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The Gift/The Curse

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Marcusio is a man who would rather spend eternity searching for the one he loves, than one day without her. A struggle of one man to have the one he loves, even if it means death for him. What is life without her by his side?

Romance / Action
R.W. Wells
Age Rating:



This book is dedicated to my son Alex who is my heart and inspiration in this world, my mom Carol who encourages me with her constant and unwavering love. To my nephew Adam and niece Daisy, To my dear grandmother Frances who inspired me with her strength and devotion to God. She is now with God.

And last but not least, my beautiful girls (dogs), Bella and Dakota…you both give me unending love and devotion.


“Why doth life torment me so by dangling that which I cannot have in front of me and depriving me of that which I long for? With each time she is reborn to me, I am inspired to live and embrace the thing which I have denied as being anything other than a curse. When her life ceases to be, I am forced to relive the pain of losing her and the agony of not being able to taste that which I can bring to others, death. Love is the tool for which I am bound to this existence, the love for her that is unquenchable and unfulfilled. Do I dare to believe that God Himself has damned me to live among those that cannot embrace that gift they have, to live and love? A brief life with her is better than an eternity without her by my side. Some think me a monster, some think of me as their deliverer or their savior. I have no purpose other than to be with her, no matter how long it takes and who I must battle to have her. Eternity is empty without the one you love in it.” - Marcusio

Chapter 1 – Marcusio

Chancellorsville, VA. May 16th, 1863

“Duck down boy!” I hear my infantry commander call out. With no fear of death, I proceed and stand to my feet and run across the blazing bullet ridden battlefield towards the opponent. After all, I had faced death a hundred upon a hundred times before, and death did not win. I had faced the enemy, men of many faces, and been victorious in the fact that I was still standing when the air cleared. I had served under some of the best and worst of history. From the battles in Bologna and Florence, the French Revolution, the various battles in Ireland, to the American Revolution. Now, I was fighting in the War of the States as most called it. The South wanted and was demanding their independence from the North and the Union States. The South is called, The Confederate. I was not fighting for or against anyone exactly, even though I had elected to be on the side of the Confederates, it was a positioning for me to be closer to her.

“You stupid-” before my commander can complete his sarcastic remark to me, a stray bullet pierces through his dirty war torn hat and a trickle of blood comes flowing down as his lifeless young body falls to the ground. Oh how I envied him somehow. One single shot to that small and tender cranium and his life is extinguished. How remarkable that now, as I plant one foot in front of another, charging on like a stallion into the wild, trampling over dead bodies, some with missing body parts; engaging the enemy in hand to hand combat, I know that his soul, my commander who was all of sixteen years of age, has now left his poor lifeless body and is heading toward whatever afterlife awaits him. What type of judgment can one, who has lived such a short and useless life as he, be judged? And yet, in that moment, I feel jealous of him.

I am about to share with you a secret, a secret that means my death if told. However, since it is death I seek, and then I am doing what I must.

Soon, my battle will be at hand and death will come. Whether it shall be that I am the victim, or victor that remains to be answered. Either way, I win.

Why I would feel jealous of a dead man would be your question. First, you must try living for over five hundred years, seeing death all around you and never able to reach out and touch or be touched by it; with no end in sight, and then see how you would feel. It’s like dangling the thing you want in front of you, and then just as you are about to grab it, it goes away from you, like a dream. With death, I can sense it, see it, touch it, and even taste it. I can even be it. I just can’t have it. How much of a twist is that for a situation?

As I approach my enemy’s encampment, I see the terror in their eyes. I do not feel it, but I have been mortally wounded, if I had been mortal. I have several shots in the chest that would have ceased a normal man. The look of pure terror in the eyes of my enemy as I approach them is more than any words can explain. Imagine for just a moment, you see a man, if you can call me that, running toward you. My eyes are red as embers, my mouth wide with the look of terror that a grizzly bear would have, I have shots being fired into me, and I am still en route toward them with my saber in hand and the butt of my gun held fast in the other; swinging as I approach, slicing down soldiers as I make my way through the war ridden battlefield; their limbs and heads being detached from their lifeless bodies as I blaze forward taking down the biggest in my path. My battle cry sounds like the ascent of a cannon and I run at a speed of a stallion across the field. There are many men, who have wondered in thought, as I have charged toward them,

“What can I do that no man has done before me?” I think to myself.

I hear their thoughts, as it is one of my various gifts. I have learned to utilize my gifts to my advantage, as any predator does. They wonder if they can take me down. With despair and hunger in the pit of their belly, he aims the weapon for the center point of my head and hopes beyond hope that his shot will stop me. He holds his place as I make my way closer toward him. I can see him, as if time has stood still for that moment, his hands trembling as I gain on him, closer and closer. Still he waits, knowing he will only have the one shot to do what he hopes is the one that none have been able to do before him. Shaking, he holds his trembling finger on the trigger. I can see the saliva dribbling from his mouth in anticipation. My saliva is dripping and slinging from my lips that are ruby red, to match my burning eyes and my thirst that has grown so intense I am almost unable to control my desire to end this charade and dine on half the men on both sides.

My eyes narrowing in him and he can see the demonic look as I lunge my body toward him. He fires his one sure shot! But, alas…his shot does not take down the beast and I spare him much pain and quickly twist his head around backwards so that he can see for that one moment the men standing behind him, who will now face my wrath as he did. I feel like I spared him a more horrific death that he could and most likely would have faced at the hands of a mortal enemy.

If you were this man, I would be seen as a terror or worse. In my eyes, I am not evil. For, I am not all about war. I have compassion, even though my creator tells me that it is my compassion that is my downfall. I have depth, and love the arts and sciences. Of course, that is the Italian side of me, if I still have Italian bloodline still running through my veins? It has been so long since I was recorded as a being Italian, I wonder. I do miss my homeland, I must return soon, if I can. I have many times before. But, not before I find her here and hope against hope that she will still have me, once more. My love for her has not changed. Only the package to receive it has. I love her with no less heart or soul for that matter, than you or any other man would. I probably, no I do definitely love her deeper and more than any man could ever hope to. I know her, more than she knows herself.

Until then, I search and search, seeking my love wherever she is in this life, it has been so long I do not know presently if she even exist anymore. In the process, I must pass the time, so I fancy wars and using my special talents, to aid me in my conquest. Mortals are so frail and predictable. They do not know the gift they have, life and the ability to find love and keep it. For me, battles are the best way someone such as I, can pass the time and of course, feed without remorse, at least not much remorse.

And, there are many, many, many more like me. We try and stay to ourselves, not hidden in shadows, but out of the limelight; except when mankind has need for us to be more on the spot. Some of us have been elected to be a part of the arts, some apart of the sciences and some apart of the political scene. Politics is not for me, too much work for someone who does not like to be in the spotlight. Not me, I choose to be in the laboratories or museums, or the galleries, or the battlefields. However, I much more prefer to be sitting on French terrace admiring a new artist work or inspiring them. I do not like giving speeches or making promises I am not sure I can keep.

But, there are those in human histories that have been of my kind, elected to serve the people. Some were good and some were not. Some served many lifetimes. There are talents my kind has to disguise ourselves and appear to age or even change our look entirely. I have learned to do it somewhat, not at the same as some can and have.

In war, we are given the go ahead like an arena of warriors to take the spoils of war, the bloody bodies that lay in wait for us to finish their lives, sparing them any further pain and suffering. My kind, we are not all predators and wild, uncaring incarnations of evil as some have portrayed us to be in literature or plays. There are those like me, who do not want this gift of immortality and yet, do not have it within themselves to end their own lives.

Most of those who have decided to write about us, are either of my type, who are trying to scare away those who would embark on a journey to discover who we are and expose us, or those would want to have us make them as we are. Being as I am, does not just mean being immortal and impervious to death, disease, famine and such. It comes with a price. A price much greater than one can expect.

At night in the camp, sitting around a fire shared by young men of the ages of fifteen, seventeen and up to the tender age of twenty, I listen to them talk about what they hope to do after this war ends. They discuss their futures with women, children and having a life. Oh how optimistic they are, seeing how short their lives really are. I have learned a great deal from humans. They are resilient and persistent to the very end. I was once human; I feel I have taken some characteristics with me to this life I lead now.

“When I get home, my girl Sarah…she’s gonna be my wife. We’re gonna go and get us a piece of land and farm it.” Johnny is a young soldier I am a friend with, even though I try and not make friends. Their lives are too short to involve myself with. I tried that and it never works. But, Johnny is seventeen and reminds me of myself at his age. How long ago that was.

“Me, I’m gonna get with as many of those women you can pay to be with.” Sergeant William Marks says. He is the oldest of the group of boys. He is nineteen and his woman sent him a Dear John letter and told him she was marrying his younger brother Daniel.

“Why would you get a whore?” Troy asks. He is from Tennessee and has a very strong accent. I suspect his family never learned to read. He never gets a letter from home.

“Because…”Marks begins, “That way I don’t have to worry about her complaining about my…” He motions toward his amputated arm. He had lost the lower half of his left arm in battle two months before.

I sit and listen and suddenly,

“So…what about you Mark? Whatcha gonna do when this confounded war is ended?” Jacob Mareshe asks me. He is around eighteen, intelligent for the most part and has a desire to learn. He talks about wanting to be a writer when the war is ended. Being from Louisiana means he has French ancestry, he speaks with a defined slang and Southern drawl. And, his last name is French and means, “Wet lands”. Not sure how or why a family would choose that last name, but his ancestors had. Most times, when the name doesn’t reflect on a real thing, it was probably someone who stole the last name in an effort to hide. I knew all about hiding.

“Not sure…maybe go home.” I smile. I was being honest with them. I wanted to so badly to go back home to Italy. Like many of my kind, I tried to stay at a level of not drawing suspicion to me, by not appearing to have too much wealth or personal gains. However, I had amassed a good size fortune that I had spread out over several lifetimes. Currently, I had enough monies to buy a small country if I desired. However, I kept the money as a means to travel and resettle myself each time. When it was time for me to locate her again, I had to have the funds to do so. Once I located her, I had to get a home, get my pretense of a life established in the area, and begin my life as that new alias. It takes funding to do such a thing many, many times. And, I had and will continue until God decides that she and I are to be no more. I would do it for as long as it takes. Until she and I are together, forever.

“This is my day!” I call out to the young boys, as I cross over into the enemy’s territory and take my weapon and smash their foreheads hard, caving in their skulls and bringing death instantly to them. I am not hungry, therefore I just engage in the act of war. If I were hungry, I would just critically wound them, and return for them later when the other soldiers were asleep. I know how far to push my luck and not be discovered. But this day, I fight as a soldier and,

“Today, you shall die!” I scream to them as I charge on them. They do not stand a chance against me. Not just because of my strength or speed, or even my agility. I have learned over the past four centuries how to fight very well. I have learned from the best. Caesar was a great tutor, as was many more warriors of human history.

It is difficult enough for them to see me as I sprint toward them like a deer; I am nothing more than a blur at best to their human eyes. Yet for them to try and engage me in hand-to-hand or to get a shot off at me is near to impossible. Try taking a hard piece of steal from your pocket, dropping it into the end of your riffle, pouring gun powder and packing wad in and then using your bayonet to pack it good, and then pulling it to your eye and firing while running in the same way the shots are being fired. Not an easy task by any margin. I miss the days when men fought hand-to-hand or with swords.

These weapons that men have now will only make me stand out more when I do not fall in battle. I have, for the sake of not being discovered, taken the fall. Not many can play dead like me. I do not require to breath and my heart does not beat, not in the same way as a mortal heart does. My heart and lungs can sustain long periods of not breathing, much like a fish. My body stores up the oxygen. I give off a very limited body heat because of the slow speed of my heart and this can seem to the common person, I am dead. The pupils in my eyes are changed to reflect light, like a wolf, and they appear to glow or change colors in the dark. During the day, they can appear to be small or lifeless if I put myself in a state of sleep.

I am aware of those who are like me; we have a way of knowing our kind; like an extra sensing. We smell different and because our hearing is finely tuned to hear the faintest noises, I can hear when someone has a slow, very slow, heart beat like mine. And, we are as different as night and day from humans. We move faster and have reflexes that are unlike mortal beings. Our bodies are accelerated and yet slowed down at the same time. An anomaly of science, at least that is what Copernicus thought of me when I studied with him. That was a lifetime or two back.

“FIRE!” I hear the young man to my right call out as he lights the cannon to fire directly at me as I charge over the hillside, teeth showing and eyes all a glow in a fiery red. I definitely appeared as Satan himself to them as I approached with hell and furry behind me. My arms were moving faster than they could see, swinging my rifle in one hand, and dismantling the soldiers on my left; swinging my bayonet in the right hand, decapitating the men who were on that flank. Their bodies falling like rows and rows of pigeons on a fence post. How many lifetimes had I encountered young men, ready to die for their cause, and yet when I approached them in my truest of forms, they suddenly had decided to reconsider dying? Too late, death had come for them that day. I am death and yet cannot experience that which I can offer.

I was not always as I am now. Once, a very long time ago by a human recount, I was just a man, just a man who was loved and loved that woman with all his heart. I was born Marcusio De’Solo, from a small village near Verona. Our love was a love stronger than any I had ever known before. Of course, I had fallen in love with her immediately and completely when I first saw her. She was all of six years and I was the older and wiser seven year old boy that saw her from across the traders stand in the market place. I knew there and then, our love was strong enough to overcome death itself, or so I thought. Let me explain.

1339 – Verona, Italy

Picture a beautiful countryside, flocks of yellows and lavender and a sunset that I have not seen since. Not the way it was with her. I have seen a hundred, perhaps thousands of sunsets since then, but non-like they were when I shared them with her.

You may ask, “How does one like you can see or enjoy the sunset?”

As I have explained, we are not allergic to sunlight, as mortals have claimed. That is another myth that man has created to try and explain us. The truth is man made us the way they wanted us to be. My kind did not do the horrible things they had accused us of, until man described things that my kind decided to try after they had heard of it and been accused of it.

During the time I was from, the people were still engrossed in myths and legends leftover from the century before, when man believed in many gods and that the gods would rain down punishments on the poor mortal who dared to cross them.

It is thirteen hundred and thirty-nine. The world is ending, or so we thought. Death is all around and no one is being spared. There is a disease that has taken the people and is causing them to succumb to death within just a day of coming in contact with it. No medicine can cure it. Not that any had discovered at least. The rumor this death has a name and its name is The Black Death.

I am a young man, at that time, which is near my twentieth birthday. Still a boy in so many ways, what did I know? Yet, as many at that age, I believed I had all the answers. I had taken a wife, Rosselina. She is beautiful, long dark hair and eyes that are as green as emeralds. She has a smile that can melt a man’s heart with just one glance. We were expecting our first child any day now. The disease had taken our village near Bologna, and we were traveling en route to the Adriatic Sea shoreline to board a ship for Athens. From there, we would make our way to any place that this disease had not visited. There were multiple islands that would shelter us from this dreadful disease that had taken her parents and mine.

I press hard for us to keep time and make ventures into the markets nearby to steal bread and vegetables for her to eat. I did not feel a need to eat; yet, she insists that I need to if I am going to lead us to safety. So, I eat. The dry bread, crusted from age, is better than starving. The fruit is rotten on portions of it, but endurable when you are hungry enough. Some had taken to eating rats and such. Not much else to eat. However, I am hoping it does not come to that for us. Not sure my stomach could stand if had to eat a pestilent such as a rodent. However, with each day, the thought grew less and less upsetting to the pallet.

Days have gone by and Rosselina is heavy with child and is near her delivery. We have come upon a farmer and his wife who have allowed us to stay in their barn. It is warm and dry, and I search the other farms nearby for food, with the help of the farmer. His wife has taken ill and his children are not looking well. I fear the worst for them. Rosselina, dear and sweet Rosselina has taken to the children. The farmer has two, a boy and a young girl. They are like cherubs, with golden hair and eyes of blue. Rosselina and I hope we have a child as beautiful as they are. Rosselina, she is my world, my only tie to this world filled with death. I cradle her, trying to give her comfort as best as I can. The child is sitting wrong inside her, and causing her extreme pains. I wish I knew what to do for her, to give her ease from her endless pain.

After a few days, the farmer’s wife has passed. He buried her today in a spot behind the farmhouse. He has instructed me to bury him there as well when death comes for him. He is showing the signs of the disease. This woman has come to the farm today. Her name is odd, it almost sounds like a melody when she says it. She must be in mourning, wearing her veil and clothing of black as a woman would in mourning. She seems to be very kind, offering to take care of the farmer, whose name I never even asked, and his two small children, allowing me the time to take care of Rosselina. My fear is Rosselina has come in contact with this disease. I pray every spare moment, when I am not trying to ease her pain and find food and drink for her. God cannot take my Rosselina. She is my life, my existence, and my reason for being.

Days have gone by and the farmer has passed, in spite of the great care that the woman whose name is like a song has shown to him and his children. I buried him outback near his wife, as he had instructed. The children, I fear are next. They are lying listless and not being as children. The kind woman, she is tending to them and has told me to care for Rosselina. I am unsure what else to do for Rosselina. Her temperature is rising, causing her body to sweat and then have chills. Her eyes have a fixed glossy look, as one who is extremely sick. “Please God” I plead, “Please spare my Rosselina and unborn child.” I wonder if my prayers will be heard. I dare not to close my eyes, even as tired as I am, less Rosselina should need me. The kind woman, whose voice sounds like an angle’s voice, has offered to stay with Rosselina through the night while I sleep. However, I know that the children require her attention and ask that she stay with them. They are getting worse; death is near for them I fear.

There is hope. The children have made a turnabout. They are up and playing in the courtyard today. The sky is overcast, the smell of death and rain are in the air. Rosselina still suffers. I have decided that I will allow the kind woman to stay with Rosselina while I go search for food nearby. The thing I have feared may be a reality. We may have to dine on rats if there are no vegetables in the fields. I notice that the children are very high-spirited now. They seem to run at a very fast pace. This is unusual for children as sick as they were. Their color is very pale still and their eyes seem to have lost that spark as they once had. But, seeing how they have beaten the odds and not joined the dead, I would say that God had spared them and a celebration is in store, if we had anything to celebrate with. My only gift to offer for dinner tonight is three hefty field rats and a rabbit, along with a rotten head of lettuce. The kind woman, who stayed with dear Rosselina today, has decided she is not hungry and told me to eat all I need. She says a man came by today while I was out and he fed her and the children. What a wonderful man to do such a thing. If he had stayed till I returned, I would have offered him my appreciations. But, the kind woman says he had to be on his way and they thanked him for feeding them. There was not enough to feed us all, but that is fine, more for us. Rosselina and I will dine on what I have supplied. Once you skin and boil the field rodent, they are almost like the rabbit. Rosselina has been having stronger pains and the kind woman says that the baby is lying in a way that is causing her the pain. I have to take her word, for I know nothing of child birthing. Being a woman, she must be familiar with this process. Her touch seems to sooth Rosselina. I fear the worst. The fevers are harming Rosselina and the child inside her. Nothing I can do to cool her.

By morning, I look at Rosselina and her pale skin barely stretched across her bones, as a life inside her desperately tries to come forth. What will I do, if it comes to making a choice? She would insist I take the child and let her pass. But, how can I stand to think of one day without Rosselina? She is the love of my life. I look over at her and try to offer a smile. She can barely pear through her eyes that once shown so brightly. Almost like light had gone out in them. Her smile that once had stolen my heart is now over-shadowed by a staunch and painful gasp as she clutches onto my arm. I feel her life leaving her. The kind woman comes and pushes me back and tells me to go and sit outside. I do as she instructs reluctantly. “Rosselina, I love you!” I cry out as I am ushered outside. The children must be playing elsewhere, for I do not see them as I enter the courtyard. I walk around back and see the graves for the farmer and his wife. It is then, I see the children. They are nearby. Fever must have taken me as well. They appear to be moving at a very fast speed, almost like blurs of light moving about. Surely, I have succumbed to the fever. I feel ill as I sit down beside the edge of the house. Their tiny voices are so shrill and high pitched like birds. My eyes are aching as I have been trying to stay awake for days now. I hear Rosselina in the distance, calling out my name. I want to rush to her, but I know that I would only be in the way. I hear her breathing harder and harder, grunting and moaning. She screams loudly, and I wait. Moments and moments pass; I wait to hear the sound of our child. Stillness and silence fill the air. Rosselina must have not delivered yet. Suddenly, I see the kind woman walk out. She has blood on her hands and she looks at me with sorrow in her dark eyes.

“NO! NO!” I cry out. I know that look. It means that the worst has happened. I have no strength left in me and I fall to the ground. Not sure how long I am out. Could have been days or weeks, I was not sure. When I awaken, I see the kind woman and the children are standing not far from her. Fever has taken me, I am going to be joining my Rosselina and unborn child soon, and I see the look in the woman’s face.

“Please, please….”I try and ask her to be sure I am buried near to my Rosselina. But, I am weak and fall into a slumber once more. As I am falling into sleep, I begin to have a dream; a dream in which I see Rosselina, looking as beautiful, if not more than usual standing at the foot of the bed I lay in. She is cradling a child, our child in her arms. I call out to her as I see her standing there with her long brown hair encompassing her beautiful face. Her attention is focused on the child, our baby that we made. Finally, she looks up. The fever must have me mad beyond anything could for her eyes are dark, not emerald colored as they had been. Her lips are parted and appear to be as rubies, bright with color. The color is that of bright berries, except it is not berries that she has been eating. Tears fill my eyes as I can then see her completely. She turns toward me and I see the child she is holding and there is blood all over it. I see her mouth closer now and she has the blood of the child on her mouth.

“NO!” I call out. “Dear GOD NO!”

Chapter 2 – Remember Me

The angelic woman with the name I cannot remember comes to me and holds me. As she is holding me, showing me compassion, suddenly with great pain the feeling of fire rips through my body as she sinks her teeth into my neck. My body convulses and I feel my life being sucked from my body, as if someone had let the river drain dry. Trying to push her away, I cannot. Then, I succumb and give into her and it is then, my dreams begin.

Awakening, I see the kind woman with the angelic voice standing at my bedside. I struggle to sit up and she pushes me back down. My heads aches terribly; my eyes are sensitive to the light that is beaming in the crack of the wall. The kind woman moves toward me and ushers the children to leave the room. Obeying her, they leave and soon I hear their laughter in the courtyard outside.

“Rest child…just rest.” She insists.

Reluctantly, I do as she asks. The thought of having that nightmare again, was too much. I cannot bear to tell it, less the woman would think me mad. Perhaps I had gone mad, stark mad. What type of man thinks or imagines such as that in his wildest and strangest of dreams? To tarnish the image of my beloved Rosselina with such a cruel and hideous, monstrous imagery, was more than I could express to anyone. My Rosselina had gone on to be with our child in Heaven. Only the fever had taken that thought and made it into something evil to help me punish myself for not joining them. Wild and fantastic dreams fill my head; dreams of being like a wolf, running through a field at night. In the dream I am the wild and untamed creature and the feel of my paws as they stretch out in front of me. I can taste the saliva on my tongue as I dash across this field. I am pursuing a rabbit that is running just ahead of me. I can hear the rabbit’s heart beating, thump…thump…THUMP! It is growing louder as I close in on it. It dodges my attacks by going through the thistles and brushes. I leap over the low hanging branches and my body bends like the wind as I gain on it. I can hear the heart beating louder and louder, like the heart is in my head. THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! Just then, I leap out and grab hold of the poor creature, this poor innocent creature that I am compelled to rip apart and devour. Ripping its head off and then I feast on its entrails and the blood in the heart is still pumping as I lap it up, the blood burning as it goes down my throat, pumping into my own body now. As it fills my veins and feeds me, I can feel the warmth sooth my appetite. Being not sure which I loved more, the taste of the blood and the animal’s carcass or the race and the thrill of the challenge. Seeing what appears to be clouds and I can hear a strange sound, like twinkling sounds. Walking toward the cloud, intrigued by it, I notice two men standing there. They are rummaging through a house in search of food. They do not see me. I can hear them as they speak. They are discussing how they killed the poor farmer who lived here and if they can’t find food soon, they will eat him. Suddenly, they know my presence as I feel my blood begin to boil. My appearance has angered them. Or perhaps it has frightened them. I am not sure. They try and fight back, but I have unusual strength and I throw them about like feathers. One man to my left tries to jump me as the other uses a pitchfork to run at me. As if I had no fear, I stand still. Suddenly, the man on my back is in front of me and the other man has run him through with the pitchfork. I laugh and twist the man’s head around backwards so he can see me once again. My dream becomes more horrific at this point. Lunging in I bite his neck hard and his blood squirting out and across my face and mouth. I drink and drink and drink, until I have drained him dry like a sponge. Turning around, I can see the other man as he tries to flee from me. Suddenly, I am in front of him, my bloody mouth and eyes that feel like they are on fire. Quickly I grab him and sink my mouth into his neck, grunting and groaning as I feast on his blood as well. When I am done, they are both drained dry. I pick up the poor farmer and dig a hole for his body. I bury him.

What a most horrific set of dreams I had witnessed. It was so real and as if I had actually been there. The fever must have made me see these wild and horrible things. Telling myself this as I struggle to awaken and look around. My strength comes from the feeling, as if I had slept a week or even longer. Stretching and twisting my body like a child does awakening from a noonday nap, looking around and I realize that I had survived this illness that had taken my family and my love along with our child. Not with my beloved, not yet, I gather my shirt and fasten my pants up and see my fingers are dirty, with what appears to be fresh dirt. How? The dream must have been more real than I had thought? I must have dug at the soil while I thrashed about or something.

Over the next few days, I began to feel very well. Why? Why had I begun to get better, just like the children? The fever must have left me completely, for the children do not seem to blur any longer. Nor do their voices sound so shriek to me. I have regained all my strength and then some. The kind woman, whose name I recall now, Lorean, has taken such great care of me. I know if not for her and her attentions, I would be dead. But, perhaps that is what I should be, so I could join my beloved and our child. Lorean, the children and I are leaving soon. She wants us to join her at her home that is far away. I know I must, so I can put distance between the death of all I had in this world and me. I will visit Rosselina’s grave and say my goodbyes. I am not sure how to say goodbye to her. I have known her since we were children. Saw her every day for all that time and we fell in love. We married and were to have a child. How do you say goodbye to the love of your life?

Kneeling down beside her grave, the stones are piled on the dirt, so to keep animals at bay. There is no marker, for those in the future to know it is her final resting spot along with my child, my legacy to this world. Just mine, all my thoughts are with her here. Thoughts of us being happy, running through the fields back home playing and laughing. Along with the thoughts of us eating and drinking at the celebration of our marriage, as we said we would love and cherish each other for all eternity. The thoughts of us being as one the night we first made love. And, just the thoughts of us being children and rolling down the hillside and playing until we could not stand. It is then, a tear forms and slides down my cheek like an avalanche on a snow covered hillside. I touch the rocks and smile, even though I do not feel like smiling.

“I will love you always my love, just as I always have. Take care of our child and I will see you one day again, and we will never have to say goodbye again.” I stand and walk away, not looking back. That was to be the last time I would visit her graveside for a long time. And, for me…a long time is a very long time.

Reluctantly, I have joined Lorean and the children as we pack a few things that the children would want later, things that had belonged to their parents, so that they could pass them along. Lorean has somehow been able to not only get the horse and wagon hitched, but loaded while I was visiting with Rosselina. The children, Alexander and Cornelia smile as though they are just going to visit a relative in a distant land. No idea of the loss of their parents, I guess that at their age, they are able to block the pain out with carefree actions. I wish it were so for me. A great sense of that I must go on, to get away from here and all the pain that is associated with being here, envelops me. However, my heart still longs for Rosselina and our child. I never asked, perhaps it is better that I don’t, if the child was a boy or girl. Lorean would know, she delivered it and then took it quickly, to be buried. She said I should not see it. I took her advice and did not try. I must have cried that night until I passed out. But, no more tears. That is in the past now, as Lorean leads us away from here. Away from all the death and despair, the memories of being here with the farmer and his wife, and my beloved Rosselina trying to hold on to living for our child’s sake. At least, they have each other in Heaven, until I can be with them.

I must still be suffering from the illness, for I must have slept for a whole day and night. I am having some effects of the illness, in my favor, no doubt. It has left me with a strength that I did not have before. I feel stronger than I have ever felt. I thirst, but fear it is again, a side-effect of the fevers. I thirst for blood. How I even know that it is blood I hunger for is beyond me. Except to say, I caught a rat tonight and had jerked his head off and was draining his body into my mouth before I knew what I was doing. Lorean and the children just laughed at me. I tossed its lifeless corpse to the ground quickly and run away from the camp. What is wrong with me? Have I gone stark mad? I do not wish to harm anyone if so. Perhaps I should leave Lorean and the children. I will talk it over with her later tonight.

Another night, and yet another dream that I wish I did not have. My journey from the obis begins with me as I stumble to the water’s edge to wash my face; I look and do not see me. Instead, the reflection I see is of another man, his face is pale and without flaw. No marks, no cut above my eyebrow that I had received when I was throwing the knife and it bounced back and sliced me at the age of nine. No crease marks around my mouth or eyes. My hair was perfect, nothing out of place. I look down and see my hands. The veins in my hands are visible through my milky skin. My nails are longer than normal. Feeling a surge of energy flowing through me as I close my eyes and feel it racing through my head and back, traveling down my stomach to my legs and then to my feet. Springing up, I dash across the river as if it were a stream. How did I do this? Racing through the woods, almost like I have an inner instinct on where I am going. The trees race pass me, the limbs are like twigs against my face as I go through them like the wind. I come to a stop. As I do, I see there is a small gathering where there appears to be some people. It is a small family consisting of a rather thick-built man, along with his wife, who is robust and with their two small children. Children, oh I wanted children. They are two boys about the ages of five and seven. Ringlets of blond hair, the boys have, like their mother. Playing with some toy the father has made for them. He is smoking a hand carved pipe; I can smell the aroma of the pipe, it is cherry wood. In an instant, I am in the middle of them. It had happened so quickly, I had thought and there I was. Shock is present on their faces and without haste I have grabbed the man and twisted his head around and sank my fangs that I did not know I had into his fat neck. I drain him and then reach for the woman, she tries to get away and I accidentally pull her arm off. Blood is spurting out everywhere and the boys are covered in it. I see them and decide to taste them next. The woman throws herself on me and tries to protect them with her last breath, which is all she had left. I drain them all and leave their lifeless bodies lying in the clearing. I awaken the next morning with an odd taste in my mouth. Looking down, I can see I have blood all over my shirt. The dream must have caused me to cut myself somewhere, but where? There are no marks or cuts on me.

Another night has passed; and I have dreamed another horrible dream. I fear my mind may have been scourged by the fever. To even talk about such a dream is madness. However, how can I ignore it? My dream had me once more, running through a field, at night. I almost felt like I was floating across the meadow, and the grassy spindles danced on the bottom of my feet. The feel of the wiregrass as I pushed through it and the smell of the earth, a damp and musky smell with the aromas of lilacs and wild flowers mixed in. Feeling myself crotch down in a prowling way, I am watching a camp in the distant. Their fire burns, the pot that they have hung above it and the men and the one woman that hovered nearby it. I could smell them. Their pungent smell of sweat and disease, yet the aroma of…their blood, as it pumped through their bodies. Knowing how terrible it must sound, but it was as though I were there for that moment. Clutching at the soil in my right hand and the felling of a growl emerge from my throat. I feel my eyes begin to boil, almost as if they were on fire, the same as they had with the two men who had killed the farmer in the previous dream. My mouth began to water and fill with saliva and I charge into the camp with the strangers. Not seeing me, they can only hear my growl as I approach.

“GROWL!” I hear it and it makes me cringe.

What sort of beast have I become? Leaping upon the first man, the one man with the eye patch to cover his missing eye, I wrestle him quickly to the ground. He is no match for me and instantly, the match is won by me ripping his throat open and draining him of his life. Suddenly, the woman now is in my scope as I begin running after her. Not able to feel my feet touch the ground, but more like glide across like a fly does on the water, I land on her back and pin her down and drain her of her life. With blood on my face, the other man is trying to hide in the woods. His body gives him away. I can see his body heat and he is easily spotted by me. Toying with him, I move about quickly, purposely making noises to distract his attention. He thinks I have gone away in an opposite direction, which is my plan to allow to him to think I have left. He looks around nervously, cautiously and then slides out of the tall thistles he has hidden in. Curiously and with bad judgment, he proceeds toward the camp to check on his friends and it is then,

“GROWL!” I pounce on him, ripping is neck open with my bare teeth and drinking him dry of all his blood.

When I am done, I have squeezed his neck like you would a lemon for the last drop and then tossed him aside. Awake, once again, I have fresh dirt under my fingertips. But how is this so?

“I do not want to harm you or the children. I fear that if I stay, I will or could do harm to you or them.” I begin my argument to leave. I cannot help but notice how beautiful Lorean is. She no longer hides behind the black veil as she did. She allows her long auburn hair to flow gracefully about her shoulders. Her eyes are dark, just as the children’s. Perhaps she had that dreadful disease and this is what it does if you don’t succumb to it, it changes you; alters your appearance and your mind forever.

She laughs, “Marcusio…you are not ill. This is natural.” She seems to disregard the incident of me viciously grabbing the rat and ripping its head off its body with no more force than I would if I was pulling apart lettuce. And, I then decide to tell her the dreams. She does not wince at them. Instead, she seems to enjoy them.

I conclude with, “Natural? How can you call this natural? I am becoming some sort of monster, a killer.” I am afraid I would become rabid. Perhaps that is what has happened. I have eaten a rabid animal and now I have its disease.

“You are not rabid. You are perfectly normal.” She tugs at a log that is very heavy looking. But, I notice she uses no more strength than if it was the same weight as a pebble. She places the log onto the fire. I notice as she moves the bolder she sits on, over so it is further from the fire.

“How…How did you?” I begin. I am impressed and amazed at her strength. So, she had been ill. She has this same strength I have.

“So, you were sick as well?” I ask.

“NO!” She seems very emphatic about it.

“No, I was not, am not sick. I am and shall remain disease free, as will, the children and…” she pauses on her last word to me,

“YOU will be from this point on.”

She points at the children who are playing near the wagon. I notice how Alexander lifts the wheel of the wagon as his sister Cornelia goes underneath trying to hide from him.

“How is that possible?” I ask in amazement. My mind is either gone completely mad or I am surrounded by spirits. Or perhaps I have been trapped her with spirits and no way to go to the place where my beloved is.

She laughs once again.

“This is a part of your new life. You have been changed, changed forever. You will never grow older, you will never die, and you will never have to worry about being wounded. You are immortal, as the children and I are.” She stands and looks at me, reaching for my hand.

I pull away in a quick hurry. The look in my eyes must have been very readable.

She responds with,

“You have no need to be fearful of me. I mean you no harm.” She begins as she moves toward me.

“I gave you this gift, to be with me.”
“Gift? How? I…I never asked for this!” I shout back. “What have you done to me woman?” I attempt to move toward her and see her eyes, the glow in the embers of the fire.

She smiles, exposing long fang-like teeth and sits back down.

“Perhaps you will not think hard of me as time goes by.” She stares back into the fire. I look around at the children. Their playing has come to a stop as they are bewildered by my actions.

“What am I?” I ask.

“You are you.” She answers simply.

“That is no answer. Of course I am me.” I am angry and need…no I DEMAND a valid answer of her.

“WHAT AM I?” I shout. I hear my own voice echo very loudly across the nightscape.

“You are not ready to know yet. Soon…soon I will tell you.” She offers me a seat beside her as she reaches for my hand.

Reluctantly, I reach back for her hand and wonder when I became immortal. Had it been during the sickness? Was this all a dream, a nightmare?

A few nights later she comes to me and says,

“Come with me.” She asks for me to follow her. And, I do.

She takes me by the hand and leads me on a journey, unlike any journey any man had ever had. It was then; she showed me how fast we really move. We do look as though we are blurs to mortals, as though we are ghost. The night air flew past us; the smells of the night were extremely strong to me. I could smell the rabbit that was trying to hide behind the tree, the dog that saw us and was cowering away in fear, the three horses near a barn and the two women in the house that Lorean was showing me.

“They…do you see them?” I look and see her eyes are a fiery red, like embers with small black flakes in the middle.

“Yes, yes I see them.” I reply.

“Do you smell them?” She encourages me to sniff. I do as she request.

“Yes, I smell them.” I could smell a sweet aroma, like honeysuckle in the moonlight. The smell is intoxicating and compelling, just as it had been in the dreams. I knew then, what my thirst was for, I thirsted for them.

“Take in a good whiff of their scent.” She breathes in a deep breath, as though she were standing over a pot of stew or a loaf of bread.

“They…they are what we dine on tonight.” She pauses and then says,

“Those were not dreams you had. Those were things you did while you were not trying to stop being that which you are. This is who you have become. You are no longer weak, tired or diseased. You are invincible and able to do wonderful things now that other men wished they could.”

“NO!” I know this will anger her. But, I could not, nor would I partake in murdering innocent people.

“They will die anyways. We are doing them a favor.” She insists. Her reasoning was that they were going to die from the disease that had claimed so many already. Why let them die so slowly as my beautiful beloved Rosselina or the poor farmer and his wife?

I think hard and decide that she is right. I turn to follow her, and notice the children have followed us as well.

“What are you two doing here?” I scolded them.

“They are hungry as we are. Let them come and enjoy. They have already tasted of human. They knew what to do. Don’t you children.” The two of them ran ahead of us and went straight to the door of the house of the two women. They knock, looking like angles and hungry. Hungry yes. Angels, no. I hear the one woman, who was a large stature woman call out as she looks at Cornelia.

“Oh dear child! Come in.” They had no idea that they had just invited death into their home. Lorean and I follow, waiting for the perfect moment to come in the house. I watch as the women are taken in by the children’s looks of innocents. They offer them some broth, which would seem very unsavory to the children at this point. The children just look at each other and smile. The older of the two women looks at Alexander and smiles at him as she leans in to him. He reaches up and grabs her by the head and bites into her neck quickly, blood squirting out like a wine vessel. The other woman attempts to run out the door and that is when she meets Lorean and I. Lorean grabs her by the neck and lifts her off the ground. I watch in horror as Cornelia pulls the woman’s foot off and begins sucking her blood from the ankle. Lorean dines on her neck. I turn away and stand back to watch how they feed. They were like a pack of wild wolves. Vicious, cunning and deliberate in they’re attacks. I must learn how to if I am to survive. Or do I want to survive?

That night, I learned what I was. But, it would be a long time before I would discover who I was. What a man can do, does not define him. It is what he does with those talents, the gifts he inherits that speak of who and what he is. I am determined not to be as Lorean and the children. I do not want to be a beast, something to be feared like they are. I want to be respected and to use my talents to help others. But, I did get reminded very quickly, that I had to feed. I kept my hunger to a minimal as much as I could and dined on animals as much as I could handle. Human is what I was, this is what I am, for now. I moved up from being the hunted to the hunter. I had gone from being the food, up to finding the food.

Chapter 3 – Where Does the Time Go?

1409 – Northern Italy

Time slips by like a thief, whether you are mortal or not. When you are immortal, time does not mean the same to you. Just saying the word, even thinking it in my head still amazes and sickens me at the same time. I know most would be ecstatic beyond all measure to have immortality and be stronger than any man. To know you will never age, never get sick; never get a simple prick of your finger from a thorn on a rose. But imagine for me, I cannot experience the feeling any longer of just a simple task of sweating, breathing hard just because I have to catch my breath from running, getting frightened or pricking my finger from a beautiful creation as a rose. When you are as I am, you have no reason to keep track of what day or month or even what year it is, so you don’t most times. It is all the same, unless you decide to do something useful with eternity. I refused to just sit and watch the world go by; I would be apart of it. If I must live forever, to watch kingdoms rise and fall, religions come and go and great thinkers born and die, I would do something with all that wonderful time.

I had heard that there was more of our kind, in spite of Lorean not wishing me to go searching for them. I think she feared I would follow after another coven, as groups of our kind are called; which I have no reason or desire to follow anyone. Having hoped the first hundred years Lorean would have taught me something useful, other than how to run fast and catch things on the run. On my own, I had developed some abilities by this point that allowed me to be a very cunning and a speedy type. Vampire was a term that we did not use to describe ourselves. It was actually a very rude term that mortals living in fear had used to describe our kind. We preferred to call ourselves, Aeternos. In Latin that means, beings that are immortal and invincible. We did drink blood, but not all of us drank human type. So, to classify us all as bloodsuckers, “Vampiros”, would be an incorrect statement. Some, I being one of those, preferred NOT TO…notice I did not say I DO NOT prefer to drink human blood. Animal blood was filling in its own way, just missing the same kick as the human blood.

After that night seeing Lorean and the children, devour those poor women who had done no harm to them, had caused me go on a fast for so long I was near the point of dying. If we don’t feed, we can die.

I staggered around for days, weeks, maybe even months before I was forced to drink of the blood of a young calf. It was then I discovered I could get a filling on the blood of the animal as opposed to human. When we are week, from lack of food, we get very pale and appear to be very gray looking. Our skin normally has a paler color than most, but can actually appear to be almost golden in sunlight. We stay clear of bright sunlight because our eyes are very sensitive to the light, as most predators of the night are. I have had to slumber in the shadows, waiting for the clouds to roll over and shadow the land below, so that I could move easily about. The night and late day are our times to move within society with no worry of being found out.

I travel, town to town, village to village searching for someone who could explain to me more about my new life. Lorean was not the one to teach me. I do not want to learn her ways. I visited Florence, Milan, and then finally in Venice I found what I was looking for.

There, I come upon a kindly priest who takes pity on me. He sees I am not in the right way and takes me in. The cathedral he is building is tremendous and he needs workers. I volunteer to assist in exchange for food and shelter.

“Father, I do not take charity. I will do whatever work you need me to do here in exchange for your hospitality.” I say looking around at the massive size of the church he is constructing.

“Thank you, my child. I am sure God will bless you. We can use someone of your talents to assist.” He smiles.

Days turn into weeks and then months as the progress on this new cathedral is underway. Father Anthony calls it Saint Mark’s Basilica in honor of the great disciple of Christ.

Father Anthony brings me food to eat one night as I work. I have no need to sleep and no need to stop. Father Anthony tries to get me to slow down or it will draw attention to me.

“Child you must not work so fast.” He laughs.

“If you do, the cathedral will be built and the people will have no need to pray for it to be built. I’d like for it to take a while, to increase their faith.”

I laugh, even though it was not as humorous as it was a point he was making about people noticing my ability to not sleep and how he didn’t show fear of me.

“You, you know what I am?” I ask.

He pauses for a long while as he stares out across the water and hands me a part of the loaf of bread with a cup of wine.

“I try and not judge child. I just accept you as you are.”

He is a kind soul. I could not see him as more than a poor helpless soul that could be broken in two at hands of Lorean and the children. If they had stumbled upon him, he would not be sitting and dining on bread and wine with them. He would be the meal.

“Father, I-I am not like others. I am different.” I try and explain, to clarify for him, even though I was not exactly sure how to explain it or what I was.

“Child, as I have told you…God has all types of children.”

I am unsure how to tell him what I am, what I have become.

“I am not sure if God would agree Father.” I am sure he knows my circumstances even if I am not aware of what exactly I am; I know I am not Heaven worthy.

“Child,” he begins,

“God uses all kinds and has many children. You are just a child that has…well, extra…ummm…talents shall we say.” I liked his word for my abilities, talents. It didn’t make it sound bad.

“Father…I want to believe that. More than you know. I am just not sure how He…”I point at the crucifix hanging over his alter.

“Would agree or not.” I smile and bow my head.

Father Anthony smiles and says,

“Marcucio…we all have our sins to atone for, one way or another. You…well, you have your thoughts of things you feel you have to atone for and…there are some of us,” he stands and walks toward the huge wooden cross hanging down, “That we must dedicate our lives to His work to atone for the misery and agony we have bestowed on mankind.” He seems to carry such a deep pain for some past aggression. How could a man of the cloth have such a terrible pain for a sin he had committed?

“Father…you know, I am not like others. I –”He interrupts me.

“No, you must not say it. Do not say it aloud…not here. There are too many that could over hear and…well, they might not be as forgiving as God is.” He stops me from trying to explain what I had been made apart of. I could honestly see the fear in his eyes and I could feel his compassion for my burden I carry.

“Father, I need to talk to someone…Anyone. I need answers, please.” I beg of him to direct me in the way I should go.

He lingers for a long moment on my plea of desperation and then says,

“There are…more of…your kind, that live on the islands, away from the mainland. There, they can be…freer to speak and act as they want.”

“Thank you Father. I do not know how to show my appreciation to you for guiding me in the right direction.” I begin.

“Do not thank me yet. You have not found the answers you are searching for. And, rest assured…the answers you so desire may not be there.” He walks toward the alter lighting a candle nearby.

“And, try and remember,” he begins with such a heavy heart,

“Forgiveness is a burden we all carry. You must learn to forgive those that transgress against you and yourself for transgressing.” He smiles and places his hand on my shoulder.

“Thank you. I am grateful to you for all you have done for me. If not for you…well, I fear I would be living in the sewers or worse.” I cringe at the thought of dining on rats, again.

The next day, I travel to one of the outward islands, in search of more of my kind or answers to my existence. Father Anthony had said I could find them or at least learn more of where to find the answers from someone on these islands. He said, in the small village areas on the remote islands, surrounded by water and no one visited often, there were tales of those that are called, Notte Esseri which means, “Night beings”. That sounded close enough to my kind. Others called them Gli Occhi Rosi, which was even closer to describing my kind, “The Red Eyes”.

Upon arriving at the third of many islands I had to search, I discover there are many of my kind here. But, there seems to be a certain amount of distrust among them for me. Not sure why. I have done nothing to them or to offend them to my knowledge. Yet, I cannot help but feel their eyes staring hard at me, as if they are wishing me ill will. The first attempt is fruitless or at least I believed so. That evening, as I sit in an area of town far from any mortal so I can relax freely. It does take a great deal of concentration when you are as I am to not be as you are naturally. We move at very fast speeds and we think of things in a much greater speed than mortals do. Our appearance is more like a blur to humans but to us it is just a normal speed. So, to relax without worry someone will see me, is a tranquil feeling.

` I notice a little boy watching me from the edge of this courtyard I am sitting in. Such a beautiful child, brown hair and big blue eyes, I am sure he is what our child would have resembled had Rosselina and I been able to have our child. His small little mouth, his tiny features are like an angel. Just then, I see his eyes as the moonlight cast a glow on them. They gleam like an animals and his countenance is very distinctive of a predator. It is then that I see he is one of my, type of people. I cannot help but think of the children that Lorean made and wonder why she would doom them to a life as this. Why? Why would any monster make monsters of children? Kill them, allow their souls to carry away to be with God, not be wasted on being a killer who could rip a soldier’s throat open with one swoop. They are deceptions, the children of my kind. They appear to be fragile and helpless. Yet, they are more terrifying and more of a killer than the adults of my type. For you see, the children can never grow past being children in their minds. What they see, they want, they get. As grown-ups, they can rationalize and decide whether killing is the thing they want to do or if they are truly hungry.

I see the child motion to me. I look around and see no one else nearby and I stand and walk toward him.

“Yes?” I ask curiously.

He reaches for me to bend down and so I do,

“You are looking for Guiliamo?” he asks in a almost purring voice.

“Guiliamo?” I was confused by the name.

Having no knowledge of who that was, I respond,

“No. Not to my knowledge.”

“Guiliamo…he has the answers you seek.” He whispers.

“Guiliamo? This Guiliamo has the answers I seek?” I repeat back.

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Who is Guiliamo?”

He motions for me to follow him. He appears to be all of five or six at most. However, when he walks and talks, he seems like a man of fifty or so. I follow him and he leads me through a maze of hidden alleyways and streets that the mortals do not dare to come to. The lighting is poor, there are many of my kind standing in the walkways, observing me as I pass by with my guide, whose name I do not know. For all I know he is leading me into a trap or perhaps even the end of my existence. I have no idea how these immortals operate, on what theory or practice. All I do know is, some sort of secret society that is to conceal or to elude the mortals from discovering them binds them. Most of the other immortals I had come in contact with did not have this way of existence. The others I had met had been open about their existence with humans, to a degree. They did not flaunt it; they just did not have some sort of elaborate secrecy about themselves as these obviously do.

After a very long journey, even for my kind, we arrive at an entranceway that has two very large men standing guard. I look at them and they stare past me, but it is apparent that they are immortal beings. The small child leading me through the entrance nods at them and they allow us to pass. We go through another set of corridors into another hidden area. Again, another set of rather large guards standing watch. Again, the child nods at them and they allow us to pass. I am not sure where I am going, who is leading me or what is going to happen when I reach there; but, I am sure he has authority that is respected among our kind. We reach an inner sanctum and he walks to a doorway and opens the door. He stands outside and ushers me to enter. I reluctantly do. Upon entering the darkened room, my eyes become adjusted to the darkness and I can see that I am in a cell. The door behind me closes quickly and I am encased with no exit. I search and there are no windows or exits besides the one I came in through. Why had he led me into this room? Why the elaborateness if all he was going to do is to encase me for eternity into a prison?

Hours upon hours pass, no one comes to my door. I call out and no one answers. I can hear footsteps not far. The child, who was he? Was he nothing more than a trap? If so, who had sent him to me? Why? Had I broken some sort of immortal rule? The thing about being immortal is you can think so much more because you can actually follow every path in your mind of all the possibilities that your thoughts could follow. Suddenly, someone comes to my door and it opens. I make a very fast attempt escape and a very large guard who I bounce against like a feather on a rock blocks me. I collapse on the ground and try to look at him, only to see he has brought me in a vase of something and he looks down at me on the ground and grins as he exits the prison and shuts the door behind him. I move toward the vase and can smell it is a familiar odor. It is blood, human blood. I disregard it and move away from it. It is like tempting a dog with a bone, dangling it in his face and then pulling it away. I was not sure if this was an attempt to tease me or tempt me. Either way, I was not falling for it.

Days turn into nights and more nights, until finally I am so weak that the smell of the blood in the vase has become so intoxicating, I am drawn to it. I slide over to it in the darkened room. Surely, my jailor had sent it to me to keep me going while they determined my fate. Or had they? What if they were trying to trick me or maybe this was a test? Either way it didn’t matter, I had decided already long before this moment that human blood was off the table for me. But, I was growing extremely hungry. I must eat soon. I remove the lid for a second and the fumes of the blood fill my nostrils like a perfume. For a second, just a split second, I am very tempted to drink. But, I will not. I quickly put the lid back on and do my best to move far away from the vase in the dark room. Even though my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, I still knew it was dark. My hunger grew with each passing moment. In my prison, there were no rats or birds I could wet my appetite with. Has my jailor decided I would be driven mad by the smell of the human blood or to make me go mad with temptation? Were they trying to push me to the edge to make me like Lorean, a human feeder?

I have no idea of the actual time I have spent in this square room, made of small blocks and mortar, no windows and had only one doorway in and out. I know that I have counted and recounted the blocks in the room, and then recounted them, and again recounted them once more; that is when I am visited by someone I had not expected to be visited by. No way could I have thought they would be the one to be my jailor.

The door opens and a small light peers through behind them as they stand at the entranceway. The light is almost blinding after being in the total darkened room for so long. It takes but a second for my eyes to adjust and I can see their silhouette and then make out their face,

“Why trick me?”

I ask the question that I felt was normal considering my situation.

“It was necessary.” They reply.

“Necessary? How so? For whom?” I ask back.

It is then that Father Anthony step inside my prison and standing face to face with me.

“I had to see if you were one of us or of the others.”

He uses the term US, as in he is one of my kind. How come I had not been able to know this before? How was he able to hide his abilities from me? He was a priest, a man of God, or was he?

