A Thousand Years
Chapter 19: The Rise of the Razielim
I awakened shortly before nightfall. Rising from my bed, I left the small chamber and headed down to the cell where Vincent slept. Upon my arrival, I stopped cold at the sight before me. Vincent was still asleep, but he was curled up at the side of his brother's deceased body. His cheek rested on Davoren's chest, one hand cradling his brother's head, fingers twined in the limp, white hair.
My heart gave a twinge of sympathy for the two brothers. I couldn't tear my gaze from them, not even as I felt the sun set, and Vincent slowly began to stir. His intense, cerulean eyes snapped open; his body straightened, staring down in stunned horror at Davoren's body, until the memories of the previous day came crashing back to him. My eyes softened at the emotional agony I could feel within him. "Vincent..." The young man's gaze snapped around to stare at me. He'd been so deep in memories, I'd startled him... And he did not like that at all. He also didn't like that I'd been watching him in his grief, that I'd seen his emotions. I could feel him building up a mental barrier, and sighed. "I'm sorry... I didn't mean to startle you. If you'd like, I can take you to the place where I buried your parents."
My words left him midly stunned, and his suspicious gaze rested on me once again. "...You buried them?" I nodded to confirm his question, and his gaze narrowed further. "Why?"
"They deserved a respectable burial. I was very fond of them as well."
Vincent searched my gaze, his fingers still imbedded within Davoren's hair. I found it curious that his skin was nearly the same color as his brother's albino locks, now. If Vincent decided it all right for his brother to be changed as well, he would be an excellent hunter in the wintertime and the mountains. It would be like trying to find a snowshoe rabbit in a blizzard. I was drawn out of my thoughts by his eventual slow nod. "...I would like to see where they were buried."
"And perhaps later, I can take you to feed." I could feel that Vincent was hungry again. I didn't want to feed him too much of my blood, because... Well, it was known for vampires to occasionally devour the blood and souls of other vampires to gain their strength and abilities... But none of the ancient books said anything about a vampire feeding on excessive amounts of vampire blood. I didn't know if it would have ill effects or not... And I didn't want to risk it.
Vincent rose reluctantly from his brother's body, covering him once more with the blanket before turning to follow me out. His body was stained with dry blood, and his clothes were ripped and tattered. Perhaps he picked up my thoughtful gaze, because he glanced down at himself and frowned. "...I have a question."
"Ask away," I replied easily, turning to head up out of the dungeon.
"...If vampires cannot tolerate water, how do you stay clean?"
"Sand baths, actually." I found myself walking just slightly faster than normal, so Vincent would not have to slow his normal pace in order not to trip over me. Damn my short legs! "We scoop up handfulls of sand and rub them over whatever is dirtying our bodies. It scrapes it off, and we are tough enough that it will not irritate our skin as much. Vampires do not sweat, or make other unpleasant excretements. We cry blood. We... ejaculate blood. That is the only body fluid we can produce."
Vincent paused, absorbing the information, before asking another question. "What about clothing?"
"We can wash them, we just have to use special gloves when doing so, so we do not get burned." I led him down the candle-lit hallways, and felt an appreciative wonder fill me. It took me a moment to realize that it was another of Vincent's reactions. It seemed he liked the architecture. I had to suppress laughter at the thought of trying to throw in every single pro I could imagine. 'Yes, and if you stay a vampire, you can live in this place! I can see that you like it very much! You don't have to pay for a thing! Cool, huh? Definitely worth it!' ...That wouldn't flow well with Vincent. "It'll be fairly easy getting the two of you some new clothes... If you decide you're willing to join our cause, that is."
"...You mentioned that Lord Kain's cause was to take over this planet?" He commented in a rather droll tone, clearly not very impressed with that.
"Yes," I sighed. "That is what my brothers and I were created for. It's why we exist, and it is why you, in turn, would exist." I paused. "It's really not all that bad. We only fight those who oppose us. Children are spared. Women are spared as long as they aren't wielding weapons against us. According to Lord Kain, it is simply the more dominant species asserting their control over the lesser. We may surpass humans in our abilities, but they surpass us in numbers, and they hunt us down. Lord Kain was the sole survivor of the last vampire purge, so he is quite truthfully the father of all vampires today. He said it was his destiny to rule this planet." I smirked back over my shoulder, "He also has an ego about the size of a mountain, and it keeps growing. But hopefully you shouldn't have to deal too much with him. That'll be my job."
