Twilight is not mine and I do not own the story or any of the characters.


7. Companions

1692

I walked carefully through the street as it was crowded with people gathering to watch the performance about to take place in the town square. Three brothers had been putting on a show of juggling, fire eating and gymnastics the past few weeks and were becoming widely popular. I had not yet watched any of the performances but had heard much talk about them. As I made my way through the crowed the show began. Fire quickly exploding up toward the night sky caught my attention and I decided to stop and watch. The first of the three brothers began with an amazing show of juggling torches, before he caught them, placed one of the flaming tips in his mouth then blew out fire. The second brother then began with a show of back flips; my eyes stayed on him and he flipped across the square. As he passed the crowed at the opposite end of me, my attention was snapped away from him, to a face in the crowed.

The face was completely unfamiliar to me; yet completely familiar in a terrifying way. It was the pale, perfect, beautiful face of a vampire. She was very tall, with a voluptuous, almost muscular build. She had thick black hair that hung past her shoulders. She looked to be about the same age as me, probably in her early twenties when she was changed. Her wide eyes were black with thirst and she was staring right at me. I started back at her passively in a way that showed I was neither going to run from her or attack her. I turned slowly keeping my eyes on her and started to walk through the crowed; she copied me. We walked until we were away from the gathered humans. When we were down another street and could be neither heard nor seen by humans we stopped.

"Hello." I said kindly.

"Hello." She said in the same way.

"I am Carlisle. I have to say, I'm surprised to see you here. I have been in the city for quite a while now and have not come across any others." I said. She surprised me by smiling.

"Well you don't have to worry; my mate and I were just passing through. We should be leaving shortly." She answered, her tone was friendlier then mine. She must have had more experience meeting other vampires than I did. I wondered if I could every be as comfortable talking with other vampires as she seemed to be.

"I hope you don't mind my asking but, why are your eyes that color? I have seen black and red, but never gold." She asked her eyes peaking with interest.

"There a product of how I have chosen to feed. I don't drink human blood. I feed off the blood of animals only." I answered. It was only the second time in my life I had explained my diet to another vampire.

"Really?" She asked her tone colored with fascination "How have you managed that?"

"Well, it has been difficult to learn to resist, but to me it is well worth it." I said. She laughed a bright, cheery laugh.

"I must admit, I have never heard anything like that. It seems so impossible; I might just have to try it sometime."She said with another laugh. "Why don't you come with me? You could meet my mate, Liam, and explain more about your lifestyle." She asked. I was surprised by her offer, this was only my third encounter with a vampire and I hadn't expected her to be so friendly.

"I would like that." I answered excited. This wouldn't be the one-sided conversation I had had with Alistair or the violent fight I had with the second vampire I met. This would be a real discussion between me and others of my own kind.

"Great, this way" she said turning in the direction she was going to lead me. "I am Siobhan." She tacked on at the end, and then started running.

I ran by her said through the dark forest, neither of us spoke so I just enjoyed the scenery. The forests of Germany were so beautiful; they were a big part of why I had chosen to settle here. After I left Austria I wondered around for a few years. I had just happened to come through this place when I was hunting. It was so beautiful I decided to stay. Siobhan started to slow as we entered a large open field. In the center of the field was an old farm house. It looked like it had been sitting there empty for a while before Siobhan and her mate took up residence there. I heard movement from inside the house, and then the front door swung open. A vampire, who I could only guess was Siobhan's mate stood there smiling at her, then his gaze shifted warily to me.

He was tall and lean and muscular. He had short, dark brown hair that reflected a red tint in the moonlight. He had an imposing presence that commanded attention, which was even more evident as he stood tall and straight in the doorway. He looked physically older than Siobhan, most likely in his mid thirties when he was changed. I could see he was suspicious of me; I understood his hesitation. I felt the same way every time I met a vampire or came across ones scent.

I slowed down and let Siobhan lead about ten feet in front of me as we reached the porch stairs. Liam met Siobhan half way down the stairs and kissed her for a moment. I looked away while they kissed. Couples didn't usually display their affection; of course that was humans, perhaps vampires were different. I wouldn't really know. Siobhan broke the kiss first.

"Liam, I would like you to meet Carlisle." She said gracefully waving a hand in my direction. I smiled politely as Liam's gazed focused on me. He didn't say anything but nodded once at me. "I invited him to stay with us for a while. I had a very interesting conversation with, and he is going to tell us all about his fascinating lifestyle." She explained.

"Really? Well I can't wait. I'm sure it will be riveting." He said with mock politeness. He turned and walked back up the stairs and disappeared inside the house. Siobhan followed him and I followed after her.