“Us? So, if you are one my kind, how come I could not tell when I first met you? How are you able to move about humans so easily? Why would you do this to me Father Anthony? Or is that your real name?” I have more questions for him than I had thought I would.

“Yes us, as in you and I. I am an immortal, a being as you are. We all are here on these tiny islands of San Giacomo and Poveglia, where death has visited the mortals, yet it has brought us sanctity and solitude. The mortals are too afraid to come here, and the ones that do, we use our talents to scare them away. We do not harm them. However, it does not stop them from spreading rumors that evil resides here and that no living soul can survive if they visit our home here. Of course, they are right partially. We cannot allow mortals, unless they have bonded themselves to us, to live with our secret.”

I had hoped that they would be different,

“Then you are killers, cold blooded killers just like…like the one that made me!” I shout out.

“NO!” the one known now as Guiliamo, as well as Father Anthony, expresses his opposition to my statement.

“We are different from those who made us and those that would seek to destroy our way of existence. And…” he pauses as he walks toward me,

“I am still Father Anthony, out there. In here, I am Guiliamo. The one you are seeking.” He moves into the prison with me and looks down at the vase of blood, untouched by me.

I study his face and see that he believes in this way of life. The one I had learned to trust in, I must now trust he is not like Lorean.

“So, why the trickery then? Why not just bring me here from the start?” I ask. It was a fair question I believed.

“We had to see if you would take the bait or not.” He motions toward the vase.

“I do not drink human blood. It’s not on my list for meals.” I say quite objectively.

He seems impressed with my resistance to the bait.

“So I can see. However, it is a very tasty thing to enjoy, do you not long for it?” He almost seems to be tempting me once more.

I look at him hard and then reply,

“I told you, I do not wish to drink it.”

He pauses as he looks at me very strong and then motions for me to follow him through the doorway that is now open. I am almost hesitant, seeing how I was tricked before. He perceives my thoughts and answers to me,

Do not fear me…not yet any way. His thoughts are in my head. How did he do that?

“It is naturally that you would be apprehensive of me and my offers. However, I do not mean you any harm. I merely had to see if you were truly one of us or not.”

I see his hand and reluctantly take it as I am being led through the doorway once more. I turn and look at the vase containing the human blood and say,

“What about that?” I motion to the vase.

He laughs and replies,

“The donor will be grateful that you did not take the bait.”

“The donor?” I am curious beyond measure. Does his group have donors who freely give their blood to my kind? What sort of group are they?

“Yes, they are donors.” He pauses, smiles and continues,

”It will all become very clear to you. Try and rest assured, we do not mean you any harm. We simply cannot allow the human blood drinkers to know about us. They would seek to destroy our kind, your kind.”

As we move through the hallways toward a room. The room expands and opens up into a much larger room; lit well, well enough that I could easily see without having to use my talents. In one of the corners is a statue of some Egyptian god with an urn of some sort below it. In the other three corners there are smaller deities of gods I was not familiar with. The walls adorned with bright gold and Egyptian Hieroglyphics, at least that is what they appear to be. I had never actually seen Hieroglyphics before, so I cannot be certain. A throne sits in the middle of the far wall from me. Why is there a throne and who was it for? Just as I was asking myself this question, in walks a tall, statuesque looking man with dark hair that was shoulder length. His demeanor is neither inviting nor revolting. Just an empty like expression hangs on his very attractive face. His features are almost feminine and yet they are masculine. He takes his seat on his throne and looks over at Father Anthony…or should I say, Guiliamo? I was not certain who was who any more. I could see from his clothing, he was of great importance. His floor length robe, his gold medallions that hung from his neck and wrist, all appeared to be of royalty. His pale skin reflects the light of the torches in the far corners.

He extends his left arm, unwrapping his long slender arm and rather long slender fingers on a slender hand. His nails were long, like those in the Orient. He waves his left hand and suddenly, torches along the wall shoot up flames and light up the west side of the room. Then, he extends his right arm, and unfolds his arm fully and waves his right hand and, the torches on the east wall shoot up flames and illuminate the hall completely. I can see his exquisite face perfectly now, and furthermore, he now can see mine and the scared expression I was sure that I was showing. I had never met royalty before and was unsure who or what this man was. His eyes shoot my way, and instantly, I cannot look away even if I tried and I do. The piercing blue in his eyes see through to my very insides. I can feel him in my thoughts, Shh...be not afraid young one. I mean you no harm, not yet anyways. His thoughts filled my mind and clouded my own.

“Come here.” The unknown man finally speaks audibly. I am not sure if he is speaking to Father…I mean, Guiliamo, or me. I look around at Guiliamo and he moves toward the thrown, so I take that as my answer. I stand in place. Why could I not get a feeling or read on this man? It was the same with Guiliamo. I could not read him or perceive him as being one of my kind. Were they so different from me that I could not read them?

Guiliamo stands near to him and they make eye contact and no words are spoken. Yet, Guiliamo nods his head and looks around at me. The tall man looks toward me and then examines me with his eyes. I am unsure what to think of this. Did they have some ability I was not aware of? Could they understand each other’s thoughts? I stand still and do not move, less I should offend my elaborate host.

“Come forward.” The tall man commands me. I look at Guiliamo for some sort of hint as to what is going to happen to me and find no answers in his face. I move forward slowly and with great care.

“What is your business here?” He asks as he leans back in his throne.

Unsure how to answer this, I simply state,

“I have come to, well-get answers.”

He looks at Guiliamo and smiles,

“What type of answers?”

“Answers about my kind and why do I feel different than my creator?” I thought this sort of summed it up.

“I see.” He examines me once more with his eyes. His eyes are not emerald green like Lorean’s. His eyes are dark blue, almost like a dark sapphire. His skin is paler and his build is thinner than most. Yet, somehow, he appears to be a very beautiful representation of a man.

“I simply want –”

Guiliamo cuts me off at once.

“Excuse his outburst my lord. He does not know our ways. He has not been in a sanctum such as we are to know.”

Why was Guiliamo making excuses for me? What had I done or said wrong?

The tall youthful looking man peers down with a frown on his face toward me, and then he speaks.

“You have been living outside of protection for how long?” The question did not make sense to me.

How was I to answer a question I did not understand? I look toward Guiliamo for guidance.

“Your lord, he has never been under protection of any coven. He has been on his own since his creation.” Guiliamo replies.

Guiliamo, masquerading as Father Anthony, had learned this from me when I had shared this information with him one night as we sat and talked. I had explained to him, that my creator was vile and not the type I wanted to be like. She was content devouring poor helpless humans instead of hunting for wild game as I did.

“Never?” the tall man seams very surprised.

“Lord Bael, he has never been in a coven nor has he learned the ways of them. We could, with your permission, teach him the ways of our people. He already has proven he does not crave human blood drinking. Can we, with your permission, give him a chance?” Guiliamo pleads my case.

“I see.” Lord Bael stands and moves toward me in an almost floating way.

He walks around behind me and examines me with his eyes and then looks at Guiliamo and Guiliamo nods. I was sure they were talking in that same way as before, about me.

“Can I ask something, please?” I say aloud. It was almost defining the way they spoke without words. My words crash as echoes on the walls and reflect with such a loudness that made my own ears hurt.

“You may.” Lord Bael speaks to me as he comes to a standstill in front of me, looking me squarely in the eyes.

I look around at Guiliamo, even though the new name he has was going to take me some getting use to, I still trusted him as Father Anthony. Guiliamo nods at me to proceed.

“I came to get answers,” I begin carefully as I look at the guards standing nearby.

“Answers to questions about my, our kind.” I pause to see that the tall man is now directly in front of me, looming on every word I speak.

“Where did we come from, why are we? And, how can I sustain on eating and drinking animals as food, rather than humans. I do not wish to continue with the way I am going at it, I fear I will fail and it will cost a human their life.”

Lord Bael smiles at me then at Guiliamo.

“You are right…” he begins as he speaks to Guiliamo first.

“I have searched his mind; he does seek to be like we are.” He turns his attention toward me and speaks,

“You have questions and we have answers. But, it comes with a cost.”

Uncertain of the cost, I ask,

“What cost?”

The tall man, known as Lord Bael speaks directly to me now,

“That our secret, our domain of who we are here, never be revealed. You must never allow humans to know we exist. If you do…” he pauses,

“Well, let’s just say it would be most unfavorable.”

“Unfavorable? For who, me or the other I tell?” I thought it a fair question.

Lord Bael circling me once more says in a very low voice but still audible,

“To both.” Lord Bael responds. I know, as I stand there, that he means what he says. I feel assured of his comment.

“I see.” I quickly look around at Guiliamo.

“But, what about how I was led here, to discover this?” I ask, perplexed by the code of secrecy, yet I was allowed to discover them.

“You were purposely allowed to know of us, because…”Guiliamo he steps forward and places his hand on my left shoulder in an effort to comfort me.

“You were allowed to discover this way of existing, this society of immortals that outsiders…mortals do know believe exist.”

“Why? Why not allow them to know there are some of us, that you are not as they portray us to be; cold and calculating blood-sucking murderous creatures. I know that my creator and those like her exist. However, if the mortals knew we also existed, then perhaps we could live in unity.” I felt very strong about being able to live as mortals do. It never occurred to me, the truth was the bitter truth.

“If mortals are allowed to know about us…”Lord Bael begins,

“First, they will disbelieve it. It is easier to fear something you cannot explain rather than trust it is good.” He had a point there.

“Mortals do not have our gifts to know when someone is lying or not.” This was a gift I hoped to learn if it were possible.

“You mean as Father…I meant to say, Guiliamo did to me?” I point out the obvious.

“You were not lied to. You were just misled in a sense. Still, you have come to get your answers and you are still here, and you still live.” He had a point there.

“If we had perceived you a threat, not willing to learn our way, you would not be.” Lord Bael continues as he moves back to his throne.

“Where would I be?”

I saw the expression on Guiliamo’s face and then on Lord Bael’s.

Their look tells me I did not need to know that answer.

“I see.”

Guiliamo with elegant wording speaks once more,

“We will answer all the questions you have, all the answers we have for you. But, you have to be willing to commit to our way of existing, co-existing with mortals.”

Here is the hinge that would bond me to the Anuket,

“And, above all…you must be willing to swear that you will not ever reveal our sanctum exist, to anyone, EVER.” Guiliamo places great emphasis on the word ever.

I think for a moment and look at Lord Bael and then back at Guiliamo.

“I do. I promise to protect your secret, as my own.”

“Good. For you will be held to that promise, with your life.” Lord Bael says.

“Once you have completed your trials, then we will have your ceremony to bind you to our coven.”

Lord Bael looks at his guard standing to his left. The guard goes out and soon returns with a silver chalice.

“What is this? Need a blood oath?” I jest.

“Actually, yes we do.” Guiliamo answers.

My throat tightens as I stand there unsure what is about to happen to me. I was about to join my allegiance to a group I knew nothing of, and yet everything that I did know, I wanted…no desired is the better description, to be part of. All it was going to require is a blood oath, my blood. Standing there as the guard draws his sword and slides it across my left wrist, the blood drops into the chalice. Then, as my wrist heals and the blood stops, I hear Lord Bael speaking to Guiliamo. They are whispering low, so low that I cannot hear them and I hear the others in the huge hall beginning to whisper as well. Soon, it sounds like an echo of whispers pulsating all around me. I see Lord Bael glance toward me a couple times and then back to Guiliamo. Then, Guiliamo looks toward me, no smiles or hint of what is going on. Just a very hard stare that leads me to believe I might be in trouble.

Chapter 4 – Trials and Tribulations

1436 – Isola Di San Michele- Island off the coast of Venice, Italy

I am unsure what happened at the oath ceremony after the whispering began. My mind must have caused me to go blank or something. I awake in my room, overlooking a beautiful garden on the island off the coast of Venice. Obviously, I had been accepted or else this was some form of punishment that I was not resisting.

Over the next while, uncertain exactly how long since time is of no relevance when you are not trying to keep track of it, I was being tested and tried by the society of Anuket. They called themselves this, in reference to some Egyptian deity that was able to give life or resurrect it. Her name meant to ‘embrace life’, which was what I have to learn to do. I have had to embrace my new existence and learn all I could. They are willing and I am a willing participant.

My first of many trials was to be tested over and over by the smell of human blood and seeing humans in vulnerable moments and how I would react. They were taking a great risk, with the human. But, somehow I felt that the human would not be as at risk as I would be if I made the wrong choice. The Anuket felt that they were the protectors of man from the ones who desired to drink their blood, to treat them as food. I embraced this as my theory of living gladly. The night that I first learned what I was, haunted me for many years following. I wished a thousand times over that I had stopped Lorean and the children from devouring those poor women that night. However, I knew nothing of what I was capable of. Now I was learning, learning what Lorean did not want me to learn. Just how strong I really am. As a male immortal, I have greater strength in certain things than females of my kind.

For instance, I can run faster, leap higher and have a longer withdraw from wanting to feed than females. However, females can hide better, almost become invisible to the mortal and immortal eye. Their sense of smell is stronger and their hunting abilities are far better than a male of my kind. On the positive note, I haven’t learned a great deal about where the immortals originated and what our purpose is among mortals, however, I do have more information on how to sense when other immortals are around and what type they are, being the kind as I or the kind that drink human blood. Although, they are a bit faster than we are, because their meals are different than ours, we can hold our own with them. They tend not to want to cross our boundaries if possible. Certain things can destroy an immortal. I am about to break the first in our commandments, never revealing to mortals that we exist and how to destroy us.

However, since it is death I seek…

Decapitation is the surest way of destroying an immortal. Then of course, you would have to dismember and spread the burnt parts down a running river. Sunlight and drowning does not work on my kind. That is just a fallacy that some mortal created or was fed by an immortal to throw them off course. There is a mythical snake called the Joint Snake, that has the ability to rejoin its parts if cut into pieces. We are the same. Our bodies can reanimate from being torn asunder. Of course, if you should battle an immortal, you would have to be especially well trained as an immortal and mortals hardly ever stand a chance. We can move like the wind, creating blurs and shadows of where we were. For this reason, mankind has created an illusion of us and labeled it ghost. When you die, you leave your body, unless you are made immortal, then your soul becomes like the ash in the fireplace and dissolves into nothingness.

Today, I am learning the talent of being stealth and almost invisible to mortals. Guiliamo has agreed to take me on as his student for this exercise. He and I have grown quite close as pupil and teacher. I still chuckle thinking of him as just a priest. I notice things about him now that I should have before. He never sweats or gets tired. He goes and goes and never needs to rest, ever. His congregations that come to his church see him as a saint. Saint Anthony, they call him. I have grown so used to calling him Guiliamo that I have to be careful in mixed company. It is funny, Guiliamo in our native tongue means, youthful. And he is youthful appearing and acting. However, I recently learned that Guiliamo is over nine hundred years old in mortal time. That would put him around at the same time as when Rome was at her pinnacle point. His lightly colored hair and pale blue eyes do not give away his actual age. No wrinkles or blemishes. He just appears to be a young man of twenty-five or so. We stay the age we are when we are re-created by our maker, as long as we feed. Guiliamo’s creator does not know his creator or if he does he has not spoken much of that union or where his creator is presently. I have given little thought of where Lorean is, but I fear she will show up sooner than later. My fear is sooner.

As my tests are administered, I am reminded of when as a child, a mortal child; I was taught by my father. He was stern with me, much the way Guiliamo is. At times, it seems to be like an eternity since I last saw my father.

I remember, Rosselina and I had just married and the next day, my mother came down with the illness later to be called the Black Death. My father tended to her, diligent to the very end, keeping vigil day and night for his beloved, as I did with Rosselina. When my mother passed, God rest her soul, I saw my father do something I had never seen him do before, he cried. It was not a hard cry, but a somber and very caring cry for the loss of his one and only true love. My mother, Lucinda, had given him four children. She watched as two of her children died, in her arms of that dreadful disease. If not for that disease, Rosselina would not have died, and I would not be as I am. I would be passed on into the next world by now, of old age, leaving behind children and grandchildren. However, life makes turns and twist and you have to give with it or it will take you down. My elder brother, Francesco survived to the best of my knowledge. He left the town just before I did, along with his wife and two children. I pray that they survived so that some heir to my father’s bloodline did. I am counted among the deceased. I must make it a point to look up some of Francesco’s children or grandchildren. I am sure they would have fled to France, which is where Francesco’s wife, Moira was from.

1493 Venice, Italy Saint Anthony’s Basilica

The next stage of the testing began with me having to master the art of illusion. I had to visualize that I was someone different and if I concentrated hard enough, I would appear to be. This is not an easy task, even for someone of my kind. It takes great practice and patience. You must hold that image in your mind, believe you are that person with no doubt in your head and then you will give that reflection. Your actual body does not change. Just appears to. I had passed the testing for learning to disguise my heart rate and seem human to other mortals. There was even a talent to learn to become invisible to mortals and immortals. I wanted to learn it all, to be all that I could. The Anuket’s want to teach me, and I am a willing participant. Lord Bael has taken me under his wing, to study his ways. I cannot believe how beautiful of a creature he is. He is not feminine, nor overly masculine, but a blend that is very complimentary to both. His long hair drapes around his face, that has an angelic appearance to it, with eyes as dark of blue as a sapphire, yet they sparkle and twinkle as you look into them. I enjoyed my time with him.

Guiliamo administered my next test and I did not pass it the first few times. I fear I will never learn the ways of the Anuket. Then,

“That’s it Marcusio! You did it!” Guiliamo shouts being very excited for me.

He makes me feel extremely confident in myself, something I had thought I had lost. I have grown very close to him as a mentor, over the time I have spent with him. Which, by human time was fifty years or so? We have worked on his cathedral and even commissioned a friend of his from Florence to come and give some advisement on design. He is a masterful architect. I have seen some of his other designs and they are quite ahead of his time, well…ahead of mortal time.

1499 – Florence, Italy

We have come to Florence to visit one of Guiliamo’s dear friends, Leonardo, an artist who has a small workshop here, working his magic on the canvas. His hands have molded and created very real looking statues that are unlike any I have ever seen before. If one could say there is such a thing as a true magician, he is it. His hands work at such a way, that it makes you want to cry. I study his work, in hopes I will learn to paint as he does. He only laughs when I show him my work. It frustrates me so, but I am determined to learn his craft. I watch his brush strokes, so precise and elegant, bringing the painting to life as no mortal has ever done before. His only weakness is his attention span. He seems to get ideas in the process of painting a masterpiece, and then straightway goes to another canvas or begins molding his clay instantly. But, he always returns to his work, and completes each item. His ability to take on more than one task at a time is mesmerizing and almost divine.

“Marcusio….ha…ha!” Guiliamo laughs at me as he takes me aside.

“Why do you envy Leonardo so?”

Looking around at the painting of a mother and child he is painting with such ease, I reply,

“Because…he makes my work look like that of a child, and he is mortal. I should be able to do much better than he.” I reply in shame and envy.

“Ha..ha…”Guiliamo laughs once more. “He is not as you see him.”

Confused, I reply, “What do you mean Guiliamo?”

Looking around at Leonardo, Guiliamo puts his arm around my shoulder and leads me to the side,

“He is not mortal. He is one of Anuket.” He pauses and then continues,

“This is what gives him that advantage. He has lived many centuries, maybe the oldest of us, so he has had the chance to learn his abilities, as you will yours.” Guiliamo explains as we look on at Leonardo creating life-like images on his canvas. It is then; I can see how he must be immortal. He moves much too quickly for a mortal and has the short attention span of an immortal.

Guiliamo had learned from Leonardo, as I will from Guiliamo, to conceal my identity from mortals and immortals. Leonardo has lived in this disguise he manifest for others to see for many mortal years and soon, he will have to fake his death and then become someone new, as is the way of the Anuket. This way mortals do not suspect.

“Do not fret so young one. I have had many lifetimes and many more to come hopefully. As long as I abide by the rules of the Anuket and…” He smiles at Guiliamo,

“Have dear friends who pray for my safety, then I shall have many more lifetimes to expand my knowledge and talents, as will you.” Leonardo says.

“Is Leonardo the name you gave yourself or where you born with it?” I ask. I was curious how he or anyone would come up with false lives for mortals to believe.

“No…My real name is Simeon. It has been so long since I used that name, I almost forget it ever existed.” He chuckles lightly as he mixes his colors for his art.

“Is this your true form?” I ask as I look at the white beard and white hair. Not exactly the presence of someone who was immortal.

Once again he smiles at me and says,

“No…no. I was transformed when I was in my thirty-fifth year. I have to cloak myself from those who want to destroy me and from mortals.”

“Do you ever…not cloak yourself?” I knew he must not start out his mortal life as the way he appears now.

“Yes, when it is appropriate to do so.” He stops painting and looks at me. Suddenly, his image changes and I see him, his true appearance; long brown hair, smooth face with a few lines around the eyes, and piercing blue eyes.

“This is your true nature?” I was shocked at the difference.

“Yes, it is.” He nods as he begins painting once more.

“How did or do you keep the…image of Leonardo up even when you rest or are painting?” I wanted to learn this ability.

“Practice…lots and lots of practice. Is not this right, Guiliamo?” He smiles at Guiliamo and Guiliamo smiles back.

Later as Guiliamo and I are walking along the docks, we stop and sit for a while.

“You must never allow the mortals to know you are not one of them, it is far too dangerous for them and you. If the immortals, who seek to destroy the Anuket’s way, learn of an immortal who is not a killer as they are, they will try and destroy you. It is how mortals are, their nature. Just as it is the Vampire nature to kill. The Anuket are above the Vampire, and have discovered how to coexist with the mortal without feeding on them. However, it is still in our nature to…kill the mortal should we want.” Guiliamo explains one late afternoon as we sit on the boat dock looking out over the water.

“So, I can never tell a mortal I exist?” I ask.

Guiliamo takes a deep breath, which was not necessary, but it was his way of blending into the mortal ways,

“No, never. You must keep our secret, your secret and protect it at all cost. And the cost will be high should you ever expose the Anuket or allow them to be invaded.” Guiliamo’s words strike deep within me, a fear that I had never had. Yet at the same time, it was a connection to something much bigger than my own life; which was exactly what I had been looking for.

“Mortals fear that they cannot explain. If the mortal knows your existence, they will be in danger by association from the killers that hunt our kind, your kind now. The ones mortals commonly call Vampire.” Guiliamo has shared so much with me in the time I have spent with him, and yet this moment would be the pinnacle of my existence. The ironic part of the Vampires, they were not always as menacing and feared as they are now.

He continues,

“There is one of our kind, he goes by the name of Nostradamus, in France. He has lived among mortals as a mortal and he even married and had children with a mortal. However, as you, he lost his family to this Black Death.”

“Had children? I did not think it was possible.” I question.

“No, he had become a father before he was…transformed, as we like to think of it.” He explains.

“I see.” I pause then ask,

“Do we…are we allowed to have children?” I felt my question was fair. I had been cheated of it as a mortal. Could I dare to think I might have that chance as an immortal?

He smiles and says, “That is something we can discuss later.” He hesitates to answer me.

“The important part of this is, he lost them, his entire family and soon came to us, seeking our help to rid himself of this anguish. And, we did take him in and showed him how to use his talents, to broaden his horizons.” He looks away as if his story has an unhappy ending.

“What happened?” I ask.

“He returned to the, mortals. And, began using his talents, as did Joan of Arcadia, and he became persecuted for it.” He stops as if in deep thought.

“Who is Joan…of Arcadia?” I ask not being aware of her.

“She was another of ours, who had learned very quickly how to use her gifts, almost from the instant. Some, very rare, are able to do that.” Once again, he pauses as if having a memory that was not favorable.

“She was burned to the stake; burned for being a witch.” He looks at me with a partial grin.

“Does fire kill us?” I was curious, thinking of ways I could end my dread with Lorean.

“Yes and no.” His reply confused me.

“If we do not get out of the fire, we will die. If we do exit the flames, we will heal very quickly.” He answers.

“I see.” Pausing for a moment I ask, “But why did she stay in the fire?”

“She knew if she left the flames, she would bring questions and this could lead back to the Anuket.” He replies.

“So, she sacrificed herself for the Anuket?” I thought of how unselfish that was.

“Yes.” His answer tells me he knew her.

“Did you know her?”

“Yes.” He pauses and then continues with the talk,

“However, Nostradamus learned from this and simply uprooted and moved away. He has used his talents, to inform the royals and the church of certain things. For this, they grant him a pardon from heresy.” He smiles politely.

“The church? I would not have thought the church would do that.”

“We have our connections within the church.” He points to himself and I smile.

“I see.”

Days later I learn more about Vampires and their existence. Once, they had lived among mortals as the Anukets do. Once, the Vampire and the Anuket were one, and lived among mortals, teaching them and guiding them on their paths of enlightenment. What I was told was, that once a long time ago, all immortals lived freely amongst man, assisting with the great creations of mankind in lands far and near. The Great Pyramids in Egypt, the Library of Alexander, and many more were all with the guidance of the immortals known then as the Helios. Man revered them and made myths of them being gods who had great power, which of course the Helios did, but they were not gods and did not desire to be worshiped as such. However, there were a few among the Helios who did seek to have great power, god-like powers so that they could rule over mankind. And, that is how a virus of some type, infected a small amount of the immortals and mortals. The immortals that became infected became a creature, driven by rage and hunger, saw man only as prey, instead of a friend. This is where the story gets a little sketchy, the mortals who were infected, became different as well. Some became mad with thoughts that they could not understand or explain. And others that did not die or become mad were gifted with extremely long lives and had the ability to heal themselves and others. The Anukets are the remaining members of the immortals that were not exposed to this virus, and left their small island and used their abilities combined to destroy the temples and laboratories that they had created to help mankind. They destroyed their island so that no one would ever find any part of it.

The mortals named the immortals that were infected, Vampires. The mortals that had been infected were also the enemy of the Anukets, because they thought themselves gods and could expose the Anuket. Mortals were not intended to live as long and have the knowledge that these have been given; great knowledge, which could destroy all immortals, Vampire and Anuket alike.

The legends of creatures with the ability to shape-shift and vanish into smoke, have long fangs and drink your blood, is partially true. We, whether it is the Vampire or the Anukets, have a resistance to crucifixes, silver, wooden stakes, or many of the other myths that are associated with destroying us or exposing our existence. It is simple, if we do not wish to be discovered, we won’t be. We are like the shadows of this world, moving in and out as we please, never more than a whisper at best. We leave no scent, no drop of sweat, no sound of a heart beat that can be heard and no tears can we shed. The myths associated with my kind, have been created by in great part by my people. The reason is again simple, if we feed the mortals the wrong information or send them on wild goose chases then we have nothing to fear. There have been immortals that actually were a part of the hunts for Vampiro.

Vampires are thought to sleep by day, awake by night, drink blood of young virgin girls, enslave the women and sometimes men to serve them, and turn into puffs of smoke. This is ridiculous. I cannot turn into a bat, nor would I want to. I have no need to enslave anyone, it is I who feels enslaved by my circumstance, and I do not drink the blood of anyone. We are the damned according to those who wish to label us. However, I am under the belief that my soul stopped existing when my last beat of my mortal heart pulsed through my frail and very destructible body that Lorean freed me from. However, her redemption…her gift as she so thinks of it, cost me. It took away my only chance to be with my beloved and our child in Heaven. It stole my right to decide to die or not. She feels I owe her my gratitude. I feel I owe her nothing. She has pursued me after I left her and those beasts of children she created. They are the truest form of the legends that the mortals have conjured to explain us.

Lorean is persistent in trying to persuade me to join her and the children, as they tour the Far East and then back to her palace of splendor in Bucharest. I don’t care for the riches and glamour as she does. She is very vain as well. That is another legend about my kind that is untrue. The legend is we can’t cast a reflection in a mirror, again untrue. The problem is, if we are not careful, the reflection we cast will mesmerize us, entice us into staring at it in a death stare. That is one of our weaknesses, vanity. The image we reflect is our true image as we would be, not as we appear to mortals or even other immortals.

Some of us are more vane than others. It is really about control. Another reason about mirrors is if we are casting a false image to the mortals and those around us, the mirror will not lie for us. It will show our true reflection to them. Guiliamo can control his image and the image the mirror reflects, unsure how he does that. He says it takes extreme practice and patience. Patience is not a virtue I inherited, as a mortal or immortal. Some traits as mortals we take with us into the immortal stage. Being immortal is like a new birth in a sense. It allows us to wake up to things that would have been hidden from our view otherwise. I cannot say I would have missed this existence had I never known of it. Yet, I have to make the best of it now that I am here.

I do fear in telling too much will put those that I care for, in danger. However, my story must be told, so you can know how truly precious life and love are, and how you must live every day as if it were the last.

There are defined ways of knowing, which is Vampire and which is Anuket. One of many differences would be our eyes. The Vampire have light green eyes or sometimes black. Our eyes, the eyes of the Anukets, are blue or pale green, except when we need to feed and then like embers of coal, red or dark yellow with a red inner circle. However, if you are this close that you can see our eyes, you might be too close to escape if they are Vampire.

Holy water has no effect on either of us. It is just water to us. Not that we disbelieve in God or the Devil for that matter. But water is just water.

Garlic does not harm us either, I am Italian, it is in our bloodlines to have garlic as much as it is for fish to water.

However, we are very pre-occupied with being very meticulous about things. Everything has to be in place, hung straight and neatly put away. We obsess with being tidy. No dust or dirt can be on the floor or the area where we sleep. We do not sleep in coffins or in graves. I suppose that was started by someone wishing to throw off the fact that we have expensive taste. Example of this is Lorean, which will not stay somewhere when she is traveling, which is not to the same taste as her comforts in her palace. Unless, she is pursuing the victim and then her instincts take over and the beast inside leads her. And then, she does not sleep…just rest wherever her head can. We do not sleep, unless we wish to go into a deep sleep, to allow great amounts of time to pass, or we are trying to fool the mortals into believing we are asleep, and then we can appear to. Guiliamo had done that a few times with me, when I knew him only as Father Anthony.

I have been learning how to sense other immortals with the help of Guiliamo and the methods he has been teaching me have helped me to discover new talents. I will not have to rely on listening for a heartbeat or looking for tell-tell signs of being human or not. I have been able to discern a few decoys that Lord Bael sent into town to test me. I have learned so much with Guiliamo, I do not want the studies to stop. However, I know that they will soon. All good things must come to an end at some point.

1522 – Venice, Italy

It now has been decades, not that I am counting by any measure, since I last heard from Lorean and today; I received a letter from her.

“Dearest Marcusio,

I do hope you are enjoying Venice this time of the year. It has been so long since we last saw one another and I fear you are alone and scared of the god you are now. You need to embrace this new life that I have given you and enjoy the fruits of it.

The children and I are traveling, Persia has been very good to us, great feeding grounds and the mortals are so easily fooled by our abilities.

Our children miss you terribly as do I. Please come to us when you have had a chance to learn to accept this gift that I have given you. Time is no factor, we have forever. I want you by my side, as my companion and mate. You and I are supposed to be together, do you not see this?

Waiting your return,


She refers to the children, those beasts she created, as our children. They are like two rabid animals instead of the being that I am, I cannot bring myself to end their existence. Lorean, she seems to delight in how they are as much as she wishes I were like them, so she would have me by her side. I know she created me as a mate and they as our permanent children; children that would never grow up or move away. When she was mortal, she had lost her husband and children to a great plaque. Not the same that took my beloved, it was another that was long ago. She has not and will not tell me how old she is. However, I have a certain feeling she was around during the time of Christ or longer. She has made several remarks about a few of the disciples, as only one who had known them could have. She continues to write to me, periodically. I am unsure how she knows that I am in Venice, unless her abilities allow her to see me wherever I am.

Another of her letters reads,

“Dearest Marcusio,

We have found our way here to the Far East, where their culture is a marvelous type. They seem to understand our kind. I have made a few acquaintances here, of our kind. They have been around longer than I, so now you can rest assured that I am not the oldest of our kind. I have made a little present for you that I learned from a monk, before we dined with him, I promise, he did not suffer.

I have learned to meditate, which is an interesting thing. I can close my eyes, concentrate on something I am wanting and it is as if I am there. Not sure if this is a new part of my talents making itself known or something new I have learned and I will impart onto you when we meet up.

When do you think you could join us here? You would love the way these mortals live their lives. They seem to enjoy and relish every moment of it. This must be what you are seeking. I so hope you can join us. The children miss you so. Be well my love.

With deepest affections,


Lorean has many talents, but abstaining from dining on humans, is not one. I fear for those that have come in her path. She treats mortals as a food source and nothing more. Months have passed and I have completed my training, at least the essential part of it, and tonight is my ceremony that will allow me to become inducted into the Anuket. Lord Bael and several others such as, Hiro, Sobean, Val, and many others who have assisted me in my tutoring, will be there tonight along with Guiliamo. Lorean has learned of my friendship with Guiliamo, except she only knows of his name as Father Anthony from her unknown source. She has asked me in yet another recent letter,

“Dearest Marcusio,

The Children and I await you here at our winter home in Dacia. Please join us soon, we miss you. The white snow all around makes the land so beautiful and the hunting so much easier, even if you are not hunting for mortals.

I have learned so many things as of recent, and want to impart them onto you. Please come soon!

The children are lost without their Papa. We can be the family you have always wanted, if you just allow it. No one will ever be able to give you what I can. NO ONE!

I do hope you have had the chance to explore your new life and the newness of it all can be very confusing if spent alone, I know from personal experiences. Do let me help guide you through this time.

I have heard of the bond you and the mortal priest have developed. I do hope it is not serious, for his sake. You are mine! Why would you choose his companionship over mine? Do I not appeal to you? Does he? Are you seeking spiritual enlightenment? God does not exist for our kind, so it is a lost cause to search. Just trying to save you time spending the time you could be with me, looking for something that does not exist. I am real! I exist! Do not forget, I gave you life. Mortals are just food. Sooner you learn this, the better you will be and the sooner we can be a family, forever.

I have allowed you to go your own way, to seek your path, to discover who and what you are. You are a god among those you surround yourself with. They cannot offer you what I can. Their blood is the thing that sustains us and gives us that filling that we crave, that you crave!

It is not my wish to force your hand, but please do not force mine either! I will not stand for anyone to come between us, ever.

Once you have had a chance to see things my way, you will understand, I am doing this for you, for us.

Come to me soon darling and spare those that would keep us apart, a very painful death. The children and I await your arrival.

Lorean and the children”

It was written in blood. Whose blood was the question?

I dress for my ceremony, in the ceremonial robe that Guiliamo brings me, and I allow him to pull my long hair dark back and place it in a braid. My hair had grown quite a bit and was rivaling Lord Bael’s. Standing there, I look into the polished mirror that hangs in the hallway of the inner room that the Cal-ni (Kawvi), as it is pronounced in Anuket, prepares for their blessing exercise, which is called a Proni (Frownae). I look at Guiliamo who looks at me as a father watching his son getting married. In a way I was getting married; married to the Order of the Anuket. I was about to take a vow to promise to protect the Order, their way of being and co-existing with mortals and not revealing this secret sanctum. I welcome them as my family and as they are welcoming me in as well.

I begin my walk down the long hallway that leads to the Inner-Room, the room with Lord Bael’s throne and all the magistrates that he has beneath him. His ability to be both beautiful and handsome as a man, was a spectacle to behold. The long hair draped around his elegant and yet manly face. His long hands that were adorned with rings from Kings and rulers as a reward for protecting them and their kingdoms from the Vampires, was cloaked in the magnificent of his robe that appears to be made of spun gold. That was another of our talents. We can make raw metals into gold. Many alchemists try and repeat the thing that they saw one of us do at some point and it is to no avail. They do not have our talent and will not be able to do so. We have the ability to do many things such as making water into ice and fire from nothing, because we have learned how to control the elements. Fire, water, air, earth are all elements that can be mastered with great concentration, even a mortal could, given that they could live long enough to master it and some have. God gave Man the ability to control those things and it is said, He never takes back what he gives.

I walk down the aisle and take my place at the foot of Lord Bael, and I kneel onto my right knee. The torches light the room, casting shadows on the walls of ancient Hieroglyphics and ancient writings from as far back as the Helios, which were the first of our kind.

The disease that changed the Vampires into what they are now, has been a well guarded secret, until now. They made more of their kind and they became a disease to us; a plight on our way of existing. We felt the only thing our kind could do, was to destroy all traces we ever existed. The Library at Alexandria which had housed information about the Anuket, was destroyed as well.

The Great Pyramids did not contain information about us, except in one, and the Anuket utterly destroyed that one. Along with a city named Gomorra, which was in the dessert, away from anyone. But, it was a city that the Vampires, as they had taken to the name the mortals had called them, had created. They were creating more and more of their kind. They experimented with mortals. The First Ones, as the Anuket called them, who had been born an immortal and had changed into Vampire, could reproduce with the mortals. Doing so, created unholy creatures that thirsted for flesh and blood and yet had immunities to the things that The First Ones were weakened by our attacks. The ones, that would become known as Vampires, created from the The First Ones, cannot, as I, procreate with a mortal. So, they began to inject their victims with their blood by way biting them and feeding their own blood to them. The Anuket, gave them a choice and they did not want to change; so the Anuket destroyed them and their temples.

When the Anuket were done with erasing their existence that had taken centuries upon centuries to create, they dismantled and went in several different directions, knowing the surviving Vampire clans would seek to destroy them. Some went into the Far East, some into India and some went north into the Isles of the Nors. Some went south into the darkest parts of Africa, in an effort to hide among the mortals, and some took vessels that they had created and went to the west toward the unknown parts.

I learned all the history of how the Anuket had been, how the Vampire came to be and how we had been the protectors of mortals, it all came alive for me. That is another of our talents. When we come in contact with one of our kind, we can share the knowledge through thought and it becomes imbedded with our own thoughts, complete with the visual imagery. It is called, Go-Rah, pronounced just as it is spelled.

I accept my blessing that Lord Bael bestows on me. He says some words in the ancient language, Nzi Lom Ka… and the rest is a blur to me because it is a language we do not use any longer. It is only used for ceremonies. He places his sword on my head and announces my new birth name, Platono, being translated roughly as “Favored”. I was favored among them because I had gifts that Lord Bael would manifest as I grow in my teachings. I was created from a Vampire and found my way to being a Anuket on my own. Once again, I had been reborn. It was rare that one of a Vampire would not crave the same as their creator. So, I stood there and my new family welcomes me in as I welcome them to be my family. I will protect them with my very life if need be. This is why I must do what I have to do. I must leave them and the sooner the better. Lorean would not wait, she would come looking for me here in Venice and she might discover the Anuket in the process and I could not have that.

I would prefer to stay behind here in the beautiful city of Venice, however for the sake of those here and to preserve their secret, I will leave. I hate to, but I must.

“She will not take you if you are in fear of her. I have taught you many things and there are many more to learn.” Guiliamo says to me as I am packing my things, erasing any trace of me being here.

“I know this dear friend.” I say as I reach my hand to his shoulder. I smile as I take down my art that I had learned from Da Vinci and place all but one piece on a fire. I keep the one drawing, a very insignificant piece actually. Just a drawing of a man thinking, and I had used Guiliamo as the inspiration for.

“If you know this, then why are you leaving?” Guiliamo asks.

As I turn to leave, I say,

“Because, I know her and she will not stop until she has what she wants. And, I am what she wants. I will not allow the Anukets to become exposed or put any mortal here in danger because of me.”

Guiliamo protest and shouts to me,

“We can protect you from one Vampire!”

I say nothing and leave as a fast as I can. I had learned to use my abilities to move very quickly, much quicker than most immortals. Guiliamo had commented on this unique ability of mine. And now it was this ability that I must use to part ways with him.

I will miss you my dear friend.

I could still feel his friendship, even miles from him, and I smile as I burn my clothes to hide my scent. Although mortals cannot sniff us, we can be by others of our kind. Lorean was very old and had learned a great deal, even though she had not taught me anything in an effort to keep me in the dark as a means to keep me with her. She allowed me to go into this new life blindly. But my some miracle, I had discovered the truth and the light, and she was not going to take that away.

I stand there wishing that I had learned how to send him a message in his mind, as he had mine. I think aloud.

“I have to leave dear friend. It is as it has to be.”

Standing at the edge of the city, I stop long enough to take one last look at the place I had called home for near eighty mortal years.

Goodbye dear city. I will miss you, I think to myself as I am about to leave.

I did fear leaving. Not because of worry about Lorean catching up to me. She did not want to harm me. She wants to bring me back to be her enslaved lover and father to those demons she had created. I fear that Lord Bael may not understand my reasons; although, he had probably already seen this in his visions. He had the gift of second sight. I set out on my journey to the next town I could find where Lorean would not know that I was there. However, she had the gift of seeing things as well. And, she had her spies, both mortal and immortals.

Farewell Venice and farewell dear friends. Thank you for teaching your ways to me, are my thoughts as I take my leave.

Chapter 5 – Borlean

1525 – Pisa, Italy

I find my way, through many cities, before I settle here in Pisa. It is a fair city that has much to offer. I have begun to practice with a young painter named Borlean, who is obviously a transplant as I am. Yet, he seems to adapt to the ways of the inhabitants of Pisa and therefore the Pianos’ have taken to him. He is a wonderful artist who is a masterful sculptor as well.

“Slide your brush,” he says as he watches me try and learn his style.

“The brush is your hand, feel it.” The good thing about my talents is I learn very quickly. I have made several paintings he has complimented. He is not aware at this time that I am not mortal. But, I fear I will have to tell him soon. I have to make a desperate and deliberate attempt at keeping track of time, or else it will slip by quickly. Usually, I move away and wait for the next generation before returning. But, I am having so much fun with Borlean, which it is a harder task of keeping track of the time I spend with him.

Borlean and I have spent a great amount of time together that I fear I have stopped him from pursuing a life beside with me as his apprentice and friend. I believe we are great friends. I so enjoy his company. Somehow, I must find the courage to tell him of what I am. But how can I? My vows to the Order of the Anuket prevent me from doing so. I made a promise to never, under any circumstances to reveal they exist. Mortals must never know that the Anuket are here protecting them from the Vampires.

Days, or perhaps weeks have gone by and Borlean and I have still not had the talk about what I am. I know I must. We were sitting on the dock last evening enjoying a bottle of wine and some cheese he had been saving. We laughed and I guess the moonlight had caught me a certain way and I see his face change suddenly. Perhaps he saw me as I am. Have I been discovered? Will he be in fear of me? Will he expose me?

Today, we paint in total silence. I want to speak to Borlean and tell him. But, I am in fear that this friendship I have with him, that is almost like brothers, will end once he knows of what I am.

“What I am, is not who I am.”I wish I could tell him that, yet I say nothing.

Finally, he speaks and breaks the long silence.

“Marcusio,” he begins. I wait as I listen for his heart to speed up or the swallow in his throat as humans do when they are nervous about something.

“I think we should talk.”

In his eyes, there is great thought in what he is about to speak of.

“Yes, we should.” I reply nervously.

Even though I do not get nervous as mortals do, I still get anxious. When my kind is anxious, accidents happen. By accidents, I mean people die or are hurt. Not that we always try to harm them. Just we speed up and move too fast and cause things to get broke in our paths. When we move in the speed that is natural for us, we appear as a mist or blur to mortals, making them believe we are ghost.

“You know I think of you as a brother, yes?” he asks as he paints.

His strokes are so even in flow on the canvas that it is as if he is not nervous at all about ending our friendship.

“Yes.” I reply turning loose of the canvas I was painting on to keep from breaking the frame. I could have snapped it like a twig. I could have broken him like a twig. So, I had to really concentrate on staying calm.

“I can see you are not like me.” I wished he would hurry up and end this charade and put me out of my pain. Even if I wanted to tell him, I should not, could not. My oath, my allegiance to the Anuket and protecting their sanctum; was this a test of my loyalty to them? However, if he was not testing me, and he was genuinely my friend, I had a right to allow him to discover for himself. I knew the punishment for disclosing and revealing the truth about the Anukets and their secret society. However, I had chosen to leave their Order to protect them, and this allowed me the freedom to make choices that would only affect me. Right?

“I have noticed you are sensitive to light, are you not?” He asks as he glances up at me for only a moment. No sweat on his brow and his heart was beating as normal as possible. Did he have no fear in angering one of my kind?

“No, I am not Borlean.” He had misunderstood my need to stay out of the sunlight for being bothered by it. I had chose to stay out of the heat because I would not perspire as mortals and this would cause them to notice me.

“You never go into the heat of the day, and you stay in the shade as much as possible.”I try to dispute his thoughts without lying further to him.

“I do not wish to be in the sunlight because I do not wish to perspire, my friend.” I calmly say.

He pauses his strokes and looks at me,

“I understand if you need to tell me something.”

His words are like needles to me. I hate to lie to him further, but I do not wish him death from the Anuket. I must allow him to come to his own conclusions by way of his own way.

“What are you trying to say Borlean?”

He stands and walks toward the doorway and looks out into the night sky and then he turns to me and says,

“Do you need to feed? Am I your friend or food?” His words once again, strike me to the core.

“Feed? What are you saying Borlean?” I was neither denying nor acknowledging.

“You are…”He hesitates on his next word carefully. I can hear his heart racing slightly.


I put down my brush and walk toward him. His heart races slightly more as I approach. His eyes are watering and his lips clinch tightly.

“I…”I pause,

“Am not…Vampiro.” I had said it and I was telling the truth.

He has an astonished look on his face, and yet relieved.

“I do not understand. You do not perspire, you do not seem to get any older, or show signs of pain when you have cut yourself with the chisel. If you are not Vampiro, then what are you?” He was confused and I understood.

“What would you want me to be?” It was the best answer I could give him without revealing my true nature. He had to come to it of his own.

“I would…”He pauses, “Want you to be my friend.” He smiles.

“And, I am and shall always be.”

“If you are not Vampiro, then are you a god?” He was still very curious.

“No…I am neither a god.”I laugh at that one.

“I have heard stories of how gods come to be with mortals and stay with us, as mortals. Is this what you have done?” His curiosity was over-whelming.

“No, I have told you…I am not a god.”I smile.

Perplexed he swallows hard rubbing his head,

“Then, are you…”he carefully selects his words, “A demon?”

“No my friend…I am not a demon, not as you think of at least.” My thoughts betrayed me as I answered him.

“What are you?” I know that I have no choice but to reveal my nature to him.

“I am…Immortal.” I await his confusion. Mortals of this time period do not know the difference between an Immortal and a god.

“But, you said you are not a god.” He moves toward me slowly.

“I am not a god, nor a demon. I am what my people call, Anuket.” I look around to see if anyone is near. I was not sure if the Anuket had followed me and waited for me to make this terrible error in my oath.

“Anu…I do not understand.”

“We are Immortals, who do not feed on humans, as the Vampiro do. But, we do drink blood.” I had hoped he would not see me as a monster, as I had been.

“I see.” He slowly withdraws from me.

Searching his face for acknowledgement, I ask,

“Do you?”

He thinks hard for a moment as he moves about,

“Yes, I do. You are not like the creatures that…mortals fear. You are…our protectors.” He had come to this by his own thinking, which did not break my oath.

“Yes, you are correct my friend.” I smile.

He comes to me and stands. Looking at him, I realize how mortals and Immortals could co-exist, without fear.

“If you should need to feed, I am willing to offer, to help you.” His offer was more than I had ever expected.

“I…I do not…feed on humans.” I reply looking away, almost in disgust. Disgust and remorse that he knew and that his offer was so kind I almost took him up on it.

“You do not?” He pulls back and stares at me for a moment and then smiles. “Why not?”

“I do not want to be, as others like me are. I don’t want to be feared. I want to live life, as simple as possible.” I reply trying to explain my attempts of living, if you can call it that, a life of being not noticed by others.

Borlean looks at me again with a big smile,

“My brother,” he has begins with the words of ‘brother’, and I feel I am to him.

“My brother, you must not be ashamed of who or what you are. You should embrace it and respect it. It is a great gift you have.” He sees my curse as a gift. I try for several hours, which turned into days and nights, then into weeks and then months to explain to him I do not see it as he does. I longed for a death. He has hinted that he would like for me to make him as I am. I will not damn him to the existence I have entered into against my will.

Much time has passed with my stay with Borlean, and for which I am grateful. Alas, Borlean has met a young woman, Drina. She is a beautiful creature. She is so delicate and dainty, like a porcelain doll. She has small features, outlined by her long dark hair. He has asked me if he can inform her of what I am, which I am extremely reluctant in, but eventually decide he can. He is going to ask her to marry him, so he wants her to be apart of our lives. He wants me to stand with him as he takes her as his bride. I will be honored.

As a brother, he and I have entertained Drina often; taking her on late night rides in his boat, dining with her under the shade of the huge Cedar trees in the field near her home. She has such a smile, and it reminds me of Rosselina’s. The way she looks when the sun enlightens her features is very intoxicating. I can see why Borlean loves her so. She is quite witty as well. She knows my secret and does not coward away from me. What a wonderful wife she will make him. I cannot wait to stand with him.

Tonight, Borlean has returned, upset and angered. I am not sure why. I try and approach him and he is giving me shameful eyes.

“Brother, what have I done to you?” I ask dumbfounded by his reactions.

He turns toward me with tears in his eyes,

“I, I was about to tell her about you…and, and…” he is having a hard time completing his sentence. I can hear his heart beating so fast it is going to explode if he does not calm down. I might have to use a gift I have on him. It is known as silencing. My kind has a gift that can calm, almost trance like, our victims. I do not use it as others do. I use it as a way to stay clear of arguments.

“Calm…be calm my brother.” My words seem to sting him. His eyes go wide and he collapses down on the ground, crying. I fear that I have not used my gift correctly.

“Why are you so upset with me?” I ask in a pursuit to fix whatever wrong I have done to him.

“She, she does not want me.” He sobs. “She wants you!” he shouts as he looks away in shame.

I am so confused by this, for I have never looked at her as he has. I saw her as his mate. My beloved, Rosselina was the only love I will ever want.

“I…I…have I done something to make her think I am available?” I ask as I sit down beside him on the ground. He looks away and wipes the tears in his eyes.

This happening confuses me.

“I do not know what to say my brother. I wish I could take this pain from you. I am sorry I have upset you so.”

My gift has calmed him now. He turns and looks at me and says,

“No, no you have not my dearest friend. I am the fool. She was never with me, because of me. She was with me, for your company.”

“But why? I am not a gifted artist as you. I do not have a home to offer her. Why would she want me?”

He halfway smiles and slowly looks my way,

“Because my friend, you can give her the thing I cannot.” He pauses as he looks at me with deep and hurt eyes. It is then, that I can see what he means. She wanted me to make her immortal as I am.

“I would not. WILL NOT!” I shout. “I will go and straighten this out now.” I declare to him.

“No, you must not. I fear she will not accept your words. She will entrap you into making her as you are, or she will expose you.” He looks away with tears in his eyes.

“I cannot allow her to make you feel this way. I will either make her understand or I will…”I hesitate to complete the rest of what I was thinking. My predator thinking was telling me to end her miserable life tonight. But, my humanity side was telling me I should think of some way to make her understand.

It is later that night, against Borlean’s wishes, for fear for me; I have gone to Drina’s home. I see her in her room, dressing for bed. I could easily slip in and slit her throat with one finger. Or I could dismember her in a moment without thought. I tighten my grip as I stand watching her. She notices me. Not sure how, because I thought I was like a shadow. I guess my anger has cloudy my talents.

“So, you came.” She says as she throws her curtain sash back.

“Yes. Not for the reason you think though.” I reply with anger in my voice.

She laughs. Does she not know the danger in that?

“Do not laugh Drina. It is not advisable.” I try to reason with her.

“Or what? You will kill me?” She looks away as if my presence is of no concern.

“Yes actually.” I respond as I take a step closer in toward her. She pulls her left hand that has been hidden up. She holds a crucifix in it. I look at it, shimmering in the light of the candle that she holds in the other hand. I tilt my head to the side and then back.