Vincent didn't respond, and I already found it harder to be able to pick up on his emotions. I almost started wondering if perhaps he knew of our empathetic link and was determined not to let me into his thoughts. Another sigh, and I brought him out into the night. I hoped, if I was successful in convincing the brothers to stay, that at least Davoren would be a bit more lively. It was strange, but I didn't exactly feel lonely by myself... Yet, around Vincent, I did. Definitely weird.
I led Vincent over to where Necromancer stood grazing, climbing up easily onto his back. I offered my hand to Vincent to assist him in climbing up Necromancer's back, and was slightly put off when he refused it and climbed up on his own behind me. I felt my temper start to rise slightly. I didn't like being shirked when I'd been nothing but kind to him. Biting my tongue against any sharp words, I turned and nudged my heels into Necromancer's side, taking off toward the Valentine burial site. Vincent rode silently behind me, his hands placed on the horse's rump to steady himself rather than holding on to me.
I felt that quiet wonder again, and had to stop myself from glancing back at Vincent. His barrier had lowered enough so that I could sense his awe at his awakened senses... I couldn't remember what human senses were like, so I didn't exactly go through the wonderment that he currently was. He was amazed at how well he could see through the darkness, and occasionally his head would sharply turn from one side to another as his keen ears picked up on the wildlife here and there. He took deep breaths, inhaling the scents of the world around him. He felt more alive as a vampire than he did as a human... And I could feel that he was having a difficult time understanding that.
Easing up on the reins, Necromancer slowed to a stop not far from the single mound of dirt where Thatcher and Victoria were buried. Vincent slid down off the horse's back behind me, walking past to where his parents lay resting. Kneeling down to the slightly raised mound of dirt, he placed his hand over it and closed his eyes. His lips moved in a silent prayer, his long midnight hair hanging down over his features. Quickly, I felt any irritation dissipitate. What right did I have to be angry at him? So he was giving me the cold shoulder right now. So what? He'd just lost everything he cherished, all in one night. He had every right to be a bit cold and distant.
I remained seated on Necromancer, waiting patiently for Vincent to be ready to leave. After a while, he finally rose to his feet and turned to walk back to me. He stopped in front of me, deep blue eyes gleaming like sapphires in the moonlight. He seemed to be searching my gold-flecked eyes for something. "...Why do you remain a vampire?" he eventually asked in his deep, softspoken voice. "What reason do you find to continue on this plane of existence?"
His question startled me, and I fell silent as I pondered his question, and my answer to it. "...This is all I know. I don't see a reason as to why I shouldn't be a vampire."
"Do you not remember your life as a human?" His gaze was almost unsettling, so steady and cold it sent a chill up my spine.
"No... I'd been dead for a very long time before Kain resurrected myself and my brothers. The question I would ask myself is not what reason I had to live, but what reason I had to die." I turned my gaze thoughtfully to the half moon above us. "I've been given another chance to live... And I enjoy it. I enjoy living."
Vincent's monotone voice drew my gaze back down to him. "...But you are not living. You are un-dead."
"I feel alive," I replied simply. "My heart still beats. What is it that classifies me as un-dead? I smile when I am content. I frown when I am angry. I cry when I am sad. I laugh when I am happy." I smiled down at Vincent. "I love to laugh. I think that's my favorite thing to do."
Vincent's gaze did not leave mine, his thoughts in quiet debate. After nearly a full minute of staring, he finally sighed. "...Very well. I accept your offer, Raziel." Surprise must have shown on my face, for his brows lifted slightly, and the faintest of smiles touched his lips. "You are correct. Davoren and I are being given a second chance at living. I am not ready to die yet, and I believe Davoren will take well to this new life. He was not easily accepted by humans. Perhaps vampires will be more accepting."
My lips curved into a smile as I reached my hand down once again to him. This time, he let his slim hand fall into mine, grasping it firmly as he pulled himself up behind me. My heart swelled as he placed his hands at my sides, and together we rode off to the nearby village to feed.
My inner devil cackled gleefully, as it was the same village responsible for killing Vincent's family. This village was about to become my clan's prime hunting grounds. Sweet, poetic justice at its best.
