzzle. The countess was a terrifying being when crossed, but those that were closer to her knew she had a sensitivity to vampiressess. While she feared no male, the sight of a single tear, a quivering lip, or even a tremulous eye moved a strange instinct within her.
Had Lady Eve sensed Mara’s sorrow, loneliness, and isolation, thinking they were too great a burden? If so, the kiss could have been meant to ease those negative feelings. However, the vampire doubted even the countess was aware of the damage it was causing the younger. He decided this was something worth bringing to the sage’s attention, regardless of Lady Eve’s presence.
“Whither didst thee findeth the other?” Eve’s voice echoed through the underground chamber as she forced the double doors open with haste. She strode in regal steps in her barren feet. This news was too important to be bothered by formal dress. The other child had been found. “Bid us all thee knoweth.”
“Mine own mistress,” a hooded vampire knelt when she paused near him, “the other is female as well. The lady resides cross the Atlantic in a city near the Virgin coast.”
“The youth did flee to the Americas,” Eve cooed with an amused smile, “how very much like a Britton. Are they identical?”
“To their last strand of golden hair, mine own countess.” The vampire looked up at the lady with an excited grin at how she would react.
“Doth we dare to dream?” Eve gaped ahead of her as her thoughts escaped into memory. She looked so lovely with her hopeful expression, almost innocent. “Has’t they returneth to us at last whole?”
“How do thee wish to proceed, Lady Eve?” He asked in a hungry voice, anticipating a thrilling answer. “Should we pit those folk ’gainst one another, or shall thee doth as thee dispelled the mercenaries?”
Eve’s whimsical visage twisted to an expression fit for a wraith as she snarled down at the vampire. Her lips were pulled back to allow her fangs to fully expose. The canines stretched longer, looking more animalesque than before, dripping with saliva. The whites of her eyes blackened as she glared down at the servant. As her voice echoed through the room, the shadows seemed to come alive, swelling to engulf everyone inside. The vampire fell backward at the sight, waiting to see what she would do. The room fell still in anticipation.
“We shall not destroy the Sun Dwellers yet!” The voice that came out of the countess sounded like a beast from the depths of the sea, guttural and gargled. It was enough to make those watching back away in fear from the fool that stirred her wrath.
“But mistress, they seek thy destruction!”
Thrusting an open palm toward the ceiling, the hooded vampire’s shadow sprang up around him. He screamed in terror, unable to form words to beg for mercy. As quickly as the black form grew, it swallowed its prey, silencing the cries as it devoured him. Eve snarled like a rabid beast at the sphere as it throbbed from digestion. Her blackened eyes made the green irises look like flashes of hot lightning.
“We shall not killeth the Sun Dwellers… not if it be true we couldst still has’t our prize…”
“Peace, mistress,” another hooded figure approach with head bowed. The fluid voice made the ruler turn her head curiously, lowering her arm slowly. “Thy loyal liegemen only seek to preserve thy health. Still, thy desire is our own hest. Should thee wish to sway the Sun Dwellers to thy side, we shall use all our own powers to fulfill that lady wish, Countess Eve.”
The black and emerald gaze stared at the brave vampire. Lifting his head, she saw that he even had the gall to smile at her, unfazed by her daunting presence. The black gradually faded back to it natural white as a pleased grin spread across her moist, pink lips. Extending her right hand toward him, the vampire knelt to kiss her knuckle.
“Words of wis ’mongst the prattle,” she said in a seductive tone. “Thee knoweth us well, sir.”
“I am but a humble liegeman of mine own mistress. It was thee that gave this life purpose so long ago, mine own countess.”
“Humble? Only thy hand couldst craft the coffin hither to restore us after the Sun Dwellers first attempt on our own life. Thee has’t ne’er steered us ill, our eldest.” Kneeling, the vixen leaned forward to nestle her nose against his. His smile remained unchanged. “Bid us how thee shall produce our second heir.”
“The lady dwells ’mongst humans and keeps a companion of the same. I do not foresee much difficulty is luring the maiden to thee, majesty.” The countess pushed the hood up to see the face more clearly. The solid black eye sockets gazed back at her with an unknown affection, making her eyes soften. “The first was nay ado at all to retrieve.”
“Doth we has’t thee to thank f’r that?”
“It is as thee say, I know thee well, mine own mistress.”
“Splendid efforts, sage.” The vixen purred with affection.