The Devil's Gift

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XII

We sat in the tiny room for hours, hard as the stone beneath us, waiting. Neither of us spoke a word to the other for the duration of the day, both electing to fall into a hibernation state where our bodies wrapped us in a stone-like cocoon, it takes many years to develop this power we have come to call encasement and not all vampires even know it exists. This was a way we could protect ourselves from any mortal wound whilst our bodies healed any injuries we may have sustained. I was nursing a large burn to my right hand when I dove behind the cabin though it went unnoticed in my worry for Oceana. So there we sat, hard as stone, unmoving and untouchable. The stone was harder than normal, it was like an extension of our power and so virtually unbreakable by anything. What felt like a second later, the stone turned to skin and we were free from encasement.

Crickets chirruped loudly in the grass outside, it reached my ears barely before it had finished. I looked to Oceana, her arm had repaired seamlessly and looked once more like it had never been burnt. I took a glance at my own hand. Again, the repaired skin was smooth, and no trace of the burn remained. I wished there was some way to stop the sun from burning my skin, though I knew that was impossible.

‘My lord.’ Oceana was stood in front of me holding out my robe that was pinned against the entrance. I nodded a word of thanks and took the robe, placing it over my body. We both left the cabin. Oceana took a look at the moon, it was half exposed due the large cluster of clouds hanging above us. We stood there for a moment, taking in the cool night air and glad to be out of the musky cabin. My thoughts strayed to Sophia, and at once I felt a burning desire to be with her.

I was in half a mind to turn around and speed back to the town and use my gifts to find her, though I knew it would be foolish, she was not interested in me and certainly did not want to see me, let alone be followed. I started walking into the forest, each direction I looked showed the signs of this morning when I had tried, and failed, to outrun the morning sun. Oceana followed me up to the front doors of Castle Blackmoor. I did not break pace when Oceana made a path for the front door, she obviously guessed this and proceeded inside shutting the door behind her.

I, on the other hand, headed left around the side of the castle. I reached into the ivy which concealed the handle to open the entrance to my study, and was soon stood in front of the mirror, watching the reflection of the stone door sliding shut behind me. All was quiet. I put my head in my hands enjoying the peace. I had been here maybe an hour when a deep booming voice sounded from inside the castle’s main hall.

‘My king.’ It spoke. I rose cautiously from my seat and headed to the main hall where I was greeted by Reyjak dressed in a dark brown, hooded overcoat. Reyjak thrust a folded piece of parchment into my hands. I looked at the front, it said,

Roconn

I smiled as I unfolded the parchment and read the letter.

Roconn, I was pleased to see your letter. I must say it was a very pleasant surprise. As per your request, I would be delighted to see you again, I look forward to your arrival. Yours most sincerely, Sophia.’

I gave Reyjak a word of thanks before disappearing to my study once more. There I sat feeling elated and pleased. I read the letter again, paying attention to the way Sophia had curled the tips of her “L’s” before placing it in my desk which was still littered. I removed the litter and discarded the dried inkwells that had been cluttering my desk top. It was at least three days before the moon would be full and high where I would see Sophia once more. I longed for the days to pass, but it soon came.

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