The End of an Eternity Ch. 04-05byStormyDreams©
Part IV: Reminiscing
Besand was fondly day dreaming. That time was so far away and so long ago, yet it seemed strangely close all of a sudden. Besand wondered for a moment if he was making a mistake sitting out on this hill waiting for the sun to claim his life. He sighed and stared out to the horizon. Not even a hint of color betrayed the sun below the hills in the distance. A deep, masculine, voice from behind him interrupted his thoughts. "You have about 15 minutes by my watch, Besand".
Besand turned to see his friend Raegis approach from the glade Dalia flew into. He was wearing his typical attire: a tight fitting black, wool turtleneck, and tight black pants. The only hint of color about him was a small patch of red above his right hand. It was the tail end of a serpent tattooed on his arm.
"15 minutes, then you burn up like a cinder." Besand didn't answer. Raegis sat down beside him and slapped an arm on his shoulder.
"You think it hurts much, Besand? I'll bet it fucking hurts worse than anything I've ever felt. I'll bet you can feel each cell catch fire like little bits of paper where each ray of sunlight stabs you like a rusty knife all the way through, twisting—"
"If you think you're going to stop me, Raegis, you're wrong."
Raegis laughed. "Next you'll feed me some line about welcoming the pain, like it will cleanse your soul or some crap like that."
"Did Dalia tell you where I was?"
Raegis chuckled and nodded. "She doesn't want you to go. She's—"
"She's a jealous little girl."
"Oh come on, Besand, give her some credit. She impressed the entire circle."
Besand turned to look at him. "And why do you think?"
Raegis laughed again. "There's no denying that your little pet is an incredible fuck, Besand, but really. I mean it. She had something."
"She was cold hearted and selfish."
Raegis nodded. "Thank you, Besand. That's right. Best prospect I've seen in a long time." Besand turned his head. "I think you're out here because you've forgotten what you are. Besand, we're shunned, hated, feared, and not because we're a bunch of cute animals. We're predators, Besand, merciless killers. You can't change that. Suzy can't change that. Nothing can change that. You have to accept who you are, Besand."
Besand remained silent, but hung his head slightly lower. Raegis continued. "Come on. Unless you initiated Suzy, she would have died long before your end. It's time for you to move on. Dalia—"
"Dalia did you wrong. She deserves to be punished. Punish her. The circle will pass a poor judgment on her. It'll be like that time, after you brought her to London, when she killed that lord's son." Besand managed a grin.
Part V: Punishment
Dalia stood proudly before the Circle. She stared straight through the Master without seeing him. He sat hunched over in his chair, a heavy, dark cloak shrouding his face. Her dark eyes were cold. The slits of her pupils were open wide and her fangs bare. She stood in the middle of the Circle, a group of four men and a woman. They had lived centuries before her, and served as her clan's authority on all matters. At this moment, she considered them all to be fools. Well, all save one. Besand, her master, sat with the Circle. Most everyone respected him. She would serve him until he felt it proper to release her from his tutorage.
The Master spoke. "Dalia, you stand before us—"
"I know what I did, and—"
"Silence!" He coughed. A shadowy figure approached from behind him and laid a delicate white hand on his shoulder. He pushed it aside. Dalia wondered how many others lay in the shadows beyond the Circle. Her eyes strained to see, but dancing torchlight obscured her vision. "You will speak only when addressed! Is that understood?"
The Master grumbled. "This is yours, Besand?"
The Master chuckled. "You have to pick the feisty ones, don't you. More fail under you."
The woman in the Circle laughed. "Full of energy, Besand's underlings are. Full of spirit. Many of us lose that as soon as our consummation. Not Besand's. Many fail, but the ones who succeed go on to greatness. I usually applaud your choices, Master Besand, but this Dalia seems too bull headed for her own good."
"Indeed, Sophia," Besand agreed. "What say you Raegis?"
The hooded man to Dalia's left raised his head. "You know I'm fond of her Besand. But there are rules. You can't just kill the most important people in London. People take notice of that sort of thing, and then it's the 600's all over again."
"But he—" Dalia interjected.
"Silence, ungrateful girl!" the Master yelled. He made an almost imperceptible gesture with his hands. Dalia heard brisk footsteps approach from behind her. She didn't dare turn around. They roughly grabbed the dress around her shoulders and tore the fabric down to her feet. She struggled to stay standing. One of them cut the bikini around her waist leaving her completely naked in front of the Circle. A strong hand from one of the men behind her forced her to her knees. "You will respect me, especially in my hall!" He began coughing again.