I postponed Davoren's resurrection for the following night, as much of the current night had already been spent. Besides, it would recover just that much more of my energy, and Davoren would be stronger as a result. It also gave me some time to find clothing for both Vincent and Davoren. Vincent dressed his brother before I woke him, stating simply that it would probably be a bit less disturbing if he didn't wake up in the blood-stained clothes he died in. I could understand his point.
Vincent barely left my side as I was preparing, worrying like a mother hen over his little brother's potential reaction to his change in lifestyle. He looked carved out of stone on the outside, but I was finding our empathetic link to be extremely useful in understanding my mostly silent child.
After Vincent and I fed, we went down to the cell to where Davoren lay. I felt a little sickened as he had started to accumulate a rather pungeant stench as his corpse began to rot. My jitteriness was echoed by Vincent's own nervousness. The longer I waited, the more I struggled to keep my hands from shaking, but my nerves would not settle. What if Davoren decided he didn't like it? What if he was repulsed by what he'd become? Everything was up to Davoren right now. If he refused the Gift, Vincent would too, and I'd lose them both. Lord Kain would scoff and sneer and chuckle, admonishing me for my soft-hearted stupidity. My brothers would hear about it and do the same.
I shook my head abruptly, straightening up. I could not doubt. I had to believe in Davoren and in my own ability to let him see this life in a way he would enjoy. I had to give him a chance. I couldn't give up on him before I'd even gotten started. Once I'd reached that conclusion, I bent down over Davoren, sought out his soul, and guided it back into his body. Vincent watched the change from behind me with a dark fascination.
What felt like an eternity later, Davoren's albino-pink eyes drifted open, staring up into my eyes. He blinked as I stepped back, and I could feel his confusion. He'd felt the pain of his wounds, felt his body shut down and die... And now he was awake, staring up at me, his gaze slowly shifting over to his brother. "...Vincent?"
My black-haired child went over to his brother, sitting down beside him to grasp him in his arms, embracing him tightly. Davoren embraced him in return with more than a little confusion, and I began to realize about that time that each of my children had their own 'color' in my mind. With Vincent, it was difficult to distinguish his feelings from my own, but I would later find out from Kain that it was because we had a similar 'color'. He mentioned offhandedly that he experienced the same confusion that first night he changed me, but it cleared up once my brothers were created. I didn't know what our colors were supposed to mean, and neither really did Kain.
Vincent's feelings and thoughts were crimson in my mind; Davoren's were azure. Please don't patronize me... I felt the need to fancy up the words. When describing those colors in my mind, they are varying. Red can be any number of shades, as can blue. Crimson is overlayed with a bit of darkness, and suggests a deeper passion and sensuality (don't ask me how I can equate that word with Vincent...), like blood. I relate Davoren's azure with the ocean - at some times calm and serene, at other times moody and tempermental. Oh, this was going to be fun.
"Vincent... What's happening?" Davoren's voice was low and almost inaudible. He'd discovered his fangs and claws, his marble-like skin.
"We've been offered another chance," Vincent replied quietly, still holding his brother close while showing him his own claws. "Raziel has made us into vampires."
Davoren gave his brother an odd look. "...And you're okay with this?"
"If you are," he replied simply. "Raziel changed me a couple of days ago. He has been teaching me what it's like."
A low laugh escaped my white-haired son. "Sucking blood and avoiding fire, sunlight, and water?"
"So much more than that," Vincent corrected gently. "We may be 'undead' now, but we are still alive. It's simply a change in lifestyle."
Davoren's skepticism turned in my direction. "So, Raziel... Why did you change us? What are we to you?"
My posture straightened slightly, my chin lifting in defense. "You are my childer. I've watched your family for years, and I witnessed the death of your tribe. Before he died, I gave Vincent the option of whether or not he desired a second chance. 'Not without Davoren,' was his reply."
"So we're just a charity case." Davoren's pink eyes never left me. He was far more cynical and outspoken than Vincent, who was more content to just brood over his thoughts.
"Not so," I replied. "Lord Kain has instructed his childer to go forth and begin building their armies." I held up a hand to stop what was going to come out of his mouth next. "Let me continue. While my brethren will probably be going out to build massive armies with no thought whatsoever to those they change, I wish to be more than the commander of an army of my childer. They will create childer as cannon fodder, as tools to bring them closer to their goals. I will create childer to give them another chance at enjoying life."