“Is that supposed to frighten me away?” I ask curiously. Having not heard of any reason it should. After all, Guiliamo as Father Anthony wears one around his neckline.

“Yes, actually.” She tries to use my own words to insight fear in me. I glance at her, my eyes now glowing and my teeth shimmering in the light of her candle. I must have given her some fright; she drops her candle as she notices me. Having reflexes stronger and faster than humans, I quickly catch the candle before the flame on the wick had gone out.

“You dropped this.” In a mocking way, I smile.

“But, you…you are supposed to be fearful of crucifixes.” She says very nervously.

I can hear her heart, heart of ice, a heart I would love to rip from her body for hurting my brother Borlean, beating extremely fast.

“Ahh…well, maybe you should check on that again. Crosses are of no fear to me. I believe in the Divinity of Christ. Do you? You are exceptionally close to seeing him. Are you fearful now, Drina?” I speak so calm she attempts to scream and I use my gift on her, silencing her momentarily. She falls limp on the floor. I carry her into her room and leave her on her bed, with her crucifix in her hand. I stand there feeling proud I had not done what I had come to do, to extinguish her life.

I leave in the cloak of a moonless night, no one has seen me neither come nor go.

The next morning, Borlean standing over me with more tears in his eyes awakens me. Had this witch hurt him again? If so, this time I was going to send her to her maker, wherever he might be.


“What did you do?” he asks. I had nothing to hide. I had not planned on informing him of my little talk with Drina, but if she had then perhaps I should explain.

“I am sorry. I did it for you. So, you wouldn’t hate me for the rest of your life.” Again, feeling I have nothing to hide, I have attempted to explain.

“HOW COULD YOU?” He gasps in disgust.

“You said you were different.” He continues.

“What have I done brother?” I stand to my feet and brush the hay from my pants. The morning sun is bright today, so I must stay close to the shadows.

“What have you done? Do you have no shame?”

He pleads with me as if I have committed some awful crime against him. What could I have possibly done to deserve his actions?

“I have done nothing wrong. I explained to her she needed to be sorry for what she did to you and I would not be used in her game.” I pull the straw from my hair and stand stretching out.

“Did you? Did you?” he repeats his words hysterically.

“Yes. Yes I did.” I felt a repeat was in order.

“She is dead Marcusio. Is that your way of explaining to her?” I am stunned by his last words. How could she be dead? I had not done this deed.

I try and explain to him but he interrupts me with,

“She was drained dry. Her aunt discovered her body this morning as she came to awaken her. They found marks on her neck.” He pauses,

“The marks of a beast…a Vampiro.” He hesitates as he says the last words.

He knows me. I would not do this. I knew I had not. But, this only meant there was another, another like I am, here in Bologna. I must try and discover who they are.

“I swear to you my brother, it was not I.” I look him in the eyes and swear to him.

His eyes tell me he knows I am telling the truth, but his heart beats a few beats faster showing he has fear of me; a fear, where love as a brother had once been. A fear, that has torn us apart as friends and made him think of me as a monster. I look at him and then back away slowly.

“You must leave.” He says in a low voice.

With a long mortal sigh, I answer,

“You are right, I will.” I pause for a moment and say,

“Can I stay until nightfall? It would be so much easier if I can.” I feel a great loneliness come on me. I have grown to love spending time with Borlean.

He had been my mentor; my master of sorts and then it progressed into him being my friend, then my brother. Yet now, he sees me as a beast, a monster, and something to fear.

Nightfall came, and I left under the cover of the darkness. I looked back once, to see him standing there in the doorway of his small shop looking at me as I left. Leaving him was harder than leaving my own mortal family. I will miss him. Eventually, I will find a way to show him I am telling the truth. But, for now, I must leave to protect him.

Using my talents to calm him in his sleep, and to cause him to forget we ever argued, I leave him with the thoughts that I had gone on a journey.

Chapter 6 – Lucas

1530 Bologna

I had left Bologna, unknowing of who it was that had murdered Drina. I had not taken her life. Yet, someone like me had. Borlean eventually, without me in the way of standing in his way or complicating his life, married. He married a young Venezian woman who bore him three beautiful children; two sons and one daughter. His eldest son, Raphael had taken up his father’s talents and was a master painter himself at a young age. He was quite gifted. Years had passed and I had been able to return without anyone knowing me, and I didn’t let Borlean know of my presence either. I could not, not even now, after so many years have passed. Borlean has lived a full life, and had become a very old man in a short time for me. I had watched him grow from a strong young man to a very old, white haired man who has had to use a staff to support himself. His children, had all produced him grandchildren. There was Federico, Carmen, Saul, Antonio and Lucas. Lucas was my favorite of the grandchildren. He has inherited his grandfather’s laughter and ability to make those around him laughs with him. As well, he has inherited his grandfather’s talent for painting and making things with his hands, which shows great patience and dedication for mortals.

I have begun a friendship with Lucas. I can still watch over Borlean from a distance. I know death will be coming for him soon. I want to be near when it does. Perhaps, I can catch a glimpse of what I cannot have, only bring. His wife passed last winter. I fear he is not far behind.

It hurts seeing Borlean this aged, and frail. His body is like brittle wood, and his skin is so delicate. His eyes, that once shown bright, now they seem somewhere else, yet I can still see the brother I had first met many, many years before. I have crept in, as only my kind can do, when he was taking naps to see him resting. I sit with him and talk to him in his sleep. One of my gifts in this cursed state is, I can whisper thoughts to mortals and give them images of my thoughts. He smiles as I tell him stories of things we used to do. I can see he remembers me fondly, as I do him.

Suddenly, I can hear his breath coming shorter and his heart is beating slower. His chest rises slower and slower. If I could cry, I would. However, that is another curse of my gift. I cannot shed one single tear for someone who is like a brother to me, as his life passes.

“Rest…rest dear friend.” I call out to him. He opens his weak eyes and looks over at me as he smiles. It is then, that he passes from this life to his eternity. I have lost my brother.

His body will turn to dust and I will stay a young man in the prime of my life. Damn Lorean for making me this way! I would want to join my dear friend on his journey to the afterlife. But, instead, I am damned here. Damned! Damned to live forever!

Lucas is leaving for Genova and I will follow him. I must keep watch over him. He is like the grandson, I could have had. I lived vicariously through Borlean. His tragedies were my tragedies. His loves, were my loves. His ambitions were my own. I loved him as a brother, so I must take over in his absence.

I am sure Lorean and the children are feasting with no regret somewhere. She still uses the same excuse that we do them a favor by taking their lives. The children now near two hundred years and still as they were when Lorean made them, are as headstrong about just feeding, as they were when she created them. They, because they are children, will never grow to appreciate their situation and learn how to live with humans peacefully. I do not miss or long to spend time with them. She has sent for me several times. Unfortunate for the messenger, I did not reply. Unfortunate for him, because when he returned with no word from me, she would kill him. I did not wish this, but knew I could not meet with her, not yet. I had obligations. Lucas was my primary concern.

Again much time has passed; Lucas and I have shared many adventures and many times together as friends. I do so love spending time with him. He reminds me of his grandfather so much. In ways, I feel I have been given a second chance to redo the mistakes made with Borlean.

Today, Lucas arrives into his shop he has started and talking of this young lady he is quite taken with. Her name is Georgina. I have not seen her yet. But, I am sure she must be something grand if he is this taken with her. He is not aware of what I am, and I have not thought I should tell him. I fear the same situation as was with his grandfather. However, I feel I must share with him if I am not to risk repeating the same situation as was with Borlean.

As I slumbered through the town today, in search of proper vegetables to make for a dinner for Georgina and Lucas tonight, I catch glimpse of an angel! I had not thought they came to earth in human form, yet here she was. Her beauty is beyond anything I have ever seen before. My Rosselina was a beauty, both in and outside.

But, this young lady, so fair and beyond mortal comprehension, stands alone as a creation of perfection. I try to catch a closer look of her, without seeming too forceful. She sees me and smiles. I smile back. I purposely put myself in her way of passing so we will have to speak. Her voice is so angelic, like water running off the roof in a soft rain. Her eyes twinkle and her laugh is a delight to hear.

“I am…”I pause before saying my name but know I cannot lie to her, “Marcusio.”

She smiles and replies,

“I am…” She pauses as she reaches for a melon. Just then, Lucas rushes to me and for a moment, I am wishing him away. I love his company, but now I am taken to the closest to Heaven I will ever get to be, and he is interrupting it. I must find a way to spend the rest of my existence with this creature that God has created with His very fingertip.

“There you are!” Lucas calls out. I turn and look at him with a smile as he passes me and reaches for my angel.

“Yes, here I am. And, here you are.” She laughs. She knows him. He knows her. Fate would not be so cruel.

“Marcusio, my dear friend and brother, this is my beloved…Georgina.” Suddenly, if my heart wasn’t already so slow it was near stopping, it would have stopped. I felt the moment a hundred times over as I watched him laugh, smile and kiss her. Her scent was all around and I was enticed by her beauty beyond anything I had ever felt before. Why did this have to be Lucas’s beloved? She was mine. I had to have her. She was my reason for being!

Over the next few weeks, as Lucas and Georgina grow closer and closer, I feel my jealousy rising. I am sure that Lucas was aware of my feelings. Couldn’t he see how I am when I am around her? Can he not see her beauty was intoxicating to me? Why is he punishing me so? He was deliberately bringing her within distance of me, so close I can feel her body heat, hear her heart and I memorized the beat…

“Thump…thump…thump thump…thump” she had a double beat every third beat. Did he know this? No! Did he feel her body temperature as she glided in the room like a swan? No! He could not appreciate her as I could. How could he, he was just a mortal. I was a god compared to him. Never once had I wanted to use my abilities to challenge someone, to show my worth as I did with him for her attention. I was so crazed when I was around her; I broke things and did not care. She was my excuse for any ill temper I had. But, I could not speak a word, out of loyalty to Borlean and his grandson, Lucas. I had to step away and let this union happen. A union that was going to mean I had to let the one I was in love with, slide into the arms of another. Into the arms of the one I called brother. To allow this, I had to muster all the strength I had and step to the side. I would simply leave. I had eternity to love and he had but one life. One small insignificant life, so small in comparison to mine it did not even count. He would be dust sooner than I could think about it.

There was no doubt, I am engrossed in a battle of love, and my mind and heart were clouded by jealousy. I have to remove myself from the path of true love. Even though, she is better with me. Perhaps I will stay a while longer. Not long, just twenty or thirty mortal years.

Lucas has to attend to his mother in Portiamo. I will stay behind to keep watch on the shop. I would hate that vandals harm his work while he is out. And, I can stay and watch over Georgina. She is busy with sewing her gown, the gown she will wear to wed Lucas in three weeks time. Three weeks to me are like a flutter. I must try and conceal my attentions until they are wed and I can gently leave town and come back in, oh….say…fifty years or so.

I stand watch tonight as Georgina is leaving her shop. She is not aware I am nearby. I cannot help but sniff her scent with a deep and compelling breath. She is a mixture of rose buds and Gardenias, with rainwater washing over top. I must stop! I have to! Lucas is my best friend, and like a brother to me. But, there are times…I do not see him as that. I see him as a pebble in my shoe. One I would welcome to pluck from the heel if it would mean I would have Georgina. Georgina was the prize of this world; she was intended for me, I know this. Gently and stealthy I hide in the shadows while keeping watch over her as she goes through the streets in route to her quaint home on the outskirts.

Georgina has come to the shop today. I met her and we talk. It was like two old friends who had lost contact with one another, meeting up and discussing how life had gone. We were so much in perfect synch that I felt the connection to her and I know she had to have felt the spark when I accidentally brushed her hand with mine. She withdraws her hand the expression left her face and she steps away. Perhaps she felt the coldness in my hands that one such as me, has. We tend to be somewhat colder than mortals.

“I…I must go.” She said as she pulled back. I could hear her heart beating faster and faster. Is she scared or feeling what I had been feeling? I could not tell. So, I leaned in closer. Our bodies were not touching, yet there was a spark in the air around us.

“Sir…you…must step back. You are my beloved’s best friend. Lucas is like a brother to you. Is he not?” I reach for her hand once more.

“That he is. But…I am not sorry.” I reply as only one who had nothing and everything to lose.

“Marcusio!” She shouts as she pulls away and steps back once more. I am tempted to use my gift on her. I can compel her to do as I will. Yet, I will not. I am tempted to make her as I am. Then, we would be together, forever. Yet, I know this is not a choice.

“Georgina, you do not feel what I feel?” I call out as I advance once more.

Staring at me she replies,

“No! No, I do not.”

Once more, I feel my heart leave me. I withdraw from her and give her room to pass me. Feeling ashamed and unable to make good the wrong I have done to her and my best friend, I decide I must leave Bologna or further, perhaps to Roma where there are more than enough projects I can sink myself into, to help erase her from my thoughts. Leave and never return. Go as far away from here and let her be. After all, I had eternity.

“Marcusio, you are Lucas’s best friend…” she begins. Feeling shame I look away. Not because of being ashamed for loving her, but because she did not love me back.

“I know…you need not remind me. But, I would do it again, and again, if you would love me. I have loved you since I first met you that day in the market.” I reply as I pack my belongings. More for show, because I usually left my belongings with those who had nothing when I left a town.

“How can you say that? He is your closest friend.” She reminds me once more. “And, for that reason…I will not mention this to him.” She says very calmly. She steps up to me and reaches to hug me in a gesture to show her good faith I can restrain myself. She did not know me. But, I wanted her to. But, I looked into her beautiful emerald green eyes and saw a sparkle of something. Her pupils bounced and grew larger as she came near to me. She did feel it for me, even though she would not admit it. She would come to love me. I have decided to stay.

I embrace her and step back. Her aroma is all over me now; I will have to bath in a spring to wash it off. I cannot stand to have her scent all over me and not have her.

Lucas returns and I allow him to show his affection to Georgina without harming him, as was in my nature to want to. They plan their day to wed and he has asked me again to stand for him. How can I not? I have to put aside my feelings and do this for him. I love Lucas as a son and cannot bear to watch him get married and I not attend.

It is a cloudy day, fortunate for me, as we stand by the lake waiting for Georgina to come to him. In tradition, an elder of her family, which happens to be her Uncle Riccardo, escorts her. Her family had died of some disease when she was a child. Life had spared her, to torture me. She approaches and I can hear her heart…

“Thump…thump…thump thump thump” It had beat three times on the third. It had never done this before. Why? Was something wrong with her?

“Thump…thump…thump thump thump” There it was again. Her heart beat a third beat. Her pupils are larger than normal. She is sweating. She must be just anxious to marry Lucas. Of course, that has to be it.

She takes her place next to him, standing next to me. I look over and see her as beautiful as any angel in Heaven. Even my Rosselina had not looked as beautiful on this day. How could I think that? Rosselina was, is the love of my life. Or was she? I loved Georgina and could not help it.

“Do you take Lucas Del Vissio to be your husband for life?” The priest asks.

Lucas looking over at Georgina appearing to be in such love and affection, how could he possibly know what was about to happen? The travesties of life and love do not explain themselves, they just happen.

Chapter 7 – The Past Returns

Out of nowhere, life seems to change all at once when you least expect it to. I mean, you just get used to it being a certain way and then, BAM! It changes.

That day of Lucas’s wedding, that day I did not want to be apart of, yet I was. That day changed how things would go for not only Lucas, but for me and Georgina as well. That day, they stood there before God and man ready to swear their lives to one another and out of nowhere a giant storm comes up and the heavens drop out on them. Lucas and Georgina running for cover as I stand there. Why was I standing there? I had seen someone who was not supposed to be there. It was someone who should have been dead a long time. Someone I had presumed was dead. Someone I had expected was dead. There in the shadows of the guest running for cover, was Drina. She is alive, or is she? Am I seeing some ghost? Do ghost really exist? I had never seen one. Is she what she had begged me to become? I do not hear a heartbeat coming from her. She does not perspire or even get excited as the rain poured down on her. Instead, she smiles at me. But, how could this be? I did not turn her. So who did?

Suddenly, a guest runs between us, blocking my view for a second and then she is gone. I begin to look everywhere and she is nowhere to be found. Lucas cannot understand why I am so determined on locating her.

“Who is this woman that has you so upset dear friend?” His words of friend rang in my head. If he only knew my thoughts of Georgina and how happy I was that they did not get to take their vows, he would not be calling me friend. Yet, my first instinct above loving Georgina is to protect Lucas. He is the surrogate son I had never had. As odd as that sounds, I am ready to show him up for the woman he loves, to tear her away from him and to forget about my ties to him and the Anuket, for the sake of love. Yet, I had an inner love of protection for him that went above those other feelings. It is actually very ironic. I had thought for the longest, that those feelings and emotions had died with my mortality. I guess they have not. But, Drina is a threat to Lucas because he is the grandson of Borlean. She obviously has a debt to be settled, and I am going to be sure I am the one to collect. My only concern is who is she going after first, Lucas or Georgina? Lucas is so like his grandfather, yet with my temper and flare for things. Georgina is the object of his love and Drina would want to stop that. Of course, I did as well. But, not at the expense of hurting Lucas, not the way Drina would want to. There was the possibility that she was not like the family of Vampires. She could be apart of the Anukets. It depended on her thirst and her temperament. I had to meet with her to determine for myself. One thing is for sure; she is not making it easy for me. I have chased her all over the city and she is nowhere to be found. I know of many places to hide, and still no sight. I have decided she must have left the city; perhaps seeing me reminded her that Lucas is not unprotected. She has had over eighty years of learning to be an immortal, which in our span of time is a drop in the bucket, but it still gives her the advantage on Lucas. I do the thing that I feel in the pit of my stomach is the wrong thing to do, I leave Lucas and Georgina unprotected as I pursue the avenue that Drina has left the city and I give chase after her.

I begin in Nice, having followed her scent, it was very distinctive compared to the mortals in the city, and I had heard word of a string of deaths that I was sure was tied into the ones in Venice and then in Bologna. They had a certain signature to them. One of which I had not seen in a while. One of someone so vile and evil, I am sure now Drina is not acting alone and she is a Vampire by creation; which would mean, one who was a Vampire had sired her. But who is it? I had been in the city when she died, or so we thought, and I did not feel the presence of any Vampire? I had been trained to spot the Vampire. Why hadn’t I? Had a Vampire came into the town under my own nose and I had not been keen enough to sense them?

I pursue her trail for days, far and wide, across the nearby cities and countryside. Each place proved to be a dead end, literally, with only a string of murders and missing people. She either was cloaking herself, which she would not know how to do so young as she is, unless someone had shown her, someone who had an agenda of his or her own in sending her my way. It was so strategic and had a flare to it. The ex-dead love of my deceased mortal best friend; a death I had been blamed for, and suddenly she is alive, so to speak, again. She has been sent to draw my attention away from Georgina and Lucas. Or is it to draw me away from Georgina?

In each city, I searched and either came up with nothing or with a false lead. She has been siring her own now. Creating these mindless Vampires that had no remorse for killing innocent mortals. I had to stop them! Destroying them was the only way I can ensure the safety of Georgina and Lucas.

I had learned how to destroy the Vampire through my training with the Anuket, I just elected not to engage them into combat if I could avoid it. It was one of the reasons I had left the beautiful city of Venezia. Drina created at least a dozen false leads, by leads I mean other Vampires, and I destroyed each and every one. I was sure she or whoever had sent her was enjoying the show I was giving them.

Town after town, the chase continues. I am growing tired of this game she is playing. Making me waste my time, taking me away from spending my moments on trying to get Georgina to see me in the way I saw her. But, safety of Lucas and others were my first goal. Sooner than later, Drina would have to face me, and when she does, she will feel the full wrath that I had wanted to give her eighty years prior. Now, I would feel no remorse for her death. She had murdered several mortals along the way. There was a farmer and his family, massacred, including the small baby and dog. Drina had no guilt for her death toll and she must be stopped. She reminded me of the children Lorean had created; mindless and heartless in their taking of human life.

In each town, I would find small clues that would lead me to yet another avenue that would pull me away from the main path I should have stayed on; the main path being protecting Georgina. Georgina was my love and I would protect her with my own life. Whoever had sent Drina, knew this. Who would have such an agenda for causing me pain? Then suddenly it dawned on me who I was really up against.

All the pursuing had been to elude me from the real plan, the plan to separate me from Georgina and protecting her. The various forms and disguising that Drina had done, they had to have been taught to her by someone much older and with more knowledge on how to do these things. Someone, who would have a vengeance for me being near to Georgina. That someone could only be, Lorean!

I should have known it was Lorean. There she stands with her hand stroking the head of Drina. I stand there looking at her as she smiles.

“No hello…lover?” She asks, rolling the word lover off her blood stained lips like butter.

“Not your lover.” I begin.

“Why are you here Lorean? Why have you sent this…child to do your work?”

“Oh come now lover, you know why. We are…well, we have a destiny to achieve, you and I.” She says stroking the hair on Drina’s head the way a mother does her child for a job well-done.

I look at her with sharpness in my eyes. She only grins back at me.

“We have nothing Lorean. You sired me. And that is all. And I cannot be grateful for that. But, I have learned how I can exist in this life you brought me into. A life I did not crave to be associated with. How I can do something with what I have been cursed with.”

“Cursed? Is that how you still see it? Do tell lover. I am curious.” She is stroking the top Drina’s head more and more. Drina is not facing me; I cannot see the look on her face. I was sure she was getting just as much out of this reunion as Lorean. They did have similar personalities. The two of them are heartless, cruel and self-serving.

“Why do you feel we are not meant to be? Your beloved, she is gone! I am here! You see me? I am here and want to please you in every way.” Lorean looks almost like a jilted lover. I had not ever given her the notion we were more than just what we are, creator and creation. However, I did not feel she could take credit for my creationism other than making me immortal. What I had become, what I had learned was so much more than what she had taught me or revealed to me.

“Did I not allow you to have your friendship with that priest? Did I intervene between you and Borlean?” She pauses waiting for me to answer.

“NO!” She shouts. “I waited…and waited and waited.”

“Why do you not find you another Lorean?” I begin,

“You should see, I am not like you. It seems you have found your match with Drina, take her. She desires the life you want of me. Leave me be! I want to be free of you and the existence you have tried to induct me into.” I stand on my convictions and can see my words pierce Lorean in a way as a parent would to hear from their child to stay out of their life.

“What’s wrong Drina, no sharp comments?” I ask. Drina says nothing. She sits still. Lorean looks down at her and leans in and whispers. Of course I can hear her.

“He wonders why you are not talking. Should we tell him why?” Just then Lorean leans up and pulls her hand away and Drina’s head falls to the floor. Lorean had killed her herself. She had created the monster and then taken the life she had given it. I had been robbed of the victory and this made me even more upset. Either way, Drina was going to die. But, I wanted it to be by my hand, not Lorean’s. I watch as Drina’s lifeless corpse tumbles to the floor and Lorean begins a very sadistic laugh.

“Still want her head on a silver platter?” Lorean asks as she reaches down and picks up the head and tosses it my way.

“No thank you. I think you took care of that for me. Now, I just want yours.” These are dangerous words and I know this. Lorean is very old, near as old as Guiliamo. She had great strength and speed. Not to mention she knows more than I do about fighting. I was hoping she would not want to take me up on my offer, at least not today. I watch as the head of Drina rolls around on the ground at my feet, her eyes are set and her mouth gaped open as though she was surprised by Lorean taking her life she had so given.

Lorean looks at me with curious eyes and seems not to understand how I can challenge her. I do not flinch and I show no fear of her. I was trained how to control my body and not show fear. She studies my body movements and listens attentively for an irregular heart rhythm. Although mortals did not think we had a heartbeat, we do. It is just very, very faint. Only another immortal that has studied the arts, can detect this. Just a common immortal cannot. I felt like she and I were about to duel. Odd seeing her after all this time and it was down to this. Would this be the day it all would end?

“You would come against me? The one who created you? The one who has given you immortality? The one who stayed with you as you and your beloved,” She says the word of beloved, as though it were a cured word, “while you were ill with the death that men had brought you? These mortals that you are willing to sacrifice your own immortality for cursed you with death, not I!” She seems very agitated that I could stand against her, as was expected.

“Yes. If I must, then I must.” I try very hard to show no fear in my voice.

I know she is smart enough to realize I do not want to battle her, but maybe I had gained something she had not been able to read about me in her way she has learned to do with her talents; something hidden from her thoughts.

“I see.” She stands and then her body relaxes. I can feel her probing my mind and trying to see if I have the goods to take her. I resist her attempts to see much.

“Not today.” She quickly turns and is gone before I can think about anything. Was she gone or just hiding away somewhere? I was sure she would come back to haunt my future, just when?

I relax and exit the barn where I had found her and Drina. Realizing I cannot leave Drina’s body as it is, I had to burn it and scatter the ashes. Even though Lorean had beheaded her, it did not mean death completely. Her body could revive, it had happened before, but not very often. But I could take no chances of it happening. So, I take her head and body and set fire to them. I spread the ashes over several streams. Once I am done, I know I can then return to Lucas and Georgina. But, what was I returning to? I had just risked it all, to battle my creator, to save them. Now, I would go back to being the one who could tear apart Georgina and Lucas? What type of creature was I to be able to think of my needs after just saving the ones I am out to hurt? These emotions and thoughts haunted me so, as much as the memory of seeing Drina’s lifeless head looking back at me.

I set forth on my journey back to the place I call home, Bologna. I will detour from being around Georgina and Lucas for a decade or two and this will allow them to be as they are. Their fate will be their own, not mine to toy with.

Day after day, I sit and write to pass the moments. I write about my love, my devotion to one, I cannot, NO…Shall not be with.

“Be still my heart, if my heart can be any more still it would. I will simply close my eyes for a while and awake when they have forgotten about me. They will think me dead. I cannot take their love and destroy it, can I? No, I mustn’t! I must be the bigger man here and walk away. Walk away from the love of my existence, dead or alive, and allow her to marry someone who can never truly appreciate her the way I do; to caress her face with the tenderness of an angle, to be a lover like no other and to be able to offer her immortality. NO! I must not think of her that way. I must never consider changing her. Drina was a fine example of what could happen.” I end my writing, as I know I must return to my quest of finding serenity in some place without Georgina.

In route, I come across a young man who is in a bad way. He has been robbed and all his valuables have been taken. I feel such compassion for him. He resembles the fool you see in a play; the one who everyone would laugh at as he enters the stage.

“Tell me…what happened?” I begin as I see him sitting alongside the road in his tattered clothes and dirty face.

Pathetically, he looks up at me and says,

“I was overtaken by some men who robbed me of my savings. I was en route to my beloved’s house in Gerona to ask her father for her hand, to offer a token to him for her as my wife.” He begins, “And, these men…they came from nowhere, and suddenly they overtook me and beat me. When I awoke, my belongings were gone. All is gone, including my dog.”

“I see.” I felt compassion for the fool; fool as he was, he was a fool in love and to this I could relate.

“And,” I begin,

“Can you recognize these men if you saw them again?” I ask, hoping he will answer that he could not.

“I-I am not sure. Why do you ask?”

“Because,” I begin as I take seat near him on a rock. “I know how it…I mean, I understand your situation.” I reply.

“You do? Then you will help me, will you not?” He seems too eager to have me join his party of one to regain his valuables.

“NO!” I sharply reply with no hesitation. Even though I could relate, he was not my mission. His journey was not apart of my own.

He looks at me with such sad and dismayed eyes,

“I see.”

I look away and can hear his heart as he returns to gathering his satchel of what is left of his belongings. The things he gathered no one would want, his broken comb and torn clothes.

Seeing him like a lost puppy, I take pity on him.

“Okay,” I begin. He looks around at me with such hope in his eyes.


I continue,

“I will help you regain your lost possessions.” I had a duty to love, even if it wasn’t for my own.

“Why? You did not seem to want to just a moment ago. Why would you do this sir?” It was a fair question he asks.

“Let’s just say, I have a weakness for love.” I reply offering a hand up. He embraces my hand, as is customary in this region, and I smile at him.

Smelling his stench I comment,

“First, you must go and bathe in the stream that is not far from here. Then, I will give you some clothes of mine to put on. This should at least keep people from thinking you a pauper.”

“Thank you sir.” He is appreciative.

“I fear I have nothing to offer you.” He looks around at himself standing there with no possessions to offer me. I smile and say,

“No need. I do this for love.” I reply,

“However, the name is Marcus…not sir.”

“I am Raphael and eternally in debt to you Marcus.” He is genuine in his gratitude for me assisting him.

Raphael is a slender young man who reminds me of myself in some ways, at least the way I was before I was reborn. When my kind is reborn, we are endowed with strengths that we had never had before, along with skills.

Raphael is determined to win the favor of the father of his beloved, Cornelia. He was not wealthy, but had saved enough to give to her father as a token of how he expected to take care of Cornelia, as was customary in our parts.

He described her over and over to me,

“She has legs that go on forever, with dark hair that embraces her face that God created from His very own finger-tip. She smells of rose buds and lavender. Her lips are like ripe cherries.” I felt as though I had already met her. His imagery was conjuring up memories of Georgina for me. My kind does not sleep, but we can if we want to. And, tonight I wanted to more than anything. Just so I could refresh my very vivid memories of Georgina in my minds eye. Although I had never actually held her in my own arms or loved her with my body; it did not mean I did not desire it to be so. I had sat many times looking at her, longing for her. Not as a possession, but as an equal. What Lorean wants of me is not the same. She wants to possess me, to own me because she created me. She does not take in consideration my feelings, my wants and how I am not like her.

“Are you hearing me my friend?” Raphael calls out to me as he sits across from me near the fire.

The fire twinkles on his eyes like fireflies. His face is as alive and warm as only a mortal can be. The blood flows through his expressions as he talks about his beloved is very intoxicating; I can almost taste it.

“Yes, yes my friend I am. I was thinking of my own beloved as well.”

Raphael looking surprised says,

“You have a young lady you are enamored with?”

“Yes,” I begin, “I do.” I leave as that and roll over to go to sleep. He follows suit and goes to sleep as well. He snores…this keeps me from dreaming, if I could sleep.

The next day, Raphael and I awake and begin our journey into town, after washing in the brook nearby. He asks,

“Do you think her father will still allow me to marry my beloved?”

Not wishing to dash his dreams with anything less than what he wants to hear,

“Of course he will.”

He sets forth and begins his walk into town. I stand back and watch as he heads off. It is then; I hear a sound in the woods. It is a sound of someone who is watching from a distant, trying to be hidden from me. I try and act as though I do not hear them and act as if I am going to go wash in the brook as well. This way, they will think I am gone from the camp and will come in closer. I walk away into the brush and with great speed; I am around behind them as they move in closer to the camp. Perhaps this is one of the men who stole from Raphael or another who is here to rob me? I cannot hear his heart, but I can sense him. Perhaps it is another vampire creation that Lorean has sent. Either way, I am not going to let them go without explanation.

I can see them hiding in the brush as I approach. Being able to move at lightning speed has advantages.

“Looking for trouble are you?” I call out as I leap onto them. I wrestle them to the ground and we tussle around. They are quite strong whoever they are. I can tell they are not mortal by their strength and lack of breath.

“Lorean sent you, didn’t she?” My question is soon answered as I break free for a moment and see it is my dear friend,

“ Guiliamo!” I shout.

“Friend!” we both embrace for a long moment. I dust off his clothes as he stands before me, not in priest clothing, but as a normal man. This brings my question,

“Why aren’t you -” I begin curiously, but he cuts my words off.

“A…priest?” He smiles as he looks at me.

“Well, yes. What happened?”

“I am taking a break of sorts. I have need to after over two hundred years of being Father Anthony, Father Antonio, Father Ando…The names seemed to mount on me and I needed to see what had become of my friend, my brother, you.” His words are said as one with a mission. I can tell instantly he has need of just being outside of the church, with no one to report to or give blessings to. However, I know him well enough to know there is more behind his decision to leave the church, the passion he had created as his life as an immortal.

“After all that while as a priest, you decide to not be?”

His reply is concise and to the point,


Curiously I ask,

“Just like that?”

I am not sure I understand or believe him, but for now I go along with his story.

I ask, “Then you shall travel with me, yes?”

“I would love to Marcusio. You have found what you were looking for?” He had thought I was searching for more when I had left Venezia so many years before.

“Yes, and no.” I reply as I stir a long stick in the fire I have made for Raphael, should he return tonight.

“I am not sure I understand that answer my brother.”

“I’m not sure I do either dear friend.” I stop and smile. “What shall I call you now?” I felt I needed to know how to introduce him to Raphael and others as we come upon them.

“Guiliamo will be fine. After all, it is my name.”

“Is it?” I knew it was his name the Anuket had given him. I had never in all the time I had known him, asked his mortal name.

“Well, that name has been buried a long time. So long, that I have not thought of it in over a thousand years.” Guiliamo replies as he stands and looks at the stars above in the night sky.

“I see. So, Guiliamo are you here as Anuket or as my friend?” I felt the question had to be addressed presently.

He stands in place, so still for a moment one would think he was a statue, “As both.” His words break the silence for a brief second and then silence befalls us again.

“The Anuket are curious what has become of me, are they not?” I ask. I knew that I had broken a rule by leaving. Just didn’t know if this rule was a deadly rule to be broken or not.

“Relax dear friend, you are fine. I am only here to observe how one such as you, has managed.” He smiles and then speaks again,

“And, I get to catch up with my dear friend at the same time.”

“I see. So, the Anuket didn’t send you to…” I pause on the words.

“To extinguish your life?” He looks at me with a very hard face.


His face had become like stone once more,

“Only if you have left the ways of the Anuket or spoken to anyone of our existence. Have you?”

“Ahh, I see.” I stand up and hold my hands up in the air,

“So, am I what you had thought I would be?”

“Are you asking if I thought you would have turned away from your teaching?” He asks.


“I had not given thought that you would have. I knew you had come to us as a free…soul,” he smiles with that word seeing how we are supposed to be without soul,

“And, you took on our ways as your own. You had decided to be Anuket of your own accord, not because we forced you to. Why would you change?”

“Point made.” I answer as I sit down.

“So, have you, found what you were looking for?” Guiliamo asks.

“As I said before, yes and no.” I know this answer is not a defined answer and it confuses with the logic Guiliamo loves to apply to all matters, however, this was the best I could give him without full explanation.

“Then, explain.” He had read my thoughts, as was a gift our kind.

I smile and begin to tell him all that had happened, leaving out the part of me telling Borlean that I was an immortal. Of course, he had guessed as much. Still, the Anuket might not care for that.

“This Borlean, a mortal, was friends with you for all that time and you never disguised yourself, made yourself appear older?” Guiliamo had made the connection. This was a moment I was not looking forward to.

Chapter 8 – The Moment Of Truth

“No, no I did not.” I reply without haste.

“I see.” Guiliamo stands and paces back and forth before speaking,

“And, did he ever ask why not?”

My words were going to be the final thing I said, my life would be extinguished and no more worries of how I would conduct myself, no more worries of Lorean and those she would send to fetch me for her.


Guiliamo looks at me hard for a long moment, a long hard moment for us is only a brief one for a mortal, however, and it is with great thought when we do it.

“I see.” He begins as he pushes his cloak back and revealing his sword on his right side.

“And, what did you tell him?”

This was it, my final words,

“I told him I was an Immortal.” I clenched my eyes shut waiting for the coldness of Guiliamo’s blade to slice through my neck. I wait longer and still no piercing or sharp feeling. I dare to open my eyes and see him standing there with a look on his face.

“You told him you were Immortal, but not Anuket?” He was precise in his question. I knew if I ever wanted to see Georgina again, I had to bend the truth in my favor this one time with Guiliamo, who could have used Huika, a deeper method of sharing one’s thoughts with another Anuket, to get to the bottom of it all. Yet, he elected to ask me the truth, and I felt obligated to our friendship and to my existence to elude the truth this one time.

“Yes.” The answer sounded like a dual edge question, “I meant no! What I mean to say is, I only told him I was immortal.” How was he going to ever know? Borlean was long dead and Drina was as well; the only two mortals to know my secret since I had begun this life of immortality.

Guiliamo slides his hand away from his side and his cloak falls to his side.

“So, Lorean has sent her creations to bring you to her?” This was a question I could answer very truthfully.

“Yes, she has. I have stopped the one. Well, actually, I stopped only the ones that her creation created. She stopped the one she sent.” I knew my answer would sound a bit confusing.

“She stopped her own creation?” He was puzzled.

I explain how Lorean had taken the life of Drina to show me she had the power to give life and to take it. It was a power thing with her and I was hers as far as she was concerned. She would not allow anyone or anything to come in our way. That was the reason I had left Venezia in the first place, to protect the Anuket from her.

“And, you feel she would be a problem for the Anuket?” He giggles,

“My friend, we have taken on much, much worse.”

“Yes, you might have. Yet,” I begin,

“She was or rather, she is, my problem to deal with.”

“You do not understand my friend,” Guiliamo begins as he stands near the fire, “When you became Anuket, you became no longer ONE. You are many now. We fight with you. We take our stand with our own.”

As much as I appreciate knowing that the Anuket were there to protect me, I felt I had to deal with Lorean on my own. Mostly because, she was the one who had created me and any and all terror that she had brought onto mortals as a result of me, I had to be the one to make penance for it. Contrary to rumors, immortals, both Anuket and Vampire, have their religious beliefs. The Vampires have chosen to give into the evil and the Anuket have faith they are the servants of God in some form. As much as I wanted assistance from my dear friend, I did not wish to endanger him. However, I also did not want to not enlist his help with the lives of mortals I loved and cared for in the crossfire. If Lorean was going to come after me, and I knew she was, I would need all the help I could get to protect Georgina and Lucas, as well as, Raphael.

“Tell me one thing.” I start.

“What is that dear friend?” Guiliamo ask.

“Could I stop you from helping me?” I smile.

“Most definitely, not. I would have to prove my value to you by challenging you to Kivo.”

Kivo is like Greco-Roman wrestling played only as an immortal can, no boundaries and no rules.

“Is that a fact?” I smile and reach my hands out palms up and usher him to come forward and let’s have Kivo.

In a flash he lunges toward me and with my eyes adjusted to the lighting of the nightfall, I dodge his pursuit and he crashes into a cedar tree, taking a large chunk of the bark off. He stands and dusts himself and smiles.

“I see you have not lost that speed of yours.” Guiliamo braces his footing. I had been blessed with an extra amount of speed for an immortal. I charge him and knock him into the forest. He picks me up my one arm and spins me around and around, taking down any and all small trees in the process, and then releases, slinging me deep into the woods. This game goes on for a while and suddenly we both are aware that mortals are approaching. We stop and take our seats by the fire, as mortals would be.

“Who goes there?” I call out, knowing who it was by his heart beat. Yet, he had brought someone with him that I was not aware of their scent. They smelled of lavender.

“It is I, Raphael.” He calls out as he approaches.

“Who is with you?” I call back.

“How-I mean, it is my younger brother Paolo. He wants to travel with me for a distance, if that is fine with you.”

He seems surprised that I was able to know he had brought someone and then curious if they would be able to join me. He had not mentioned his brother before being in the town. More for curiosity, I allow him to bring him forth into the camp.

“He may.”

Raphael and his brother Paolo enter the camp and he looks surprised as he sees Guiliamo, as well as, Guiliamo seems to be interested in Paolo for some odd reason.

“This is my dear friend from…” I think before saying,

“…my home, Guiliamo.” I pause as I look around,

“Guiliamo, this is Raphael and his brother…”

Guiliamo stands and walks away as I am speaking which was rude and nothing like he had ever shown. Guiliamo had been able to conceal his true identity, having never seen him angry or dismayed with anyone in the near two hundred years I had known him, and yet at this very moment, as if a hailstone had fallen or the earth had erupted under his feet, he was out of character for the one I knew as Guiliamo.

“Did I offend him?” Raphael asks.

It would appear he had; yet I knew there had to be another reason. Guiliamo had been a priest for centuries and had seen the worst of man, why would or better yet, how could Raphael offend him by first meeting?

With his back turned from us, Guiliamo calls out to Raphael and his brother, “No, you did not offend me. I am just tired and it has been a long day.” I could sense there was more in what Guiliamo was not saying, versus what he had said.

Raphael and his younger brother Paolo take their places by the fire and eat some of the stew I had made for them. Raphael seems to have more of an appetite than his youthful looking brother. For appearances, I could eat, just did not enjoy it. I preferred the blood of a rabbit or a deer to cooked potatoes and squirrel meat. Cooked meet looses the flavor when cooked. Raphael ate two helpings. Guiliamo had made his bedding and took his spot away from the fire. We did not require sleep, however, he was doing this because he was avoiding them and I could tell.

“Raphael,” I begin,

“Why did you not mention your brother Paolo before?” I was curious.

Raphael sits for a moment and thinks before speaking. I could hear his heartbeat rhythm speed up, indicating he was about to lie to me.

“I was not aware he was here. I came across him when searching for my beloved.” The lie he was telling me was causing him distress, which showed me he cared that he was not telling me the truth.

“I see.” I pause and look over to Paulo who has sojourned himself into a cozy spot near the fire.

“And, how about you Paolo?” I knew I was asking a partial question purposely.

Paulo turns slowly and lifts his eyes to look at me. For a moment the iris in his eyes burned red as the fire. It must have been just a light reflection that mortals have.

“How about I?” Paolo replies with guarded reply.

I begin with a smile,

“How did you know your brother would be here?” I stir the fire so the embers are spread out evenly. I notice the color in Paolo’s eyes reflect the change.

“I…’ He begins as he looks over at his older brother,

“Did not.”

“You did not know either would be here?” I look at Raphael for his answer. I notice he almost wells up in his eyes and his heartbeat becomes irregular again as he pauses to speak.

“I-”Paolo interrupts him.

“He did, we did not know, the other would be here. My family had suffered great loss back at our home in Pallozo, and had sent me here to look for Raphael in hopes he would be here looking for-“ Raphael interrupts Paolo.

“Dear brother, he is not interested in hearing our tragedies. I was here looking for my beloved, remember?” Raphael shoots Paolo a look. It is the way their eyes meet that tells me there is something more to this. Beyond the fact that the home they have both spoken of, is in two different towns. And that the two stories seem to be just that, stories, nothing factual in them other than themselves.

“Rest now.” I reply, which seems to ease Raphael’s heart rhythm to a slower beat. The two lean back and I turn to look around at Guiliamo who has been extremely quiet during this conversation. I knew that Raphael was lying to me, as well as, did Guiliamo. Any immortal would know from how Raphael’s blood raced. However, Paolo seems to conceal his much better. Some people are natural born liars. Paolo appears to be one. For appearance sake, I had to give the sense of believing for now. I now felt that Guiliamo had sensed something about them as they had come to take camp with us. I had never seen him react this way before.

Seeing Guiliamo lying very still as a statue, I call out to him in a very low tone that mortals cannot hear.

“What is troubling you?” I wait for an answer. Guiliamo looks away and does not reply. Was he angered with me? Had I done or said something to offend him? My dearest of friends, my brother as he has been, was angry with me it would seem. It is just then that I become suspicious of the tales I had been told.

“What?” Paolo calls out from across the fire.

How had a mortal heard me, at the tone I was speaking, from across the distance he was? This puzzled me, as some great mystery would intrigue one; Paolo seems to be not what he has said.

“What is wrong?” I persist, feeling that I had to have a reply from Guiliamo.

“Leave it be.” He replies without looking at me.

“Have I done or said something wrong dear friend?” I felt I must have angered or insulted him in some way for him to be acting so.

“Leave it be, Marcusio.” He sounds very stern in his response, so I lay back in silent position.

Many days had passed since Raphael and Paolo had joined up with Guiliamo and myself. Time had not softened how Guiliamo felt about Raphael or Paolo for that matter. I cannot tell which he seems to dislike more? We have journeyed and made camp many nights and Guiliamo still gives the silence to them both. He has not exactly been talkative with me as well.

Finally, one day when Raphael and Paolo were off gathering wood for the fire, I took the chance to speak with Guiliamo alone. I had hoped he would open up and tell me what was wrong. Silence for anyone, especially for an immortal can be too much sometimes.

“Guiliamo, my friend…” I begin,

“Have I said or done something to offend you?”

“No.” His answer is short and precise.

“Then why do you treat me as you do? Why do you dislike Raphael and Paolo?” For a man who was a priest, he had taken a strong dislike to them.

He takes a deep sigh and then looks at me,

“You really need to not worry about it. I will take care of it in my way, my time.”

“No, we will not end the conversation this way.” I reply.

He looks at me, his eyes glaring into mine.

“Do you really want to, cross paths with me like this?”

“No, I do not. I want is my friend to explain why he has started acting like my enemy.” I heard myself say it and wished I could retract it the moment I said it.

However, it was out there now.

“Enemy? Is that what you wish to be with me?” He seems very surprised and bewildered by this.

“NO.” I realize my words were too harsh and too loud.

“No, I do not. I want to go back to the way we were, before in Venezia.” I pause and smile.


“Of course I do. However, you need to realize I am older and wiser at this life we live than you are. I-“ I try and interrupt which was a mistake.

“Yes, I – “ I get the words barely out of my mouth and he gives me the look, the look of be quiet.

Like a puppy, I stand in silence as my master speaks,

“I know how to handle these things.” He finishes.

I look at him with curiosity,

“What things?”

He looks at me as if he did not understand what he meant,

“Are you serious?” He replies.

“Is there something I should know, that I do not?”

He looks at me once more and realizes I was not aware of whatever he was aware of.

“You will know soon enough.” He says as he walks away. Just then Raphael and Paolo return with arms of wood and a rabbit for stew.

That night, I lay there watching and listening to every sound that came from the woods near and around us. Silence was in our camp, silence because of how Guiliamo felt toward Raphael and Paolo.

For one of my kind, the silence can be deafening. However, the sound of the night creatures stirring can be maddening to one who can hear every little step a squirrel makes. Or every movement of a wolf as it hunts for food for herself and her young. A bat flapping its wings as it soars through the night sky. There is freedom of the cover of nightfall that the day does not give to one of my kind, the hunter. It was then that I watched as only one who is immortal can, that he sprung to his feet in complete silence and dashes into the forest with little haste and yet not a sound, at least not to a mortal ear. I followed.

Chapter 9 – Found Out

I followed closely without giving away I was following. This was one of my special talents that even the normal immortal could not hear or see me when I decided to be invisible to them as well. And now it was proving to be very much of use. I can see him as he maneuvers in and out of the thick of the forest, weaving about as only one of the night can. His silhouette is as a ghost, casting a reflection on the nearby tree as he passes it. I move in closer with ease as not to give away my presence.

I wonder if he is aware of me? If he is, and it would appear he is, an immortal…then, surely he is aware of my presence and knows that Guiliamo is immortal as well. This would put Guiliamo at risk, as well as, the Anuket. I have no other choice than to destroy him. Perhaps I should give him chance to explain? No, explaining would only complicate. The Vampires like to try and use reason on the Anuket, how we are distant cousins of the same breed. How we should join together rather than fighting against each other. I will not, I must not listen to any of these lies when I come face to face with this creature. His steps are faster; as he seems to know exactly where he is going. Suddenly, I realize he has come to a clearing and has turned and doubled back on me. I am now the hunted. I stand still as I can, listening for movement. I hear nothing. Yet, I sense there is someone there. I know it is he. I turn slowly and look out into the thick of the forest. I cannot see him. BAM!

He has stuck me to the ground with his full force. I feel the breath in my lungs escape and my eyes are not focusing as I fall. My head lands on a root of tree. Had I been mortal, it would have harmed me or even worse, killed me. I use my strength and throw him back. I hear a loud THUG! He must have hit the big Cedar tree behind him. I charge at his shadow, which is all I can see at this point. The moon is casting little light being a partial moon and the clouds are acting as a blanket for the evening sky. The sounds of our growls as we both collide with one another, the snapping of huge branches as we fall into them, the dirt that is flying into the night sky like a cyclone has lifted it from where it lay. The echo of our battle is thundering throughout the wooded area. WHAM! I throw him once more into a group of trees that are leveled by his body. Immortals are like stone to living things. This is one of the many reasons a love with a mortal is forbidden.

I follow him as he runs through the woods. I was fast, but yet his speed seemed to almost be double mine in some ways. We must have covered a large area of land, had come and gone through many forest. Passed many villages and towns. If any had seen us, they would have thought us a blur or an angel sent to show them a sign. We moved with such speed, immortals that is, that we could appear to walk on water. He was slowing down or I was gaining. I was not sure.

He suddenly stops and holds his arm out straight and I hit it hard, BOOM!

It makes a noise of loud thunder through the valley. The people would have thought it was God sending rain.

“You will not take me that easy!” I call out as I begin my accent on him once more.

“I did not wish to battle you!” He calls out.

“That is too bad for you. You are Vampire!” I shout as we collide once more like two huge blocks of marble, casting dust and debris in every direction.

“I do not wish to be!” He calls out.

I pause and know that feeling. I come to a sudden stop and look at him standing not more than ten paces from me. The partial moon shines down a bit of its light through the clouded sky, giving view of the angelic face I had noticed across the fires many nights. The face of Paolo standing there wishing not to be Vampire was like a page of my own struggles with this life I had been cursed with; my thoughts all running together as I stand there trying to remember how Guiliamo had said, “You will know.” He knew. He had known since day one. This was why he had felt the way he did toward them.

“Is Raphael one as well?”

“No. No he is not.” Paolo is concerned for his brother,

“He is mortal, as I thought you were.”

“You thought me to be mortal?” I questioned.

“You ate, you sleep, and you seem to thrive on the mortal life. Why would I not think it?” His answer was logical.

“This is true. But, my heart does not beat as one of our kind.”

“I am not trained on the ways you are. I knew not this.” But if that were the case, then how did he disguise his heartbeat before?

“How did you hide your heartbeat before?” I ask.

“I do not know. I simply told myself I must appear and look mortal. Especially when your friend Guiliamo discovered I was not.”

“So, you know Guiliamo is immortal as well?” I pace back and forth. I was not sure why I was engaging in conversation. I had been trained not to. I was told and trained that they will try and distract you with conversation so that you will take pity on them. Why was I asking these questions of one of my sworn enemies? Lorean could have even made him to try and bring me in.

“Who is your creator?” I ask.

“I do not know.” His answer baffles me. It was as the same for Guiliamo. He had said, he did not know his creator either.

“What do you mean, you do not know? How is that possible?”

“I do not know. I was dying one moment then….then this.” He motions at his now body. I understand his thoughts.

“I will help you.” I know what I must do. I will not suffer him the same fate as I have had. I will not allow him to search and search for centuries for meaning and purpose for a maddening way of existence.

Chapter 10 – Bloodlines Are Crossed

As I take my position, as he stands before me, ready to be put to death, by my hand. His eyes are shut, as he knows that I am steadfast in my decision to take his life. The idea that I am about to take one’s life that has done no wrong to me does cause me pain. Can I put him to death with no care for his brother’s agony of losing him, again? Obviously I had only one thought in my mind, he had been sired by a Vampire and would kill innocent humans, or worse…make more of his kind. Had he already? Had he turned his brother? No, he couldn’t have. I had heard one distinct heartbeat. I never tried or thought about why I could not hear Paolo’s heart. I had only listened for Raphael’s. Paulo must be new as well, he had not trained or been trained on the talents we possess; such as, hiding and sneaking out unheard.

“You know not who made you?” I ask as I stand with sword in hand ready to slice his neck.

“No.” He never lifts his eyes to meet mine, his head bowed in shame.

“I only know that I went to sleep and awoke with a thirst, a thirst I cannot and could not fill.” He brings his eyes up slowly and I can see the rim of his eyes, they are not black as a Vampire. They are blue, like mine.

“You know, you do not appear to be Vampire.” I pause as I look down on him.

“However, I still have no choice.” I say aloud.

