When I woke I remembered Lady Vachon's words and they chilled me to the bone. I also noticed that she was not there and that Gangrel was not happy. He tried to disguise it but his eyes had lost their sparkle and his step, the spring.
"She left us, did she not?"
My newest father looked past me, "Whatever do you mean, Victoria?"
My little cheeks flushed with delight, "She did! I knew all along."
His shoulders sagged. I looked up and saw that she was dear to him, perhaps dearer than I was.
"Where will she go?"
"I'm not sure little one. In fact, I'm not sure that she knows either."
A horrible thought struck me, "Father. Is it my fault she went away?"
He knelt down in front of me, "No it isn't." he looked straight into my eyes, "Don't you ever say that, you mustn't even think it. It's my fault she left. I did not love her as I should." Sensing that this confession was a little over my head he stopped talking for a while.
"Are you hungry, father?" I opened the satchel the farmer's wife had given me and offered him some bread and marmalade.
He laughed, "no, little one. You eat it."
I ate a large chunk of bread smothered in marmalade. "Why do you refuse food, father?" I darted behind him when a carriage rumbled past.
He stopped and swung me up on his hip, "I am not hungry yet."
This I accepted, "where are we going?"
He looked out into the woods, "to speak with a very old friend of mine."
I looked back over his shoulder. I was starting to think that something was wrong with him. "Will you eat there?"
"What? Is food all you think about?" he asked laughing loudly, "no I probably will not eat there either."
We neared an abandoned building. It was very old and very scary. The lead-light windows looked like gaping holes in a ghastly face. I still remember cuddling into his neck and hair to hide myself.
He walked inside and stopped abruptly. He had heard something I hadn't caught, "Thomas! I know you're here and I know you can hear me. Come and see my daughter!" I looked around. As far as I could see there was only dust and darkness. There were long wooden seats and a strange table up the back. The mice that darted away from Father's voice looked thin and angry and I knew not why.
"A daughter?" a hollow voice echoed, "you have a daughter?"
Father laughed, "I do now. Make yourself known you're scaring her."
A man walked from the shadows, not necessarily an old man perhaps twenty years of age but his face had a timeless quality to it that frightened me. I shook in my father's arms. That face gave me the chills. He was very distressed by this, he bowed low before me.
"Young lady? Sir Thomas Moore of her majesty's counsel at your service."
I looked away over father's shoulder.
"She's a little shy. Aren't you Victoria?" father gave me a shake, I continued to stare at the lead-light windows.
"Lord Gangrel, where is your Lady?"
He shrugged, "I don't know."
Sir Moore laughed and straightened father's jacket around me, "I do! Your Lady came to me for comfort… perhaps you are not quite Lord enough for her tastes?"
My father the Lord Gangrel cautioned him by wagging his finger, "if I should not be holding this child, I'd give you such a stabbing."
The hollow laughter of this unusual pair echoed in the night.
"Ah," sir tom wiped away a tear, "but I jest. Your lady Luna passed by to mention that she was leaving. Personally I don't think she'll go far."
Gangrel sighed, "she'll walk the corners of the earth to spite me, you know." He put me down on a long wooden seat and placed the farmer's wife's satchel beside me. I sat watching them talk a short distance away. I could only hear faint murmuring. There was movement on the big table, I took up the satchel and made my way down the aisle. The table was up on a step and I could see the silhouette of statues nearby. I slowly approached the back of the building, on the table there was an old one-eyed black rat. It looked up wearily but scarcely moved. I can only imagine, even today, of the sight that greeted Gangrel and sir tom when they stopped talking. A little girl barely ten years old of age in rich red satin dress and bodice, her hair in curls sitting on the holy altar of an abandoned church feeding a grizzled old rat bread crumbs from her hand caught in the bright beam of the full moon that reached through the shattered lead-light window to caress her forehead. I suddenly became of the silence, by contrast to the gentle murmuring it was almost deafening looked up. Both men were watching in awe, they looked like they had seen a ghost.
Gangrel started towards me, "this is exactly as I said. She displays unrivaled compassion to beasts yet she watches the brutal, wanton destruction of large quantities of people without flinching. On the first night she asked Luna if we would teach her to destroy. I think she's ready to join us."
Sir tom looked at me, "I'm not sure. The issue of her age is a puzzlement. There have been problems before. I should very much like to speak to someone else before I give judgment. And you should stop feeding vermin. They will make you ill." He lifted me from the altar and shooed the rat away. He knelt so that he could look into my eyes, "do you understand what your father is asking of me?"
I gave him a strange look because I sensed there was more to his question than he was letting on, "you want to change me. To make me different. To make me like father and lady Vachon."
The heavy wooden doors swung open with an almighty BOOM!
"She is a child, what does she know of us? We drain the life of the living while residing in the home of the dead," lady Vachon screeched as she near flew towards sir tom. "She will forever stay as a child, never to fend for herself!"
"SILENCE!" Sir Thomas Moore held his hand barely a foot in front of her face and to my surprise she stopped. Lady Vachon actually looked frightened.
"This child will join us in the embrace of the night before the next full moon." Sir tom announced.
Lady Vachon stormed off again. Lord Gangrel seated himself on the altar and cradled his brow in his hands, "she does bring up a point we both discussed. What if the child does not grow?"
"There is an instance…" sir tom retreated into the shadows and emerged with a book, "in the 1400's a Germanic boy was embraced by the night. He frequently fed upon the shepherds of the area and according to witnesses he grew taller but not older. They accused him of being a werewolf and locked him up during which time he could not feed. He grew pallid then upon his release, after such a time without blood, he fed ravenously and began to age 'til his face did match his height. He remained clean-shaven but appeared as a man. It is a strange story but true. Or at least recorded."
Lord Gangrel danced about seizing sir tom by the hands, "then she will grow? FANTASTIC! Do you hear, Victoria, you will grow into a beautiful young woman."
I stood at the entrance of the church watching them dance. I turned to face her. Lady Vachon never really left us, she kept her distance is all. She sat on a nearby gravestone now visible in the dark of night, hunched over.
"Lady Vachon? Is something wrong?"
She straightened, "nothing child, return to your master." She growled through gritted teeth. Everything must have been wrong for a response like that I reasoned. I stood behind her watching, waiting. "Please let me help? I only want to help. Tell me what to do." I implored.
She turned to me, looking through me rather than at me. "There is nothing you can do. Only know that you drove my lord and I apart. You will always be a burden on us." She rose to leave moving to what seemed an incredible height," What good is a child blood drinker anyway?"
"Please don't hate me mother." I cried heart broken.
She walked away into the night.