She heard Besand's voice telling her to be quiet. She cast her eyes down to the floor.
"Don't help her, Besand," the Master spoke. "She won't always have you by her side. She must learn obedience."
"You're correct, sire," Besand said. "She will learn."
"So what shall we do? I don't think the authorities will find his body," Raegis said.
"We couldn't have been luckier," Sophia added. "He often disappears months at a time on excursions with whatever delicacy he happens to fancy that week. No one will notice him for a long time. When they do, they'll all shake their heads and assume he finally got his." Dalia breathed.
The final member of the circle spoke with a reptilian voice. The hair on Dalia's neck curled as he spoke. Besand scowled. "Then she need only suffer a lesson of humility and take away from all this a reminder of our mercy." Raegis exchanged a glance with Besand.
Sophia laughed. "I think with this one, Marcus, you will find no trace of humility in her. And I fear, she will enjoy too much your traditional methods of finding it." Besand and Marcus both rose to their feet.
"I leave her to you, then." Besand said. Dalia lifted her chin slightly to send a pleading glance. Besand turned away.
"I think not, Besand," Marcus countered. "With the utmost respect due your station, she is still yours to instruct. It would be highly unusual for you to be absent. Don't you think good Master?"
The elder vampire just nodded and sipped at something from a golden cup. "Carry on, Marcus. Besand be seated."
Besand's glare was returned by a smile from Marcus as he stood behind Dalia. Dalia watched Besand sit down quietly as the dark hood slipped down over her face. Marcus drew the string tightly around her neck. It smelled slightly of human blood, and her mouth began to water instinctively. She began to realize the extent of her thirst. The air felt cold around her.
Dalia heard what sounded like a hundred voices chant around her. "You have no sustenance without us. You have no haven away from us."
A hand grabbed her wrist holding her palm skyward. She heard Besand speak, "When you look upon this mark, remember your failure." A searing pain shot down her arm. Strong hands held her arm steady as the silver talisman burned into her flesh. Tears rolled down her checks, but she did not cry out. The pain subsided as they withdrew the toxic metal.
Sophia spoke next, "When others look upon this, they will remember your failure." Two men grabbed her shoulders as the talisman touched the skin above her right breast. The pain was greater, so close to her still heart. She gasped, and whimpered, but did not give them the satisfaction of a scream. She thought about trying to touch Marcus' or Besand's thoughts but remembered how quickly the Master detected Besand's communication with her. When they removed the metal from her chest, she slumped, just before she was forced forward onto her hands and knees.
She next felt hands, rubbing and exploring every inch of her body. Countless men and women touched, probed, and licked her skin. She could feel their cold breath on her skin as they left no area unturned. And then, he touched her. It had to be Marcus, it was so chilling, frightening, and evil. She felt his touch, inside her mind, exploring her memories and her thoughts. She forgot the people around her and tried to push him out, but his laughter just echoed in her head. What are you hiding from me, Dalia?
"Stop," she whimpered. "Get away from me." Painful images of memories she tried to erase and bury surfaced. The embarrassments she suffered as a child, from her smallest failures to her greatest, she relived them with Marcus watching and laughing.
She lost her virginity at 15. She thought Jeremiah was sweet, and he must have loved her. She trusted him. She didn't know she was the object of a bet he made with his friends. They were hidden in the room watching as he clumsily fucked her on his kitchen table. She could hear their laughter, and even her best friend Cindy with the words, "slut, look at the slut" resounding in her ears. Dalia cried as the vampires mounted her one at a time to the chants of "Slut. You worthless slut."
She begged Marcus to take pity on her. He laughed, but then he abruptly stopped. Marcus' words, "Besand no!" echoed in her head. Besand's face filled her head. She lost every sense about her, as he filled the void. She heard nothing but a ringing noise, until she passed out.
"Besand! I wasn't finished!" Marcus cried. He appealed to the Master. "He made her unconscious before I was done! Do something!"
Besand just looked at him with a burning fury.
"Back off, Marcus," Raegis cautioned. "She learned her lesson."
A young vampire reached out to touch Dalia again. Besand motioned with his hand, and the boy flew violently away from her crumpled body. He scurried away.
Sophia's voice echoed in Besand's head. "She must learn like the rest of us Besand. Otherwise we risk extinction for one weak link."
The Master's last words followed hers with a chilling tone, "Give her up Besand...this one is not your slave. She is your mistress..."
(To be continued...)
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