A/N: Dudes, sorry a thousand times about the terribly long wait, I really have been wanting to continue this for a while. I was also just about to write an entirely new chapter when I found the first half of this deep in the caverns of my hard drive. Wow, I'm pretty smart.
Anyway, this is a flashback chapter for the most part, so sorry if you were waiting for the story's continuation, cause that'll have to wait some. But I know you'll like this chapter because…
It's in Grayson's POV! (Critique needed and appreciated. I'm usually confident with my POV's, but this one was quite hard to write in character.) Thanx to ThornManiaLilyCharliZorianna for reminding me how much Grayson really should have a bigger part in this story. Anyway, enjoy :)
Before the Endless Night Falls
The clergy had always angered me. Mother said to never let my temper take control, so I left with as much control as I could muster. It wasn't until years later that control was an amazing thing to possess.
I was only thirteen years old when they came.
The scene is plastered in my memory in loud splotches of color, then suddenly in a lame black and white. My mother went to the door, strange robed men standing outside it, a look of content written on their faces like God was whispering to them at that very moment. Their faces were rugged and brown, burnt from the sun, harsher than my own shade. The sun shone brightly behind them, making their features mere shadows in daylight.
I hadn't always been wary of God's existence; it wasn't until the death of my father that I could no longer grip the faith that my mother always had so blindly, God having taken my father away so suddenly. Mother said there was always meaning; a reason for everything. How could there be meaning in his death? He didn't deserve it; such fate was unmerciful. Mugged, and then killed for fighting back. He was a strong man, a man of faith as resilient as mother's. If God truly cared for him, he would have let him live.
They said something about the Lord and the saviors and the war our meek soldiers were fighting every day. It was when they said my name that I actually started listening, their muffled voices now a clear strike to my very eardrum. And because my mother's sweet disposition never changed since the opening of the door, I could not contain the fear bubbling up within me. I remember the blinding yellow of her dress, the sunlight bouncing off of it as I felt myself get sick. I'd wanted no place in the war, having been taught of vampires and their devilish, monstrous ways. They were mindless fiends of the night, bread to kill. There was no way they were dragging me into that war.
Her back was turned from me, her body loose. Not stiff with surprise, not shaking from cries or even laughter, she merely treated their request to send me away as if they were asking for eggs or sugar.
She turned finally, my memory then turning very grey. Her face was relieved for some reason. She tried to hide it, but I could see very clearly. I felt betrayed, and right then and there I wanted to run. Run from this war, from the city, from humans and vampires alike. God, if you are really out there, then why have you made me so miserable? What is the meaning of my life? To amuse you?
So with a bag containing only my bare essentials, I was escorted to the outskirts of the city where the boot camp was waiting.
It wasn't as prestigious as I thought it would be. It looked like a converted prison with crosses mounted on every wall. If it wasn't for the digital clock in the car, I wouldn't have been able to tell what time it was because of the city's constant overcast. Filthy.
12:29. No wonder the place looked deserted, there was probably a curfew. Damn.
They assigned me a number after spitting the rules at me. 14. They would from now on address me as fucking 14 until I was christened a savior. It was then when I realized that my life was over, that God had created me to be a fucking slave.
The boarding house rules were insane.
No outside clothing or accessories can be worn to promote individuality
No one of the opposite sex can enter eithers' assigned rooms
No outside food, drink or materials.
No contact with anyone on the outside
The rooms were underground some, unfortunately. I was exhausted by the time I reached the bottom of the stairs. The hallways were very plain and narrow, barely only room for three people to stand next to each other. Maybe that was the idea.
When I unlocked the door to my room, it was empty. There were too beds on each side, so I assumed I was getting a roommate eventually. There were two small desks pushed together in the middle of the room, two small lamps, and a bookshelf only holding the bible. Nothing looked like it belonged; it was like they found this "furniture" at a rummage sale.
The next day, training started. How they knew I was better than good with a knife was beyond me, but why they thought it was a "gift from God" was even more farfetched. They brainwashed the others, who were either just as old as I or younger. Their faith persuaded them; the "superiors" only enabling their weaknesses, acting as the trigger. They told us we would be unstoppable and honorable weapons in the heat of this eternal war. After days of bone crunching circuits, we were led to believe we would be invincible. After weeks of severe blood spilling drills, we were taught to believe that vampires would cower before us. After years of no compassion, of dissuasion of making actual relationships among us, we were told that our teamwork would prevail against all evil. That this was God's will.