“I understand.” He says as bends his head back down, giving me clear shot at a smooth, swift slice to behead him.

“It is my duty!” I call out. I was stalling, and had no reason to.

“I understand and will not fight you.” He calmly says.

“You are my sworn enemy!” I am wrestling so hard with this decision.

“Yes, you are right.” He is so meek and peaceful with this. How can he be?

I bring the sword back, believing I am about to do what it is that Anuket are sworn to do. We must destroy the Vampire, the diseased breed of our kind.

“Please tell my brother, I did not suffer. He worries so.” I bring the sword back and reply,

“I will.”

My hand comes down and my eyes are closed.

Just then, a swift strong breeze knocks me to the ground and the sword flies from my hand. I hear a loud thunderous cry,

“NOOOOO!” It is Guiliamo. He has issued a postponement for the termination of the Vampire who does not act as a Vampire.

“What is wrong with you brother?” I ask as I pick myself up off the ground and reach for the sword before the Vampire can.

“You cannot kill this one.” Guiliamo reaches down and offers his hand to the Vampire.

I am puzzled and push my sword into my sheath on my side.

“Why not?”

“Because-” he begins,

“This one is mine.”

I look at him and then back at Paolo.

“What do you mean, he is yours?”

He turns and smiles,

“This one is mine. I sired him.”

My curiosity is beyond normal, as I ask,

“Is not that against the Anuket rules?”

“Yes.” He looks at me and finishes,

“If you must, then take my life.”

He knows I cannot and will not. He had done something I would have with Borlean. However, I had not and regretted it much.

“When?” I believed it was a logical question, seeing I knew how.

“Last winter.” He begins as he looks down at Paolo there on the earth’s floor.

“He was starving and diseased. I gave him life.” He had done exactly the same for Paolo as Lorean had done to me and yet his seems noble and pure of heart, where her methods and reasons seem despicable and vile.

“You are my creator?” Paolo ask.

“Yes.” Guiliamo looks for the look. The look that says, “I hate you, I despise what you have done to me”. Yet, he does not see it. Paolo has nothing but gratitude for his kindness.

“Thank you.” Paolo surely was the kindest heart I had ever known, aside from Guilano, Borlean and Georgina. My heart and soul might be in question, but they belonged to her, without question. Her image still engraved deep inside my mind; the way she tossed her hair to the side, the way she walked with a slight lean to the side, as she would tilt her head to smile at me. How could I be so uncaring of her and Lucas’s love and devotion to each other? I was a monster at best. How could I expect her to love me in return? I often dreamed, when I did slumber, of Georgina in a crowded room, looking around, not sure for me or for someone else. The room is in the form of a ballroom, with the guest all in mask and dressed very appropriately. I see her and her beauty is captivating, intoxicating, engaging. I cannot nor would I, want to resist her. I am not sure who is hunting whom. Perhaps she is like those spiders or insects that use their beauty to entrap the victim and lure them into a catatonic trance of believing that they are safe. I am anything but safe when I am with her. She is my captor and I am her slave. She can command me to do anything and I would. My pulse speeds as I make my way through the crowds and ease toward her in my unique and predator way. It was as if I was in stealth mode, invisible to the mortal eye, slinking through the bodies of mere mortals that surround her. My hand reaches to touch her on the arm, and as when a dangerous creature is about to leap and the prey will react at the last second in an automatic stimulation to the impending danger, she withdraws and pulls away. She begins to run through the masses and I pursue. I hear her heart beating harder and harder. I can smell her perfumed sweat that is running down her back as she is in fear of her life, fear of the animal that she cannot see. I continue forward, slowly and carefully sliding in and out of the bodies of humans that separate us. She finds her way to the outside and lifts her gown and begins her retreat from me, from the creature she cannot see or hear, only feel. My mind is set and I am in pursuit. I will not allow her to escape my advances; I am engulfed in only holding her close to me and making love to her with my mouth and the touch of my hand on her waist as I hold her close to me. She has a look of terror on her face, I must catch her to show her the real me; the man inside the monster. Why does she continue to run? Why do I feel the overwhelming urge to chase? She goes to the gardens and stands near a big tree, a tree with ripe fruit dangling from it. I see her, her aroma gives her away even over the pungent blossoms of the lemon tree she stands beneath. She is breathing hard, her pulse is racing and her eyes are wide open exposing her terror or frightened look of the beast that she cannot see or hear. I am near, I try to stop myself from the next, as I leap on her and begin to drink her dry. It is then I awaken from my slumber and realize that the morning sun is rising and Guiliamo and Paolo are standing in front of me, looking at me curiously. I have dirt in my bald up hands, clinched tightly, so tight that I have made the dirt into a stone.

“What were you seeing?” Guiliamo asks.

“Nothing!” I begin my lie,

“Nothing at all.” I stand to my feet and look at the two who had gone away to talk.

“Didn’t appear to be nothing.” Paolo remarks.

I glare at him for a moment and then reply,

“It was.” I brush myself off and look around for Raphael. “Where is your brother?” I felt it was a logical question. I wasn’t quite sure how or what to think of Guiliamo being the creator of Paolo. Didn’t this break the rule of the Anuket? How did this separate him from being a Vampire?

“He is still sleeping back at the camp.” Guiliamo begins,

“Perhaps we should, all of us, return there and act as though this…situation has not happened.” Guiliamo wanted to brush this matter under the rug with no explanation. I was not inclined to do so. Especially, since I had wanted to save my friend, who was like a brother, from death and was not able to without breaking the code of the Anuket. To me, Guiliamo owed an explanation.

“Perhaps Paolo can return to camp, but you and I should talk.” I insist.

Guilamo looks at me and sees that I am not willing to let this matter go unspoken of. He nods to Paolo, his creation, and Paolo nods in reply. Paolo is gone in a flash of a moment to return to the camp where Raphael is.

“I understand you are confused.” Guiliamo begins. I interrupt.

“NO!” I shout with a loud thunderous voice.

“ No you don’t get to tell me how I feel.” I felt betrayed and had the full realm of emotions that I needed to explore. As an immortal, our emotions run slightly higher than those of mortals. We feel them much deeper, stronger than mortals do. If in anger, the range can be explosive and very violent to any and all nearby to us. If in love, we will move any obstacles in our path to acquire that love. Currently, I was angered.

“Please remember, I have lived much longer than you, and show that respect.” Guiliamo states.

“LIVED? You call what we are, living?” It is then that a nearby tree feels my anger as I punch it, breaking the pine tree in half, making it fall with a loud thunderous boom!

“I implore you to keep your temper.” Guiliamo requests, as he sees that I am not in control of my anger.

“I am trying! But, HOW? How did, could you break the rule and then question me so in depth about my relationship with Borlean?” Once again I swing around at yet another mid-sized sapling and fall it.

“You must try harder!” His eyes are deep and dark, which is a sign he is about to loose his temper. I had never seen that side of him, but I was sure it was not a side I wanted to see. I slow and gain composure.

“Thank you.” His eyes return to the pale blue that they had been. I see his hand unfold from the point of anger.

“But, how? When?” I felt it was a reasonable form of questions.

“It was last winter,” he begins, “I was hunger, very hungered from the journey.”

“Journey? What journey?”

“The journey to find, you.” I could see the expression he had kept hidden. It was that of a dear friend who had missed my company.

“I? You came looking for me?”

“Yes. I had grown accustom to your company in Venezia. It was not the same without you there. I tried and tried many times to fill the days, the nights with others and other projects. I finished the cathedral and taught a few young artists the way to use the brush. But, nothing filled the spot that you, you my dear friend, had occupied.” I see the look in his eyes and his words were filled with a deep meaning.

“You knew why I had to leave.” I begin.

“I had to draw Lorean away from the Anuket, away from you.” I stand and look around at the morning sun making its way through the sky slowly. We had been engaged in conversation a long moment for us, but only fractions of a second for the rest of the world.

“You gave me no choice on that. You never believed that I could have taken her down if I had to.” He stands beside me and seems wronged by me.

“I felt it was best.” I turn to walk away, “You and the Anuket are my family; family that I never truly had a chance to have in my mortal life. I could not, nor would I, allow anything to happen to you or the Anuket. I need you to understand that.” I beckon with him.

“Family stands with each other, they don’t run away.” I can see the strong emotion of a deep feeling coming from him.

“So,” I pull away and change the topic back to the one at hand, “You were on a journey and came across Paolo?”

Guiliamo realizes what I have done and looks deep into my eyes and the replies,

“Yes. I had followed your scent to Bologna and it was there, in that dark and rat infested alleyway that I came across Paolo.” A smile comes on his face.

“You didn’t feed on him.” I begin,

“You intended to make him as we are. Didn’t you?”

Guiliamo is silent for a long moment,


’Why? Why would you do this thing that we are to another living soul? Why would you damn another to this existence?” I am enraged again.

“Because.” He simply replies.

“Because? Because why?”

“I had my reasons.” He tries to avoid my question.

“I am sorry dear friend. That is not acceptable.” I insist.

He stares down at the ground and I can see him biting his bottom lip, so much that the blood is oozing out slowly down the corner of his mouth.

“What is wrong? Why won’t you tell me?” I stand closer and try and look into his eyes.

“You know that I have lived a very long time, correct?” I hear his voice trembling.

“Yes. I am not sure how long, we never discussed it.”

“We never discussed it because I never wanted to.” He replies.

“I see. So, why have we never discussed it? And, why are now?” I felt his age was unimportant to the subject we were discussing.

“Because, it is that reason I must, no I need to tell you now.” Guilamo begins as he clinches his fist tighter. I was not sure if he was about to explode on the tree next to him or myself.

“I was born as a man, a mortal man, near two thousand and fifty-six years ago.” He starts. I was amazed at his age. I never met an immortal his age, ever even thought they existed.

“I thought Lord Bael was the eldest of our kind.” I was confused; the eldest is usually the ruler of the Anuket.

“No, he is much younger than I.” His grip is lessoning as he lets a smile escape out the side of his mouth. I can only see partial of his face; he has hidden the rest from my view.

“I see.” I was amazed, but still wondering why he felt this knowledge would affect the reason for my questions.

“I created Lord Bael, or Paetros as he was once named, a long time ago. He was a young man in his village that was about to be destroyed by a volcano that was erupting.” As he begins his story, he shares with me visually his journey into the past. When we share, it is as if the memory is our own.

“He accepted my offer to make him immortal, without hesitation. His mother was dead and his sister was missing, possibly dead. I had run and caught him up before the lava could get to him. He had a choice, unlike me. I had been made a, Vampire, as you were…against my will.” This startled me. I had believed Guiliamo had elected to become Anuket.

“I had believed you were made by choice, by Lord Bael.” He shakes his head no.

“I wish that had been true.” He looks away,

“If only.” His reply tells me that there is something much more to his answer.

“Then who made you?”

He stands and looks at me slowly,

“I wish I knew. I was ill with fever and she came to me, in the middle of the night, much as you had been made.” His story was so like mine, that it bonded me even more with him, for the moment. But, that moment soon passed as he continues.

“I was a soldier, a soldier who did as he was told without haste. I charged into battle, taking lives as a warrior does. I slaughtered countless men…” He pauses as he looks away,

“And woman and children as well.” I could not believe the same person I had thought I had known was a murderer, a monster of sorts before he even had been created.

“Women and children?” I was appalled and repelled by his statement.

“Yes, but that is only the beginning of my sins.” He rings his hands as he is remembering.

“Then continue, please.” I implore him.

The man I had known as Guilamo stands before me, but the memories he was sharing, tell me he is known by another name upon names. He continues,

“I had contracted the fever and was very ill, at deaths door. She, this woman that had been in our midst tending to our wounded, came to me that night. Her voice was like an angel, a being from on high. Her aroma was intoxicating, like myrrh.” He pauses once more,

“I was hers to do with as she felt. And, she turned me while I was sliding into the next realm, into the abyss, into my own hell.” I watch his face as he remembers. His images he shares unfolding deeper and deeper.


He smiles, not a smile of contentment, but of wishing he didn’t have to.

“I awoke in a dark shallow grave that my men had placed me in. I crawled and clawed my way out from the earth. I stood there and beheld the night air as a creature of immortality can only see. It was then I saw her for only a moment, before she left, and her thoughts were sent to me. She beckoned me to follow, but I did not. Perhaps if I had, the next would not have happened. Who knows?” His memories were getting far darker than I had expected.

“I was hungered, thirsty for something I knew not. It was not until I came upon a small band of men, in a cave that they used to hide from the enemy, from me. I fed on them, each one, until they were drained of all life. Their blood fed me and strengthened me. I was full finally and in a blood lustful, animal way, I saw the cadavers I had left on the ground. They were dismantled, ripped and torn like a beast could only do. I cried.” He stops as he moves toward the sunlight now shinning down. It was as if he was looking for the light to redeem his memories, to wipe away his sins.

“Please…continue.” I was enthralled in his tale.

He begins again,

“After I had realized what I was, something I had thought only a myth, I believed I had no options other than being that. I went on a spree of draining any and all I came across. I fed and fed, but the blood never filled me. I was empty inside. My soul was gone, replaced by a terror that had no remorse, no guilt, no shame of the life it took.”

“So, what changed you? How can this…this monster you’re showing me, be you?” I was not able to relate to how he could be the same person.

He looks at me again and continues,

“I met someone…this man, who a mortal or so I thought, and he spoke of things that caused me to want to change, to be more.”

“Who was this man?”

“I only knew his name as Anton. He was Egyptian. I lived with him until he…finally revealed to me he was, is Immortal, as I am.” His memory of Anton was a good memory that I saw.

“So, you had learned how not to feed on mortals, seeing how he lived very long.”

“Not so. I still fed, just not as I had been. I was more discrete, more controlled than I had been.” He steps from the light and into the shade once more.

“I see.” I had hoped his redemption had been Anton.

“After years and years, I was able to feed in smaller and smaller numbers, using animals as my substitute. I even changed my name, seeing how my name I had used as a man, was no longer usable. My new life was known as Hypta, an Egyptian from the shores of Rhea. I roamed from city to city, and learned how to change my appearance, giving me the opportunity to recreate my life over and over. Soon, I was known as Gaius. I had grown to be loved by the people of Rome and of the men I commanded. I had a life as no man had ever had. Respected, loved and admired by throngs of people. Soon, I was appointed the leader of the people, as their Caesar, Julius Caesar. After many years as Gauis, I decided I had to leave it, to explore more. So, I had another immortal I had become somewhat friends with, to strike me down in open so all could witness the death of the man they thought immortal. An immortal cannot allow mortals to know they are immortal, or they will seek to destroy us out of fear.” He stands with his back to me.

“After this, what did you do?” I ask.

He laughs a light laugh, “I left and followed my way to Jerusalem, where the Roman Empire was building. I wanted to learn the trade of building instead of war and conquering. I took on a trade and learned as quickly as we do, to be a master of the trade, as Kyo a young man from Alexandria.” I listened as he continues,

“My life was a good one, I learned a trade that I could take with me onto many more lives, and I had learned to live among mortals without feeding on them.” He sits down and I watch has he begins the next part of the memories.

“After some time, I had been many, many men, I had come upon a man, a very unique man who had all the same qualities of a gifted and enlightened immortal. His common name was Jesus. I took to his philosophies and had grown to respect him a great deal. He had the gift to forgive. To make you feel that any and all dark sin you had you done in the past, would be and could be wiped away by Him simply saying that you were forgiven. An amazing man of men, that had other gifts that he taught me to use. He could move at speeds unlike mortals and could make the dead rise. He called to me once, he said, ‘Judas, come to me.’ I did and followed Him until…until they took him away.” His expression changes as his memories digress.

“What happened to him?” I ask.

“I am what happened to Him.” His words seem to say more.

“I betrayed Him. I had wanted to keep Him from being put to death as was His plan, so I told those Zealots where they could find him, thinking they would only hold him.” Tears well up in his darkened eyes.

“What did they do to Him?”

“They put him to death, as you know. They nailed him to a post and hung him there for the others to see, to make a point to any and all about claiming to be the Son of God. The theory of a one god was an amazing concept to me. I had grown up as a young man with many gods. This ONE God, he allowed His son to die! How? How could He allow me to betray Him? I could not live as I was, so I tried to cease my own hell. But, the rope did not take my life and I awakened in a shallow grave once more, only to have to be reborn as someone new.” His voice stops as he thinks.

“Who?” I was hanging on every word he was saying, as if I were a child lost in the tales being told by their elder. He for certain was my elder, now more than ever I knew this.

“No one you would know, his…I mean…my name was Cassias. I lived in Greece for a period of time, learning from the great thinkers of Socrates and such.” He stops momentarily as he moves closer to me.

“You see, every time I am reborn, I have to take a part of what I have learned with me. I learned to build from the Egyptians, learned patience and tolerance of others from the Galilean, and learned to use my mind from the Greeks. Many other things I borrowed from the Turks, the Syrians, the Phoenicians, the French…well, they taught me the importance of loving someone.” He stops as he smiles.

“I am still unsure how all this effects what you did by creating Paolo.”

“Because…” He begins,

“I needed to pass on what I had learned, much as a man who wants to be a father does when he has a child. I had to be able to have a son who would love me, admire me, and wants to learn from me. Do you understand?” He looks into my eyes deep, with a longing for forgiveness and a lost look that said he was lonely.

“Yes. I imagine I do.” I reply as I put my hand on his shoulder in brotherhood.

He places his hand on mine and smiles.

“Thank you.” He says in a low voice.

“What are you to do with Paolo? Will he travel with you?”

“Yes, and Raphael…well, he must be turned or die. He knows too much according to Paolo.”

I was in horror to hear this. Raphael was as innocent of this as I was, probably more so.


“Paolo did not know he should not tell he was immortal. He is faultless in this. I should have stayed behind to make sure he learned our ways. I was eager to catch you and keep you from making your mistake.” He slides his hand from mine and turns away.

“My mistake? What would that be?” I was curious to know what mistake he was implying.

“The one with mortal girl, Georgina.” I was shocked he knew of her. But, when Immortals share, as we had, the flow of thoughts go both ways, like a river washing in and out to the sea.

“You know of her?” I knew the answer, but felt I had to confirm.

“You cannot do this thing you wish to do. You must allow her to come of her own desire to be with you or walk away completely. There is no other option.” His wisdom made sense to my head, just not to my heart.

“Still, why does Raphael have to die?” Either way, he was going to cease being the Raphael he was.

“Because, his brother Paolo will not want to part ways with him, and soon Paolo may not be able to resist the temptation to feed on him. It is nature.” Guiliamo says as he walks toward the sunlight.

“I see. Then make him my responsibility. I will turn him.” I had never attempted it, but thought that I could. I had learned from watching Lorean a few times.

“You cannot.” He was very direct with his answer.


“Because,” He begins,

“You have not the will to stop. Once you begin to drink his blood, you would continue and this would cause the both of you to die.” He looks away and says,

“He will have to die.” He says so plainly as if he were tossing aside a broken comb or something.

“Why can you not do this?” I beseech him, for the life of Raphael.

“He is not…” he pauses,

“I cannot, will not again.”

“Death is the only way?” I am in shock to think that poor Raphael’s life is about to end, just because he loves his brother enough to be with him.

“Yes. I will do this, you will not.” He marches off straight way to camp; back to end Raphael’s life.

Chapter 11 – Death Comes To Raphael

Guiliamo is on his way to camp to end Raphael’s insignificant life, with no crime had he created or committed. His only reason for death was because he loves his brother, even though he knew he had been turned. He had loved his brother enough to allow him to feed upon him to nourish him when he first found him in the city of Bologna. I stood there for a moment thinking of Raphael’s innocent smile and how he loved to draw. He is quite good for a mortal. I saw in my mind’s eye how Guiliamo would end his life. He would do it swiftly with no pain, none to speak of. Just a quick snap of the neck, or perhaps breaking his body by crushing him with one blow, or he would use his saber and behead him. In all the ways, I could see Raphael’s surprised look as his brother Paolo, a gentle soul, looked on. Then it dawned on me,


I rush ahead of Guiliamo, using another route I had discovered in the forest. I race against time as Guiliamo was fast, but I was faster. Trees were like blurs as I passed them. I could still sense that Guiliamo was not far behind, moving at the speed of the wind. I pushed myself to run faster and faster until I was seeing the light bend before me. No longer did I hear the sound of the river that ran beside me, tossing and twirling over the rocks, the sounds of the forest were not audible to me any longer. Still Guiliamo, the only name I knew to call him in his present life, was trailing and gaining. He must have sensed my intentions to thwart his decision and he was pushing his abilities to gain on me. Each tree, the size of a man and bigger were being crushed by my body as I glazed through them as if they were young saplings.

Seeing a turn that would put me ahead of Guiliamo, I take it. Guiliamo had anticipated this move and had bent his direction and was now ahead of me. The camp was just within distance of me as I arrive a split second too late. Guiliamo stands there with saber drawn and is about to slice down Raphael. I come to such a stop that the wind rushes before me and knocks Guiliamo to the ground. His saber falls from his hands, as he falls on the ground with a loud THUD!

“STOP!” I call out to him.

“You cannot interfere. This is my decision and mine alone.” Guiliamo states as he quickly rebounds his fall and is up on his feet, saber in hand again.

“NO!” I cry out. But, it would appear my efforts were in vain.

As Guiliamo swings his saber, Raphael stands there as a helpless deer in the woods as a hunter approaches and takes aim. Raphael gives a look, the look of,


“Father!” Paolo shouts as he catches the blade of Guiliamo with his bare hands, halting the blade from touching Raphael.

I stand there in dismay. I cannot understand how he could stop Guiliamo, a master with the saber.

It is then, that Raphael drops to the ground and Paolo looks around at me and I see his tear filled eyes. Immortals are not able to cry, but he is. Raphael’s heart grows slower and slower. I bow my head, thinking Paolo did what I could not, and what Guiliamo did not want to do. He had ended poor Raphael’s life, his own brother. Paolo’s mouth has blood dripping from the sides and he wipes it away.

“THUMP….Thump…thump…”Raphael’s heart grows almost to a still. His eyes are closed and his pale color says he is gone.

“He did what neither you nor I wanted to do.” I say.

“THUMP…THUMP…THUMP” Suddenly, Raphael’s heart beats stronger. How is this so?

As if a miracle had happened, Raphael opens his eyes and I see. They are blue as only an Immortal’s can be.

“You changed him?” I ask Paolo, a new creation himself.

“I decided I could not be without my brother in this life. I need all of my family.” Paolo says as he looks around at Raphael now rising up.

“It is not possible!”Guiliamo exclaims in disbelief.

I had heard it takes several times of draining and then to feed the mortal the Immortal blood to fill them. Paolo had managed this act in one bite.

“I knew that you would not allow it days ago.” Paolo says.

“What do you mean, you knew days ago?” I ask.

Guiliamo laughs,

“He means, he saw it unfold before it did. It is a unique gift of our kind. I have tried for some time to master it. Here my young one has it from the start.”

“You saw that I would not allow him to live, so you had already been draining him?” Guiliamo asks.

Paolo looks at his brother and replies,


“Well played! It seems your son has one on you.” I laugh at Guiliamo for not seeing this himself.

“Am I allowed to ask that he accompany us to Venice, so he can train as well?” Paolo asks.

“Of course.” Guiliamo had a new family, including me.

I look on at a family, a family of immortals that crossed the boundaries of mortals into immortality. An existence that would alter their paths forever; forever is all an immortal has.

“Then, all is fine now?” I wanted to be sure that the plans had changed to end Raphael’s life, mortal or not, he deserved to live now, to live with and among us.

“Do I not get to speak?” Raphael asks.

We stand there in silence as we wait for Guiliamo to reply.

“Of course you do, my son.”

“My brother,” he looks to Paolo with a deep love as a brother and now a new brother,

“Gave me this…” I hung on his next words, “Gift, after he asked me if I wanted it or not. I submitted of my own accord.” Raphael looks around at Guiliamo and me,

“I wanted this.”

Guiliamo knew this was the requirement for being Anuket. The mortal has to desire to be turned. If they are created by force, they are sired by Vampire ways, which was against the laws of the Anuket.

“Then Paolo, you have learned very quickly.” He moves toward Paolo and embraces him.

“I am proud of you.” He kisses his cheek as a father does when accepting a great thing his son has done, which Paolo had. Paolo turns to his brother Raphael and speaks,

“You are my brother in every way now. And this is our father.” I watch as Paolo embraces Raphael and Guiliamo smiles.

Over the next weeks and months, Guiliamo works with Raphael and Paolo to train them on the ways of the Anuket; to train them not to give into the urges of feeding on the mortals that they will encounter. This task took time and much practice, with a great deal of patience on the behalf of Guiliamo. And, I watched as they bonded to form not just an alliance, but also a family of sorts. Guiliamo encouraged me to stay with them and to help with their training, which I did for a season. But, I knew with every dream I had of Georgina and how I wanted to be with her, my every thought was of her and her striking beauty. I envisioned her long raven colored hair dangling around her shoulders, her charismatic smile, her scent, and her beauty that radiated from within as well. I knew that I had to return to Florence and try to explain my absence and who I really was, what I really was if that was possible. I knew the ways of the Anuket prohibited me from telling her, but my loyalties to my heart and the feelings I had for her, went far beyond those of a unity of brotherhood with the Anuket. I must tell her! I had to tell her! She was my one true love in this life, this existence I had; but my true self could drive her from me as well. This was a chance I had to take. So, I set off to see her, to try and explain; if explanation was possible.

“You must leave?” Guiliamo ask.

“Yes, my heart is with her.” I respond as I gather my belongings.

“What if you see her and she…well, she does not want to see you?” Paolo ask.

I knew the real reasons he was saying this, not from a way of trying to dishearten me, but in an effort to alter me from going. He and I had formed quite a bond during his training. Raphael’s abilities had begun to show themselves in his art. He painted such great things using his enhanced talents. His and Paolo’s gifts were many, but their ability to remain calm and not exploit their strengths on others, and not feed on mortals was very impressive. It would appear that there were options to becoming immortal, it wasn’t a curse to them, it was truly a gift.

“What about you and Raphael? Are you planning on seeing your family again?” I knew they felt of Guiliamo as their family, but the thought of seeing their real mother and father had to be a thought that had crossed their minds.

“We cannot.” Raphael answers.

“Why not?”

“Because, I would have to explain to them why we have been gone and how we have managed to stay healthy during our travels. I mean, look at us. We appear to be in no way starved or in poor health. Last they knew of Paolo, he was ill.” Raphael makes a point.

“Guiliamo is our family now. Our mortal family have probably thought us dead anyways.” Paolo says.

Raphael turns away. I can see the look in his eyes even though his eyes have changed; they still reveal his pain.

“You must decide for yourselves.” I say as I put my bags on my horse and mount. I look at Guiliamo who has remained quiet during this farewell.

“Have a safe journey. Know that we will be with you should you need us.” Raphael calls out to me. One of his talents he had discovered was to link his mind to us. We could hear his thoughts and he ours, no matter where we were. I had wished I had it, but glad he did. In a way, it made us all connected like family. I was sure the Anuket would be very appreciative of his abilities to add to the collective, it would come in very handy.

“And you on yours to Venice. The Anuket can be a little over-whelming at first, but I am sure you will find Lord Bael very interesting. Ask Guiliamo to fill you well on him.” I say as I look at Guiliamo standing with his back to me.

“I will. Have a safe journey…” he pauses, “my brother.” It is then I hear his thoughts to me with a flash of a memory of us talking one day and I smile. “Know that I will be there should you need me, ever.”

I callout to Raphael and Paolo,

“You must come to Florence once your training and induction to the Anuket is complete. You would truly love it Raphael. It seems to be the birthing point of artist like you.”

Guiliamo glances over his shoulder to me,

“I will be sure to check…to bring them there.”

Raphael can hear Guiliamo’s thoughts as he looks around at him and then back to me.

“We shall my brother.” Raphael calls out as I get the horse to gallop speed. Traveling as a mortal was more for the benefit of gathering my thoughts before getting to Georgina…and to Lucas.

In my journey to Florence, I stop in several smaller provinces, with many young ones, as they are called in our kind, who could sense there was another immortal among them, just was not sure where. I had learned a great deal in my training with Paolo and Raphael. One of those talents was to perfectly disguise my heartbeat and conceal my identity from other immortals. This would come in very useful should I come upon Lorean or one of her children. Another talent I had developed, thanks in part to Guiliamo sharing with me, was how to listen in on the thoughts of other immortals, and not alert them to myself, a very useful and cunning talent to have.

Once I reach the city limits of Florence, I discover that the ruler Niccolò Machiavelli, was no longer in power and the Medici family was restored to power, thanks inpart to Pope Alexander VI, as well as, the Emperor, Alessandro de ’Medici. I had enjoyed the time of Lorenzo Medici, the predessor to Machiavelli. He was a huge supporter of the Arts and had been responsible for commissioning the greats of DaVinci and Michelangelo, immortals as I am, to do some of the great works in the State Hall and cathedrals. Da’Vinci had turned the young Michelangelo, giving him the abilities of enhanced strength and his natural talents were also enhanced to make him very desired among the mortals for such creations as The David, The Sisteen Chapel, the Vatican and many, many more.

The people were very happy to have the Medici family back in power, and they seemed to be flourishing. All along the Arno River that flows along the banks of Florence, I see many encampments of traders from Spain, France and Greece that will allow Florence to regain it’s title as the trade capital of Italy. On the walls leading into the city, now are adorned with many beautiful works of art, from various artist who have made Florence their home. The sounds of happy citizens is present in the music that floods the streets, filling every small alleyway with the heartbeat of this beautiful city. I smile at the sites of new and improved buildings that are well underway. The Medicis are a very respected and loved people in Florence, who have the people in their best interest.

“Buongiorno!” I call out to a man who is at Lucas’s shop. He must be a worker of Lucas’s. I had been his helper, but having to take the travel that I did, he had to replace me. He turns to me.

“Buongiorno!” He smiles as he sweeps the floor.

Looking around as I dismount my horse, I see that many things are not as they were.

“Where is Lucas?” I inquire.

“Who?” He seems to not know whom I speak of.

“Lucas Bannalia” I reply. Perhaps Lucas was too formel for a helper. I had known Lucas his entire life, and his grandfather, so I felt no need to call him by his family surname.

“Do not know of whom you speak.” He replies as he places his broom to the side. He looks at me queerly.

“Lucas Bannalia, the owner here.” I persist.

“I do not know of him. The owner is Seniore Giavello.” He replies to my question. Lucas must have moved. I had to find him, to find Georgina.

“I see.” I pause and smile politely at him as I mount my horse once more. I resume my search, using my abilities to try and focus on Georgina and her scent to bring me to her.

Many alleys lead me to continue my search. Georgina was nowhere to be found. Where could she be? Had they left Florence? I would turn all of Italy up to find her.

Finally, after days and days of endless nights, my search leads me to a dwelling that permiats Georgina’s scent. She must be here. I dismount and stand at the doorway. Not sure how I would approach her, what I would say or how I would explain my absense from her. I knock. My journey to locate my love, who’s beauty I have dreamt of for all the time I have been gone, is twarted by the realization as the woman who answers the door.

“Yes?” A much older and frail woman greets me. Her silver hair, tossed about into a bun on her head, covered by a dark veil, her withered hands that were a testament to the years she had led and the weakened legs that support her stands before me. But the scent of Georgina is in the embodiment of the elder lady that I see.

Chapter 12 – Georgina!

There this woman, stands in the place of my Georgina, a beautiful young and very desirable woman, I had left behind. What I had not taken in consideration while I was training, was that time passes with mortals much quicker than it does with immortals. Time had not stood still. This relic of the past was Georgina!

“Georgina?” I question.

“Yes?” She calls back as she peers through aged eyes. She seems to be trying desperately to place me. I stand in silence for a long moment. Somehow, something causes her to remember me, or at least the image of me.

“Marcusio? Can it be you?” She pauses in disbelief as she holds her feeble hand out to touch me.

“No! It cannot be. You would be…well, much older than I.” She withdraws her touch, the touch I had longed for of a long time.

I stand back and then allow her to take in my appearance once more.

“Is it? Could it be you?” She almost seems like she is seeing a ghost, which of course she practically was from her perspective.

I think hard for a moment before answering. If I reveal my identity, then should know I am immortal and this would be breaking the oath I had taken with the Anuket.

“I am…” I pause and realize I must use an altered version of my name,

“Marcus, I am the grandson of Marcusio.” I hate to lie to her, but it was the only way.

She smiles and a tear forms in her weakened eyes, which still shined as beautiful as they had when she was much, much younger.

“Of course you are. You are the spitting image of him.” She embraces me.

“How is he?” She whispers in my ear as I embrace her back. The torture of embracing her and not able to kiss her, was testing my abilities of being patient and not revealing my love for her.

She invites me into her humble home. The truth of the myths that had been told of my kind, was that we had to be invited in to enter a mortal’s existance. This rule did not apply to places where all were welcomed, such as craftsmen and market places. I enter and look around at the years and years, that I had been removed from, that hung on the walls. I look around for any confirmation that she and Lucas share this dwelling.

“Your husband? Lucas?” I ask as she implores me to sit while she fetches me drink.

It is customary with Italians to show great hospitality to those you welcome in your home.

“Ahh, dear Lucas.” She looks around and then says, “He passed a few years back.” She smiles, which reflects she had a good life with him. Not as good as if she had been with me. But, how could I be jealous now of a dead man. Yet, his ghost still was present within her memories as she recalls their history and tells me the stories of their wedding and uptil his passing a few winters before.

“We had a good life. I miss him still.” She pauses and then continues,

“How is Marcusio…your grandfather? It is evident he did finally took a wife.” Pointing out what would be obvious that I had married. The fact, that I would have had children and thus a grandson.

Once again, I hate to lie to her, but for her sake and her from knowing my secret that burned within me like a flame of a roaring fire; I create a story for her,

“Unfortunately, he passed.” I begin.

“He married my grandmother, Dialia, who was from Greece, and had my father Hector, is Marcusio’s only son. This is how I came to be. My grandfather told me stories of his journeys and the time he spent with you and your husband, Lucas.”

She seems to almost envision the tale I was telling. I looked for any lost moment in her mind to see if she had any regrets of me leaving her to marry Lucas. I even searched her thoughts, which did not betray her memories of Lucas, which was a pain to me as well. Why would I delight in her not feeling her life had been all it could be without me? What a monster I must be to entertain these thoughts. But, I could not help it. I was still as much in love with her now, as I had been many years before, what seems like a lifetime ago to her. As I tell of, my grandfather’s, journeys and his accomplishments in Bologna and abroad, she seems to enjoy with great pride, as you would someone you missed with affections, affections I hoped would allow me the chance to explain myself to her eventually. But when would I? Her life was drawing to a close as time took its toll on her. Not even my gift I could offer her would restore her life of being a young woman. She could use the talents it affords her to make her appearance any she desired, but would not remove the imprint of time from her natural look that she would see when she would peer into a mirror or shiny surface. That was the curse of our talents that mortals who chose to create stories of our kind, had made the mistake of. It was not because did not cast an image in the mirror, it was the image we saw was the real image of us, as we truly appear, not the image we presented to mortals.

Some, such as Lorean, admired their natural look, as she should be very content with the beauty she naturally had, and would be lost in the mirror’s reflection. This was the reason for no mirrors in our presence, not the myth that mortals had created, as I have explained before.

As night fall came, we realized we had been talking for hours. She invites me to stay the night in the room at the top of the stairs. She was very hospitable to me. I thought and replied,

“I will stay. Thank you.” I take way up the stairs and look back at her as I stand at the top.

She shakes her head,

“I cannot get over how much you remind me of your grandfather, even in the way you walk.” Her thoughts now betrayed her. I could feel she had felt something more for my grandfather, for me, than she had led me to believe.

“Thank you.” I smile and go in the room and lie down. Not that sleep was in my desire, but the realization that I was sleeping in the same house as Georgina, was like a dream come true. A dream I hoped would not end. Unfortunately, all things come to an ending. I just had to think of how to extend it long enough to be able to get Georgina to fall in love with the man I am, versed the monster that mortals believed all my kind to be.

The Vampires had caused much harm to my kind over the past hundred years. Where once immortals were accepted among man, now they were feared and some even sought to destroy us, or least try to. Which, this would cause some to fight back and this would always end badly for mortals. This caused legends and myths to explode into panic among the countryside of many lands, not just here in the Tuscan valley.

I hear her feeble steps as she climbs the stairs and enters her room across the hall from mine. I want so desperately to go to her, to embrace her and to reveal myself to her. I saw the woman I love, being taken from me and nothing I could do to stop it. With all the great strength and abilities I have, I cannot stop death from those that are destined for it, or could I? Perhaps I could explain myself and offer her immortality, and this would afford us the vessel to stay together forever. But, what if my reveal causes her such pain it brings death to her? I cannot bring myself to do this. I must allow her to come to my realization on her own and the decision will be her and her alone. I will only be the means by which she will receive it.

“Goodnight.” She calls out as she lays her aged body down.

I feel a tear come to my eyes as I reply,


I was pushing myself to the greatest limits of being resolved and patient, keeping my oath and not allowing my own personal needs and wants to take away from someone else’s, that someone that I loved with all I am. This night would seem the longest of any night I had spent as an immortal, hearing her heart beat, smelling her scent and not able to go to her. I drew on my abilities for putting myself into a deep sleep to assist me. Still I was restless and unable to concentrate on staying asleep. I decide I cannot take the pain any longer and get up straight way from my bed and go to her doorway of her room. The room she had shared with Lucas; the room that they had loved and shared so many years, as husband and wife. Oh how I envied him at this moment. How I wished I had been him. I take a deep breath and go to enter her room and I am repelled in an instant and fall to the floor.

Chapter 13 – In Life and Death My Love

I fall to the floor with a THUMP!

She calls out to me,

“Marcus? Is that you?” I hesitate to answer, but know that it will worry her unnecessarily if I do not.

“Yes, it is me.”

She gets up from her slumber, slowly as she comes to me as I lay still on the floor.

Why did I fall? Why had I stayed down? I could have gotten up very quickly, so quickly she never would have known it was me that had made the noise.

She comes to my side and places her hand on my shoulder, her touch, oh how I longed for this and yet at this moment, I cannot respond as I had played it out in my head the thousand upon thousand times before. I allow her to assist me and comfort me.

Why had I fallen? It was if I had been repelled by something, someone. It is then that I realize that she had not invited me into her personal domain, her room she had shared with Lucas. Which the rumors of an uninvited Immortal, cannot enter the home or space of a mortal. It was just a price to some and a guard for the mortal.

“Are you hurt?” She asks as she kneels down beside me. I knew that at her age and the frailty of her body that time had deposited in place of the youthful and full of vigor woman I had last seen.

“No, no…I am fine. Just my…ego is injured.” I smile.

She looks at me with her hand still upon my shoulder and smiles back. There! It was in that moment, I was able to read through her looks and see in her mind, she did feel something for me, or for Marcusio, that I had not been able to see before.

“Then let us get you back to your feet.” She removes her hand and has a look of disgust in her eyes. Was it I? Had I disgusted her? I looked deep into her mind and saw. It was not me; it was her own self that she had felt the disgust toward. Thinking she should not feel this way toward, what would appear, a much younger man and while being in mourning for her Lucas.

I reach to her hand and smile. She smiles once more and then allows me to get myself to my feet.

“There, all is well. See?” I hold my arms out to show her I am not injured. She looks and then says,

“What happened?”

It was a good question, one which I had no answer, not at least that I could share with her.

“I am unsure. One moment, I am on my feet, the next I am flat on the floor.” This was the truth. I was not lying to the woman I loved more than life or my own existence. Someone I could and would betray my oath if I felt it was the only way to gain her love.

“Well, then shall we try and sleep once more?” She gestures with her hand as I am caught off by her comment, pointing toward the doorway of the room I was to sleep in.

“Ahh…Yes, we shall.” I smile once more as I watch her retire to her room and lay down on the bed I was sure she and Lucas had shared, had slept in, had made love in a thousand or more times. How could I be the one to take that and make it bad? Lucas had been like a son to me, and yet I saw him as the rival many times.

The next morning, I can smell the aroma of the breakfast she is preparing. I had slept! I could not believe it myself. Even if it was just a moment or blink of a moment, I had allowed my body to sleep. And, now the woman I loved was preparing a meal, a meal for me to enjoy. Had I become mortal again?

“Something smells scrumptious!” I call out as I come down the stairwell.

“Gratzie!” She says in gratitude to my comment. I see the sun shining through the narrow window near the backdoor.

“Looks like a beautiful day, does it not?” I had not wanted or cared about the sunlight in so long, now I wanted to share it with Georgina and any other moments I could or that she would allow me to share with her.

“Yes, yes it does.” She looks out and then back to her cooking.

I move toward the doorway and stand looking out. “Would you join me after breakfast for a stroll?”

She hesitates for only a split second, partially out of her guilt and then says,

“I would love to.”

We eat and then we sojourn to the walk in the sunlight and nearby grassy knoll area. I help her to sit with me on a spot and enjoy the creations of God.

“Is it not beautiful?” She says as she looks around at the sky.

“Yes, you…it is.” I had almost said something I should not. I had to be more watchful.

Her smile tells me she was not irritated by my slip.

“What are your plans?” She asks.

What did she mean? My plans were to make her fall in love with me and let me share my heart and mind with her.

“Such as?” I tried to weed out her questions.

“For your prospects here in Florence.” She replies.

I pause as I pluck a flower and hold it. So delicate and tender, much as she is.

“I am unsure.” I begin,

“I suppose I should stay at an inn until I am able to decide.” I had funds to cover me for several lifetimes. But, working by trade was the way our kind hid ourselves from the mortals. And, it gave us a firsthand account of their lives, which did interest us so.

“Non sense!” She chastens me.

“You, the grandson of a dear friend shall be my guest at our, I mean my, home.”

I smile and say,

“Are you sure? I do not wish to impose.”

“No, you will stay with me. That is final.” She smiles as she looks at the flower I have been holding, it has wilted. My touch had caused it to wilt and it was dying.

“Ah, the flower, it has died.” She says as she takes the flower from my hand slowly.

I look at her and say,

“Never, I will never let…” I stop. She looks at me curiously.

“What? You are not God Marcus.” She laughs it off as me being boastful, which in part I was.

“Yes, you are quite right.” I look around and approached the next question I needed to know.

“Where are your children or grandchildren?”

A long silence befalls us. She pulls back and looks away. Had I upset her?

“What is wrong Georgina? Have I said something wrong?”

She does not answer, not at first. The she replies,

“It is not your fault.” She begins.

“It is just how things are.” I was more curious now than ever.

“What do you mean?” Nervous I would upset her further, I ask gently.

“Lucas and I, we…” She trails off for a moment.

“We tried to have children. Finally, after much trying, we did.” She stops. I sense there is more and I dare not to peer into her mind, and know the answer before she was ready to tell it.

“I see.” I place my hand on her shoulder, as she had done for me the night before, except I do not withdraw as she had. She places her hand on mine and smiles through tears in her eyes. The wrinkles that shadow and outline her face like a great statue, envelope the water that forms from her memory.

“Thank you.” She very gracefully says.

“For?” I was unsure what I had said wrong, and now I was unsure what I had said correct.

“For just being here. You remind me of your grandfather a great deal.” She motions to stand.

“I hope this is a good thing.” I smile.

“Most assuredly.” She returns the smile.

Soon, I took on work as a master builder in the main square of town. There was much work and reconstruction being done on the palace, Palazzo Vecchio that had been built in the thirteenth century, before my mortal time, and was now being redone to suit the accommodations of Georgio Vasari, a ruler of the province that had recently succeeded. The Duomo was also under re-construction along with the Cupola, the huge dome that could be seen by all as you enter the city from the south gate on the far side of the river.

Each day, I would awaken to fresh food being prepared by the lovely Georgina. I would often use my abilities to rush to the bottom step of the stairs and stand watch as she moved about preparing the meal. How I love to watch her, to take her essence in like a breath of air, something I did not require to do as an immortal. I caught myself forgetting I was immortal when with her. She captivated me in ways that no one else could. She made me glad to be in the existence I had been given two hundred years prior. Something I had decided was a curse, I now saw as a wonderful gift. A gift I wanted to offer her, but knew I could not. It was this realization that made my smile halt and my worried look appear; the worry of the impending time of her passing from this life.

“Come, eat.” She smiles at me one morning. I had been so diligent in making every moment with her count as if there were none more to come. Every day was the first day with her.

I smile and sit with her. She waits as I bow my head for her to bless the food.

`“Amen.” Her prayers were silent but I knew them to be affective. She believed in God and I was sure he had blessed not only her, but me with being with her.

I have spent, by mortal standings, a great deal of time with Georgina. I have learned with the help of my talents, to slow down my perception of time, to encounter it as a mortal would. She and I enjoyed each day with all the joy of it being like the first day and the last. Yet, no matter how long I had managed to be able to envelope my time with her, there was never enough time that I would have had to spend with her.

Every evening, I returned home, home to her. I did not require more entertainment than to sit with her as the sun set; watching the sky turn from bright orange, to a haze of magenta, then alas, to dark. This was the Heaven I had hoped for. All was well, all was perfect until…

“Marcus!” She cries out to me one day from the river’s edge.

I rush to her and find her lying on the ground, her face pale and with a faint heartbeat. She looks at me slowly, with a longing in her eyes to tell me something. I held her tightly against my chest.

“Shhh…you will be fine. Just lost your wind.” I was unsure who I was trying to comfort more, her or myself?

“Marc-us…” She takes in a shallow breath,

“I..I musssss…”She tries to speak and the words are not escaping her withered mouth.

“Please my love. Please stay with me!” I cry out as I feel her life nearing its end.

“I…I…”She attempts once more.

“I love you Marcusio.” She had said it. She told me, not Marcus, me Marcusio, that she loved me!

Just as she says this, her body falls limp. I try desperately to make her move, she does not. Her body grows cold and I realize, I have lost the biggest battle I had ever thought I would fight. The battle against death!

Her life drained from her, as water does from a sifter. The nightmare of knowing I could do nothing to stop her from leaving me, leaving this life that I had with her, was more than I could understand or want to try and understand. I felt my own emptiness fill me with a deep dark void in the place of where light and love had once lived.

I buried her, placed her cold lifeless corpse in the ground, surrounded by the dirt and the worms that eat away at the body once you die. My happiness, my joy is all gone. No reason for existing, yet I cannot die. Why can’t I bring death to myself? I had to find a way.

Chapter 14 – To Live Again

The next few days, perhaps weeks, even months, I attempted in vain to destroy myself. I fell onto a wooden stake, hoping that the myth would be true. I tried to drown myself, I leaped off of a high point and each time, I remain in this world; this cruel world where she does not exist any longer. My love is now gone and yet, I am still here.

I am unsure of how long I sat in the house, staring out at the walls, walking from room to room in search of her. Still able to catch a brief glimpse of her scent, yet no Georgina. I lay in her bed, feeling where her body had laid. I stand in the field where we had sat many evenings watching the sky turn dark. My mind was gone, I was alone.

Not sure when, could have been days, months, or years…I was unsure, time seems to just escape me without purpose; Paolo and Guiliamo came to me. I barely remember them arriving, just like images you would see if you were to be traveling fast and the images before you blur past. Paolo had sensed my pain and could see my emptiness within his mind. They take me with them. Not sure how long I had sat there in the empty dark home of Georgina, for time meant nothing to me. It was the object that had taken Georgina from me. Time was now my enemy.

We traveled through the night, under the cloak of the new moon so mortals could not see the blur that we created as my two dear friends rescue me from the deep dark despair of loneliness and heartbreak.

“Georgina…Georgina” I call to her in my mind. Oh how I longed to smell her, to touch her once more, if even for a mortal moment.

Straight way, I was taken to a dark room in some fortress that I did not recognize or remember having been in. I was placed in a room, where I fell limp to the floor. The darkness surrounds me, conjuring images of Georgina. Memories can be like a fire burning into your brain, obscuring anything and everything from your sight. I remember her as a young woman, with long flowing raven colored hair draped about her like an angel. Her eyes of piercing blue, which had made me, think she might be one of my kind at first meeting her. Her body of smooth olive toned skin. Then, as memories do, I remember her as the woman of elder age. Her hair now turned silver and tasseled about her face that was accented with lines of time, the eyes that had captivated me with their sparkle had grown to a slender narrow slits that tried as it could, to hide the beauty that lay within. Her body, weakened by time, bent over as she walked, still indulged my desires to be with her. How can I go on without her? What is this hell I am in? Can my end be this, a lonely darkened cell to recall my memories of my love?

Unsure of how long I was in the small room, I only recall briefly hearing voices. Voices of those I did not know and voices of Paolo and Guiliamo in the distance. Then, at times, I hear Paolo up close to me, as if he were examining my countenance for some type response. My mind still travels, searching for her! Where are you Georgina? Come back to me!

More time has passed, by way I know not, and I hear Guiliamo and Lord Bael talking nearby me. I do not move, cannot move, nor do I wish to move. I only want to stare into the abyss that lay before me; of memories of Georgina and I walking along the river at nightfall. Memories of she and I sitting at night talking in her sitting room near her fire pit; the memories of me coming home to her at the end of a day of working, and finding her standing there, preparing me a meal.

“GEORGINA! GEORGINA!” Again I call out in my mind, my words do not escape my crusted lips.

“I cannot, NO! I will not live without you!” I attempt to utter the words, but they exist only in my mind.

Darkness falls on me and I sleep.

“Do you think he can hear us now?” It is Paolo ask of someone in the distance. I cannot see them clearly, but I can at least recognize a familiar voice.

“He can.” I manage to verbalize as I attempt to sit up. I can feel my own stench crawling on me like a spider does to its prey in their web, wrapping me tightly in its odors.

“I think he is coming around.” The voice is of someone I am unsure of.

“Dear friend, can you hear me?” It is Guiliamo as my focus becomes clearer. He is kneeling down next to me, with his hand on my shoulder; he helps me to sit up.

“Yes.” The words sound raspy and barely audible but, clear enough for them to know I can hear them. Who else is with him? Where am I?

“Are you better?” Paolo ask. That was a relevant term. Better from what? How can one be better from losing their mind, their heart and their soul?

I turn and can make out only a slender image of Paolo standing next to Guiliamo.

“Where am I?”

Guiliamo replies to me in his voice of councilation,

“You, we are here in Venice, at the Fortress on San Giacamo Island, where mortals will not bother us.” He pauses and I try desperately to look at him with clarity.

“Do you want of anything?” he asks.

I was beginning to get my bearings again. I see that my mind had not completely left me, at least not forever.

“Yes…” I pause as I lift my eyes up to his,

“GEORGINA!” I cry out and attempt to lunge at him like a wild beast without thought. I am blocked by some unseen object and instantly, I am back in my darkness of my mind.

“Marcusio…” I hear her angelic voice calling to me.

“Marcusio…are you there love?” It is Georgina.

“Yes my love. I am here.”I struggle to find her. We are in a big house of some sorts.

“Where are you?” I call out.

Listening for her once more I hear her giggling from upstairs. I quickly take the steps of the stairs and run faster than I have ever run before. Upon reaching the top stair, I look and there she stands by the window looking out. There is a bright light shining in the window.

“Love? I am here.” I call out. She swiftly, with great speed is gone and I see only her blur as she moves. Looking around I hear a door close.

“Where are you my love?” I call out.

I listen once again carefully for her sound. I can hear her laughter from downstairs. Once again, I take the stairs as fast as I can. Standing on the final step, I look around. I see her near the fireplace at the back of the room with her back to me.

“Love? Why do you run from me?” I call out. The only response I get is her laughter. A laughter I had loved so much, now taunts me. Without haste, once again, she moves at great speed and I can barely see her blur, almost in mist form, move past me.

“Where are you going Georgina?” I call out as I attempt to follow her. I can hear her laughter from outside. I go to her.