The house was beautiful inside, and was brightly illuminated by a fireplace and a large chandelier that had to have at least sixty lit candles on it. Liam sat down on a brown chair large enough to seat two people. Siobhan sat beside him, the motioned for me to sit in the chair opposite of them. I looked politely to Liam first than Siobhan.

"So, Carlisle, tell me more about this diet of yours. I have never heard of a vampire who lived off of animal blood. I had never even considered the possibility that doing such a thing was possible." Siobhan asked in the same fascinated tone. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Liam's face change. It twisted with confusion and disbelief; clearly he had never heard of such a thing either.

"Well, it started several months after I was changed. I was alone when I had awoken form the transformation but I knew what I had become. I had never wanted to be a vampire and was so disgusted with myself that I ran away into the forest. I tried several times to kill myself but nothing could damage my body. After many attempts and being unsuccessful I hoped I could starve to death. I ran deep into the forest and hid in a small cavern. I laid there for months, the pain from my thirst made it impossible to think. One night a heard of deer passed my hiding place; I was insane from thirst and could hear their heart beats. I attacked without thinking, after feeding my strength returned. From the moment I became a vampire I had never wanted to kill humans, and from my experience I learned I didn't have to." I explained. Siobhan and Liam stayed very quiet as I told them my story. When I finished I looked first to one then the other, waiting for some type of reply. They looked at each other as they considered my story.

"So, you have never even tasted human blood?" Liam asked in disbelief.

"Correct. After discovering I could feed off animal blood, I made myself learn to resist human blood. It is still difficult. I still struggle with thirst but I am getting better." I answered. Liam's face was a mix of disbelief and disgust. Siobhan's face was more polite.

"Forgive me but I don't quite understand. Why try so hard to resist humans? If you want to live off animal blood why not stay away from human populations? Then you would never be tempted at all; that seems to be the much easier path to me." She asked kindly.

"I didn't just want to avoid humans. I enjoy learning and have attended many universities. I have studied medicine for the past few decades and want to practice it. I have to learn to resist human blood if I am going to do so." I answered. Siobhan laughed the same bright laugh she had before.

"I must say Carlisle. I have never met another quite like you. Most vampires will have the occasional contact with humans, but I have never met one who had aspirations to work side by side with them." She said, then laughed again. "Perhaps you could stay with us for a while; I would love to hear more about your life. It seems to be a truly fascinating story." She asked.

"I would like that" I answered.

Siobhan and Liam left me alone in their house later than night to go out and hunt. I didn't like the idea of simply letting them go out and kill innocent people but I held my tong. They had been feeding their way since the time of their transformation, and even though Siobhan seemed fascinated by my diet I couldn't expect to change her or her mate. They didn't return till morning, once they did we continued our conversation. When they returned they told me about their lives. Siobhan did most of the talking. Siobhan was over two hundred years old; born in the late 1400s. She was born in Ireland and was kidnapped from her home one night by the vampire who changed her. She explained to me how newborns were very strong and usually wild. She killed her creator before her newborn year was over. After that she wandered through Europe and Asia.

Liam was about my own age, changed in 1651. He had been an Irish warrior; he fought in the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and then against Cromwell's re-conquest of Ireland. He was changed when a vampire attacked several men on the battle field. Feeding so much that when he got to Liam he did not drain enough blood from him to kill him. The vampire left him there and Liam transformed into a vampire. He did explain to me his dislike of Englishmen because of his human experiences, but decided that he could put that aside for the time being. Liam was terrified and confused after he awoke from the transformation, not understanding what had happened to him. Siobhan found him six months later and explained to him what he was. They fell in love quickly and have been inseparable ever since.

I traveled with Siobhan and Liam for several weeks, telling them more about my life and experiences. They told me more about their lives as well. Siobhan did try my diet once and forced Liam to do the same, but after one hunting trip they both confirmed that feeding off animal blood was not for them. Siobhan worried about me; I didn't have a coven to help protect me if I ever came across a hostile vampire and decided to teach me how to defend against an attack. She explained how to kill a vampire and I doubted that, even if my life were in danger, I would be able to rip another being apart and burn them.

She taught me to fight regardless; I went over her instructions in my head as we prepared for another mock fight. Don't go for the obvious kill, don't let them get behind you, don't strike unless you're prepared to defend yourself, and don't leave your throat open. She also instructed me on how to reattach a severed limb.