Number 15 died on me after five years. He and his partner, 11, died in a simulation. Rapid blood loss after fatal slit to the throat. Good thing they died here and not in the field. Well, that's what the superiors would have said if they could. I remember trying to be friendly with him, too, but he was the quietest bastard I'd ever met. Read the bible for fun. Unknown to me at the time, the next day would be a pivotal one.
The next day, Ashton walked into my life. The new number 11.
I was honestly surprised the see my new roommate. Apparently, the messenger was too slow and didn't get to me in time to warn me after lunch. He was lying atop the blankets of the bed to the left of the room, staring up at the ceiling. He was tall; too tall for a new recruit. I was expecting a boy maybe in his tweens, early teens even. He looked more like eighteen he was so tall, and from the lamp just behind his head, I could see the stubble on his face.
He looked at me with far away eyes. I held that stare, wondering what he would do. It was instantly that we understood each other. Although he'd just been here two seconds, we knew each other to be equals. We could see the hell we'd been through, through our eyes.
It was only two years after when we were assigned to be christened. He was that good. And by then, after seeing him do what he does, it pulled me into the whole "gift from God" thing. That was the only explanation I could willingly believe. He was completely inexperienced before this; never held a blade or a staff in his life, never experimented with martial arts. Ever. He was a miracle if I ever saw him.
And his partner, the fourteen year old, what a gift. They looked like two pieces in a puzzle they were so close. They were always together, and sometimes I'd tag along just for the company. I'd always be the one to initiate conversation, neither very talkative, which was nice sometimes, made me remember what spirituality should be. One night, he even told me about his feelings for her, which was forbidden. I didn't care, though, and he knew it. I'd loved once. My family used to love me. Now love meant nothing to me. But somehow, he knew that I'd understand. And I did.
"But its sin." His voice was the very essence of sadness. He was practically sweating in it, drenched in his own remorse.
"Shit, I don't believe in sin. Heaven or hell, you'd fight for her, right?" I thought myself to be the angel and the devil combined.
"You'd fight to be by her side, to keep her safe?"
"And how's it make you feel?"
"…Wonderful. Like my life isn't just meant for being a weapon."
"Then relax. Love her if you love her, just don't let the wannabe prodigies know." That was my phrase for the "superiors."
He was the only one I knew that I could speak freely with, vice versa. We were each other's outlet for everything. If we were mad, we'd scream things at each other that didn't make sense. We'd scream until we laughed, we laughed until we cried, we cried until we had nothing left in us. It was the only way we could feel real emotion. For me, anyway.
He had Esper, and sometimes, I guarded our door to make sure no one discovered them. I have no idea what they did in there, but I doubt it was ever past first base. They were just happy to be breaking one house rule let alone a vow of celibacy. Either way, I felt like protecting them. Whatever emotions we can hold onto was always one of my priorities, I was satisfied we were still able to feel. They were trying to make us weapons—robots, unfeeling in our quest to save humanity. How could we save us all if we forbidden to have any outer ties, any freedom at all?
But years past, and on the front, nothing seemed to matter anymore. We weren't fighting to save anyone. We weren't fighting for God. We weren't even fighting for our own survival. We were just out doing what we'd been trained to do. For most of us, killing vampires was easy. Easy as breathing.
Ashton and I hardly talked outside of missions, but we were more or less together most of the time. He needed Esper, I knew, but he didn't show it. He changed in those years. We both did. Our faith kept us going, his having rubbed off on me somehow, and we prayed together. We prayed for our success and for the salvation of our kind like we actually gave a shit about the rest of them.
We were brothers then. We'd sworn to protect each other about all else. And for a while, that was how it was.
Until that fateful day my eyes were truly opened. The day I was saved from the hell of humanity I was born in.
I was badly wounded, their claws and teeth raking into my flesh as they dragged me further and further into the darkness. I begged Him to make death quick—but He wasn't listening. My sins laid before me in a bloody haze, my life flashing before my eyes, I was a mess of pain and sorrow. And that's when it happened. My savior—my queen—released me into a world of instinct; a world where I felt alive and powerful. In just five minutes, I had become the most powerful life form the world had ever seen. When for years I'd trained and was never close to becoming this unstoppable.
Power, I then understood, was the first step to control. And in that moment, I was in control of the most lethal army of creatures humanity had never been able to extinguish.
Hope you liked that, it was fun to write. So, Merry Christmas Priest fans, have a good one.