As I open the door, the bright light, it burns through my eyes like poker irons from the fireplace. Struggling to look beyond it, I cover my eyes with my hand.

“Georgina? Where are you love?” I call to her. I can hear her laughter in the distance once again.

“Why do you taunt me so love?” My only desire is to hold her forever and ever.

“Marcusio? Save me….come to me love.” I hear her sweet voice calling to me. Save her? What was I to save her from?

“I will Georgina! Where are you?” I shout. The only reply I get is her laughter in the distance.

Finally, the brightness of the light has quenched and I can see. There is a mist around me, surrounding everything as far as I can see. I am in some field of sorts, and this mist has enveloped everything.

“GEORGINA!” I shout out loud.

Once again, I hear her laughter in the distance. I run in the direction of it.

“Georgina?” I call out to the silhouette I see standing not far from me.

“Marcusio…come to me.” She calls out. I run and yet my steps seem to not move me. I can hear her calling my name.

“Marcusio…Marcusio…Marcusio.” Her words haunt me as I am trying so hard to reach her, to hold her, to love her.

“Georgina!” I shout out.

The figure of her moves about me. It is all around me; circling me in every direction. Every time I reach to her, she moves.

“GEORGINA!” My voice seems to echo in this place we are in.

“DO NOT LEAVE ME!” I call out to her.

“Never my love. I am with you forever.” She speaks to me.

Finally, I am able to break free from the thing that binds me to the ground and I jump for her. My body falls on top of hers as he land on this invisible ground. I struggle to turn her around to see that beautiful face that I had loved for so long. Her long dark hair seems like a net as I try to part it from her face.

“Marcusio….Marcusio…You are mine.” She speaks to me from under the endless hair that covers her face.

“My love.” I say as I finally part the hair from her face. The image I see causes me to scream out loud.

“AGHHH!” It is not Georgina, it is Lorean.

“NOOOOOOOO!” I shout as I begin to cry.

Slowly, the bright lights and the mist are darkened and I sit in my darkness once again.

“Can you hear me Marusio?” I slumber to recognize the voice. It is Guiliamo. He has come to rescue me from my hell.

“Yes.” I speak with the edges of my mouth barely forming the word.

“Do you know who I am?” He asks.

Of course I knew who he was. What type of question was this?

“Y-e-sss..” I struggle to sit up; my response is broken and slurred.

Pulling myself up, I sit with Guiliamo kneeling before me.

“Wh-er-e…ammm… I?” I felt it was a fair question considering the circumstances.

“We are here, with you, in Venice…at the Fortress of Lord Bael, on one of the islands.” He replies.

Searching the room, I see nothing, only darkness and the slender forms of Guiliamo and Paolo before me.

“Am I…” I struggle to speak,

“be-ing…held…” My throat is parched and my lips are dry.


Guiliamo sits beside me,

“Well, captive is not the way we see it.” He pauses as he looks around at Paolo who is standing nearby.

“Wha-t…wo..woou…would you…”My words are still hard to form,

“call it?”

He pauses before speaking,

“We are trying to help you dear friend.” I could not see this as helping me. I was being held captive in the same type cell the Anuket had used to test me. Had I not been tortured enough with Georgina being ripped from me? Hadn’t I already proved my loyalty to the Anuket by not turning her when I had so many chances? Why were they holding me now? Had I broken some type of rule I was unaware? Had I returning to Georgina violated the rules of the Anuket? Would Lord Bael, now hold me responsible for a crime that I was not aware I had committed? These thoughts filled my head, just not my lips.

“Here, drink.” Paolo pushes a cup to me. I can smell it, it is human blood. I almost give in and then I push it back as I lift my eyes up to see him. I could not believe he was now my tester.

“Drink dear friend.” Guiliamo encourages me as he brings it back to my mouth. I look at him with a look that must have told him not to continue with testing me.

“This is not a test.” He begins,

“This is to help you…to bring you back.”

Back? Back from where? Where had I gone? My mind had left me for a time, but physically, I was still here…in this darkened cell, like an animal.

“I am not…” I try to speak and realize my hunger is stronger than my will to resist. I grab for the cup and drink, drinking like a wild untamed immortal. I finish the last drop as I hold the cup upside to my mouth. I feel every drop as it rushes down my parched throat, filling me inside.

“There.” Guiliamo says as he reaches for the empty cup and hands it back to Paolo and says,

“Fetch him another.”

“I cannot. I have sustained without for too long…” My words were forming easier,

“Without hu-man….” I struggle with my words, “This will…break…the rules.”

“This is the time that the rules are able to be broken dear friend.” Lord Bael speaks as he enters my lair. He has called me friend. Something I did not, had not considered us. But, he felt I was, so I was.

Pulling myself up, I see him standing near.

“Has he regained his thoughts?” Lord Bael speaks, not sure to whom.

“Yes, slowly…he is regaining I sense.” Paolo replies.

“Do you know who I am?” Lord Bael calls out.

Focusing my full mind to see him, I reply,

“Yes, you are…” I pause in respect,

“Lord Bael.”

He laughs,

“Have you not told him the whole story?” He asks.

What whole story? I think to myself.

Guiliamo laughs and replies,

“Yes, just not sure if he remembers it all now.”

Paolo, after probing my mind searching for signs of life, replies,

“He is-” I interrupt him tired of them talking about me as if I were not there.

“HE… is sitting right here and knows who you are, Dimitrius.”

Lord Bael laughs,

“Good to see you are returning to us.”

“Yes, yes it is.” Guiliamo replies as he wraps his arm around me. Not with full strength, even after three full goblets of human blood, I lean over to Guiliamo like a child would their parent.

The next morning, I am awakened once more with the sound of Guiliamo calling out to me. I am now more myself and I sit up wiping away the crust of sleep. Sleep…I had slept!

“Morning.” Guiliamo calls out lowly.

“What morning is it?” I felt like I had slumbered for a week or so, in immortal time that is a blink...but, I felt I had lost my immortal side being with Georgina for so long.

I had been with her in mortal time, over twenty years, watching her slowly escape me. She had known I did not age and never asked the question, so I had never told her. I had kept my oath and she had died.

Guiliamo brings me another cup. The smell is not of human blood, it is animal. Why had he made me break my records of sustaining without human blood and now feeds me with animal blood?

“What is this?” I ask as he hands it to me.

He smiles as he replies,

“It is goat.”

“Why? Why not…” I fumble with the word,

“Human?’He asks.

He leans back against the wall I am leaning against,

“Because…” He begins,

“it is time for you to restart.”

“Restart?” What did he mean by this I asks.

“Yes. Restart. You must regain who you were.” His words are soft and yet direct.

“Why?” I had no desire to regain the life, the empty existence of being without Georgina. She had become my world.

“You must.” He starts,

“If you plan on seeing her again, you will have to my friend.”

What manner of testing was this? He, who calls himself my dear friend, now taunts me with a question that he has no way of answering, or does he?

“I do not understand. Why would you say this to me? Why?” I beseech him to answer me, to explain why he has teased me with the hope, the undoable hope of seeing my love, my life, my Georgina.

He smiles and says,

“Because…”He begins slowly,

“It is true. She is alive.” How could he tease me with such a lie?

Chapter 15 – Rebirth

Guiliamo leans back and stares ahead. I can feel his mind entering mine, he is about to share with me. I appease him and lean back, allowing him access to my mind.

“Georgina is not gone…not forever.” He begins.

“She is only in a loop of sorts.” I was now seeing into his mind and hearing his words very clearly.

“Then where is she? Can I reach her?” I ask.

“You can.” His answer is sure and spoken with truth.

I turn to him instantly,

“Where?” Where is she? I must be with her!” I call out loud.

“She has been reborn. She is not like most mortals. She has this yoke around her that suspends her life from exiting to the judgment point.” He whispers to my thoughts.

I begin to see what he is showing me. I see a beautiful young woman running through a field.

“Who is this? What does she have to do with Georgina?” I was unsure why I was seeing this beautiful young woman. Georgina’s outward youth had been long gone.

“Look closely.” He instructs me. I begin to see clearer. With each movement, her way of walk and talking, it cannot be!

“GEORGINA!” I cry out.

Guiliamo laughs,

“She cannot hear you. You can only see her because I am showing you.”

“It is not her, but it is. I can recognize her even in that disguise.” I can see her so clearly that I reach out to her. The ghost of her new form vanishes from my touch, like vapors in the wind.

“What happened?”

“I told you…it is only an image in your mind’s eye.” He had shown me her and now I had to find her.

“Where is she? How could that be her? What is this…I saw her die!” I was angered to think he had shown me a ghost of her and unable to touch her.

He stands and looks at me directly,

“She has gone through rebirth.” He answers very calmly.

“What is this…rebirth?” I had never heard of it before.

“Rebirth is a stage that very few mortals can achieve. She had a strong soul, so strong that it had to be reborn.” His words are like wind in my ear.

“You must explain. Please? I have to know I have not lost her forever.” I implore with him.

“I shall.” He begins, “But, first…you must get yourself together. cleaned up and ready to go on your journey.”

Curiously I ask, “My journey?”

What journey?” I call out after him as he exits my cell. “And, why am I locked up in here?” I ask as the door is closed behind him by the guards that stand watch.

He turns around halfway and replies,

“It has been for your own good, trust me dear friend.” He walks away.

What did he mean, “for your own good” ? What had I done? Had I harmed someone?

Soon, the door to my cell opens and servants are ushered in and they reach for my arm to take me somewhere. Where? Where was I going? Perhaps I was about to meet my death, which I welcomed, at the hands of Lord Bael.

I am led through the maze of corridors and narrow ways, each turning one way and then another, almost folding in on themselves. The dimly lit passages are accented by the torches that are spaced out in equal distances. The flame burns, yet there is no smoke. I had been curious about this a couple hundred years prior and never given it much thought until now. Where was I being taken? I try and speak with the servants who are adorned with brass armbands and talismans that symbolize the code that I had sworn to uphold so long ago, that seemed more like yesterday. The same code and oath I had taken to protect the identity of the Anuket, to live as the Anuket and to go unsuspected by mortals as being immortal. These ornaments were more than just jewelry or flashy pieces of some ritualistic ceremony, they were the bond that held me to the Anuket, and them to me.

The trumpets sound as Lord Bael enters the courtyard, a large circular area that had guards on every point of entrance and exit, just in case a Vampire had managed to make it this far. He enters and takes his seat on the throne with the symbol of eternal life that hung behind the throne. Lord Bael moves with such grace and dignity, it was hard to imagine him a man. He had cat-like actions and the appearance of someone with great authority, which he did have. His robe, adorned with gold and ringlets of jewels, coupled with the fine silk material enhance his declaration of being the ruler of the Anuket. His golden chalice that sat to his left, was placed gently and carefully by one of his many servants, who served him with pride and obedience joined with loyalty and dedication. It was more like they were happy to be his servant, rather than on a leash of some sort as some rulers would do.

The trumpets sound again, signifying his Excellence has entered and arrived in the court area. All kneel in humility to him. No matter how Lord Bael had begun, as I had seen in Guiliamo’s memories, he was the ruler of the Anuket and all bestowed their complete and total will to him. I kneel in respect and lower my head to him, signifying my servitude.

He speaks, “Rise.” He looks at me and speaks, “Rise Marcusio, so that we may speak freely.”

I rise and look at him, still in awe of his countenance and beautiful appearance. He was breathtaking, if one breathed.

“Your majesty, I beseech thee.” I begin.

“What do you request of me one named Marcusio?” He ask, knowing my thoughts already.

“I wish to be allowed to join with my soul mate, Georgina.”

A hush falls over the court as Lord Bael listens to my plea. Looking around for a moment, I see Guiliamo and Paolo standing near the throne area. I smile at them. They look away.

“You request to be with someone who does not exist any longer.” His words sting me to the center of my being. How could she not be any longer? Had Guiliamo not said she had been reborn?

I stand erect and look directly into Lord Bael’s beautiful face, “How is this?” My words are met with silence, a deafening silence.

“You question me?” Lord Bael asks with a firm tone.

Careful of my answer, I reply, “Yes my Lord.”

Lord Bael stands and faces me, “That is a mistake then.” Something in his melodic toned voice sounds odd, as if my fate had been decided. I turn and look to Guiliamo and Paolo for support, and they have bowed their heads in the respect of Lord Bael’s decision. Lord Bael approaches me, slowly and each step calculated, as a tiger does the prey.

Chapter 16 – Blood Oaths

Lord Bael approaches me as I kneel awaiting his ultimate, unquestionable decision. He stops short of me and speaks,

“Rise, rise up to hear my decree.”

Trembling, I rise and stand to look upon the face of my fate master. Teeth clenched, palms tightly pulled together, nervously I wait for Lord Bael’s decision that will affect my existence, no matter what his words will be, I will continue to love Georgina with all the love that one can love another. This decision will impact my standing with the Anuket, but ultimately I will be allowed to agree or disagree with his royal decision.

“You love this…mortal?” He questions. This was not the response I had expected.

“Yes,” I begin as I look at Lord Bael and then over to Guiliamo. Guiliamo makes a small grin and then regains his poise and composer.

Lord Bael sighs, which was not a necessary action for us,

“Then…” he pauses, “I see no other decision I can make than to allow you to pursue your love.” He almost seems to smile, not quite, but nearly, as best as one of his greatness and magnitude can.

My chest heaves, again not a action my kind has to do, but I did.

“Thank you.” I am greatly appreciative of his kindness to allow me to pursue the love of my existence. I had no idea of the constraints and rules I would have to follow. That was to be his next decree.

“However…” He begins as he puts one hand on my shoulder, “There will be rules to this…game”

I wanted to rebut his word of ‘game’, however, felt it best I should keep quiet.

What rules could he enforce on love? “Rules, your Most Excellent?”

“Yes, rules.” He firmly states. “Guiliamo will enlighten you. You need to regain your strength and train, if you are to embark on this madness.” Lord Bael turns from me and almost seems to float across the marble floor, making no movement that was visible to the eye, as he ascends on his throne once more. The guards to his left and right, hold his long robe as he sits gracefully.

Guiliamo and Paolo approach me as Lord Bael motions for them to take their leave.

“Come my dear friend.” Guiliamo insist.

“Where? I must find Georgina. She is out there needing me.” Why must I follow them? What training? What rules?

“All will be answered, all will become clear as I share with you.” Guiliamo begins. “You have been given a gift; a very great gift, besides your life.”

“His thoughts were unclear to me.” Paolo says to Guiliamo, confused why he had not been able to read Lord Bael.

“He has that ability. As Lord, he has the ability to block your thoughts, block his from you and to change laws.” Guiliamo leads me through the maze of corridors until we are alas in a large room with a large table that has food prepared ready for us. There are goblets and four place settings, with huge candles lined in the center of the table.

“Why is this?” I ask, curious to know.

“It is yours,” Guiliamo begins, “Well, all of ours. You need your strength friend. Tomorrow your training begins.”

“I see.” I pause reflecting on the four place settings. “Why four?”

Paolo turns to Guiliamo and smiles, “You will see.” Paolo laughs.

“What? Enough surprises please!” I almost become angered until I see who the fourth place setting is for.

“Raphael!” I call out as I see him standing there waiting. We embrace and he smiles as I see how well he looks.

“How are you friend?” He greets me.

I shrug my shoulders, “Could be better.” I begin as I turn to Guiliamo and Paolo, “However, things are looking up.”

“I was sorry to hear about Georgina.” Raphael offers his genuine support.

I smile and look to Guiliamo, “Yes, well….Guiliamo tells me she is not lost. I have another chance with her.”

“Not so.” Guiliamo speaks and his words hit me like a ton of bricks, weighted heavy on me.

“But-“I begin. He interrupts me,

“You and I must really share.” He starts, “But…dine first with old friends.” He motions me to sit. A servant enters from the back of the long hall, bringing a wash basin and cloths to wash up with. I dip my hand into the basin and bring forth the cloth to wash. Another servant enters and yet another until all four of us had a servant standing with basins for us to wash up in.

“There. All clean.” Guiliamo says aloud as he sits at the long table that was prepared with delicate care.

Chapter 17 – Genovesa

My training begins the next day. Though sunlight is not a huge problem for my kind, it is painful if you have not fed on animal, or human, blood. The sun seems to penetrate the cold exterior and feel like it is melting you from the inside out. Even as the Anuket had fed me with both, my abilities had been weakened from the time I had withdrawn after Georgina’s death. Seventeen mortal years had passed, in a glimpse for me, and I had not fed in most of that time. I wanted to will myself to die, so I would not have to feel the deep pain of losing her. Yet now, I had a reason to live. She was reborn and now living again. I had to find her. I had to allow her to know me.

“Your first part of training is…” Guiliamo begins,

“Is to push past the light and use your talents to contain you from the mortals.”

By contain, he meant to conceal my weakness to the light. In the past, it had not been a problem. Now, it was a great deal harder. Yet, for her, I could do anything. So, I push forth.

Once my test of that had been achieved, I had to learn to fight with new cunning and almost mystic ways. Things I had not been taught before. I was not sure if the Anuket had just acquired this new ability of training or had I not been taught it because I was not ready when I learned so long ago. I had not nepdaz, to shared, with the Anuket in a while so I was not privy that knowledge. Yet, when I had shared with Guiliamo, his thoughts had not shown this to me. With the Anuket, you are part of a vast collective, giving you access to everyone at once, unless they are like Guiliamo, who can block others from entering his thoughts, mortal and immortal alike.

My training is vigorous, detailed and strenuous and yet fulfilling. Because I never sleep, never tire; therefore, we can train day and night, day after day and month after month.

` “See it with your mind’s eye Marcusio!” Guiliamo shouts to me from across the courtyard of the palace.

“I am!” I reply hastily.

Paolo swings with the Kopesh, an Egyptian fighting stick, and I am caught across the brow as he brings it around.

“If you were mortal, you would have a severe head injury.” Guiliamo informs.

I wasn’t sure if this was my test to see if I was skilled in hiding my immortality or if I was supposed to have ducked the oncoming stick, so I bled.

“There! Is this what you want?” I ask.

He stands and looks at me for a hard moment,

“You want to be trained, do you not?”

“Of course I do. Why would you ask?”

He walks close to me and says,

“Because you are being willful and patronizing. You have known me long enough to know those are emotions I do not appreciate.”

Standing at attention and giving the signal to Paolo to continue after I heal my head wound. This was a very useful talent I had recently learned in my training. Mortals would not be noticeable of me if I can blend by showing I can bleed, I can be harmed. Of course, I heal very quickly, so I had to use my mind to appear to heal slower, slow enough to appear mortal.

Days and days went by, turning into months upon months. I was not sure I would learn all Guiliamo had to show me in the short time he said we had as a window for me to meet up with Georgina in her re-born body. I was taught in the ways of the Egyptians, the Phoenicians and of the Orient of how to use my talents to enhance their teachings of skills in fighting and mastering my ability to cloak myself. Along with those skills, I was taught the languages of many lands; French was my first, then onto Arabic and Persian, with English being my last. My tutor was a small man, immortal of course, who had taught Lord Bael and many others on how to blend. My skills were impressive to Lord Bael and to Guiliamo. Once I had learned all I could, I was given my instructions by Lord Bael directly.

“You will not know her by sight, but by her scent. Do you remember her scent?” Lord Bael asks.

Kneeling, I look up slowly and answer,

“Yes, yes I do.”

Lord Bael looks to Guiliamo and then back at me before answering me,

“Then you shall use that as your tool to locate her. I can only tell you where she is, not who she is. My abilities do not go beyond that.”

He pauses before continuing.

“Has Guiliamo informed you of why this is?”

I had wondered and now I was about to know,

“No my lord.”

“You have the ability as all Immortals to use your ability to conceal and to protect yourself from harm. However, you have somehow enhanced this ability to cover her from permanent death. Your ability to love, has magnified itself and since she is the object of your love, you are able to…” He pauses trying to word it correctly,

“Bring her soul back from death.”

He stands and walks toward me.

“This is an extraordinary gift.” I feel accomplished as he says this.

He looks at me and motions for me to rise.

“One we will want to study and learn for our own. This is why you are being allowed to follow her to this life. Not for the sake of your emotions.” This is not for my own reasons, but for the good of the Anuket. Finally, I am aware of why I have been given this opportunity to find my love. However the reason, I am ecstatic that it is a reality. I will find my love, no matter who she is now.

“She is in the city of Orleans, born seventeen mortal years prior. She is of noble decent and has many suitors that are in pursuit of her heart.” The words made me excited and yet jealous at the same time.

“You are allowed to find her, court her and marry if you so desire.” Lord Bael gives the list of permissions I am allowed to do.

“You are not allowed to make yourself known to her as who and what you are, unless she discovers it. You are not allowed to change her to an immortal. You are not allowed to use your abilities on her to pursued or encourage her to be with you. You are not allowed to eliminate your competition for her heart, by means of your talents. You will be allowed to be, as you have always so desired to be, a mortal man seeking the hand of his love.” He pauses as he presses his blood stained index finger to the page that the rules are written on. This was his seal and no one dared to challenge it, not even Guiliamo.

“Is this completely and without mistake, understood?”

Without haste I answer,

“Yes my lord.” I almost thought I saw a smile from Guiliamo and Paolo. Were they smiling in agreement with Lord Bael or with how quickly I had responded?

With a turn of his head Lord Bael looks at me and says,

“You will be guided on your journey by Guiliamo and Paolo.” I knew what he meant with guided, even without sharing his thoughts. He meant, shunked, watched over by, to ensure I did not break my rules.

As I was preparing for my journey to Orleans, Guiliamo comes to me at nightfall and stands in my small room I had occupied for the time of training.

“You look like you have something to say, do you?” Guiliamo had this expression that was curious to me. Normally, he did not indulge in the whimsical of mortal emotions.

He stands for a second longer, which was much longer to my kind, before answering,


“Well?” I reply as I halt my packing.

“You are like a brother to me, you know this.” He begins.

“Yes, I do.”

He motions for me to be silent, “Please, I need to say this without interruption.” I smile.

“You and I are much closer than trainer and student. I have shared with you, which is something I do not do with most. Lord Bael knows my thoughts, to a certain point. You know me and I believe I know you. What you are about to do, it…it is foolish to me.” I interrupt.

“Yes, but –“He stops me.

“Please?” I fall silent once more. “I know you will do whatever it takes to win her heart. My only instruction is, be safe and do not go down the road that will exile you from the Anuket…from me.” He turns and walks out, closing the door behind him. I stand there and realize he was right. I would do whatever it takes, rules or not. But, I held Guiliamo very close to me, so I will try and abide by the rules for the sake of my relationship with him.

I load on my wagon that my driver, a mortal, will take me to Orleans. I have been instructed on how to put myself into a sleep state, to preserve my energy and abilities. I have also been taught in great detail on the arts and how the artist of this time period and this region, perceive art. I knew that Guiliamo and Paolo would be setting course for my destination, by traveling as immortals can, which would put them a great deal of time before me. Guiliamo would be watching me, closely.

I arrive several days later in Orleans. As I step forth from the coach of my carriage, I can see the world has changed in France. It is like a flower that has been concealed by the cold winter has now unfolded and bloomed into a beautiful landscape, covering the meadow. The smells of the food and the sounds of the music in the distance give a radiance of new beginnings, new hope to locate my love and win her heart. I was told she would not know me, not remember our brief life we had shared in Florence.

After making my way to my room at the local inn, I decide I must utilize all the time I had, to find her and win her love. I stand at my window trying to take in the aromas and the endless scents to find her unique smell; the smell of her that no one else has. I breathe in and exhale several times before I catch a sample of her scent coming from the north of me. I make no haste in going toward her. Down alleyways and long corridors, I pursue the scent that is growing stronger and stronger.

Seeing several young women ahead of me, unsure which is her, I keep watch and stay in a close enough distance, yet concealed by the crowds that line the narrow streets. Finally, I can distinguish that she is the one in the middle of the three young women. Her hair is long, bouncing about her shoulders, deep brown and her shoulders are concealed by the dressing that is fashionable for this region. She is wearing a hat that hides her face from me, yet I am sure she is beautiful. She moves as Georgina had, gracefully like a swan on the water, almost gliding from space to space. I go to approach her and suddenly my heart stands still,

“Genovese…come here and see this.” The young woman to her right has called her by name. She is Genovese, my love…my heart. She slowly turns and as she does, I catch glimpse of the beauty that I was sure she would have. How will I contain myself from kissing her?

“Genovese.” I utter her name without thought. She turns to hear me call her name out.

Chapter 18 – Discovery

As she turns, I see her face. It is more beautiful than I had expected, not that that would have made any difference to me, but it helped my cause.

“Pardon?” She answers me from calling out her name. She searches the crowded street and sees no familiar face. I am cloaked from her; from the one I love and cannot have, not yet at least.

I hide in the shadows of the narrow ways, in a doorway, from her sight, not at she would know me, mostly from her piercing blue-green eyes that radiate the sun’s rays like a beacon.

“Who is it?” He r friend calls to her as they stop and stand waiting for her. I see her face, her eyes, her mouth and I crave her. She does not see me; she sees only a mass of people that flock toward her in the alleyway. Yet, in her absence of me in her sight, I can see that she has a familiarity about the unseen voice that called out to her. Just then, I do the unspeakable, I reach to touch her. In a flash, my hand is on her cheek and again, as quick as the wind, it is removed. She touches her face with her left hand, adorned with lace gloves, and I see it. She remembers the touch, she remembers my touch.

“No one, I guess.” She smiles and walks away. I want to go to her and explain, but I know that I cannot, less I end this journey here and now. So for the sake of our love, I must hide in shadows until I can reveal myself to her.

That night, I can see her standing in her room, on the second floor at the far right of the beautiful home; the type of home, I would have given her. Her silhouette bounces back and forth as she moves about. I stand in the shadows of the night, with only the moonlight as my guide, under a huge elm tree. I stand here, looking up as a captive audience, waiting for a glimpse of my love.

“Has she seen you?” The voice catches me off guard and yet is familiar. It is Paolo coming to check on me.

“No, not yet.” I reply without looking around at him.

“How long before you show yourself to her?” He asks a reasonable question, and I answer with the only answer I have.


“My brother, you need to try and let her…” He stumbles on his words.

“Let her go?” I begin as I turn to him. “Is that what you were about to ask?”

He pauses and then looks up at the window once more, “Yes.”

I laugh and reply, “When the earth quits turning.”

With this, Paolo is gone into the night, with only a breeze left behind to remind me he had been there. I turn and stare at Genovese’s window until she outs the candle that lights it.

“I will watch over you until dawn, and ever more my love.” I use my talent to enter her mind to give her pleasant dreams, dreams of days gone by; days when she was Georgina. At that moment, I feel her, close by me…almost inside of me. I smile. Feeling a hand on my shoulder, I know in an instant it is Guiliamo.

“Hello old friend.” I call out as my eyes are still closed.

“You know you cannot influence her, she has to make her own decision and come to it by her own accord.” He reminds me of my rules. I withdraw my thoughts from Genovese’s and the connection is severed.

“I know. I was only giving her pleasant dreams.”

“Dreams? Or dreams of her life before?” His questions are valid and I will not lie to him, for it would be of no good, he can enter my mind and knows my thoughts.

“I understand and have withdrawn my mind from hers.”

“I know this, but you must abide by the rules, I implore you.” His reminder was gentle but his words stung.

“Have you never once, in all your centuries of being…as we are, loved?” I was curious how someone of his age could not have fallen in love not even once.

He pauses and walks a pace from me. He turns and says, “Yes.”

Not shocked but more curious now than ever, I ask, “When?”

He looks at me and smiles, “It was centuries ago, shortly after I had become and Anuket.” He motions for me to sit beside him on the grass. I take my seat looking back at Genovese’s window before allowing him to share with me. When sharing, your mind’s eye is blocked from everything around you, leaving you vulnerable. This is why my kind do not share openly, or often.

Guiliamo opens his mind to me and I enter and see a time period that was when Persia was the throne of the world. Guiliamo was known as Heppa, living in a palace of the king. He was the main servant to the king and had many he commanded. I can see a young woman who is a hand maiden adorned in the fine silks and fabrics of faraway lands. She smells of Mir and a sweet scent of a flower. Her eyes are like pools of brown water, accented by a light around the edges. Her face is covered, but I can sense she is beautiful beneath the covering. Heppa is walking toward her and I can feel his pulse race, even as an immortal…we have a pulse, not easily detected by mortals. His mouth savors for her, to kiss her, not to taste her blood. He takes her by the arm and swings her into a room not occupied, and he pulls the veil down and at once they embrace and kiss passionately.

“Heppa, we cannot. The king would have us both executed if he should know we…” she pauses as she looks down and then back up at him, “That I carry your child.” Unknown to the king, his maiden had been with Heppa, his loyal and most trusted guard, and had conceived a child that the king thought his. Unknown to Heppa, she was carrying a half mortal and half immortal child. I break the connection. This was impossible I had believed.

“How is this possible?” I ask. I had thought mortals and immortals could not mix.

He smiles and replies, “It is possible, just not permitted.”

“Why? How?” I had longed to have a chance to have a child of my own. Now that I had found Georgina, in Genovese’s body, I had to know.

He leans back on the grass and says, “It is possible, but only for the male of our species to father a child, not the females to carry a child.” He pauses as he sits up. “However, it is not permitted because the offspring could be…” Once again he pauses. “Deformed or disfigured.”

“But, what if it is not?” On the rarest of chances, I had to know.

“Most times it would be. But, there is the chance it would not. However, there is the chance it can be born a Vampire or mortal. As you know, being an Anuket, is a way of life, not a species. We were all created as Vampire, we learned to be Anuket. A child born as a Vampire…well, it could be horrible to think of and the female would not survive the birth. And, if it is born a mortal, then it would watch it’s father stay the same age throughout their life, while the aged beyond the parent. Could you stand to see your child grow old and die while you stay as you are and shall be?” Guiliamo had more than explained and I understood. But, it did not mean I wished it was the way it is.

I turn and look at him, “So what became of your child?” His face contorts for a moment and I see the Vampire in him for a split moment, which meant it, was a subject of great pain. Great pain he had tried for centuries to block. But, he would not have shown it to me had he not wanted me to know or to ask.

“She died.” Was he talking of the young woman who was with his child or the child she carried was a girl?

“She, she who?”

“Leave it as that for now. I will explain another time, not now. Daylight is coming soon and you need to prepare for your day with Genovese.

“My day with her? What do you mean?”

“Today, you will meet her, briefly…but meet her face to face.” He motions for me to come with him to prepare. I turn to her window and whisper,

“I will see you soon my love.”

Chapter 19 – To Live and Love Again

The next morning, I was in position at the market where I knew she would be. As she entered, her scent preceded her, I saw her beauty like a torch in the darkest night shining above all else. She embarks the rows of farmers with their goods and services, smiling politely as she passes them. The rows of fabrics and fine linens she looks at and her buyers are negotiating deals for her as she looks up for that moment, almost knowing I was watching, and sees me. I smile, she smiles back. I act casual as if I had not been waiting for her like a wolf does for the one in the flock to be alone, to make my move. I slowly make my way toward her, giving distance enough between us to make it appear accidental that we would meet in the narrow walkway between the marketers.

She is the most beautiful creature in this form or any other, a beauty that cannot be put into words, except to say radiant. I slide between, like a snake, the people that block us from touching. Guiding my steps and almost gliding on air that acts as a buffer between our bodies. Then, on purpose, I bump into her.

“Oh, so sorry!” I call out to her as I run into her, causing her to look up at me directly.

She smiles and places her hand on my shoulder and it is then I see a reaction I had hoped for, she shuts her eyes and it is as if she feels the passion within me boiling to be with her.

“No, not a…” She pauses and then continues, “Problem. I…I must have been not watching…” She looks deep into my eyes as if she recognizes me. “Sir, have…have we…” Just then her nanny, an older Jamaican woman, pushes forward and interrupts my interlude with my love.

“Come now missy.” The nanny says.

My love is pulled away by the hand of the nanny and I am left to stand there, in disappointment and emptiness, like a huge void has now enveloped me. I watch as she is led away by the big woman with the wrap on her head, who has now looked back at me with no smile. She pulls my love away through the crowds and I can only follow her scent leaving me. I must not allow this woman to blockade me once more. Nothing can come between me and Genovese, I must have her.

That evening, I stand in the shadows once more, waiting and watching for her to stand in her window, while brushing her long dark hair. Beneath the big Elm, I lean against the tree, and Paolo has returned to speak with me.

“Brother, how goes your journey?” As if he did not know. His ability to see the future or the possibilities as he calls them enables him to know before I speak. I smile back at him in disappointment.

“I see.” He remarks at my expression.

“So close, so very close Paolo. How could I not know about the nanny?” I say aloud while staring up at her window.

“Perhaps, tomorrow…while in the narrows of the street of Leon, you will see her and be able to talk with her, while her nanny is busy with an apple cart she will have to pick up because she has knocked it off its axes.” He smiles. I smile back knowing what he had just told me was his way of helping me.

“Thank you Paolo.” He smiles again and leaves me to my watch.

The next day, as anticipated by Paolo, I stand waiting as Genovese makes her way through the narrow street of Leon, her nanny following behind. Suddenly, I am within sight of her and I see her smile as she sees me once more. And, as told, the nanny is suddenly without warning attending to an apple cart she has knocked over, leaving Genovese and I alone for the moment.

“Good day sir.” She says as I stand directly in front of her.

“Good day madam.” I reply as I look into her lovely blue eyes. I take her hand as was custom and attempt to kiss the slender glove that keeps my lips from touching her ivory skin that covers her form, like a porcelain doll.

She withdraws her hand, giving me the sign it was not her way to allow me to greet her this way, not yet.

“I hope I have not been too forward?” I was making it a question verse a statement; however, it could be taken either way.

“Perhaps.” She smiles then says, “Your name first, then you may.” She holds her hand hostage. I comply.

“I am…” I pause and realize I must use another anagram of my name, “Marc Chevalier, of the house of Haas.” I had used a surname that meant, I was a knight, a protector. I was, and shall always be to her, her protector. The family I had elected were a group of immortals I had ran into that chose to stay to themselves in the Germanic countryside.

“I see.” She offers her hand for me to dub with a kiss. “I am Lady Genovese DeLore.” She smiles as I touch my lips to her gloved hand. I hated to withdraw from her and wanted this moment to last for eternity. I had waited so long to have her, as she is now, with no remorse of anyone that she was promised to.

As I stand erect in front of her, she looks at me and curtsies. It is then, once more, she looks at me as if she knows me. A long pause is held in that space between us.

“Do…” However, once more, the nanny has come to keep her from being accosted by an unwanted suitor.

“Missy…we must go.” She is pulling Genovese away as she looks back over her shoulder at me, as well as, Heppa gives me a look of daggers. My love is led away once more from me, her scent is on my lips and I have memorized her heartbeat once more. It is odd; it is the same as it was in her previous life as Georgina,

“Thump…thump…thump thump”

I smile, knowing I have met her and that she and I will meet again, soon.

“Did all go as you planned?” Paolo stands to my side, as if he did not know.

I smile at him and pat his shoulder, as he stands in disguise from the mortals in a poor old man form. He had learned to utilize his gifts so well, that I would have to struggle to know him myself; if I was not aware he was there.

I decide that I must thwart any more interference from the nanny. Only sure way was to make my intentions known to her father, Lord DeLore. I had heard tale he was a hard man, but wanted his daughter to find someone who would care for her and keep her in the same lavishes of life he had provided thus far. This was my intentions and my devotion I would commit to, for all eternity if need be.

The next day, I had by use of Paolo, discovered that Lord DeLore would be attending a socialite gathering for the King XV, the Beloved King of France in 1715. By way of Guiliamo, I was on the list of attendees to the gathering. I see him, talking with the Ambassador of Spain, a stout man of small stature and had a curled up mustache, odd looking man I thought. Lord DeLore was much taller and had stance of royalty that was not common with the lords of that time period. I make my way toward him, to encounter him and make my presence known to him. I would win his favor, then his daughter’s.

“Pardon me Lord DeLore?” I call out as I approach him discretely.

He turns to me and I use my ability of persuasion to enhance him memories of me. Although we had never met before, he would think he had. I had been instructed, I could not use my talents on Genovese, not her father.

“Do you remember me?” I stare into his small brown eyes, sending my thoughts to him, making him remember seeing me not long ago at another gathering and that we had struck up conversation over a topic of the slaves that were being brought to France from the Islands.

“Yes, yes…I do.” He remarks, having only sketchy memories to draw from, which was all I could manage under the short time I had to use my talent.

I smile and say, “So good to see you again.”

“Yes, it is. How are you Count Chevalier?” I had made my identity that of a count, feeling I had earned that privilege in the life span I had encountered.

“I am well. And you?”

“I am…well, as good as I can be.” He smiles.

“Good to hear. How is your daughter…” I act as though I am struggling for her name, as a count would.

“Genovese…”He completes my missing name, “She is well.” He almost frowns. I take this as a entry point to make more conversation in regards to her.

“You look troubled, something wrong? I hope she is well.” As if I did not know.

He looks around and then back to me, “She has not found a suitor she can agree upon.” He looks at me and then says, “I feel I do not have enough years left before she will decide.” He smiles.

Tipping my glass of wine to him, I say, “Perhaps a suitor will come with surprise.” I smile knowing my intentions.

That evening, I am invited to the home of Lord Delore, as guest to meet his daughter, the beautiful Genovese. The nanny is not in attendance, as expected by Paolo.

I arrive by carriage and led to the front door by the servants, where I am greeted by another man servant from the Caribbean. To there, I am shown the parlor to adjourn in while I wait for Lord DeLore to make his entrance. His lovely wife, Helena graces the room first, followed by his eldest daughters Janette and Caroline. And finally, Lord DeLore follows. I am sure the disappointment look is present on my face as I do not see the youngest daughter whom I was there to see, Genovese.

We make our way to the dinner room, where candles and fine dinnerware adorn the table made of oak from the trees of Austria. I wait as I am seated and the bell rings to announce the drinks will be served. My intentions were to meet with Genovese, not this make-believe dinner that I was trying so hard to endure. Just then,

“I am sorry I was detained.” The voice I would know anywhere, it was Genovese.

“Punctuality is not her talent.” Lord DeLore jokes.

She smiles as she waits to be seated by the servant to my right. She has been placed; by no mistake I was sure, beside me. Her mother, Helena smiles as her elder sisters have a disappointed look upon their faces. Had they thought they stood a second of my time? Not will the sun does shine or the moon does rise.

“There is a custom known as fashionably late where I am from.” I laugh, which allows Lord DeLore to laugh as well, relieving the tensions in the room.

“I can appreciate one who can understand a lady does not make her presence known until she is sure, she is the center piece of the room.” Genovese nods her head to me in acknowledgement. I nod in return.

“Tell me…is it Count Chevaliar?” She seems to question my name, as I had not disposed to her my title upon meeting in the street.

“Yes, yes it is maddam.” I want her to know me in such great detail, to restrain is like making the earth turn in reverse.

She smiles, almost in disappointment, “I see.” She pauses and then says, “How do you know my father?” I will need to lead Lord DeLore to answer, to keep me from lying to her.

“He is…” He pauses having to recall his memories, memories that I have planted, “He and I spoke not long ago at a gathering for the King, in regards to the trading of slaves from the Caribbean.” He was using all the knowledge I had planted in his thoughts.

She tilts her head to the side, allowing me to see her divinity and unique jaw line that shows great strength.

“I see.” She turns to me once more. “How do you feel about this topic?” She almost seems irritated with me.

Carefully and with great diligence I attempt to answer, not having much real thought on the subject, other than I did not feel no man has the right to own another.

“I am against it.”

“Humm…So, you have no servants?” This was a trick question and one I would have to dance around carefully and with much thought. I searched Lord DeLore’s mind for a clue how to answer this question. Unyielding to my talents, because I was in a haste to respond, I came up with no answer to give.

“I suppose…” I begin, “I would say,” feeling I should be honest with my answer, “no man has the right to own another.” I had answered honestly and directly.

“Then I suppose you do not have servants.” She made her response a reply that could be taken as a question or a statement. She was not like the women of her time period, she thought for herself.

With reluctance, I gave reply.

“I do.” I pause as I sit my drink down. “However,” I lean into her as I answer, “I believe that to have them as servants of my own, and keep them from being mistreated by those who would not feel as I do.” I lean back and then conclude with, “Do you not agree?” This reply would put her on the spot to disagree or to agree.

She sits back and slowly sips her wine, with no answer to me.

Dinner is served and we dine, almost in silence until Caroline speaks, addressing the conversation to no one particular, even though I could hear her thoughts and new she was addressing me.

“I love the countryside this time of year. I have wanted to travel north to see the see that extends along the coast of France.” She begins. I look at her only briefly and she follows with, “Have you had any chance to travel to Spain or England Count Chevaliar?” Seeing how I had not, I had no knowledge once again how to answer her. So, I drew from her father’s mind and could see that he had been recently to England.

“I have only visited England on duty, official capacity of course.” Even though I had titled myself a count, I had not counted on the resources I would have to know to be a count. It was then that I could hear Guiliamo in my mind.

“Tell her that you have visited the Isles and they are mesmerizing.”

I pause and sit my drink down, “However, I have visited the Isles and found them to be wonderful, very beautiful.”

Genovese seems very interested in this,

“You have? I have wanted to go there, father will not take me.” She looks to her father in disapproval.

“You are too much a lady for me to take you to such a barbaric place. Perhaps…” He looks at me when he continues, “A husband will take you, one day.” I clear my throat in response to his directness.

“Something wrong sir?” Caroline asks.

“No!” I pause once more, “No, not at all. Just…” I look down at the pork we have been served, “The meat is delicious.”

Genovese looks over at me and replies, “Servants made it.” She almost seems to have a thorn in her words to me.

I smile and try to attend to her fragile temperament.

“I see. It is very delicious; I would welcome the recipe for my cook.” Seeing how I did not require eating or dining as mortals do, I was not entirely truthful with her and this bothered me.

“I am certain that can be arranged.” Helena responds with grace and a gentle touch.

After dinner, we sojourn to the sitting room. Their house was a grand home, with the polished wood and washed marble overlain to make it a home of great standing in the socials.

Genovese turns to me as we have been sitting for what seems like hours with no talk, watching the fire embers burn and burn, while Lord DeLore puffs on his pipe he had picked up in the East.

“Count,” She begins and already I could feel the sting in her words, “Shall we cut to the chase?”

Caught off guard, mostly because I could not predict her thoughts, I look curiously at her.


“Yes, the one where you are here to court me and my father, the loving father and Lord Delore to all has so agreed to give permission for.” Her words stung to me and cut to the core at her father’s title and his ability to allow her to be seen by courters. I had anticipated that I would have to win her love and affections. I had not anticipated that she would not even like me.

“Would you prefer I a pauper?” I ask reluctantly.

She seems taken back by this answer and it causes her elder sisters to let out a laugh. Lord DeLore and his wife are also amused by my quick response.

Almost at a loss for words she replies finally, “No.” She turns from me and looks in the fire.

“I see.” I begin as I take my stand, “So, you would prefer me to be of royal decent and with wealth, so that I might be able to afford you in the manner your father has so graciously provided for you, rather than you sleeping homelessly in the streets of Orleans, searching desperately for food, day after day with no end in sight?” I had not planned on this reply, it just came natural.

She looks at me almost ashamed that those words had struck a nerve within her. “Sir, I feel I am tired of this conversation and would ask that I be allowed to change it.” It was almost an apology, not quite, but close enough.

“We may.” I sit down and watch as she searches for a topic, which will not provoke me further. The night drew on and we talked of the various topics of travels to the art in Paris and abroad.

Finally, the hour came for which I had waited, the time when the family would leave us to talk alone. I made no hesitation in making my intentions to be considered a suitor by her and by her father. She made no hesitations in halting my intentions and letting me know she did not want to pursue a courtship.

“What gives you the right, or any man to think you can court me just because my father says I am permitted? What if, I do not wish to be courted?” She was headstrong and irritating to say the least.

Chapter 20 – Courting of Genovese

I decided, for the sake of not wishing to seem too eager to have Genovese, and to allow her to sharp tongue to dull, I gave a few days between our next meeting.

I arrive at her home, bringing sweets and fine dresses from the Orient with me, as a way to win her favor. It did not.

“So, you think I can be bought, as a servant?” She closes her door and I left standing with servants holding the gifts, feeling foolish and disappointed. Once again, I had not gained her admiration or affections.

Another week passes and I arrive on horseback, bringing no gifts to cool her hot temper. Once again she has a reply to my advances.

“I am not worthy to be courted as a lady? Do you think me a woman of the streets?” And once more, she slams the door in my face. I was without knowledge how to sooth her.

“Guiliamo, how do I conquer her heart? I have tried both directions. He sits and looks at me over a fire in the hearth of his small humble abode he had taken in his disguise for being in the city.

“You must allow her to feel she is not required to love you.” He smiles smugly as he sits back and closes his eyes.

“Why are you doing that?” I ask in response to his actions.

“Doing what?” He asks without opening his eyes.

“That…Shutting your eyes.” I point out the obvious. Paolo looks away with a small smile on his boyish face.

“I am meditating, as I would request you do.” He pauses then opens his right eye and looks at me, “It sounds as though you might have need to.” With this he shuts his eyes again. Thinking on his words, I decide he is right. I must allow her to feel she has say in the matter of me courting her.

“You are correct!” I shout out as I go to take my leave.

“Of course I am.” He pauses and then opens his eyes once more.

“About which part?” Paolo asks.

“All of it.” I look down at Guiliamo who is smiling beneath his tough and strong exterior; he wants me to be happy.

I arrive at Genovese’s home riding horseback, so not to flaunt my wealth or prosperity, that was more of an illusion for her father’s sake than mine, and I wait as the servant announces my arrival to Genovese. Standing in the foyer, I see her sister Caroline strolling down the spiral staircase, smiling at me politely. I knew her thoughts and she had hoped I would have given up on Genovese, and took admiration of her. This was not going to happen. I had to win Genovese’s affections or…well, nothing else mattered.

Genovese finally, after what seems like an eternity, makes her appearance down the stairs, acting as though I did not count. I watch and it is hard for me to stay in any mood but excited when I am in her company. But, I regain of my thoughts and realize I must separate my true feelings from what she needs. She needs a man who will allow her to be an active and involved partner in all matters. She is independent and will not be caged like a prize horse. Her father, Lord DeLore had spoiled her, which was common knowledge, and indulged her whims of being independent. But, there was a certain part of Georgina, which still remained in her. That part, I was counting on to win her attentions.

“Good day sir.” She calmly says standing in her sitting room.

Making my way to stand nearer to her, I say,

“Good day, Genovese. How are you?”

She pauses a while before answering and then cattily walks from me creating a distance and says,

“I am well.” I could tell from her reply, without using my talents, that she had more to say and just had refrained from doing so.

“Good.” I pause and then say, “Would you care to walk with me in the garden? It is such a beautiful day.”

With great poise she turns and looks at me. For a moment, I could see Georgina busting to get through and to leap into my arms. But, then she says,

“I am not sure.”

“You are not sure? Is it not a good day to walk in the beautiful gardens and smell the blooms of the Gardenia and the Flocks?” Hoping to insure her I am of resolved feelings from our last conversation.

“Are you trying to seduce me?” She was very forthright in her question, which did cause me to stumble for my wording.

“Actually…” I pause trying to think of how to answer this question and then I decide the truth is the best answer, “Yes, yes I am.”

She looks at me deeply and then a smile comes across her face. “Then yes, I would love to walk with you.” The truth had been the right choice, at least this time.

We stroll along the gardens and take our seat near the pond watching the swans bathe in the sunlight that reflected on the water. In all the beauty around me, she was the most beautiful of it all. I must have lost myself in that thought as I leaned in to kiss her. To my surprise, she did not resist and we held each other and kissed tenderly. I had waited over a lifetime to have her this way and to feel her lips to mine. The wait was well worth it.

The sun set as we casually strolled along the brick path that led back to the magnificent home. We talked as equals, not as mortal and immortal. I held her opinion in high regards and valued her interjections. She would be mine and would love me as I love her.

The courtship took weeks before we could announce an engagement to the family and society. There are processes you must attend to and preparations you must make as the groom. One of these preparations was a home that I did not yet have. Guiliamo and Paolo scoured the countryside in search of the perfect home. Weeks and weeks passed and still no home. Finally, Guiliamo came to me one night as I was standing guard and tells me,

“We have found you the home you desire.”

“Really, where is it located?” I reply eagerly.

He informs me that the estate is located in the region north of Orleans. It had been used for wine making and now has been available because the owner had recently departed. I had to ask,

“How recent? How did he die?” Guiliamo smiles as he looks down.

“Not to worry brother. He has not met any demise by my hand.”

This instantly causes me to ask, “Then by Paolo’s?” He laughs as I say this. Paolo is one of the most peaceful and non violent of our kind.

“No, not by Paolo’s hand either.” He turns and smiles, “Paolo will be delighted to think you could think he could do such a thing. I am sure he is smiling right now.” Paolo had the gift to see the future, or possibilities as he liked to call them, and probably already foresaw that I would ask the question.

“Yes, you are right.” We both laugh. I walk with him as we continue to talk.

“However, there is reason for alarm.” Guiliamo stops me with his concern.

“Alarm…How so?” I had feared the worse and now he was about to tell me what I had not wanted to hear. My words were marked with the fear and Guiliamo perceived it instantly.

“Lorean.” Just the speaking of her name, I knew the fear he was trying to hide from my mind.

Chapter 21 – Lorean Returns

“Lorean has…well…she has been seen by the Anuket to the south of us here.” I could smell the mark of death that she brings.

“How long ago?” I had to know how long I had before she would encounter me.

“Days…two… or three back.” Instantly, I knew that she had been responsible for the death of the owner of the home that Guiliamo had located for me and Genovese. This would mean that Lorean had set it into play so she would know where I would be for the next fifty or sixty years and feel the need, she could drop in. She had obviously, made herself known to the man as a lady of standing, been invited into his home and then murdered him. As immortals, we cannot enter a dwelling of a mortal without invite, be that Anuket or Vampire. And, now that she had taken his life, she had free reign to drop in anytime, because I was not mortal, the rules would not apply to the home. Unless…

“What if…” I begin. “What if we stop her from being able to be a welcomed guest?” Guiliamo smiles at me, knowing my thoughts.

“Genius!” He says aloud as he takes his leave of me. I hear his thoughts to me as he disappears into the night air, “I will make it so.”

I resume my guard of Genovese. I had to protect her now, more than ever. And soon, she would know that I love her with all that I am.

Next day, as I prepare to meet up with Genovese at the church, that we will be married in, Paolo greets me.

“Hello brother.”

I look around and ask, “Where is Guiliamo?” Guiliamo, as Father Anthony, is to the priest to marry Genovese and I.

“He is attending to the other preparations and asked me to stand in for him.” I smile and say,

“Then perhaps you should…change?” I make light that he looked nothing like Father Anthony in his present form.

“Oh yes.” He smiles as he alters his appearance to that of Guiliamo’s alternate identity as Father Anthony, the image I had first met him as so long before. It was hard to believe that I had known him for more than two centuries, but time for us is not an issue, only what we do in that time is. What had impressed me so, what that Paolo had gained use of his abilities in such a short time for an immortal. However, I knew that he had been created by Guiliamo directly, as Lord Bael had, and this gave him the extra connection to Guiliamo and his thoughts, something I felt robbed of at times.

“That is much better brother.” I smile seeing him as Father Anthony.

“Glad you approve.” He begins as he reaches for his staff. It is then I remind him,

“Father Anthony does not have a staff.”

“Oh yes, I know.” He waives his hand and it appears as a beaded chain of a Rosaries.

“Complete.” I acknowledge his ability to the smallest of details.

“Have you thought of how you will share with her, your secret?” I was unsure why Paolo would even ask, knowing the future as he does, it seems in vain to ask that, seeing how I had not.