We started our false battle by circling each other while Liam watched from a distance so he could tell me what I did wrong later. We continued to circle, l made sure my back never faced her, just as she instructed. I thought I saw an opening on her left and I rushed in. She turned and defended herself, - had this been an actual fight I would have lost an arm- I pulled back, but left myself open. She took advantage of that and rushed in. I saw her coming and adjusted my defenses just in time. This time she was the one who had to fix her defenses. We rushed at each other again and again, though she had much more experience, I was learning quickly. Our circling got tighter and tighter, until final I took one misstep and she rushed in. Her teeth stopped before they cut my throat and the fight was over, leaving Siobhan victorious once again. I heard Liam laugh from behind us as Siobhan released me.

Several more months passed and I continued to travel with Siobhan and Liam. They were the closest friends I had made in this immortal existence and I had forgotten how nice it was to have friends you didn't have to hide from. I could talk openly and honestly with them, there were no secrets and I loved it. Things could be strained sometimes; they knew how I felt about preserving human life and were courteous enough to avoid speaking of their hunting practices and to hunt only when I was not around. However, other than this difference we managed to have a very good relationship.

We continued to travel across Germany, staying in the country during the day and venturing into the cities at night. I collected more artwork for my collection; I had two pieces that I especially admired. The first had been a gift from Siobhan; it pictured the vast, rolling hills of the German country side. The second one I had found on one of our trips into the city. I showed the city as it would be viewed from atop the tallest building.

I looked at the two pictures hanging side by side on the wall. I heard Siobhan's soft footsteps approach my room, followed by Liam's heavier ones; then there was a soft knock on the door.

"Come in." I called, though I knew Siobhan would weather I told her to or not, she simply knocked out of courtesy.

"Liam and I are going into the market, there is a human there would is selling jewelry. I haven't seen it yet but Liam said the humans claim it the most beautiful jewelry they have ever seen. I thought I would look it over. Would you like to come with us?" she asked.

"I would love to." I said, as I got up from my seat and followed them out the door. We walked down the little dirt path that led into the village we were currently settled next to. The market was set up on the outskirts of the village and Siobhan wasted no time finding the jewelry she wanted. Liam stayed by her side as he usually did but I wandered throughout the market. As I wondered I heard the distressed cries of humans. I walked as quickly as I could, without attracting notice, in the direction of the sound. When I was out of sight I ran at full speed toward the humans. When I arrived I saw a mother and father struggling to carry their two sick children toward the village.

"Hello," I said as I approached them. The mother looked up at me first. "Can I help you?" I asked.

"It's our sons." The father said "At first we thought it was just the flu, but this morning they broke out in a terrible rash. We were trying to carry them into the village to see a physician."

"I am a doctor, please, let me take a look at them." I said as I rushed over to the family. They laid their children on the ground and knelt beside them; I knelt on the ground and look over one boy first, then the other. The boys were young, about ten years old, they both had a sever fever and an extensive red, bumpy rash that covered their faces, necks and chests.

"How long have they been ill for?" I asked.

"It started with a sore throat about a week ago. Then they started vomiting and had a fever. The rash started on their cheeks this morning and spread down their body." The father explained. I had seen this aliment before, while I was still working in Austria.

"I think they both have a bad case of Scarlett Fever." I said "They should get to a hospital immediately. I can help you carry them there." I offered my help.

"Thank you, we need the help." The mother answered. She handed me her son, the father took the other boy in his arms. We carried them to the hospital; when we arrived I explained to the master surgeon that I was a doctor and my assessment of the boys.

"Yes, we have many cases of Scarlett Fever lately, put them with the others." He said to another doctor. I followed the second doctor to another wing of the hospital; there were rows of bed laid out. Children, all suffering from the same aliment lay on those beds, but I saw no doctor tending to them. I went back to the main hall and found the master surgeon.

"Excuse me," I said "why is there no doctor tending to those children?"

"We have a shortage of doctors here, we don't have the time. We tend to the sickest ones first but we can't treat them all." The surgeon replied frustrated. I went back to the children, thinking about what I should do. These people needed my help and I wanted to stay and give them that help. I knew Siobhan and Liam would not want to stay in this village for any length of time, they liked to travel. I could stay and help these people but I would lose my only friends. I sighed as I realized that it didn't matter, helping those in need is who I am. I walked over to the nearest bed and started tending to the child laying there.

Siobhan and Liam arrived at the hospital several hours later; they had followed my scent here.

"Carlisle, what are you doing? Were leaving soon." Siobhan said.

"These people need my help." I answered sadly. I didn't want to leave my only friends but the humans needed me.

"You're not coming with us." She said. My face fell as I heard her say the words. "It's alright; I know this is who you are. This won't be the last time we see each other though." She said confidently. Siobhan walked over to me and hugged me for a moment. Then her and Liam turned and walked away out of the hospital. I felt my eyes sting as I watch my only friends leave, but I kept repeating her words in my head 'this won't be the last time we see each other.' I would have to make sure that was true.