Davoren snorted. "Oh really. So when Lord Kain decides that we go into war, we'll be hippies smoking a joint and proclaiming peace and love?"
I stared at him for the span of about three seconds before I broke down into laughter. So strong was the image in my head of the three of us doing just that, I had to sit down at the end of the bed, I was laughing so hard. Vincent was rather innocently examining some of the moss on the stone wall, lips pressed together to conceal a smirk. Eventually Davoren couldn't help it and started laughing as well.
"Davoren," I finally managed to gasp, snickering under my breath, "There is nothing that says we vampires can't enjoy our lives. I want to build a family unit, a clan that works together for simple care and respect for one another, rather than as an obligation for a leader. I believe we would stand the best chance of success if we had soldiers that were also a close-knit family, soldiers that would help each other out on the battlefield rather than concentrating on the glory or survival of oneself."
Davoren's expression sobered as he stared straight into my eyes. "You'll be setting yourself up for a lot more heartache."
"I know," I replied. "The death of any of my childer will bring much grief with it. But I would feel more comfortable with myself if I felt that pain rather than nothing at all."
All of us were silent for the next couple of minutes, each thinking our own thoughts (though I was eavesdropping in on the thoughts of my childer), until Davoren finally got to his feet, brushed himself off, and demanded Vincent and I show him what exactly his new life would entail.
Those first two weeks passed quickly in lessons and basic training for my two sons. It was ridiculously easy as compared to my own lessons. They had all the grace and agility that their gypsy heritage provided them, and they were hunters long before they became vampires. In those two weeks, they learned what it took me nearly two months to accomplish. They forgot their human limitations and excelled in the abilities of our kind.
When they were not learning, they assisted me in making the castle a more liveable place. We cleaned out the cells that they would use as bedrooms, removing the iron bars and replacing them with stone walls and wooden doors, which Davoren made. Our only problem now was getting it furnished.
Davoren came up with the idea. Why not pay a visit to the estate of the lord in the village nearby, the one that was responsible for their deaths? We were sure he had plenty of furniture and money to spare... Money, because Vincent could then go into the city and buy whatever materials they needed to build furniture that would be too cumbersome to move.
Lord Kain would probably have said something to the effect of 'You're being petty, lowering yourselves to common thieves and forgetting your pride as a vampire'... Either that, or he'd pat us on the back and compliment us on using our skills to get whatever we wanted. Either way, I looked forward to our mission.
A/N: I'm still alive, guys!! It's okay!!
I'm sooo, so sorry I haven't updated in about half a year... I fell into a big slump. Too many deaths, too much writer's block, too little motivation to get back up on my feet, too much work, too little time. Things should be getting much better now. Especially since I'm going to Japan on the 12th of January. WOOHOO!!!!! XD XD XD I need a vacation.
Thanks so much for your support, guys. Thanks especially to Jewel Reaver. Without all you guys, this fic would have died a long time ago.
Kain: Raziel, put on your armor and gather your sons. It's time to go to war again.
Raziel: (Sucking on a joint, sitting in a cloud of smoke with Vincent and Davoren) Naaah, man, chill. Peace out.
Kain: ... (Stares at Raziel for a long time) Have you lost your mind?!
Raziel: I've seen the light, dude... It's like.. so tubular. You just gotta find loooove, man. Then everything's all right.
Davoren: Dude... That is so, like... deep, n' stuff.
Kain: O.o; ...What the hell are you smoking that can make a vampire high?!
Raziel: We're high on life, man. That's the ultimate high.
Kain: ... (Turns to leave)
Raziel: Oh...!! OH!! SWEET!! (Swoon) I'm meta-whatsis-ing!! (Falls over)
Davoren: (Stares) ...Dude, that's one sweet high.
Vincent: I believe he's in metamorphosis.
Davoren: Oh. TUBULAR.
Kain: (Looks back) ...?
Raziel: (A pair of faerie wings burst from his back) GROOVY!!
Kain: ...I always knew you were a fairy. You've finally become on the outside what you always were on the inside. (Leaves in disgust)
Davoren: Peace out, man.
Vincent: (Makes the peace sign)
Raziel: (Stares at his wings, entranced by the pretty colors)