A young girl walks alone through the glow of sunset, she’s orphaned and alone, but she isn’t afraid, she has a boldness in her chest as she meanders through her village, passing through crowds of people.
The people pay her no attention, they don’t even see her as she reaches into their pockets and takes whatever she wants.
She weaves through the crowd, as silent as a mouse, her hands darting in and out of pockets; her nimble fingers prying jewellery off of unsuspecting ladies.
But then, the girl reaches her hand into the wrong pocket and a grip like iron wraps around her wrists.
The girl is stunned into silence as a man leans down to eye-level and snarls at the child.
“Wrong pockets, little one,” the man says in her language.
“Let me go!” she snaps, trying to wrestle her way out of the man’s hold as he starts to drag her away from the crowd who continue to pay no attention to her.
She is dragged into an alleyway.
The man begins to grab and grope at her body.
She screams. She cries. She begs.
Suddenly, the world slows and all noise becomes silent as the sound of shoes tapping on stone echo down the alleyway.
“Let the little one go,” a man says, his voice like the sound of distant thunder.
The child goes stiff as the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.
The man drops the girl and turns to face the intruder.
“This does not concern you,” the man says with a dark snarl.
In the blink of an eye, the intruder crosses over to the man.
The next thing the girl sees is her attacker falling to his knees, his head rolling further down the alleyway than his body does.
The little girl makes no noise, she stands with he back to the wall with a stiff upper lip and tears in her eyes.
The man speaks to her in a strange tongue as he kneels down to her level and holds out a hand covered in blood.
The girl’s heart races in fear as she sees the red on his hand reflect in his eyes.
“What are you?” The child asks, her brown eyes wide and shining with tears.
“I can keep you safe,” the man says, speaking her language once again.
The little girl looks to the broken body, to the head that lies several feet from it.
“Come with me,” the man says, “I’ll teach you how to protect yourself.”
The little girl slips her hand into the man’s, she shivers at the feeling of warm blood but nevertheless, she keeps her hand in his and lets him lead her out of the alley.
“What’s your name?” the man asks.
“My name is Shizuka,” the girl says with a meek voice.
“I have many names dear one,” the man says, “You may call me Henry, it was the name my mother called me.”
So, the little girl befriends the most ancient and powerful evil that roams the earth. He raises her, teaches her all she needs to know about the world and how to protect herself against the evils of the night.
Henry lives and works in an apothecary; he calls himself a healer and aids those who are in need and passes on his teachings to the young girl in his charge.
“That’s validopia,” Henry explains as the young girl stares at a vial filled with dried herbs.
“What is it for?” Shizuka asks, her eyes wide with wonder.
“Pain relief,” Henry states, “I am the only healer in possession of such an herb. But be wary little one, should one take too much, they may become too relieved of pain and find themselves amongst the spirits.”
Shizuka grows under Henry’s gentle guide, she helps him with his work, opening the apothecary during the day while her master sleeps and hides from the sunlight.
During the middle of the day, while Henry is deep in sleep, Shizuka, now in her twenty-fifth year, walks through the streets, heading into the market to buy what her master needs.
Shizuka has blossomed into the most beautiful woman in the city; her hair is as black as the raven’s feather and as soft as silk, she keeps it tied back with a red ribbon so that it flows down her spine, resting just above her waistline. Her skin is flawless, no blemish or scar to be seen on her porcelain skin, she dresses herself in silk robes of blue and gold.
As she returns to the shop, she finds the door ajar and three men have let themselves inside, where they plunder through the shelves and pillage through draws in search of something they can sell.
“What do you think you are doing?!” Shizuka gapes in horror as she finds her home a mess.
The three men stop their raid and turn to look at the woman who speaks so boldly to them.
“Leave now,” she threatens, “Before my master awakens.”
“We know your master is not here during the day,” one of the men says with a dirty grin, “you’re all alone, and no match for us.”
Shizuka grabs the broom that sat by the door, she snaps it over her knee and faces the three men with fire in her eyes.
“I can take care of myself,” she snarls.
The men attack, charging towards her, their hands reaching to take her wooden weapon away.
Shizuka is able to hold off her attackers with the training she has gained from her master. She keeps her stance strong and only moves when she wants to move, she swings the wooden handle with force, breaking one attacker’s nose and leaving black bruises growing on their faces and bodies.
However, Shizuka becomes overwhelmed, one of the men manages to worm his way behind her, where he wraps his arms around her waist and holds her so his companions can strip her of her weapon.
“Now you’re in trouble, little girl,” the man behind her says, his voice high and scratchy, reminding her of a rat.
“Let me go!” Shizuka snarls, throwing her head back and kicking her legs.
The men do no such thing, they are angry and embarrassed and they take it out on her.
By the time the men finally leave, Shizuka is left on the floor of the apothecary, broken and bleeding. The men took their time, stomping on her chest and abdomen after they kicked her legs out from under her and laid her out on the ground.
“Master,” she calls, her voice ragged and raspy as she coughs up blood.
Shizuka’s ribs are broken, making it hard to breathe as pain explodes over her chest, her hands and legs are also broken and there is a deep stab wound in her right shoulder.
Just as Shizuka is on the threshold of the afterlife, her master appears by her side, his face paler than normal, his eyes glossed with tears.
“Shizuka!” he gapes, pulling her into his lap as she winces in pain.
“I’m sorry, master,” she cries, “I… I tried to stop them.”
“That doesn’t matter,” Henry says, his eyes flickering over the gashes in her face, “You should’ve run, you foolish girl.”
“Master,” she gapes, her heart racing, “I don’t… I don’t want to die.”
Henry says something in his language, from the sounds of it, Shizuka assumes that her master is cursing all the gods in the sky.
“I can’t heal you,” he says, looking down to the girl he raised for the past fifteen years, “I can’t fix this. Not without making you like me.”
Shizuka coughs, blood splatters out of her mouth and Henry’s heart fills with fear.
“I don’t want to die,” she says again.
Shizuka sighs, her energy is drained; she closes her eyes and her head falls back as she yearns for the pain to be over.
But suddenly, a new kind of pain erupts within her, radiating from her neck.
Shizuka’s eyes snap wide open in shock as she feels her master’s fangs in the base of her throat. Shizuka’s legs kick out as her hand reaches up to clench in Henry’s hair.
Henry turns Shizuka into a vampire, making her the fourth vampire in existence, and the third vampire created by Henry’s fangs.
The first vampire created by Henry’s fangs was a man from his own village, it was a mistake, and when his progeny’s hunger tore through the village, murdering many more than Henry ever did. So, Henry fixed the situation, he tore the vampire’s head off and set the body on fire.
The second, a chief from a small village, a nobody, quickly forgotten when Henry did not hear of the chief’s actions after his creation.
And now, Henry’s fangs find themselves buried in Shizuka’s neck and he unknowingly creates a vampiress who will grow to be the most influential and powerful woman across the entire continent.