“Not yet.” I knew that I had to reveal to her, without her knowing I had revealed it to her. According to the rules, I had to allow her to come of the knowledge on her own.

“I would recommend, but that would be against the rules.” Paolo says in support of my hard spot I was in.

“I know.” Just then Genovese arrives with her nanny in tow. Caroline steps forth from the carriage as well. I turn to Paolo for search had he foresaw this. He nods that he had and I could hear his thoughts as he says,

“Not to worry, I have a plan.”

I nod and smile as I turn to Genovese walking toward me.

“Good day madam.” I smile in the thought that soon, Genovese would be my wife and we would love and live together for a lifetime.

She smiles and looks around at her nanny and asks her to sojourn back for a moment. “I need to speak with the Count, alone please.”

The nanny still looking at me as a devil of sorts, replies,

“As you wish my lady.”

I take Genovese by her hand and lead her to side of the cathedral, where we could talk lowly.

“What is it my dear?”

She seems to have such hard thoughts in her head and struggles to form them into sentences.

“There is so much I do not know of you.” She pauses, “I want to be sure I know the man, the man you are, not the one you present to others.”

Knowing this would be the perfect moment to say, “I am an immortal.” I realize this would not be allowed and I refrain.

“What is it you wish to know of me?”

“Where, exactly, is your home? I have never visited it and no one seems to be able to know of it.” I smile and tell her of the home that Guiliamo was securing for me as we speak. Having shared his thoughts on the home, I was able to give her details that only one who had actually lived there, could.

“Does this answer your questions?” I ask after having told her of the home.

“No.” She point blank answers. This causes me to feel she must have some hidden question, which she has not revealed.

“I see.” I begin, “What else can I tell you?”

She pulls from me and then turns to me again, “That is just it.” She begins. “I want you to show me, not tell me.” I approach her and stand before her, as a man in love and as a man who wishes to share his entire being with her.

“We have your entire life for me to show you my world.” I carefully selected the word of your verse our in the comment.

She smiles and then leans her head to my chest. “I trust you, with all that I am. Can you trust me with the same?” Feeling the need to share with her, I withhold.

“I do and soon, you will know all that I am, I promise.” Unsure how this would be, I look to Paolo. He nods his head and I felt certain I was telling her the truth.

Funny thing about the truth, it can have a duel edge sword to it, as I soon find out.

The day of our wedding, I had learned that Lorean was in the city, no doubt searching for me. Between Paolo, Guiliamo and my own abilities, we had cloaked me from her sight. However, she was a very strong immortal and had the ability to see through certain gifts, even Guiliamo’s.

I stand waiting for Genovese to walk toward me as her sisters precede her. The flower girls laying out peddles of beautiful roses on the floor, the attendees that had come to watch our union and then finally, Genovese led by her father Lord DeLore enter the church, and the gathering stands to greet her, as is custom.

My thoughts are all on Genovese and the life we would have. I saw us being very happy together, for all of her life. The only part that would be missing would be children, which I was not permitted to father with her. However, we could be very happy even without children.

I still had not told her or allowed her to know my true identity. Now was upon me and still she had no knowledge of the real man she was marrying. Each step she takes closer to me, my insides are anxious to hold her, to have her as my wife. I could sense her anxiety as well. Her father’s thoughts were of delight that she and I had worked through our differences and now she would be joined with someone that could be sure she would be well taken care of for her entire life, as I would see that she would be.

But, just as all things must come to an end, my dream…my beautiful dream is halted as the hellish nightmare comes to a reality.

Lorean, accompanied by her small army of Vampires, grab Lord DeLore and then my love, my meaning for being, Genovese. Quickly, they are gone leaving me, Paolo and Guiliamo in awe as the day had just taken a turn for the worst of the worst possible.

“How?” I shout to Paolo. I was asking is, “How could you not see this?” He holds his head down and looks away. Guiliamo grabs my arm and leads me quickly from the church and we instantly are in pursuit, not as mortals, but as immortals. Paolo soon joins us in our search for Lorean and where she had taken Genovese and her father. Hours and hours pass and soon we realize where she would have taken them.

“The house, the one you purchased for me Guiliamo.” I begin, “She would go there to do her deed.” Guiliamo follows as close as he can behind me. I use all my ability to race to the home.

Upon arriving short of the home, I sense Vampires standing wait. I motion to Paolo and to Guiliamo to go in opposite directions so we can split their attentions, divide and conquer, and make my way to Lorean before she could end my love’s life, or worse.

Guiliamo uses his ability to make himself appear as many and takes down the first century guards that guard the line parameter. Paolo and I link to be able to share our gifts and we send a thought wave that disables the other guards long enough for us to behead them. Leaving a pillage of decapitated corpses in our wake, we make our way to the lair that Lorean would have set herself up in, the Master Bedroom. She had been prepared for this move and had set many pitfalls in our path, with her army of Vampires attempting to stop me; I fight through them as if they were made of paper. Guiliamo had never thought of me as a fighter, however, he was seeing my vengeance and seems impressed. One by one, the guards fall. Lorean had purposely created them, just for this battle. A battle I planned on winning.

“Marc!” I hear Genovese call out to me from upstairs.

“I am here my love!” I try to reassure her that I would save her.

Upstairs, Lorean holds Genovese hostage and taunts her with cruel words,

“Marc?” She begins, “Is that the name is using now?” She laughs.

“What do you mean?” Genovese asks.

Lorean laughs, “Marc…is Marcusio.” She pauses as she senses my soon arrival. “However, has Marc told you of himself? What he really…IS?”

“I know who he is. He is the man I love and that he loves me.” Genovese cries out. Hearing her words, feeling her pain and knowing how Lorean can be so cruel, makes me fight harder to get to her.

“Do you now?” Lorean pauses and shouts out to me, “Have you told her your little secret, lover?”

I could not see Genovese’s face, but could only sense that she was bothered with Lorean’s word choice of lover.

I do not answer Lorean and this allows her to continue.

“No?” She laughs, “I did not think so.” She then turns her attentions to Lord DeLore. “Do you know who your daughter is to be married to?”

Lord DeLore replies nervously, “I d…do.” Lorean laughs.

“You hear that LOVER! He says, I do.” She laughs her insane laugh. I am seeing how many ways I plan to make her pay for this crime she has committed.

“One hair on their heads is touched, I will-“ I begin my threat that I plan to keep, only to be interrupted by Lorean.

“Oh! Is that to scare me? Or are you just trying to make the mortals here feel secure in the fact that WHEN you FAIL, as you WILL, that you will have done all you can to STOP ME?” I had find my way to the top floor and was heading to the bedroom when I hear a scream.

“AAAHHHHHHH!” I can hear it is Lord DeLore’s voice. As I approach the room, I met with more Vampires. I can see Genovese, sitting tied to the bed, still unharmed as I could sense. Yet, there was no saving Lord DeLore, Lorean had taken his life.

“I will make her pay for that my love!” I shout, “I promise you!”

Lorean looks at Genovese and says, “Do you have any idea who or what he is?” Genovese just stares are Lorean with great hate.

“NO?” Lorean laughs, “Well, then…I think it is time the bride knows her groom.” She says aloud so I can hear. I can see Genovese, as I make my way through the hoard of Vampires Lorean had created to help her in this battle.

“Why should I believe anything you have to say to me?” Genovese replies. I felt her pain as she looks over at her father, dead at the hand of Lorean.

“What…dear old Papa?” She moves to Lord DeLore’s corpse. “He is only sleeping my love.” With this, she bites her wrist and pushes it to his mouth. She was making him a Vampire as she is. She was doing this to punish me and Genovese.

Within moments, Lord DeLore is awake and looks around at his daughter, but not in the same way he had her entire life. Now he sees her as, food. His eyes, red and his mouth watering from hunger, he is now turned loose on Genovese by way of Lorean.

“I told you LOVER…”Lorean shouts out to me, “I had a plan, always and forever…you and me!”

“NEVER!” I call out as I make my way into the room. Just then, Lorean counters me and throws me against the wall. I land with a THUG! On the floor, looking up as Lord DeLore’s body, driven by the demon inside, makes its way toward Genovese. I see the horror in Genovese’s eyes as she sees her once loving father approaching her with hunger in his eyes.

Lorean picks up a table and hurls it at me. I block it and quickly move around and slide the very heavy bed of solid Cyprus at her. She is pinned for the moment. I am in flash in front of Lord DeLore and I push him back. He is strong for a new creation and he throws me to the side. I look at Genovese and cry out, “Close your eyes my love!” I see that she has and I whip my sword around and do what I have to do, THUNK…THUNK…THUNK!

I had beheaded my love’s father, and quickly turn my attentions to Lorean. She had anticipated this move and had Genovese by throat and was holding her in the path.

“I think now is the perfect time for your…MORTAL BRIDE…to learn who and what you really are.” Lorean licks the side of Genovese’s face. I make my way toward Lorean slowly, not wishing to push her to take Genovese’s life. I can hear Guiliamo making his way to me and Paolo is not far behind. Just then, I hear the sound that I had not heard in so long, the sound of the children that Lorean had created so long ago.

“Momma, can we help?” I hear the boy call out as he attacks Guiliamo with great force. He might be a child, yet he had the strength of full sized Vampires that had spent centuries feeding on mortals, which made him a very compelling foe to Guiliamo. The only saving fact was, that Guiliamo had abilities that went beyond strength to counteract the enormous strength that young one had. Guiliamo uses his mind to convince him that he is in multiple places, giving him the time to move behind him and do what needed to be done.

“MOMMA!” The boy cries out as Guiliamo snaps his head around and then swings his sword to meet his neck, THUNK…THUNK…THUNK! His young boyish head, with golden locks falls to the floor and Lorean cries out,

“NO!” She is truly bothered by this loss and says, “You will pay for that…I assure you.” And as I had seen, Lorean was true to her threats.

She leans in to Genovese’s neck and bites. I watch as the life force I had fallen in love with is drained from my beloved. Genovese falls to the floor, barely alive. I swing into action as more Vampires attack and try to hold me from Lorean completing her task, to keep me from being with my love.

“Now, NOW…is the best time to tell you what your MARC is!” Lorean begins as she lifts Genovese up and places her on the bed. Genovese was still among the living as mortal, barely hanging on to the life that I had planned for us to have. I can see her eyes are about to close as Lorean says,

“He is…as I am…Vampire!” And she thrust her bleeding wrist to Genovese’s mouth and I shout,

“NO! DO NOT DRINK MY LOVE!” I stare into Genovese’s eyes and see them close.

Chapter 22 – Begin Again

I see my love, helpless and at the point of death, about to drink from my enemies wrist. Lorean smiles feeling completely in control. What she had not anticipated was Paolo. He had seen this about to happen and….

CRASH! He burst through the window from behind and pulls Lorean away. I see Genovese’s life drift from her and she dies as her heart beat slows to a complete stop.

Lorean knowing she is out-numbered and out-witted, leaps from the room out the window and scurries into the night. I am left with the decapitated head of my love’s father and my dead bride to be. I slumber in the room as Guiliamo and Paolo gather the corpses of the Vampires and burn them in a huge pile behind the house. I see them come in and take away Lord DeLore’s body and head and I am sickened by the thought that I had elected not to tell Genovese my secret, to protect her, and how that secret had cost her…her life and the life of her father.

I take Genovese’s body to her mother and lay it at her feet. Her mother, beyond grief as I tell her that her husband had died protecting Genovese and how I was not in time to protect them both. I could not tell her the truth, that a Vampire had turned her husband into a blood-thirsty creature that was about to take the life of his youngest daughter.

“I believe you should leave sir…and never return.” Caroline says. I look at her and agree.

Leaving Orleans, I look back once and then never return.

Years and years had passed and I travel through Europe and the British Isles. I have taken on identities as many, soldiers and pirates alike. My life was meaningless without her. How could I go on now?

One day, as I am about to set sail aboard a cargo ship bound for the Indies, I am met by Paolo. Before, I would have been glad beyond joy to see him. Now, I was not.

“Brother!” he cries out to me. I act as though I do not hear him.

“BROTHER!” He calls out louder and I feel his thoughts trying to penetrate my mind. However, in this time, I have learned how to block my thoughts from anyone and everyone. I had encountered many Vampires in my search for Lorean, to end her existence, and I had gained so many new talents.

“Please, I implore you, listen to me!” he calls out.

Turning around slowly, I say, “What? What do you have to say?” I begin with such vinegar in my tone.

“We have good news for you.” He starts as she jumps aboard the ship that is about to set-sail.

“WE? Who is WE?”

“We, the...” he then sends me his thoughts, “Anuket...Guiliamo.”.

I stare at him and say, “Is that a fact?” I leap down to him and say, “I would say that the Anuket and I are done.” I was hurting still after many years had passed since Genovese had lost her life.

“She is…reborn.” His words were like sweet water to me, washing away the anger and resentment.

“What? When? Where is she?” I was desperate to have her again.

He sighs, which was not necessary but was a way to show me his frustration in having to deliver the news,

“She was…reborn in the America’s. I can only see she is near her twentieth birthday and still unwed.” I was exceedingly happy with this news. I felt the pull of life again, her life.

“When do we leave?” This was my only question of him as we stood there on the ship about to depart for the Far East.

He led the way, and we met up with Guiliamo and another immortal I was not familiar with, Hector. He was from the Isle of Crete and had been around a couple centuries serving as ambassador for Lord Bael in the Turkish Empire. He was tall, handsome for a man, and had a silent way about him. I could not read him and he was not sharing his thoughts with me. However, he and Guiliamo seemed to be very close, laughing and sharing with each other, and no one else. They ate on some of the livestock that was aboard the ship we stowed away in. Paolo and I dined on rats, there was a plenty of them, and a few gulls we caught on the bow of the ship at night. To the sailors, we appeared as ghost, barely able to be seen and the moonlight cast an iridescent glow on us, making us appear much paler than we are.

Days and days, turned into weeks pass and finally we arrive in the harbor of what is known as Boston. Being very careful to exit the ship when no one was around, we quickly blend into the crowds that are in the street. “New land, new adventures” was what Paolo was thinking. He and I had grown to be able to link up quite easily, which made my task to find Genovese or whatever her name was now, easier.

The year is 1772 and we are arriving in the Colony of America, a British settlement of immigrants, cut-throats, thieves and of course, immortals. Guiliamo and Hector have told us that there are a great number of immortals, both Vampire and Anuket living in this New World; some holding high ranking titles and some wishing to stay in the shadows, unexposed by mortal history. There are a select few here and there of the Vampire, that do not wish to be known as killers, who feed on the sick and dying verse feeding on every mortal that they come in contact with. However, it is real rare and not the normal. Take for instance, I and Guiliamo were both created by Vampire, but chose to be Anuket. We are not the first to do that, at least I am not, but it does not happen that often. When the Vampire, colibias, an Anuket word that means to parent someone, they alter that person in ways that cannot be expected. When Genovese’s father, Lord DeLore was transformed, he became a killer. It was not him, but it was, that was thirsting for mortal blood, including his own daughter’s. A Vampire will have no inhibitions of killing and destroying. They only act on impulse and the moment. This word in Anuket is, Yumbil, to be without thought. The Vampires in the New World, had unbridled rule, until the Anuket came to the Colonies in 1590, thus there was the purification they did at Roanoke, and the mortals cannot explain why an entire village disappeared or the mark of C-R-O, which is Anuket word for warning, based on the Roman and Greek translations of the lost alphabet from the Anuket.

We take shelter at an inn outside of the Chesapeake area, in route to a town in a farming area of North Carolina. Using our abilities to travel, after having been onboard a ship, stowed away, would be very taxing on us physically and most importantly, we needed to know the layout of the land before making that venture.

Upon settling in, I decide to walk along the night streets to become accustom with the people of this new land. The night air is brisk, foggy and smells of fish and rotten vegetables, much like London. Grateful for the fog, I am able to go unnoticed and move about easier. Paolo had decided to follow along and I was glad for the company. Guiliamo and Hector have stayed back to learn from the locals of the best route to North Carolina. My trust for Hector is enhanced, after I found him penning a letter to someone, and the first letter of the name was L. Could he be a spy sent by Lorean to counteract my intentions again? I will be keeping a close watch on him and his actions, for my sake and the sake of Guiliamo and Paolo.

Darting in and out of narrow streets, we hide in cramped places while we move about in our cloaked form, which can only be seen by animals and those with second sight. Very few mortals are born with gifted abilities. Most who are, whether it be second sight or more, are of immortal lineage at some point. Paolo has suggested we stop hiding and just move about freely, appearing as mortals who are new to the city. I am reluctant because I am unsure what rules that they might have in regards to immortals. In Europe, it is easier…not completely, but still easier to be immortal, because they accept it. Here, I am unsure how this new land greets immortals or those who are different. I have heard they are not acceptable of those claiming to be witches. For the record, those who were prosecuted here and in London for being witches, were innocent. They had no more powers of dealing with the devil, than I do. The small portion of them that actually had gifts, were either Vampire or Anuket hiding in the lifestyles of mortals. Of course, the attempts that the mortals made to end the lives of the witches were in vane because the immortals could not be killed, at least not the way those who were executing them were. The French have it right, they behead them.

I hear a voice ahead that is very familiar. It is too foggy, even for my eyes, to see them. I move in closer, motioning that Paolo stay back. Sliding in between a very narrow crawl space, I can only hear the voice better without being found out.

“I will lead them straight to her.” The voice is Hector talking with another man, who smells to be mortal.

“Be sure you do. She will be waiting on them. Your mission is not complete until you do.” The man is tall, wiry looking, with a small beard, dressed in a soldier’s uniform of the British.

Who was he talking of? Was he referring to leading us directly into a trap with Lorean? I had to advise Guiliamo and Paolo instantly. Not sure how, but I bump a crate and it falls, causing a loud THUMP!

I bound out like a cat, swiftly moving through the fog, and grab hold of Paolo as I pass him. We pass many mortals who are transferring from one ship to another in the night air.

“What is it my brother?” Paolo calls out as we enter the inn. Standing there, with many onlookers, I motion we need to speak privately. I look around and say,

“I over-heard Hector.” I begin. Paolo interrupts with,

“What? That is why you pulled me so? He was probably making travel arrangements for us to go to this North Carolina.” Paolo was very smart, very intuitive of his gifts, but naïve when it comes to people with bad intentions, thus the reason he could not have predicted Lorean and her actions at the farm in Orleans.

“No!” I look around and see the men looking at me queerly. “You do not understand,” I begin in a low tone, “He was not making the arrangements for us to travel, he was assuring someone, a man, a mortal, that we would be coming to this place.” I had left a very important part out and was about to intercept the conversation when Paolo argues,

“He was probably speaking to his contact here, to let them know we had arrived and that we would be moving on shortly.”

I look at Paolo and roll my eyes, “No, he wasn’t. He was telling them that he would deliver us to her.” I stare at him for a moment, waiting his surprised look. He held his face and acted as though I had not said anything he did not know.

“You are not surprised by this, are you?” I ask curiously.

Paolo smiles and says, “No, no I am not.” Now more curious as why Paolo was smiling.

“Why are you alright with this conspiracy?” Paolo would never intentionally harm anyone, without merit. Had I done or said something to cause him to deliver me to the very hands of Lorean?

“My dear, speculative, over-zealous and tired brother,” Paolo begins as he puts his hand on my shoulder, “He was speaking of the ship that is to take us to North Carolina tonight. Sailors speak of ships as her, giving them feminine identities in respect to the goddess Hera.

Feeling ashamed and overly suspicious, I apologized to Paolo.

“It is not I you need to apologize to.” He smiles. I leave him to go make my apologies to Hector.

I catch his scent in the air and follow toward it. Seeing him making conversation with a young woman, a prostitute of sure, I decide to linger back for a moment, in the shadows, so not to scare her away with my abrupt arrival.

“You know…”She begins, “This is going to cost you more.” What sort of expectations could he want? Unsure if I should be hearing this conversation, I was about to move when I hear him say,

“For the money I am paying you and your coven, you had best follow through and take him out. She is expecting this to be done before we arrive in North Carolina.” There! I had heard him make arrangements to have me killed. I knew he was a traitor. Now, I had proof. Of course, Paolo would not be as accepting to hear this, so I had to see it so he could share with me later. I move in a spot to witness the conspiracy first hand, and they are gone. Was she immortal? I had not been able to distinguish his odor from hers. Thinking on it, I had not sensed or smelled a mortal, as I had before. He must be working with Lorean to deliver me to her or to kill me. I had to work fast if I was to thwart his plans.

Returning to the inn, I see Guiliamo , Paolo and Hector sitting at a table dining on a bottle of spirits. How would I separate Guiliamo and Paolo from Hector long enough to inform them of this act of betrayal? I walk in slow, making my way as mortals would, to the table sitting in the back near the hearth.

“Hello gentlemen.” I greet them. Slowly, I turn my attentions to Hector and give him a polite smile.

“Where have you been Marc…” Guiliamo stops and searches my mind for the name that I am now going by, “Marc.” He smiles and tips his wine glass to me.

“I have been here and there, searching for rats.” I look at Hector as I say the word, rat.

“Why? There are plentiful other things to dine on here in this new land, unlike back home.” Hector says as he drinks his ale.

“Oh, yes there are. However, rats are everywhere, wouldn’t you agree, Hector?” Once again, I make mention of the word rat in relationship to him. My hand stays ready to draw my sword in a moment. I knew from Guiliamo, he was a master of the sword and had been around a very long time. Never the less, I had to give it my best effort.

“Why, I guess there is, Marc.” He smiles at me once again and looks back toward Guiliamo.

“You seem troubled dear brother.” Paolo says motioning for me to sit. I take my seat and tap Paolo on the hand that I needed his attentions at once. He looks at Hector and then Guiliamo and then to me.

“Now?” He sends his thought to me.

“Yes, now please.” I return the thought.

Paolo stands and looks down at his now empty glass of wine and says to Guiliamo and Hector,

“I believe I need to take a stroll.” He looks down at me. “Would you care to join me brother?”

“Yes, I believe I would Paolo.” I look at Guiliamo and realize I had to warn him as well, but that Paolo was the best to do that, seeing how he could read him so easily.

“Are you sure? Now?” Guiliamo speaks. “You just arrived.”

I look back to him and say, “Yes, I am not in a drinking mood.” I push my chair in slowly and then say, “Please excuse me.”

Paolo and I take our way out to the street and down a way, so Hector would not be able to over-hear our conversation.

“What is this about Marc.” Paolo asks.

“He is planning on killing me on the way to North Carolina.” I knew the words I wanted to say, and the order I had wanted to, they just did not come out that way.

“You already told me this and I told you, he was speaking of the cargo ship we are taking later.” Paolo tries to reassure my anxiety.

“NO!” I look around and see I have gained the attention of those around us. “No, he was speaking to another…Vampire later, a female, who is lining up the kill on me.”

“A Vampire? Are you sure?” Of course I was not and Paolo could easily read my thoughts and know this.

“No, I am not.” I look down and back to him. “But, I know this is the case. Please, please believe me before it is too late.” I beseech him to listen to me.

Paolo stands still for a moment and then says, “Share with me so I can see this for myself.”

“I cannot.” I knew this would have been the proof he would need and I was unable to get it.

“Why? Did you not see this happen and hear it?” He begins, “I would be able to see it as you did, you know this.”

Of course I knew this and wished a thousand times I had been able to.

“Yes, I know this. But, I was only able to over-hear them and your gift does not allow you to hear only. You would only be able to see it and hear my thoughts of what they said.” My story was sounding more frantic with each word that proceeded from my mouth. I was sounding like I was jealous of Hector and wanting to be free of him. Of course, I did want him gone. But, that was not my only reason. I knew we could not trust him, we were walking into a trap and there was no way for me to prove it.

“Brother, you must come to me with proof or else I cannot entertain these notions you are having from the fear of meeting your love again.” He pauses, “This would not be a first time that you have had a melt-down.” He was making mention of my breakdown after Georgina had passed. But that was different; I had believed her dead forever. Now, I had new hope to go on once again.

We arrive back at the inn, Guiliamo and Hector waiting.

“All set to travel. We leave at once.” Guiliamo informs. I glance over at Hector, trying not to reveal my thoughts. Guiliamo had trained me how to block from his own mind. Surely, I could block from Hector.

“Then we leave.” I motion to Paolo and we walk out of the inn toward the ship. Were we about to meet our doom by way of the traitor in the group? I had to go with the plan, if I was to make his intentions known. Would I be able to stop him from harming my friends or my own body? If he knew of Genovese’s new life, then that would mean that Lorean did as well. Had he already taken her life or worse, made her a Vampire?

Chapter 23 - Friend or Foe?

We set sail by the dimly lighted sky of the new moon. The ocean is calm, yet my suspicions of Hector and his intentions have grown. I keep watch on him as much as I can, seeing how he knows when I am near. My abilities seem to be of no use against him. I cannot cloak myself or hide my scent from him. Several times I have tried and each time, he has recognized me standing near or seen me moving about on the ship’s deck.

“Why are you trying to test me so?” He calls out to me as I move about the sails, thinking I was hidden.

Nervous of how to answer him I reply, “I am training.” This was partly the truth even if there were other reasons behind it.

“Ah…Guiliamo must have not told you.” He says.

Told me what? I think to myself.

“Of how I am the one…who has the unique ability to defuse immortals from using their talents on me.” For a moment, I had thought he would say he was the one who had created Guiliamo. But, he did not.

“I see.” With this, I make my appearance, being sure there were no deckhands present to see me materialize from vapors. Else we would all be thrown over-board for being spirits or worse. This time period is filled with great suspicions of mortals for the unknown. Not like it was once, where we lived in harmony, for the most part.

“You are correct.” He replies to my thoughts.

“I am? And to what is it I am correct in thinking?” I respond to test his ability to read my mind. Had he already discovered my plan to unmask him?

He leans out looking at the calm ocean and says, “That we live in different times now. Mortals are very distrusting of…well, most things that they cannot understand.” He seems disappointed and melancholy.

“Yes, that is it exactly.” I reply in the hopes that my real secret thoughts have remained hidden from him. I struggle to not think on them as I am standing near to him.

“Why do they…you know,” I begin looking around, “not trust the unknown so much, now?”

“It is human nature. Humans are afraid of that they cannot explain or understand.” He repositions himself around standing in front of me looking at me squarely.

“They seek to destroy that which is different.” He had actually made a very honest statement. In his words, I found a sense of oldness, of a time way before my own.

“How long have…you been?” I ask cautiously.

He smiles and says, “Longer than you…and long enough to know you are hiding a secret.”

“I am?” I begin feeling for my sword.

He puts his hand on my left shoulder and says, “No need. I mean you no harm.” In his touch, I feel compassion and commitment, not betrayal.

I slide my hand back down and step back wishing to break the link between he and I before he learns of my secret.

“You are right.” I begin as I walk toward the railing. “I am hiding a secret.”

“You will have a difficult decision soon. Trust your instincts.” He looks away from me back out to the ocean that is now beginning to get rough. “You might want to go below and tell Guiliamo and Paolo that we will be arriving to our end by dawn.

“We will?” I was curious how he knew.

“Yes, we will.” Was he divulging his plans to me? We would be at our end by dawn? Was the word end, code for our demise?

As he had instructed me, I go beneath to check on Guiliamo and Paolo, and to tell them what Hector had said.

“Paolo,” I begin talking lowly to him. “I have something to share with you.”

Paolo looks at me and then back at Guiliamo. “One moment please.” He motions that he is binding down the supplies we have brought with us. Although we would normally travel light, we had no way of knowing what things would be available to us North Carolina, seeing how young the territory was.

“At once, please?” I beckon his immediate attention.

Paolo looks at Guiliamo who is dining on a small goat at the rear of the ship. I was sure he was not aware of my thoughts while he was feeding.

“Please?” Again I request his attention.

“Meet me at the starboard side.” Paolo says. “We will not be interrupted there.” He had used his mind to see that the coast would be clear of interruptions, or at least the possibilities of them.

Paolo arrives moments later, looking almost upset with me.

“Share with me, please?” I beseech him to share my thoughts. He searches my mind and I can see by his expression that he has seen and heard the conversation with Hector earlier.

“What does he mean, our end?” Paolo says aloud.

“My point exactly.” I respond. Finally, I had exposed Hector to someone who would believe me and would have the ability to convince Guiliamo as well.

“I must share with Guiliamo at once.” He pulls from me and is about to go below. Just then, Hector is standing in front of us.

“I see you have done exactly as I had wished.” Hector says very smugly.

“Why, what are you referring to Hector?” I begin, using my talents to hide my thoughts. Unfortunately, he was able to read Paolo’s in an instant.

“His thoughts betray you.” Hector says grabbing hold of Paolo.

In a quick moment, I draw my sword and stand ready. Hector seeing my sword, knowing I would not back down, lets Paolo loose.

“You will learn soon, that you have made the wrong choice. I told you, you would have a decision to make, I had hoped you would make the right one.” His words still did not sound treacherous or misleading. He had told me that I would have a decision soon to make. Had I made the wrong one?

Hector throws Paolo to the side and draws his sword. We battle, jumping from rail to sail in an instant as only immortals can do. Our battle goes from stern to helm, us slicing at one another. My anger fully attended by my will to survive, to survive to see my love…

“Your thoughts betray you Marcusio.” He calls out as he walks between sails like a spirit.

“No! They only fuel my intentions.” I respond looking around for him. He was very quick, much faster than I.

“You desire to live? Not so long ago, you desired to meet your death. What has changed?” He asks once again moving in an out between the sails. With no moon, it was harder to see his image, and the fog hindered my ability to smell him.

Having no answer that I was able to convey, I reply, “That is my business, not yours.”

I hear him laugh as he moves about with skillful ease.

“Oh you are so wrong. It is my business, you are my business, always have been.” I hear his voice moving in and out once again.

“Why is that?” I call out to the shadow of him.

“In due time, in due time dear Marcusio.” He replies moving in and about in the shadows.

“No! Now…tell me! You are sent by Lorean, aren’t you?” I wanted a full confession of him.

His irrupting laugh haunts me so as he moves around me. “No. Not I.” He begins. Suddenly, I see him standing in front of me.

“What do you mean, not you?” I wanted answers, I deserved them.

He smiles and lowers his sword, “I am here-“Just then, Guiliamo being sent by Paolo, arrives and comes from behind Hector and thrust his sword deep into the back of Hector, causing Hector to fall to his knees. Guiliamo using his great strength brings his sword back to slice the head of the betrayer off. Hector looks at me, smiles and says,

“Trust your instincts dear friend.” And with this, Hector jumps to his feet and leaps from the ship into the dark waters.

“Thank you old friend.” I call out to Guiliamo. He smiles a partial smile. He had just had to attack and kill his friend on my behalf.

“At least you know that I was telling the truth Paolo.” My suspicions had been confirmed and then at the same time, it meant that not only was I being misled, but that Guiliamo and Paolo were as well. Guiliamo had always prided himself on being very intuitive and able to see through traps.

“I suppose we all have learned from this.” Guiliamo says as he walks below deck. Paolo follows as I call out to him,

“Paolo,” I begin, “Do you think the betrayer is dead?”

Paolo’s eyes go completely white for a moment, as was how he could see the future, before he answers in one word that would haunt me for a long time to come,

“No.” He walks beneath the deck and I stand alone above looking out at the ocean and pondering the turn of events that had just happened. Why had Hector smiled at me as he did? Why did he lower his sword? He surely knew that Guiliamo was behind him, he had exceptional talents for sensing others. What did he mean by the last words he had said to me? His words rang in my head for the rest of the journey.

“Trust in your instincts.”

Chapter 24 - Georgia-Bell

By early morning, we have arrived in the harbor of Raleigh, North Carolina. The gulls fly before us like foot-soldiers, preparing the way for their emperor. The dock hands stand ready to tie the ship to the dock and greet us with merchandise such as, tobacco and cotton; two of the most important commodities in North Carolina aside from corn. The shoreline reminds me of a place on the coast of Spain, where the waters are dark and brimming with sea life. This new world holds many surprises.

“Are you ready to go forth?” Paolo ask as he comes up beside me.

I turn to look at him and say,

“Yes. I am very eager to learn all I can about my love in this life.” I pause and look out at the sun now rising, casting a glow of mixed colors on the water. “Have you any more knowledge of her?”

He thinks deep and replies, “Yes.”

Anxious to learn I ask, “Then…please share with me.” He looks at me and uses his mind to send me images of her face, of her surroundings and her name.

“Georgia-Bell?” I call out. I could not believe that her name had come so close to being what it was in her first life.

“Yes.” He smiles. “We have lost much in this endeavor, be grateful for this chance you have to be with her.” Paolo seems so ominous and mysterious about his words.

“I will take heed my brother.” I had seen her from the thoughts he had sent me. She was beautiful, with her long dark hair and eyes that sparkled in the sunlight. Her fair skin and ruby red lips were so perfectly accented by the contours in her face, like she had been as Georgina and Genovese.

“Guiliamo has been quiet and not wishing to talk about the…”Paolo pauses and then finishes, “the death of his friend.”

Even though I had believed Hector to be a betrayer and deceiver, I was confused how he could have fooled Guiliamo, my mentor and the one who had trained me.

A small dingy pulls along our ship and we board it. Raleigh was to be the starting point for our journey. If I was to win Georgia-Bell’s affections, I would have to have a cover story and this would take some doing to make happen.

After gathering supplies for the journey, Paolo begins giving me a history of my new identity as Jean-Marc Bevier. The name was one Paolo had said would be of good standing, seeing how the French were very wealthy in the New World and had political and financial input with the economy. This would benefit me and secure her families blessings for our union. However, he saw that as she had been in her previous lives, she was headstrong and determined to be independent of her family’s guidance in being married and bearing children as was the custom of the times. But, it was that same fire in her soul that I had fallen in love with in the past, and I was sure it would endow me to her once again. I would not allow anything to stand in our way of a happy life together this time.

Days pass as we prepare for my new life as Jean-Marc. Home had to be secured, as well as, livestock and furnishings in place. Luckily, I had been able to make wise investments in the past and amassed great wealth that would allow her and me to live very well for several life times. Once the stage was set, all we needed was the main characters to make their curtain call. I had become a lover of the theater, having worked with William Shakespeare in London when I had left Italy for a while in the 1590’s. He was a very talented mortal who drew from the experiences of us immortals to create his stories. He was thought highly of by immortals, Vampire and Anuket alike, and I often wondered if one or the other had given him the chance to be re-created as an immortal.

The closer we came to the moment of my meeting with Georgia-Bell, the more clearly Paolo was able to see the future unfold and the more he was able to tell me of Georgia-Bell. She had been born into an old English family of noble decent, who had withdrawn from the Crown and were actively helping the Colonist to break free from the power of the King of England. She was born in 1752, during a snow storm that had come through and caused many newborns to die, causing her to be very loved by her father George Wellington. She was his only child and his wife had died a few years after Georgia-Bell was born. She had been raised very privileged and wanting for nothing. I wondered would she still house the same soul I had loved in the past two lives.

A month had passed and finally we were ready for my encounter with Miss Georgia-Bell Wellington. Per Paolo’s very distinctive insight, I was to meet her in the market as she would be there examining her father’s imports from France and the tropics of the Caribbean. I wondered if while I was serving as a pirate for Spain, if I had stolen from her father?

I was in place as she made her way through the market place. She was just as beautiful, if not more, as Paolo had shown me; her gown slightly touching the ground as she moves so gracefully through the narrow aisles and walkways. I am captivated by her beauty, a beauty I had missed so much since Lorean had taken it from me in her previous life. I could not help but smile as I see her.

“These…these…and these.” She instructs her servants to gather the crates containing spices and herbs. The simple waive of her lace covered hand, and her orders are followed. She had such a way about her, that makes you feel you are her slave, whether you are or not. In this life, she has a dialect I am not familiar with, yet it compels the ear to listen attentively.

“Mam, do you want this as well?” The male servant asks holding up the crate of bananas.

“Yes, and those.” She points to the oranges as well.

Within a moment, they are gathered and she continues her walk toward me. My destiny of her is about to be fulfilled, once more. I ease myself into her path, as I had done in her previous life as Genovese.

“Uh, excuse me sir.” She calls out as we bump into one another.

“No my lady, it is I that is compelled to say sorry.” I smile at her.

“Of course you are.” She seems to have inherited her same strong tongue as she had in the past.

I nod my head and smile. She looks at me and for a moment, I can see she recognizes me, like in a far off memory of a dream forgotten.

“Sir, do I know you?” She asks.

“Would you like to?” I reply with a hope she will.

She backs away and looks at me, “Are you being forward sir?”

“I sincerely hope so madam.” My reply was from the depths inside of me. I wanted her and wanted her to know it. As I had seen, time slips away too quickly and wasted on menial things, such as introductions.

“Sir!” She instantly replies as she pulls from my touch on her hand.

“I would say I am sorry…but I am not.”

She pauses and smiles. “You’re not from here are you?”

Bowing to her I say, “No madam, I moved here recently and have to stock my cupboard with items to sustain myself and my servants.”

“I see.” She pauses and then says, “Your name sir?”

With no hesitation I answer, “I am Jean-Marc Bevier.”

“French?” She replies to my family name being Bevier.

“Yes madam. And you?” I ask.

“I am…”She begins, “not interested. Good day sir.” She moves past me and I watch as she makes her way to her carriage. Riding away, I can still smell her scent that fills my nostrils like a Heavenly fragrance that floods your senses in the last evening while standing in the gardens.

Paolo comes up beside me and says, “She was…um…not interested, huh?” He smiles.

“Oh yes, she is very interested. She just is not aware she is yet.” I smile back at him as we leave.

Riding on horseback, I ask Paolo a question, “Where is Guiliamo? I have not seen him in weeks.”

“Since when has time been your friend? You never count time before, why now?” Paolo knew that I did not serve to know how long time had passed, until recent.

“I miss him and I am concerned for him.”

Paolo is quiet for a moment then says,

“He is meditating.”

“Where? I have not seen him. Have you?” I ask.

“No, I have not. I can only see his thoughts and he is very troubled.” Paolo’s remarks have caused me to be very alarmed for Guiliamo.

“We must go to him. Where is he?”

“We cannot.” He breaks his blank stare and says,

“He requires to be alone.” Paolo looks at me and says,

“I am sure you can understand.” Paolo had not said it, but I could feel he held me responsible for the death of Hector, Guiliamo’s friend, who had been put to death by Guiliamo as a result of Hector betraying us, betraying me.

“Why do you not just say what you are thinking brother?” I ask staring ahead as the horse leads our way slowly down the path.

“Say what?” Paolo acts coy.

“Come now.” I saw no reason to be coy.

“You have the gift of sight and able to read my thoughts, why even ask the question.” I reply.

“Because…”He pauses,

“I do not wish to talk about it. It has happened and that is all there is. Your life with your love is all the counts, right?” Paolo seems angered with me.

“To me?” I reply.

“Do you think we would have been on this journey, if not for you?” Paolo asks.

He was right. I had to accept that part of the blame. Had I been arrogant and self-involved to the point that I had lost perspective for others? I had not intentionally done so. However, does that release me of the blame because I had not intentionally caused the death of another?

The next day, Guiliamo arrives at the house we had set up as my home. He startled me as I was walking through the gardens out back.

“Guiliamo?” I say as I am surprised and yet ecstatic to see him. Did this mean he had forgiven me?

“It is I.” He replies as he stands in the shade of the Oak tree. I look and see him leaning against the tree, somehow he looks different, not sure how.

“How are you?” I knew that having to take the life of Hector had taken its toll on him and his dedication to a life of the Anuket.

“How should I be?” I felt his answer was cold and almost as though he was angry with me.

“I am…”I pause before answering,

“Not sure.”

Guiliamo looks at me with a glare, almost seething type look.

“I see.” He replies as he continues to keep his distance from me.

“If you are angry with me, then…”I begin but he interrupts me.

“IF?” He says and I can instantly feel his anger.

I stand quiet for a moment and then he speaks,

“All I came to say was that to have Paolo meet me at the old barn near the pond tonight.”

“Paolo and I will be attending the theater tonight in town. He says that this will be the opportunity I have to meet Georgia-Bell.” I reply.

“As long as you get what you want, that is all that counts, is it not?” His answer was hurtful at the least.

“Besides, I did not ask for you. Tell him I have business with him, tonight after sunset at the barn.” In a flash he was gone. He had never been able to move as quickly as that before. I suppose his anger was being redirected and it was giving him the extra energy to manipulate his abilities. He had been away meditating a great deal.

I enter the house and dress for the art event. I have told Paolo of Guiliamo wanting to meet him at the barn and he said that he would leave early from the theater and go there. He said that for some odd reason, he was unable to see where Guiliamo was and what he was thinking. I asked if this could have anything to do with his channeling his anger into his abilities and he replied,

“It could have. You did.” Making mention of my time after Georgina died.

He was correct, I had turned my energy of the death of Georgina into my training and it had made me so much more focused and stronger because of it.

Later that night, we are entering the theater, to see a performance by the actors that have traveled from New Amsterdam to perform a rendition of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. I remember the first, the very first, performance of this piece. William was very excited that it was well received. I believe he would be very happy to know that his works are still in production, even now.

Upon entering and taking our seats, I see Georgia-Bell and to my surprise, a male escort. I turn to Paolo in regards to this.

“He believes, as you, she is a worthy courtship.” He smiles. I am furious and wish he had given me forewarning of this.

“Do not worry…you are her soul mate, not he.” He concludes with a positive reinforcement. I smile.

Half-way through, Paolo excuses himself and says he must attend to Guiliamo, he has heard from him in his mind, calling for him. I ask should I go and he pauses and says,

“No. He is requesting I come alone.” I had began to think Guiliamo was never going to forgive me and just how long was Guiliamo going to hold me responsible for the death of Hector.

After the play is complete and curtain has closed, I wait for Georgia-Bell to come my way. I planned to accidently, have an interlude with her. She approaches my way and I slide between two very good sized women and stand in her way.

“Oh, excuse me.” She begins in a very hospitable way, until she notices it is I she has ran into.

“No, the pleasure is all mine, dear lady.” I reply smiling at her. She is so beautiful that no words can explain her.

“I am sure.” She half-way smiles at me, almost in a disgusted look.

“Dear lady, have I offended you?” I offer my apologies.

“As if that would stop you from doing it again?” Her words were just as snippet as she had been in her previous life.

“Perhaps.” I pause and look to her escort.

“I am Jean-Marc and you?” I was hoping to change the subject with her.

He offers his hand, his young and mortal hand to me and says,

“I am Robert.” Georgia-Bell seems bored with the fact that I am talking to her young suitor.

“Perhaps we can all attend to a glass of champagne before leaving.” I offer in hopes it will detain her from leaving my company.

“No thank you.” She quickly says.

Her escort smiles and says,

“Perhaps one drink would not be too over-indulgent, would it dear?” He seems to be a very hospitable young man, even if she was not.

She glares at him and says,

“Perhaps the two of you can drink, while I leave. Suddenly, I am very tired and must leave.” She walks out leaving Robert and I standing there alone. I turn to him and smile.

After having a casual drink with the young man and learning he had spent two very long months trying to court the young Georgia-Bell, and that she had only that day decided to allow him to attend with her to the theater. I had decided, he was of no threat to my intentions or affections with Georgia-Bell. I kept the drinks coming in an attempt to get the young man to open up more, as he did. Before long, I had learned a great deal about the young lady I was already in love with. Her temperament had set her aside from the normal young women of her time. Made her unapproachable and the young men did not wish to be insulted by her, so they had quit calling on her. This was well worth the drinks to learn this.

I knew where she lived and went there, standing outside her home and waiting to catch a glimpse of her. I try to send Paolo a message and cannot feel him in my mind. Perhaps he is blocking because he is in the midst of helping Guiliamo.

An hour passes and I see her, she has decided to sit on her front porch and enjoy the night air. I make myself unseen by her, and she can only sense me as the wind gently brushing against her arm or neck. I see the look in her eyes, as she can sense me, but not see me. The look is that of a long lost love, who is waiting for her lover to return. Oh how right she was in thinking this. I leave her and stand out by an area that is not lit so she cannot see me, and watch as she seems to have enjoyed the moment I just gave her. She goes inside and I see her shadow on the curtain, dressing for bed. Then the light goes out and I take my seat to watch over her.

I had not forgotten, that Lorean was still in pursuit of me and if she knew where I was, and then she knew of my intentions for Georgia-Bell. This made Georgia-Bell a target for Lorean. So my protection was required.

Being concerned for Paolo and why I had not heard back from him, made me decide to leave shortly before dawn to check on him. He was neither at the manor or the barn. I could not understand why he had not told me or sent me message of where he would be. I tried to reach Guiliamo as well, and got no reply.

Days go by, and Paolo and Guiliamo are nowhere to be found. It is as if they have disappeared off the face of the Earth. Finally, one evening, I see Paolo coming up the walk way. I run to greet him.

“Dear brother! I have been so worried for you.” I call out as I reach to embrace him. He pulls back.

“Do not, please. I have been…” He pauses as he pushes past me.

“In great anguish.” Confused, I ask,

“Why so?”

“It is…Guiliamo.” He begins.

“What is wrong with Guiliamo? Does he require my help?” I offer.

“No!” He almost shouts his reply. Then, he tones it down and replies,

“No, you must leave him be.” I was more confused now than I was before.

“Why? What have I done?”

“It is not you, Marcusio. It is…” He hesitates,

“He has gone to a dark place in his mind. You…for your sake, must leave him be. Promise me, you will not try to find him now. He must, be alone to figure this out.” Paolo’s words hurt to the quick. I could not understand why Guiliamo would allow his thoughts to become dark and why he would push me away so.

Reluctantly I agree,

“Of course, I will do as you wish.”

Days go by before my next encounter with Georgia-Bell. I had decided to give her some space between our meetings at the theater and the next. With Paolo’s guidance, I attended a ball that was hosted by Georgia-Bell’s father. It was a masquerade ball, which meant that there would be costumes and mask worn, and this meant that I had an opportunity to be hidden behind a mask, and Georgia-Bell would not know that it was I, who would be standing with her, or better yet, dancing with her.

The ball room was decorated according to the custom, with elegant pieces of artwork displayed around and the attendees dressed in their finest, adorned with mask and flumes. I attended as a count from the seventeenth century, having the clothing from my last lifetime with Genovese already in storage. My mask was a black mask with small beads that outlined the eyes like an owl. Georgia-Bell is dressed in a long flowing white gown, a white mask to match adorned with jewels and flumes, she is quite beautiful, even in a mask.

“Might I have this dance?” I ask as the band plays a melody that was fitting of a quick stepping dance.

She looks at me and asks,

“Do I know you?”

I smile and say,

“That is a good question and you will know who I am at midnight.” It was the custom of a masquerade for the attendees not to reveal their true identities until the stroke of midnight.

She smiles and curtsies to me in agreement,

“Then lead the way sir.”

We dance and dance through the night, our bodies seem to flow like water in harmony of each other, very fluidic. Then after the end of the second to last dance, I ask her if she would like to join me on the terrace for punch.

“I think that would be appropriate.” She smiles.

We stand, in silence for a long moment, and then I say,

“Are you enjoying your evening dear lady?”
She looks at me as if she has recognized me and says,

“I feel as though we know one another.”

Not wishing to ruin the night by revealing too soon I say,

“Perhaps. Would that be a bad thing?”

“No…not at all. Just wish I knew who you were beneath your mask.” She says as she sips her punch.

“Perhaps we knew one another in a previous life.” I offer the truth in a jovial manner.

She does not laugh. Instead she replies,

“It feels that way.” She pauses and then says,

“I have felt it all night as we danced. As if we have been…” She hesitates.

“Lovers?” I had hoped this question would not upset her.

“Almost, but never fulfilled lovers.” She smiles.

The long silence is broken as we hear the crowd inside calling out the time left,

“Ten…nine…eight…” I look at her with my hand on my mask. She has put her hand to hers as well.

“Five…four…three…two…”Just as the last number is called, we both drop our mask. I had expected her to become upset and run away. Instead, she looks at me and smiles.

“I should have known.” She says standing there, not running away.


“Not in the least.” We embrace and I kiss her for the first time.

From that moment, Georgia-Bell and I begin a courtship that spans months and months; each meeting better than the one before. Filled with horseback riding, long walks in the garden, dinners, plays, and many parties hosted by myself and her at my manor. We become the couple that everyone wants to attend their parties and rallies for support of the Colonist and the revolt against England.

The war had seemed so far from us until Georgia-Bell’s father was recruiting for young men to join the militia in support of General Washington’s battle for independence from England. Knowing I had no need to worry of dying, I enlist. I felt compelled to do so, seeing how this great country had been home to my beloved and I could relate to the cause in a very unique way. Besides that, the French were allies to the Colonist and it was expected that I would join the movement.

“I do not wish you to go.” Georgia-Bell says as I pack my things to leave for Boston where I would meet up with several other land owners in support of the militia.

“I know darling. But, I must. I have a need to be of use and to give something back to this land that I now call home.” I reply.

“But-I cannot stand the thought that we…”She pauses.

Knowing the fear she was showing I try to reassure her,

“Dearest, I will be fine. I promise.” I smile at her.

“Besides, I need you to help with the manor here, keeping it ready for my return. Paolo will assist you in any way you need.” She had met Paolo several times and they were very comfortable with one another. Guiliamo still had not visited me and time had created a gulf between us; a gulf that seemed to grow with each passing day.

“I will. The manor will not seem the same without you darling.” She says as I walk down the stairs and she is following behind.

“As soon as I return, I want us to be married.” I say as I look into her beautiful blue-green eyes. Such sadness was in them, and I had no way to take that away without breaking my allegiance with the militia.

“As soon as you return, my love.” She and I embrace and I leave for the train station, having to keep the disguise of being mortal.

Chapter 25 - Letters

I write to Georgia-Bell every free moment I have. I have been promoted to Lieutenant and have a few men under my command. Being very savvy in the art of war, if war can be called art, I was able to train them in the best I knew of.

“My love, I am here in the cold night, thinking of you and how much I would want to hold you in my arms. I am longing for the moment I can see your beautiful face once again and the day that we will wed. I hope all is well with you and Paolo has given you any assistance you require to help you in running the manor.

The snow abounds us like a blanket, a cruel blanket that causes the young men to succumb to the bitter hand of winter. With no firewood, the young men have begun using what they can to stay warm. I have been instructed that my resources of being French, and fluent in the language, will be of asset to Commander Whittly. He is a good man, strong and brave. Leads us into battle, charging the way, with no fear of his own perils he might encounter.

I wish I had better news to give. My thoughts as always, are of you.

Be well my love,


It was more difficult for her to send a letter to me, and for it to arrive where I was, than it was for me to have a letter couriered to her. But, letters did come.


My love, I was so happy to receive your letter today. I must have read it a dozen or more times, feeling every thought you put into every word you wrote to me. I do miss you so. I long for your gentle touch, your loving arms and the way you reassure me all is well, even when I am not sure it is. The manor, which we have given it a name...Belva is the name that Paolo and I came up with. And, yes, he has been wonderful with me. I met your brother Julian today. He is a quiet man who seems to be troubled somehow, like he is hiding a great pain. He stays to himself when I am around.

I wish I could bring you my love personally. For now, this will have to do. Be safe my dearest and know that I am thinking of you.

Return to me soon.

Love always,


This letter concerned me. I knew that Julian was another name for Guiliamo.

Late one evening after nightfall, as the early morning fog encompassed the camp, I took a stroll as an immortal, to spy on the enemy. Darkness and the fog serve as my cloak for keeping my identity. I knew this was cheating, but what was the advantage of being as I am, if I could not use it to help? The air is still thick from the day before and the cannon fire and the smoke from the muskets. Death blankets the battlefield, and even the birds do not sing. There is nothing glorious about death or war, just a duty that has to be done.

As I walk among the British soldiers at their fortress, slumbered in their tents and sprawled about by the campfires, nothing more than boys at best, attempting to do a man’s task of going to war and defending their country. Although my alliances were with the Colonist, I took pity on the young men ready to die for their own cause. These young men, torn away from their families and the loves that they have left behind in their own land, hoping they will get to see their loves once more, as I. For an instant, I am tempted to bring them death, as only I can, to keep them from the battle that they will fight. Yet, I do not. Many of them had been ordered to defend with their lives, to give their lives in their country’s honor, for the King who sits on a plush throne in his castle walls. It was he that I wanted to end his life, not theirs. However, on the battlefield, I had to show no remorse of any kind and do what I had to do.

I began to take notice that there was one tent that was to the back region, with limited guards who are also slumbering. I decided this would be were the leader of their army would have been, and perhaps their plans of attack would be there as well. Moving in stealth, ghostly, manner I make my way inside the tent. I see British commander, a man of about Fifty-five or so, sleeping. I can see his white wig on its holder and his musket pistol beside his bed. His snores are loud, at least to my sensitive hearing, and he reeks of the Scotch he has drowned himself in. Beside him sits the bottle, empty, no doubt gained in their battles with Scotland. I see him, and he is so vulnerable. With one touch of my hand, I could end his life and end this battle, yet I do not. Saving the battle for the battlefield was my only way. The men I command needed to see the leader taken down, to inspire them. Besides, it is too easy to end his life this way and I was able to use my abilities on the battlefield, and no one lived to tell of it. The Anuket way was to show mercy to your enemy, not to take life because you can.

Moving about, I see the maps of their planned attacks. I memorize the attacks and quickly make my way out and back to my own camp, where I am met by my own men, who are not slumbering as the enemy is.

The first guard, a young man of eighteen, greets me with,

“Hello sir. We did not know you had taken your leave of us.”

I smile and say,

“I had to relieve myself soldier and I did not wish to wake everyone. We will need our energy for tomorrow’s attack at dawn.”

“At dawn sir?” He is confused at my new orders. I had told the men that we would be staying low until the sun was high, to give us the advantage on the enemy. But, seeing the new plans that the other commander had, I had to adjust accordingly.

“Yes, at dawn.” I pause and then turn and say, “Please alert the other men, I will be in my tent should you need me.” I pause and then say, “Send a courier to me at once. I have two letters that must be on their way at once. One will be to General Washington.” The young man ask,

“The other?” Replying to my other letter that I said must be sent.

“That is on a personal issue.” Not wishing to display my intentions to the guard, this would show a weakness, flaw of sorts to the men I had gained so much respect from.

“I will be awake, be sure he is here within the hour.” Seeing how I did not require sleep, I go straightway to my tent and prepare for the new orders and plans I would go over with the men.

I sit to write my letter to my love, Georgia-Bell after making out the plans for General Washington, the Commander of the Colonist.

“October 13th, 1781

My dearest Georgia-Bell, I am writing this letter to you the night before what is going to be a victorious battle for us at dawn. This war has kept me from being with you for so long. The years have spanned out behind us keeping us from being wed until my return. I feel certain I am able to know the enemy and his attacks and will ensure a win for the Colonist. Our battle will surely weaken the defenses and the enemy’s availability to gaining more territory into this region. I am sending my love to you as always. If I could be there to hold you, I would. But, my duty calls for me to be the man that you will be able to depend on to defend our land and you with all that I am. This battle tomorrow in Yorktown will in my hopes, end this bloodshed.

My love,


I send the courier out that night with instructions to take the letter directly to Georgia-Bell, giving him the route to take that he would not be impeded with the enemy. There were times, I delivered the letter to her front door, and left after catching a glimpse of her, yet she never saw me. There were times when I would stand outside her home and watch her as she would stand at her window looking out across the snow covered ground, thinking of me. I would use these times to also communicate with Paolo. I did not see Guiliamo not once in those years that I was serving in the Militia. He has stayed to himself when he can sense I am coming. I miss him, but realize he has his own thoughts to work through. He had taken the life of another Anuket, who was a very close friend to him. Even though the years have been like a blink to me, to the mortal such as Georgia-Bell, it has been an eternity. She is now in her prime of life, as the women say. She has saved herself, her love and attention for me when I return. I am certain that my information I have gathered into the camp of the British tonight will secure this victory and allow me to return the love that I long for.

Chapter 26 – The Wedding

Finally, the battle had ended and the Colonist had won their, our independence from the King of England. It had cost us a great deal and the other side as well. However, the Colonist now had free reign of the New World that they had helped to forge. The Native American’s were of great assistance in the defeat of English troupes, as well as, France. Benjamin Franklin, a well-known scholar and diplomat of the Colonist, that are now calling themselves Americans, has served as Ambassador to the King of France and helped to gain a great deal of wealth from them to pay for the battle, known as the American Revolutionary War to the Americans. To the British, it was a loss that would cripple them and their advancements on other territories for many, many years to come. The treaty is signed, thanks again to Benjamin Franklin and his keen sense of diplomacy, later in Paris in 1783. But, today, the war is over and I return to my love, Georgia-Bell.

As I make my way up the long drive, I see her standing as beautiful as ever, in her cream colored gown, her hair all adorned around that beautiful face that I had longed to kiss. Her smile lights up the darkest night. I rush to her and hold her for as long as I can.

On the day we are to wed, I feel it is imperative to a assure myself of the same disaster not happening again as it had in the previous life of her. I go to her that morning, sneaking in her home unnoticed by the servants and in her door. I see her, before the sun has risen, lying there sleeping like a young child, smiling. I touch her cheek gently and my hand trembles at the thought that finally, I was about to be wed to the love of all my existence. Her skin, is so frail as mortals are, but yet so tender to the touch. My love has to be made aware of the man she is about to be wed to.

“Darling.” I call out as a whisper to gently awaken her.

She moves about slowly and finally opens her sleepy eyes and smiles.

“Did I sleep through our wedding and we are on our honeymoon?”

“No my love. It is still early morn before the day we are to be married.” I reply.

“Then,” She pauses not wishing to have bad luck as was the tradition, “You should not be here. You must leave at once Jean-Marc.” She instructs pointing at the door.

“I cannot. I have something important to say and you must hear me.” I am calm but decisive in what I must do. What I am about to say is going to change her life forever, one way or the other. If she does not accept me for what I am, then she will know my secret and it will be in her heart for all time. If she does accept me for my circumstance, then she will love me knowing I will never die, and she will one day.

She sits up, trying to make herself awake for me. She must have sensed that I was about to tell her something so horrific, so terrible that she would alter her decision to be with me for all her life.

“My love, there is nothing you can say that will cause me not to want to be wed to you today.”

I lean into her and brush her cheek, “No? Well, perhaps you should hear my words of confession first.” I wish I could take this from her, but knew that I had no choice in the task I had to do.

“I am listening.” She says so gently.

Pausing to give myself the moment I finally speak, “My love. I am different.” I begin. She anticipates my words and says,

“Of course you are darling. You have seen so much death and war that is had changed you. But, will deal with it, together.” How I only wish this was the case.

“No my love, it is not just the war that has changed me.” I stop and look at her. “There is more.” Somehow, she feels I am about to say something that I could not have been.

“You…took another to love in our absence?”

I laugh almost, knowing this was impossible. This does not amuse her.

“My love, I did not, nor could I ever want another. You are the love of…”I pause, “For eternity for me.”

She smiles and begins to cry as she is over-taken with such relief.

“I love you with all my heart, my dearest Jean-Marc.” She says as she attempts to hold me. I gently push her back and look her directly in her beautiful eyes.

“My love, I am not like you or anyone else.”I realize she does know of a few immortals, Paolo and Guiliamo, and I correct myself.

“Not everyone at least.”

She looks at me curiously, “I do not understand. What do you mean, different?”

This had to be done for her sake, “I am immortal Georgia-Bell. I cannot, nor will I die.” She almost smiles and then looks at me as if for the first time seeing me. I allow her to see me as I have not before, in my eternal youth, not as the man that had returned to her from war. Her smile ceases and crease marks form as she sees me, and then…

In a frightful scream, she pulls away from me and says,

“What are you? What are…are you a spirit? What have you done with my Jean-Marc?” Her fear is obvious.

“No my love. I am neither spirit or dead. Although a hundred times a hundred have a wanted death. This is not one of those times. However, if I could…I would for you.” I answer her realizing I am causing her great agony.

A few moments pass as she sits up against her bed and stares hard at me. Finally, she reaches out and touches me, gently and with great love in her heart. She weeps as she realizes I am telling her the truth.

“So…so, you are still my love, Jean-Marc?”

“Actually, my name is Marcusio. I have had many names throughout the time I have been. You first met me as Marcusio.” I answer her.

“First met…met me?” Being confused was expected.

“Yes. We met many, many, many years ago when you were Georgina.” I reply looking at her with so much desire to take away her pain.

“I do not…do not understand. What do you mean by this?” She asks still touching my face with her hand.

“You’re…you are cold to the touch.” She says shocked at my true touch.

“I am. But I can be whatever you need me to be.” I answer.

Looking at me with fear and love, she asks,

“Who was, is…Georgina?” It was a fair question that deserved a fair answer.

“She was, is you. You are the rebirth of her. You were also another, Genovese.” This had to be so difficult for her mortal mind to grasp.

She pauses before answering, almost as if she has known this before I spoke it.
“Somehow, do not ask me how; I know you are telling me the truth.” She pauses, “I have dreamed things that were not things I could have known or seen before. I have dreamed of you before we ever met.”

“Those are memories of a time long ago. Our time we did not get to complete. That is why you keep coming back to me.” I answer.

She touches me once more and says,

“I do not care my love. I love you no matter who are what you are. The question is…can you love me for who I am?” Her question takes me. Here I was worried she would not love me for being immortal, and she was concerned if I could love her less for being able to be mortal.

“Always my love. I have loved you and will love you for all eternity.” With this I begin to explain to her our situation. How we had met many centuries before in Italy, when she was Georgina. My words seem to be like a story to her, a story of a lost love, instead of the truth.

“I was, I am…”She hesitates on her words still confused by the reality, “Another inside?”

“No my love, you are who you are.” I hold her close to me for the moment and then say, “You are the love I have loved for all this time, just in a different package.”

“Why did you decide to tell me this now?” Valid question for the reasons would be harder than my first news.

“The one that created me, Lorean, she is bent on destroying my love with any other than herself.” I see the look in Georgia-Bell’s eyes. She pulls away, to gain her composure.

“I see. So, she wants me dead?”

“Yes.” I knew the word was cold and hurtful, but truthful as I could be.

She stands and puts on her robe and looks at me, “Has she killed me…”She tends her words lightly, “Before?”

“Yes.” I answer, remembering the last wedding I was to have.

“So, does your brother Julian and Paolo know? Are they…” She hesitates with her words. “As you?”

“Yes, and yes.” I stand and look out the window, knowing daylight will be coming soon. I see Paolo standing by the tree that I had used as a shield many nights to allow me to stand guard over Georgia-Bell.

“I see.” She pauses and then says, “How…How long will, how will we…” She was not making any sense of her words. I was afraid that I had given her too much to know. I knew that Paolo was aware of what I had done. The rule was, she had to learn of her own accord, and love me the same. I had bent the rules.

“My love, I hate to, but I must leave you for a while.” I look out the window once more. She comes to my side and sees Paolo.

“You have to talk with him, now?” She seems frustrated as she should be.

“Yes. If it were not important, I would not leave.”

“Will you return, soon?” She asks.

“As soon as I can. I promise.” I kiss her cheek and leap out the window and hearing her say to me in a low voice,

“I love you Marcusio, or whoever you are or will be, my love. For all of eternity.”

Paola awaits for me and I know from his thoughts, my fate.

“You broke the rules brother.”

“I know. But I could not risk the same thing happening again.” I reply as we sore through the night air toward my manor.

“There are rules for a reason, rules that must be obeyed.” He says as we arrive at my home.

“I know. Do what you will, I had to know that she loves me for me, and to protect her.”

“You did not protect her with telling her.” The voice is a voice I had not heard, but had longed for so long to hear, and yet at this moment, I feared.

“Guiliamo, I see you are speaking to me again.” I call out as I turn to him.

“For the time being.” He pauses as he moves around me. “You broke rules that Lord Bael himself ordered.

“You were given guidelines and guides to ensure your journey would be as you had wanted. Yet, you broke your oath.” Paolo says as he moves around me, almost circling me with Guiliamo. I stand still.

“Have you nothing to say?” Guiliamo asks.

“Should I?” I pause, “Have you not already made your decision? I would rather die now, having been loved by the love of my life as myself, than to live another moment in the pretense of a man she has not known.”

Guiliamo pulls his sword out and Paolo bows to him, “Be ready.” He says to me.

“I am.” I was about to meet my end.

Suddenly, Paolo burst into laughter and Guiliamo smiles at me.

“You are too easy my brother.” Paolo says laughing hard at me. “I was able to block my thoughts from you completely. You really must train more.”

“I…I do not understand.” I stand in disbelief. “The rules, what about the rules?”

“Lord Bael will understand the situation called for it. Paolo had already seen it and had made the council known of it.” Guiliamo says putting away his sword.

“You did?” I smile at Paolo. “So, you knew this and did not try to stop me?” I throw Paolo against the tree, his laugher was over-whelming.

“Yes brother. Yes, we knew. As I knew her reply would be acceptance of you.” Paolo says, laughing as he regains his composure.

“You? You knew and did not come to me?” I turn to Guiliamo.

Guiliamo smiles and says, “And waste this moment?”

I smile and embrace him. My brothers were with me in my moment that I needed them the most. This day, I would take Georgia-Bell, in all her incarnations, as my wife.

The wedding proceeds at noon, at the big cathedral in town, with all her family and great guest, including Benjamin Franklin whom I had met on several occasions during the war.

“Sir, your efforts are and will always be of great appreciation to the Americas. We only hope that we can call on you again, in times we require your special attentions.” Benjamin Franklin says to me as I am in the garden outside the church.

“Most assuredly sir.” I shake his hand smile.

“You have a woman who wants to marry you I believe.” Benjamin says.

“Yes, yes…I do believe so.” I smile.

Georgia-Bell’s bridesmaids are her cousins Sarah and Emily. Her best friend Frances is her Matron of Honor, seeing how she had married already. Georgia-Bell enters the church and her beauty takes the breath of any mortal man away. Our ceremony takes place and as we are at the point of pledging our undying love, the words seem to take on new meanings.

“Do you promise to love, honor and cherish this woman in sickness and health, ’til death do you part?” The priest asks. I almost laugh looking at Georgia-Bell and can now hear her thoughts clearly. I had never used my abilities on her before.

The priest waits for my reply, “Do you?” I had forgotten to answer.

“Oh, yes, yes indeed!” I shout. Everyone laughs, including Paolo and my brother Julian who are my best men.

“Do you promise to have and hold this man, in sickness and health, ’til death do you part?” He asks Georgia-Bell.

I smile and she does as well. “Yes, I do.”

The priest looks at me and says, “Then…” His words seem to take forever, “I now pronounce you…”How come he was taking so long. “Man…” Just then, a voice I had hoped to never hear again speaks.

“Not so quickly!” It is Lorean as she has entered the church.

I turn to look at her, Georgia-Bell looks and then back at me.

“This is her?” Georgia-Bell asks.

“Yes.” I reply wishing I another choice than to do what I must do, I had to draw Lorean away from Georgia-Bell.

“I must, must leave you for now. Please know that I will return. I promise with all my heart my love.” I call out as I am pulling away from Goergia-Bell and see her tears in her eyes.

“I will love you forever.” Georgia says to me in her thoughts.

I reply in her mind, “I will love you forever as well.”

With this, I quickly run out of the church with Paolo and Guiliamo with me. Lorean knows not to battle me in the church; it was forbidden by all immortals, Vampires especially. This was a rule that had been created by the Vampire’s leader, Prince Vladamire in Romania.

Lorean does as I expected and follows me to the manor to begin our reunion that I had not wanted nor longed for.

“Surely, you knew this day would come.” She says as she stands looking around at all my land.

“Yes. I had hoped it would not.”

“And, your…brother, Paolo…who has the ability to see the future, did not warn you?” I look at Paolo as if I had not thought of it. She was right, had he known again and not told me?

“Did you know?” I ask him in his mind.

“Of course he knew. As well as, Guiliamo did.” Guiliamo had been standing behind me, now was moving in front of me, beside Lorean.

“Yes, I did.” He smiles at her and embraces her. “I had wondered how much longer I would have to put up such pretenses before you would arrive.” I could not believe my eyes and my ears were not working to hear this from Guilamo.

“How brother? How could you do this? How can you turn your back on the Anuket?” I ask in disbelief.

He laughs at me in a cold way, “How? HOW? You ask me how I could? I have served you, my student, I have served Lord Bael and the Anuket for many centuries, and what has it profited me?” He caresses her with his hands and then looks at me.

“Join me Paolo.” Guiliamo calls out to Paolo. Paolo stands in horror as the man who he loved as a father has now gone to the side of such great evil.

“I loved you as a father.” Paolo says with tears streaming down his face.

“I love you as a son. Nothing has changed. Join me, join us.” Guiliamo beckons Paolo.

Paolo bites his bottom lip and says, “Never. You once were my father, my mentor my teacher. Now, you are my enemy.”

I turn to Paolo and hear his thoughts, “We must leave my brother. We are out- numbered.” With this final thought, he flees in a streak.

Now I focus on Guiliamo, who now stands at Lorean’s side as her prize in this moment. “You are willing to sacrifice all of that you are, for her?” I ask.

“Yes.” He calmly says. “Let me share with you, brother.” With those words, he sends me his visions of his memories.

I see how he had been in contact with Lorean for a long time period. How he had done the unspeakable for Anuket, he had fed on mortals, draining them dry of their life. How he had been setting me up, for years for this final moment. His images were so horrifying and disturbing that I had to block them from continuing. He laughs as I do.

“Cannot you try and be a man for once Marcusio!” He shouts as he sneers at me.

At this moment I hear the words of Hector, whom I had believed to the traitor among us, “Trust your instincts.” I look at Guiliamo and say,

“This is not over.” I do what I have to do to protect the one I love, to save her from the death of Lorean. I flee, hoping I will draw the likes of Lorean and her newest recruit, my once friend, Guiliamo. The one, who I had trusted the most, is now my worst of worst enemies. Combined with Lorean, the task of evading them and protecting Georgia-Bell will be all I can do.

Chapter 27 - Betrayed By A Brother

I ran for what seemed like days and weeks, spanning from North Carolina, upward to New Amsterdam and then taking a ship to Italy, to my summer home in Corlena. I had never told Guiliamo or Paolo of this place, or shared with them the location of it, because I had thought that if I ever had to flee with Genovese, to keep her safe from the Anuket and Vampire, that this would be perfect, secluded and isolated from the world. My estate in Corlena is nestled in the mountains to the North and a large lake below, atop of a steep cliff-edge, with no other accesses to the estate, other than through the water. And since immortals are not fond of traveling under water, I was safe; at least for the time.

I stayed hidden for a while, months perhaps, I lost count as I was wrecked with the idea that Guiliamo, a trusted one of the council and my friend, my brother…had betrayed me. I had suspected Hector and all along it was Guiliamo. The death of Hector was because of me or had he sacrificed himself to save me? As I began to remember the turn of events, I recalled how Hector when talking with the other immortal, had said “he” and I had only suspected he was speaking of me. Perhaps he knew that Guiliamo was going to betray me and had his own plan to stop Guiliamo. When did Guiliamo become evil? I knew so little really of the one I had called brother for so long. I knew that he had lived various lives in the past and had not always been Anuket. However, I did not know how non-Anuket he had been. Had he been a lustful, blood-ridden monster before becoming Anuket? Had Lorean recruited him for the soul-purpose of bringing me into her fold or had she wanted him to just prove to me she can? He was now at her side, as her equal and their strength was unmatched. Even Lord Bael would have a hard time with the two of them. And seeing how Guiliamo knows of the lair where the secret order of the Anuket is, I had best go give warning to Lord Bael.

I travel by day, the safest way because Vampires do not like to be in the daylight because it bothers their eyes; those glowing red embers that are burned into their skulls. Unlike the Anuket, their eyes do not change to normal coloring when in disguise of mortal form. They can only hide them with illusions, and using their talents to make the human forget they have seen them all together.

Within a day, I arrive in Venice and I look around to see if Guiliamo or one his many Vampires are anywhere nearby. Seeing no obstacles, I proceed to take the fairy to the remote island where the fortress for the High Council is hidden by a lair of illusion and smoke and mirrors.

I am stopped at the entrance by a guard I did not recognize, “No entrance allowed.” He is very direct with his answer as I try to pass him.

“I am Marcusio, a respected member of this council. You will allow me to pass.” I say with authority.

“No.” the guard replies never looking at me.

“No? What do you mean no?” I attempt to read his thoughts and find he has none. This meant, he was a drone, a being that existed for no other purposes than to obey and not question his orders.

“I will pass.” I try and persuade his mind.

“You are wasting your talents dear brother.” It is Paolo coming up behind me.

“Oh thank goodness! Dear brother, we must warn the High Council.” I begin. I notice that Paolo looks very rough, dirty and not like himself.

I look at him and then ask, “What has happened to you brother?”

“I have had to run and hide in some places that you would not want to know of. Luckily, I escaped, and I agree. The High Council must be warned. But, we are too late here.” Paolo says.

I turn around quickly and say, “What do you mean?”

He slowly lifts his head and I see he has been weeping.

“Brother, we will fight them and we will win.” I try and reassure him. However, I knew my words meant that someone would end up dying.

“I am with you brother, no matter what we have to do, I will do it.” He was feeling the pain of Guiliamo’s betrayal a great deal more than I had expected.

“Together, agreed?” I reach to his hand and he grips mine in agreement.

“What did you mean I am wasting my time on them?”

Paolo looks around and says, “Because I believe Guiliamo has already infiltrated the council. If so, he has control over them. You know his ability to will others to do his. As a Vampire, his strength is greater, because he is feeding on mortals.

“But, your ability to read his thoughts and see the future is on our side. Right?” I felt comfortable knowing Paolo was on the side of the Anuket.

He nods in agreement. I look at the guard and decide he is not going to stop me and I use my gifts of my mind to make him think we are Guiliamo and Lorean.

“I am sorry sir, did not see you and your lady.” The guard says allowing us to pass.

“See…just have to set your mind to it.” I smile as we walk in the tunnels toward the council chambers. After making our way through the maze of twist and turns, we reach the inner circle. There we find that Lord Bael has had to flee and most of the High Council has left with him. The ones that remain have been enlisted with the Vampires and with Lorean. This makes her army all the stronger.

I was able to use my talents to locate Lord Bael and a few other High Council members. We met in secrecy at my estate in Corlena. We made the estate the fortress that Venice had been, and no one was allowed to remember the direction to the estate, known now as Ancile, used from the Latin meaning of a shield that fell from Heaven, after arriving save I and Lord Bael. I met with Lord Bael many times in private and he shared with me about Guiliamo and how he had been before becoming Anuket. The images were very graphic and disturbing. Lord Bael, because of who he was to the Anuket, could see the things Guiliamo had and was going to do, and this was tormenting him so. He was still linked with him and wanted me to help break that so he would no longer be tortured by these images. I asked him how could I?

“You must allow me to taste of your blood.” He answers. I had never expected this.

“You want me to basically re-make you into an immortal?” I ask.

“It is not as simple as you think.” He continues, “I must get to the point of actual death and then you will feed me your blood. This will cause my link to him to be severed and you and I will be linked. You will know my thoughts and I yours, no matter where you are.”

“But, if you can see Guiliamo, does this not mean you can see how to defeat his advances as well?” I knew he was tortured by the link to him. But, it was like strategy had been given to us with it.

“No. For not only can I see him…but he can read me as well.” He replies nervously.

“Then this means the new fortress is in jeopardy because you know of the location.”

“No. I have managed to block this from them. He has tried to read that.” He laughs in a non-humorous way.

“I have felt his touches on my mind as well.” I say.

Paolo speaks and offers a suggestion, “Perhaps I can create a mind link block that will disrupt his thinking long enough he will not know you are not linked with him, allowing you the time to change Lord Bael.”

Lord Bael looks at me and says, “You were not created by one of them. Paolo and I were. That is why he has had trouble with your mind, but Lorean does not. The reason she has never been able to read you is because you were not connected to her long enough. Should she get the opportunity to be with you alone, she can link to you.”

He had a point. Guiliamo had sired not only Paolo, but Lord Bael as well. I decided that I would do what Lord Bael required to undo Guiliamo’s mind link on Lord Bael. Paolo would require to be re-changed as well. But, first Lord Bael.

The process requires the subject to be drained of their blood, down to the last beat of the heart. For us, this is a very touchy process. The physicians that drained Lord Bael, told me when to bite him and then to allow my blood to drip into his mouth just as death was about to come to him. When an immortal is going through this, it ages them in a very hard way. Almost as if their natural age has waved it’s hand on them and cast a shadow on them. However, I had hope that Lord Bael would survive and all would be well.

“Not yet.” The first physician says as I wait for the signal to bleed myself.

“Now?” I ask seeing how weak Lord Bael looked, so old and wrinkled.

“He is going to die!” Paolo shouts, “Do it now!”

“Not yet!” The physician demands pushing me back.

“THUM…P…TH…UM…P….THUMMM…” Lord Bael’s heart rate was at its end as I await the order. I watch as his once dark mane is turning greyer by the moment, brittle almost, as is his skin. His once blue eyes, are now dark and hallow. His angelic looking face is now shriveled and barely stretching across his bones. The boyish looks are replaced with those of a corpse. His teeth, once white as pearls, are now yellowish and narrow.

“NOW!” The physician orders. I immediately rip open my wrist and allow it to drain into Lord Bael’s mouth, which he was eager to drink of.

“Hurry…Guiliamo is trying to unblock my mind.”

“I…I am.” I stumble on my words, being weakened temporarily by feeding Lord Bael.

“HURRY!” Paolo shouts “AHHHHHHHHG!” He is being sent mind numbing messages to try and unblock his touch.

“Almost…soooooooo…”I feel weak and near death myself, as Lord Bael feeds. Finally, I pull my wrist away and watch as the transformation takes place. His wrinkles are disappearing and his hair has regained its vitality and dark look. His eyes are the beautiful blue as they had been. His skin has regained its youthful appearance and has filled out to make him appear to be all of fifteen years.

“Thank you.” He says wiping his mouth. “It is your turn, now Paolo.”

“Did it work?” Paolo ask before consenting.

Lord Bael stands there and acts as though he is listening for something we cannot hear.

“Yes. Yes, I believe so.” He pauses and then says,” Absolutely it did. I do not feel him or his thoughts any longer, only yours Marcusio.” He smiles at me and I reply with a nod.

Paolo lays down and the physician begins the process of draining him of his blood, the blood that was given to him by Guiliamo; the blood that tied him to Guiliamo and allowed him to see all that Paolo saw and thought.

Slowly, the blood begins to drain from him into a bucket on the floor. I hear every drop as it fills the wooden bucket, like milk flowing from a cow; the dark texture, the fruit of life, now being taken from Paolo, in order to save him. Without the blood from Guiliamo, Paolo would be free from the touches of Guiliamo and his abilities to control him.

“Must…hurry.” Paolo request with a weak voice.

“We are brother.” I try to comfort him. Lord Bael stands beside him, using his great abilities, now fully restored, to protect Paolo’s mind. Paolo shrieks in pain as the blood is drained from him and his countenance is altered. His frail body is wrenching in spasms and causing him great agony. I wish I could take away the pain, and soon I will.

“Pllllllll…..” He attempts to speak and is too weak to do so.

Lord Bael is using his mind to try and not only protect Paolo, but to block his pain. I feel he is unsuccessful, seeing the pain that Paolo is expressing.

“NOW?” I question the physician. He nods in agreement that now is the time.

Quickly, I slice my arm and allow the blood to drip into Paolo’s mouth. He has aged very quickly, more so than Lord Bael did during his transformation.

“Drink!” I order him. He is barely able to wrap his shriveled lips on my arm. I fear he is not drinking enough.

“DRINK!” I shout. I can hear his heart beating slower and slower, almost stopped.


I look at Lord Bael as it appears that Paolo has not drank enough and is passing.

“Do something!” I order him. He looks at me and says,

“There is nothing I can do. I am sorry.” I see the great sorrow in his eyes as Paolo fades away and with one final look from his eyes, he stares into my eyes and I hear his last thought,

“Remember me, please.” With this, Paolo fades to dust and there is nothing I can do to bring him back.

“NOOOOOOOO!” I shout as I realize I have just lost my brother, my friend.

“Lord Bael, what do want me to do with his ashes?” The physician asks. The ashes of an immortal can be used to help mortals live longer and cure their diseases.

“NO ONE TOUCHES HIS ASHES BUT ME!” I shout out with tears rolling down my cheeks.

I am alone now. Alone to fight Guiliamo and Lorean, and I fear I will not be responsible for my actions when I do.

Chapter 28 - Gone Not Forgotten

I stand there, seeing Paolo’s ashes and wanting to rewind time so I could save my dear friend from the fate he had met. How did this happen? I thought he would be strong enough to make it through the process. Yet, here I stand; my friend is gone…but not forgotten.

Sitting in my room, I look out across the lake below and cannot help but see images of Georgia-Bell, enticing me to come to her. I know it is just a mirage and I am only seeing what I want to see. Yet, she looks so real to me. I must see her, go to her and be with her. My mind wonders and thinks of how she is or how unprotected I left her when I fled.

“I must go to her Lord Bael.” I kneel before Lord Bael and request his permission to leave the fortress.

“It is not safe, you know this.” He replies. How could I expect him to understand, he had never experienced true love before.

As I stand to attention, I look at him and say, “I am going, I must. She is defenseless against Lorean and Guiliamo. I have already lost Paolo; I will not lose her as well.” I walk away yet I hear Lord Bael’s thoughts as I leave,

“Go and be safe dear friend, brother.”

I travel by ship once more to America and see the changes that have taken place in such a short time, even for mortals. Only a few years have passed and here I see so many cities that have been erected on the shorelines. Boston has now become a thriving and very profitable community. Taking a train to North Carolina from Boston, I end up sitting next to a rather annoying woman named Ruth. She is large and has no thought of those around her as she talks incisively. Finally, I use my talents to cause her to sleep. The continued train ride to Charlotte is much quieter now that she had taken a nap.

“Now exiting for Charlotte!” The conductor calls out.

I take my leave, and awaken the woman so she will not miss her train stop.

Arriving at Georgia-Bell’s home, I see that many changes have taken place there as well. The once beautiful elms that adorned the walkway are gone. The myrtles have been pruned back and lack their beauty they once displayed. The front porch requires much tending and the Jasmine that once flowed along the banisters now is dead and has left only stains of where it once was on the white rails.

I get out of my carriage and step to the front door. A servant comes and it is Mattie, the eldest of the servants. She has aged so much in the short time I have been away.

“Good day Mattie.” I speak. Mattie looks at me as if she is seeing a ghost.

“Sir?” She reaches to touch my face, “Is it really you?” She runs to fetch Georgia-Bell. I stand alone in the great hallway and look around at the home that once thrived so with parties and such.

I hear Georgia walking across the planked floorboards toward the stairs. Turning to see her, I see a much older and white haired woman, frail and her body taken by age. Had I been gone too long?

“Marc…”She pauses and realizes that Mattie is beside her assisting her, “Jean-Marc?”

Being completely taken back by this, I call back to her, “Yes, it is I.”

“Mister Jean-Marc…you are…the same as you were.” Mattie says in disbelief.

I smile and look at Georgia-Bell making her way to me. I go to her side and tell Mattie I have her.

“That will be all Mattie.” I give her permission to take her leave.

Mattie watches in confusion as how I am unchanged by age.

“Sorry for being gone so long my love.” I begin with an apology. How can I apologize for time I cannot get back?

“Did you…”She begins, “Stop them?”

Hating to say the words I was about to I answer, “No.” I pause and continue, “Paolo is gone and Guiliamo, who you knew as Julian, has joined Lorean.”

She reaches to touch my face with her once smooth hand that is now covered in wrinkles, yet still just as comforting to me as always.

“I did not realize I had been gone so long. I thought it to be only a few years. How long has it been?” I ask.

“Thirty-two years my love.” This would make the time near 1813, no wonder there had been so many changes. This would make Georgia-Bell near her sixty-first year as a mortal. Once again, my time with her had been robbed from me by Lorean.

“No my darling! I could not have been gone so long.” I begin to sob. She reaches to hold me and we embrace. The feeling of hurt and pain surround me in my thoughts; anger toward Guiliamo, Lorean and the passing of Paolo.

“I will stop time for you.” I say to her.

She looks at me and smiles, “No. I do not wish it.”

“Please…”I beckon with her to allow me to turn into an immortal so we would have forever to be with one another. She resists my request.

“I am as I am. You are as you are.” She pauses and then says, “Once, when you first told me, I would have. But I have had many, many years to think of this moment and I know that I do not wish for it.”

“I wish to be married to you at once.” I say with tears in my eyes.

She holds my hand and replies, “I cannot.” Had I once again, been too late in my being able to follow through with my matrimony attempts with her?

“Is there…another?” I ask.

She laughs partially and says, “No, there has been and nor will there ever be another.” She pauses and then says, “I am too old to be your wife now.”

“My darling, it is not your youth I love. I love you for who you are.” I reply trying to convince her to marry me.

“I will get a minister and gather the remaining friends together and will be wed today!” I shout as I go to make it happen.

“NO!” She insists. I turn around and see her, so frail and aged sitting there on the stairs, yet still as beautiful as the day I had last seen her.

“Why?” I am not bothered by our age difference.

“You said to me…”She begins, “That it is because our love, that I keep returning to you, right?”

“Yes. Because our love is unfulfilled you are pulled back to me time after time.” I reply seeing where she is going with this.

“Then, it is important that we have a lifetime together, uninterrupted by those that wish us apart. I want this…please; allow me to pass from this life when it is my time and to be reborn to you once more.” Her smile melts my heart and her ability to be so wise.

I smile and we walk to the gardens and talk of old times.

Over the next years, that seem more like a blink in the eye, I took Georgia-Bell on trips to Ireland, France and Italy. I showed her the places she had only dreamed of seeing. First on our list was to the home of art and beauty in Paris, then onto Rome for her communion with God and last but not least, to the ruins of Rathlin Castle in Northern Ireland where immortals and mortals alike had battled a bloody battle that had ended with the death of brothers that had sworn to protect their castle. It was a romantic trip that spanned months. I wanted Georgia to see all that I had seen and been a part of. I wanted to bring her to the fortress, but could not because of the vulnerability it would place on my shoulders.

When standing one night on the terrace of the inn that overlooks the valley of Shenandoah in Ireland, Georgia turns to me and says,

“I have loved every moment that you and I have had. It does not matter that so much time was taken from us. We have now and now is all that counts.” Such an unselfish person she was. I could not have loved her more than that moment. If only that moment could have lasted for eternity.

“My darling, I love you more with each passing second. You are and shall always be my love.” I reply as I stroke her hair; grey or brown, I loved her all the same.

“Maybe we will be able to marry in the next life.” She spoke as if she was eager to get to that point.

“My darling, we can marry in this life. No need to wait.” I invite her to say yes to my hundredth proposal.

“No my love. I have told you how I feel and I want us to have our youth as well as our, well at least my, older age to enjoy each other.” She laughs.

“Darling, I will age myself to be the age you want.” I suggest.

“You would do this? Can you?” She asks so gently.

“Of course.” I stand back and concentrate hard. Using my talents, I transform my appearance into a mortal man of near seventy, to make her appear younger than I.

She laughs and claps as I open my eyes and see the expression on her face is very pleased. “You like?” I ask.

“Very distinguished and my oh my, still as handsome as ever.” She says. I lean into her and we kiss. The full moon rises above the mountain side, casting a glow on two elder mortals embracing and sharing their love.

No greater love had I ever felt before her and none would ever feel after. She is and will always be the fire in my soul, if I still have one. I used to believe Guiliamo when he said we still have souls. His reasons were because he strived to be good, to serve God and to help mortals. He said that the Anuket were the embodiment of angels on Earth. We would never harm humans and often were the inspirations for them. How could someone who had such great values and insights change into a blood-thirsty killer as he had.

Many stories had made their way to Lord Bael and to me about Guiliamo’s killing spree. He and Lorean, along with their band of Vampires, had gone through southern Europe, devouring and draining dry the helpless countryside peoples in villages. His name was feared in many lands now; where once he was revered as Father Anthony, now he is a cold-blooded killer with no remorse. Lorean was taking great pride in her newest soul-mate. The mate she had longed to have, her equal for sure. No care for the damages they were causing or the lives that they affected.

Weeks turn into months and months into years, and finally the day comes and Georgia-Bell is on her death bed. I am by her side, with a handful of servants near me. Her breaths are shallower as she struggles to hold onto this life. Never had I seen her show so much strength.

For days, I had the best doctors, mortal and immortal alike, to her bedside and they all confirmed she was dying. Her age was upon her like a blanket and I could do nothing. Even if I should turn her, she would not go back to the young girl she had been when I first met her. That is another myth that mortals had created, that when turned by an immortal, you get younger. If that were so, then the children that Lorean had created would have become infants; no one would be adults and there would be chaos, more so than there is within the Vampire realm.

After the last of the doctors had left, I dismiss the servants and tell them to prepare the house for closing. If she would not be alive, then I would go to sleep for a great time so I would not miss her as I had in the past.

“Darling, I will love you always.” I say to her.

“And I, you…my beautiful angel of life.” She replies using the nick-name she had given me. I had always thought of myself a ‘bringer of death’, and she said I was the ‘angel of life’.

“I cannot live life without you, so you must hurry and return to me.” I say aloud as I hold her trembling hands.

She smiles, “As soon as I can.” She pauses and then says, “I need you to do something for me.”

“Anything my darling.”

“I want you to run Winchester.” Winchester was the name of the estate her father had left her. “Keep it in the way that it was when I was alive.” I did not like the way she speaks of her passing in the present tense.

“Shush my darling.” I try to stop her. But as usual, she won the last word.

“Please, my dear Marcusio. I need to know that you are going to do as I wish.” I acknowledge her request with a simple nod of my head.

“Oh how I wish I could go with you on this journey you are going on.” I felt envious of her in that she was able to taste of death, even if she was returned to me, for which I was grateful, she was allowed to do what I could not. For all my talents, this was not of my gifts for myself.

Her last breath was spent with telling me she loved me and then she is gone, once more.

In the past, I had spent so much time in mourning her passing that I had not done anything to prepare for her rebirth. This time, I used the time wisely. She had willed her manor to me, and combined with my own, this made me an impressive land owner in the South. I amassed a great fortune growing corn and such. My name I was now going by is Marc Wesley, who had been born to a cousin of Georgia-Bell and was left the estate. Seeing how there was none to dispute my claim, it was easy enough to accomplish this mask of identity.

I had not seen or heard from Guiliamo or Lorean in all this time. I was able to stay in contact with Lord Bael who told me he was able to locate and recruit more immortals to join our ever-growing army that awaited my order to attack Guiliamo and Lorean. I did not seek a battle, not yet at least. For now, I awaited for Georgia-Bell to be reborn. Which Lord Bael was able to tell me when and where. Fortunately, she had been reborn in Georgia, just outside of Savannah in the year of 1849. Much had taken place in the time she had been asleep. That is how I liked to refer to her passing, as being asleep.

In her new life, she was born to a family that was of Irish decent, who had come to America and gained much by way of cotton. I took a trip to Savannah to meet her. I had learned in previous lives, she would no doubt be a handful to deal with in our first encounter, and I was right.

Chapter 29 - Angelica

September, 1857

In the time she had been gone, I had done as she had asked, and made Belva and Winchester estates into thriving producers of cotton, corn and sugarcane. Along with the servants, who were afraid of me because I did not sweat or show signs of tiring as mortal men, I built the plantations into a financially strong empire in the thirty years since her passing in 1827 and now I was going to see my love once more.

First, I had to go back to Italy, to the Fortress of Ancil. Lord Bael had summoned me on an important issue. I arrive at the fortress late evening, going in the secret way beneath the cliffs that overhung the eastside of the fortress. Lord Bael had transformed the once home where I used to get away into a very impenetrable fortress with guards in every direction, with their only connection mentally to him. Since I had re-created him, it gave me the ability to pass them without being stopped.

“I am here Lord Bael.” I call out as I enter the inner chamber that was now aligned with gold and very exquisite tapestries. In his previous home, he had not made it appear so.

“Good!” Lord Bael calls back to me as he enters the room, alone. I looked for his guards and saw none.

“Where are your guards?” I ask.

“No need. I have been re-training and have some most impressive new gifts that hope to use on Lorean and Guiliamo should they make it this far.” He smiles.

“Is that the way of the Anuket?” I question.

He smiles and says, “It is now.” He pauses and then asks me to walk with him. “Please have a seat dear Marcusio. It has been so long.”

“Has it? I had not realized. I am sorry.” I reply with regret that I had not been to see him sooner. However, the fact that he was noticing time meant he was bored with his existence.

“Is all fine?” I ask.

“To be honest with you, no all is not well.” He begins. “For some time, I have been wondering what else I could do, beyond being the ruler of the Anuket.” I was not aware that the Anuket ruler could think things such as this.

“Really? Have you any answers?”

“Yes.” He says smiling at me.

“And…” I implore him to share.

He stands and walks around the massive room and looks at me, “I want you to take over as the ruler of the Anuket.” His offer was very surprising, even if I had a strong connection to him.

“I…I can…cannot.” I was flattered but had to refuse due to the reasons of my search for my love.

“I know of your search, which by the way, she will be quite a handful this time.” He smiles.

“So you know of my reasons. Why still ask?” I was curious.

“Because your answer need not be now. I have been for a long time, and I figure another century will not change much in my decision to want to step down. So I am willing to wait until you have found your love and made her your queen.” His offer was to have me be the ruler of the Anuket and my love would be my queen, which would mean, she would have to be turned to be so.

“You know this cannot be, I am not allowed to change her.” I reinforce the rule he had made himself.

“I am aware of the rule I made so long ago.” He pauses and walks over and sits beside me. “Now I am saying that rule was made without thought. I am allowing it.”

“That is only if she would want it to be so. I have asked her, as you are aware, and she has said no twice already.” I knew that hiding the fact that I had offered her immortality and both times she had turned me down, would be a mistake. I had no reason to hide. I had more than proved to the council that I was trustworthy.

“Please…I need rest. I want to rest and need you to step up as my right hand. You and your queen, along witih your brothers will be the perfect dynasty to bring peace to the troubled Anuket.” Lord Bael’s thoughts very clearly enter my own thoughts. Words he would not speak aloud, he says to me in my own mind. Confused of his thoughts, I look at him curiously. He stares at me and then smiles as if he knows something that I do not.

I look at him and nod in acknowledgement that I would think on it. He smiles and we part ways. I would not see him again for very long time.

Upon arriving in Atlanta, a thriving city filled with gamblers and plantation owners, not to mention slave trading; I find my way to the home of Hubert Thomas, the father of my love now known as, Angelica. I had decided to try and get passed a great deal of time of meeting Angelica, by simply going to her father first. She was bound to be stubborn, obstinate and hard-headed for certain. However, I have her memories of who she is, that will allow me to remind her of why she loves me and why we must be married. I do not intend on letting a single second pass without making every moment count.

Lorean, last I had been informed, was in Eastern Europe and Guiliamo was treading way in London. There are rumors, that he has taken an alias as a lawyer, and that his clients are his to dine on. The prisons in London are way too crowded and no one would miss a prisoner or two, or three.

The home of Hubert Thomas, a judge from Atlanta, of a high socially connected family, is huge by all standards. Tall white columns, with a wraparound porch, many servants, and a barn filled with prize winning thorough-bred horses. He had done quite well for a mortal.

“Please tell Judge Thomas, that Marc Wesley, of the Wesley’s in Charlotte, is here to see him please.” I have long to practice a true Southern accent and mannerisms.

“Yes sir.” The servant replies and he walks inside and I hear the Judge reply,

“Who?” He billows out loud. He pauses and I use my abilities on him to make him think we met a year before in Savannah, at an Equestrian show. My horse, Thunderbolt, had placed first and he had wanted to purchase him; an elaborate memory, but required.

“Oh yes! I remember Mr. Wesley. Show him in!” He shouts out.

I stand there smiling as the servant arrives back with the invite inside the home.

“Mr. Wesley, how are you sir?” Judge Thomas reaches for my hand. I smile and offer him mine.

“Good sir, very good actually. How are you?” We sit as he lights up a cigar and offers me one and I accept to make him feel more comfortable with me.

“I can’t complain…and even if I could, who would listen?” He jest.

“Quite right, sir…quite right.” I smile. We pause a long lingering moment before I go straight to the matter at hand.

“Sir, I have decided to allow you to purchase Thunderbolt, for a fair price of course.” I did own a racing horse, Arabian black stallion that had ran the quarter mile the fastest this side of England’s tracks. His name of course is Thunderbolt and I had sired this horse strictly for this moment. Lord Bael had told me how my first meeting would be. His power of seeing the future was stronger than Paolo’s had been. He could hone in on the moment more.

“Is this a fact?”He pauses and sits back in his leather chair, huge cloud of smoke billows around his fat face.

“Yes.” I nod in agreement.

“What…what if, I am not interested in purchasing Thunderbolt?” I knew he was, I could hear his thoughts. He was only trying to sweeten the deal. His daughter, Angelica, had been less than favorable with gentlemen callers. She had practically thrown several of them out of the house before they could say their names. He is desperate to find her a husband, and I had arrived at the exact moment that Lord Bael had said would be idea for getting this union to happen.

“I see. Then I suppose I misunderstood your intentions.” I reply as I turn to walk out. He stops me, as I knew he would.

“Wait!” He calls out as I walking toward the doorway.

I turn and smile, “Yes?” Soon, we are talking thoroughbreds and race times of my horses.

“You know sir, I have other…shall we say, topics of conversation, to discuss.” He interjects as we are standing near his stable of mares.

“Really? What would that be?”

He pauses and looks around, “I have a daughter, Angelica. She is…well, high spirited and needs a man to…well, rein her back in.” His tone was serious and yet, I found it displeasing how he likened his daughter to a horse. No matter what my real reasons for being aligned with him, I did not like the idea that someone was comparing my love to a beast.

“Do tell.” I suggest he continue, and he does.

“She has good breeding and has excelled in the arts. Just she is, well, more interested in being somewhat…independent.” He almost whispers that last word so not to offend me. In all reality, it was that high spiritedness about her, which had drawn me to her time and time again.

“Shall we walk and discuss this matter?” I ask as I motion for us to continue as we head for the house.

“We shall. Just please, be sure not to mention this conversation to my daughter.” He pauses almost in shame and fear, “She would not be amused.”

I smile in agreement and we talk further. Upon talking, I had an invite to dinner that night.

As I arrive to Judge Thomas’s home in carriage, I am escorted by the servants to the sitting room, where the Judge and I have cigars and drink a whiskey before dinner. His wife, Martha had passed a few years before, leaving Angelica the lady of the manor.

“Lady Thomas.” The servant announces as my love makes her debut entrance into the magnificent dining room. She is dressed in a designed dress from Paris; her hair is spiraled around her angelic face, almost porcelain like, with perfection in bountiful. Her eyes shine and her lips look like honeydew drops on a rose petal. How could anyone look more divine than she?

“Good evening sirs.” She says as she curtsies to me and her father. Her manners of a Southern Bell are exquisite.

“Good evening my lady.” I reply as I bow. “May I say… that you look very elegant?” I knew flattery was not her strong suit, but I could not resist the opportunity to say how beautiful she appears.

She smiles politely and nods to her father as she takes her seat. We eat dinner, discussing small topics of interest. Upon completing, Judge Thomas asks if we would like to sit in the drawing room and talk further. I invite Angelica to join, and she accepts.

“How goes the trading in the Caribbean?” It was a topic I knew of and had dealings with and felt safe in discussing. In this life, Angelica as she is known has a flare for discussions that are not always privy to ladies; topics of slave trading, bartering and laws that are outdated.

“Very well, thank you.” Judge Thomas replies.

“Good.” I had hoped for a longer reply from him.

Angelica looks at us both and then speaks out, “How much did you get for the darkies you bought today daddy?” I almost choke on my cigar smoke.

“Dear! That is…” he smiles and hopes his reply is not going to insight his daughter further, “Not a topic we should talk of.”

“Why? Because, I am a woman?” She grabs a cigar and lights it. I try not to laugh. Her attitude of not being dismissed as a woman had been the surviving element in her lifetimes. Some things did not change about her. It was her excitement for topics that the women of her time periods were normally not privy to; such as, religion, slavery, politics and war, which made her seem untouchable and inconceivable by most men. Good thing I was not like most men.

“I do not believe that there should be the stiff penalties on the South for exporting, or boundaries on our regulations for importing from the North. We have served this country and given our own share of men for battles that have not been noted by the North.” She pauses as she sips her shot of Bourbon, “Slavery is not the only issue we have in disagreement, even though I am not for slavery, I feel that it has been heightened and highlighted by the North to make us seem backwoods and unintelligent. War makes no sense to me.” She finishes her drink and sits the glass down and wipes her mouth on the back of her hand. Most men would have found this very displeasing, but I found it amusing and arousing. She had the same fire in her that all her previous lives had had and then some.

Days and weeks go by, with each time we meet, I feel Angelica is getting more comfortable with me and more freely able to let her guard down to me. If she only knew how long I had loved her, longed to be with her as her friend and lover. But with each opportunity we had been allowed, Lorean and death had come between us. I had left Savannah for a while to tend to business in Italy, France and Spain. I had begun writing Angelica and she had written me in return. Nothing of great importance, just letting me know she had gone by to check on the stable and to be sure the horses were in good condition.

“Dear Sir,

I am writing you to inform you that you that I had the chance to visit your stables today and saw that the horses were in good condition. Horizon and Duty are my favorites of the stallions. Hera and Athena are my favorites for the mares. The grounds appear in good condition as well.

How long will you be gone? I do miss your company and our talks.

Yours truly,

Angelica Thomas”

My letter to her was…

“Dearest Angelic,

In my absence, my thoughts have not swayed from the last time we were sitting on your porch, or walking along the pond. I have every intentions of spending more time with, should you permit it. I am in your gratitude for keeping watch over my stables and I am glad you have grown fond of my horses. I hope we can spend more time exploring your relations with them when I return.

With great fondness,


The letters were my way of knowing she was safe and to gain insight into her feelings for me. I could sense she had developed a sense of longing to see me, so I made my return.

“You have been gone for nearly two months sir. I had begun to think you were not coming home again.” Angelica snipes as she walks toward her garden. She stops and slowly looks back at me, “Are you going to join me or am I walking alone?”

I smile and reply, “I am your servant dear lady, as always.” I follow behind like a lost puppy.

The days follow into weeks and alas I see some of my love making her surface in Angelica. She smiled at me today as I gave her a rose I had picked.

One evening, after dinner, Angelica and I stroll along the path near the house in the moonlight.

“Sir…can I ask you a question?” She asks as we stand bathing up the night air. Her aroma was more intoxicating than the roses.

“Always.” I reply happily.

“Why do you do that?”

“Do what my lady?” I was acting coy.

“Those…act as though I can do no wrong; as if, I can say no wrong.” She protests at my actions; my actions I cannot and will not change. They are the actions of love.

“Would you rather I scold you for your words or acts?”

She sits for a moment and then replies, “I would rather you be yourself with me, as I want to be, as I am trying to be with you.” She pauses and then continues, “I feel I can with you. Not sure why, but I feel I can.”

I smile once more and lean into her and we share a kiss. This was the first kiss in this lifetime and I only hoped it would not be the last. I relish each and every moment with my love. Suddenly, I hear a thought in my head. A thought, I had hoped to never hear.

“Marcusio… I am nearer than you think.” It was Guiliamo and for him to send a message to my mind, he had to be somewhere in the shadows. Some area, that mortal eyes would not see him, only those eyes of one who can pierce the darkness. I listen carefully and withdraw my reach around Angelica and my hesitation causes her to misread my intentions.

“Do you find a kiss from me that displeasing?” She feels as though I had reacted as I had, to her. I could not, dared not tell her, not yet.

“No my lady!” I had to quickly make an excuse for my actions. “I was feeling a moment that the asparagus was returning and did not wish to give you the sour smell of it as we kiss. This was a lie, but it was for her own good.

“I see.” She stands and walks from me. Perhaps she had read my words as a lie and did not wish to entertain me further.

“My lady,” I call out as I attempt to follow, “Should I call on you…tomorrow night?” She stops and turns to me and says,

“If you would like…just be sure not to eat any more asparagus.” She smiles and I watch as she goes inside her door. I know what I have to do and that is to draw Guiliamo out.

I begin my journey by horseback home. I acted as though I had not heard Guiliamo’s message, so he would think me vulnerable. The darkness of the night fills my way, and I begin a whistle that he had taught me many years before. The sound I knew he would recognize and it would bring him to me, where I would finish this battle once and for all.

“Good to see you Marcusio.” I hear his voice as he stands in the shadows of the huge Sycamores.

I think hard for a moment and then reply, “Is it?”

“Yes, it is. Where is Paolo? I have not been able to sense him.” I had not wanted to think of Paolo for a long time and this was more painful than he knew. He had gone evil, but I believed he would feel the pain of Paolo’s loss, as deep as any father would.

“Is that a fact? Why do you think that is?” I call out into the darkness. He steps from the shadows and I see him; my old friend, trainer and brother now standing before me as my immortal enemy.

“Share with me.” He beckons me to allow him to invade my mind. He knew he could not or he would have been able to know already. I had trained hard and learned how to block him or anyone I did not wish in my mind.

“No, I do not believe I will.” I get off the horse and stand to the side. I smack the horse gently to continue without me.

He smiles and says, “So, you believe I wish to battle you…now?”

“Why not? Why else would you be here?” I ask as I draw my saber.

“Perhaps I…wanted to just speak with you, as we used to do.” I knew that the Vampires are liars and can fill your thoughts with a longing to believe them. I blocked him and sent him a message in his mind.

“You are not my friend, not my brother. You are my enemy. Do not cross my path or you will feel the edge of my sword.”

“Oh!” he laughs, “Is that so?” He seems amused by my thoughts.

“Yes.” I reply without raising my voice. Our stance is one of dueling.

“Would you strike me down, even though I come in peace?” His words make me long for him as a brother, but I knew that they were just lies.

“Yes. With the Vampire, there is no peace.” He looks at me and nods his head to me and vanishes from my sight into the darkness. I stand there, trembling at what I almost had to do, to kill my brother…my friend.

The next few weeks, my relations with Angelica have turned very favorable. We have had many interludes and I feel our affections are growing very strong. I shall ask her to marry me soon.

“Marc…” Angelica calls out to me one day as we are riding. I look at her and answer,

“Yes my love.”

“Why do I feel there is something about you, that you need to tell me and have not?” Either my thoughts had betrayed me or she was recalling her previous life. Either way, I had to continue the lie or to divulge the truth.

“What do you mean my love?” I felt she had to give me more to go on. Perhaps she was speaking of my plans with the community or politics, something she appalled for me to be associated with. Or, she was speaking of the topic I dared not to venture into.

“I do not know. It is like trying to recall a dream, a dream that is there but it is not. Does that make any sense to you?”Frowning, she feels like she had just made a complete fool of her emotions.

“No my love, that is not foolish.” I had to reassure her and yet, avoid lying to her any further.

When without warning, my nightmare, should I dream, was standing before me.

“Hello Marc.” Lorean is by the pond that we have just rode our horses to drink from.

Angelica turns to me and her words are interrupted by the horrible thoughts Lorean is sending to me, thoughts of what she plans to do to Angelica. I must expose myself to Angelica to save her, which would violate my word with Lord Bael, once more and could cause this cycle of endless love, forever.

“Lorean, where did you come from?” I feel my words come out as I reach for my saber.

Chapter 30 - Time To Kill

With Lorean standing so close, close enough I knew she could in a flash end my love’s life, I had to select my words carefully.

“No need.” She says as she slowly stands from sitting by the pond. I was amazed she was out in the sunlight. Vampires do not care for it and I could only think she had a reason behind doing this. Still, her words were meant to let me know that she did not wish to battle, not yet.

“I see.” My eyes are like burning embers as I feel the water moist in them. Was this to be the moment that I would end this war with her, war for my own independence?

“No reason for alarm, this is a casual meeting.” She sends her thoughts to me once more.

“Perhaps. Why are you here?” I reply.

“So you can hear me?” She says aloud for Angelica to hear. Angelica who has not been privy to our mind thoughts, looks at us both and says,

“Am I missing something?”

After a long hard pause I reply to her,

“No my love. This is…” I pause not sure what to call her.

“What Marc is trying to say is…no need for formal names dear friend.” Lorean had addressed me as friend, which sent shivers up my spine. “I am Duchess Hensel, from Austria. Marc was of great use to my family at one time and I had heard he was here in your beautiful country, enjoying himself.” She pauses and slowly smiles at me.

“Really? Is this true?” Angelica questions as she looks back at me.

Once again, I had to think hard before answering. Part of what Lorean was saying was true; I had been involved with her family at one time; her family being the Vampires.

“This is true. Lorean and I, our connection goes back a long ways.” I reply, still keeping my hand near my sabor.

Lorean moves slowly, slow for an immortal, toward Angelica and I look on with great worry.

“Good to meet you dear.” She reaches to embrace Angelica who has stepped down from her horse. I have stood down as well and am on the ready to end Lorean’s miserable life should she harm one hair on Angelica’s head.

“Why are you here…Duchess?” I ask.

“I wanted to see what has you…captivated here.” Looking around, Lorean replies.

“I see.” Angelica feeling the tension between Lorean and I ask,

“Would you care to accompany us to the main house? Perhaps we can have tea?”

Lorean smiles and says, “Yes, that would be lovely. I am so thirsty.” Once again, she smiles back at me.

“I am sure you cannot stay long, can you Duchess.” It was more of a statement than a question.

“I am unsure. My dear friend has not shown me his home or talked with in so long. I feel we have much to discuss.” Lorean says as she walks beside Angelica and me on her other side.

Upon reaching the house, Angelica has us served tea on the porch. I see Lorean looking around as if she is expecting someone. I could sense Guiliamo lurking in the shadows somewhere.

“Did you come alone?” I ask as we are served.

Angelica looks at me and places her hand on mine and says, “Marc and I have spent so much time together. How is it, I have not heard of you Duchess?” I was sure that her words were more addressing me; however, her remark seems to make its impact on Lorean.

“I am not sure.” Lorean begins, “I would have thought that my relationship with Marc would have been knowledge he would have shared with you, at least by now.” Her words were meant for me and I knew this. But, Angelica took them as if she had been dismissed in the conversation.

“My, I feel as though you are speaking around me Duchess. Is this the case?” Angelica replies as she carefully places her cup down.

Lorean looks at her slowly and then back to me. “Perhaps…” She begins, “Marc should have told you of me, is all I meant to say.” She picks her cup up and sips from it.

This moment seems to go on forever until Judge Thomas comes to meet the woman he thought was a Duchess.

“Dear lady. I am Judge Thomas. I hope you are feeling welcomed to my estate.” He had made her welcomed to his home. A Vampire has to have been invited to a mortal’s home or else their powers are rendered useless and they will appear as they truly are to the mortal.

“Why thank you Judge Thomas.” Lorean smiles, “I was wondering when I would be invited to return.” I was going to have my hands full now. Now my worst enemy, Angelica’s as well, even though she didn’t know it yet, was now at liberties to return to her home with an open invite. I needed to try and get Lorean away from them, away from Angelica, now more than ever.

To draw Lorean and Guiliamo, and their band of Vampires away from Angelica, I would have to trick them into believing I had left Savannah. To leave the love of my life, both present and past, would require me to appear to end my affair with her. This would cause her pain, but save her from the clutches of the sadistic and monstrous creatures that Lorean and Guiliamo were. To sacrifice my love for my love was the only thing I could do.

The following day, I returned to Angelica and met with her in the garden, a place we had shared so many interludes and many happy moments.

“I do not understand. Why do you have to leave me? Have I done something to offend you? Is there another?” Her words stung me in a way I cannot relate.

“No my love, it is not you. I have to leave to take care of a situation I cannot explain, not yet at least.” I knew that my words would not be of comfort to her. They implied that I was leaving her and that is all.

She turns away from me and I can sense her emotions, even without my abilities. I reach to hold her and she shuns my approach. Standing there, feeling such deep pain for what I was doing, I only could take faith in the fact she would be spared from my battle that was inevitable with Lorean and Guiliamo. A battle that would end things once and for all; it would be the time to kill the beast that had created me.

I leave her standing there, sensing Guiliamo was in the distance, I took comfort in knowing he would relay my encounter with Angelica to Lorean. Thus, this would make Angelica safe, or so I had hoped.

Chapter 31 – On the Run

1858 – New York City

Leaving Angelica was hard, probably the hardest thing I had ever had to do. I took route to New Amsterdam, now called New York City. I believe I can elude my enemy here, among the growing numbers of immigrants and such that have filled this city since my last encounter here. There are tall buildings and streets where there were rivers once ran. Amazing how much things can change with mortals in the matter of a short time, at least short for an immortal.

Taking cover in a hideaway home, of an Anuket supporter, I used my meditations to enhance my abilities. Guiliamo had been right, meditation does cause the abilities of one to grow when they put their total mind to it, and I was. The supporter, John McCloud, an Irish immigrant who had made his own way in this New World by creating a steel mill that was being used by the Union to build the railroads, had given him great prosperity in New York. There are many supporters of the government and the abolishment of slavery. I do not like to get involved with politics, having had my fair share of it the century before, I try not to get tangled up in the meetings that John has. But, occasionally, I do lend my support to the South for being a very successful region that has supplied the North with many of its important imports and exports. My sympathies are with the South because of Angelica and her family. My loyalties are to my love, not the North or the South.

“How can you say that the South has the right to want to succeed from the Union?” John puts me on the spot by exposing my conversation with him to the rest of his supporters.

I look at him squarely and then reply,

“Sir, I only meant that the South has had its fair share of travesties and not being without the primary sustenance’s that the North has taken for granted.”

John is angered and he slams the floor with his cane that he uses to support his large body build.

“You have lived in the South too long sir. You must be more educated in the true reasons the South wants her succession. She wants to keep slavery alive and not give up the free labor that they have become accustomed to.” John argues.

Knowing that slavery was not the important issue that the South had, I just nod to him and walk out. John could sense that I had no reason for wanting to engage in this conversation and my reasons for being here were for personal reasons, not political. He soon follows me out and stands beside me on the street curb.

“You know, you will have to choose one side or the other soon.” He says as we stand side by side.

“No, I will not. I do not agree with slavery, of any type, and you know this. This is why I am not of the Vampire. They would enslave mortals and round them up to use as a food source if they had their way. You are a supporter of the Anuket and I appreciate your hospitality, but I feel I must move on.”

“Where will you go? The Vampire will find you.” John’s concern was noted. But, I had to find my course that keeps me from thinking of Angelica so much that my heart ached.

I am quiet for a long moment, and then I reply, “Perhaps I will leave America for a while. Maybe they will follow me to Europe.” I suggest this and hope that Guiliamo is near enough, I could sense him, and that he would relay this onto Lorean’s group of Vampires.

John looks at me and smiles. My plan was to make the Vampires believe I was leaving for good and this may have done the deed. I quickly make my leave, to elude the one that the Vampires would have following me. I take routes that no mortal would have taken, in back alleyways and thick woods, and yet I sensed the follower. I prepare the bait and the trap for my tracker.

After capturing a few large bucks, I feed on them to gain my strength, allowing the intestines and such to fall on the flora of the woods, to give my tracker the scent of the beasts in an effort to confuse them. Next, I wait in the darkness and use my abilities to cloak myself. I had become quite good at this in the last century.

The tracker pursues, almost nervously. Perhaps Guiliamo had warned them that I was a formidable enemy to have and to watch their steps. But, they obviously did not listen well enough.

“CRACKLE…CRACKLE…CRACKLE” I hear the brush that I had purposely lain in the path of them, breaking under their footing.

Just a little closer…closer…come to me. I think to myself. I was hiding my true thoughts and cloaking my whereabouts as well.

“GRAAAULLL…GRAAAULLL” They have gone into attack mode as they attack the dummy I had placed on the ground with my scent all over it and used my abilities to make them believe it was really me. I pounce on them from behind and within a moment, we are rolling around on the ground, teeth bared, our hands gripped on the other and the sound of breaking bones pulsating through the night air. When it is finished, I stand up and look down to view my attacker. I turn them over to see their face and see it is a young boy of fifteen or so, blonde locks of hair mixed with blood from me bashing his head in with a rock. His angelic looks are mangled by the touch of death I have brought to him. Of course, his death is only temporary, unless I do what has to be done to cease him from reviving, beheading him is the only course I have.

“THUNK! THUNK! THUNK!” The sound of his young head rolling down the hillside, separated from his once forever youthful body, saddens me to be the one who brought him his final death, but it was required if my plan is to be completed.

I burn his body and scatter the ashes in the river below, to prevent him from resurrecting. Into the woods, I make my ascent back up the mountainside toward the town of Pigeon Forge nestled in the Foothills of the Tennessee ridge. Many Cherokee Indians had hid from the armies of the white man here; I should be safe for a while.

Weeks go by and I have fed on the large supply of deer and bear here in the Smoky Mountain area, to gain my strength up for the battle that I know is coming; the battle between Lorean, Guiliamo and myself. It was not a battle I was looking forward to, in spite of the centuries of trying to gain my freedom from Lorean and her attempts to gain control of me, I was not looking forward to battling with Guiliamo, one whom I had considered a friend and brother at one time. I knew that there would only be one that would walk away from that battle and either way, I would lose.

“Excuse me.” I call out to the man at the town hall in Black Mountain, a small town in North Carolina, where immortals had once had a large number. Now the town was mostly populated with mortals who were in support of the South, which is exactly what I had expected and hoped for.

“Yes?” He replies as he turns around to see me. I appear to him as a man who has spent too much time in the woods and not enough time in a bath. No doubt my odor was profuse even to the mortal senses. My hair had twigs and foliage matted in it and my face was dirty.

“I am looking for…”He stops me and says,

“The saloon and bathhouse is that way.” He points toward the opposite side of town. I smile and realize I was in dire need to bath and clean up.

“Thank you.” I say as I turn and walk in the direction he had pointed. In my path, I hear much talk of the Succession from the Union. I wonder how long I had been gone. Had I once again lost track of mortal time?

After a hot bath and a visit to the local tailor, I revisit the Town Hall, where my appearance and odor is not that of a Wildman, a name commonly given to the local men that hunted and lived in the mountains, making their way down the mountainsides to town rarely.

“Gentlemen! Gentlemen!” a tall slender man speaks loudly to the crowd of men gathered in front of podium.

“Please, we must work together if we are to win our freedom from the Union.” His white colored hair and partial beard give him the appearance of one who is very educated.

“Sir!” a man in the crowd yells out to be heard.

The tall slender man dressed in very fashionable clothing motions to hear the man, “Yes? You have the floor sir.”

The man from the crowd steps forward and I see in an instant it is Judge Thomas. I try to hide myself in the crowd so not to be recognized by him.

“We have to be organized about this or we will fail.” His remark hushes the crowd temporarily.

“Yes, I agree.” The slender man answers.

“However, we must act fast if we want to show the Union we are not going to go belly-up on this.”

“No doubt sir. However, we have to be in unison on it or we will be divided by our own efforts.” Judge Thomas replies making his way through the middle of the crowd of men.

The slender man rubs his hand to his beard and looks curiously at Judge Thomas.

“What would you have us do then, run?” the slender man seems to object to Judge Thomas’ comment.

“NO!” Judge Thomas begins,

“But, we must be strong and stand together with our Southern allies if we are to be victorious.” Judge Thomas is a very eloquent speaker.

The crowd seems to respect the words of Judge Thomas and one man calls out,

“Yes, I agree.”

Another man calls out in rejection,

“What do we do, wait ’til they have taken all our lands and homes in taxes?”

Yet another says,

“My darkies have heard of this Freedom Railroad and many have fled. What am I to do with no slaves to tend to my fields?” His remark of his slaves causes me to become angry. It is the very idea that one man can enslave another, which makes me want to rebel against those that, would agree with it.

“Slavery is not the main topic here!” Judge Thomas says aloud.

“Then what is?” a voice from the crowd calls out.

“Freedom…Freedom to not be taxed like England did to the early Colonist, and that caused them to succeed from the Crown. What makes us any different? Why are we being used as slaves to make the iron and cotton for the North, and they levy our taxes so high that we lose our homes and businesses?” Judge Thomas had a point. I had been apart of the early Colonist in their rebellion from England and this did have the same aroma.

A voice calls out from the audience,

“I say we fight! FIGHT for our freedom, FIGHT for our right to be independent from the North and its supporters!” this voice sounded oddly familiar. I look and it is Guiliamo, disguised as a wealthy plantation owner from Louisiana.

Judge Thomas seeing the crowd is pleased with the man’s remarks, steps down and wonders into the midst of people who had gathered to hear the rally speech. I watch, using my abilities to cloak myself from Guiliamo, who obviously does not know I am there. I needed to keep watch on him, he was instigating the crowds to go to war, rather than form a peaceful resistance to the issues that the Union was placing on the South, as Judge Thomas had suggested. Judge Thomas is a peace maker, not a warrior. Guiliamo had been a man of peace, after being a warrior for centuries before. Now, he is a monster who had probably sired the young man I had ended his life in the woods.

Following carefully, I keep watch on Guiliamo who has made a stir in the town, now pushing the people to fight a war that will cause much bloodshed and death, rather than try peaceably to resolve a political issue.

“Sir that was a very impressive speech you gave earlier.” The slender man approaches Guiliamo after the town meeting. I listen from a distance, in the shadows of the buildings from across the street. Guiliamo looks around and smiles.

“Thank you.” Guiliamo replies,

“To whom do I have the pleasure of being so kind to a tobacco farmer from Louisiana?”

“Davis, Jefferson Davis is the name. And yours?”

“Beauvais…Jacob Beauvais.” Guiliamo had decided to use a French name as this identity. The French had been landowners in Louisiana for a very long time, where the black slaves were called Creoles. Immortals were very common there, mostly Vampires. The slaves from the Indies and Africa could easily identify the Vampires and used many types of charms and such to keep them at a distance. I had never known how they could, not knowing there was a protection from the Vampire or else I would have used it on Lorean and Guiliamo already.

“Yes, I am familiar with your family there. How is Armand?” Davis makes mention of Armand Beauvais, the previous governor of Louisiana.

“Well…if death becomes him.” Guiliamo remarks with a smile of Armand’s passing nearly twenty years prior.

Davis had been testing him to see if he was in fact a loyalist of the South or a Union spy.

“Quite right sir.” Davis tips his hat to Guiliamo.

“We should hope to hold death at his doorway to the very end.”

Smiling, Guiliamo looks around and says,

“I intend to, oh I do intend to do just that.” At that moment, Guiliamo looks around curiously, almost as though he had spotted me in his mind.

“Excuse me sir. I have another…appointment I must attend to.” Guiliamo beckons his leave from Davis as he walks away, down the street. I was unsure if Guiliamo has broken through my barrier that I had created in my mind to block him from reading me or had he an urge to feed? I had to follow him to prevent another death.

Down the street, he turns into an alleyway and I keep my distance, waiting long enough he would not smell me as I pursue. Standing at the corner of the buildings, I look and see he has gone into a building at the rear. Looking around, I see no others, I follow. I knew this could be a trap, and I was leading my way straight into it if so. However, I could not be responsible for any more mortality of youths, if I could help it. The entryway is dark and a musky smell permeates from within. Almost a stench of death mixed with old clothes. Just as I am thinking this, I trip. Falling to the ground, I look and it is a hand, no body, just a hand of some poor innocent victim that Guiliamo had fed on and left the table scraps out. Not sure if my presence has become obvious, I decide to slowly stand and look around for any who might think me an easy mark. No one is there. This is odd to me, almost too easy. Guiliamo must know that I am here, and is toying with me. He had done this exact thing in one of our many exercises for training, back in Venice.

“I know you are here. You know I am here. Why not come out and face me?” I call out as I draw my saber.

Just then, I hear the sound of applauding from the right side, “CLAP…CLAP…CLAP!”

“Very good brother. You have not lost your touch.” Guiliamo addresses me as brother. I was no longer his brother.

“Brother? Is that how you address your enemy?” I reply.

Guiliamo laughs,

“Doesn’t have to be.” He stops short of me and smiles.

“Look well Marcusio.” He pauses and asks,

“Or what name are we using now?”

“The name is unimportant, you know that, Jacob.” I make it known that I was aware of his new alias he was using to gain supporters for the rebellion. His plan was to insight the people to want to go to war, thus causing young helpless women, children and the elderly to be at home unprotected, which made it quite easy to feed unnoticed.

“Quite right,” he claps once more.

“So, what is the honor I have of your company?” He sits down on a crate that is propped in the corner. I look down at the hand lying on the ground and I say,

“Quit with the murders. You will expose our kind with your mistakes.” I kick the hand to him. He catches it, looking at it, sniffs it and then looking back up to me he says,

“This is not mine.” He smiles.

“First, you know I do not make mistakes. Secondly, you know I never leave anything on my plate.”

I reach into my coat pocket and pull out the ring finger of the young Vampire I had battled. I toss it to him.

“What am I to do with this?” He says as he catches it and examines it.

“This is hardly enough to appease my appetite.”

“This is what is left of the young man you sired to eliminate me in the woods.” I reply with disgust.

He laughs,

“I sired?” His attitude was appalling. He had an air of cockiness and a knowing that I had made an error in my thoughts.

“If I had wanted you eliminated, I would have done the deed myself, and you know this. I never would have sent an amateur to do a professional’s job. And, you know the types I sire.” At first he sends me a mental image of Paolo smiling as he had once…once long ago. Then, he tries to use his abilities on my mind by sending me grossly images of his victims he had fed on recently.

“Besides, this is not my type. I prefer dark meat these days.” He smiles. In his wake of killings, he had taken to the slaves for his feeding source.

I could not believe this once great man I had admired and loved as a brother now was a monster that I knew had to be destroyed. It broke my heart to think he had fallen so far.

“How could you join her? After all we had gone through, all that you had learned from being Anuket?” I ask him.

He stands and my hand immediately goes to my saber. A smile forms on his face and he says,

“Rest old friend. This is neither the time nor the place for this.” He shows me his hands are not holding his infamous saber that I had seen him use thousands of times in battle of the Vampires. The one I had given him personally with the inscription I had Raphael create for me.

“She is not as bad as you think. She…”He pauses as he almost is trying to form a vision to send me as a message from her, I block his attempts. He opens his eyes and looks at me with almost a sense of admiration.

“Very good Marcusio. You have learned to use your full mind as I had hoped you would.” I almost wanted to feel proud that he was pleased with me. But, I knew this was yet another attempt of his as a Vampire to lure me into believing he was not evil and vile.

“Your tricks will not work on me Guiliamo. I have had much time to learn to control my thoughts and block unwanted ones from penetrating it.” I reply.

“So I see.” He smiles.

“So, if I did not send him, then who did?” His question was logical and it made me think. Lorean must have had me followed and Guiliamo had taken to making his own agenda of getting the South to enlist into a bloody battle that would cause many mortals to die and be helpless victims to the Vampires.

“Yes, you are right. I have been quite busy in securing my own intentions.” He had penetrated my mind with his thoughts.

“Stop!” I call out as I close my eyes. When I open them, he is gone, but his last thoughts are imbedded in my own.

“She is unprotected now.” I knew in an instant, he was speaking of Angelica. I had to warn her, but how? I was on the run from the enemy that I had wanted to protect her from, now had just warned me that she was in danger.

Chapter 32 – War Begins

Over the course of the next few weeks, the South had made their stance of independence and fired the first shots in South Carolina. This was it, and now war begins and peace talks end.

I loan my services to the South, so that I might be able to make my way to Angelica in Georgia. I stood much better chances of reaching her if I was on the same side that her state was. After a few months, I have reached the status of a Lieutenant; an officer that had the ability to have couriers deliver messages to the southern regions that I had hoped would reach Angelica and Judge Thomas.

”My dearest Angelica,

I know that my leaving has caused you much heartache, as it has me. However, I had to leave to protect you. I cannot explain this just yet, but rest assured I will, as soon as, I have the opportunity to properly in person. I only hope that you are well, and that we have this chance to be together once more. Please alert your father, Judge Thomas, he is to withdraw his open invitation to the Duchess. She is not to be trusted and could be of great danger to you and your family.

I do hope that you think of me fondly at some point. And know that I am doing what I have to do to protect you.

With love always,


I enclose the letter in a leather bindery and give it to the courier with strictest of orders not to read it, not to allow it to be given to anyone other than the intended. It was my intentions that I would try and make my way to her soon. In the wake of the war, many men had lost their lives both in battle and at the hand of the Vampire. Because the medics of this time are not familiar with my kind and how they feed, the bodies are disregarded as just animal attacks.

Today, on the battlefield, I see Guiliamo for only an instant, standing very calmly in a clearing near a farmhouse. It reminds me of the one where I had first encountered Lorean. That time period was so long ago and those memories are like faded shadows of a distant dream. Why does he torment me so? Why will he not just engage me in battle and end this game of his?

“Dearest Angelica,

Today, I have been face to face with death and won. He stands and smiles at me, like an old friend, yet he is an enemy. It is because of him and this war, that I am separate from you and your tender kisses. I long for the time when we walked and laughed freely at your home in the gardens. Please know that I miss you and my only hope is rejoin with you, so that we can marry. I want you to be my wife more than anything else. I know this is not the proper way to make my intentions known. However, I wish I could do the proper thing and ask your father for your hand and then, with the greatest of devotion, ask you. Yet, this war has taken that opportunity from me and my only recourse is to make my dedications to you being with me always, in this most heartfelt letter that I pray you are reading.

Please write me so that I know you are.

Love always,


My letters were my only way of lending my own mind hope, hope that we would be together again, and hope that my world would not end with us separate. The courier takes my heart with him as he leaves. Each time I write, my thoughts stray to the love that I felt was in jeopardy, my love for Angelica.

“The enemy has advanced and was waiting for us today in Gettysburg.” The commander of our troop begins his speech to us. “We lost many strong men today and I cannot allow this to happen tomorrow.”

His words are straight to the point and very heartfelt. His lines of age are like lines of wisdom, wisdom he had gained from facing death and still standing victorious.

“What are your plans General?” the young man who is serving as the replacement for our own leader asks.

The General slowly turns and looks at him as he puffs on his cigar, “To win!” It was a very impressive attitude for a mortal to have. I had served under many men in battle, and his fortitude to be strong and show bravery was compelling.

“Sir, if I can speak.” I stand to attention waiting to be allowed to interject my own thoughts.

The General looks at me and says, “Speak.” His words are short and to the point, I like that.

“In my opinion, we need to surround the enemy from both the east and the west, on either side of the river and move on them in the nightfall so not to risk casualties of our men, as much as we would during the day.” I knew that this was a plan that had merit given the right opportunity. I had used this same plan during the war of the Colonist against England.

He stares at me hard and smoke billows around his head, encircling his face like a cloud, slobber on his lips from chewing on the cigar made him look as if he was a dog with mad disease. His eyes squint and he reaches up and pulls the cigar from his mouth and says,

“Not bad.” He ponders on the idea more and then continues,

“I like it.” The other men look at me and then back to the General as if they awaited his approval to smile in favor of my input.

When all is said and done, we draw up plans to attack the enemy, just as I had advised.

Chancellorsville, Va. May 15th, 1863

At dusk, we have our troops separate into two flanks on either side of the river and move up slowly through the trees, using the natural decor of the woods to hide from sight. I was in charge of the left flank, on the east side of the river and Commander Fitzpatrick was in charge of the right flank, the west side of the river, men. Moving in slowly, we can hear the Northern troops making camp and not expecting any attacks by us this time of the day. As a general rule, the armies had decided not to attack during nightfall, to give the armies time to bury their dead and such. However, if you want to win, you have to do what you have to, to achieve victory.

The men from the right flank move up the hillside and send us a signal to move in. In place, we make our accent up the river’s bank and slide into place under the river’s edge. My men are depending on me to bring them a victory and a victory was exactly what I expected, with as little if any, casualties. I signal the scout that we are making our move and I turn to my men and tell them that I will be the one to go in first and when they hear the enemies charge for battle call, they should come in. If my plan is to go as expected, the less mortals I have in my way, the better the plan has a chance to work.

Once out of eye sight of the men, I use my abilities to cloak myself as I move in to the camp of the Union soldiers. The sun has set and I can use the shadows of the trees to move more freely. The men are sitting near their campfires, talking and sharing stories of their battles they have fought against Johnny Reb, the troops of the South.

It’s now or never, I think to myself as I run at the speed of the wind through the camp, my saber drawn in one hand, my rifle in the other, even though I needed neither to take down a group of mortals. Blood flies in multiple directions as I run through the camp, not able to stop and consider that I was killing mortals, those I would normally protect, in order to serve my own needs. This is a rule that I was breaking with the Anuket, and I knew the punishment for this. However, my plan to win the love of my long and never ending life, to end the lives of Lorean and Guiliamo, along with their band of Vampires, was the ultimate plan. The mortals were my warm-up to the real battle I would face.

The look on the men’s faces as I, an unseen figure, moves through them like the wind, taking their lives and ending any hopes they have of returning home when this battle ends. Hardly a cry is heard as I take down the first fifty or so men, until a boy looking of the age of twelve or thirteen grabs his bugle and sounds the alarm. The carnage of the men covers the campsite like new fallen snow, with blood and body parts in every direction. I look at the boy and stop. Standing before him, now visible and looking into his small brown eyes, his locks of blonde hair sprawled about his tiny head, his Cherub face, and frail body that was derived from starvation; I look at him intensely and decide, he will live. He smiles at me as I nod at him and motion for him to run. I watch as he runs quickly and for that moment I am pleased that I had spared his life; then, as in any battle of men, a soldier from the South, in haste strikes him down with a single shot from his rifle. I rush to him, knowing his injuries are life threatening, I look at him and do the only thing I knew to do; I hold his hand as his life fades from his body. His body quivers and shakes as he dies right before me. I had seen death more times than I could count, yet his death was not expected and I wished I could have offered him a reprieve. He would not grow older, fall in love or have children or grandchildren. He would be taken from life at a point when his life was about to begin. No reason of how, I feel a tear form in my eyes. As an immortal, I had never cried or been able to. Why was I able to now? Perhaps my humanity had been restored. Just as I am caught in the moment, I hear a Union soldier charging toward me and my immortal rage takes over and I become the demonic creature that I had been created to be. The soldier did not suffer as I snapped his head around backwards and tossed his carcass to the side. The tears would have to wait, death was my gift and I had to deliver it to many if we were to be the victors of this battle.

I run through the battle field, in full form, unseen by most and the ones, who did see me in this form, did not live long enough to be of any concern. When the battle is over, the smoke of the rifles and the canons are calmed, the bodies and bodies of men who had thought that morning, they would live to see another day; they did not. We were victorious and majority of my men, lived to tell another tale of their heroic journey. For me, I had to feed, if I was to keep my energy up and be able to fight. Being in very open areas with the men, left me no way to go and kill a bear or a large deer. I barely managed to catch a rabbit or two, and bring them back to the camp, hidden, and feast on them in my tent. Cooked food, even as distasteful as the rations are, is not able to provide me with the substances I required to keep my abilities in tune. I had to dine on mortal blood. When I was in training, after Georgina had passed, I was given human blood to sustain me. However, it was given by mortals that were in support of the Anuket and they did not die for it. The fatally wounded men, the enemy that lay on the battlefield, are going to die. Why should I not feed on them? I could not think of a reason why not to, other than it would mean I was breaking yet another rule. Lord Bael had told me to do what I had to do, to survive. He wanted me to become the next ruler of the Anuket. Well, I needed to feed. This was the only option.

Shortly after the men are rallying around the campfires, telling of their battle this day, I slide out of the camp onto the enemy’s sight where we had slain them. Being able to sense living and non-living, breathing and non-breathing creatures, I carefully go to each one that is near death and bring it to them. I convince myself I am doing them a favor by ending their lives this way verse them suffering through the night, or the wolves coming while they are alive and feeding on them. I look up and see that I am not alone. I duck down and try to look dead. After all, I can play dead better than any mortal. I can hear them, appears to be two, no wait…three of them moving about, almost hovering over the dead and wounded. Who are they? Are they survivors and looking for their friends? I cannot sense the normal signs of mortals. No odor of blood and their heartbeat is very faint. They aren’t mortals; they are immortals, like me. My guess is they are Vampire!

Chapter 33 – Brothers to the End

Lying very still, I wait as they approach. Using my talents to hide my heartbeat and my scent, I listen very attentively to them as they move over the corpses of the fallen soldiers. Their grunts and growls tell me they are not mortal. My first instinct that they are Vampires is correct. I watch from where I lay, they move like ghost over a graveyard, softly floating back and forth from one to another. Some of the men are still alive, but not for long as the Vampires finish them. I take the moment into my mind and decide I must act quickly if I am to get the upper hand on the Vampires.

”One…two…three” I think in my mind as I try and plan the fastest and easiest way to combat these monsters who are stealing the life from these soldiers. Then, it comes to me; I was doing the exact same thing. How can I punish them for doing what I was doing? Do they deserve the fate of endless death for following their instincts?

”Four…five…six” I continue to contemplate my actions as I am trying to devise a plan of attack. Had they followed me? If they had, were they with Lorean and Guiliamo or acting alone? I knew there were more freshly created Vampires, no thanks to Lorean and Guiliamo I was sure.

“Here…this one.” I hear one of them call out to the others. He has detected me, I am sure of it.

“No…that one is too close to death.” One of the male Vampires says.

My chance was fast approaching; they were soon to discover I was not among the mortals and was different from the others. My abilities were weakening because I had not fully fed on the dying. My only chance was to go with my first reaction, so I do.

I rise up quickly, startling them.

“Who are you?” I ask as I stand before them.

There are three males, between the ages of fifteen and twenty, appearing to be young Vampires, recently created. One is taller; obviously the eldest of them, with reddish brown hair, his pale skin is accented by his ruby red eyes that are glowing from hunger. The next in size, most likely about eighteen mortal years, and his tossed blonde hair reflects he is of Norwegian decent originally. The youngest of them, about five feet-five, with cropped brown hair, his mouth red from feeding, his eyes are yellow, which is common with new Vampires after they have fed. Once they mature, their eyes will be dark when hungry and pale green when they have fed.

“Who are you?” the eldest calls out to me. I laugh and quickly am upon him, holding him up in the air. The others, quickly back away and let out a Vampish growl and hiss, another common thing for the young ones.

“I am Marcusio. Who are you three? Who sent you?”

“I…I…am Frank.” The boy I am holding calls out as he looks over at the other two.

“That is John and the youngest is Carl.” He pauses as he struggles for me to set him free. I see his newly formed fangs and take pity on him as I turn him loose and he falls to the ground.

“Again…who sent you?” It appears that they are afraid of me, so I use that to my advantage.

“No…no one did.” The one known as Frank says as he rushes to the eldest side.

“Leave us alone. We mean you no harm.” The youngest one known as Carl says as he stands between me and the other two. I admired his determination and courage to stand up to me.

“Little one…I could rip you into, MOVE.” I glare at him, using my fangs that are longer than theirs. The longer the immortal lives, causes their fangs to mature and bare a resemblance to bear or wolf fangs, versus the fangs of a new immortal, which are no longer than a canine.

“You could. But, I will not go down without fighting.” Baring his teeth, arching his back and he hisses at me, making him seemingly the bravest young one I had met. I could not help but begin to laugh.

“That is funny.” I chuckle. This causes the young one to become even more irritated with me.

“Stop…please.” I plead for him to stop making me laugh. This was not the reaction he was expecting I was sure. But, in all my years, and there had been many, I have never come upon one with such vigor and devotion to his fellow Vampires. It was going to be sad to have to end their lives.

“You laugh at me?” Carl shouts from his glistening teeth.

“I cannot help but to do so. You have such …”I stumble on my words. The one known as John stands beside Carl and looks at me curiously.

“You mean us no harm, do you?” How could he send me a thought? He was too new to know this ability.

“Do you?” He repeats his question.

“No…not if you can communicate with me like that.” I reply moving back from them. For some reason, John reminded me of Paolo.

“How did you learn to do that?” I ask.

John moves to help Frank up from the ground.

“Who did this to us?” Frank asks. It would appear that they did not know the one or ones who had created them.

“I have an idea.” I say aloud.

“Can you hear me?” I send a message out to them, all of them.

“Yes, I can. They can only hear me.” John says.

“Who did this to us?” Carl asks.

“I believe an elder named Guiliamo and another female elder named Lorean are responsible for…this.” I answer.

“How do you know this?” Frank asks. It was a fair question considering I did not fear them and obviously had a greater strength than they did and seemed to have more knowledge of their new lives. I decided to learn a bit more of them before making the decision to bring final death to them.

We walk and they seem to have a bond, a bond that goes beyond the immortality part.

“Are you…related? I mean, before you were sired.” I ask.

Frank looks at me and smiles, “Yes. We…the three of us, are brothers, or at least we were.” He pauses with hesitation and then asks, “Are we still…brothers?”

In my long years, I had wished a thousand times over, that I had an immortal real brother or sister that I could connect with, to be able to share this…sometimes curse, sometimes gift with. I was envious of them in that way.

“Yes, you are still brothers.” I smile as we sit down by the thick of the trees.

“Brothers to the end, right?” Carl says looking around at John and Frank. Frank nods his head and rubs his younger brother’s hair, just as mortal brothers would.

“Always brothers.” John smiles as he places his hand on Carl’s back.

“What…are we?” Frank asks. I was reminded of how I was created and did not know of what I was either.

“Well…you are immortals now.” I answer them truthfully, but exiting the part of them being Vampire. To be Vampire, they had to want to be evil. They could choose to be Anuket, and I had to keep that in my thoughts as I wrestled with the decision to end their lives or to allow them to continue.

“You mean…like ghost or haunts?” The dialects tell me in an instant, they are from Kentucky or Virginia area, at least they were.

“No, not haunts.” I was struggling with the right wording.

“Vampires? What does that mean?”John says aloud. He had read my thoughts, which I had not even felt his touch. When an immortal picks through the mind of another immortal, it usually feels like feathers are touching your head.

“Yes, Vampires would be partially correct.” I decided to not hold back the real words and not try and disguise the truth any longer. I share with them, by using my abilities, which they were amazed at. I was able to show them my long, long life…giving them a chance to realize what being Anuket would mean to them.

“So…”Frank begins, “We don’t have to be…Vampires…right?”

I answer him, “No. You can decide to be Anuket.” I look the three of them and step away for them to discuss openly among themselves. This, I soon found out was not required.

“We have decided.” John says to me in my mind.

“And?” I look at them carefully, realizing I had just opened their minds up to what possibilities awaited them, should they decide to be Anuket. This knowledge would have taken them centuries to learn, if ever. With me sharing with them as I had done, allowed them to access knowledge on how to use their abilities as well.

“We have decided to be Anuket.”Carl sends me a message in my mind. I smile in relief.

“Would you mind training us, as Guiliamo did you?” Carl asks. I knew that Guiliamo had become evil now, but at one time, he was the closest I had to a real brother.

“No.”I begin, “I would not mind training you.”

“The sun will be up soon.” I say to them making mention that they had been feeding on mortal blood, which made them extremely allergic to sunlight in the beginning. Only and elder could feed on mortals, and still walk in the sunlight. Normally, the Vampire just choose not to walk in the bright light once they have adjusted a few centuries to it, reminds them of being mortal.

“But you do.” Carl says. He almost sounded like a child, which he was, who did not wish to retire for the night.

“I am much older, as you know, and I am able to resist the light.” I look around as we have been walking a long while. “Where do you slumber? Or have you been?”

They look at me after thinking a great deal, “We have not been. I did think that was odd.” Frank says.

“There is a cave up here; we have stayed hidden from the…mortals, in here.” Carl says pointing to the cave opening.

“I am curious…how did you know how to use your ability to communicate John?” I was intrigued.

“I…am unsure. It was just there.” He replies with sincerity.

“I see.” I watch as they walk into the cave and they turn to look at me before going in. I wave and they do in return. They were probably the closest to siblings or children I would ever have. I had been immortal so long, that I had forgotten that I was turned when I was Frank’s age. Living this long, had aged my mind, even if my body had not.

Chapter 34 - The Past Is Now the Present

Days and weeks go by, no reply from Angelica. We have heard that the war is almost over. Of course, we have heard that rumor so many times it almost seems like a lost thought now. The men are tired, weak and starving, all of us are. Not to mention that most the men I started with are dead or missing in action. I guess it is better to desert a mission that you no longer believe in, than to die for one that has no meaning to you.

At night, I go to the brothers and train them in the ways of the Anuket. They grow stronger, much quicker at learning their talents than I had. Assuredly, it was because I was able to share with them so easily.

“Is this correct Marcusio?” Carl asks as he uses his abilities to lift a great bolder up with ease.

“Yes, yes it is.” I reply with great sense of being proud of them. My thoughts went back to Guiliamo, and how he must have felt when I had learned from him.

“Why are you sad? Is it because of the memories you block about Guiliamo?” John asks me in my mind.

“Yes.” I answer aloud. “But, I am happy that you are progressing so fast. You will need these abilities if you are to stand with me one day against Lorean and her coven of Vampires. Just do not use them to pry into my deepest thoughts, please. Certain things are private, even from you.”

“Will we fight Guiliamo as well?” Frank asks. It was a question I did not want to answer.

“If need be.” I reply with hesitance.

One evening as I slip out to go meet up with my young ones, I hear something prowling close by me. In an instant, I am able to know it is a Vampire, and not the brothers.

“You might as well come out and face me. I know you are there.” I call out into the dark night. The Vampire ceases their movement and I stand ready. Finally, it steps forth and I see the Vampire is none other than, Lorean.

“Hello lover.” She says stepping out wiping away the blood of the soldier she had fed on in the brush.

“I am not your lover!” I shout without thinking that I would be over-heard by the other men who were nearby.

“Halt! Who goes there?” The young soldier calls out. In a flash, Lorean has swished passed me and has attacked him, ending his life as she drains him dry. She tosses his corpse onto the ground like a rag doll.

“There…” She begins,

“There is no need to worry about him discovering your true identity, Marcusio.” She sounds as if she had done me a great deed.

“There was no need to kill him.” I say aloud looking at the poor young man she had just killed with no remorse.

“Surely, you did not want him to discover us talking here, did you?” She asks smiling at her deed. She prances past his lifeless body the way a cat does.

“Is it not you, who is so concerned for these…meals?” She points at the lifeless body of the young soldier, drained of his life not in battle…but in a crime against nature. She licks her lips like a lioness would after a kill. Her eyes are focused on me now.

Filled with such hatred and bitterness for her, I reply,

“I care for mortals, and do not wish to harm them, unlike you. How could a monster have been my creator?” I ask.

Looking down and back up at me she says,

“Monster? You and I are the same. Why do you think I can always track you, wherever you go?”

“Not because we are the same. The only connection you and I have is that you sired me. I purged your thoughts from my mind a long time back.” My anger filled my words. I reach for my saber. She stands back and looks at me.

“Would you battle me?” She asks such a foolish question. I had envisioned this moment for so long and never did I have her say this to me.

“This ends…here and now. The past has come full circle for you and I will end this forever.” I reply taking my stance.

“So…the past is now the present?” She mocks me with her words.

“Prepare to die!” I shout, not caring if others would hear. This victory was to be mine and I had longed for it for so many centuries.

“You are going to strike down the one who gave you life?” She tempts me as she moves toward me slowly.

Not wishing to engage her in further conversation, I stand quiet.

“You are mine. If I cannot have you, then you will die.” She invades my mind with her thoughts.

She lunges for me and my saber falls to the ground. We wrestle about, breaking down the small saplings in our way. Like two statues falling in a plate shop, we struggle to destroy the other. With her fangs showing, face to face as we fight for the saber. My hand reaching for the one thing that can end this battle grabs hold of the saber’s handle. She forces my hand loose and my grip on the saber is thwarted by her Vampire strength. She grabs it with her free hand. All the training I had done, now in vane as she sits atop me with my own saber in her hand drawing back to end my existence.

“Send my wishes to Paolo.” She says as she swings the saber back, I can feel the breeze of it as she does. I close my eyes not wishing to see the final moment.

“THWACK!” The first sound comes and followed by,


After a moment, realizing I had not been killed, I opened my eyes to catch the glimpse of Lorean’s headless body turning to dust. Someone has beheaded her, but who? And, why did her body turn to dust so soon?

“Rise up Marcusio.” I recognized the tone. It was Guiliamo. But why? He was evil, was he not? He had joined her band of Vampires a century back.

“Why?” I ask as I stand to my feet. He stands looking at me with a smile on his face.

“Why not?” He replies as he turns from me.

Stunned at the turn of events, I look around and see Frank, Carl and John standing near.

“This is he…our creator?”John asks in my mind.

“I am.” He replies aloud.

“If…if you created them, then…why did you…”I was confused.

“Is it so hard for you to accept a gift deer brother?” He begins,

“I created them, for you.” He smiles as he looks at them.

“And, it appears they have found the perfect trainer, do you not think?”

Unsure what had happened, I reply,

“For me? Why?” I was very confused and yet grateful. I look over at the boys and reply,

“Yes, I do. But, why did you end Lorean? I thought you…”I hated to say it again.

“Had become evil?” He says.

“Well…yes.” I reply.

He laughs and remarks,

“Not as evil as you might have thought. Remember, I do still answer to a higher power-The Rosicrucia demands that I destroy evil wherever and whenever I am. I am bound to them ethe Anuket. ” He looks at the boys and then back at me and smiles.

“Good -” he begins,

“Can come in many ways, can it not? Try to remember that as you train them.” He turns from me and begins to walk away. I was unsure if I should thank him or go after him to battle him.

“Why did Lorean turn to dust? I had thought we would have to burn her body.” I ask Guiliamo.

“Because my friend…when you have lived as long as she… and I have, dust is all that remains once the head is removed from the…viper.” He says with a smile.

“Try to just live and let live. I have business elsewhere now that is very pressing, Marcusio.” In an instant, he has vanished into the darkness.

“Do not try and find me. I have one last thing to do before returning to face my judgment with the Anuket. Be well…my brother.” He sends me a message in my mind as he disappears into the night. Looking around at the boys, I smile. My thoughts are now clear and I want to return to Angelica in Savannah, if she will have me. Now we could be a real family, with brothers included.

“What is…the Rosicucia?” Carl questions.

“Well, they are a topic for another time.” I reply not wishing to break my word with Guiliamo that I had given so long ago; when I had learned of he and several other immortals that were a part of that secret society. It would mean death for not only Guiliamo, but for the others as well if I were to expose them.

My thoughts lingered on the moment and how I would tell Angelica that I was free now to be with her for as long as she would have me.

“Do you think she will want us around?” Frank asks perceiving my thoughts.

“I am sure she will.” I reply as we begin our long walk home to my love.

“But…you haven’t told her of who and what you really are.” Carl says.

“She will accept me and you guys. Trust me on that. I have inside knowledge on this topic.” I laugh as we fade into the night, away from the war that had taken me from my love. No more Lorean or old friends to stop us from being married and living long lives as husband and wife, along with my new brothers.

Here is a glimpse of the sequel, “Resurrection”


R.W. Wells


“Wisdom (saith Solomon) is to a man an infinite Treasure,
for she is the Breath of the Power of God,
and a pure Influence that floweth from the Glory of the Almighty.

She is the Brightness of Eternal Light,
and an undefiled Mirror of the Majesty of God,
and an Image of his Goodness;

she teacheth us Soberness and Prudence,
Righteousness and Strength;

she understands the Subtilty of words, and Solution of dark sentences;
she foreknoweth Signs and Wonders, and what shall happen in time to come;
with this Treasure was our first Father Adam fully endued...” - Fama Fraternitatis


Chapter 1 – Order of the Rose

April 16th, 1863 Atlanta, Georgia in a medic tent deep within the war-torn city.

“Nurse! Nurse!” Many young men, soldiers fighting for a cause, a cause that now seem as distant as their homes; scream out for her in pain.

An extraordinarily beautiful young woman with long dark hair comes to the aid of as many as she can. Wounded and dying soldiers all around, some with mortal wounds; cries of pain and for help ring like bells in a church, echoing the defeat of a once proud Atlanta. There is only one doctor and a handful of nurses. Smoke fills the night air like a blanket, suffocating the inhabitants below. Fires burn out of control, scourging the land that was the heart of the South at one time, as the Northern troops, under the command of Sherman, go marching through burning homes, farms and businesses in an effort to crush the very wounded South. Families torn from their homes, landmarks that can never be restored, destroyed while Sherman watches with great excitement from a hillside.

She hovers near to the soldiers, trying to bring them relief. Her eyes dart across the crowded tent, searching for the doctor. Her gentle touch of her bloody hands, press upon the shrapnel and severed bodies in an attempt to assist. Finally, the doctor arrives and calls out to her from two beds over.

“Nurse!” He exclaims loudly as he takes the vitals of the soldier lying below.

“Yes, how can I help?” She looks down at the doctor holding a man down who is covered in blood.

“Hold him! His leg has been practically torn off by shrapnel. I have no choice but to amputate.” He says looking at her.

The young nurse holds the man down, the man grips her hand tightly as the surgeon places the dull saw to the man’s battered leg that has bone and gristle exposed. She shows no signs of being bothered by it and the surgeon saws. The man screams,

“AHHHHHHH!” He passes out from the pain as he looks into the nurses eyes.

After the doctor had performed a few of these immediate operations, with many of the men dying on the table, he notices the young beautiful nurse has not shown the same weak stomach as most of the nurses he had encountered had.

“You’re new, aren’t ya?” He asks as he stands beside her outside one of the tents.

She nods that she is.

“Have you had much experience …with war and death?” The doctor thinks that the woman was somehow immune to the suffering of others because she had probably seen so much of it.

“I’ve had my share.” She replies.

“I see.” The doctor pauses and goes to walk away. He stops and looks back at her,

“We need more like you.”

She pauses as she looks around at the bodies lying in rows,

“I believe that can be arranged.” She remarks with a smile.

The doctor seems quite taken with the nurse. He asks her name.

“Who should I ask for? When I have need for someone like you?”

She pauses and then replies,

“Rose,,,my first name is Rosselina, but you can call me…Rose.” She smiles as the doctor nods at her and walks away.

She exits the tent and looks down at her bloody hands. She holds them up like trophies in the moonlight and stares hard at them.

“Soon, very soon…I must go and find my husband.” She says, then in an instant, she vanishes into the night air.

The doctor stands not far from where the nurse had been and watches her leave; standing still for a long hard moment before pulling off his medic coat and dropping it to the ground.

“Not if I can help it.”He says as he turns to face the fires in the distant.

“Should I follow her?” a young man asks.

“No…she’s all mine.” The doctor mounts his horse, carrying a saber, and on the sheath it reads,

“To Guiliamo with love, your brother Marcusio.”

(Continued in next novel, “Resurrection”)

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